Join our Lenten Campaign 2024.
Thursday 11 August 2022
1. “Francis is the most harassed pope of the last two centuries,” says veteran Vatican journalist
2. Who will save the treasures of the Church?
3. Catholicism as a new cultural trend amongst New York’s young
“Francis is the most harassed pope of the last two centuries,” says veteran Vatican journalist
Juan Vicente Boo is a Spanish correspondent who has covered the US, Brussels, Haiti and, for the last 23 years, the Vatican. In an interview with Spanish daily ABC, the media outlet he previously worked for, he recounts his experience and explains that it is much more difficult to report on the Vatican than any other place “because it requires a greater depth of vision.” Vicente Boo assesses that since becoming Pope, Francis has “undertaken three major cleanups of the ‘three C’s’” that stood out to the Spanish correspondent when he arrived in Rome in the late 1990s : “careerism, clericalism, and corruption.” However Vicente Boo also highlighted how this has not always been welcomed by all in the Church. “He is the most harassed pope of the last two centuries,” the correspondent stated, adding that “he is looked upon with suspicion by people from clericalized and aging countries, and also from countries with a high level of tension.” With regards to the Argentine pontiff’s two predecessors, Benedict XVI and John Paul II, the Spanish journalist says that “humanly speaking, they are three very different Popes. But they are the same in their enormous eagerness to serve, even in situations of precarious health, and in their message.”
Who will save the treasures of the Church?
The decreasing number of faithful and clergy in Europe and Italy has had a significant effect on the preservation of the large cultural patrimony of the Church. “The problem, for a country like Italy, whose history is inextricably intertwined with that of the Catholic Church, is that cultural heritage and church property often coincide,” explains journalist Francesco Peloso in an article in L’Essenziale. According to data published by the Vatican, 50% of monasteries will close their doors in the next 10 years, which, coupled with low birth rates and the emptying of towns and villages in Italy, does not paint a promising picture. In the country there are around 67,000 churches and around 1,000 ecclesial museums. “A heritage that is in danger of being, at least in part, lost,” the journalist analyzes, or turned “into a five-star tourist resort, a shopping mall, a bar, or a club,” he continues. However the problem rests not only in the physical preservation of the artifacts, but also in “the relationship that was or still exists between these buildings and the people living around them.” “A convent is not just a church, it is something that is part of the urban, social, and cultural system of our cities,” explained an architect who restored a convent near Rimini. However, the resources and money available to finance works of preservation has also been increasingly hard to find.
Catholicism as a new cultural trend amongst New York’s young
According to an opinion article in The New York Times, being Catholic among young people in the Big Apple has become a sort of fashion or trend. The author of the article, Julia Yost, seeks to explain the approach of this small group of young people who are part of this conversion “scene.” It is associated with “Dimes Square,” a neighborhood in midtown Manhattan popular with Generation Z, but has now also spread on social media. What attracts these young people? The anti-conformism that Catholicism represents, in a largely progressive society where “traditional morality” has come to acquire “a transgressive glamour.” For some young people, this conversion would even have the characteristics of a “provocation.” They choose Catholicism as a reaction to a general relativism, or to escape from their environment marked by movements such as Satanism. Julia Yost, however, casts doubt on the sincerity of the conversion of this group of young people. Their authenticity, she believes, will be tested by time and by confrontation with reality as indeed “the Church runs afoul of the culture in every generation.”
The New York Times, English