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Rome & the World: Hitler planned a Nazi church • states persecuting Christians? Think Nicaragua • & more…

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I.Media - published on 07/01/22

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.

Friday 1 July 2022
1. The theological ethics of life in light of Pope Francis’ teachings 
2. More to do for mothers and children 
3. Hitler wanted to establish a national church
4. The persecution of Catholics in Nicaragua, a reality that is little talked about
5. Spanish diocese sets up a “commission on good use of the internet”

1The theological ethics of life in light of Pope Francis’ teachings

The Italian Jesuit magazine, La Civiltà Cattolica, looks in detail at the Vatican Publishing House’s publication of a very dense work titled Theological Ethics of Life: Scripture, Tradition, Practical Challenges. The book, published with the personal support of Pope Francis, includes speeches given at a seminar organized in 2021 by the Pontifical Academy for Life, with the objective of “fostering dialogue between voices expressing different cultural and theological sensitivities in order to stimulate a richer and deeper framing of issues related to the ethics of life,” the article explains. The reflection is developed in 12 chapters that deal with theological, philosophical and practical themes, from “the joy of human life” to “the teaching of life in the traditions of the Old and New Testaments, emphasizing the Christological fulfillment through the incarnation and Resurrection of Christ,” or “the themes of conscience, norm and moral discernment.” This book, which is essential for a better understanding of the theological orientations of Pope Francis, was published on July 1 and is available only in Italian for now.

La Civiltà Cattolica, Italian

In an opinion article published in The Boston Pilot, Lucia Silecchia, law professor at the Catholic University of America, applauds the Supreme Court’s recent decision on abortion overruling Roe v Wade, but reminds that more work needs to be done to care for mothers and their children. She underlines that this decision does not outlaw abortion, but simply returns the question to individual states, some of which have completely legalized the practice. Silecchia hopes “for the day, not yet here, when the law of our land offers a shield to protect the lives of those in the wombs of their mothers.” She also mentions how the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a heart “made for love,” fell this year on the same day as the Supreme Court decision, June 24. This love is what should push pro-life advocates to tangibly help improve the lives of mothers and their children going forward, Silecchia explains. She also highlights that June 24 is usually the Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist, a prophet who should inspire people to “continue to speak with conviction about the dignity of human life at all stages and in every condition.” “A better future now lies in the hands of all who have the strength to be loving prophets in these new days of ordinary times,” the scholar concludes. 

The Boston Pilot, English  

3Hitler wanted to establish a national church

National Socialism, more than just a political party and a doctrine, wanted to set itself up as an alternative political religion to Catholicism and Protestantism, which dominated the religious landscape in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. As soon as the Nazi party was founded in 1920, the statutes of the movement pointed to the need for a “positive Christianity” that was tolerant of the established churches insofar as “they do not conflict with the culture and moral beliefs of the Germanic race,” which was obviously contradictory to the universalist foundations of Christianity. In 1926, Goebbels stated unambiguously: “my party is my church”; “all that is missing is the religious genius that breaks the old formulas and creates new ones.” Once he became Minister of Propaganda in 1933, he called for “being hard on the churches.” However, the regime had to deal with the reality of German society, which at the time had 20 million Catholics and 40 million Protestants. The publication of 100,000 copies of a “Nazi Bible,” of which only one copy remains known today, was not met with the expected success. The Churches survived the Hitler terror, and the honor of Christianity was saved. On the Protestant side by the resistance of the “Confessing Church” of which the martyred pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer is the best known figure, and on the Catholic side by the opposition assumed from 1937 onwards with the publication of Pius XI’s encyclical “Mit Brennender Sorge,” of which Cardinal Pacelli, the future Pius XII, was a key contributor.

ABC, Spanish

4The persecution of Catholics in Nicaragua, a reality that is little talked about

“When you think about countries where the Church is persecuted […] hardly anyone would think of Nicaragua,” The Pillar points out in the introduction of this article that denounces “the regime of a dictator with no love for the Catholic Church,” President Daniel Ortega. Since 2018, all the Church’s efforts to mediate the political and economic crisis that the country is going through have been in vain. Worse still: the Church has become a scapegoat for the political leader, and persecution against it has now reached a climax. Imprisonment of priests, expulsions, closure of Catholic media, attacks on churches… The Pillar highlights the figure of Bishop Rolando Álvarez, who is very involved in the defense of human rights. As head of the diocese of Matagalpa, he began fasting “indefinitely” while asking the authorities to guarantee the protection of his family. Other protests from members of the clergy were only met with retaliatory measures. While thousands of Nicaraguans have fled the country in recent years, persecution is unlikely to abate, The Pillar concludes. 

The Pillar, English

5Spanish diocese sets up a “commission on good use of the internet”

The Archdiocese of Toledo, the seat of the Primate of Spain, will establish a commission on the proper use of the Internet, which will be chaired by its Vicar General Raúl Muelas. The new structure has its origin in a recent pastoral letter from the Archbishop of Toledo, Francisco Cerro, who assures that “digital continent can be a place of encounter and evangelization” and that “the use of these means by Christians must always be animated by the desire that this use be enlivened by a human and Christian spirit.” The Archbishop’s letter includes a series of recommendations, especially addressed to priests, whose work-life balance can be endangered by excessive or addictive use. “An excessive waste of time or an uncontrolled and compulsive use of the cell phone or other media can be warning signs that should be heeded,” the letter explains. In virtual relationships, “any imprudence can have dire consequences on the reputation of the priest,” it says. The letter also points to the danger of spreading fake news. The commission will have a group of experts, some of whom will be more specialized in the technical field and others in the sacred sciences.Other dioceses, including a Brazilian diocese, are seeking to implement the same approach.

Alfa y Omega, Spanish

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