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Rome & the World: the future pope’s German years • Portugal abuse report coming in January

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I.Media for Aleteia - published on 09/14/22 - updated on 09/14/22

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.

Wednesday 14 September 2022
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1. When Father Bergoglio studied in Rothenburg, Germany
2. Report on abuse in the Church to be finalized in December, says Portuguese Episcopal Conference
3. The President of the Latin Bishops of Ukraine, Archbishop Mokrzycki, welcomes the initiative of the European Churches to pray today, on the feast of the Holy Cross, for peace in the country.
4. France will not extradite a French priest accused of sexually assaulting young Inuits when he was in mission in Canada in the 1960s.
5. Amidst cries and protests, the German synod asks the Pope to ordain women

1When Father Bergoglio studied in Rothenburg, Germany

The medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, in Bavaria, welcomed Father Jorge Bergoglio, the future Pope Francis, during the summer of 1986. The future Pope spent three months in this predominantly Protestant medieval town, located in a deeply Catholic state, during which he studied German, according to the Swiss website Cath.ch. Signs reminding people of his visit have been put up, especially near the Montessori School, because it was here, in this building formerly used by the Goethe Institute, that the future Pope learned German. Bergoglio also lived through the final, on June 29, 1986, of the soccer World Cup won by Argentina against West Germany. The future Pope was welcomed by the Pester family, known in the city for hosting foreign students studying at the Goethe Institute. This stay in Rothenburg was a preparation for his year of study in Frankfurt, at the faculty of theology and philosophy of Sankt Georgen, where he was to prepare a thesis on the theologian Romano Guardini (1885-1968). Nevertheless, this experience was a failure and the Argentine Jesuit, already 50 years old, returned to Argentina after a few weeks, abandoning his university research and becoming a simple neighborhood priest in Cordoba. He remained discreet about this time in Germany, but he kept a certain mastery of the German language, which he used when receiving certain groups. For example, he gave a homily in German at the German altar servers’ pilgrimage on August 5, 2014, in St. Peter’s Square. Also, during his November 25, 2014, visit to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, he was greeted by Helma Schmidt, a 97-year-old German woman who had hosted him in 1985 during another visit to the town of Boppard in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. The Pope continued to exchange letters with her over the following decades. According to the local press, she is still alive and will celebrate her 105th birthday this October.

Cath.ch, French  

2Report on abuse in the Church to be finalized in December, says Portuguese Episcopal Conference

The Portuguese Episcopal Conference (CEP) confirmed on Tuesday, 13 September, that the Independent Commission for the Study of Child Abuse in the Church should finalize its report in December, meaning it is expected to be published by mid-January, 2023. The CEP decided to create a commission to investigate cases of child abuse in the Church of Portugal at the end of 2021.The group, led by child psychiatrist Pedro Strecht, began its work in early 2022 and has already received around 400 complaints. In the local Church’s summary report on the synodal process, the Church was described as generally prioritizing “maintaining its image rather than preserving the safety of its community, with pedophilia cases emerging as the most obvious example.” The Portuguese independent inquiry commission follows a recent growing trend among local Churches to investigate abuse cases nationally. Other examples are Spain, where cases are being looked into at the moment, and France, where a final report was released at the end of 2021. Abuse cases in Portugal have also been in the public eye recently as in August, Portuguese site o Observador published an article alleging that the Patriarch of Lisbon, Cardinal Manuel José Macário do Nascimento Clemente, mishandled an abuse case from the 1990s, which had also been brought to the attention of his predecessor. Shortly after, Cardinal Clemente published an open letter defending himself and explaining how he had handled the case and how the norms to fight abuse have changed over the years. 

Observador, Portuguese  

3. The President of the Latin Bishops of Ukraine, Archbishop Mokrzycki, welcomes the initiative of European Churches to pray today, on the feast of the Holy Cross, for peace in the country.

SIR, Italian

4. France will not extradite a French priest accused of sexually assaulting young Inuits when he was on mission in Canada in the 1960s.

Le Figaro, French  

5. Amidst cries and protests, the German synod asks the Pope to ordain women. 

Il Foglio, Italian.  

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