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Rome & the World: First Nations’ Catholics; what it’s like to be captured by Russia; & more …

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A staked child's dress blows in the wind on Highway 5, near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

I.Media - published on 04/19/22

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 19 April 2022
1. A Ukrainian mayor describes his detention by the Russians and his appeal to Pope Francis 
2. Persistent faith among indigenous people in Canada 
3. Church in Germany responds to accusations of schism
4. On Good Friday, Francis opts for graciousness as geopolitical strategy
5. “What the Russians are doing in Ukraine, China could do to us,” warns a Filipino bishop


A Ukrainian mayor describes his detention by the Russians and his appeal to Pope Francis 

Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of Melitopol, who was kidnapped by Russian forces for nearly a week, was in Rome to testify about the dramatic situation in which his city now finds itself, but also about the inhumane conditions he endured during his captivity before he was freed in a hostage exchange. During his stay in Rome, the Ukrainian leader was able to meet and talk with Pope Francis before the Easter Vigil. He asked him to intercede with Vladimir Putin to guarantee humanitarian corridors in Mariupol. He also renewed the government’s invitation to the Pontiff to visit Ukraine, saying he might be able to “stop this war.” Two days later, another Ukrainian official, Major Serhiy Volyna – a Ukrainian marine in Mariupol – asked Pope Francis for help in saving the women, children, and wounded who are still in the city.

Reuters, English

Persistent faith among indigenous people in Canada 

In July, Pope Francis could travel to Canada to apologize once again to the country’s indigenous populations, after an initial apology in Rome last month. While there, notes the Canadian media outlet La Presse, the Pontiff may meet with many members of the indigenous faith communities. Despite the many grievances that persist among these peoples against the Canadian Catholic institutions – notably concerning the former residential schools – many of them are still Catholic today. A member of the Métis community in Ontario explains that this permanence is linked to respect for elders, a central element in all indigenous societies. Indigenous grandparents are often Catholic and, in addition to the centuries-old traditions of the various Canadian First Nations, they pass on their faith in Christ. Moreover, many bridges exist between indidengous wisdom and Catholicism, notes journalist Mathieu Perreault, who interviewed several Inuit, Métis or Indigenous Catholics who do not hesitate to mix ancestral “sage” and incense.

La Presse, French

Church in Germany responds to accusations of schism

Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference, responded on April 14 to a letter signed by more than 70 bishops – mainly American and African – which warned that the country’s synodal path could lead to a schism in the Catholic Church. “The Synodal Path is our attempt in Germany to confront the systemic causes of the abuse and its cover-up that has caused untold suffering to so many people in and through the Church,”  the German bishop wrote to Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila. For him, the synod is the means to make “our attempt to make a credible proclamation of the Good News possible again.” Calling the “accusations” made in the letter “surprising,” he said the synodal process does not undermine the authority of the Church, including that of Pope Francis, who he said has called for a “bold response to the present situation.”

CNA, English

On Good Friday, Francis opts for graciousness as geopolitical strategy

Did Pope Francis’ gamble to maintain the formula of the Via Crucis (“Way of the Cross”) ceremony in the Colosseum pay off? Only time will tell. Despite the uproar over the 13th Station of the Via Crucis and the boycott by television stations in Ukraine who refused to broadcast the event, the Vatican still chose to let a Ukrainian and a Russian woman carry the Cross together. Vatican expert John Allen points out that in this story, Pope Francis did not want to be indifferent to the realities of the Russian invasion and was not therefore naive. However, he chose to place the hope of reconciliation between the two countries at the center of his diplomatic strategy. 

Crux, English

“What the Russians are doing in Ukraine, China could do to us,” warns a Filipino bishop

With the presidential election in the Philippines just days away, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, former Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Manila and Vicar Apostolic of Taytay on the island of Palawan, weighs in on the issues facing the country’s next government. As human rights are increasingly seen as a “a burden on the progress of government projects” and the economy is in retreat, the Filipino prelate urges Catholics to choose the best candidate – especially since the Russian offensive in Ukraine is worrying: “If we let the Russians act with impunity, the Chinese will feel encouraged to do the same with us or Taiwan.” Faced with this danger, Bishop Pabillo joins in the “condemnation of Russia’s invasion” and denounces the “control” of minds through the media that Putin and Xi Jinping use.

Asia News, English 

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