The Pope Makes Big Decisions

Grind for February 18th
“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”

– Charles Darwin

I Don’t Think So

The Headline

Pope Francis decides: married men will not be ordained; women will not serve as deacons

The Grind

Pope Francis on Wednesday ruled against a petition to ordain married men in the Amazon as a way to address the region’s shortage of priests – an option he had considered last month.

The petition was signed by hundreds of senior members of the Church in South America, who voted last October to recommend that older, married men be ordained.

Up to 85% of villages in the Amazon are without a permanent priest to serve the population. Some individuals are able to see a priest just once per year.

The Details

Conservative Catholics opposed the petition in fear that it would lead to the global abolition of celibacy.

“The priesthood of Jesus Christ causes us to enter into a life that consists of becoming one with him and renouncing all that belongs to us,” wrote retired Pope Benedict XVI. “For priests, this is the foundation of the necessity of celibacy but also of liturgical prayer, meditation on the Word of God, and the renunciation of material goods.”

Pope Francis asked the Church to “overcome limited perspective and not content ourselves with solutions that address only part of the situation” and urged future missionaries to consider working in the Amazon.

“The Catholic Church moves slowly in certain areas and this is one of those that could have caused terrible divisions in the Church,” added Francis.

The Pope also declared that women would not be allowed to serve as deacons and reiterated his concerns about global warming. “The Amazon region is facing an ecological disaster,” wrote Francis. “We demand an end to the mistreatment and destruction of Mother Earth.”

A New Idea

The Headline

A city in Montana is using beer waste for water treatment

The Grind

Drue Newfield manages the only wastewater plant in Havre, MT, a city of roughly 10,000 located near the Canadian border.

In 2017, facing a required upgrade that would cost the city $1 million, Newfield approached a nearby brewery with a plan: he wanted to use the brewery’s leftover barley to feed the microbes that cleanse the city’s water.

“With my knowledge of brewing and fermentation, I said, ‘Why aren’t we doing this? This sounds amazing,'” said Michael Garrity, owner of Triple Dog Brewing.

The plan worked, allowing the city to avoid the upgrade and save $16,000 per year on chemicals. Newfield’s innovation received an honorable mention from the EPA in 2019.

The Details

Last summer, engineering consultant Coralynn Revis led a pilot program to try the same method in Bozeman, MT, a city of roughly 50,000.

Bozeman’s water reclamation facility treats roughly 6 million gallons of water each day – including wastewater from 10 breweries.

“This is super simplified, but like, if they’re eating their French fries, they need a little ketchup with it. So to get the nitrate out, you dose a little carbon, and the bugs are happier,” explains Revis.

The experiment in Bozeman worked, but the logistics of transporting the brewery waste are too expensive for now. If clean water standards continue to increase, however, the plant will reconsider Newfield’s approach.

Newfield hopes more cities will test his idea and says he recently got a call from a wastewater plant manager in Boston.

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