Whether sprinkled or smudged, ashes may be appearing on Catholics' foreheads tomorrow. If President Joe Biden's past church attendance is any indication, he will likely make time in his day to begin the church's 40-day penitential season by receiving ashes.
The news that the leader of the free world practices his faith will warm the hearts of some — and likely prompt others to once again pronounce judgments about Biden's Catholicity.
But in my Connections column, written for the print edition of NCR that went to press last week, I argued, "As part of our Lenten discipline, Catholics practice fasting and abstinence, which often means 'giving up' something for those 40 days. Here's an idea: Let's give up judging one another's faith commitments: no excommunications, no 'you're not really Catholic,' no potshots from the peanut gallery."
- ICYMI: Yesterday, NCR national correspondent Christopher White broke the news that the U.S. bishops' working group that was formed last fall to judge Biden's practice of the faith has "completed" its work. The planned document on "eucharistic coherence" will move to the bishops' Committee on Doctrine.
- Speaking of Lent, mark your calendar for the first in NCR's live event series called "Soul Seeing for Lent," hosted by Michael Leach. Tomorrow, on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, NCR columnist Franciscan Fr. Dan Horan will be the guest at 2:30 Eastern/1:30 Central, live on Facebook and YouTube.
- At EarthBeat, Fr. Emmet Farrell will be reflecting on climate change during Lent. You can sign up here to get those reflections three times a week.