Wisdom Wednesday pours out plenty to ponder – including rumors of papal retirement, a plea to stop wasting food, the spiritual benefit of yoga, and the three faces of women on American coins. But we begin with an invitation to take some time to observe Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
Were there Black Catholic martyrs in eighteenth century New York? They are not yet acclaimed by the Catholic Church, but Black slaves were murdered – not because they were rebellious but because they were Catholic. Nate Tinner-Williams, co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger, examines the details.
Speaking of saints, a new trailer has been released for an upcoming documentary on the pioneering Black Catholic religious sister Servant of God Thea Bowman, due to air on ABC this Fall. Here is the 7-minute montage.
The AUSCP Assembly is promising quite an experience for participants. Here is an overview of the activities in Baltimore.
If you can’t be there, you may want to check into the online publication, Today’s American Catholic. Editor Michael Centore plans to cover our assembly and provide reports to his readers and followers.
Dennis Sadowski, a writer for Catholic News Service, plans to attend a portion of the AUSCP Assembly – making matters doubly saddening because the U.S. bishops have decided to shut down CNS domestic reporting. The AUSCP has pleaded for reversal of that decision and NCR reports that ideological and evangelical outlets stand to fill the void. Jesuit Father Thomas Reese concludes that there was a conflict of interest involved in that decision. “What the bishops seem to be doing is bringing lobbyists into the room and calling them consultants,”he said, adding that it would be preferable to have independent experts consult the bishops on matters pertaining to media and journalism.
Southern Baptist Convention
It’s a tough week for Southern Baptists, meeting for their annual convention, amid reports of abuse and division. Here is a backgrounder — published prior to the meeting, and here is a link to the Tennessean newspaper in Nashville covering the SBC.
- Is it “he” or “she” or “they” or ??
Religion News Service reports that conservative rabbis have approved new language for nonbinary Jews. Calling people up to the Torah by name is a long-standing Saturday morning practice. Now the Conservative movement has formalized a series of Hebrew terms service leaders can use to call nonbinary people to Torah honors. Instead of “son of” or “daughter of,” it could be “from the house of.”
- Quite the extreme in the gender opinion war, a Texas Baptist pastor says gay people should be “shot in the back of the head.” Local police say the pastor has “free speech” rights.
- At a time when transgender and nonbinary Americans are gaining visibility in the media and among the public, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that 1.6% of U.S. adults are transgender or nonbinary – that is, their gender differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.
- At Seattle Pacific University, a Christian University, students have spent weeks fighting anti-gay policies they say are common among Christian schools.
Faith, hope and insurrection
• If you have been watching the 1/6 hearings, you haven’t been watching EWTN. National Catholic Reporter sets out the view that EWTN failed its viewers by not airing testimony about Jan. 6 attack.
• America Magazine examines what the Jan. 6 hearings could mean for the 2024 election—and the future of democracy
• Roger Stone and Michael Flynn are under fire over rallies ‘distorting Christianity.’ The report comes from the Guardian, that prominent Christian leaders accuse Trump allies of spreading misinformation about 2020 election and Covid, while distorting Christian teachings at ReAwaken America events.
Pope Francis and retirement rumors
• Some say the rumors about Pope Francis retiring are “cheap soap opera.”
• The rumors, of course, spread after Pope Francis cancelled his planned South Sudan visit due to health problems. In the Tablet, Christopher Lamb says this is likely to fuel speculation about the future of the Francis pontificate.
• Here’s a video report about the pope’s health.
• Meanwhile, Pope Francis has asked for forgiveness from a group of UK and Irish sex abuse survivors during what has been described as an emotional meeting in the Vatican’s apostolic palace. The group, who met with Francis on 13 June, all attended schools run by the Comboni Missionaries. The 13 June meeting is the first one between this Pope and a group of UK and Irish abuse victims.
Moral issues in the news
- While millions of people suffer from hunger, every day across the world food is wasted at all points along the production chain, from farm to plate. The measures now on the table in Spain are one way to tackle this global problem. But there are also many other approaches governments, organizations and individuals are taking to reduce food waste.
- Portugal’s parliament approved an assisted dying bill on 9 May, prompting criticism from an inter-faith group on health issues.
U.S.Catholic features an article, “How yoga enriches my spiritual life.” The writer says the practice of yoga can strengthen the spirit as well as the body.
Faces on a quarter (but not on a Twenty)
A new U.S. quarter honors Cherokee leader Wilma Mankiller. As part of the American Women Quarters Program, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation will be featured on the U.S. quarter, joining astronaut Sally Ride and poet Maya Angelou. Where’s Harriet?
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