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Rome & the World: US government panel opposes Vatican-China deal

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POPE AUDIENCE

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA | i.Media

I.Media for Aleteia - published on 11/03/22

And former Anglican bishop reflects on his journey to Catholicism.

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.

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Thursday 3 November 2022
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1. Members of US religious freedom panel speak out against China-Vatican deal
2. Exhibition on Antonio Gaudí, the great architect of the “Sagrada Familia”
3. Former Anglican Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali reflects on his conversion to Catholicism
4. Cardinal Schönborn considers interreligious dialogue a priority for world peace
5. The vice-president of the German episcopate open to decriminalizing cannabis
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1Members of US religious freedom panel speak out against China-Vatican deal

Members of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom criticized the renewal of the agreement between the Holy See and China on episcopal appointments, saying it encourages the Chinese government to crack down on Christian communities. The provisional agreement, the details of which have never been published, originally signed in 2018 and renewed on October 2, allows Beijing to have a say in the appointment of Catholic bishops. With it, the Vatican aims to put a stop to the illicit episcopal ordinations (made without Vatican approval) of the past. Last week, some members of the independent, bipartisan, federal US commission, charged with reporting to Congress and the government on the state of religious freedom around the world, spoke out against the agreement, saying it has only made the situation worse for Christians in China. Stephen Schneck, one of the commission’s members, says reports show that conditions for Catholics in China have worsened significantly in the four years since the agreement was signed. “So much worse, in fact, that we think the agreement no longer makes any sense,” he told Religion News Service. An advocate of Pope Francis’ positions in defending social justice, this former dean of the Catholic University of America said he was particularly concerned about the situation of Cardinal Joseph Zen. The 90-year-old former Bishop of Hong Kong was arrested by Chinese authorities in May, along with five others, for a bureaucratic error in managing a humanitarian fund considered to be a danger to China’s national security. His arrest and trial are a sign of the hardening of the Chinese regime despite contacts with Rome. U.S. diplomacy has always been very vocal on the issue of rapprochement between the Holy See and China, especially under the Trump presidency. A few weeks before the 2020 presidential election, the then-head of diplomacy Mike Pompeo visited Rome to try to lobby against a first renewal of the 2018 agreement, but Pope Francis didn’t receive him, explaining that the elections were close.

Religion News Service, English  

2Exhibition on Antonio Gaudí, the great architect of the “Sagrada Familia”

A new exhibition in Madrid illustrates the life and work of the great Catalan architect, Antonio Gaudí, most famously known for the Basilica of the Holy Family, the “Sagrada Familia,” in Barcelona. The exhibition gives “visitors an idea of how innovative Gaudí’s architectural language was and, to a certain extent, how humanist, Christian and even traditional it was,” writes Alfa y Omega, a Spanish Catholic news site owned by the Archdiocese of Madrid. The exposition features more than 150 of the architect’s works and materials, including drawings, plans, models and more. Born in 1852 and died in 1926, “Gaudí lived at the height of modernity,” which is reflected in his innovative architecture, the article explains. However, this did not stop him from having “something of tradition and the Middle Ages” in his work, much of which was commissioned by wealthy entrepreneurs, similar to “patrons of the Florentine Renaissance.” A whole section of the exhibition is dedicated to the “Sagrada Familia.” It features Gaudí’s plans and drawings and shows how this place of worship was supposed to be “a space of reconciliation and encounter” and “a center for the diffusion of Christian family values.” Due to the premature death of the architect, the Basilica remains unfinished, but the article states it is still the most visited church in Europe after St. Peter’s Basilica. “It is still a symbol of our times, in which harmony and brotherhood are more than necessary: they are essential. […] More than a century later, the world urgently needs that peace that only Christ can give,” the article concludes. 

Alfa y Omega, Spanish 

3. Former Anglican Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali reflects on his conversion to Catholicism

Former Anglican bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, of Pakistani origin, recounts the journey that led him to become a Catholic priest in 2021, as part of the personal ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham established by Benedict XVI in 2011.

El Debate, Spanish

4. Cardinal Schönborn considers interreligious dialogue a priority for world peace

The Archbishop of Vienna, who will be in Bahrain during Pope Francis’ visit and will be among the 200 participants of the Forum for Dialogue, considers interreligious dialogue an indispensable tool for peace.

The Tablet, English

5. The vice-president of the German episcopate open to decriminalizing cannabis

Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabrück wants a limited decriminalization of cannabis. During a conference organized in his diocese on this subject, the idea of equal treatment of alcohol and cannabis was raised by experts.

Katholisch.de, German

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