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Rome & the World: when the Vatican is mum • fiddling as it burns • patron of unity?

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Daniel Ortega

I.Media - published on 08/25/22

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.

Thursday, August 25
1. Vatican diplomacy: questioning the “Gallagher protocol?”
2. This week’s papal speculation may distract from the main issue while the rest of the world burns
3. Could the Armenian saint Nerses IV be “Patron of Unity among Churches”?

Vatican diplomacy: questioning the “Gallagher protocol?”

Daniel Ortega’s intense persecution of the Church in Nicaragua calls into question the Vatican’s “Gallagher Protocol”: such is the thesis of this article in the National Catholic Register. What is the Gallagher protocol? This American newspaper sees it in the words of the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States—the Vatican’s “foreign minister”—in June 2021: “One can say a lot of, shall we say, appropriate words that would be appreciated by the international press (…) but I (…) have yet to be convinced that it would make any difference whatever.”

In other words, the Register explains, “Catholics under persecution by regimes unmoved by diplomatic protests should not expect rhetorical support from the Vatican. The fiercer the repression, the less the Vatican says.” The author, Fr. Raymond J. de Souza, criticizes the lack of reaction from Pope Francis and his diplomats to the persecutions in Nicaragua, China, etc. He notes, however, that outside the Vatican, this protocol is not respected, which will likely trigger debate in the future. 

National Catholic Register, English

This week’s papal speculation may distract from the main issue while the rest of the world burns

Vaticanist John Allen wryly notes the frenzy of rumors surrounding the pope’s agenda in the days ahead: the consistory, the visit to Aquila, and the summoning of cardinals from around the world for a meeting in a novel format about the new apostolic constitution. All of this is generating journalistic excitement worthy of a “World Series,” with all the speculation about a possible papal renunciation.

But the American Vaticanist notes that all this excitement is distracting from the real issues that affect the future of humanity and Christianity, including the war in Ukraine, a battle seen in biblical terms by Archbishop Borys Gudziak, the bishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic diaspora in the United States, who is visiting Rome this week. Another crucial issue is the persecution of Christians in Nigeria—where kidnappings of priests and nuns are on the rise—and the attacks against the Church in Nicaragua.

These situations are a reminder that, despite all the passion generated by papal rumors, “for people who are literally dealing with life and death, excessive focus on such matters can come off as fiddling while everyplace other than Rome burns.”

Crux, English

Could the Armenian saint Nerses IV be “Patron of Unity among Churches”?

The Catholic bishops of the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate of Cilicia are asking Pope Francis to proclaim the 12th-century Armenian saint Nerses Shnorhali (1102-1173) “Patron of Unity among the Churches.” On the occasion of the 850th anniversary of his death, they are asking the pontiff to celebrate a solemn pontifical liturgy in his honor in St. Peter’s Basilica, reports the Fides agency.

This 12th-century saint, who became Armenian Catholicos under the name of Nerses IV, nicknamed Shnorhali—”The Gracious One”—worked for the full restoration of sacramental and doctrinal unity between the Church of Rome, the Armenian Church, and the Church of Constantinople, after the Great Schism. His intuitions, explains the Vatican missionary agency, “were aimed at reopening the way to full sacramental and doctrinal communion between Christians of the East and West.” St. Nerses advised “eliminating the main obstacle, that is, hatred,” and then negotiating “on the level of equality and not on that of superiority or domination,” with “calm reasoning, based on the authority of Scripture and the Holy Fathers.” 

Fides, Italian

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