There is a lot going on in the Church of SoNoGo

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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The grace of holding my dying father’s hand during the pandemic

From abortion and porn to women and race: How Southern Baptist Convention resolutions have evolved
The Conversation: All eyes will be on the resolutions that are debated and subsequently passed at the annual meeting, the belief being they will give tremendous insight into the trajectory of the SBC and more generally American evangelicalism, of which Southern Baptists are the largest group.
The grace of holding my dying father’s hand during the pandemic*
Christian Century: The nursing home where
Debra Dean Murphy’s father was a patient suspended the ban on visitors for her for those last hours -- a dubious decision, perhaps, given the strict protocols, but as compassionate an act of health care as she has ever received.
The moral case for suspending the filibuster
Sojourners: Investigating how and why the filibuster was used in the 20th century is deeply relevant to the current debate around voting rights.
Southern Baptist Convention 2021 offers a Trump and critical race theory litmus test
MSNBC: The Republican “culture wars” playbook will be front and center at this high-profile meeting of America’s largest Protestant denomination.
Kings Bay Plowshares activists keep focus on continuing witness for peace
National Catholic Reporter: The action at the naval base was the most recent under the plowshares banner that began in 1980. The protests are rooted in the Book of Isaiah’s call to “beat their swords into plowshares.”

Saturday, June 12, 2021

The pluribus and the unum

Misunderstanding the Armenian Martyrs

By Dawn Beutner on Jun 11, 2021 03:40 am
It’s a safe bet that the martyrdom of Blessed Ignazio Maloyan will not be publicly remembered in Turkey this year. After all, on April 24, 2021, when President Joe Biden dared to use the word [...]
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The Case for a Global Ban on Surrogacy

By Sister Renée Mirkes on Jun 11, 2021 12:40 am
The surrogacy industry got its start based on the same principles of bodily autonomy and privacy that piloted Roe v. Wade and abortion—what the surrogate or egg donor does with her own body is her [...]
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Cardinal Kasper ‘very worried’ about German Church’s ‘Synodal Way’

By Catholic News Agency on Jun 10, 2021 05:35 am
Cardinal Walter Kasper. / CNA/Bohumil Petrik. Passau, Germany, Jun 10, 2021 / 03:35 am (CNA). An influential theologian considered to be close to Pope Francis has said that he is “very worried” about the German Catholic Church’s controversial “S... [...]
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The Lie of the Wokeing Dead

By William Kilpatrick on Jun 10, 2021 02:59 am
“The Wokeing Dead.” It’s not simply a play on words. The term actually captures the essence of the woke movement. Although the woke people consider themselves to be in tune with the latest ideas, the [...]
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New EWTN miniseries explores true death with dignity

By Connor Malloy on Jun 10, 2021 02:41 am
EWTN west coast operations manager James Day was reading Nicolas Diat’s A Time to Die while his father-in-law, Todd, was losing his battle with multiple myeloma. It was March 2020. “The new health restrictions at [...]
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Notre Dame university website celebrates ‘Pride Month’

By Catholic News Agency on Jun 09, 2021 01:02 pm
University of Notre Dame / Peter Zelasko/CNA Washington D.C., Jun 9, 2021 / 11:02 am (CNA). The website of the University of Notre Dame has a feature post celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride on its diversity and inclusion page this month. “Pride Month... [...]
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Thirty years of Poland

By George Weigel on Jun 09, 2021 03:01 am
It was a two-week whirlwind that changed my life forever, that first visit of mine to Poland in June 1991. Looking back on it, I’m reminded of something H.L. Mencken wrote of a similarly transformative [...]
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Cardinal Pell: I wasn’t sure “justice and respect for evidence would prevail”

By Paul Senz on Jun 09, 2021 02:21 am
A remarkable drama played out on the world stage, via the Australian justice system, in 2019 and 2020, as Cardinal George Pell fought accusations of historical sexual abuse—described by Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., as “totally [...]
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The Astronomer, the Physicist, and Worlds Colliding

By John Paul Meenan on Jun 08, 2021 09:29 am
What have ancient Greek philosophy, a prophecy of Christ and COVID in common, and might this commonality be used to find common ground? For people once on familiar speaking terms are now no longer, as [...]
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New priest blesses his sister, a nun: ‘It’s been a real privilege and a joy’

