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 30 June 2022
1. World Meeting of Families: real life, not magic wands
2. Has Francis “insulted” American Catholics?
3. The future of the Church in the US is Latino and youth ministry programs need to reflect that.
4. The German synod contaminates the whole Church, without the Pope stopping it
5. Indian dance and Catholic Liturgy
World Meeting of Families: real life, not magic wands
“No pretense of profiling an ideal family or couple… No pretense either of pointing to a prepackaged recipe, a magical pastoral project capable of dissolving uncertainties, doubts, frailties, stumbling blocks. But many proposals, yes, many good ideas,” analyzes Luciano Moia, editor of L’Avvenire‘s monthly magazine dedicated to families, summing up the World Meeting of Families that took place in Rome from June 22 to 26. The editor notes the “profound change in pastoral perspectives urged by Francis, but also to the disorientation felt in part of the Church, called to abandon the reassuring tranquility of saying ‘it has always been done this way.’” At a time when the number of marriages is falling, while the number of separations is increasing, Moia emphasizes that “it was urgent, dramatically urgent, to find the courage to point out a new way to accompany increasingly wounded families, increasingly uncertain couples and young people less and less attracted to the prospect of marriage.” For this, as the Pope asks, it is necessary to “leave aside theory and focus on people’s concrete lives,” to be able to “understand how and where to concentrate pastoral efforts in order to be more effective,” In the end, after these four days of meeting, Luciano Moia sees “a lot of hope.”
Paul Baumann, a senior writer for the American Catholic magazine Commonweal, responds to criticisms that Pope Francis receives from “conservative” Catholics in the USA, most notably that the Pontiff sows confusion amongst the faithful and that he should have elevated Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles as cardinal, over Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego. One critical priest claims this decision has “‘insulted’ and ‘slighted’ Gomez, the American hierarchy, and all Americans who are loyal to ‘their traditional Catholic faith.’” Baumann says that “nothing” he has read leads him to believe that Bishop McElroy has anything “other than an orthodox Catholic faith.” Additionally he underlines that while bishops and cardinals may disagree on many things “Francis wants them, and all Catholics, to talk openly, honestly, and humbly about those disagreements.” “Why pretend Catholics are not honestly struggling when it comes to questions surrounding homosexuality, the ordination of women, or prudential judgments about abortion law?” the author wonders, while underlining that what he finds “unpersuasive in advocates on both sides of these disputes is thinking that the answers to these questions are all obvious and incontestable.” On the Argentinian Pontiff’s tendency to be vague and ambiguous Baumann says these aspects have “their prudential uses” and that “what Jesus had to say was not always immediately clear either.”
The future of the Church in the US is Latino and youth ministry programs need to reflect that.
The Jesuit magazine America reminds us that Latinos make up 40% of the membership of American parishes, and that this percentage is destined to increase, since the majority of Catholics under the age of 30 in the United States are from Latin America. English-Spanish bilingualism is an important pastoral challenge, despite considering that young people are generally more English-speaking than their parents. Intergenerational activities, rather than targeting one age group, can be a good way to involve Latino families, who are generally used to partaking in activities together in a less segmented way than other categories of the population. Reference to well-known figures such as St. Oscar Romero and devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe are necessary, but care must also be taken to promote youth leadership in a context of growing detachment of U.S. youth from any religious affiliation. An effort must be made by the U.S. Bishops’ Conference on the issue of intercultural dialogue.
The German synod contaminates the whole Church, without the Pope stopping it
The experienced Vatican journalist Sandro Magister, in an article on his blog Settimo Cielo, deplores that Pope Francis, aware of the problems that the German synodal path poses since he sent a letter in June 2019 to German Catholics, lets this initiative “go forward without any more restraint.” The Italian journalist believes that the synod of the Church in Germany runs the risk of ending up in the universal Synod on Synodality, headed by the “markedly progressive trio” composed of Cardinals Grech, Cardinal Hollerich and Sister Nathalie Becquart. He notes that the “contagion” has already taken place in France, Ireland, Switzerland, and Italy, due to the “effect of the practical laissez-faire” attitude of the Pope. He sees the two cardinal-designates Robert McElroy of San Diego and Leonardo Steiner of Manaus as “champions” of this “doctrinal revolution.” Sandro Magister also points out that Cardinal Kasper warns today of the risk that the “Catholic Church will turn into a kind of permanent synod, with questions from the grassroots, i.e., from the dominant culture, taking center stage.”
Settimo Cielo, Italian
Indian dance and Catholic Liturgy
Indian classical dance culture in the traditional celebration of the Sacred Heart? Indian Jesuit and dancer Father Saju George brought parishioners in Graz, Austria, a special form of prayer during a Mass led by his dance group. The seven artists, who came from Calcutta, dressed in traditional Indian costumes and, adorned with ankle bells, praised and glorified God with every muscle in their bodies. For the entrance, along the central nave of the church, they waved red and yellow ribbons that symbolized the Spirit, like tongues of fire, like shouts of joy. For the first reading instead they used gestures expressing praise to creation and the Creator, and performed similar acts throughout the Mass. For media outlet Feinschwarz, these dancers, who have made liturgical animation their mission, invite us to question the movements in worship, which represent “another dimension of our human expression… in addition to singing,” as through dance, the heart speaks more than the head. This art form emphasizes “something hidden inside the human being: the heart,” along with emotions such as praise, glory, fear, complaint, sadness, joy, etc. Thus, the dances of the Indian group “showed that what is most intimate can be expressed by the whole body.”