Labor Day next week gives us the opportunity to reflect on work, wages, and social justice. Our search for wisdom this week also examines the importance of human touch – drawn from a most unusual request made in advance of a death penalty execution scheduled next week.
The Season of Creation — today through the October 4 Feast of St. Francis of Assisi – offers opportunity and stimulus to care for all of creation.
A quick check on the aftermath of Hurricane Ida finds a Catholic church damaged in Picayune, Louisiana. There undoubtedly will be more reports of opportunities to pray and assist our neighbors.
A religion writer this week asks a painful question: “Most Americans favor welcoming immigrants. Why don’t Christians?” And we offer some research leading to a puzzling connection: the more frequently a Christian goes to church services, the more likely was that person a voter for Trump.
There is news this week about COVID-19. Should you sign a parishioner’s request for mask exemption? And there seems to be no getting away from sex-abuse allegations in Australia and in the United States, among Boy Scouts and Methodist congregations.
We offer some in-depth material this week on Afghanistan, including a document prepared the UN Security Council. It’s formal and technical, written for policy makers and diplomats, not for a casual reader. It provides background examination on the role of ISIS-K, the group claiming responsibility for the attack on Americans and Afghans at the Kabul airport.
And speaking of diplomatic matters, we step away from the headlines with an examination of the historic (and present-day) activities of the Vatican’s role in the world of diplomacy.
And finally, in case you ever wondered: Interest in Wicca and witchcraft appears to be increasing, but what exactly is Wicca?
The Season of Creation 2021
During the 2021 Season of Creation, September 1 through October 4, thousands of Christians will get together for a time of restoration and hope, a jubilee for our Earth, and to discover radically new ways of living with creation. More information and resources are available HERE.
Today, September 1, at 4 PM ET, Bob Bonnot will host a 30-60 minute Webinar reminding participants of what the Season of Creation is about. He will also preview the October 4, Feast of St. Francis, launching of the Laudato Si 7-year Plan by Pope Francis. If the Climate Crisis is going to be reversed, we each must not just know what’s needed. We must do it. Some practical suggestions will be included. Register HERE.
A recent webinar offered at Notre Dame provided some thoughtful ideas about “Preaching and Laudato Si.”
A local television news report (WLOX) included damage to a Catholic church in Picayune.
A Catholic church in New Orleans is providing emergency shelter during Hurricane Ida. After the winds from Hurricane Ida peeled off the roof of the seven-story apartment building in Metairie, Louisiana, Aug. 29, St. Francis Xavier Church — across the street from the apartment building — was transformed into an emergency shelter for 34 residents, even though the parish had also lost electrical power.
Viewpoints about immigrants and refugees
An opinion piece from Religion News Service – Most Americans favor welcoming immigrants. Why don’t Christians?
Mary and Joseph themselves fled to Egypt with the infant Jesus to protect him from King Herod, according to the Gospel of Matthew. Presumably they were not impeded by an 18-foot border wall on their trip from Bethlehem.
Read the full article HERE.
Also from RNS: How can people help Afghans arriving in the US after fleeing the Taliban? Here are a few of the faith-based organizations working with Afghans both overseas and arriving in the U.S. and some ways you can help them.
Assasination of religious scholars in Afghanistan is one small part of a complicated report prepared for the United Nations Security Council earlier this year (and months before American withdrawal). It is a formal document, in language more familiar in diplomatic circles, but it offers serious readers a glimpse into the complexity of Taliban, ISIS-K, Al-Qaida and other forces.
Sexual misconduct and abuse
From the Associated Press, Pope Francis on Saturday replaced an Australian bishop who stepped down amid a Vatican investigation into what Australian media have described as allegations of sexual misconduct.
Buffalo News offers a deeper look at a series of lawsuits stemming from the Child Victims Act. You may have to subscribe to read the full story.
Related to this report, United Methodist leaders are urging churches to end Boy Scout charters for now. The United Methodist Church estimated that as many as 5,000 of its congregations remain exposed to potential lawsuits, according to Religion News Service.
We offer two stories on this topic:
- On Death Row in Texas, a Last Request: A Prayer and ‘Human Contact.’ You may have to subscribe to read the whole story.
- US won’t seek death penalty in California synagogue shooting
Next, national and Church news related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
New from Pew Research Center – Church-goers and Trump. The highlight of the study:
Among White Americans, worship service attendance is highly correlated with presidential vote choice, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of 2020 validated voters. Overall, 59% of voters who frequently attend religious services cast their ballot for Trump, while 40% chose Biden. Among those who attend services a few times a year or less, the pattern was almost exactly reversed.”
From Religion News Service: “A new book ‘God’s Diplomats’ unveils the secret history of Vatican diplomacy. The book on the history of the Vatican’s international relations also shows how Pope Francis is only following in his predecessors’ footsteps in standing up to the United States.” Read the full article HERE.
Lastly, What is Wicca? An expert explains in this article 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.
Until next week, please follow us on social media with the buttons below to make sure you don’t miss the latest news from the AUSCP!