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Rome & the World: Vatican’s euthanasia strategy • redefining obedience?

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I.Media - published on 02/08/22

Every day, Aleteia offers a selection of articles written by the international press about the Church and the major issues that concern Catholics around the world. The opinions and views expressed in these articles are not those of the editors.

Tuesday 8 February 2022
1 – Assisted suicide, a strategic turn on bioethics?
2 – The Chinese government promotes “scientific atheism” and blames religions
3 – Religious populations growing faster than atheists worldwide
4 – Religious vow of obedience needs to be redefined, theologian says
5- Pope Francis has prefaced a book-interview with a repentant former Mafia member

Assisted suicide, a strategic turn on bioethics?

In order to limit the risk of Italy legislating in favor of euthanasia, is the Vatican pushing for a law on assisted suicide? This is what the investigation by French daily La Croix posits. While Italian parliamentarians must address the issue of ending one’s life, two options, both in opposition to the doctrine of the Catholic Church, are on the table. In an article published by the Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica, Father Casalone, a collaborator of the Pontifical Academy for Life, believes that it is better to support the bill that would give a limited framework to assisted suicide. This strategy of choosing the lesser evil, which would be assumed by the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, would not imply a renunciation of the Church on bioethical issues. Rather, it would reflect the fact that the Church is no longer able “to impose itself through a balance of power or to make itself heard with its traditional arguments,” writes the Rome correspondent of the French daily. 

La Croix, French

Chinese culture has always been non-religious: this is the thesis of a book that is supposed to become part of the curriculum of schools and institutions in China, at the initiative of the Chinese Communist Party. Written by an academic named Li Shen, the book imposes a rereading of the country’s religious history in the light of the teachings of Karl Marx and the recent directives of the Great Helmsman, Xi Jinping. The book is a thorough critique of the negative impact of religions on Chinese society. It contains, among other things, a “proof of the non-existence of God” and legitimizes the policies of control and sinicization of religions, recently adopted by the Chinese government. Against the latter, Li Shen promotes Confucianism “as a form of atheism.”

UCA News, English

Religious populations growing faster than atheists worldwide

Although there is an increase in the overall number of atheists worldwide, the Nashville-based organization Lifeway Research has found that the population of religious people is growing at a faster pace than their secular counterparts. For example, the data showed that between 2000 and 2022 the population of people who subscribe to a particular religion grew at a rate of 1.27%, whereas for the same period the number of atheists grew at a rate of 0.18%. The study also highlighted the increase of Christianity in particular, with evangelical and Pentecostal/charismatic populations growing the fastest, both at a rate of around 1.8%. Additionally, Christianity seemed to flourish most rapidly in the global south.

The Christian Post, English

Religious vow of obedience needs to be redefined, theologian says

Peruvian theologian Rocio Figueroa offers a reflection on how the vow of obedience must be redefined to make religious life more attractive to today’s generations, especially young girls. Figueroa says that although the vow of obedience is necessary it has been ill-defined and has allowed the abuse and mistreatment of religious women for decades. “The problem now is that we have a lot of women who are exercising authority in a patriarchal way,” which is causing problems in some communities, she explained.  “We need to find a new model for exercising authority,” she insisted.

Crux, English

Pope Francis prefaces a book-interview with a repentant Mafia member

 “Never reduce another to his or her mistake,” is what Pope Francis writes in the preface of Passiamo all’altra riva (“Let us pass to the other shore”). This book by Don Benito Giorgetta, parish priest of San Timoteo in Termoli, gathers interviews with Luigi Bonaventura, a repentant former Mafia member who now collaborates with the judiciary. In this book, also post-faced by Don Luigi Ciotta, founder of the association “Libera” that fights against Mafia abuses throughout Italy, the Pontiff insists on “fraternal correction,” meaning “not to reproach others for their sins, but, by being their neighbor, to help them overcome them, walking together towards healing or towards its beginning.” Having listed a series of practical and concrete answers to how to save our neighbor, he invites us to take the first step, and to not abandon one who has “acted criminally” but rather to help him or her cross over “to the other shore.”

Vatican News, English 

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