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Rome & the World: Legionary victims 25 years on • heroes in China

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I.Media - published on 02/24/22

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.

Thursday 24 February 2022
1 – 25 years later, Legion of Christ victims seek reparations  
2 – German bishop refuses to hand over Benedict XVI to public outrage 
3 – Apostolic Nuncio to Syria on humanitarian crisis in the country
4 – Heroic beginnings of the Catholic Church in China
5 – The faithful of Agrigento protest against the new cathedra


125 years later, Legion of Christ victims seek reparations

It was exactly 25 years ago that a Connecticut newspaper revealed one of the Catholic Church’s biggest sex scandals, reporting that eight men had accused Marcial Maciel – the founder of the Legionaries of Christ – of raping and molesting them while they were seminarians. It took a decade for the Vatican to sanction the perpetrator and another decade for the Legion to admit that he was a serial pedophile who raped at least 60 boys. Today, three of Maciel’s victims are still seeking reparations from the Legion to compensate for the abuse they suffered and the “moral” damage done to their reputations by the order after they refused previous compensation. In 1997, “los 8 Magnificos” – so nicknamed by the ex-Legionaries for standing up to Maciel and the order – had written an unanswered letter to Pope John Paul II, in which they were indignant that their “grave revelations and complaints mattered absolutely nothing to” the Pope. 

AP, English

2German bishop refuses to hand over Benedict XVI to public outrage

Stefan Oster, Bishop of Passau, birth diocese of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, published a reflection in his defense in light of the accusations in the Munich report. Bishop Oster recognizes that they are all part of a system that for too long remained uninterested “in the concrete fate of those affected by abuse” and highlights that Cardinal Ratzinger was one of the first to give attention to this matter. Echoing Cardinal Marx’s words after having read the Munich report, Bishop Oster says he does not “see a willingness to cover up on Benedict’s part.” He criticizes “the media outrage over the alleged ‘lie’” which “falls entirely on a 94-year-old and apparently should discredit his entire life’s work.” 

Tempi, Italian

3Apostolic Nuncio to Syria on humanitarian crisis in the country

In an interview with the official media of the Holy See, Vatican News, Cardinal Mario Zenari warned of the dramatic situation of 13 million Syrians in extreme poverty, suffering from hunger and cold. His expression of alarm is part of the preparation of a meeting to be held in Damascus in mid-March on the theme “Charity and Synodality,” with representatives of the Vatican dicasteries and episcopal conferences involved in supporting the Syrian population. Representatives of the United Nations will also participate in the meeting. Cardinal Zenari warned that “poverty continues to soar” while Syria no longer receives international media attention. He welcomes the support of the Pope who, in the famous words of St. Ignatius of Antioch, an early Syrian martyr, “presides over charity.”

Vatican News, Italian

4The heroic beginnings of the Catholic Church in China

“If Europe were truly Catholic, I do not doubt that the time for China’s conversion would be now. But unfortunately one must look to the future with fear and trembling. There is no time to lose, and we should work tirelessly.” These are the words of Father Josef Freinademetz, a parish priest from South Tyrol (Italy), who ended up as a missionary in China. In Italy he already dreamed of converting the most populous country in the world to Catholicism. Notified by a local Catholic magazine of the existence of a new missionary institute that intended to dedicate itself to Asia, the Society of the Divine World, he joined the Verbites and arrived in China in 1879. Canonized by John Paul II in 2003, he had a true love for the Chinese, Catholic and non-Catholic alike. His tomb was visited and honored by tens of thousands of people until it was desecrated and destroyed by the Cultural Revolution, although a memorial has since been rebuilt.

Mercatornet, English

5The faithful of Agrigento protest against the new cathedra

The dissatisfaction is growing among the faithful of Agrigento, in Sicily, where the new Archbishop, Alessandro Damiano, has taken the initiative to change the cathedra of the cathedral. The previous one, dating from 1957, has been replaced by a more modern one, which “clashes” with the architecture of the place, according to the unhappy parishioners. The archdiocese explains its choice as a better compliance with the principles of the Second Vatican Council. However the reactions on social media do not agree: “an absolute horror,” “a bathroom furniture abomination.” The simplicity of the new installation, all in white, made some people wonder if it had been found at Ikea. While others dared the more than dubious comparison with a toilet.

Il Fatto Quotidiano, Italian

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