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Rome & the World: ‘oops’ in 1631 Bible printing • America’s Black nuns • & more …

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I.Media - published on 05/03/22

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 3 May 2022
1. Pope Francis and the Synodal Church
2. As ambassadors left town, the Pope’s emissary remained in Kyiv
3. Pope’s doctor imposes 10 days of total rest and an infiltration for his right knee
4. Black Catholic nuns: A compelling long-overlooked history 
5. Rare ‘Wicked’ bible that encourages adultery discovered in New Zealand

Pope Francis and the Synodal Church

Last week a meeting of the committee for the Synod on Synodality, which Pope Francis has called for 2023, was held in Rome. Its purpose was to establish a common path, to talk to each other and to begin to concretize this Synod, which is supposed to give a new face to the Church: a synodal face. In fact, in Praedicate Evangelium, the new Constitution that regulates the tasks and functions of the Roman Curia, the Synod is no longer defined as a Synod of Bishops but simply as a Synod. That is, a synodal meeting that can be considered more as an assembly of the faithful than as a true governing body. According to Vatican journalist Andrea Gagliarducci, Pope Francis is thus implementing what he has always wanted: a “state of permanent synod.” However, some questions naturally arise. Will Pope Francis succeed in having a truly synodal and listening Church, or will his intentions clash with a reality he has helped to build? Many questions remain unanswered, especially when considering the consequences of the German synod.

Monday Vatican, English

As ambassadors left town, the Pope’s emissary remained in Kyiv

By mid-February, the threat of Russian bombing had prompted many embassies to leave Kyiv and move to western Ukraine. The Holy See, for its part, has maintained its diplomatic representation in the capital. “Bishops and priests, they stay with the people. I stay with the people because it’s part of my identity,” said Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas, the apostolic nuncio, a Lithuanian national who lived through the Soviet system as a child. When he was working at the nunciature in Moscow, he served as a translator during talks between Pope Francis and Vladimir Putin. Now in Kyiv, along with his five collaborators who remain with him in the context of the war, he has sought to assist in the evacuation of residents and staff from several orphanages near the front line. His attempts to bring humanitarian aid to Mariupol, in tandem with an Orthodox bishop, failed in the face of the firmness of the Russian soldiers. He also confided that he cried when he accompanied Cardinal Krajewski on Good Friday to the mass graves in Butcha and Borodianka, where victims of massacres were buried. 

The New York Times, English

Pope’s doctor imposes 10 days of total rest and an infiltration for his right knee

While Pope Francis’ knee has been the subject of many articles for several months, forcing him to cancel trips and lighten his schedule, the Argentine newspaper Clarin provides details on the health of the Pontiff. For now, his doctors have ruled out any surgical intervention, but the Pope must remain at absolute rest and must undergo a “robust [joint] infiltration” to reduce the swelling of the ligaments, reveals the media outlet. According to orthopedist Francesco Bove, president of the Foundation for the Fight Against Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis in Italy, the osteoarthritis, from which the Pope suffers, comes from an operation he underwent in 1994 in Buenos Aires, when he was fitted with a prosthesis in his right hip. “The habit of priests and nuns to pray on their knees may have aggravated his case,” he explains. The professor fears that “if time passes without improvement, surgery (will be) necessary.” Especially when one considers the program of apostolic journeys that are being studied from June onwards: Lebanon, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Canada and Kazakhstan.

Clarin, Spanish  

Black Catholic nuns: A compelling long-overlooked history

Shannen Dee Williams, a history professor at the University of Dayton (USA), has spent 14 years researching the stories of America’s Black Catholic nuns. In her book “Subversive Habits,” which will be published on May 17 and which the Associated Press describes as “comprehensive and compelling,” she retraces the history and experience of this community. Williams’ main argument, which she outlines in her preface, is the fact that the nearly 200-year history of these nuns has been largely overlooked or suppressed by those who were hostile or resented this community. Throughout her research Williams found that many Black nuns were not very willing to share details about experiencing things such as racism or discrimination. She tells the story of specific orders who help disadvantaged Black youths or trailblazing nuns, such as Sister Mary Antona Ebo, who fought for Black voting rights. “For far too long, scholars of the American, Catholic, and Black pasts have unconsciously or consciously declared — by virtue of misrepresentation, marginalization, and outright erasure — that the history of Black Catholic nuns does not matter,” Williams writes, explaining that her book is proof that their history “has always mattered.”

Associated Press, English

Rare ‘Wicked’ bible that encourages adultery discovered in New Zealand

A copy of an extremely rare Bible, nicknamed the “Wicked Bible,” has been found in New Zealand, reports the British daily The Guardian. It owes its nickname to an error that occurred during its printing in 1631, when the printers omitted the word “not” for the seventh commandment, “informing readers ‘thou shalt commit adultery.’” The two English printers took 1,000 copies off the presses, but after the error was discovered, they were summoned by King Charles I and sent to court for this “scandalous typo.” As a result, they lost their printing license, were heavily fined, and the existing copies were destroyed. However, there are said to be about 20 copies left in circulation that escaped the auto-da-fé. Today historians are still debating whether the error was voluntary or not… The most likely hypothesis is that it was a way to reduce the printing costs, which were very high at the time. 

The Guardian, English  

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