Topics this week include gun violence (of course) but also witchcraft, the first female rabbi, a good thing about the pandemic, the Black nun who was told to pass for White, and how heresy hunting may have halted. And, oh yes, God Save the Queen (and other women in religious leadership)!
At a Friday morning prayer service (June 3), stunned and shattered worshippers gathered to weep, pray, sing and mourn two young women killed at Cornerstone Church in Ames, Iowa, home to Iowa State University.
You are invited to urgent online dialogue today, “After Buffalo, After Uvalde, After Tulsa: Broken Hearts, Broken Nation, Faithful Action,” presented by the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University. It’s this afternoon (June 8) at 12:30 p.m. EDT. More information, RSVP required.
Has heresy hunting been halted?
At NCR, Writer Austen Ivereigh finds the central message of Francis’s curia reform:
The point is to allow a church in which leadership is tied to charisms and ministries, rather than bound up with the clerical state and ecclesiastical careerism.” Pope Francis’ reforms make the heresy-hunting Vatican of John Paul II barely recognizable.
Women as faith leaders
- While “Defender of the Faith” has been, over the years, the queen’s inherited title and little more, Elizabeth II embraced it and made it her own. That view is reported by Catherine Pepinster from Religion News Service.
- Shortage of priests presents ‘great challenges’ in Ireland says Archbishop DermotFarrell as he announced that he is “putting in place formation programmes to support those who are willing to undertake leadership and ministry in new ways, working alongside our priests and deacons in the pastoral leadership of our parishes.”
- The ordination of the first female rabbi 50 years ago has brought many changes – and some challenges, says Carole B. Balin, also for RNS. Rabbi Sally J. Priesand’s ordination by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion opened the doors to hundreds of women becoming rabbis.
- Sister Sandra Smithson, SSSF, a pioneering Black religious sister known for her outsize influence on education and social issues in her hometown of Nashville,passed away there on May 13th at the age of 96. At times, reportedly her superiors ordered her to pass for White.
- Witches? Or spiritual coaches? Erica Carrico suspects that if she’d lived 400 years ago, she would have been accused of witchcraft. “Women who were healers, who were connected to the moon cycle and nature, they were considered witches.” The writer is Molly Worthen in a New York Times guest essay.
- “The witch embodies woman free of all domination, all limitation,” French journalist Mona Chollet writes, quoted in a surprising article.
It is this legacy of independence and social defiance that sits at the heart of modern witchcraft and led to its rebirth into a modern, and increasingly popular, alternative religion.
- The role and visibility of chaplains have changed during the years of the pandemic. Here are chaplains today, studied in historic context, from Religion News Service.
- Good result from bad situation? More than four-in-ten teens report feeling closer to their parents or guardians since the start of the pandemic, according to Pew Research.
Speaking of polls . . .
There is confusion about a new poll, finding that most U.S. Catholics disagree with church leaders on abortion and L.G.B.T. issues. An article in America Magazine suggests that is “probably not confusion but indifference to, and even defiance of, church teaching.”
Also in the news . . .
- Faith leaders and labor advocates are pushing for a White House meeting on poverty.
- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, announcing a new global religious freedom report, said many governments are continuing to disregard the rights and the faiths of their citizens.
- A Mexican megachurch leader pleads guilty in LA to sex abuse
- Moral theologian and mother of five Lisa Sowle Cahill says there is “a gap between received church teaching and the experiences of families.” She was interviewed by Gerard O’Connell.
- Canada is expanding assisted suicide. Writer Theodore Dalrymple asks if it will be voluntary? Or compulsory?
And the last word: Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the researchers who keep trying to give us a longer weekend, writes Christine Hauser. A six-month program that began in the UK on Monday will test the effects of the four-day workweek on thousands of workers across 70 companies.
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