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Rome & the World: big month in Rome • everyone’s food problem • & more …

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I.Media - published on 05/23/22

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.

Monday 23 May 2022
1 – A decisive month for the pontificate of Pope Francis
2 – Pope’s refusal to condemn Putin provokes debate in the Catholic Church
3 – The coming food catastrophe 
4 – Post-covid discomfort at college
5 – Should Paris’ new archbishop be concerned? A short history of his new see

A decisive month for the pontificate of Pope Francis

“The coming weeks will be decisive for the pontificate of Pope Francis,” writes Francesco Boezi in the Italian daily Il Giornale, noting that he has to deal with “two issues.” First, Ukraine, where he will have to decide what to do. As the door to a trip to Russia seems to be closed, a trip to Ukraine may be complicated. In the meantime, he has sent Archbishop Gallagher, his “Minister of Foreign Affairs,” but the journalist is now wondering what “the Vatican’s preferred path to peace is.” In Italy, the question of Cardinal Bassetti’s succession is also on everyone’s mind. The Bishops’ Conference will soon meet to designate its new leader, and to do so will have to submit a list of three names to the pontiff. It is not a choice of little importance, as the Church in Italy is “aired as a possible protagonist of the future conclave.” While “the hypothesis that the Petrine ministry could once again be exercised by an Italian cleric continues to circulate,” the choice of the new president of the CEI could imply “a vision of the future of the Italian Church, but also, inevitably, a path that can be taken not only by the Vatican, but by the entire universal Church,” the journalist believes.

Il Giornale, Italian

Pope’s refusal to condemn Putin provokes debate in the Catholic Church

If Pope Francis has not ceased to evoke the suffering of Ukrainians, he has “conspicuously” avoided condemning Vladimir Putin, journalists Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli point out in the Washington Post. He even took to Russia’s defense in a recent interview with Corriere della Sera, referring to “NATO’s barking at Russia’s door.” The balancing act he is pursuing today has “sparked a debate” within the Church as to how it should act in the face of the conflict. For example, Thomas Bremer of the University of Münster believes that what the Pope is doing is “not enough” and, given the gravity of the situation, he should not act as he did “six months ago.” The former head of L’Osservatore Romano, Giovanni Maria Vian, does not hesitate to compare him to Pius XII and recalls that he has been criticized for keeping silent. “He’s neither acting like Putin, calling other people Nazis, nor like Biden, saying that Putin should go,” says Francis’ biographer Marco Politi. John Allen of Crux also points out that from the Vatican’s point of view, few things matter more than the Pontiff’s “quest for Christian unity” between the Orthodox and Catholic churches. 

Washington Post, English

The coming food catastrophe

In recent months, Pope Francis has on several occasions warned of the risk of a serious food crisis. In fact, the war raging in Ukraine could well kill beyond Ukrainian territory, says an article in The Economist, which recalls that Ukraine and Russia together provide 12% of the calories traded on international markets. The drought in India and the Horn of Africa, and the delay in rains in China, France and the United States, suggest the worst. The United Nations is already sounding the alarm that 1.9 billion people are at risk of malnutrition and 250 million of famine. Countries that rely on bread as their main source of food could suffer enormously from the situation. As Ukrainian crops rot in silos, several countries have already announced food restrictions, such as Kazakhstan and Kuwait. It is urgent, says the British newspaper, to end the Black Sea blockade. “Feeding a fragile world is everyone’s business,” the article concludes. 

The Economist, English

Post-covid discomfort at college

Jonathan Malesic, a professor at two American universities, is alarmed by the consequences of the pandemic period, which seems to be coming to an end, on his students. He cites mass absenteeism and a lack of involvement. And he is not alone in noticing this situation, he explains in an op-ed published by The New York Times. Many students, he says, have become accustomed to the looser constraints in terms of class participation and, more seriously, have lost much of their ability to learn. Their performance is observably substandard, and the author considers that this situation is linked to the loss of the school framework, which would be in itself educational for the student. It is a question, he says, of rediscovering functional meeting places, because education is always a matter of relationships. On this point, he notes that at the University of Dallas, a reputedly conservative Catholic institution, students have not suffered from this same post-covid discomfort, due to the fact that they reopened their structures quite early. 

The New York Times, English

Should Paris’ new archbishop be concerned? A short history of his new see

On May 23, Archbishop Laurent Ulrich will be invested as Archbishop of Paris, putting an end to several months of instability since the resignation of Archbishop Aupetit. But the entire history of the Archdiocese, recalls, is particularly eventful, already since its first Bishop and patron Saint, Saint Denis, died in persecution. According to the legend, he had to carry his head from the mount of martyrs – Montmartre – to the basilica that bears his name today. Then came Saint Marcel (died in 436) who, during his ministry, was forced to tame a dragon. Years later, Mgr Le Clerc de Juigne had to flee to Savoy during the French Revolution. Bishop de Belloy, on the other hand, was appointed by Napoleon and died in office in 1808 at the age of 98, making him until recently the oldest cardinal in history. Archbishop Denis Affre was a revolutionary, participating in the 1848 revolution and dying in the barricades. On the other hand, in 1871, Archbishop Georges Darboy was martyred by the Communards who considered him an enemy of the people. Since then, no Archbishop was killed, and Archbishop Ulrich “no longer has to fear for his head,” says the German site. However, on the other side of the Rhine, it is noted that to be Archbishop of Paris is “to be the chief shepherd of a very special flock.”, German

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