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Rome & the World : Silencing the Pope • Volunteer talks about suffering of Ukrainian families • & more…

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I.Media - published on 04/05/22

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 5 April 2022
1- Catholics and war. Silencing the Pope?
2- A volunteer in Ukraine: “Mothers try not to cry, children no longer laugh.”
3- An anticlerical reading of the dechristianization of Ireland
4 – Homosexual unions: a “hidden” maneuver is taking shape within the Church
5- The Swiss Church launches a “pilot project” on abuse

Catholics and war. Silencing the Pope?

“How can Pope Francis show such indifference to those who are really dying, for their homeland?” asks Pietro de Marco, a former professor of sociology of religion at the University of Florence. Journalist Massimo Borghesi comments that much of the discussion on peace and war, on pro-Putin or anti-Putin, which occupies all the Italian media space, appears mawkish, useless and ideological. In the end, he explains, it is not a question of Ukraine’s right to resist or to obtain arms against the Russian invasion, but of how to achieve peace. The journalist laments that instead of agreeing on this issue for good, the Catholic intelligentsia is bogged down in sterile debates in which they accuse the Pope of being “pacifist” or even “neutralist,” or of not taking a clear position in favor of Ukraine. However, Borghesi underlines that before criticizing, saying that there could be comparisons with the silences of Pius XII, it is necessary to go back and seriously consider the specter of the war in Iraq, to which John Paul II was absolutely opposed and which ended in the total devastation of the invaded country. Thus, Borghesi says, the realism required is not that which aims to redraw the political geography of the world, but rather that which, in the face of the current tragedy, exploits all possible openings to achieve peace. “This is what the Pope, the true realist, wants and insists on,” he concludes.

Vita, French 

According to Unicef, around 7.5 million children in Ukraine are in danger, including becoming victims of trafficking. Avvenire turns the spotlight on mothers and their children, “the other face of the resistance, less visible.” Left to fend for themselves while the men are drafted to defend the country, these women and children – many of them on the run – need not only basic material aid, but also psychological and psychosocial support. According to one humanitarian volunteer, Olimpia, the children “are traumatized.” The mothers gather strength and courage for their children, Olimpia comments, admitting she feels powerless in the drama of the situation. Beyond their emergency needs, all of them “ask only one thing: that the war ends” “Make it stop! Make it stop!” repeats an old woman, in a heart-wrenching cry. 

Avvenire, Italian  

An anticlerical reading of the dechristianization of Ireland

Why has Ireland, a flourishing Catholic nation at the end of the Second World War, become a highly secularized nation today? This is what author Fintan O’Toole proposes to answer, with a very personal account, by retelling the country of his childhood in a book, reviewed by The New Yorker, “We Don’t Know Each Other: A Personal History of Modern Ireland” is a book marked, according to the American newspaper, by a “righteous anticlericalism.” The author describes Ireland in the aftermath of its independence as a “curious, dusty little annex” of the Catholic Church. The author, accumulating anecdotes on the paradoxical mores of the Irish clergy, goes so far as to assert that his country, at its birth, was in fact ruled by the powerful Archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid. The book is presented as a charge against the religious sectarianism which, according to the author, fed the violence against the English enemy to the point of absurdity, and more broadly against the many inconsistencies of Irish Catholic society in the second half of the 20th century. It is this “hypocrisy” that has lost Ireland, the author believes, and that has allowed it to become a “normal” country, especially with the adoption of gay marriage in 2015. “This, I think, was what really changed: ordinary Catholics realized that, when it came to lived morality, they were way ahead of their teachers.” 

The New Yorker, English  

Civil unions: a “hidden” maneuver is taking shape within the Church

In an interview with a German weekly, Cardinal Reinhard Marx once again called for changes to the catechism on homosexuality and sexual morality, reports the Italian right-wing newspaper Il Giornale, denouncing the desire of some prelates to build a “Church of the future” with a progressive agenda. “The catechism is not set in stone. What it says can also be discussed,” said Cardinal Marx, Archbishop of Munich, and president of the Council for the Economy, at the Vatican. However Pope Francis himself is cautious and did not want to appear to be breaking with his predecessors on the doctrinal level, even though he expressed himself, in a personal capacity, in favour of homosexual civil unions, the article explains. Given the agitated international context, especially with the still dramatic consequences of the pandemic and the Russian offensive in Ukraine, the papacy must fulfill its historical role towards humanity and “the spaces for doctrinal polemics have been reduced”, the Italian newspaper notes.

Il Giornale, Italian  

The Swiss Church launches a “pilot project” on abuse

The Swiss Church is launching a “pilot project” on abuse: in the span of one year, a research team from the University of Zurich is to evaluate the general conditions for a historical study of abuse in the Church since the middle of the 20th century and thus provide the basis for further research projects. They plan to start interviewing victims in May of this year. Advised by an independent scientific committee, the team will have access to files kept in the secret archives of the dioceses. Among the experts involved is Astrid Kaptijn, a specialist in canon law at the University of Freiburg who participated in the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (CIASE) in France. This project, with a budget of 450,000 Swiss francs, is considered by some as a “late” initiative, while others regret that it is a preliminary investigation, which will not reveal any precise figures and facts. 

Cath.ch, French 

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