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Rome & the World: Vatican mystery on Ukraine • John Paul I’s miracle • & more …

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POPE FRANCIS-UKRAINE-RUSSIA-CONFLICT

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

I.Media for Aleteia - published on 05/19/22

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.

Thursday 19 May 2022
1. Why it is difficult to figure out what the Vatican thinks about Ukraine
2. Toni Servillo plays a Paul VI “between mercy and responsibility”
3. Poland: the question of abuse during the pontificate of John Paul II at the heart of a documentary
4.  Discomfort over the issue of assisted suicide in the Church of Germany
5.  The beautiful story behind the miracle of the beatification of John Paul I
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Why it is difficult to figure out what the Vatican thinks about Ukraine

While the Pope has made numerous statements denouncing the deadly conflict in Ukraine, some aspects of papal diplomacy have raised questions among Vatican experts. For example, John Allen sets out a number of questions that remain more or less unanswered. “Does the Vatican support the aggressive economic sanctions imposed by most Western states on Russia?”; “Does the Vatican agree with the diagnosis of the Russian Orthodox Church that Putin is a defender of traditional Christian values, both at home and abroad?”; “What does the Vatican think about the expansion of NATO, especially the requests by Finland and Sweden to join immediately?”; etc. According to Crux, a few hypotheses can explain the vagueness maintained by the Vatican. First, Pope Francis is not a European pontiff and thus resists “being identified too closely with Western policies.” Secondly, the Pope probably wants to remain cautious in an attempt to preserve the ecumenical relations he has established with Moscow. While the Orthodox world is being torn apart, Francis would not want to become a full-fledged actor in this internal conflict.

Crux, English

Toni Servillo plays a Paul VI “between mercy and responsibility”

The 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival is currently in full swing on the French Riviera and artists of all nationalities are walking the red carpet of the Croisette. This is the case of the Italian director Marco Bellocchio, who is currently presenting his film titled Esterno notte. This feature film, which will be divided into a mini-series next year, tells the tragic story of the disappearance of Aldo Moro, an Italian statesman and President of the Christian Democracy Party, who was coldly murdered by the Red Brigades in 1978. In recalling this terrible moment, reference is often made to Pope Paul VI, the Pontiff at the time, who was forced to live through these historic events without being able to be of any help. It is the actor Toni Servillo, star of the Oscar-winning film La Grande Bellezza, who plays the role of Paul VI. A character that he tries to interpret as accurately as possible: “I avoid easy generalizations about the figure of the Pope (…) I was interested in showing this very strong conflict dimension that the Pope expressed in his own words.” The Italian actor is delighted to be working with Marco Bellocchio and to be able to bring to the screen “a figure that oscillates dramatically between his temporal image and the merciful one of a man of faith.”

Ciak Magazine, Italian

Poland: the question of abuse during the pontificate of John Paul II at the heart of a documentary

How could John Paul II, “a priest whose greatness was realized in the love of human dignity, the sanctity of the priesthood and the respect for human suffering,” have allowed the abuse of minors to flourish in his Church? This is the question that Polish Vatican expert Paulina Guzik asks in a documentary, “House of Glass,” which looks back at the darkest parts of her compatriot’s pontificate. For the website Deon, she explains that her investigation focuses on how the actions of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick or Father Marcial Maciel were concealed. For the journalist, it is necessary to put things in the context of his time, because no pope can act “independently of the time in which he lives.” Recalling that the first works on child sexual abuse were published a year before the beginning of the pontificate of the Pole, she emphasizes, however, the personal responsibility of the Pope’s entourage, especially of his secretary, Cardinal Angelo Sodano. A work that she considers necessary and unavoidable, even if the Church may be hurt by it. 

Deon.pl, Polish

Discomfort over the issue of assisted suicide in the Church of Germany

In Germany, the criminalization of assisted suicide existed for a relatively short period of time (2015-2020), and only concerned commercial offers and associations that proposed it. In Germany, the state cannot intervene to hinder the realization of a free decision to commit suicide. The theologian Notger Slenczka explains in the Herder Korrespondenz that if the Catholic and Protestant churches were united for its criminalization in 2015, the union cracked after its authorization in 2020. Several pastors called to defend people’s freedom and to “stop telling people how to live.” A movement followed by some Catholics in Bremen and Lower Saxony, which opens the door for exceptions. Notger Slenczka warns against the temptation for churches to set up “eligibility criteria” for assisted suicide, because this would be an obstacle to the freedom they claim to defend.

Herder Korrespondenz, German

The beautiful story behind the miracle of the beatification of John Paul I

Albino Luciani, better known as John Paul I, will be beatified in September after the healing of Candela Giarda. In 2011, this young girl was suffering from an epileptic syndrome probably due to an infection. After 62 days on life support, the hospital doctor warned her mother that Candela was about to die. Running to the nearest church, the mother returned with Father José Dabusti. Father Dabusti laid his hands on the girl and entrusted her to the prayers of John Paul I. Leaving the mother to her prayer, the priest withdrew. The next day, Candela’s condition improved, and today she is working at a university and in good health. On the occasion of the beatification of Luciani, a journalistic investigation “What did they do?” reveals information and analysis related to the controversial death of the Pontiff. A possible poisoning, as well as theories about a relationship with the mafia, or the lack of communication by the Holy See on the autopsy of the “Pope of 33 days” are discussed and put into context

Clarin, Spanish

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