Thursday 21 April 2022
1. “The sacred is never an accessory to power,” says Father Spadaro in defense of the Pope
2. “Religious fever” spreading in China
3. Ethiopian Cardinal Souraphiel’s hopes for peace
4. Can a priest be a politician? The complicated case of Father Drinan
5. Jose Mourinho visited the Vatican children’s hospital
Defending Pope Francis against those who accuse him of “neutralism” in the face of the Ukrainian conflict, Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro explained in La Stampa that with the Pontiff, the sacred is “never an accessory of power.” Spadaro recalls that Pope Francis clearly stated this to Patriarch Kirill when he declared that the Church should not “use the language of politics but the language of Jesus” — a trap into which the head of Russian Orthodoxy has fallen, according to the Jesuit priest. However Kirill is not the only one, Spadaro underlines, saying Putin, Biden, and the former Ukrainian president Poroshenko, all have mixed spirituality with warrior images. The Pontiff “resists the tendency to make Christianity a political guarantee, whatever it may be,” thus breaking with the “imperial pretension” of popes of the past, concludes the intellectual close to Pope Francis.
La Stampa, Italian
“Religious fever” spreading in China
“Faced with the rise of materialism and consumerism that have accompanied the opening up of the country, religion has undoubtedly found its place,” analyses sinologist Claude Meyer, advisor to the Asia Center of the French Institute of International Relations. Among the signs of this increase is the construction of churches and the expansion of temples, he analyses. This return to religion can be explained first of all because “spirituality is deeply rooted in the Chinese psyche,” therefore, according to this specialist interviewed by French daily Le Figaro, atheistic communism is only a kind of parenthesis in Chinese history. However, in the meantime, the Communist Party continues to see Catholicism as a threat and is pushing for the sinicization of the Church. Claude Meyer reminds us that Beijing does not support the authority of the Pope, an external power, and he returns to the questions raised by the recent agreement between China and the Vatican on the appointment of bishops.
Le Figaro, French
Ethiopian Cardinal Souraphiel’s hopes for peace
The Archbishop of Addis Ababa, Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, was interviewed by Vatican News about the civil war in the Tigray region and the humanitarian crisis affecting the entire Horn of Africa, plagued by political instability, droughts, and scarcity of resources. The Pope’s words about “forgotten wars” were a source of comfort during Holy Week. Ethiopia is experiencing a relative lull. “At least at the moment, there is no war or fighting as there was a few months ago,” the Ethiopian Cardinal reassured, relieved to see dialogue taking place between the federal government and the authorities in Tigray. “We hope that these ongoing negotiations will lead to a lasting peace,” he explains, while stressing the seriousness of the humanitarian situation. He also recalls Ethiopia’s care for refugees from external conflicts. “We have about half a million Somali refugees, about 300,000 Eritrean refugees and about 430,000 refugees from South Sudan. We also have Syrian refugees who have come to Addis Ababa. I don’t know how they got here, but people are moving everywhere,” says the Ethiopian Cardinal.
Vatican News, Italian
Can a priest be a politician? The complicated case of Father Drinan
On the 15th anniversary of his death, America magazine remembers Father Robert F. Drinan, a Jesuit law professor who was also a member of the US Congress for 10 years. His tenure brought to light many questions including about whether a priest should serve as an elected official, legal abortion, separation of Church and state, and the Watergate scandal. Father Drinan was a member of the House Judiciary Committee that voted to impeach President Richard Nixon in 1974. Drinan also famously sided with pro-choice Democrats during the debates on legal abortions in the USA, which outraged many Catholics. In 1980, as Drinan was preparing his campaign for a sixth term, John Paul II asked the Jesuits to tell him to withdraw his candidacy, which he obeyed. “His commitment to the work of justice in the law and in politics was truly an expression of his response to the love of God, a response which affirmed that love and justice are indeed bound together,” said Father Langan who preached at Drinan’s funeral in 2007.