Welcome to Wisdom Wednesday, where we find a lot of searching for the meaning of recent events, a kind of a pause to say, “Hey, what is going on?!”
What is the impact of the E. Jean Carroll verdict. What do Americans think about NATO and Ukraine? Russia? China? A hint: the vast majority of Americans have unfavorable views of Russia (91%) and China (83%).
Looking back to 2021. That year included record numbers of both gun murders and gun suicides. Looking back 150 years more into the past, how an image of a dark-skinned Jesus impacted the slave trade in New England. How about the new interest in a thousand-year-old pilgrimage?
Why is there a wave of transgender bills? How could a “goddess” murder her “zombie” children? And evolution! In the courthouse and in our DNA.
Impact of the Carroll verdict
The Christian Science Monitor suggests the law and courts have evolved in recent years to make it less difficult – still not easy – for women to tell their stories of assault and be believed. And in a story following the comments by Donald Trump at a Town Hall, MSNBC reports Carroll may have a new lawsuit “on the table’”
Pew Research finds that Americans hold positive feelings toward NATO and Ukraine, and that they see Russia as an enemy – while the GOP seems to want less overseas attention.
Pew Research finds multiple ways Asians in the U.S. personally describe their own identities. Some choose to identify with their ethnic origins such as Filipino or Korean or Chinese, some with the pan-ethnic label Asian. Even so, there are strong connections among Asians from some 20 countries of origin.
Native American personhood
A Ponca tribe chief whose landmark lawsuit in 1879 established that a Native American is a person under the law was honored recently with the unveiling of a U.S. Postal Service stamp that features his portrait.
More Americans died of gun-related injuries in 2021 than in any other year on record, according to the latest available statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That included record numbers of both gun murders and gun suicides.
Fearing new violence
Meanwhile, the Guardian fears that Republican and rightwing rhetoric over the state of crime in the US could spark a rise in violent incidents and worsen the country’s mass incarceration problem, experts say, as “tough-on-crime” political ads and messaging seem set to play a large role in the 2024 election.
How is it that guns have become more important in this society than peace, justice, equality and life? Joan Chittester offers her view.
Gender, the GOP and Catholics
Faith leaders are divided as a wave of anti-transgender bills surges through Republican-led states. From the Associated Press.
A Catholic response to those experiencing gender dysphoria “must both affirm God-given sex and recognize the struggle of the person in front of us,” Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City said in a new pastoral letter.
In Turkey, the February earthquake killed 50,000 people and devastated Christian cultural heritage. From La Croix International.
Bizarre news and unbelievable comments
- Idaho mother Lori Vallow Daybell was convicted last Friday in the murders of her two youngest children and a romantic rival, a verdict that culminates a three-year investigation that included bizarre claims that her son and daughter were zombies and she was a goddess sent to usher in the Biblical apocalypse.
- A ‘profoundly ignorant man,’ from The Guardian.
- Strickland: Pope undermines faith
Evolution: It’s child’s play
The magazine, WIRED, reports on the first large-scale comparison of DNA mutations, searching for how life evolves. It’s a little like the children’s game, Telephone. A whispered phrase like “I ate a pear” can quickly become “I hate bears” as it moves down a line of players. As genes are passed down from parents to offspring, they too can gradually be transformed by small copying errors, sometimes leading to new, useful traits.
Toddlers, a mini-wedding expense
Another form of games for children: a Toddler’s Party on a $75,000 Budget. The New York Times reports – if you subscribe or can get past the pay wall — that children’s birthday celebrations have spiraled into mini-weddings.
Not WWJD, what has he done
An AP story finds a nearly 150-year-old stained-glass church window that depicts a dark-skinned Jesus Christ interacting with women in New Testament – and how the scenes stirred up questions about race, Rhode Island’s role in the slave trade and the place of women in 19th century New England society.
Walking the Camino
The Camino de Santiago has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years. Just last week, Emilio Estevez’s fellow Brat Packer-turned-backpacker Andrew McCarthy released his own memoir. A film returned to theatres, but it was played last night only. A Vatican report says a new film is available.
Highjacked by the Holy Spirit
A new film, “Santiago: The Camino Within“, was released on 28 March 2023. As the director explains, it aims to inspire people to break free from the noise of daily life and to embrace evangelization on a life-changing pilgrimage.
A plug for our Assembly
The Catholic Church is only just emerging from almost 500 years of the stability that followed the Council of Trent. To appreciate them, today’s Catholics need a well-informed sense of history and that is where the work of Massimo Faggioli is invaluable. He is a keynoter at our June 12-15 Assembly in San Diego. The celebrated La Croix International columnist brings his learning to contemporary issues facing the Church and explains how the Franciscan reforms are changing the Catholic Church.
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