Wisdom Wednesday | May 22nd

AUSCP NewsMay 22Roundup

Welcome to Wisdom Wednesday as we approach Assembly 2024 in Lexington, June 24-27. Today’s American Catholic is collaborating with the AUSCP to provide daily reports from the assembly by Michael Centore – helping recap the day for participants and informing friends and members who can’t attend in the flesh.

Can’t join us? Participate from home with a donation to help someone else attend, or buy lunch for one of the invited women for the keynote on Wednesday. Keynotes will be recorded, so videos will be available soon after the assembly. (They are so much better in person!)

See Today’s American Catholic for AUSCP reports and other news.

Assembly-related items

  • Jesuit Father Thomas Reese recently wrote a column about Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the Jesuit scientist who bridged faith and science recounted in a new PBS documentary. It is not surprising that Teilhard, an eminent paleontologist, got himself in trouble with church officials and his Jesuit superiors, says Reese. Reese will give an assembly keynote and the producers of Teilhard will show the documentary and discuss it.
  • Bishop John Stowe of Lexington will lead our Monday, June 24, retreat. Stowe was most recently in a report from Religion News Service, “Catholic diocesan hermit approved by Kentucky bishop comes out as transgender.” Brother Christian Matson is thought to be the first openly transgender person in his position in the Catholic Church.

Homeboy Industries founder honored

City of Los Angeles proclaims May 19 ‘Father Greg Boyle Day.’ The proclamation comes just two weeks after the priest who founded Homeboy Industries received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Joe Biden. Boyle gave a keynote address to the AUSCP Assembly in 2015.

Pope Francis on 60 Minutes

In interview, Pope Francis calls out ‘madness’ of US anti-immigrant policies. The pope also criticized the stance by conservative prelates who are ‘closed up in a dogmatic box.’

Laudato Si’ Week

  • We are at the mid-point of Laudato Si’ Week, which began on Pentecost and continues through Sunday, May 26.
  • Creation Care: Something you can do. Here is a source for weekly tips on actions, some easy, some challenging.

Other faith traditions

  • The Presbyterian Church in America canceled a recently announced panel on helping pastors deal with polarization —you guessed it — saying the topic was too divisive. Instead of the panel—which the PCA referred to as a seminar—the PCA will hold a prayer time at the denomination’s General Assembly, scheduled for June 10-14 in Richmond, Virginia.
  • When a suburban Dallas megachurch commissioned a city-mandated study required to get a new traffic light near the entrance to its parking lot, church leaders encouraged parishioners to sign up for a driving shift during the five-day study in order to pad the numbers. The attempt to deceive is reported by Religion News Service.
  • “Being a global church is really hard work.” That sounds Catholic, but it comes from the Methodists.
  • An Episcopal priest may lose his credentials in the denomination after observing a “Eucharistic fast” in the name of racial justice. His fast, he reportedly said, would last until he saw “clear proof of repentance and amendment of life in the Episcopal Church regarding white supremacy and racial injustice.”

Corporate policy and religion

New report finds ‘surge’ in corporate attention to religious diversity. More than 85% of Fortune 500 companies now include religion in their commitment to diversity, according to the Religious Freedom and Business Foundation.


  • The State of Israel wants you to think it’s a democracy. But the people it has oppressed for 75 years tell a different story. On Wednesday (May 15), Palestinians in the occupied territories and East Jerusalem cautiously observed the 76th annual March of Return to commemorate the Nakba — an Arabic word for “catastrophe” that alludes to their mass displacement by Israeli governments since before the state’s founding in 1948.
  • War crimes on both sides in Gaza. The International Criminal Court Prosecutor Requests Warrants for Netanyahu and Hamas Leaders. While the request must be approved by the court’s judges, the announcement is a blow to Mr. Netanyahu and will likely fuel international criticism of Israel’s war strategy in Gaza.
  • Some 1,200 Jewish university professors have signed a statement rejecting a controversial antisemitism definition that the US Senate is considering codifying in federal law. The Statement from Concerned Jewish Faculty Against Antisemitism was delivered to key congressional leaders on Tuesday, including Senate Democrats, members of the House Committee on Education, and the Workforce as well as Biden’s White House Liaison to the American Jewish community.


Weeping Madonnas, bleeding hosts and saintly apparitions will have to be approved by the Vatican’s doctrinal office, according to a new document issued by the same office on Friday (May 17). Once left only to local bishops, the Vatican doctrinal office will now have the ultimate say on apparitions, miracles and the supernatural.

Religion in Cuba

The 1959 Castro-led revolution installed an atheist, Communist government that sought to replace the Catholic Church as the guiding force in the lives of Cubans. But 65 years later, religion seems omnipresent in Cuba, in dazzling diversity. The bells toll on Catholic churches and the call to prayer summons Muslims in Havana. Buddhists chant mantras as they gather at a jazz musician’s home. Jews savor rice, beans and other Cuban staples for Sabbath dinner. Santeria devotees dance and slap drums in a museum filled with statues, paying homage to their Afro-Cuban deities.


OPINION: That commencement speech

  • Nuns at Benedictine College respond to Harrison Butker’s controversial speech. The sisters of Mount St. Scholastica weren’t fond of the Kansas City Chiefs player’s comments about women’s role in the home.
  • Harrison Butker’s commencement speech almost made a good point, says a writer for Religion News Service. Harrison Butker can tell something is off about how we think about work. He just thinks it’s all women’s fault.”

Another opinion:

  • Why the speech by Kansas City Chiefs kicker was embraced at Benedictine College’s commencement. The fast-growing college is part of a constellation of conservative Catholic colleges that tout their adherence to church teachings and practice — part of a larger conservative movement in parts of the U.S. Catholic Church.
  • What the kicker said: Chiefs kicker Butker congratulates women graduates and says most are more excited about motherhood. The three-time Super Bowl champion delivered the roughly 20-minute address Saturday at the Catholic private liberal arts school in Atchison, Kansas.
  • No, Harrison Butker, men alone do not set the tone. Commentary from U.S.Catholic. The Catholic Church is stronger and more vibrant thanks to women’s diverse contributions—in the home, in religious life, and in the workplace.


Joe Biden has launched one of his most scathing attacks yet on Donald Trump’s record of racism, suggesting that the former US president would have acted differently to the January 6 2021 insurrection if was led by Black people.

COMMENTARY: Michael Sean Winters

Those, today, who breezily invoke “the Judeo-Christian tradition,” as if it was a univocal thing, misunderstand their history (and likely their theology). America was not “a Christian nation” in any meaningful sense of the word, but it was very much a nation of Christians. Religion was in the air people breathed. Its effects on the culture were multifaceted

A World without Nuclear Weapons

As a follow-up to its January virtual forum “Building a World Without Nuclear Weapons: An Urgent Imperative,” with Archbishop John Wester, Marie Dennis, and Dr. Ira Helfand, Pax Christi MA is co-sponsoring a webinar presented by Back from the Brink. It will be a conversation with Annie Jacobsen, investigative journalist and New York Times bestselling author on Wednesday, May 29 at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT. In her latest book, Jacobsen examines the reality of what would unfold in the seconds, minutes, and hours following the launch of a nuclear attack against the United States and the full scale nuclear war that would likely follow. View the January forum HERE and REGISTER HERE for the May 29 program.

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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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