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Rome & the World: Uvalde’s consolation spot • 1st cardinal for Catholic country • & more …

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kwiaty upamiętniające ofiary strzelaniny w szkole w Uvalde w Teksasie

CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/East News

I.Media for Aleteia - published on 06/01/22

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.

Wednesday 1 June 2022
1. New cardinals from the peripheries means less community within College of Cardinals? 
2. Paraguay, a deeply Catholic country in South America, will finally have its first cardinal
3. Italian government appoints special envoy for religious freedom and interreligious dialogue
4. Sacred Heart Parish, a place of consolation after the Texas shooting
5. French Jesuit tries to maintain the intellectual dialogue between China and the West
~

New cardinals from the peripheries means less community within College of Cardinals?

Noting that Pope Francis is creating Cardinals from countries far removed from one another, Vatican journalist Chris Altieri points to the risk of a lack of sense of community within the College of Cardinals. He notes that in order to carry out their mission effectively, and in particular to elect a future Pope, “they need to know each other” and understand each other’s “concerns and priorities.” Regarding the list of new Cardinals, he is surprised by the absence of the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Sviatoslav Schevchuk, saying the context of the war would have justified a sign of attention from the Pope toward this community. He also notes that the creation as Cardinal of San Diego Bishop McElroy is an affront to the president of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Jose Gomez, who has been Archbishop of Los Angeles since 2011; the diocese of San Diego is a suffragan. While many U.S. bishops support denying pro-abortion politicians access to the Eucharist, the future cardinal “takes a different view of the best pastoral approach to wayward and recalcitrant politicians, when it comes to Holy Communion,” laments Chris Altieri.

Catholic World Report, English

Paraguay was one of the last remaining Latin American countries to have never been represented in the College of Cardinals (except very indirectly with the current Archbishop of Rabat in Morocco, Cardinal Cristóbal López Romero, who has dual Spanish and Paraguayan citizenship). Finally, Paraguay will be represented by the newly appointed Archbishop of Asunción, the capital, Adalberto Martínez Flores. His entry into the “Senate of the Catholic Church,” writes the Paraguayan daily Ultima Hora, is an important moment for the country, as one of its nationals is now eligible to become Pope. “At 70-years-old and with 37 years of priesthood, the trajectory of Adalberto Martínez is characterized by his closeness to the young and the needy,” explains the newspaper. Placing him in the “progressive wing,” it praises his action in the face of the “situations of injustice of the peasants and indigenous people, who have been violently deported from their lands recently.” The Paraguayan newspaper also notes his international openness, recalling his pastoral experience in Italy, the United States, and the Virgin Islands, the Caribbean territory where he began his life as a priest in the 1980s. 

Ultima Hora, Spanish

Italian government appoints special envoy for religious freedom and interreligious dialogue

In Italy, the government of Mario Draghi has formalized the appointment of a diplomat, Andrea Benzo, as special envoy for religious freedom and interreligious dialogue. The Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs, Marina Sereni, explained that Italy will continue to “promote new forms of partnership between civil and religious actors” and that this appointment “strengthens Italy’s public action in favor of religious freedom.” The announcement was made by a unanimous vote of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies. The article published in Vatican News states how the Italian branch of Aid to the Church in Need welcomed the creation of this position, which follows similar steps taken in Poland, the United Kingdom and Germany. Serious violations of religious freedom are currently found in 62 countries, representing a total of 5.2 billion people, or more than two-thirds of the world’s population.

Vatican News, Italian

Sacred Heart Parish, a place of consolation after the Texas shooting

Upon hearing the news of the Uvalde school massacre in Texas, parishioners at Sacred Heart Catholic Church – a mile from the tragedy – rushed, almost reflexively, to be together, reports The New York Times. Within an hour, they had filled the sanctuary for an impromptu Mass. The next evening, the congregation gathered again to worship, and then for the next few days, the Church never stopped bustling with people. Catholic Charities sent volunteers to listen, others handed out stuffed animals, tacos, ice cream. Children from the parish laid red roses at the altar, one for each of the 19 students and two teachers who were killed in the shooting. Sacred Heart has become the nucleus of the grieving community, the newspaper notes. It was there that President Biden prayed while attending Mass during a trip to Uvalde to console the community.

The New York Times, English

French Jesuit tries to maintain the intellectual dialogue between China and the West

Benoît Vermander, a Jesuit scholar who has been linked to China for three decades, is “braving the headwinds to maintain an intellectual dialogue between Beijing and the West,” says French daily Le Monde‘s correspondent in Beijing. “Present in the Chinese world for some 30 years, this stocky 60-year-old with a blond beard is reminiscent of the sailors of the Far North, but he actually belongs to another endangered species – to the Jesuits still present in China – there are only a handful of them left – and above all to the great scholars, religious or not, who, for centuries, have braved the headwinds to maintain the intellectual dialogue between China and the West,” explains the French newspaper, with enthusiasm and admiration. A theologian, philologist, agronomy specialist, painter and calligrapher, this priest has not lost hope in China opening to academic exchanges and international relations. “We have certainly seen a tightening of control over the past 12 years, but that does not prevent certain advances, sudden breakthroughs,” he says. However, he denounces the “social hygiene” implemented by the Chinese Communist Party, in particular with the severe health restrictions and lockdowns put back in force in spring 2022.

Le Monde, French

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