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Rome & the World: priests trusting bishops • pressured to die in Spain

Pope Francis during his weekly general audience in saint peter's square - June 22 2022

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

I.Media - published on 10/25/22

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 25 October 2022
1. Under half of US Catholic priests trust their bishop
2. In Spain, social pressure fuels requests for euthanasia
3. “Vatican Girl”: Netflix’s documentary about a disappearance 40 years ago
4. Can Pope Francis survive the scheming of “schismatic” cardinals?
5. Emmanuel Macron’s tribute and warning to religions

1Under half of US Catholic priests trust their bishop

A new survey of Catholic clergy in the United States shows there is widespread distrust of bishops, with only 49% of survey respondents indicating they trust their bishop. The poll, conducted by sociologists at the Catholic University of America, focused on the well-being of Catholic priests today and their relationship with the Church and its superiors in light of the sexual abuse crisis. Some 10,000 clergy members were surveyed and 3,516 responses were received from 191 dioceses. The researchers then conducted 100 follow-up interviews. Some 8 out of 10 priests were described as “flourishing” based on ten questions that assessed their “happiness and life satisfaction, mental and physical health, sense of meaning and purpose, character and virtue, and close social relationships.” “I’m happy in my life. I find true joy. I love what I do,” one religious priest told researchers. Conversely, 45% of priests showed at least one sign of burnout and 1 in 10 showed severe signs of burnout. Religious clergy were less likely to reveal burnout, with one third exhibiting at least one indicator, compared to half of diocesan clergy. Also younger priests were more likely to say they felt burned out, compared to older clergy. A leading negative factor in assessing priests’ welfare was a lack of trust in their bishops, which led to an 11.5% reduction in priestly well-being. These attitudes were especially sharp when it came to fears that a priest might be falsely accused of sexual abuse and that the bishops would not help them fight the allegation. The survey also showed high levels of support for strict anti-sex abuse policies.

The Tablet, English  

2In Spain, social pressure fuels requests for euthanasia

Gorety Pazos González, a specialist in family medicine and an expert in continuous and palliative care, speaks at the IV Bioethics and Oncology Course of the Paul VI Foundation in Madrid, which, in line with Church teaching, tries to offer alternatives to euthanasia, legalized in Spain since 2021. This organization offers training to clinical oncologists and all professionals and volunteers involved in the care of cancer patients. In an interview with Alfa y Omega, González explains that in the medical profession, “on a day-to-day basis, practically all decisions have an ethical aspect: whether to start a treatment, whether to suspend it, which patients require more aggressive treatment or not, the issue of patient autonomy, etc.” She notes that “physicians are becoming increasingly aware of the need for training in this ethical field, especially since the passing of the euthanasia law.” However, due to their limited time and overload of work, priority is usually given to other, more technical training. Since euthanasia was legalized in Spain in the name, according to the legislator, of a “clear and sustained social demand,” González laments the increase in “euthanasia disguised as palliative sedation,” as it is seen as a quick solution to a series of problems such as “the pressure of care, lack of means, by the families themselves or by the patient who is suddenly in a hurry to get out of the way because he feels like he is a nuisance.” Social pressure therefore plays a major role in these requests to terminate one’s life: “A patient with good family, social, and economic support will have a very different end than the same patient with the same pathologies and complications, but with worse social, family and economic support.” The palliative care expert would also like to see better public support for hospitalization at home, because long hospital stays increase the risk of infection, disorientation, and depression, and therefore could lead to more requests for euthanasia. These sensitive issues are being debated in many European countries, as they consider drafting laws on how to end one’s life. 

Alfa y Omega, Spanish

3. “Vatican Girl”: Netflix’s documentary about a disappearance 40 years ago

What you need to know about the new documentary series on Netflix that tells the story of the mysterious 1983 disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi, a 15-year-old girl who is still the only Vatican citizen considered missing.

America Magazine, English 

4. Can Pope Francis survive the scheming of “schismatic” cardinals?

Some senior cardinals, deeply unhappy with the 2021-2022 round of the Catholic Church’s worldwide Synod on Synodality, seem to want the entire project to go away. 

National Catholic Reporter, English 

5. Emmanuel Macron’s tribute and warning to religions

Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, the President of the French Republic visited Rome and met with Pope Francis for the third time, while taking advantage of his trip to talk about certain questions.  

Le Figaro, French 

Rome & the World
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