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Rome & the World: sainthood for skateboard hero? • Pope Francis retiring? • & more …

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POPE FRANCIS - VATICAN - ST. Peter's Square - Audience

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Photo from May 25, as the Pope grimaces from the pain in his knee, as he's assisted with sitting down and standing up.

I.Media for Aleteia - published on 06/09/22

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.

Thursday 9 June 2022
1. Is Pope Francis nearing the end of his pontificate?
2. Pope Francis’ reforms make John Paul II’s heresy-hunting Vatican barely recognizable
3. “The Hidden Sins of Italy,” a shocking documentary on abuses in the Church 
4. German journalist defends the abolition of the church tax to save the Church
5. Family seeks sainthood for London Bridge terror attack ‘skateboard hero’
~

1Is Pope Francis nearing the end of his pontificate?

The Washington Post is asking the question of whether Francis’ pontificate is coming to an end. While the Italian press is buzzing with rumors on the subject, theauthor of the article recalls the unusual events that will take place this summer, with a consistory at the end of August and the Pope’s visit to L’Aquila where Francis will go to the Basilica where the tomb of Celestine V, one of the few popes to resign, is located. “He is aware that he is approaching the end of his pontificate,” said Massimo Faggioli, professor of theology at Villanova University, interviewed in this article. However, this reading is not unanimous, with some arguing that Pope Francis would not resign before the death of Benedict XVI to avoid there being two popes emeritus. “I think this sort of chatter is inevitable,” says the Pope’s biographer, Austen Ivereigh, who met the Argentine Pontiff recently and did not feel that the Pope was close to resigning.  

The Washington Post, English 

2Pope Francis’ reforms make John Paul II’s heresy-hunting Vatican barely recognizable

Pope Francis’ reformist pontificate, which is taking shape with the new Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium, brings radical changes compared to the pontificate of John Paul II, says British journalist Austen Ivereigh, biographer of the Argentine Pope. The previous constitution on the functioning of the Curia, Pastor Bonus, promulgated by John Paul II in 1988, emphasized “the preserving unity of faith and discipline,” and so the Curia believed it was acting justly in reprimanding bishops or prosecuting theologians suspected of having dissenting positions. With the new Constitution, the tone is different, with the Church’s objective defined “as the mission of witnessing in word and deed the mercy she has received.” Communion is thus thought of as “a gift of the Spirit that flows from the mutual prayerful listening of faithful people, bishops and the pope.” This perspective thus marks a fundamental change. Communion is no longer thought of as “the object of the Curia’s efforts” but as a “gift of the Spirit received by a synodal church.” In this logic of decentralization, the Curia is no longer “the source of this gift” but simply “a key agent of its reception, promoting an exchange of gifts through its service to both the pope and the local churches,” says Austen Ivereigh. 

National Catholic Reporter, English 

3“The Hidden Sins of Italy,” a shocking documentary on abuses in the Church 

The BBC investigated the very thorny issue of clerical abuse in Italy, a topic that has been much in the news in recent weeks. The 23-minute documentary attempts to show how a culture of complicity and neglect hides the true extent of sexual abuse by priests in Italy. Gathering several testimonies from victims and experts, the journalist is surprised that the country with the largest number of priests in the world seems to lag behind in denouncing cases. In particular, he looks at the cases of priests sent to therapeutic centers or those who continue to exercise their ministry even though they have been convicted. On this last point, the journalist confronts the Bishop of Frosinone, asking him why a priest of his diocese condemned by the Church remains free. The Bishop explained that there is a gradation of punishments. For the journalist, it would take a “fundamental shift” in society for Italy to look “deep inside its soul and offer justice to those whose childhood and faith were cruelly robbed.”

BBC, English

4German journalist defends the abolition of the church tax to save the Church

“The church tax must disappear,” argues the journalist of the German weekly Die Tagespost, Peter Winnemöller. The sooner this tax is abolished, the better for the Church, he explains. He claims that the tax is driving many Germans out of the Church because they no longer wish to support it financially. Some 90% of them leave the Church because of the handling and evidence of abuse cases. Today, these departures pose a serious risk to the German dioceses. The retirement of the baby boomers could have disastrous consequences, but a more serious concern the journalist cites is the Church not being able to stem the tide of disappointed Catholics. “In no other country in the world is a Catholic considered an apostate if he refuses to give money to the episcopal authority,” insists the German journalist. A reality that is becoming “more and more embarrassing,” he insists, especially when many Catholics no longer wish to finance the “path to schism initiated by the Bishops’ Conference” of their country.

Die Tagespost, German

5Family seeks sainthood for London Bridge terror attack ‘skateboard hero’

In June 2017 three Islamic terrorists drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge before randomly attacking people with knives and machetes at the nearby Borough Market. Ignacio Echeverría, 39, who is reportedly the nephew of a missionary Bishop, was returning from a skateboard park when he stumbled upon the horrific situation. Witnesses reported that Echeverría used his skateboard to fight off the attackers and tried to tackle a terrorist who was assaulting a police officer. He was then stabbed in the back and died of his wounds. The man’s family are now hoping to open his cause for canonisation and have been approached by the Auxiliary Bishop of Madrid, Juan Antonio Martínez Camino. In a letter Pope Francis wrote shortly after the attacks, he praised Echeverría’s “heroic offering of life, suggested and sustained by charity,” saying it expressed “a true, complete and exemplary imitation of Christ and, therefore, deserves the admiration that the community of the faithful usually reserves for those who have voluntarily accepted martyrdom of blood or have heroically exercised Christian virtues.”

The Catholic Herald, English 

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