By CNA Daily News on Jun 07, 2021 07:06 pm
New York City, N.Y., Jun 7, 2021 / 16:00 pm It is customary for a newly-ordained priest to impart a first blessing. For Father Matthew Breslin, who was ordained May 29, his first blessing was [...]
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From “Eucharistic irreverence” to “Eucharistic amazement”

By Peter M.J. Stravinskas on Jun 07, 2021 05:00 am
Editor’s note: The following lecture was delivered on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi (June 6, 2021) at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to launch the Year of the Eucharist for the Archdiocese of Boston. [...]
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An inspiring call to arms during a grim and challenging time

By Piers Shepherd on Jun 07, 2021 02:21 am
It is easy for a Catholic to feel discouraged in our times. The culture appears to have decisively turned against Christian values and shows signs of constantly getting worse. In this context, Austin Ruse’s new [...]
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Sr. Maria Laura Mainetti: Nun stabbed to death by three teenage girls is beatified

By Catholic News Agency on Jun 06, 2021 01:00 pm
Sister Maria Laura Mainetti. Public domain. Chiavenna, Italy, Jun 6, 2021 / 11:00 am (CNA). An Italian nun who was stabbed to death by three teenage girls was beatified on Sunday, after Pope Francis declared her a martyr, killed “in hatred of th... [...]
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The pluribus and the unum

By James Kalb on Jun 06, 2021 10:34 am
Government is difficult. How can anyone run other people’s lives when he likely has trouble running his own? A basic difficulty is the old problem of the one and the many. In philosophy that problem [...]
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Beautiful Catholic picture books for your children or godchildren

By Rachel Hoover on Jun 06, 2021 12:22 am
When my youngest brother was born, the hospital signed him up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a program in which children receive free books in the mail from birth until age five. This is a [...]
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Faith and the fight for a $15 minimum wage

The fight for the heart of the Southern Baptist Convention*
The New Yorker: How the Convention’s battle over race reveals an emerging evangelical schism.
New York Magazine:
The Southern Baptist church is going to hell in a handbasket*
Associated Press:
Secret recordings show Southern Baptist dispute on sex abuse
Pastors value denominations but unsure about future
Baptist Standard: A Lifeway Research study asked Protestant pastors their thoughts on the importance of denominations and how they believe denominations will fare in the next 10 years.
Riz Ahmed calls for urgent change in ‘toxic portrayals’ of Muslims on screen
The Guardian: Actor cites ‘racist’ Hollywood films and urges industry reform to end stereotypes that drive ‘policies enacted and people killed.’
Faith and the fight for a $15 minimum wage
Religion & Politics: The coalition of faith and labor has a rich and complex history -- most notably seen during the rise of the social gospel movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Religion News Service: Poor People’s Campaign plans ‘Moral March on Manchin’
Friends mourn Steve Austin, former pastor and author who wrote about suicide and mental health
Religion News Service: Author and speaker Steve Austin had spent years trying to reduce the stigma of mental illness. A survivor of abuse and of a suicide attempt in 2016, he was open about sharing his own struggles.

In defiance of Vatican, Catholic leaders bless LGBTQ community

Watchdog report says police did not clear protesters to make way for Trump photo-op
NPR: The U.S. Park Police did not clear protesters from a park outside the White House so then-President Donald Trump could take a photo-op at a nearby church, an Interior Department inspector general’s report found.
The New York Times: 
Park police had planned to clear area before Trump’s walk to church, watchdog says*
Biden DOJ updates court filing after LGBTQ advocates blast its stance in religious schools case
CNN: The Biden Justice Department on Wednesday afternoon updated its court filing in a case where it is defending the right of religious schools to discriminate against LGBTQ students after a backlash from critics and a statement from plaintiffs in the case saying they felt “betrayed.”
Indiana CBF church ordains transgender minister
Baptist News Global: Being the first known transgender person ordained by a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship-affiliated congregation, Laura Bethany Buchleiter said she now can live fully into her calling to share the gospel in genuine and counter-cultural ways.
Facing enrollment declines, some Catholic dioceses are betting on online schools
Religion News Service: Catholic schools saw a 6.4% decline in enrollment at the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Now some dioceses are trying to attract new students with online schools.
In defiance of Vatican, Catholic leaders bless LGBTQ community
Sojourners: Earlier this year, the Vatican said that its priests and ministers cannot bless same-sex unions. For LGBTQ Catholics, this was a setback for what many saw as the church’s more welcoming trajectory under Pope Francis. But not everyone is following the instructions.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Poland's embattled bishops to meet with Pope Francis

