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Rome & the World: atheist mathematician publishes letters with BXVI • N Korea’s growing Church • & more …

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CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION

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I.Media for Aleteia - published on 05/20/22

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 20 May 2022
1. The candidates to the presidency of the Italian Episcopal Conference
2. The friendship between a theologian pope and an atheist mathematician
3. The Church grows in North Korea despite persecution
4. In Germany, a questionnaire on the appointment of bishops leaked to press 
5. How to think about the post-Christian era: the analyses of Jean-Luc Marion and Chantal Delsol
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The candidates to the presidency of the Italian Episcopal Conference

The Italian Episcopal Conference will elect its president between May 23 and 27, 2022, during the general assembly scheduled in Rome. The newly elected president will succeed Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti and will have the onerous task of addressing the issue of a historic investigation into the sexual abuse of minors in the Church in Italy. Pope Francis recently stated that he wanted the future president to be a “cardinal” and “authoritative.” Traditionally, it is the Pope who names the president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference. However, at the beginning of his pontificate, Francis asked that the bishops find their successor “themselves.” The bishops, opposed to this idea, asked the pontiff to allow them to vote and propose a “triad” of bishops from which he would choose. Cardinal Bassetti’s successor will have to decide whether or not it is time to launch a national investigation into pedophilia – a project that the ex-president put aside, explaining that “neither the injured community nor the Church would do a good service if we acted in haste, only in order to give numbers.” 

Notizie Tiscali, Italian

The friendship between a theologian pope and an atheist mathematician

Piergiorgio Odifreddi is an atheist mathematician. Between 2013 and 2018, he met Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI five times and they also exchanged many letters. Today he published a collection of interviews he had with the former Cardinal Ratzinger, which he chose to title “In Cammino alla ricerca della verità” (On the way in search of the truth). This book comes out after a first open letter “Dear Pope, I am writing to you” and a second one “Dear theologian Pope, dear atheist mathematician.” It is presented as a dialogue between science and faith in which, although from divergent positions, the common goal of the search for truth emerges. Featuring firstly the narrative framework of the visits and then the letters, the book shows the reader many elements of both personalities, even if the stronger presence of Odifreddi’s pen is evident. What is surprising is the heterogeneous crowd of authors quoted: from Dostoyevsky to Hildegard, from Bingen to Küng or from Guardini to Sartre…

L’Avvenire, Italian

The Church grows in North Korea despite persecution

Archbishop Victorinus Yoon Kong-hi, one of South Korea’s most prominent clergymen, says the Catholic Church in communist North Korea is growing, although Catholics live underground and suffer persecutions. In a book of interviews, The Story of the North Korean Church, conducted last year, the 98-year-old prelate who was born in a region now located in North Korea, gives testimonies of the way the Church flourished in the territory before the division of the Korean peninsula. The Archbishop recounts the charitable missions of a very active Catholic Church before the regime, the fear of Catholics when communist forces attacked churches in 1949, the example set by the martyrs, and the story of his flight to the South. According to some information, it is possible that the structures of the seminaries from that time period still exist today.

UCANews, English 

In Germany, a questionnaire on the appointment of bishops leaked to press 

The questionnaire sent by the Apostolic Nuncio in Germany, Nikola Eterovic, in order to identify the profiles of future bishops, has leaked to the press. This document shows an important evolution compared to the previous known version, which dated from 2001. An “appropriate and fair” attitude with regard to the management of abuse is now required, as well as respectful behavior towards nuns, in order to avoid any “annoyance or scandal.” Interest in international news, level of education, state of health, pastoral experiences or leadership abilities are also probed in the questionnaire. Marriage and sexual ethics, as well as the position of these “episcopable” priests regarding the ordination of women, are also criteria taken into account in these questionnaires. On the other hand, contraception seems to be a less essential subject than before: unlike the 2001 version, the current questionnaire does not question the position of these clergymen on the subject of the encyclical of Paul VI “Humanae Vitae.”

Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, German 

How to think about the post-Christian era: the analyses of Jean-Luc Marion and Chantal Delsol

The reflections of these two central figures in intellectual debates in France are of great interest in the Anglo-Saxon world. The very rapid secularization that took place in Quebec in the 1960s or in Ireland in the 2000s, societies formerly structured by Catholicism, raises the question of on what basis a country can find stability and meaning in a global context of “decadence,” which is not a mere opinion but a factual observation. Jean-Luc Marion, who is a member of the Académie française and remains recognized as a leading Catholic intellectual, considers that, to avoid a complete dissolution of society, “we must make an appeal to all the resources and all the strengths, even the Catholic ones,” he assures us, not without irony. However, the search for a “Christian social order” is a dangerous illusion: Christian thought can only assume a role of witness in a plural society and in a context of well understood secularism. Chantal Delsol, for her part, is worried about seeing the principle of secularism set up as a dogma or an alternative religion, which can only hurt and anger a large part of the population that has kept a religious sense. However, her diagnosis of “the end of Christendom,” is also an invitation to Christians to live a more coherent faith. This means to take on a critical re-reading of the failures of a society that claimed to be Christian, but which has allowed many evils to flourish, notably by not taking sufficiently into account the warning signs of abuses committed within Catholic institutions. 

Commonweal, English

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