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Rome & the World: papal politics • women in the Church

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audiencja generalna papieża Franciszka

AP/Associated Press/East News ; FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/East News

I.Media - published on 09/21/22

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 21 September 2022
1. The geopolitics of Pope Francis in a world at war
2. “There are women who are only used to clean the church,” deplores the first lay member of the bishops’ dicastery
3. In the midst of the “sugar crisis”, Coca-Cola employees turn to the Church
4. Bishop of Ajaccio (Corsica) again with Pope Francis 
5. A Vatican expert criticizes the Pope on his position on China

1The geopolitics of Pope Francis in a world at war

The website of the Italian newspaper Domani published an audio interview with Giovanni Maria Vian, director of L’Osservatore Romano from 2007 to 2018. Now a professor of patristic philosophy at the Sapienza University of Rome, the Italian intellectual continues to follow Pope Francis’ pontificate closely. After publishing in the magazine “Scenari” an in-depth analysis of the geopolitical strategy of the Argentine Pontiff, Vian returns in this podcast to papal diplomacy in the context of the war in Ukraine. The Pope has already expressed himself “more than 80” times since the beginning of the Russian offensive on February 24. Like Benedict XV during the First World War, Pope Francis is trying to talk to all the actors in this conflict, which has earned him a lot of criticism, because it is an “almost impossible mission.” “Francis does not claim to be a pacifist, but he does not like the concept of a just war and refuses any political use of God. This differentiates him from the Patriarch of Moscow who blesses war,” says the Italian historian. Vian also goes into detail about the numerous mediations of the different popes since the fall of the Papal States in 1870, which caused the pontiff to lose his temporal power but also gave him the freedom to act as a more neutral arbitrator. Even Bismarck, a persecutor of Catholics in Germany, appealed to Leo XIII to arbitrate a dispute over sovereignty in maritime waters. Today, “Pope Francis is very political” and, with his sometimes unpredictable initiatives, “he gives a lot of work to the Secretariat of State and the dicastery for Communication,” confides Vian, with a certain sense of irony. The Italian journalist himself was dismissed from the Holy See’s newspaper because of his opposition to the reform on communication. 

Domani, Italian 

2“There are women who are only used to clean the church,” deplores the first lay member of the bishops’ dicastery

María Lía Zervino, one of the three women members of the Dicastery for Bishops, talks about her new job, which will begin on September 22. As head of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations (WUCWO) for the past four years, the Argentinean laywoman hopes “that there will be a domino effect and that the rest of the Church’s structures will replicate the collaboration of women in decision-making bodies.” However, she acknowledges, “women should not enter the Church saying: ‘Here I am,’ because that would also be clericalism.” It is not a question of reducing the “sphere of power” of the bishops, but of contributing to the Church through “our feminine nature,” she continues. Zervino intends to bring to the dicastery “what lay women want, what makes them suffer in particular and what they dream of for the Church.” Citing the WUCWO World Observatory, she laments that, especially in Africa, “there are women who are used only to clean the church, who are monitored and controlled.” “It hurts a lot,” she says. Today the question revolves around transmitting a different message than the patriarchal one, “which makes us co-responsible for a synodal Church, without looking for culprits,” she explains. Zervino was appointed to this dicastery by the Pope on July 13, 2022. This organ’s members have historically always been men and mainly cardinals and bishops. Their work includes evaluating the profile of priests or bishops for a diocese whose see is vacant. 

Alfa y Omega, Spanish 

3. In the midst of the “sugar crisis,” Coca-Cola employees turn to the Church

After losing their jobs, former employees of the American giant are asking Catholic organizations for help in finding stable employment.

Missions Etrangères, French 

4. Bishop of Ajaccio (Corsica) again with Pope Francis 

Pope Francis once again granted a private audience to the new bishop of Ajaccio, Bishop François-Xavier Bustillo. “It was a beautiful moment of personal joy,” he said. 

CorseNetInfos, French. 

5. A Vatican expert criticizes the Pope on his position on China

Journalist Sandro Magister comments on the Pope’s remarks on the plane returning from Kazakhstan about China. In particular, he judges his “icy” attitude concerning the fate of Cardinal Zen. 

Settimo Cielo, English

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