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Rome & the World: secrets in Vatican archives • no Mass for Tiananmen • & more …

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Mass in Hong Kong


A 2020 Mass for the victims of Tiananmen Square

I.Media - published on 05/31/22

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 31 May 2022
1 – New cardinals make the analysis of a future conclave difficult
2 – Hong Kong churches drop Tiananmen tributes after 33 years, amid arrest fears
3 – In the Vatican archives, a researcher discovers secrets about Pius XII
4 – Barcelona Catholics propose “opening the possibility” of optional celibacy and female priesthood
5 – “I, a young cardinal from far away Mongolia. The Pope knows how to amaze”

New cardinals make the analysis of a future conclave difficult

Pope Francis has surprised again by choosing, among the 16 new Cardinal electors, totally unknown personalities who will one day be asked to elect the next pope. “It’s exceedingly difficult to project how the new Cardinal from, say, Mongolia, is likely to vote in the next conclave, or from East Timor, or the first Indian cardinal from the Dalit underclass,” comments Vatican expert John Allen. He suggests that some imagine that this choice of people from the periphery could play into the hands of Italian Cardinal Zuppi, who is close to the Pope and part of the Sant’Egidio Community. Allen also points out that the Cardinal electors don’t know each other, partly because the pandemic has prevented large meetings. They will therefore get to know each other in the general congregations. This could lead to a long conclave, as it takes time to reach a consensus, but also a short one, with the peripheral Cardinals lining up behind the big figures. In short, everything remains open. 

Crux, English

Hong Kong churches drop Tiananmen tributes after 33 years, amid arrest fears

Due to threats of Chinese repression, for the first time in 33 years, Hong Kong churches will not hold any services this year to honor the victims of the crackdown on Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. While increasingly restrictive laws have progressively curtailed the possibility of demonstrations, especially since the 2020 security law, Catholic Masses have been one of the last islands of relative freedom. However, interviewed by The Guardian, a student chaplain admitted that organizing such a celebration is becoming “very difficult under the current social atmosphere,” especially since the diocese is cautious about violating Hong Kong law. The cancellation of these Masses is a new blow to freedoms in the former British colony, which has seen the disappearance of many symbols paying tribute to the victims of 1989, including the June 4 Museum, brutally dismantled by the Chinese authorities. 

The Guardian, English

In the Vatican archives, a researcher discovers secrets about Pius XII

Based on research in the Vatican Archives, historian David Kertzer paints a nuanced picture of Pius XII, who in his eyes is neither the decried anti-Semitic monster nor the hero advocated by the defenders of his cause of canonization. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the scholar has just published a new book titled “The Pope at War,” about this period. Through new documents, he unearths “frightening evidence” about the cost of Pope Pacelli’s silence on the massacres, and points out that the Pontiff’s attitude was partly linked to his desire to protect the interests of the Church and not to alienate German Catholics. The book further reveals that a German prince and Nazi devotee allegedly acted as a secret conduit between Pius XII and Hitler, and that the Pope’s top Vatican adviser on Jewish issues urged him in a letter not to protest a fascist order to deport Jews from Italy. “That was flabbergasting,” comments the Brown University professor, himself the son of a rabbi who participated in the liberation of Rome as an Army chaplain. According to the researcher, Vatican archivists are encouraging him to continue his work. “Perhaps even they’re happy that some outsider is able to bring this to light because it’s awkward, perhaps, for some of them to do so,” Kertzer comments. 

The New York Times, English

Barcelona Catholics propose “opening the possibility” of optional celibacy and female priesthood

At the conclusion of the diocesan synod of Barcelona, the faithful proposed “to open the possibility” of considering optional celibacy for priests and the female priesthood. The text asks that “the entire Christian community reach out to those who have historically been left on the margins” of the Church, recognizing that this marginalization has been “mostly for moral reasons, especially because of their family situation or sexual orientation.” The Catholics of the Spanish diocese deplore “a lack of coherence between what is preached and what is done,” said Cardinal Juan José Omella in presenting the conclusions to some 700 people at the Marist College in the city. He also reminded them that “we are all in the same boat.” The document of the diocese was sent to the Spanish Episcopal Conference, where a synthesis will be made of all the reports from the dioceses across Spain, before beginning the synodal phase at the European level.

Religion Digital, Spanish

“I, a young cardinal from far away Mongolia. The Pope knows how to amaze”

The youngest future member of the College of Cardinals, Archbishop Giorgio Marengo, will be only 48 years old when he becomes a Cardinal on August 27. In the Italian press, the Consolata missionary, apostolic prefect of Ulaanbaatar, confessed his great surprise when he learned the news thanks to a nun he met at the exit of the Ascension Mass celebrated in the suburbs of Rome, two days after having met Pope Francis with a Buddhist delegation from Mongolia. “This shows the meaning of his pastoral attention: The Successor of Peter has at heart the Church as a whole and therefore also where there are small realities,” Marengo rejoiced. “It is a very beautiful message: Let’s think of the first Christian communities that lived in difficult situations,” he insisted. He explains that through the creation of the first missionary cardinal in Mongolia, and more broadly through the attention given to Asian countries, “the Pope continues to promote the proclamation of the Gospel in all parts of the Earth.”

Il Giornale, Italian

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