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Rome & the World: TikTokking Polish bishop (watch) • comet? or Sodom? • & more …

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I.Media - published on 04/22/22

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.

Friday 22 April 2022
1. Benedict XVI turns 95 as book focuses on anomaly of ‘2 popes’
2. The Catholic Church in Asia must address girls’ education
3. At the Holy Sepulcher, tensions around the Sacred Fire 
4. The scientific debate provoked by the controversial discovery of “biblical Sodom”
5. A Polish bishop and ex-soccer player becomes a TikTok star


Benedict XVI turns 95 as book focuses on anomaly of ‘2 popes’

In light of the Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI turning 95, veteran Italian journalist Massimo Franco published a new book called “The Monastery,” which analyzes the current state of Vatican affairs through the lens of Benedict’s nine-year retirement and the confusion over having two popes. The book paints a picture of two papal courts that started out on excellent terms but whose relationship has hardened throughout the years. Franco analyzes that Benedict’s retirement home in a converted monastery in the Vatican gardens has essentially become the “symbolic headquarters of the Francis opposition” with the Pope Emeritus becoming “the unwitting point of reference for right-wing, Catholic traditionalists who loathe Francis.” The problems “are not Francis’ fault or Benedict’s fault,” Franco said in an interview. “It’s the byproduct or the inevitable, unavoidable product of The Resignation,” he concluded.

Associated Press, English

The Catholic Church in Asia must address girls’ education

In Asia, the pandemic has led to a sharp decline in girls’ schooling. The Catholic Church, which runs many of the schools where Asia’s young girls come to learn, is called upon to take this “major challenge” head-on, says journalist Ben Joseph in an op-ed for UCANews. Otherwise, there is the risk that the number of child marriages will increase again, as is currently the case in Indonesia, the journalist analyzes. Joseph appeals to the Catholic hierarchy, asking for it to take into account these dramatic situations that affect the poorest families first and foremost, and that generate poverty, domestic violence, and child labor.

UCANews, English 

At the Holy Sepulcher, tensions around the Sacred Fire 

Usually, thousands of Orthodox Christians flock to the Holy Sepulcher to witness the miracle of the Holy Fire, the fire that appears on Holy Saturday, reports Terre Sainte magazine. However the Israeli authorities have decided to limit the number of faithful who can attend the event. According to them, this is to avoid deadly crowd movements. Initially set at 1,000 people, the limit has now been raised to 4,000. But the leaders of the Christian communities in the Holy Land are still not satisfied and have expressed their disagreement with these restrictions as the Eastern Churches prepare this weekend to celebrate Holy Saturday and Easter.

Terre Sainte, French

The scientific debate provoked by the controversial discovery of “biblical Sodom”

The discovery of the traces of an “apocalyptic event” in Tall el-Hammam, an ancient settlement near the Dead Sea, suggest remnants of the calamity that affected Sodom and Gomorrah, a biblical story that has become part of common culture. The archaeologists found strange elements “that can be associated with intense heat,” such as “melted rooftops” or “disintegrated pottery.” They found that this settlement had been abandoned for three to six centuries, after an event that occurred around 1650 BC, which would not have been a simple earthquake. The 21 experts who worked on the site concluded “that the nature of the destruction suggested a massive airburst or comet,” meaning a force superior to the 1908 explosion of a meteorite in Tunguska, Russia, which detonated with thousand times greater energy than the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. However, there is a lively controversy among archaeologists about the interpretation of this discovery, and the debate about the historicity of the biblical story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is far from over.

Religion News, English

A Polish bishop and ex-soccer player becomes a TikTok star

The auxiliary Bishop of Przemyśl in Poland, Stanislaw Jamrozek, has become the star of a viral TikTok video after juggling a soccer ball 50 times. Without taking off his cassock or his everyday shoes, he asked the viewers to pray for vocations for as many kick-ups as he was able to do in a row. After 50 repetitions, Bishop Jamrozek said “that we should pray the whole Rosary for vocations.” Before becoming a priest, in fact, this Bishop was a professional soccer player in the 1980s for several Polish clubs., French 

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