Wisdom Wednesday | May 31st

AUSCP NewsMay 31Roundup

“You gotta have faith,” sang George Michael in the late 80s, incorporating the Bo Diddley beat into his Billboard-topping song. Today, Wisdom Wednesday finds faith everywhere, mixing styles and rhythms and concepts – in politics, at college graduations, among Pentecostals updating guidelines, in mainstream polling data, in Marian apparitions. You gotta have faith!

A few other things to ponder: Church member donations are declining – not because of poverty but because of affluence, research shows. In a “Milestones” section we pause to remember the Buddha’s birthday and the death of Tina Turner.

Surprise? Scientists are trying to pull energy from nothing. And yes, the Vatican does chastise a bishop. (Ask Bishop Strickland in Texas.)

Faith at College Commencement

Liz Cheney, who graduated from Colorado College in 1988, recalled being a political science student walking into a campus building where a Bible verse was inscribed above the entrance that read, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Then she said, “After the 2020 election and the attack of January 6th, my fellow Republicans wanted me to lie.”

Nevada’s governor has signed a law allowing religious and cultural regalia at graduations, according to the AP.

A Colorado student who was barred from wearing a sash representing the flags of Mexico and the United States to her high school graduation did so anyway, partially covering it with another sash representing her participation in a service organization. Another item from the AP.

Faith and Politics

Religion News Service digs into Ron DeSantis and his “spiritual-warrior style” as a bid for support from like-minded pastors. With growing uncertainty surrounding evangelical support for former President Donald Trump, DeSantis is courting one of the Republican Party’s most sought-after constituencies.

The Week digs into the shifting religious landscape in America. Religious observance is on the decline in the U.S. What does that mean for future elections?

Analysis: The number of attacks by adherents to rightwing ideology has soared since 2016, as Republican lies about election interference, and escalating rhetoric from the right about minority groups, have served to “provide mechanisms” for individuals to become radicalized, an analyst said, reported by the Guardian.

Where did all the real fiscal conservatives go? As the House considers a bipartisan deal to raise the deb ceiling, Dr. Ronald E. White wonders aloud how hypocrisy on the economy has become the rule of the day. His thoughts are reported by the Black Catholic Messenger.

Faith and Doctrine

The key doctrinal textbook, used by Pentecostal church leaders, Bible college students and studiers of theology for decades, is making a new debut with significant updates and revisions. During The Foursquare Church’s annual convention, May 29-June 1, the denomination is releasing a revised and updated edition of its Foundations of Pentecostal Theology.

Faith and Fellowship

The National Black Catholic Men’s Conference is set for October 12-14 in Louisville. The annual event is now in its 20th year, gathering men from across the African diaspora for faith, fellowship, and Black unity. The story from Nate Tinner -Williams.

Faith at the movies

Martin Scorsese will make another movie about Jesus, he announced after meeting Pope Francis. You may recall Scorsese, cinema’s most mainstream Catholic director, angered Catholics globally with his 1988 film The Last Temptation of Christ.

Faith in Marian appearances

Throughout the Catholic world, hundreds of shrines commemorate a miraculous appearance of Mary and enjoy devotional followings. What accounts for the difference between tacit and official church approval, and what is at stake when the church investigates an alleged sighting? An examination from Religion News Service.

Faith on the frontlines

America reports on “What an Argentinian nun has seen on the frontlines of Ukraine after 18 trips.” The world has increased its supply of weapons to Ukraine, but it is failing to send the badly needed humanitarian aid in equal measure, according to Lucía Caram, O.P., an Argentinian nun living in Spain,

Pope Francis has asked Cardinal Matteo Zuppi to conduct the Ukraine peace mission. Another item from America.

Faith and Action

The President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has appealed for “more serious action” against the climate crisis. “Please let us be one in declaring a state of climate emergency,” said CBCP head Bishop Pablo Virgilio David in a video message, according to Vatican News.

Challenges to faith

Reports from California and Illinois bring statistical reality to stories of clergy sex abuse. The Catholic Church in California grapples with more than 3,000 lawsuits, alleging child sex abuse. The attorney general in Illinois says things were worse than earlier reports

In other news

Pew Research offers “Five things to keep in mind” when reading about generational headlines. Pew also reports young adults are reaching life milestones later than in the past. And by the way, if you have heard of ChatGPT but haven’t tried it (maybe to write your homily?) you are among most Americans. Church member donations continue to decline: An organization seeks to confront the problems of affluence.

International news

The Taliban is waging war against women. Rights groups call for action, according to the Christian Scientist Monitor. And the Climate Crisis disproportionately affects children in East Asia-Pacific, according to UNICEF.

Long Read: Did God use Quantum Mechanics?

The article does not mention God, but it seems appropriate as scientists propose to pull energy out of nothing. It’s a feat that seems to fly in the face of physical law and common sense. The story is featured in WIRED Magazine.

The quantum energy teleportation protocol was proposed in 2008 and largely ignored. Now two independent experiments have shown that it works.


Reflection on Tenth Anniversary. “When Bergoglio began to speak, the others looked out-dated.” Ten years on, Pope Francis’ election is remembered in the Roman Curia as a moment of rupture. From La Croix International.

We also prepare for Holy Year in 2025. From Massimo Faggioli: From the triumphalism that marked the Catholic Church’s celebration of the Great Jubilee of 2000 to the upcoming jubilee that will take place in our present “triste epoque.”

A time machine: Rebuilding Notre Dame’s fire-ravaged roof transports workers back to the Middle Ages.

Happy birthday, Buddha! Religion News Service explains “Why the founder of Buddhism has so many different birthdays around the world.”

‘Simply the Best’: Icon Tina Turner defined the word survivor in her epic career. From her seemingly perpetual motion on stage to now, Rest in Peace. From the Christian Science Monitor.

Texas bishop chastised by the Vatican

If Texas Bishop Joseph E. Strickland is known outside of his diocese for anything, it’s for controversy. The conservative firebrand, who oversees the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, has sparked backlash from critics for everything from supporting priests who refused vaccinations, to offering a prayer at a “Jericho March” event in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. And more recently, Strickland challenged Pope Francis, announcing on his Twitter feed that he believes Francis is “undermining the Deposit of Faith.” The report, from Religion News Service.

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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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