Welcome to Wisdom Wednesday, beginning this week with the announcement from Pope Francis that the Synod on Synodality will be extended for an additional year. In other Catholic news developments, the Cuban Missile Crisis comes up-to-date in Ukraine, Vatican II gets renewed attention and appreciation, LGBTQ couples are being blessed with Church ceremonies in Belgium, Venezuelans are the new immigrants seeking asylum in the United States, and Black Lives Matter leads the list of efforts helpful for Black Americans.
First of all, Crux reports that Pope Francis wants more time for discernment and a greater understanding of the concept as a key dimension of church life.
Catholic News Service says the synod assembly, with mostly bishops as voting members, will meet Oct. 4-29, 2023, as previously announced, but the assembly will have a second session in October 2024 as well.
Growth toward becoming a “synodal church,” one in which all the baptized accept and share responsibility for their unity and mission, can get messy, and that should not frighten people,”said one of the undersecretaries of the Synod of Bishops.
What we see with the synod is that the church is learning to face, to name and to be with the tensions, the polarities, the diversity” found among Catholics within parishes and across the globe, “and not just sweep them under the carpet,” said Xavière Missionary Sister Nathalie Becquart.
Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe sounds the alarm, that “We are now marking the anniversary of the beginning of the Cuban Missile Crisis, regarded as the closest that humanity has ever come to global nuclear annihilation. But now, 60 years later, even President Biden is invoking that dreaded name of Armageddon to describe what could potentially occur in the crisis over Ukraine.”
Wester says, “We still have not learned the essential lesson of the Cuban Missile Crisis, which is that the only way to eliminate the nuclear danger is through careful, universal, verifiable steps to eliminate nuclear weapons.”
At Sixtieth Anniversary, Vatican II
La Croix International takes on the question: “Is it still relevant to talk about the Second Vatican Council?” Two theologian-authors of a new book on Vatican II say the conciliar texts must be re-read in the context of the Catholic Church’s current challenges
It is no secret that some in visible Catholic positions have disparaged the Second Vatican Council. That is not an acceptable hobby, says Bob Mickens in La Croix International
‘I did not talk to a woman outside my family for four years.’
Change is not easy in the Catholic Church, at Vatican II or with Pope Francis. Jesuit Thomas Reese says, “My heart goes out to the seminarians who are going through the current trauma of change under Pope Francis, because I went through the same trauma after Vatican II.”
A judge is being asked to decide if the Indiana abortion ban defies religious rights. Residents who hold Jewish, Muslim and spiritual faiths argue that the state’s abortion ban violates their religious rights. Meanwhile, a Southern California teacher is claiming religious discrimination after she said she was terminated for refusing to read children’s books promoting same-sex marriage.
The sex abuse crisis continues to affect the Catholic Church – Along with the horrific effect on youth and young adults, French Bishop Benoît Bertrand recently led a working group that produced a report on the health of priests in France. He speaks about the challenges they face.
Michael Pfleger, the pastor of one of the most vibrant Black Catholic parishes in America, is again under investigation for abuse, his fourth accusation in less than two years. The Black Catholic Messenger reports the details.
Recognizing LGBTQ relationships
The Catholic Church in the Flemish part of Belgium is now the first in the world to recognize the relationship of LGBTQ Catholics with a church ceremony. The opening came on September 20 when the Flemish bishops published a three-page document called “Being Pastorally Close to Homosexuals – For a Welcoming Church that Excludes No One”.
Yes, Black Lives Matter!
Is “Black Lives Matter” the name of a movement? Or of a specific organization? Without specifying the answer to that question, Pew Research finds that Black Lives Matter tops the list of groups that Black Americans see as helping them most in recent years.
Black, religious, Catholic
Pew Research also finds that African immigrants in U.S. are more religious than other Black Americans, and more likely to be Catholic.
Venezuelans at the border
Catholics working with migrants have mobilized to assist Venezuelans who are arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border in record numbers but are being expelled back to Mexico under pandemic-era health restrictions. And Bishop Seitz has criticized the expansion of Title 42 to “vulnerable Venezuelans.”
A bright sunshiny day
Solar panels and energy-efficient equipment have come to a school, parishes and even the Pastoral Center of the Diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey. Immaculata High School in Somerville is the first in the diocese to use solar panels in an effort to align diocesan practice with Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si,’ on Care for Our Common Home,” said Msgr. Joseph G. Celano, diocesan episcopal vicar for administration and pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, which oversees the school.
Catholics in Nagasaki
When the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, Aug. 9, 1945, Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami’s mother was three months pregnant with him. While she survived the bombing, much of her family did not. Takami, now retired archbishop of Nagasaki, was part of a small peace delegation of atomic bomb survivors that visited the Sheil Catholic Center at Northwestern University Sept. 28 for a Blessed Are the Peacemakers event.
Returning sacred items
About 150 items considered sacred by the Sioux peoples that have been stored at a small Massachusetts museum for more than a century are being returned, museum and tribal officials announced Monday. The items include weapons, pipes, moccasins, and clothing – about seven or eight of which are thought to have a direct link to the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre.
You’ve read the Letter, now see the movie
A new documentary film on climate change features Pope Francis. “The Letter: A message for our earth” features Pope Francis and is free to watch on YouTube.
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