The topics this week are familiar, but the people involved and the comments that were made may be unusual. Communion and abortion receive a blunt word from a top cardinal at the Vatican. A candy company executive makes a climate pledge. Greta Thunberg gets attention with “blah, blah, blah.” A toppled statue of a saint will be replaced by a statue honoring Native Americans. World interfaith leaders say, “We have inherited a garden: we must not leave a desert to our children.” Pope Francis tells Slovak Jesuits what happens when “Freedom scares us.” And did you see this one? “A Pagan and a pastor walk into a church.” (It’s not the setup for a joke.)
Communion and Abortion
Christopher White, in National Catholic Reporter, quotes Cardinal Peter Turkson who says denying the sacrament should only take place in “extreme cases.” When asked directly by journalist Mike Allen if that applied to Biden . . . Turkson replied “no.”
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said he is “inviting all Catholics to join in a massive and visible campaign of prayer and fasting for Speaker Pelosi: commit to praying one rosary a week and fasting on Fridays for her conversion of heart,” according to Fox News.
Meanwhile, the U.S. bishops continue work on a document, The Meaning of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church. The bishops’ website has a Q & A on the document.
The Climate Crisis
Pope Francis joins world faith leaders, issuing an urgent appeal for action. From NCR:
Pope Francis joins world faith leaders, issuing an urgent appeal for action. In response to the “grave threat” of climate change, heads of the world’s major religions united at the Vatican to issue an unprecedented joint appeal to government leaders at next month’s United Nations climate summit, calling for “urgent, radical and responsible action” to drastically curb greenhouse gas emissions and for the world’s wealthiest countries to lead in healing the planet.
Read the full article HERE.
Two linked, climate-related pieces from The Guardian:
- ‘Blah, blah, blah’: Greta Thunberg lambasts leaders over climate crisis.
- ‘Greta is right’: climate pledges must be matched by action, says Mars executives.
Meanwhile, from NCR, a religious order that has been challenging construction of a natural gas transmission line through its Pennsylvania property for years expressed disappointment that a federal court judge dismissed their lawsuit, which was rooted in religious freedom claims.
You may ask, what can I do? The Catholic Climate Covenant has announced 40 Days of Prayer are underway, leading up to the next phase of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform.
Inequality or Solidary?
On the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, an NCR commentator says we still need to address how the church perpetuates inequality, and put solitary into action. It is “time the church move from dreaming to doing.”
From Religion News Service: “Catholic, Protestant groups support commission on US Indian boarding school policy.”
From NPR: “California plans to replace a toppled statue with a monument to Native Americans.” Spanish Franciscan priest, explorer and colonist of California, and founder of the missions of California, Saint Junípero Serra is known as the “Apostle of California” and “The Father of the California Missions,” according to the Carmel Mission Basilica. He was canonized despite the objections of Native Americans, and his statue at the California capitol was recently toppled. Now National Public Radio reports a new statue will celebrate Sacramento-area Native American tribes.
“Forced conversion” was one of the allegations made against Father Serra; it’s also the focus of reported violence in India, where Christians are living in fear.
Finally, a Vatican poverty conference features activist William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, a faith-led anti-poverty initiative. The story is from Religion News Service.
Pro-Life Month: Additions to the list
An opinion writer for Religion News Service says it is time for Christians to put infrastructure into the pro-life agenda. He writes:
In his first annual message to Congress, published on Dec. 6, 1825, President John Quincy Adams laid out a bold plan for infrastructure development. He refused to separate the nation’s communication and travel networks from what he called “moral, political, and intellectual” improvements.
Read the full article HERE.
Two other pro-life perspectives:
- The LGBTQ+ Outreach Commission of the Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky, says that LGBT lives should be valued during Respect Life Month, too.
- Lawmakers and Pope Francis asked Missouri governor to halt an execution — but the governor denied clemency.
Sex abuse – more dismaying news
From AP News, “French report: 330,000 children victims of church sex abuse.” The details offer no relief.
From RNS, “A brief guide to the Southern Baptist meltdown over sexual abuse.”
And finally, from NCR, “How Catholic colleges can address the epidemic of sexual violence on campus.” Annie Selak writes:
In my role at the Women’s Center at a Catholic university, I see that sexual assault is a tragic part of the college experience for women… At Catholic colleges and universities, rates of sexual assault are as alarmingly high as at secular institutions.”
Also noted this week
Pope Francis spoke with Slovak Jesuits, telling them, “Freedom scares us.” He went on to say:
That is why today we look back to the past: to seek security. It frightens us to celebrate before the people of God who look us in the face and tell us the truth. It frightens us to go forward in pastoral experiences. I think of the work that was done… at the Synod on the Family to make it understood that couples in second unions are not already condemned to hell. It frightens us to accompany people with sexual diversity.”
Read the full article HERE, from La Civiltà Cattolica.
Religion News Service reports on the 50th anniversary of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar.’
And finally, “A Pagan and a Pastor” recently met to answer questions about their faiths and misperceptions in “A Necessary Conversation.” The story comes from Religion News Service.
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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