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Rome & the World: parish takes on euthanasia • tourists in Iraq • & more …

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Shutterstock I JP WALLET

I.Media - published on 07/05/22

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.

Tuesday 5 July 2022
1. How the Pope’s visit to Iraq opened the country to international tourism
2. An Evangelical Protestant’s reading of the new Constitution
3. Tribute to a priest who died in Indonesia after 50 years of promoting dialogue 
4. A parish in Cordoba offers palliative care as an alternative to euthanasia
5. French missionary who was assaulted in 2015 and kidnapped in 2021 returns to Haiti

How the Pope’s visit to Iraq opened the country to international tourism

What if Iraq’s image was changing thanks in part to Pope Francis? Recently, dozens of YouTube influencers and media professionals have visited Iraq and have highlighted this country scarred by years of war. Some of their productions debunk a number of stereotypes associated with this Arab country and highlight little-known historical, cultural, and artistic sites and features. AsiaNews reports that Pope Francis’ historic trip in March 2021 has had a great impact on the tourism industry, “stimulating interest among foreign visitors, both in the region and further afield.”

AsiaNews, English

The Italian Protestant pastor Leonardo De Chirico examines the Holy See’s new constitution Praedicate Evangelium, which he sees as an “identity card” of the Vatican, but also as a representation of the “the inherent connection between the theological vision and the institutional outlook of the Roman Church.” He looks with interest at the synodal dimension of the Pontiff’s reform, which aims “to shorten the distance between Rome and the particular churches.” To this end, the Pope “wants mission to be at the center of the Vatican institutional life” and therefore emphasizes evangelization, before doctrine and charity. An order that challenges pastor De Chirico: “The Roman Curia is no longer supposed to be primarily a defensive structure guided by a body watching over doctrine, but needs to become an outward vector at the service of the mission of the Church.” He sees a “genetic modification” inherited from Vatican II, but underlines the specificity of the approach taken by Francis by analyzing his last encyclical, Fratelli tutti. According to De Chirico, this document carries “a flawed view of what ‘preach the Gospel’ means according to the Bible.” By abandoning any desire to persuade non-believers to come to him,” Jesus, he regrets, is “reduced to the rank of the champion of Christians alone” by the Pope. 

Evangelical Focus, English

Tribute to a priest who died in Indonesia after 50 years of promoting dialogue 

Father John Mansford Prior, who died on July 2, 2022, was born and raised in England, but spent most of his life in Indonesia as a leading academic and theologian, promoting interfaith dialogue and Bible studies among a host of remarkable feats. Born in 1946, he was ordained in 1972 as a missionary priest of the Society of Divine Word (SVD). The following year he arrived in Flores, an island in Eastern Indonesia where around 90% of the population is Catholic despite it being a minority religion in the majority-Muslim country. Since then he founded and led several parishes in Flores and focused his work on promoting and studying intercultural and interreligious dialogue. In 2008 he even conducted a seminar in Australia titled “Understanding Islam Today: faces and feelings behind the headlines.” The author of the article emphasizes the need for constant dialogue and understanding between Muslism and Christian. He echoes Father Prior’s laments that “today such intimate connections are regrettably hard to establish as a result of the politicization of almost every single dimension of the relations between Muslims and Christians.” “Dialogue and peace have been mission priorities of Father Prior throughout his life as he proved through his words, writings, and actions […] His death is an irreparable loss for theology and sociology in the region. But his great contributions as a missionary priest and erudite scholar leave a golden legacy,” the journalist concludes. 

UCA News, English

A parish in Cordoba offers palliative care as an alternative to euthanasia

While euthanasia was legalized in Spain in 2021 and immediately put into practice, three women who have long defended life from conception to natural death have joined forces with the parish priest of Our Lady of Consolation in Córdoba. They created the Contigo siempre (“With you, always”) Foundation, with which they will offer to accompany terminally ill patients with specialized medical care. The goal is to provide home care by taking into account the medical and spiritual needs of the patients, while also relieving the families, ensuring a relay at the patients’ bedside when their loved ones need a break. For the Contigo Siempre Foundation’s team, “sometimes you can’t do much for the disease, but you can always do something for the patient.” They have already started collecting the necessary material to alleviate suffering towards the end of a patient’s life, such as wheelchairs or special mattresses to avoid bed sores. One of the members explains that the association is Catholic but is available to all people. “We simply want to transmit the love of God to all those who need it, and those who ask, we will help them to meet God. We want the sick to die in peace with the hope of finding on the other side the tenderness they received in their last days here,” she concludes.

Alfa y Omega, Spanish 

French missionary who was assaulted in 2015 and kidnapped in 2021 returns to Haiti

“A land that has seized his heart and already almost taken his life”: This is how the newspaper Ouest-France presents the attachment of French missionary priest Michel Briand to Haiti. At 68 years old, he will soon return to the island where he was shot and kidnapped by a gang. Supported by the Ouest-France Solidarité association, he intends to remain faithful to the people who have welcomed him for 37 years. “It is a love story. I discovered a caring people who yearn for change,” he said. Arriving in Haiti in 1986, this missionary of the Society of St. James has served 20 years in several areas of the country. At the end of August 2015, he was assaulted and shot by a bandit. After being hospitalized in France, he returned to Haiti, where he was then kidnapped with nine others in 2021, and released after several weeks, after a ransom was paid. “In spite of what I have suffered, I remain and I bring my small stone to hope,” testifies Father Briand. While Haitians live “with the fear of being kidnapped,” he believes that the people must find hope. “It is not money that can save the country, it is the Haitian soul,” he says. 

Ouest-France, French 

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