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 6 June 2022
1 – Pope Francis’ visit to L’Aquila fuels speculation on the future of the pontificate
2 – The future Cardinal in Mongolia, the Holy See’s “great game” with China and Russia
3 – The reform of the Church must include a new Code of Canon Law
4 – “Nones” increasing in Argentina
5 – In an 1968 audio archive, the future John Paul I said he was in favor of the pill
On August 28, the day after the consistory in which Pope Francis will create 16 new cardinals, and on the eve of a meeting of the College of Cardinals on the new Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium, the Pontiff will travel to the Italian city of L’Aquila for the Feast of Forgiveness. The Argentinian is following in the footsteps of Pope Celestine V, who instituted this jubilee celebration in 1294, shortly before he resigned. On April 28, 2009, three weeks after a devastating earthquake, Pope Benedict XVI came to console the population and took the opportunity to place his pallium on the shrine containing the relics of Celestine V. This gesture was later understood as an announcement of his own renunciation. The unusual program for the end of the summer suggests that the Pope “might have out-of-the-ordinary business in mind,” especially since the reform of the Curia will be at least partially implemented by then, and the Pope is also showing great signs of fatigue. However, some dismiss the rumors of a resignation, considering the Synod planned for 2023, and the still active presence of Benedict XVI. Two Popes Emeritus seems indeed difficult to imagine and could make the position of the successor very uncomfortable.
Associated Press, English
The future Cardinal in Mongolia, the Holy See’s “great game” with China and Russia
The most unexpected name for the next consistory is certainly that of Bishop Giorgio Marengo, Apostolic Prefect of Ulaanbaatar, head of a small Catholic reality with only four parishes and about 1,300 Catholics. However, beyond the well-known attention of the Pope to the “peripheries” of the Church, this appointment is part of the “Great Church Game” towards Asia, in other words the Holy See’s strategy of rapprochement towards Russia, Central Asia and China. This is the thesis defended by the Russian analyst Stanislav Stremidlovskij in an article published by the magazine Regnum. Given the impossibility of creating a Chinese Cardinal – according to a clause contained in the agreement between Rome and Beijing on the appointment of Bishops – the Pope made the “unusual” choice of creating a Cardinal in Mongolia, “a country anthropologically linked to China.” Bishop Marengo, who will be 48 years old in a few days making him the youngest Cardinal in the world, could therefore serve as a relay from the Vatican to China. Mongolia is also a point of contact towards Central Asia, another essential issue for the Vatican, which wants to keep links with countries under Russia’s sphere of influence. The Pope’s visit to Kazakhstan in September is part of this same logic and strategy.
Il Sismografo, Italian
The reform of the Church must include a new Code of Canon Law
The daily newspaper of the Italian Bishops’ Conference looks at the discreet entry into force of the new Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium. “The Secretariat of State loses many of its powers and will no longer be the keystone of the Curia, as Paul VI had wanted and John Paul II confirmed,” notes L’Avvenire. A detail that is rarely noticed is that the General Secretariat of the Synod has lost the mention of “bishops” in its title, which suggests a wider participation of people from different walks of life, including giving them the right to vote in the synodal assemblies. The possibility of lay people taking up positions of responsibility may also inspire other levels of the Church, notably dioceses, to create the offices of vicar general or non-clerical episcopal vicar. “It will first be necessary to amend the Code of Canon Law,” explains the article. The reform of the Church and the Vatican will therefore still involve vast and complex work, including a new General Regulation of the Roman Curia and regulations for each institution.
“Nones” increasing in Argentina
Pope Francis’ home country is secularizing at a rapid pace, as are other Latin American nations. Continuing scandals have deeply damaged the image of the Catholic Church in Argentina, with only 31% of the citizens still trusting it. From 90% Catholic in 1960, the country now has between 52% and 65%, according to various surveys that naturally leave room for error and interpretation. About 20% of the population says it has no religion, and evangelicals represent about 12% of Argentines, a figure that is still lower than in neighboring Brazil. Pope Francis retains some popularity, but there has been a decline, from 62% in 2017 to only 52% today. And, as in much of the world, Eastern meditation and personal spiritual practices are appealing to more and more people who are wary of religious doctrine and constraints.
In an 1968 audio archive, the future John Paul I said he was in favor of the pill
The future Pope John Paul I was in favor of the contraceptive pill. In a podcast that will be published by the Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See, the voice of the then Bishop of Vittorio Veneto, Albino Luciani, will be heard in a recording made in a parish in 1968. Bishop Luciani wanted Paul VI “to take a liberalizing decision on the use of the contraceptive pill,” explains Andrea Tornielli, editorial director of the Dicastery. After the publication of the encyclical Humanae Vitae, prohibiting the use of contraceptives, the prelate defended Paul VI’s document, however, making the reasons “his own.” To hear the voice of the 33-day Pope, who will be beatified next September, go to the Vatican News website on June 13.
Il Fatto Quotidiano, Italian