Welcome to Wisdom Wednesday during another grim week of violence in the Holy Land. Seeking wisdom, we focus on the land – the Holy Land, your land, my land, and an indigenous notion that all land is holy. We found a writer who traces his home piece of ground to its original inhabitant. And we learn that a popular patriotic song about “this land” was written to protest the song, God Bless America.
This week we offer several personal stories from the Israel-Hamas war zone, along with calls from political and religious leaders for a ceasefire and delivery of more aid to the displaced families. We have a story of three uncles who divide up the children, so if one house is bombed, two others may survive
It is a big week for the Synod on Synodality. The last week of this year’s session promises a report today. A big day it was for Sister Jeannine Gramick, finally meeting her pen pal, Pope Francis.
As we approach All Saints Day and All Souls Day we find this conclusion: Catholicism embraces all these dimensions of remembering the dead. Whether in prayer for all the faithful departed on All Souls or in the customs of Día de los Muertos, the past enters into the present.
To begin, check out the AUSCP home page, for information from Pax Christi and a challenging column from Tony Magliano. A reminder: Views expressed in Wisdom Wednesday are the views of the writers, not necessarily the position of the AUSCP.
This land is mine
The Exodus Song from the 1960 movie made the claim, “This land is mine, God gave this land to me” – and demanded, “If I must fight, I’ll fight to make this land our own. Until I die, this land is mine.”
Woody Guthrie wrote “This land is your land, this land is my land,” a song intended to proclaim that the land was not just for a few, but for all. It is often recognized as a patriotic anthem, without acknowledging its origin as a song composed to counter “God Bless America.”
An indigenous view: America rests on stolen land. The editors of the Christian Century report several developments toward restoration. The 1,400-acre Upper Sioux Community State Park in Minnesota was given back to the Dakota people whose ancestors were massacred and buried there. Minneapolis sold two adjacent lots to the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians for $1 each, with plans for a community healing garden and an opioid treatment center on them. One by one, small plots of land across the country—an Oakland city park, a Chicago community garden, a Maine island—are being returned to the Native people who once lived there, thanks in large part to the Native-led Land Back movement.
And a personal story comes from a writer who says his family owns a residential plot in suburban Chicago; he decided to find out what used to be there.
On Israel, Hamas, and Palestine
Pope Francis has announced an October 27 prayer vigil and a day of fasting for peace in the Israel-Hamas war.
In an interview with Vatican Media, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem expressed his sorrow for all the victims of the conflict that is bloodying the Holy Land, saying Hamas has committed unjustifiable atrocities but that “starving two million people will not help.”
Church leaders in Jerusalem have joined with the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, to demand a ceasefire in Gaza and condemn the bombing of the Orthodox church there. The leaders also urged greater security for hospitals and places of worship.
From a personal report: “This week my daughters in-law sent us a Christmas picture of their relatives in Gaza, two beautiful young Palestinian women, Yara and Viola Amash. Both were killed when an Israeli shell hit St. Porphyrios Orthodox Church, where they had taken refuge from Israel’s military operation.”
One family planned to separate for safety. “A lot of families now in Gaza have been dividing themselves up,” according to a Palestinian quoted by Religion News Service. “I have three uncles that are there. They’ve divided their kids up among themselves and then they’ve divided where they’re staying, so that if the building is destroyed, the entire family isn’t lost.”
America magazine reports Joe Biden and Pope Francis discussed the war in Israel and Gaza in a 20-minute phone call
Back in September, before the recent conflagration in Israel and Gaza, Pew Research found hope diminishing for a two-state solution – or any solution.
Opinions and Viewpoints from the War in Israel
Rather than double down on failed strategies, it is time to end investments in war and occupation, says an opinion writer for Religion News Service.
On Hamas, Al Qaeda and ISIS: “What Israel aims to do is not unlike the U.S. going in against Al Qaeda and ISIS,” says Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president for research at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington. He says Hamas is very unlikely to survive, but “that will still leave the question of Palestinian nationalism, which will not go away.”
Fear of hate crimes rising
Palestinian Americans decry demonization in the media amid rising fear of hate crimes, according to a report in the Christian Century.
Synod on Synodality
We offer two reports in the middle of this final week of the synod. At FutureChurch, we learn that a draft of the “Letter to the People of God” was read and applauded by the participants on Monday and the final text is going to be approved and published on Wednesday (Today). Michael Centore at Today’s American Catholic finds comments from a cardinal, “This is going to be a decisive week for us . . . We have to be careful and listen to what is growing.”
Which Synod Father will be the next pope? Bob Mickens notes that more than 60 cardinals are at the Synod assembly to help map out the Church’s future and it’s all but certain that among this select group is Pope Francis’ successor.
Pope Francis’ is taking a huge gamble by trying to keep the synodal proceedings out of the media spotlight, says Massimo Faggioli.
Pope to go to Dubai climate summit
Senior Vatican sources have confirmed to “La Croix” that Francis will take part in the UN’s international climate summit in Dubai, which begins on November 30. It’s a first for a pope.
Sister Jeannine meets Pope Francis
For decades, Loretto Sr. Jeannine Gramick has operated at the margins of the global Catholic Church because of her devotion to ministry with LGBTQ Catholics. But on Oct. 17, she was welcomed into the Vatican for an historic 50-minute meeting with Pope Francis.
Some Light Reading
‘The Chosen’ convention brings in Dallas, announces theater rollout for Season 4. The two-day conference gathered fans from around the world, some as far as Australia and South Korea, to meet with the cast and crew.
Saints aren’t all sweetness and holiness. Some fit in just fine with Halloween creepiness, says a writer in US Catholic. Here are five scary saint stories to tell in the dark
Is Día de los Muertos the same as All Souls Day? Both observances remember the dead. Their ways of remembering, though, go in somewhat different directions, in another article from US Catholic.
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