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Rome & the World: uncompromising Mother Teresa • understanding Kirill • spiritual beauty of papal wheelchair

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Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

I.Media - published on 09/05/22

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.

Monday 5 September 2022
1. 25 years after Mother Teresa’s death: a woman who “knew no compromise”
2. Why isn’t Patriarch Kirill going to Kazakhstan to meet Pope Francis?
3. In a wheelchair: a meditation on the mobility of the Pope

25 years after Mother Teresa’s death: a woman who “knew no compromise”

In light of the 25th anniversary of Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s death, German weekly Die Tagespost interviewed Sister Lumena, a nun from the Missionaries of Charity. Born in Switzerland, Sister Lumena met Saint Teresa of Calcutta as a novice living in Essen at the Missionaries of Charity’s first German branch, which opened in 1979. “We experienced her very closely. She was very fond of the spiritual and practical preparation of young candidates for religious life. […] She knew how to combine love and rigor that fostered personal maturation,” Sister Lumena explained, underlining the Saint’s motherly instinct, her dedication to the poorest, and her deep love for Christ. Sister Lumena explained that although Mother Teresa had moments of spiritual darkness, “she had no doubts about her faith,” but rather she saw those periods as Christ wanting “to lead her into his suffering on the cross” so she could “understand the greatest poverty of not knowing God.” “She was authentic. What she said, she lived. […] She knew no compromise. One could tell that she was urged to give us the best,” Sister Lumena continued. “Christ says: ‘Whoever wants to follow me, deny himself, take up the cross and follow me.’ That is all that is needed for holiness. Mother Teresa would not compromise on this even today,” the Sister concludes. 

Die Tagespost, German.

“I think the decision is not related to any particular problem in the relations between Moscow and the Holy See,” says Archbishop Antonio Mennini, former apostolic nuncio in Moscow, after Patriarch Kirill canceled his visit to Nur-Sultan in Kazakhstan, thereby ruling out a meeting with Pope Francis. The diplomat recalls that in August, Metropolitan Antonij, head of the Department for External Relations of the Patriarchate of Moscow, came to visit Pope Francis and confirmed the intention of the Patriarchate to continue the dialogue between Moscow and the Holy See. For the former nuncio, Patriarch Kirill may have made this decision “to avoid the risk of further shaking up his Church, as already happened after the well-known meeting in Cuba” in 2016. That meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill has long been contested in the Russian Orthodox Church. However Archbishop Mennini argues that the Church in Moscow “needs the open door with Catholic Rome to ‘wrest’ from Patriarch Bartholomew a kind of exclusivity in relations between Orthodoxy and the Catholic Church.”

Settimana News, Italian. 

In a wheelchair: a meditation on the mobility of the Pope

“A bishop in a wheelchair stands at the back of God’s people and allows himself to be pulled by the sensus fidei.” This is how Andrea Grillo, author of a blog post published on the site of the cultural journal Munera, analyzes the fact that Pope Francis is now in a wheelchair. This reflection came to Grillo while viewing images of a recent audience in Rome, where Pope Francis received members of an association of liturgy professors. The Pope first arrived at the audience walking. “The Pope walks with difficulty, somewhat stooped, and struggles to climb the step on which his chair is placed,” Grillo describes, underlining however how this difficulty can turn into an asset. A staggering, limping bishop “stands in the middle of the caravan of his people, in the center of the people, leaning now on one, now on the other to go,” Grillo continues, adding that when the pontiff must resort to using his wheelchair, he is then being led by the people of God. “To be led by the people is by no means a vice,” the author concludes, hypothesizing instead that if the pontiff was led by the Roman Curia the situation would be more problematic. 

Munera, Italian.

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