Wisdom Wednesday | October 4th

AUSCP NewsOctober 4Roundup

Welcome to the Wednesday of the beginning of the October Synod on Synodality!

If you are a returning visitor, or if this is your first journey with us in search of wisdom, we note again the prayer offered last week by Archbishop Paul Etienne of Seattle. He prayed, as do we, to hear “the whispering, promptings, and power” of the Holy Spirit.

Back on August 21, Pope Francis revealed that the second part of his encyclical Laudato si’ is to be published today, October 4. Since Wisdom Wednesday is prepared prior to Wednesday’s publication, we offer suggested links to pre-publication news and commentary about the document.

Even as the Synod dominates the news, there are other events and ideas to explore. The “Pope of Surprises” tells new cardinals to think of themselves not as the Apostles on Pentecost, but rather members of the crowd outside. Religion News Service finds some in the pro-life movement upset with former president and candidate Donald Trump. Pew Research looks at the American family and the dwindling number of marriages in our society. Faith leaders work to try to end the death penalty in Louisiana. A noted film-maker plumbs the impact of “keeping the sabbath.”

We wish President Jimmy Carter Happy Birthday and offer an academic article – for serious history readers only – about religious liberty in the run-up to Carter’s election.

First, the Synod

Phyllis Zagano calls it “the secret synod” because too few U.S. Catholics are aware that it is happening.

Before the synod, Pope Francis prayed for listening instead of polarization.

You have heard by now that vowed religious and lay persons are among the voting members of the October Synod session. The President of the Union of Superiors General says religious sisters have “responded with joy” to Pope Francis’ invitation to “the ecclesial journey of the Synod on Communion, Participation and Mission.”

Discerning Deacons is engaged in the global synod process, and prepared a Question and Answer feature about the synod.

FutureChurch Co-Director Deborah Rose is in Rome and plans to ask questions of synod representatives, conduct interviews, and report back from her unique perspective on matters and issues of most importance to FutureChurch members and friends.

Go Further

Among trusted sources, we suggest the following for synodal coverage (and for the addition to Laudato Si’): Vatican News, National Catholic Reporter and America Magazine.

Laudato Si’ and Climate News

Today is the day Pope Francis promised a second Laudato Si’ – according to Vatican News. A recent NCR report describes the new document as an update to the pope’s 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’, On Care for Our Common Home” — a landmark papal letter that offered a rallying cry for global action in the fight against climate change.”

As the second part of Laudato Si’ is published, Pew Research offers an examination of how U.S. Catholics view climate change.

New Cardinals, Curia, and the College of Cardinals

On the weekend before the October synodal session, 21 new cardinals were named – and one of them had a new nick-name for Francis: the Pope of Surprises. Who are the new cardinals? Here is a list.

Ever wonder what is, or who is the Curia? Or about the role of the College of Cardinals. The Vatican offers a kind of primer on these two bodies.
The Curia and the College of Cardinals.

Abortion News and Views

“President Trump’s disappointing comments only serve as an avenue for pro-lifers to find another candidate to support,” said anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson. She runs the anti-abortion group And Then There Were None, which she describes as a ministry, and recently issued a statement reported by Religion News Service.

Rev. Louis Arceneaux, C.M., a member of the AUSCP Leadership Team, recently penned his own views on the conflict between pro-life and pro-abortion positions. He says, “There are better ways to eliminate abortion than by condemning people who disagree with one’s position.”

Jimmy Carter’s ‘Catholic Problem’

When this article was published in 2010-2011, the author, Andrew S. Moore, was associate professor of history at Saint Anselm College, a private Benedictine college in New Hampshire. In observance of the 99th birthday of President Jimmy Carter, we offer this deep dive into “Jimmy Carter’s ‘Catholic Problem’—Not to Mention His Protestant One”: The Democratic Coalition and the Struggle over Religious Liberty in the Late 1970s.

Push for end of death penalty in Louisiana

“We think that the clearing of Louisiana’s death row would be a monumental step towards the abolition of the death penalty,” said the head of a Vatican agency.

Modern American Family

The public has mixed views, according to Pew Research. More are
pessimistic than optimistic about the future of the family; relatively few see marriage and parenthood as central to a fulfilling life. Meanwhile, across U.S. religious groups, more see the decline of marriage as negative than positive.

Catholics and Lutherans

During an ecumenical prayer service at the assembly of the Lutheran World Federation, the Vatican’s chief ecumenist and the federation’s general secretary formally called for a joint reflection on the Augsburg Confession, a fundamental statement of Lutheran faith.

Buddhists are okay with tourists

Every year, tens of millions of tourists travel to South and Southeast Asia. Occasionally, visitors from the United States, Europe and elsewhere have gotten in trouble for disrespecting Buddhist sites and traditions in this part of the world.

Despite such incidents, majorities of Buddhists in five South and Southeast Asian countries surveyed by Pew Research Center in 2022 say it is appropriate for foreign non-Buddhists to visit Buddhist sites such as temples, pagodas and dhamma halls for tourism.

Sabbath: A documentary

In his new film SABBATH, award-winning filmmaker Martin Doblmeier explores the religious, secular, psychological, and sociological implications of a weekly day of rest for a “profoundly burned-out world.” The two-hour documentary delves into the history and practice of a concept rooted in the biblical story of creation. Episcopal News Service says the film examines Christian and Jewish traditions

Sabbath: Where to see the movie


Sundays with Bishop Ken

You are invited by Little Books, long-time friend of the AUSCP, to a new podcast, Welcome to Sundays with Bishop Ken. Through this podcast, you will be inspired by the words of Bishop Ken Untener, a beloved friend, leader, preacher and former bishop of the Diocese of Saginaw. Check it out.

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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