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Rome & the World : Female mystics • culture of encounter • Nelson Mandela tribute


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Nelson Mandela en l'an 2000.

I.Media - published on 07/19/22

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 19 July 2022 
1. The tradition of female mystics enhances theology
2. Vatican pays tribute to Nelson Mandela one year after his death
3. What is the culture of encounter that Pope Francis advocates?

1The tradition of female mystics enhances theology

The Spanish website Vida Nueva Digital interviewed Sister Carolina Blazquez Casado, an Augustinian nun from the San Damaso Ecclesiastical University, who has just edited the first Spanish translation of the French theologian Louis Bouyer’s “Figures mystiques féminines” (“Mystical feminine figures”). A text that, according to the nun, “open paths of reflection on the role of women” so that they “participate more actively in the spheres of ecclesial decision and responsibility.” Five great mystics are studied by Bouyer: Hadewijch of Antwerp, Thérèse of Lisieux, Isabella of the Trinity, Thérèse of Avila and Edith Stein. Personalities that Sister Blazquez Casado sees as a precious aid to build a “‘mystical’ Church, that is, guided by the living experience of God in us.” In contrast to any “abstract academic discourse”, these women give us a glimpse of the “restless heart of man who seeks” for God, she believes.

Vida Nueva Digital, Spanish 

2Vatican pays tribute to Nelson Mandela on the anniversary of his birth

On July 18, anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth, the United Nations celebrates an international day dedicated to the South African leader, in order to remember his fight against Apartheid. “Central to Mandela’s civil struggle was forgiveness, a theme that puts him in particular harmony with the teachings of Pope Francis,” explains Alessandro Gisotti, Deputy Editorial Director of Vatican Media, in an article published in the Holy See’s official media outlet, Vatican News. “In his non-violent civil battle, in his commitment as a “dreamer who never gives up,” as he liked to describe himself, Mandela demonstrated precisely that no one is superior to another because we all have the same dignity,” continues Gisotti. He notes how, after spending 27 years in jail, Mandela then became President of South Africa and started “a courageous process of reconciliation and healing” after so many years of segregation and division in his country. “What enabled Mandela to endure being deprived of freedom for almost 30 years of his life and then to be that peacebuilder that everyone admired and continues to admire? Forgiveness,” analyzes the Italian author of the article. He emphasizes how Mandela’s actions showed that forgiveness liberates one from past fears, which is in line with Pope Francis’ thinking, as he has called forgiveness “a human right.”

Vatican News, English  

3What is the culture of encounter that Pope Francis advocates?

Writer Paul Elie, for the American Catholic website Commonweal, points out that Pope Francis uses the term encounter forty times in his encyclical Fratelli tutti, published in 2020. This insistence is a sign of the importance the Pope places on the “culture of encounter,” a concept the American author acknowledges as “one of the more elusive concepts of Francis’s pontificate.” Yet this culture of encounter has deep roots, he believes, in the approach of the Holy See and in the Catholic tradition. However, Pope Francis is said to have an “instinct for encounter” that has endeared him to so many people since the beginning of his pontificate. In contrast to synodality, which is an “abstruse and Church-specific” idea, the culture of encounter is “broadly humanistic and straightforward enough that people of various backgrounds can aspire to it.” For this reason, Paul Elie believes that the synod on synodality will only be a success if it is an authentic experience of encounter with the other.

Commonweal, English 

Rome & the World
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