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Rome & the World: a tiny island gives the Church a major cardinal • guardians of Vatican II



Maltese Bishop Mario Grech (R) receives his biretta hat as he is created Cardinal by Pope Francis (L) during a consistory to create 13 new cardinals, on November 28, 2020

I.Media - published on 10/07/22

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.

Friday 7 October 2022
1. The rise of Cardinal Grech 
2. John Paul II and Benedict XVI, guardians of the Second Vatican Council
3. Cardinal opposes transfer of British embassy to Jerusalem
4. Church appeal for the desperate situation in Tigray
5. The Pope in Bahrain: a “signal” to Shiite Islam

1The rise of Cardinal Grech

American media outlet, The Pillar, explains why Cardinal Mario Grech, 65, is a rising figure in the Vatican. A former bishop of the small Diocese of Gozo, Malta, the young prelate was placed at the head of the Synod of Bishops in 2019 by Pope Francis. Promoted to cardinal a year later, Mario Grech became a central figure in the Vatican when the Argentine Pontiff decided to launch his wide-reaching Synod on Synodality. This two-year process, which is supposed to make the Church more responsive to the People of God, “is likely to be remembered as the cornerstone of Pope Francis’ legacy,” explains the author of the article. Thus, observers in Rome and beyond are beginning to see Cardinal Grech as a natural heir to the Argentinian Pope, especially if a conclave is held before the end of the process, as the Maltese prelate would be seen as the “best equipped to carry on much of the pope’s vision for the future.” The Pillar explains how the Synod secretariat became the engine of the Vatican apparatus in a few months. “Officials in several Vatican departments have told The Pillar that it now functions as a new kind of ‘first dicastery.'” Another Curia official confided that “Cardinal Grech is in the middle of everything.” In short, the Maltese is the Cardinal who best embodies this new synodal era in the Catholic Church. However, the article concludes with a warning: “if this synodal Church becomes synonymous with a permanent ecclesial crisis,” his stature may suffer.

The Pillar, English 

2John Paul II and Benedict XVI, guardians of the Second Vatican Council

When he convened the Second Vatican Council, John XXIII wanted to “rekindle the Church’s Christocentric faith in order to convert the modern world,” says American theologian George Weigel, who was a student at the time. The goal, he explains, was to give the Church a language that the world could hear. However, the application of the Council was often replaced by an interpretation outside the texts, “an amorphous ‘the spirit of Vatican II,’” he points out. He believes, for example, that in matters of liturgy, the apostolic constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium has been very badly read and considers that this is why the popes have tried to correct the bad interpretations that have arisen after the Council. In his opinion Francis’ motu proprio Traditionis custodes has “made matters worse, rather than better.” Considering the Church’s dialogue with the world, Weigel criticizes the appearance of a “Church of Woke” that denies the truths of biblical anthropology. Deploring the “ecclesiastical crisis” that has hit the Church in Germany, Weigel explains that the Council does not give an “authoritative key” to conform its application, but that it is John Paul II and Benedict XVI who have provided it. The main one, he assures, would have been delivered at the 1985 Synod of Bishops, when the Church was defined as a “communion of disciples in mission.” The Church that follows these teachings today, the theologian assures us, is the one that thrives, in contrast to “the chimera of Catholic Lite” interpretations of Vatican II.

National Catholic Register, English

3. Cardinal opposes transfer of British embassy to Jerusalem

In a letter written to the British Prime Minister, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, expresses his concern about the plan to transfer the British embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. 

Vatican News, French 

4. Church appeal for the desperate situation in Tigray

The Catholic Church in Ethiopia is calling for an end to the fighting that continues to devastate the Tigray region in the north of the country. An estimated 9 million people in the region are threatened by hunger. 

Focus On Africa, Italian

5. The Pope in Bahrain: a “signal” to Shiite Islam

Bishop Hinder, Vicar Apostolic for North Arabia, believes that Pope Francis’ trip to Bahrain in early November is a positive strategy for approaching the different currents of the Muslim faith. The majority of the people in the small kingdom are Shiites, but it is Sunnis who rule the country. 

AsiaNews, Italian 

Rome & the World
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