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Rome & the World : Pontiff’s message to the tsar • Religious rebellion behind Russia-Ukraine war • & more… 

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Pope Francis

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I.Media - published on 04/04/22

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 4 April 2022
1 – The pontiff’s message to the tsar
2 – As focus in Vatican trial shifts to ex-watchdog, is it legal or personal?
3 – The religious rebellion behind the Russia-Ukraine war 
4 – Egypt: Amnesty International calls for the release of nine Copts
5 – Why are we still asking if women can lead in the church?

1The pontiff’s message to the tsar

During his trip to Malta, Pope Francis announced that he was seriously considering a visit to Ukraine. All noted his denunciation of the ongoing “extended Cold War” and his criticism of “certain powerful people, sadly locked in the anachronistic pretensions of nationalistic interests.” Even if the pontiff continues not to name Putin, “few doubt” that the harshest criticism is directed against him, according to Corriere della Sera. However, for Moscow, a trip by Pope Francis to Ukraine would be seen as a “gift to the United States.” The mere prospect of a trip would show, according to the Italian daily, that “the religious-political architecture that had been painstakingly built up over the years has at least been damaged.” And that the Pope is ready to denounce more precisely the responsibilities of the Russians if they do not put an end to the conflict. 

Corriere della Sera, Italian

This week will be turbulent on the Vatican judicial front, with a new hearing of Cardinal Angelo Becciu on his relationship with the one the Italian media have nicknamed “Lady Cardinal”: Cecilia Marogna. The media will do everything to find out what role this self-proclaimed “humanitarian 007” has played. However this hearing, scheduled for Thursday, is not the most important of the week, according to the American Vatican expert John Allen. In Crux, he highlights Tuesday’s hearing of René Brülhart, former president of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority, and his right-hand man Tommaso Di Ruzza, and calls the charges against them “the most inexplicable” in the entire indictment. What they are accused of is not true: they had no statutory control over the accounts of the Secretariat of State, Allen says. He wonders if this is not a personal “revenge” on the part of the chief prosecutor Gian Piero Milano himself. According to the American journalist, Milano did not appreciate being accused in the report of the EU anti-money laundering inspectorate Moneyval, while René Brühlart was congratulated. If this were the case, it would call into question the “legitimacy” of the trial and deal a terrible blow to the financial reforms. 

Crux, English. 

3The religious rebellion behind the Russia-Ukraine war

Behind Russia’s armed aggression, there is another less visible conflict: an “unprecedented” religious rebellion within the Russian Orthodox Church. More and more leaders of this Church are in open opposition to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, and many Ukrainian believers have stopped praying for him during services, which is a major act of disobedience, say experts interviewed by the BBC. The rebellion has spread beyond Ukraine’s borders, but it is this country, with the third largest Orthodox population in the world, that occupies the most crucial position for the Russian Orthodox Church. Ukraine is part of the “founding myth” as the heart of the “Russian nation”, and its capital, Kyiv, has a spiritual significance that can be compared to that of Jerusalem for the Christian world. While it is unclear how things will develop, there is already “a before and after” in the relationship between Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox, the article concludes. 

BBC, Spanish.

4Egypt: Amnesty International calls for the release of nine Copts

Amnesty International has called on the Egyptian government to “immediately” release nine Coptic citizens detained “arbitrarily”. They were arrested after demonstrating on Jan. 22 to demand the reconstruction of a church burned in 2016 in their village, Ezbet Farag Allah, 220 kilometers from Cairo. “It has been several years that the Egyptian authorities ignore the appeals addressed to them for the reconstruction of this church, thus depriving some 800 Copts of a place of worship in their village,” denounces the human rights NGO. The report indicates that after being arrested, the defendants were interrogated blindfolded and handcuffed, without the presence of their lawyers. Their families were also denied information about their fate. They were indicted with baseless “terrorism” charges only for participating in a peaceful demonstration, Amnesty protests. 

Terre Sainte, French 

5Why are we still asking if women can lead in the church?

After the publication of Pope Francis’ new Apostolic Constitution, which states any member of the faithful may preside over a body of the Curia, including women, America magazine journalist, Colleen Dulle, reflects on women in leadership positions in the Vatican. From her experience previously reporting on the subject, Dulle welcomes this new opening in the Vatican’s governance but also warns of possible obstacles. “There will without a doubt be resistance to women filling these roles in a Vatican still entrenched in a clericalist culture,” she explains, citing how Pope Francis had to “fight” resistance to appoint a woman as Number 2 in the Dicastery of Communications. 

America, English 

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