Wisdom Wednesday | March 30th

This week, we are praying for Ukraine, the synod is hearing “from the margins” – at least in some American dioceses, grant money is on the way for Catholic thought at a few secular universities, the Vatican is trying to teach American prelates the meaning of “pro-life” and a new non-denominational church is promoting the “Mothers of faith.” American Jews oppose year-round Daylight Saving Time. A Nebraska lawmaker takes back his words about schools with litter boxes for students who identify as cats. We have a collection of articles from far and wide – health news, some LGBTQ developments, and a report on a $100 million dollar campaign underway to promote a story about a homeless, bullied child of a teenage mother. (Hint: it’s Jesus.)

But first, it is time to celebrate: Sister Thea Bowman Week is underway. Tonight (Wednesday) the Sister Thea Bowman Center in La Crosse will be dedicated and live streamed.

On a related note, a new Catholic pilgrimage series will focus on racial justice in Memphis, Louisville, and the Twin Cities. “Walking Together” is a motif drawn from the words of Sister Thea Bowman.

Coming up soon, a gala supporting the sainthood cause of Venerable Augustus Tolton, the first openly Black priest in US history, has been scheduled for April 2nd in New Iberia, Louisiana.

Ukraine

Pope Francis prayed for peace in Ukraine in a ceremony Friday that harked back to the purported 1917 visions of the Virgin Mary to three peasant children in Fatima.

Is It ‘Christian’ for Europe to Welcome Refugees from Ukraine but Not Syria? Middle Eastern and European evangelicals assess the vastly different continental response and the Bible’s teachings toward the stranger.

You are invited to a webinar from Georgetown University on the War in Ukraine: Human Agony, Global Crisis, Moral Principles. RSVP is required.

LGBTQ

Advocates are alarmed that Republican lawmakers across the U.S. have introduced a record number of bills and regulations purporting to shield young Americans from what they see as undue pressure to identify as gay, lesbian, nonbinary or transgender, or accept those who do.

Cardinal George Pell has called for the Vatican’s doctrine office to intervene and reprimand two leading European Catholic churchmen who called for changes in Catholic teaching on sexuality and homosexuality.

It’s embarrassing to report this: A Nebraska state lawmaker apologized saying that schools are placing litter boxes in school bathrooms to accommodate children who self-identify as cats.

Sex abuse and coverup

The former bishop of Albany has acknowledged covering up allegations of sexual abuse against children by priests in part to avoid scandal and protect the reputation of the diocese. Documentation was made public last Friday.

Supreme Court okays hands-on prayer at execution

WASHINGTON, March 24 (Reuters) – Texas must grant a convicted murderer on death row his request to have his Christian pastor lay hands on him and audibly pray during his execution, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, bolstering the religious rights of condemned inmates.

Canadian indigenous hope for reconciliation

Following their meeting with Pope Francis on Monday morning, the representatives of two delegations of Canadian indigenous peoples recount their experiences and hopes on the journey to reconciliation.

The Synod

Who is hearing the “excluded” voices? Voices from the margins? Efforts are being made in at least five dioceses, according to a report from NCR.

Are you looking to do more for synodality? We once again offer this video, presented by AUSCP and the Catholic Committee of the South, as an aid to facilitating synodal sessions.

Gross Domestic Product: Bad news for the climate

Love of economic growth can hinder climate action: Growing the world’s GDP every year is like a car with only a speedometer, with no way to know how much fuel is left. “No one has yet come up with filling stations for planets.”

The time is not right for prayer

American Jews say they were blindsided by the U.S. Senate’s lightning-fast passage of a bill to make daylight saving time year-round and intend to fight it.

The Sunshine Protection Act, which passed the Senate on March 15, will make it nearly impossible for Jews to pray communally in the morning, Jewish advocates say, and still get to work or school on time during the winter months.

The Pandemic: Where are the worshippers?

Churches and other houses of worship increasingly are holding services the way they did before the outbreak began, but the Pew Research Center finds no corresponding increase in attendance.

New ideas

The Lumen Christi Institute announced it had been awarded $3.6 million from the John Templeton Foundation to support a new three-year project that would create a national network of independent institutes of Catholic thought at U.S. universities.

A new non-denominational church seeks to help women find “the mothers of their faith.”

Pro-life according to Pope Francis

Vincenzo Paglia, who heads the Vatican’s think tank on life issues, arrived in New York Monday (March 28) hoping to disarm Americans’ deep divisions on what it means to be pro-life in the Catholic Church today.

Some health news

Religion News Service finds an artificial and ridiculous barrier between faith and health care, and Jesuit Tom Reese said Church law has not kept up with how humans die these days (even, some day, the pope).

Finally, it’s about Jesus

A $100 million media campaign is attempting to attract people who are skeptical about Christianity but may relate to Jesus by highlighting his upbringing as a homeless, bullied son of a teenage mother.

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