Wisdom Wednesday | September 21st

AUSCP NewsRoundupSeptember 21

Hang on! This week we look at the national synthesis of Synod sessions (say that seven times without stumbling over syllables!), Migration Week, the Season of Creation, a Holocaust documentary and a smattering of selections about book banning, brain chip implants, the religious landscape on earth and what the rover is digging up on Mars.

Synod on Synodality Synthesis

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has released its “Synthesis Outlining Common Themes Raised in Synod Listening Sessions“. It is “an expression of the common joys, hopes, and wounds the bishops have heard and are hearing from the wider body of the Church.” Much of it echoes AUSCP concerns expressed over the years.

Migration Week

We are in the midst of National Migration Week, on the theme, “Building the Future with Migrants and Refugees.” Among those depending on our voice are 3.6 million Dreamers — those brought to the United States as children who know only this country as their home but lack access to permanent legal status.

Migration Week is “an opportunity for the faithful to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, refugees, and victims of human trafficking, among others.” The week-long observation customarily concludes with the Vatican’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees on the last Sunday of September. (Are you preaching about it? Have you heard about it from your parish?)

Here is a bit of history. The “Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration” was signed in 2018 (but not by the United States under the Trump administration), but endorsed in 2021 (under the Biden administration).

More recent news includes the transporting of migrants to northeastern U.S. locations. An editorial from National Catholic Reporter says “Using migrants as political pawns ignores their God-given human dignity.”

A writer for Religion News Service sees the sending of migrants north as a crisis of faith: “It’s getting harder for a politician to adhere to Christian morals and get elected president.”

Rep. Adriano Espaillat of New York, one of two Black Catholics in Congress, has released a statement on the country’s migrant crisis—most recently involving Republican governors sending new arrivals to various Democrat-led areas, including NYC. “Our city and this nation will and must welcome refugee families,” he said.

By the way, houses of worship on Martha’s Vineyard have long worked together to meet the needs of their neighbors. So they were ready to spring into action when refugees arrived unexpectedly.

Season of Creation

CathCAP is a project of Catholic Climate Covenant, co-sponsored by the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests. It offers a way for individuals and groups to offset some of their carbon footprint. Parishes and groups can create an account, encourage members to contribute, and use the accumulating funds for an eco-project of their choosing.

The Catholic Climate Covenant invites you to the second of its 2022 Season of Creation webinars next Wednesday (September 28), “Putting our Faith in Action: Voting to Protect our Common Home”. Register by clicking HERE.

Activists in Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley’ are celebrating the success of their action on a regional basis — to halt construction of petrochemical complexes.

Writer Susan Vogt offers regular tips for “easy” action or “a challenge.” You can use them in homilies or bulletins, too. Her “Eco-Tips” are among features available at her website.

You can receive Eco-Tips automatically. To sign up for Monthly Leadership ECO-TIPS click here. To sign up for Weekly individual ECO-TIPS click here.

Acting in Good Conscience?

Michael Sean Winters offers another opportunity for thought and reflection about conscience as “the kind of issue about which the church’s rich and nuanced teaching regrettably sometimes gives way to bumper sticker sloganeering.” Since Vatican II, he says, except for liturgy, “no issue has been as much debated and as foundational to a host of discussions, as that of conscience.”

Banning books

“Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation” has been removed from some school library shelves in Fort Worth – but after community reaction, the superintendent promises to bring it back, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Meanwhile, the practice of banning books has accelerated across the United States, according to the Guardian.

The Holocaust – and what we knew

American Jews of a certain generation were long told the United States didn’t do more to rescue the Jews of Europe because neither the U.S. government nor the general public knew what was happening in Nazi Germany. A new documentary, which began last Sunday (September 18) says that is just not true.

Brain chip implants, gene editing – for or against?

Humanity may be on the cusp of a variety of innovations – including brain chip implants, gene editing and exoskeletons – that could allow people to dramatically enhance human health and abilities. But many Americans, especially those who are highly religious and identify with certain Christian traditions, express discomfort with these possibilities, according to a recent Pew Research Center report.

Are we alone in the cosmos?

NASA is finding tantalizing hints that microbes might have lived on Mars billions of years ago. WIRED Magazine wonders if this discovery could lead to answering the question, Are we alone?

Our religious landscape

Since the 1990s, large numbers of Americans have left Christianity to join the growing ranks of U.S. adults who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular.” Pew Research finds that this accelerating trend is reshaping the U.S. religious landscape. If recent trends in religious switching continue, Christians could make up less than half of the U.S. population within a few decades.

Other viewpoints

Pew Research also has been exploring how Americans view policy proposals on transgender and gender identity issues, and where such policies exist.

‘Couple privilege’

The wealth gap between single and married Americans has more than doubled in the last decade. The publication, Moneywise, asks, how do you get ahead when it’s just you?

Quick takes

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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