Wisdom Wednesday | May 29th

AUSCP NewsMay 29RoundupWisdom Wednesdays

Our banquet table is groaning with tasty offerings this week for Wisdom Wednesday. : “Given the sociopolitical culture of the time, perhaps it was pragmatic of God to come as a man, but the message of the incarnation would remain the same if God’s daughter had been born in Bethlehem.”

Tart and sour flavors: the pope says “No” to women deacons. Is that his final answer? Other tastings include “a religion of whiteness” and “The rise of the Catholic bully.” (Opinions are held by writers and publishers; selection for inclusion does not indicate endorsement.)

We have a lot to digest today. And speaking of food, about 40 volunteer women from the Lexington Diocese will be our guests at the AUSCP Assembly for lunch on June 26. Your $30 donation will cover the cost for one woman. Interested?

Pope Francis has celebrated the first World Children’s Day with children from Ukraine and Gaza: “Children missing limbs sit calmly before the Pope, happy for once to be in a place where they can marvel at a beautiful building rather than live in fear of bombs.”

Do we have the tunic of St. Peter? Carbon dating says no. Of St Francis? Yes, part of it.

A Flannery O’Connor biopic, “Wildcat,” is now playing. Says the director: “It’s a difficult subject matter for a lot of people. They don’t know what to make out of it.”

Pope Francis says no to women deacons in ‘60 Minutes’ interview, in case you missed it. Questions are rising about how the pope’s comment fits into synodality. Stay tuned in coming days and weeks for more discussion.


Ethan Hawke knows “Wildcat,” his film about the life and imagination of Southern writer Flannery O’Connor, which was released on Friday, May 3, is unlikely to attract general audiences. “It’s a difficult subject matter for a lot of people. They don’t know what to make out of it,” he said in a Q&A with media on Tuesday, April 30. We offer a report from Today’s Catholic and a slightly edited transcription.


The documentary, Teilhard: Visionary Scientist can be seen at any time HERE. Assembly participants will be able to view and discuss Teilhard with the producers.

First World Children’s Day

‘Do not cast me off in my old age’ 

In his message for the Fourth World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which will take place on 28 July 2024, Pope Francis recognizes the situation of many elderly people today, and assures them: “God never abandons His children, never.”


  • Is anything too extreme for contemporary politics? A writer for Atlantic Magazine explores the candidacy of Mark Robinson.
  • Do you need a reputable source of news about Trump on trial? The Associated Press is one such source.

Two-thirds of Baltimore’s Black Catholic parishes to close 

Thirty churches will shutter in the newly finalized plan, released on May 22 and sparking varied reactions from African Americans.


  • Waves of refugees flee Rafah, according to the Vatican. Reports from Rafah in southern Gaza say that Israeli forces have reached the center of the beleaguered city. There has been no sign of a let-up in Israel’s military campaign. In fact, in the last few days, it has intensified its operations and now tanks are reportedly near the city centre.
  • When three European countries formally recognize Palestinian statehood next week, little will change on the ground in Gaza. But for the governments of Ireland, Norway, and Spain, that’s not the point. It is a desperate call to revive the two-state solution seen by most of the international community as paramount to future peace between Israel and a Palestinian state.
  • Three anti-Zionists were just ordained as rabbis. Religion News Service reports the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College still defines itself as Zionist and is committed to Israel’s existence and its right to self defense. But it is also open to other perspectives.
  • A land dispute in the Old City. Armenian activists in Jerusalem are outraged over an agreement to lease communal land to a hotel developer. The story from Christian Century.

Tunic legends and reality

  • Carbon-dating done by the Vatican Museums shows that tunics could not have belonged to Saints Peter and John. The head of the Vatican Museums, Barbara Jatta, said at a press conference on Thursday (May 23) that while the tunics may not have belonged to the saints, they still carry “devotional significance” for believers and that further studies will attempt to bring clarity to the provenance and long history of the artifacts.
  • When Saint Francis made his renowned journey to Egypt in 1219, he was wearing the humble tunic which went on to become characteristic of his followers. Now, 800 years later, that tunic – or part of it – has made a return to the country. A piece of the garment – which counts as a second-class relic of the saint – arrived in Cairo on the 23rd May.


  • A new book argues most white US Christians worship whiteness. Michael Emerson and Glenn Bracey depict a Christianity that worships a white Jesus and a set of sacred symbols, including the flag, the cross and, increasingly, guns.
  • Catholic bullying is spreading across the land. In the latest example, Minnesota Bishop Robert Barron’s Word on Fire organization threatened Commonweal magazine and theologian Massimo Faggioli over Faggioli’s April 22 essay, “Will Trumpism Spare Catholicism?”Phyllis Zagano writes: If Bishop Robert Barron wants to distance himself from Trump, bullying is not the way to do it.

