Wisdom Wednesday | March 17th

AUSCP NewsMarch 17Roundup

Wisdom Wednesday planned to lead off this week with an eighth anniversary look back at the Francis papacy following last week’s look-ahead feature from 2013.

We’ll get to that, but our plans changed Monday with news from multiple sources. We’ll examine those updates first.

The Ever-Evolving Impact of Pope Francis

Headlining this week is a report by the Associated Press that the “Vatican bars gay union blessing, says God ‘can’t bless sin.’”

New Ways Ministry, which describes its mission as “Building Bridges between the LGBT community and the Catholic Church since 1977,” reacted to the Vatican decision:

It is not surprising, but still disappointing, that the Vatican has responded ‘no’ to the dubium about whether the church can bless same-sex unions.”

The statement from New Ways said the decision “is an impotent one because it won’t stop the movement to bless such couples . . . .”

Last week we featured an archival video of Vatican observer Bob Mickens looking ahead to Pope Francis back in 2013. On the pope’s eighth anniversary, Mickens reflected — before the LGBT decision — on “our very human and evangelical pope.” Despite the recent LGBT headline, the article is still well worth a read.

For an even deeper reflection on Pope Francis’ eight-year anniversary, you can tune into the video conference, “The Francis Factor at Eight Years: Global Impacts, U.S. Challenges,’ which will be live-streamed tomorrow (Thursday, March 18) at 12:30 p.m. EDT. Participants will be Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado from the University of Scranton, Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap, archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Peter Turkson, and Catholic News Service reporter Cindy Wooden. John Carr is the moderator. Reservations are required. Link to RSVP: bit.ly/FrancisFactor2021

And finally, from the Vatican, perhaps unnoticed in the crush of other news, is another Francis action moving away from the days before Vatican II, restricting Latin Masses and “private” Masses.

Amazon and Labor Issues

Labor issues have been a concern of the AUSCP since its early days, led by Gene Pocernich, Clete Kiley and others. Recent pro-union comments by President Joe Biden have excited members of the Priest-Labor Initiative, which was formed in 2012 in the early days of the Francis papacy and supported in 2013 by the AUSCP. Biden tweeted his comments in support of workers’ right to organize at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama “and all across America”  —  and posted a short video about the importance of unions in creating the middle class.

Dig deeper into this labor issue with these quick links:

From here and there

CONGRESS – From Religion News Service, the chaplain to the U.S. House of Representatives chastised lawmakers during a prayer last Wednesday (March 10), asking God to “forgive them” for failing to unite around pandemic relief legislation.

WORLD NEWS – Also from RNS, a new report from the United Nations highlights growing Islamophobia and excessive surveillance of Muslims in countries around the world. The United Nations Human Rights Council report is unsparing in its critique that governments around the world, including in the United States and China, should do more to combat Islamophobia.


READ – A Friend of AUSCP, Sister Jane Frances Omlor, has written two books on her experience in religious life. We have added them to our AUSCP Authors page, and invite you to see her books — and the many others by our members and friends.

LEARN –  Here’s a chance to test your wisdom – or at least your knowledge of some central truths and scattered bits of knowledge about religion. Take the Religious Knowledge Quiz, brought to you from Pew Research.

WATCH –  Our featured Assembly presentation this week brings us wisdom from the 2012 AUSCP Assembly in St. Leo, Florida.

If you read only an English translation of the Vatican II document, Presbyterorum Ordinis: Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests, you’ll miss an important distinction, said the theologian, Richard Gaillardetz at the inaugural AUSCP Assembly.

He said the Vatican II discussion for the document began with the word, clericus. Then it was changed to sacerdos, and finally settled on the word, presbyter. The English word priest does not capture the change in emphasis from the cultic sacerdotal to the emphasis on the ministerial role of the presbyter as elder.

Likewise, a change in word order was also significant. The document almost was published as the “Decree on the Life and Ministry of Priests,” but it was ultimately published with emphasis not first on living as a priest but on the ministry, the “doing” of the priest.

Those comments came at the beginning of what he had to say. There is much more. His presentation, “Toward a Post-Conciliar Theology of Priesthood,” is available among videos in the AUSCP archives.

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!


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