Wisdom Wednesday | June 7th

AUSCP NewsJune 7Roundup

Wisdom Wednesday begins with scanning recent news to learn what people are talking about. And not talking about. Some surprises: Oklahoma Catholics plan to open a public school that will teach religion; a Utah school district bans the Bible for younger students – not because it is religious but because it is vulgar and violent. We’ll end with a big “oops” – proving that even the Vatican can make a graphic mistake.

U.S. Bishops and Synodality

‘Astonishing’ is the headline in National Catholic Reporter, upon noting that the upcoming US bishops’ assembly won’t discuss Pope Francis’ ongoing synod. We at the AUSCP are happy to discuss synodality, and we begin with a direct quotation from Pope Francis, as reported by Cindy Wooden, describing “a synodal church.”

Every baptized person is called to actively participate in the life and in the mission of the church, starting from the specifics of one’s own vocation, in relationship with others and with the charisms given by the Spirit for the good of all. We need Christian communities in which space is enlarged, where everyone can feel at home, where pastoral structures and means foster not the creation of small groups, but the joy of being and feeling co-responsible.”

Wooden’s article, published by NCR Online, says the release of the working document for the Synod of Bishops on synodality is expected sometime in early June.

When the U.S. Catholic bishops gather for their spring plenary assembly in Orlando, Florida, June 14-16, the prelates will hear updates on their three-year initiative to revive Americans’ interest in attending Mass each week. They will also discuss possible updates to the ethical guidelines for Catholic health care institutions. What the bishops apparently will not hear are any briefings about recent developments or upcoming milestones related to Pope Francis’ ongoing process for the 2021-2024 Synod.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis was admitted to the Gemelli Hospital in Rome on Tuesday, June 6, for a medical check-up, and released after a few hours, according to the Italian news agency Ansa. If you are counting cardinal electors, La Croix International notes Francis has now appointed two-thirds of them. Meanwhile, the pope continues his travel plans – a first papal trip to the predominantly Buddhist East Asian country of Mongolia.

Papal perspective

Two writers who have been AUSCP keynoters provide papal perspective. Massimo Faggioli (who returns to the AUSCP next week) examines a new phase in the “political papacy” of Pope Francis. Bob Mickens notes that Pope John XXIII died 60 years ago (June3), and asks, What has happened to the Church he left behind?

Tridentine Tradition

A record 16,000 people turned out for an annual three-day pilgrimage of traditional Catholics, from Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris to Notre-Dame Cathedral in Chartres. A small group of French Catholics may like the pre-Vatican II liturgy but a writer for La Croix International concludes that “The Old Latin Mass won’t save the Church.

School news

Oklahoma will see the opening of a Catholic public school (the first explicitly religious public school in the U.S. in modern times, experts say), and a Utah school district has banned the Bible from elementary and middle school libraries – because of its vulgarity and violence. Meanwhile, the removal of four teachers at a New Hampshire Catholic school has pushed the community into an LGBTQ culture war.

Setting the record straight

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago has responded to the Illinois Attorney General, regarding clerical sex abuse in Illinois.

California vs Florida

Gov. Gavin Newsom took his feud with Gov. Ron DeSantis to new heights on Monday, seemingly threatening him with kidnapping charges after California officials say South American migrants were sent to Sacramento by the state of Florida as a political stunt.

Draining the pool

An employee at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence drained the resort’s swimming pool last October and ended up flooding a room where computer servers containing surveillance video logs were kept, sources familiar with the matter told CNN. While it’s unclear if the room was intentionally flooded or if it happened by mistake, the incident occurred amid a series of events that federal prosecutors found suspicious.

Election 2024

Given how close the 2020 presidential election between Joe Biden and Donald Trump was, the Democratic Party needs to be very disciplined, says Michael Sean Winters. There is no room for unserious challengers to Biden’s renomination.

Remember the QAnon shaman? He’s back

A report from Religion News Service:

At first, the crowd seemed almost euphoric. Gathered in an event space rented for the occasion in Scottsdale, Arizona, they erupted as Jacob Chansley, aka Jake Angeli or the “QAnon shaman,” was introduced, according to a video recording posted online Tuesday (May 30). It was the beginning of a “welcome home” for Angeli, 35, a Phoenix resident best known for darting through the halls of the U.S. Capitol in horns and face paint during the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, and occasionally roaring.

The far right, from Coy to Goy

Mosaic Magazine examines how How America’s far right found its anti-Semitic voice and figured out its true identity.

Also in the news

The trial of the man charged in the deadliest antisemitic attack in U.S. history opened Tuesday with his own lawyer acknowledging that he planned and carried out the 2018 massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue and made hateful statements about Jewish people. Robert Bowers went to Tree of Life synagogue and “shot every person he saw,” defense attorney Judy Clarke acknowledged in her opening statement. Bowers could face the death penalty. The story from Christian Science Monitor.

The new Capital Jewish Museum in Washington, D.C., will house a collection — rooted in the archive of the former Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington — of more than 24,000 photographs and more has the report.

Surviving racism

In July 2021, Black Catholic Messenger published a story on the situation of Ashley Paul, then a rising junior at St. Mary’s High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. An African American of Haitian descent, Paul had faced racist taunting at her small Catholic school, including being called an anti-Black racial slur. She faced an uphill battle in convincing administrators and diocesan officials of the need for change. Now, as a 2023 graduate of the school, she returns to share with Nate Tinner-Williams her continued struggle with St. Mary’s and with her Catholic faith.

Radio host Ramsey being sued

A group of former followers of Dave Ramsey has sued the Christian finance guru and radio host, along with his company and a marketing firm, for endorsing a failed timeshare exit company that allegedly defrauded customers out of millions.

To lead Vatican supreme court

Pope Francis has named U.S. Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, to be the next president of the supreme court of Vatican City State.

Tina Turner, a Buddhist

When Tina Turner, often dubbed the “Queen of Rock ‘N’ Roll,” died at her home in Küsnacht, Switzerland, on May 24, 2023, at the age of 83, media headlines praised both her dynamism and her career. Religion News Service reports what many did not know is that for the past 50 years Turner had practiced Soka Gakkai International Nichiren Buddhism.

Spider-Man – A rave review

An exciting new Black superhero film pushes boundaries in animation and provides thrills for all levels of comic book lovers.

Prison’s impact on family

The Christian Science Monitor examines the impact on the families of women in prison.

Ms. Martinez’s five children, including three aged 13, 10, and 6, last month traveled for three hours from Chicago to visit her in Logan Correctional, Illinois’ largest state prison for women and transgender people, on the Reunification Ride. The donation-dependent initiative buses prisoners’ family members 180 miles from the city to Logan every month so they can spend time with their mothers and grandmothers.”

On corporate sustainability

The European Laudato Si’ Alliance – and Pax Christi International have issued a statement in support of the European Parliament’s adoption of the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive. They hope that the proposed text will be strengthened in the course of the inter-institutional dialogue due to start next week.

Faith, science and the abortion debate

Do abortion rights advocates follow the facts, wherever they lead? An exploration of ideas and beliefs, from Religion News Service, beginning with the point of view of Galileo.

Guess what we have too much of

Three years ago, the FDA declared a manufacturing free-for-all, to produce pandemic hand sanitizer. Now a noxious brew of leftover product is catching fire and making people sick, according to WIRED Magazine.


The flag of Vatican City, yellow and white with crossed keys under the papal tiara, is incorrect in many emojis, flying outside the United Nations and often even on Vatican buildings.

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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