Wisdom Wednesday | June 5th

AUSCP NewsJune 5RoundupWisdom Wednesdays

The famous quotation from Thomas Paine in 1776, “These are the times that try men’s souls,” is followed by the revolutionary statement, “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

In today’s Church and society, these are times of tensions and hopes. It is in a headline for an opinion piece from Michael Sean Winters: “Synthesis for the synod captures tensions, hopes of US church.” Tension, and hopes, are daily present in this election year.

Welcome to another Wednesday of seeking Wisdom. Please don’t go looking for wisdom from “Father Justin,” an Artificial Intelligence 3D avatar “priest” who has since been “laicized” after offering sacramental confession. Before that story, the Synod.

The Synod

  • From National Catholic Reporter, Michael Sean Winters writes, “It is clear that the synodal process is the most, perhaps the only, viable model for ecclesial governance that seeks to overcome this highly polarized moment in the life of both the nation and the church.
  • Catholic women remain hopeful in the synod despite challenges,” according to an item from Religion News Service. Despite the number of women involved in the latest Synod on Synodality, in a recent survey of women who attended the synod, 67% said they ‘encountered obstacles during the process.’
  • “We need leaders now with personality profiles equal to the human needs before us,” says Joan Chittester for National Catholic Reporter. “Otherwise we run the risk of filling political seats with representatives more interested in maintaining their political pensions than in the kind of political vision we need so deeply right now.”
  • Is there tension in our Church? Another commentary by NCR’s Michael Sean Winters is headlined, “Pope’s comments on blessing same-sex couples and gay men in seminaries are not as shocking as some think.”

Artificial Intelligence

  • Catholic Answers — a popular apologetics website —debuted an AI bot named Father Justin, who was trained on Catholic doctrine data to answer questions such as the difference between mortal and venial sin. But when he claimed ordination and could witness a sacramental marriage and grant sacramental absolution, the response of physical and spiritual revulsion was swift among both progressive and conservative Catholics — a rare moment of unity. From the Christian Century, “There’s some hope in that reaction.”
  • Ads for AI sermon assistance appear unbidden in my inbox every couple of weeks, says a columnist for the Christian Century. “One company reminds me of the difficulty of the preaching task, how sermon preparation exacts hours from the preacher’s workweek. I asked ChatGPT for a sermon. What it wrote seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere.”

The Hispanic dilemma

The Hispanic Catholic population is growing rapidly in the United States. But it is happening at the exact time that churches are closing and vocations are dwindling. To further complicate matters, “[m]illions of young Hispanics have simply stopped self-identifying as Catholic,” Hosffman Ospino writes in this week’s Cover Story for America Magazine.

The arts

  • In “Bad Faith: Christian Nationalism’s Unholy War on Democracy,” filmmakers Stephen Ujlaki and Chris Jones trace the origins of Christian nationalism from the Ku Klux Klan in the 19th century through the creation of the Moral Majority, the sudden rise of the tea party and the election of Donald Trump. What they uncover is an essential aspect of our current political situation, one that puts evangelical Christianity in new light.
  • The Chosen’ announces release of Season Four, parts ways with Angel Studios Series creator Dallas Jenkins told RNS The Chosen LLC and Angel Studios had ‘different ideas of how to interpret both the contract and what’s going to sustain us in our future.’
  • “It leaves you without any spiritual solace,” said the author of the forthcoming book “A Well-Trained Wife: My Escape From Christian Patriarchy.” “You don’t know where to turn for any kind of safe spirituality because the Divine was used … as the justification for why you were being hurt.”

Christian Nationalism

  • In an interview with RNS last February, [Pastor Doug] Wilson imagined a global order of Christian nations that would exclude any self-described Christian nation that allowed for same-sex marriage or abortion access, saying a “liberal Methodist” nation would be “out” and people who embraced “some total loopy-heresy” would be barred from holding public office.
    “This is a Christian republic, and … you’re not singing off the same sheet of music that we are,” he told RNS at the time. “So, no, you can’t be the mayor.”
  • [Last week], the Louisiana Legislature passed a bill requiring the Ten Commandments to be posted in every public and charter school classroom in the state. Once signed, as expected, by Republican Gov. Jeff Landry, the statute will, of course, be challenged in court.

Pride Month

From RNS: Why faith communities are mobilizing against hate during Pride Month. While 2023 witnessed a frightening surge in hate, we know 2024 sadly has the potential to be even more alarming.

IVF: Baptists and Catholic teaching agree

Southern Baptist ethics committee says IVF is immoral, tells Christians to oppose it. Echoing Catholic teaching, ERLC President Brent Leatherwood says the procedure causes moral harm and separates procreation from sex.

ELECTION SECTION: Your Conscience, Your Vote

Mexican election

Mosaic, a partisan online magazine, notes that “In the recent elections, Mexicans chose Claudia Sheinbaum as their next president—making her, as news outlets have noted, both the country’s first female head of state and its first Jewish one. Yet Sheinbaum . . . prefers to describe herself . . . , as having ‘Jewish origins’ . . . . ”

Little Rock Scripture Study

AUSCP friend, Rpbert Stewart, recommends these videos are from Liturgical Press — Little Rock Scripture Study (LRSS).


Wisdom Wednesday collects news reports, opinions, columns and commentaries on current events and issues of religion and contemporary society – with no endorsement by the AUSCP of any view expressed. We adopt the “See-Judge-Act” methodology championed by Cardinal Josef Cardijn and present only the “See” portion. The rest is up to you.

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