Wisdom Wednesday | October 26th

AUSCP NewsOctober 26Roundup

Welcome to Wisdom Wednesday, leading off with “a shocking conclusion, but one most of us know is true” from a Catholic University of America survey. The report is painful.

We will also include items on the climate crisis, the death penalty, churches and peacemaking in Ukraine (not happening), an upcoming webinar with Bryan Massingale, unionizing cafeteria workers on Catholic campuses, a call to pro-lifers to oppose the death penalty, and a provocative thought: what could you do with 30 million board feet of hardwoods?

Another question: Who is responsible for new awareness of Hinduism in America? Is it an interfaith consortium? Or a constitutional concern? Nope. It is quite simply, capitalism. There’s money to be made at Diwali.

Survey Says…

Back to where we started. The recent CUA survey concludes that Catholic priests in the United States overall are “flourishing” and strongly support the child protection policies put in place by the U.S. bishops, but they also fear false allegations and their trust in the nation’s bishops has significantly declined.

You may recall that a working group of the AUSCP earlier this year found that some diocesan leaders have failed to respect priests’ rights under canon law — in some cases allowing accused clerics to languish in administrative “limbo” for several years while civil and church authorities investigate allegations made against them.

Now, from Catholic University, initial findings of the largest study of U.S. priests undertaken in 50 years found strong support for child protection policies, but fear of false accusations, and loss of trust in U.S. bishops.

The findings were presented October 19 by Brandon Vaidyanathan, associate professor of sociology and lead researcher of the National Study of Catholic Priests, and Stephen White, executive director of The Catholic Project, which sponsored the study.

Climate Crisis

At Today’s American Catholic, writer Ray Temmerman urges bishops to rise up in leadership over Climate Change. He says we should not be “learning to live in a burning house. What is needed is to prevent the house from burning.”

In an opinion column published by Religion News Service, writer Cassandra Carmichael points out that “clean water isn’t a partisan issue, it is a faith issue.” She is concerned that the Supreme Court may leave some wetlands unprotected.

Religious liberty: In court and in a cannabis church

A proposed amendment to the Arkansas constitution would prohibit the government from burdening an individual’s religious liberty, but opponents of the effort say the Arkansas Religious Freedom amendment is a potential Pandora’s box. The report comes from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

Meanwhile, a cannabis church in Southern California — which was shut down by the county of San Bernardino over accusations it was illegally functioning as a dispensary — is taking its fight to reopen to the state Supreme Court, arguing that it uses cannabis for religious healing.

Union labor

Some college cafeteria workers are organizing with support from the Catholic Labor Network. Employees of food service conglomerate Sodexo include cooks, cashiers and dishwashers at Catholic universities. Katie Collins Scott reports the story for National Catholic Reporter.

Death Penalty

Writing an opinion piece in the Daily Beast, writer Demetrius Minor urges pro life advocates to oppose the death penalty. He points out that since 1973, 190 individuals have been exonerated from death row, bringing to light the frequent occurrence of wrongful convictions. The advocacy for their lives is just as important as the lives that are still in the womb. The innocence of the exonerated person must be valued and upheld, just the same as the innocence of the unborn child.

Ukraine: Will churches be peacemakers?

The head of the World Council of Churches recently met with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill on “how churches are called to be peacemakers.” The Patriarch reportedly said churches “must not add fuel to the fire” of political conflict but has been widely accused of doing just that.

The ‘Smiling Pope’

Pope Francis beatified John Paul I, the “smiling pope” who governed the church for 33 days in 1978. (Those were the days that gave Karol Wojtyla the foundation to be John Paul II.) The story comes from America Magazine. (Subscription may be required to read this article.)

‘White Supremacy and American Christianity’

NETWORK will host a webinar October 29 with Bryan Massingale and Robert P. Jones on White racism in Christianity. The Black Catholic Messenger reports It will include “progressive voices discussing the ongoing threat of systemic racism in US politics and religion.”

Pierre Toussaint Scholarship dinner

The annual gala honoring Venerable Pierre Toussaint and funding education at home and abroad will take place November 7 in Manhattan during Black Catholic History Month. Details come from the Black Catholic Messenger.

Pop Quiz

You are probably dying to know the answer to this question: What takes over 30 million board feet of hardwoods every year in the United State, along with 2,700 tons of copper and bronze, 100,000 tons of steel and 1.6 million tons of concrete? America Magazine reports (subscription may be required) on what it takes every year for traditional in-ground burials in cemeteries. The data was compiled by the Glendale Nature Preserve from the Casket and Funeral Association of America, the Rainforest Action Network and the Pre-Posthumous Society.

Diwali seems to be everywhere this year

More and more major brands are recognizing the festival of lights, running ad campaigns and stocking products related to the holiday in the US. South Asian Americans who celebrate Diwali can now pick up fireworks from Costco, greeting cards from Hallmark and party decorations from Target.

CNN reports that Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is one of the most important festivals in Hinduism. The holiday also has significance for Sikhs and Jains, and is celebrated not just in India, but in Nepal, Malaysia, Singapore and other countries with South Asian diasporas.

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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