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 13 July 2022
1. Breaking: Benedict XVI is not dead
2. Psychology, an ally of Christian vocations
3. A geopolitical explosion in the Orthodox world
4. Two Spaniards fined for praying in front of an abortion clinic
5. Simplicity in truth, the trademark of John Paul I
Breaking: Benedict XVI is not dead
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is still not dead. Although this would normally not be considered news, it was featured in several headlines and media outlets yesterday. This is due to the fact that at around 2:30 am (Rome time) on Tuesday, an Italian school teacher, Tommaso De Benedetti, created panic online by tweeting from a fake account in German, English and Spanish that the Pope Emeritus had died. In August 2021 De Benedetti created a Twitter profile pretending to be Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg, who is also president of the German Bishops’ Conference. He didn’t actively use the account but managed to amass thousands of followers by following the right people and letting the Twitter algorithms do the rest. He then published the fake news from this profile on Tuesday night. The Pillar journalist JD Flynn admits he retweeted De Benedetti’s tweet with the disclaimer that it was something Bishop Bätzing was claiming and that they were working to confirm. He apologized to his readers and said that within minutes he deleted the Tweet clearly realizing it was fake. Additionally, De Benedetti soon after tweeted from the fake account himself, admitting it was a hoax. He had already pulled a similar sturnt in 2012. “It’s a weird hobby,” writes Flynn, “I’m sure there were people who were really upset by what De Benedetti did — it was rude, an abuse of our freedom of speech, and inconsiderate.”
The Pillar, English
Psychology, an ally of Christian vocations
Psychology is now fully integrated into seminaries and convents around the world, and it is almost unthinkable to imagine forming the clergy without this discipline’s help. Fifty years ago, this field remained in the shadows within the Church and the Institute of Psychology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome was a pioneer when it was founded in 1971. Among the difficulties often identified today is a lack of maturity, which is not necessarily a pathological phenomenon in itself but can lead to a form of “pharisaism.” “We all want to follow Jesus, but unconsciously we often follow ourselves; we seek to satisfy our dreams of power, value, and possession. “This is blameless, because it is unconscious, but it does not fail to have a significant influence on our service to the Kingdom of God,” warns Father Morgalla, who sees psychological assessments as an indispensable tool for identifying the limits and potentials of an individual, when forming them to become a possible future priest or consecrated person. The Institute, which has only 15 students per class in order to allow for a personalized formation, is also of interest to more and more lay people, who seek to develop their personal coherence in the face of the latent “narcissistic culture” that often weakens the authenticity of the Christian faith.
Alfa y Omega, Spanish
A geopolitical explosion in the Orthodox world
The Italian daily Domani reports on the consequences of Kirill’s support for Vladimir Putin due to his opposition to the West and its decadent values. This position already preceded the invasion of Ukraine. The Russian president has abandoned the Council of Europe and rebuilt the narrative of Russian identity due to in part the Orthodox patriarch’s “insistence” on the defense of traditions, explains journalist Pasquale Annicchino. The link between religious identity and national identity – the principle of “symphony” – in Orthodox countries “plays a leading role” and has caused in recent years “seismic movements” in the Orthodox world. Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, was the architect of these developments by recognizing the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, a gesture very badly received by Moscow. More recently, he pushed the Serbian Orthodox Church to “guarantee the full independence of the Macedonian Orthodox Church” – autocephaly. According to the journalist, the Serbian Orthodox Church “probably wanted to avoid the Russian scenario” where Bartholomew recognized the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The war in Ukraine has accelerated tensions, with Russia placing dioceses in the invaded areas “under the direct protection of the Moscow Patriarchate.” In response, Ukraine is preparing two bills, the first prohibiting the work of the Moscow Patriarchate on Ukrainian soil and the second prohibiting the activity of religious groups whose center of government is “in a state recognized by law as a military aggressor of Ukraine.” The aim is to force Orthodoxy to formally recognize the territorial integrity of the country, and to place religions under governmental supervision. The author of the article says that this project is in fact close to the model proposed in China of relationship with religions and is “rightly criticized in the West.” These laws are currently “on hold.”
Two Spaniards fined for praying in front of an abortion clinic
“Praying is not a crime.” This is the name of the initiative taken by a number of people in Spain to protest against a bill prohibiting “harassment of women who go to clinics to terminate a pregnancy.” The law was passed in mid-April 2021 and had so far not been a problem for those praying at the centers. However, in June, two Spaniards were fined 600 euros for praying the rosary outside an abortion clinic in Madrid. In protest, once a month, the protesting people will pray the rosary in front of the pioneer of the abortion business in Spain, the Dator Center.
ACI Prensa, Portuguese
Simplicity in truth, the trademark of John Paul I
“Proximity, humility, simplicity, poverty and insistence on the mercy and tenderness of Jesus”: these are the most outstanding characteristics of the brief magisterium of John Paul I, according to Stefania Falasca, vice-president of the Vatican Foundation John Paul I and vice-postulator of his cause of beatification. During a press conference held less than two months before the beatification of Pope Luciani, scheduled for September 4, the Vatican expert underlined the “absolute coincidence between what he taught and what he lived.” A disciple of St. Francis de Sales, John Paul I was an heir of the Second Vatican Council, convinced that the first duty of the Church was evangelization. Among the themes that he would have developed if he had not died of a heart attack 33 days after his election were ecumenical commitment and action for peace. For Stefania Falasca, this pope is “a point of reference in the history of the universal Church.”