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Rome & the World: last Italian pope? • more German synod • from convent to shelter • & more …

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Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

I.Media - published on 09/06/22

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 6 September 2022
1. Was John Paul I the last Italian Pope? 
2. Calcutta remembers Mother Teresa 25 years after her death
3. This Los Angeles convent turned into a maternity ward
4. Homosexuality, celibacy, synodality: the agenda for the German Synod’s next meeting
5. Orthodox leaders gather in Greece

1Was John Paul I the last Italian Pope?

On September 4, Pope Francis beatified Pope John Paul I – “the smiling pope” – who died after just 33 days in office. Despite acknowledging the speculations that sometimes surround this pontiff’s death, British news site Catholic Herald writes that the beatification ceremony “was really an opportunity to reflect on the former pope’s life rather than his untimely death.” “A humble and happy leader of the Catholic Church, John Paul I is remembered fondly by Catholics,” the article says. However, the British media outlet underlines that a significant aspect of his papacy is that he may be the last Italian pope for some time. “As the Church’s demographics change, it has become accepted in many circles that an Italian – perhaps even a European – would not be as able to reach a global audience as a non-European pontiff,” the article explains, listing possible future candidates such as Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle or Hungarian Cardinal Péter Erdő. “Given that Francis set a recent precedent for a non-European pope – and given how international the College of Cardinals now is – John Paul I may well go down in history as the last Italian pope for many years to come,” the article concludes. 

Catholic Herald, English  

2Calcutta remembers Mother Teresa 25 years after her death

Since Mother Teresa’s death on September 5, 1997, have the nuns in Calcutta changed how they work? “The answer is no. The primacy of charity continues to be the guiding principle,” said Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Calcutta, who came to pray at the saint’s tomb after celebrating a Mass commemorating 25 years since the Albanian nun’s death. “The challenges and poverty have increased but the answer has always been the primacy of charity,'” he added. On the same day, the Missionaries of Charity opened a new center in the city for children who live on the streets and cannot attend school. 

Asia News, English  

3This Los Angeles convent turned into a maternity ward

Despite its apparent opulence, the city of Los Angeles is home to many situations of misery: the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health estimates that each year in the county some 5,000 women are homeless at some point during their pregnancy and the city has only 70 shelter beds for pregnant women in crisis. In addition, plans by state legislators to make California a “sanctuary” for women from other states who are seeking abortions will continue increasing pressure on hospitals. It is against this backdrop that the Archdiocese partnered with Harvest Home, a local nonprofit residential program, to renovate a former convent and make it available to homeless pregnant women. Open during the summer, the “Pico Home” offers what staff call “wraparound care,” which includes things like cooking lessons and counseling for the single mothers. Two babies have already been born at the house since it opened earlier this summer. Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez blessed the facility, calling the service “a beautiful work of compassion and care for our most vulnerable neighbors.” “Let us continue to pray for these women and their children and let us continue to commit ourselves to building a Los Angeles where every life is cherished and protected,” he added, amid renewed attention to helping pregnant women and their babies after the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs vs. Mississippi, which struck down federal abortion law.

Catholic News Agency, English  

4Homosexuality, celibacy, synodality: the agenda for the German Synod’s next meeting

A few weeks after the Holy See’s rebuke of the German synodal process, the fourth session of the Synod will take place in a couple of days and four texts prepared by the various “forums” will be examined. These concern synodality itself, the celibacy of priests (“strengthening and opening up”), the role of women, and the “re-evaluation of homosexuality.” On this last point, the German Synod fathers consider that a “homosexual orientation should not be evaluated differently from an ethical point of view than a heterosexual orientation” and consider that homosexual relationships “must no longer be considered a sin,” while asking for a “revision of the catechism” and a ban on “conversion therapies.” Concerning women, the Germans ask for more space in leadership positions, including religious courts. The sacramental priesthood is also praised by the German Synod, however they consider that in the face of the shortage of priests, and in the view of Vatican II, a sacramental marriage could enrich “the priestly witness.”, German

5Orthodox leaders gather in Greece

The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and all Greece, and Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and all Ukraine arrived on the island of Thassos in Greece, in order to participate in the first celebration of the “Synaxis of the Saints in Thassos” and to receive their holy icon which was painted for this purpose. During the solemn doxology, mention was made of the Christianization of Russia at the end of the 9th century AD, when Patriarch Photios sent the first apostles to Kyiv to preach the Gospel and baptize the first Christians. The Metropolitan of Kyiv expressed his gratitude at having received an invitation to this event, which reached him in early March, during the “difficult days, when the Russian tyrant was sending his troops to destroy our country and take over Kyiv.” “The days I was reading your invitation, we were trying to protect ourselves from the Russian bombs. I was reading your invitation not knowing what could happen to us the next moment, the next day,” he confided. 

The Orthodox Times, English

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