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Rome & the World: Church takes on fake news • permanent synodal council in Germany?

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SILVIO AVILA/AFP/East News

I.Media for Aleteia - published on 09/13/22

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 13 September 2022
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1. Catholic Church works to battle ‘fake news’ in Brazil’s election campaign
2. German synodal way members back permanent ‘synodal council’
3. The British ambassador to the Holy See remembers the legacy of Queen Elizabeth II in a major interview
4. Catholic liturgy is not only a Catholic issue
5. Mongolia’s young Cardinal Giorgio Marengo explains why the Pope’s trip to Kazakhstan is important for peace in the region
~

1Catholic Church works to battle ‘fake news’ in Brazil’s election campaign

On October 2, 2022, Brazilians will head to the polls to vote for their next President, amidst a highly polarized political context. The two top contenders are the current right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro and former left-wing President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, commonly referred to as Lula. The tense election period has seen a rise of fake news propagated online concerning religion. For example, Crux explains there appears to be a “smear campaign against Lula,” who has been leading the polls, by trying to “associate him with the anti-Christian persecution led by left-wing regimes in other Latin American countries.” Magali Cunha, a communications researcher who leads Coletivo Bereia, a fact-checking group specializing in false stories about religion, explained that much of the disinformation seen online seems to be disseminated by the right. The National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB) has decided to take action and partnered with Coletivo Bereia and others to train their Communications Pastoral Ministry (Pascom) agents on how to identify false information and spread awareness amongst parishioners. “The formal training of pastoral agents against fake news, a terrible evil, is a sign that CNBB is willing to take ahead its struggle against disinformation,” Auxiliary Bishop of Belo Horizonte, Joaquim Mol Guimarães, CNBB’s Communications head, told Crux. He said that the Church in Brazil has been dealing poorly with the spread of fake news among Catholics and does not often take action against priests or laypeople who have disseminated this information. The CNBB itself has also been a target of fake news campaigns over the past few years.

Crux, English    

2German synodal way members back permanent ‘synodal council’

Delegates of the German synodal way concluded a turbulent three-day assembly on Saturday, September 10, with the adoption of a controversial proposal to create a “permanent synodal council,” whose task will be to make “fundamental decisions of supra-diocesan significance on pastoral planning, future perspectives and budgetary issues of the Church.” However, the assembly failed to adopt a text calling for a change in the Church’s approach to sexual ethics, due to the opposition of certain bishops. The vote follows a Vatican statement in July that the synodal process does not have the power “to compel the bishops and the faithful to adopt new ways of governance and new approaches to doctrine and morals,” which it said could constitute “a wound to ecclesial communion and a threat to the unity of the Church.” Pope Francis remained relatively in the background, seemingly wanting to let the debates continue their course. During the press conference on his return from Canada on July 30, the Pontiff explained that this Vatican statement did not come from him but from the Secretariat of State, and that it had been an “administrative error” not to have signed it upon publication. Assuming to have “bypassed the Curia,” Pope Francis had specified that his “Letter to the People of God on a Journey in Germany,” published in 2019, was the only “Papal Magisterium on the Synodal Way.” In this very dense text, marked by the Jesuit art of discernment, he recognized the legitimacy of the debates but warned against the “subtle temptations” that can mark this process, especially “the pursuit of immediate results that generate quick and media consequences, but ephemeral due to lack of maturity or because they do not respond to the vocation to which we are called.”

The Pillar, English   

3. The British ambassador to the Holy See remembers the legacy of Queen Elizabeth II in a major interview

Crux, English 

4. Catholic liturgy is not only a Catholic issue

Rivista Il Mulino, Italian 

5. Mongolia’s young Cardinal Giorgio Marengo explains why the Pope’s trip to Kazakhstan is important for peace in the region

Vatican News, English

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