Monday 27 June 2022
1- Pondering the temptation to power in wake of historic Roe v. Wade ruling
2- In Lebanon, the debate continues on the right to civil marriage
3- 400 years of Propaganda Fide
4- From the U.S. Constitution to the Olympic motto, some famous Dominican inspirations
5- Koreans pin hopes on Pope Francis for regional peace
Pondering the temptation to power in wake of historic Roe v. Wade ruling
Many observers have warned that the US Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade could “trigger a series of acrimonious political fights.” In light of these tensions, Crux journalist John Allen uses history to ponder “the temptation to power” that the Church has had in the past. He cites the story of Blessed Pope Pius IX who was forced into exile in 1848 in the seaside town of Gaeta, around 100 miles (160 km) from Rome. In that period the pope ruled over a large part of central Italy as head of the Papal States, and had to flee due to uprisings in Rome, as the people were unhappy with his reign and military decisions. During Pope Pius IX’s stay in Gaeta he issued a series of increasingly reactionary decrees. Eventually French forces under Napoleon drove out the revolutionaries in Rome and restored Pius IX’s power. He continued to rule as a secular monarch until the next fall of Rome in 1870, which marked the end of the Papal States and the beginning of a newly unified Italian government. Pius IX refused to recognize the government and the relationship between the Italian state and the Church would only be resolved around 60 years later with the 1929 Lateran Pacts. “The lesson to be learned, perhaps, is that while wielding secular power may be tempting, […] it also exposes popes to tremendous risks – and, by extension, the church they lead is also held hostage to fortune,” Allen explains. Although no one is considering the return of the Papal States, Allen acknowledges, he mentions that critics “detect echoes of that old temptation to rule by decree rather than persuasion in today’s debates, perhaps especially on the vexed matter of whether pro-choice Catholic politicians should be denied Communion.”
In Lebanon, the debate is simmering over the option of civil marriage. Some recently elected legislators raised their hands in approval when asked if they supported “optional” civil marriage – angering those who insist that marriages remain the responsibility of religious authorities. Young mixed couples of different faiths, meanwhile, are increasingly seeking to break out of their religious systems in order to get married. As civil marriage is not recognized in Lebanon, they have to go to Cyprus for an exchange of civil consents. This is an act of protest that many tend to engage in, as in terms of marriage, divorce, and child custody, Lebanese faith groups legally govern the affairs of their own communities. Civil rights activists, however, accuse religious courts of discriminating against women and claim that on these key family issues, Lebanese are treated differently depending on their religious affiliation.
400 years of Propaganda Fide
The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, which the new Apostolic Constitution transforms into the Dicastery for Evangelization, merging it with the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, is celebrating its 400th anniversary this year. It was on January 6, 1622, that Pope Gregory XV founded this coordinating body of the Holy See for all the initiatives that were being carried out in the various continents to proclaim the Gospel and structure the presence of the Church in mission territories. The double objective was to promote the reunification of Christians and also spread the Catholic faith in non-Christian territories that were being newly discovered and explored. For four centuries, the activities of the missionaries have continued to be organized from the palace located in Piazza di Spagna in central Rome. Propaganda Fide has a real estate patrimony that allows it to maintain universities, humanitarian activities, and health facilities throughout the world. Currently, it exercises jurisdiction over a total of 1117 ecclesiastical circumscriptions, covering almost all of Asia, except the Philippines, all of Africa except Egypt and Tunisia, Alaska, the West Indies, and some territories in the Balkans.
From the U.S. Constitution to the Olympic motto, some famous Dominican inspirations
One year after the 800th anniversary of the death of St. Dominic, Religion en libertad evokes nine elements within Western civilization inspired by one of the most important religious orders in the history of the Church: the Dominicans. The media outlet adds “to invent” to the order’s motto, “to praise, to bless and to preach.” Among the list of innovations that the Dominicans have contributed to are: America’s political system, the motto of the modern Olympics (the French Dominican Louis Henri Didon, who was passionate about sports, was a friend of Pierre de Coubertin, father of the modern Olympics), the white robes of the popes, modern international law, the formation of one of Europe’s first parliaments in England, research into the pattern of DNA as we know it today, the name of the Dominican Republic and its capital Santo Domingo, as well as the Rosary and the Way of the Cross.
Religion en libertad, Spanish
Koreans pin hopes on Pope Francis for regional peace
Not for the first time, a South Korean minister recently welcomed the possibility of a “Pope Francis’ visit to North Korea and his role as a mediator for peace on the Korean Peninsula,” reports UCA News. Unification Minister Kwon Young-se visited Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong of Gwangju on June 21. He confirmed that the Pope is “eager” to visit North Korea as soon as he is officially invited. This visit and these conditions have been discussed since 2018, when Kim Jong-un had transmitted an oral invitation to the Pope to visit his country through South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
UCA News, English