A defense of the culture warrior bishops — sort of

In light of Pope Francis' frequent talk of a need for greater empathy in our modern culture, NCR political columnist Michael Sean Winters tries his hand at defending the culture warrior bishops in the U.S. bishops' conference. 

It isn't always easy to do so, he writes, such as when certain bishops had a public aversion to government-ordered restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

"Still, there is no denying that at a time when spread-eagle capitalism and libertarian mores have led many to espouse a new version of social Darwinism, Francis' call to empathy should be heeded," Winters writes, especially as the U.S. bishops head into their June virtual meeting where they will discuss the issue of denying Communion to pro-choice politicans. 

"Every bishop in America agrees that abortion is a great evil and that no human person should be denied the equal protection of the law," Winters says. "All agree with Francis that abortion is evidence of the 'throwaway culture' at its most evil. All are frustrated that these moral truths have been obscured even among many Catholics. But not all agree that the way to vindicate these moral concerns is to begin denying communion to politicians who, for whatever reasons, oppose criminalizing abortion."

You can read more of Winters' column here.

More background:


Poland's embattled bishops to meet with Pope Francis

When Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy, a retired Polish prelate, was sanctioned by the Vatican in late May for mishandling sexual abuse by his clergy, it was just the latest blow to the once-unsullied image of the country's Catholic Church.

In recent days, there have been reports that the Polish bishops have been specially summoned to Rome in the fall by Pope Francis because of a spate of sexual abuse cases that have rocked the country's church. Although officials have denied the accuracy of the reports, they nonetheless signal the deep unease now afflicting religious life in Europe's most Catholic country.

"It's been a kind of shock therapy for everyone," said Marcin Przeciszewski, director of Poland's Catholic Information Agency, KAI. "But even if we lose more bishops, we should also see it as something positive — a cleansing process for our church, and a learning curve for those who've been inclined to ignore or cover up negative phenomena."

You can read more of the story here.

More background:


More headlines

  • At EarthBeat, read about three dozen church groups in Panama that have issued a statement protesting a new mining concession in a forested area near Indigenous communities, calling for the government to protect the rights and ensure the participation of communities affected by development projects.

  • ICYMI: A June 7 U.S. Supreme Court decision ruled that hundreds of thousands of immigrants with a temporary immigration status cannot apply for a more permanent way to remain in the country if they first entered without authority to do so.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

When a pastor behaves badly on Twitter or FaceBook

The future of church planting relies on the leadership of women of color, says Thabiti Anyabwile.

Rick Warren announces the search for his replacement at Saddleback, the megachurch he founded in California in 1980.

Beth Moore. Charlie Dates. Jemar Tisby. Russell Moore. Sometimes you’ve got to leave, writes Denis R. Edwards, because “leaving can be a prophetic act that outs institutional toxicity.”

When a pastor behaves badly on Twitter or FaceBook, is it okay to say, “Well he’s not really like that in real life”? Ronnie Martin and Jared Wilson discuss challenges for shepherds on social media.

A sneak peak on CT’s forthcoming podcast, The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill. “In some ways,” says host Mike Cosper, “Mars Hill’s story is like no other. But in others, it’s a window into much that shapes the evangelical church in North America today.”

In other news

Just weeks before meeting for their annual convention, a leaked letter alleges that top Southern Baptist leaders mishandled abuse claims.

Last year, we reported on the German government’s suspicion of refugee converts. Now officials are pushing to crack down on churches offering asylum.

The band Crowder has a new album out this week. Here the inside story of how frontman David Crowder once stole a surfboard in Hawaii.

Looks like somebody needs to go back and double-check their cubits: A Noah’s ark replica was deemed unseaworthy by marine authorities in England. It has been impounded.