Wisdom Wednesday | March 29th

AUSCP NewsMarch 29Roundup

What if we gave up nuclear weapons for Lent? Is sexuality a gift or a curse? How do you preach to a “purple congregation?” These are some of the issues selected for this week’s edition of Wisdom Wednesday,

But there’s more!

Franciscan Father Dan Horan, a keynoter at the AUSCP Assembly in Baltimore, has a prominent place this week. Some Baptist pastors (not unlike some Catholic pastors) are struggling with how to lead a “purple parish” that is politically neither blue nor red. Among our news reports: A survey finds that nearly one-quarter of Americans under 30 identify as LGBTQ (23%). German courts drop their sex abuse coverup investigation into Benedict XVI. Ramadan observers try to break their fasts without polluting the world with single-use plastic forks.

And we come back to Dan Horan. How do we depict the Holy Spirit? With a dove? Or a flame” or is she Jazz music? Some ideas to consider when we say, “Come, Holy Spirit.”

On Nonviolence

What if we gave up nuclear weapons for Lent?” That’s a question asked by John Heagle, chair of the AUSCP Gospel Nonviolence Working Group and author of a column recently published by National Catholic Reporter. In our search for wisdom this week, we ponder with John, Is this just an off-the-wall question? Or does it focus our attention on a central issue of our time?

Tom Roberts was NCR editor from 2000 to 2008, NCR executive editor from October 2018 through April 2020, and author of several books. He says US Catholics should heed McElroy’s monumental ask and prioritize nonviolence.

Is sexuality a gift or a curse?

Jesuit Fr. James F. Keenan is Canisius professor at Boston College, where he is vice provost for global engagement and director of the Jesuit Institute. He probes principles of “parvity of matter,” “intrinsic evil” and the “sins against nature.” Read more here.

Transgender health care

Franciscan Father Daniel P. Horan says the recent U.S. bishops’ document against transgender health care is nothing short of a disaster: theologically, scientifically and pastorally. Other voices say the document lacks sound science and trans voices. Adding context to this discussion, Jesuit Father Kevin FitzGerald at Georgetown examined the traditional manner of sex/gender identification at birth.

Current Trends

23% of Americans under 30 identity as LGBTQ. The report from Religion News Service also says half have no religion.

‘Purple church’ pastors are mulling leadership strategies. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina recently held a leadership forum to help pastors figure out how to speak out without alienating half of their members. The report comes from Religion News Service.

German courts drop investigation into Benedict XVI

The public prosecutor’s office in Bavaria has ended its investigation into alleged sex abuse cover-up by the late pope during his time as cardinal-archbishop of Munich.

Osnabrück bishop resigns, to have ‘a liberating effect’

Pope Francis on Saturday accepted a resignation request from a German bishop who asked to step down because of his mistakes in handling sex abuse cases. Franz-Josef Bode, who has been the bishop of Osnabrück, Germany, since 1995, said in a personal statement that his decision to resign “has matured in me in recent months” and he hoped it would have a liberating effect on the diocese.

On the environment

The world thirsts for clean, safe water, reports the youth-oriented service, Decoder

Calls for a ‘green’ Ramadan revive Islam’s long tradition of sustainability. Communal meals to break fast can mean lots of single-use plastics, but mosques are increasingly dispensing of single-use items

Rejecting pie-in-the-sky religiosity

In his Letter from Rome Bob Mickens says, preaching and living an incarnated faith, Pope Francis rejects pie-in-the-sky, ephemeral and “sacral” religiosity that is disconnected from the often messy reality of our lives and our world.


Pew Research confirms what we thought: Slightly lower attendance at worship services.

Tornado cleanup

Faith-based volunteers show up to help after Mississippi tornadoes. Faith-based groups often play a key role in cleaning up after disasters and with long-term rebuilding.

Fighting crime with crucifixes and prayer

Colombia’s chief of police said he and other officers have used exorcism and prayer to tackle crime and the country’s most powerful criminals. Sitting in his office surrounded by crucifixes, effigies of the Virgin Mary and other Catholic symbols, General Henry Sanabria told local media on Saturday that these religious practices have helped the police throughout the last 50 years of armed conflict in the South American country.

Dan Horan on the Holy Spirit

Dan Horan has been writing a series of columns on the Holy Spirit. If you missed them, here are links to two recent offerings.

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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