On Wisdom Wednesday this first week of July, we offer a few moments of reflection on summer celebrations. Items this week also include a look at what Americans think of America, and what others think of us.
July gives us Independence Day, and an interfaith calendar offers dates to celebrate the Hajj and the first Mormons to arrive at the Great Salt Lake. It is also time to honor St. Benedict, St. Vladimir the Great, and Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie who has been revered by Bob Marley and other Rastafarians as the incarnation of God.
Tomorrow (July 7) The White House will honor Sister Simone Campbell (the Nun on the Bus and a former AUSCP Keynoter) and Rev. Alexander Karloutsos with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
When the Archbishop of the Brazilian city of Manaus, Leonardo Steiner, kneels before Pope Francis on August 27, the Brazilian clergyman will make history as the first cardinal to come from the Amazon region.
Many Americans believe the U.S. is one of the greatest nations in the world, but around two-thirds of Americans (68%) say the U.S. is less respected internationally than it was in the past. As for our view of new immigrants, Pew Research finds about two-thirds of Americans (66%) say the country’s openness to people from around the world is “essential to who we are as a nation.”
In 19 countries surveyed by Pew Research Center this spring, people see the United States and President Joe Biden more favorably than China and its president, Xi Jinping. Most nations, however, see China’s influence growing than say the same of the U.S.
The World’s Religions
The new leader of the World Council of Churches is being accused by critics of making antisemitic remarks by comparing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to Apartheid. The Rev. Jerry Pillay defends himself.
Ukraine’s Lviv has symbolically voted to ban formerly Moscow-affiliated church.
The deep acrimonies surrounding the conflict in Ukraine have raised questions about interfaith ties with the Vatican and in the World Council of Churches, as well as about the realistic chances of religious mediation. Papal ecumenical diplomacy appears unable to affect Russia’s war in Ukraine.
A recent peace-building conference, “Catholic Peacebuilding in Times of Crisis: Hope for a Wounded World,” drew 1,000 registrants and featured some 80 speakers from 30 countries. The seventh annual gathering was held virtually due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.
Back in the U.S.A.
The Supreme Court decision on abortion draws divided opinions. A place to search for some wisdom begins with the facts: What the data says about abortion in the U.S.
Americans differ by party, age over ways to reduce the number of abortions in the U.S. – and whether legal restrictions are the effective.
A report in U.S.Catholic offers a perspective not often found in the debate – the voice of Black women. Catholic doula Rebecca Christian describes how her faith informs her work for reproductive justice.
Analysis in Wired Magazine concludes that the Supreme Court Is Jeopardizing Federal Climate Action. The article says the court’s decision in West Virginia v. EPA doesn’t go as far as some climate activists feared it might. But it’s a road map for future challenges
The Supreme Court sided with a praying football coach. A reporter for the Indianapolis Star asks, What now for coaches and players?
A home repair company’s mandatory daily Christian prayer sessions for its employees were becoming “less tolerable” for an atheist construction manager who refused to continue attending — resulting in his firing in North Carolina. A law suit resulted. federal officials said in a lawsuit.
Liturgy and the old Latin Mass
Pope Francis urged the Catholic faithful [in June] to stop exploiting the old Latin Mass for ideological reasons and to start discovering the beauty of the new liturgy that grew from the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.
Pope Francis has been criticized from time to time for showing less interest in theology, especially the liturgy, than his Bavarian predecessor, Benedict XVI. But a leading Benedictine liturgist in France says Desiderio desideravi – the latest apostolic letter Francis just published “on the liturgical formation of the People of God” – proves the criticism is unwarranted.
Other news and views
Catholic school teacher: There is space for the Pride flag in Catholic classrooms
The symbolism of the Pride flag can point us toward theological truths about God and humanity.
The Diocese of Albany last week proposed a court-supervised effort to compensate more than 400 victims of sexual abuse who have filed claims. Bankruptcy is possible.
Finally we pause to honor two priests, age 79 and 80, who were shot to death in a small church in Mexico on Monday (July 4), along with a tourist guide they tried to protect from a local criminal boss. Religion News Service reports the two had devoted decades in ministry to the regions.
Support Wisdom Wednesday
We hope you have enjoyed this roundup of recent news about faith, politics, and culture. We will return next week with another edition of Wisdom Wednesday.
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