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Rome & the World: imbalance in Catholics per priest • quakes in Holy Land • & more ….

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Jeffrey Bruno

I.Media - published on 02/21/22

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.

Monday 21 February 2022
1 – The Mediterranean is a “symbol of the wounds of the whole world,” says Cardinal Bassetti
2 – Vatican statistics show global imbalance in ratio of Catholics per priest
3 – Archbishop Scicluna comments on Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to Malta
4 – Thousands of baptisms presumed invalid due to one priest’s wording error
5 – The Holy Land shakes


As 58 bishops and 65 mayors from around 30 Mediterranean countries prepare to attend a summit in Florence – to be concluded by Pope Francis – the president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference believes that this meeting is “more necessary than ever.” In fact, “from the cradle of civilization, the Mediterranean has become today a symbol of the wounds of the whole world,” he said in an interview. He announced that during this event the “Youth Council of the Mediterranean” will be launched; its work will be inspired by the theme of “universal brotherhood.” It is the capital of Tuscany that has been chosen for this meeting, he explains, because Florence is “a terrace of Christian civilization in all directions of the world.”

Avvenire, Italian

Vatican statistics show global imbalance in ratio of Catholics per priest

A report published by the Vatican’s Central Office of Church Statistics in early February shows the imbalance among continents in the ratio of priests per Catholics. In Europe there is one priest for every 1,746 Catholics, while in the Americas there is one priest per 2,086 Catholics and in Africa one priest per 5.089 Catholics. Additionally the priests are not equally distributed around the globe: While only around 20% of the world’s Catholics live in Europe, 40% of the world’s priests minister there. In contrast, the Americas have 48% of the world’s Catholics but only 29.3% of the world’s priests. 

National Catholic Reporter, English

Archbishop Scicluna comments on Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to Malta

“Malta and the Mediterranean are experiencing a crisis of solidarity.” These are the strong words of Archbishop Scicluna of Malta in an interview with Vatican News in which he calls for greater cooperation from Europe so that this Sea, which has too often become a graveyard, becomes an area of concrete co-responsibility. These words come a few days before the Florence summit, which will bring together the mayors and bishops of some 60 Mediterranean cities, and a month before Pope Francis’ trip to Malta. For Archbishop Scicluna, “the commitment to dialogue is the path that will lead us to a shared sea, in harmony and justice,” while requiring “the co-responsibility of each one.” 

Vatican News, French

Thousands of baptisms presumed invalid due to one priest’s wording error

Rev. Andres Arango, a priest beloved by his parishioners who served in Arizona for 16 years, was found to have repeatedly used an incorrect formula when performing baptisms, making these sacraments invalid. Father Arango’s error was in saying, “We baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” rather than saying “I baptize you ….” According to the Vatican this seemingly small difference is actually theologically very important, as it is not the “we” of the congregation doing the baptizing but the “I” of Jesus Christ, working through the priest. Rev. Arrango has apologized for his error and has re-baptized some of his parishioners, who were mostly sad about his resignation and grateful for his ministry.

America, English 

The Holy Land shakes

Four earthquakes have been recorded in recent weeks in the Holy Land, reports the media outlet Terre Sainte Magazine. Admittedly, the tremors have been described as minor, not exceeding 3.7 on the Richter scale, but their repetition is worrying. Israel and Palestine are located on the Syrian-African fault where two plates are moving in the same direction but at different rates. While the recent earthquakes have not caused any damage, the region is subject to severe earthquakes every 100 years. According to some predictions reported by the Times of Israel, a major earthquake could result in 7,000 deaths and 145,000 injuries, as well as 170,000 homeless.

Terre Sainte Magazine, French. 

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