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Rome & the World: prisoners’ families hold protest during Pope’s visit to Bahrain

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Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

I.Media for Aleteia - published on 11/07/22

Also in today's headlines: Those who seek priesthood as a "safe space" • And does the "typical" Catholic still exist?

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.

Monday 7 November 2022
~
1. Families of prisoners hold small demonstration in Bahrain during Pope’s visit
2. Priestly narcissism, the root of clericalism
3. Ethiopia: Cardinal Souraphiel pleads for the repatriation of displaced people
4. How Vatican II failed Catholics and Catholicism
5. Does the “typical” Catholic still exist?
~

Families of Bahraini death row and life inmates held a small protest along the route of Pope Francis’ motorcade on Saturday to demand the release of political prisoners in the Gulf Arab state, Reuters reported. The Pope was on his way to the Sacred Heart School to meet with the country’s youth. It is not clear if the Pope saw the signs, the British press agency explained. A video of the protest was posted online by the London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) and the dissolved political opposition group, al-Wefaq. Several human rights NGOs have recently denounced the sham trials and discrimination against Shiite political and religious prisoners in the Kingdom of Bahrain, which is ruled by a Sunni family. During his trip, the Pope did not directly refer to these condemnations. However, on the last day of his visit while meeting with clergy, religious and catechists, the Argentine pontiff said that caring for prisoners “is good for everyone, as a human community.” “The way in which these ‘last ones’ are treated is a measure of the dignity and the hope of a society,” he warned. 

Reuters, English 

2Priestly narcissism, the root of clericalism

The German psychiatrist Martin Flesch is the author of an essay on spiritual abuse and has analyzed the mental suffering of priests in the Catholic Church. In an interview with German site Katholisch.de, he says he is convinced that there is a “system within the Church that attracts and favors abusers.” He points to the narcissism of some priests as one of the pillars of clericalism and a fundamental element in the propensity to commit spiritual abuse. These priests “climb into the ranks of power in order to escape their own feeling of inadequacy, to mean nothing or be nothing as a ‘normal’ person,” he explains. Many, Flesch continues, see their vocation as “compensation for personal deficiencies,” seeing the priesthood as “a safe place that gives protection and security.” The elevation they perceive in the priesthood places them in the “tense and conflicting situation of having to deal with their own deficiencies.” This “split identity,” says the psychiatrist, increases the risk of spiritual abuse. To prevent this division, it is necessary to reconcile “the function and the person” when these individuals are still seminarians.

Katholisch, German

3. Ethiopia: Cardinal Souraphiel pleads for the repatriation of displaced people

“To ensure peace,” the Archbishop of Addis Ababa,  Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel, calls on the government and the rebels to apply without delay the agreement signed on November 2 to end the two-year war.

Vida Nueva, Spanish

4. How Vatican II failed Catholics and Catholicism

American columnist Ross Douthat reflects on the failure of the Second Vatican Council to equip the Church for the challenges of modernity and to establish the importance of its own rituals and obligations to the world. 

New York Times, English 

5. Does the “typical” Catholic still exist?

In the past, a very clearly defined group of people formed the backbone of the Church’s membership. However, changes in today’s society have led to a much more complex picture, Katholisch analyses. 

Katholisch, German

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