Southern Baptist leadership under investigation

A former Southern Baptist seminary professor and interim provost has been indicted on a charge of obstructing justice in a sexual misconduct case, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday (May 21). Matt Queen, who was previously an administrator and professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, allegedly gave the FBI falsified notes during an ongoing investigation into alleged sexual misconduct at the seminary, which is in Fort Worth, Texas.

Online app favors Christian Nationalist Congregations

MyChurchFinder is an online directory to Christian nationalist congregations, according to Religion News Service. To receive an A rating, pastors must demonstrate that they lead a ‘biblically sound, culturally aware & non-socialistic legislatively active church.’ Failing to meet any of those criteria earns a church a ‘WNR’ — ‘Would Not Recommend.’

A history of opposing immigrants

A century ago, anti-immigrant backlash almost closed America’s doors. For National Catholic Reporter, Matthew Smith examines “the American dream” and fears of an ungovernable “melting pot.”

Care for the Earth

A small Catholic college in California announced recently that it had gained energy independence from the California power grid, marking a landmark in the use of alternative energy resources in higher education.

On Natural Law

When St. Paul wrote, in his letter to the Romans, about a “law written on the hearts” of the Gentiles, he wasn’t just using a fanciful metaphor or trying to ingratiate himself with non-Jews. He was referencing an idea that already existed among pre-Christian philosophers such as Aristotle and Cicero: a moral law distinct from either religious or civil law and discernible by human reason.

Ministry in the military

Ukrainian military chaplains learn pluralism on the job. What to do if a soldier from another denomination asks for a prayer?

Empires and how religion spreads

However often, and however rightly, we denounce the evils associated with empires—their links to racism and slavery, exploitation and colonialism—empires have also supplied the means by which religions have achieved global scale.

Religious advertising and the First Amendment

On May 21, a US District Court ruled in favor of WallBuilders, a religious nonprofit banned from displaying its ads on Washington, DC, buses, in its lawsuit challenging the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s advertisement policy.

Suit to advance over ‘HeLa’ cells

Henrietta Lacks family can sue over use of immortal ‘HeLa’ cells, judge rules. The new ruling out of Maryland could set up her descendants for another large settlement, this time from California bioscience firm Ultragenyx.

Transgender hermit

A hermit in Kentucky who publicly identified as transgender has prompted questions about how the Catholic Church should deal with such cases in religious life given the Church’s opposition to what Pope Francis has called “gender ideology.” The announcement has also raised questions about how the hermit, a female who identifies as a man, got religious training at a Benedictine monastery for men.

‘Art That Unites’

 On display in Minneapolis, “the pièce de résistance of a unique collaboration between Thrivent Art Collection and the Vatican Museums’ Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art titled “Art That Unites: A Dialogue Between the Centuries from the Vatican Museums and Thrivent Art Collection.”

In support of Butker Graduation Speech

Two young women, including one who works in the STEM field part time from home, weigh in, in an article for National Catholic Register.

Argentinian Archbishop resigns

The Holy See did not give a reason for Archbishop Mestre’s resignation. “In the Eternal City, after confronting some different perceptions with what happened in the Diocese of Mar del Plata from November 2023 to the present, Pope Francis asked me to resign from the See of La Plata,” Archbishop Mestre wrote.

Pope to Buddhists: ‘Let’s work together’

Pope Francis received a delegation of Buddhist monks from the Wat Phra Cetuphon temple (also known as the Wat Pho) of Bangkok, one of the most important Buddhist temples in Thailand, and encouraged them to continue fostering dialogue and cooperation for a better world.

Videos about the Holy Spirit

AUSCP Friend Bob Stewart notes that Christian belief in the Holy Spirit as the Third Person of the Trinity was not officially defined by the church until the fourth century. But centuries earlier, the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament were already describing the action and presence of God’s Spirit. In The Holy Spirit in the Bible, George Smiga unpacks key Scripture passages, exploring the activity of the Spirit at creation, within Israel, in the ministry of Jesus and the early church, and at the end of time. The role of the Holy Spirit in our personal and spiritual lives is also explored. Videos are available HERE.

What should we call the persons of the Trinity?

No matter the particular names you choose, the core message of the Trinity remains unchanging, says a writer for U.S.Catholic.

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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