Wednesday 20 April 2022
1. The Kremlin’s “holy war” against Ukraine: how the Russian Orthodox Church has given ideological backing to the invasion
2. In pictures: The horror of the war in Ukraine
3. Latin America is becoming more secular
4. In Italy, a shrine to World War II victims becomes a home for Ukrainian refugees
5. A well-known Italian singer performs as the Pope’s opening act
The Kremlin’s “holy war” against Ukraine: how the Russian Orthodox Church has given ideological backing to the invasion
The Financial Times looks at the support given by the Patriarch of Moscow to Russia’s offensive in Ukraine. Surprising from a Western perspective, this convergence of views between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Kremlin is part of a collaboration that has been accelerating for several decades. “After being suppressed for decades under communism, the church has formed a curious bond with the descendants of the Soviet intelligence services that used to be its persecutors. It has been well rewarded in return, with privileges for its top hierarchy and thousands of new churches being built,” the newspaper notes, mentioning in particular the inauguration in 2020 of a Cathedral of the Russian armed forces. “Though not formally a part of it, the Russian Orthodox Church has become a de facto pillar of Putin’s autocratic regime,” denounces the London business daily. However the Patriarch of Moscow is losing his authority over the Ukrainian Orthodox who have remained under his jurisdiction: Some of his own clergy are demanding that he be tried by an ecclesiastical court for having blessed the massacres.
Financial Times, English
In pictures: The horror of the war in Ukraine
The New York Times offers a shocking photo report on the war in Ukraine. The dozens of images taken by the photographers of the famous newspaper plunge us into the horror of the war. Bodies crushed by weapons, collapsed houses, mothers crying for their children, refugees by the hundreds, broken roads, coffins piling up… The New York daily reveals the macabre scenes of a conflict that has been going on in Eastern Europe for nearly two months. A report that reminds us of the urgency of a cease-fire.
The New York Times, English
Latin America is becoming more secular
The British weekly The Economist gives a snapshot of the shrinking number of Catholics in Latin America. Although this geographical region holds more than a third of the world’s Catholics, the numbers have been decreasing for decades : in 1995, 80% of people in Latin America identified as Catholic while today only 56% do. Many have become Evangelical Christians instead, which have risen from representing 3.5% of the population in 1995, to 19% today. The Economist highlights though that “an even more striking trend” is the “ningunas” (“nones”), meaning those who do not identify with any religion at all. This share of people has quadrupled to 16% since 1995 and is particularly high among the young and those who have had access to higher education. However, the article emphasizes that many of the “ningunas” still have spiritual beliefs of some sort and that religious identities seem to be becoming more fluid and mixed, with people attending more than one type of religious service for example.
The Economist, English