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Rome & the World: fascinating backstory of Vatican protocol • Cardinal Sarah’s new book • & more …

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Cardinal Robert Sarah

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Cardinal Robert Sarah addressed the World Meeting of Families this morning, discussing “The Light of the Family in a Dark World.” Photo CREDIT: Antoine Mekary / ALETEIA

I.Media for Aleteia - published on 07/06/22 - updated on 07/06/22

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.

Wednesday 6 July 2022
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1. Cardinal Sarah’s book: a plan for a new pontificate? 
2. Cardinal Parolin’s celebratory arrival in South Sudan
3. Meet the soon-to-be first Cardinal of Singapore
4. Book explains the meaning of protocol in the Vatican 
5. Disabled people and their experience need to be considered in the Synod
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Cardinal Sarah’s book: a plan for a new pontificate?

Vatican expert Sandro Magister sees in Cardinal Robert Sarah’s new book a “a clear contestation of all the current proposals for the reform of the ‘clerical system,’ from married clergy to women priests to government by the people.” He takes as an example the “apparently minor and only functional innovations that are already gaining a foothold in the Church of Rome,” such as giving leadership roles to people who are not priests. Magister, quoting Cardinal Sarah, explains that, naturally, lay people can sometimes be more competent than the clergy, and it is necessary to give them the right roles. “Strictly speaking, however, government in the Church is not in the main a competence, but a presence, that of Christ as servant and shepherd,” the Italian journalist explains. That is why functions of government in the Church should never be exercised by anyone other than ordained ministers. Sandro Magister, very critical of Francis’ pontificate, sees in Cardinal Sarah’s analyses “the program of a new pontificate.” A program radically alternative to that discussed by the German Synod. 

Settimo Cielo, English

Cardinal Parolin’s celebratory arrival in South Sudan

After some days in the Democratic Republic of Congo the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, landed on June 5 in Juba, capital of South Sudan, amongst cheers, dancing and singing. “What a beautiful welcome,” he exclaimed looking out the airplane window, as reported by Vatican News journalist Salvatore Cernuzio, who is accompanying the pope’s right-hand man. Cardinal Parolin has been traveling to these countries in the name of Pope Francis, after the pontiff had to postpone his trip due to health issues. The women and children in Juba were wearing colorful clothing, playing drums and straw instruments and stomping their feet adorned with ankle bells. The Cardinal was greeted by the apostolic nuncio in South Sudan, Archbishop Hubertus Mathews Maria van Megen, Archbishop emeritus of Khartoum, Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako and various bishops, including Christian Carlassare of Rumbek, who was assaulted in 2021. “It is a great joy for me to be here and to be here for a few days to celebrate, to pray, to meet people,” and to do so “on behalf of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, who always carries you in his heart, is concerned about peace and reconciliation in South Sudan and follows the good developments in relations,” the Cardinal said.  

Vatican News, Italian

Meet the soon-to-be first Cardinal of Singapore

In a few weeks, he will be the first Cardinal of Singapore, the important city-state of Southeast Asia. In an interview with Vatican News, Archbishop William Goh describes the importance of the Catholic (7%) and Christian (20%) population in his country, underlining the specificity of the Singaporean population, which is highly educated and very demanding of the clergy. “They want to know more,” he says, describing a community that is involved and respectful. Until the arrival of the pandemic, the faithful would gather in churches “packed to the brim,” to the point that if all Singaporean Catholics went to Mass, “we would need to build more churches,” he explains. More broadly, he says Asians are “religious minded” and see “the importance of the sacred” in their lives. “Faith in Asia is very alive,” Bishop Goh explains. About 80% of the people in his country identify with a religion, which has allowed the government to establish a model of multi-religious cooperation to “promote harmony” between the different faiths. In Singapore, there is a blasphemy law, among other things. “We don’t fight each other,” he said, assuring that most religious leaders know and support one another. Due to its great wealth, the danger to Singaporean society is the rise of materialism, although Bishop Goh believes his people are above all searching for meaning. If the College of Cardinals is turning to Asia, the Bishop says it is because of the Pope’s desire to reach out to the peripheries. He says he appreciates the Pope’s calls for compassion for “those who are divorced, those who are LGBTQ,” and sees it as a sign that the Church “is ready to be universal.”

Vatican News, English

Book explains the meaning of protocol in the Vatican 

Monsignor Stefano Sanchirico, an official of the Vatican Apostolic Archives, former papal ceremonial officer and former prelate of the antechamber in the Prefecture of the Papal Household, has published a book with a Vatican journalist titled “Linguaggi pontifici” (“Papal languages,” Editoriale Romani) that offers an interesting insight into the protocols surrounding the pope. “The gestures, the accorded precedences, and the movements of the ceremonial are structured, precise, symbolic, and therefore a complete language. Behind the ceremonial is a story, which is inescapable, and a rationale, which must be understood,” explains the article in Il Fatto Quotidiano. The permanence of the institution depends in large part on the protocol surrounding exchanges with the pope, which cannot be reduced to a banal discussion between friends. “The Holy See expresses a peculiar reality endowed with sovereignty, international juridical personality, but characterized by a universal moral and religious mission. And so every detail must be at the service of the religious dimension, and the image of the Supreme Pontiff, who is the vicar of Christ on earth, must stand out,” insists Msgr. Sanchirico.

Il Fatto Quotidiano, Italian

Disabled people and their experience need to be considered in the Synod

In Spain, some associations regret that people with disabilities are one of the “gaps” in the summary of the national consultation for the synod on synodality. “The issue of people with disabilities did not come up at all and only one reference was included after they opened up the possibility of including amendments to the text on the 11th,” laments Xavier Pagés, director of the Pastoral Secretariat for the Disabled in Barcelona. However, the official logo of the Synod includes a person in a wheelchair, and more than 60 deaf people or people with disabilities participated in the synodal meetings in Barcelona, reports the media Alfa y Omega. All of them wished “that people with disabilities are taken into account as one more person and that there is a real welcome from the parish communities.” This would imply, for example, that architectural barriers be removed for people with reduced mobility, that there be accompaniment for the visually impaired, and that there be priests, volunteers, and catechists trained in sign language. These requests are all the more important considering that 9.25% of the Spanish population – 4.35 million people – suffer from some kind of disability. 

Alfa y Omega, Spanish 

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