This week, we offer provocative discussion of Communion, abortion, conscience, politics and women’s role in the Church – and that’s only the first item! It is an interview of Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, by Jim McDermott, SJ, in America magazine. Durbin reacts to being denied Communion, then moves to other topics, including the role of women.
“I have a sister-in-law who was a nun. She left the ministry to marry a former priest. They are maintaining a parish in East St. Louis, Ill., almost single-handedly, the two of them, and virtually everyone I know in the area says what a waste that they couldn’t both be priests. They would have been doing this work and been happy to do it for the rest of their lives. They were just never given that chance.”
Pope Francis continues to include women in church roles. Sister Raffaella Petrini, 52, is the first woman to be appointed as the number two official at the Vatican City State administration, a position that has traditionally been held by a bishop. She becomes the highest-ranking woman official in the Vatican.
The power of white Evangelicals, and why Catholics should care
According to Black scholar Anthea Butler, “The American political scene today is poisonously divided, and the vast majority of white evangelicals play a strikingly unified, powerful role in the disunion.” Her new book is titled White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America.
Some words about that speech
A speech by USCCB President Archbishop José Gomez was greeted with disbelief, for seeming to lump together all social justice movements and Black Lives Matter as “pseudo-religions.” America reported the story, under the headline,
Archbishop Gomez: The church must confront ‘woke’ social justice movements that aim to ‘cancel’ Christian beliefs.
Black Catholics responded with dismay, according to NCR.
Commentator Michael Sean Winters said, “Instead of embracing John XXIII’s hope, Archbishop Gomez projects doom.”
Skin color is seen by Latinos as an important factor affecting their lives and life chances, according to the latest installment in the Pew Center’s long-running National Survey of Latinos.
Virginia voters who believe that Confederate monuments should be taken down supported the Democratic candidate for governor. Virginia voters who believe that Confederate monuments should be left in place voted for the Republican. Religion News Service explains.
Clergy Sex Abuse – in France and documented on the small screen
The French episcopate, shaken by an estimate of widespread sexual abuse within the Church, has admitted its institutional responsibility for the scandal and called on the Vatican and outside experts asked to help it reform.
According to a report in The Tablet, the French bishops’ conference said it will name nine lay-led working groups to formulate responses to the main proposals of the independent commission’s report. They will be staffed by lay people, clerics and victims.
In a Netflix documentary, Procession, six men who survived sexual abuse as children make short films to try and process their trauma. The Guardian reports,
“What you see in the film is six very different men who are in six very different places in their lives. But the common thing is this awful feeling will not go away.”
“What responsibility does the Church have when a priest fathers a child?” The Tablet probes this question, focused on a priest in Africa who is soon to be forcibly retired. How will his responsibility to his child be fulfilled without employment, housing, or stable future prospects?
Death Penalty and the rights of inmates
The U.S. Supreme Court weighs religion’s place in the Texas death chamber, from The Texas Tribune.
“My wing is feeling a little sore”
Pope Francis, Emeritus Pope Benedict, and Big Bird have all received Covid-19 vaccinations. We offer three items for your perusal. A report from Religion News Service on papal vaccination, an item from CNN on Big Bird and Ted Cruz, and late night comedy selected by the New York Times.
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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