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Rome & the World: cardinal-poet leading super-dicastery • Belgium bishops’ cunning

MSGR. JOSÉ TOLENTINO MENDONÇA

By António0196 (Cc By-sa 4.0) From Wikimedia Commons

I.Media for Aleteia - published on 09/27/22

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 27 September 2022
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1. Portugal welcomes the “promotion” of Cardinal Tolentino 
2. Pope Francis: authority or autonomy?
3. Cardinal Arinze opposes blessings for same-sex couples
4. The Holy See wants a world free of nuclear weapons
5 . Lucerne’s “no” to financing the future Swiss Guard barracks shows the Catholic Church’s loss of influence
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1Portugal welcomes the “promotion” of Cardinal Tolentino

The young Cardinal Tolentino Mendonça, 56, has been appointed by Pope Francis as prefect of the Dicastery for Culture and Education: An important position born of the recent merger of the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Council for Culture. The bishops of Portugal expressed their “profound joy” at the announcement of this appointment, which comes “at an important moment of renewal of the structures of the Church.” The Diocese of Funchal, on the island of Madeira, where the Cardinal-poet was born, expressed its pride “to see one of its sons serve the Pope in this great responsibility in the service of the proclamation of the Gospel.” The Dean of the Catholic University of Portugal praised the “intellectual,” seeing in this appointment an asset “in the face of the violent threats and contradictions of our present.” Father de Sousa, president of the Portuguese Biblical Association, emphasized the “great technical quality” of the Cardinal, who is also a biblical expert, and has important human, cultural, and theological features. Pope Francis is undoubtedly counting on the profile of this great lover of secular literature and renowned intellectual to forge more links between the Church and the world. The arrival of the Portuguese Cardinal at the head of this new “super-dicastery” also brings a breath of youth as he replaces the heads of the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Council for Culture, two 79-year-old Italian cardinals. 

Ecclesia, Portuguese  

2Pope Francis: authority or autonomy?

Last week, the Bishops of Flanders, Belgium, published a document with a prayer service for homosexual couples within the Church. Although the Bishops clarified it was not a blessing, as the Dicastery for the Doctrine of Faith (DDF) has explicitly said in a note published in March 2021 that this is not allowed for same-sex couples, some observers saw the document as opening a door to blessings in the future. Vatican journalist Andrea Gagliarducci argues that this news illustrates a wider trend in the pontificate of Pope Francis, as he encourages “personal discernment, asks not to rely on casuistry, and does not take clear positions on major issues,” while at the same time expressing himself in a mitigating way on contentious issues, leaving the official position unclear. Gagliarducci argues that the document of the Bishops of Flanders tries to reconcile the DDF’s note with Pope Francis “subsequent detachment” from it, as he “only made indirect references” to the note, without disavowing it.  The Italian journalist says the document of the Bishops of Flanders “was handled with a certain cunning” as it stays within the limits of the DDF’s note while also being a “first example of a community celebration with a homosexual couple at the center.” “The position of the Holy See has always been that of not defining people according to their sexuality,” Gagliarducci explains, underlining that creating a specific pastoral service for certain groups of people contradicts this idea and could be “explosive.” However, at the same time, the Italian journalist also acknowledges that this approach is “genuinely pastoral and appropriate to the times.” Gagliarducci analyzes that “the technique” employed  “is to make small, formally accepted changes that lead to substantial changes. A slippery slope towards doctrinal change, with a slow start,” stemming “from a robust intellectual stance, with great reach in public opinion.” The Italian journalist laments the fact that there were no reactions from the Vatican to clarify this issue surrounding the document of the Bishops and cites other examples where Pope Francis did not engage or asked “for discernment without defining anything,” such as with the German Synod or on the issue of communion for the divorced and remarried. Gagliarducci argues this method “seems to be a very accentuated pastoralism that allows for the creation of divisions,” which leaves a feeling “that a rift is about to emerge within the Catholic Church.” 

Monday Vatican, English  

3. Cardinal Arinze opposes blessings for same-sex couples

For Cardinal Francis Arinze, former prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship, the prayer for same-sex couples proposed by the Bishops of Flanders is “an error,” because “human beings have no power to change the order established by God the Creator.”

Catholic News Agency, English

4. The Holy See wants a world free of nuclear weapons

During the 66th session of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States, once again spoke out against the use of nuclear weapons, while also welcoming the use of nuclear technology to improve certain aspects of life, particularly in the fight against cancer.

Vatican News, English

5 . Lucerne’s “no” to financing the future Swiss Guard barracks shows the Catholic Church’s loss of influence

More than 70% of Lucerne voters rejected the canton’s planned contribution to the reconstruction of the Swiss Guard barracks in Rome. Cath.ch analyzes that this unexpected result seems to reveal the poor image of the Catholic Church in the Swiss population.

Cath.ch, French

Tags:
Rome & the World
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