This week we have collected several topics of AUSCP interest – the death penalty, the climate crisis, church reform, poverty, hunger and racial justice but our initial focus is once again on the Communion conflict. Regarding the Eucharist, we include what we said and what others say about the U.S. bishops who will meet next week. On the international scene, Israel has its first religious-observant prime minister — but don’t expect any kindness toward Palestinians. And we include a quiz: What do you know about Islam and Muslims?
Communion and the U.S. Bishops
In a public statement last week, the AUSCP asked U.S. bishops to follow the pope’s pastoral example regarding the Eucharist and politics. Fr. Peter Daly, a member of the AUSCP, penned a column for National Catholic Reporter, with the headline: Priests’ group objects to ‘camouflaged’ use of Eucharist as a weapon.
Take some time to read more about the conflict:
- The bishops pushing for Communion-denial have a history of opposing Pope Francis’ approach to pastoral life, according to NCR.
- America magazine examines the uniquely American obsession with the politics of Communion.
For more information about the bishops’ Spring assembly, check out the NCR Feature Series.
The central focus of some bishops on abortion is also seen by many as the major issue before the U.S. Supreme Court. Vanity Fair reports that Mitch McConnell has already announced plans to never let Democrats add a justice.
In-depth: Israel, politics and religion
We offer a roundup of news and explainers about the new Prime Minister of Israel
- New Israel government vows change, but not for Palestinians
- What will change under Israel’s new government?
- Who is Naftali Bennett?
With Naftali Bennett, the homeland of the Jewish people is about to see what it’s like having an observant Jewish leader.
The life and thought of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907–1972) exerted a profound impact on the history of American religion and social activism.
The subject of a new PBS documentary, Spiritual Audacity, Heschel offered prophetic insights into the nature of God, the meaning of justice, and the necessity of Jewish-Christian dialogue.
The Issues: Climate Crisis, Church Reform, Racial Justice, and Poverty
Regarding the Climate Crisis, NCR finds a “baffling inconsistency” on President Biden’s decisions on Alaska oil drilling.
NCR also has a Feature Series on climate news.
A German Cardinal’s resignation, refused by the pope, reinvigorates church reform, according to a report from Religion News Service.
We are hearing echoes of Breonna Taylor in the shooting of a Black man in Georgia. The Associated Press reports the story.
President Biden says he supports eliminating the federal death penalty but hasn’t taken any action yet. An effort is now underway to urge Biden to commute the sentences of 46 men on federal death row. You can add your name to a petition.
What fuels poverty? Pope Francis says it is selfishness in his message for the World Day of the Poor.
Pope Francis is also calling for an immediate end to fighting in Tigray. He demands that food aid and health care assistance be guaranteed.
Religion in America
The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) describes its mission as striving to democratize access to the best data on religion. With that in mind, the ARDA has integrated all of its information about American denominations into one web page.
Americans favor legalizing marijuana, but religious Americans are less likely to endorse recreational use, according to two items from Pew Research.
Religion and politics merge again as a Christian group tied to Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett faces a reckoning over sexual misconduct. Read: ‘People of Praise leaders failed me.’
AUSCP Quick Picks
RETURN – Post-COVID Catholics in Los Angeles are going back to church this weekend, according to Religion News Service.
QUIZ – Muslims are the second-largest religious group in the world, and they have a growing presence in the West. Yet surveys indicate that relatively few people in the U.S. or Europe say they have much knowledge about Islam. Here is a quiz to test your knowledge.
WATCH – This week we held an hour-long virtual discussion in preparation for our 2021 Assembly: Where Do We Go From Here.
And as a reminder, you can watch keynote presentations from all of our past assemblies on our Past Assembly Videos page.
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.
Until next week, please follow us on social media with the buttons below to make sure you don’t miss the latest news from the AUSCP!