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Rome & the World: Weigel’s take on 3 popes and Vatican II

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kard. Joseph Ratzinger z papieżem Janem Pawłem II


I.Media - published on 11/10/22

Other headlines today: New auxiliary bishop in Ukraine finding ways to greet his flock • 1st sentence found in Canaanite about lice

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.

Thursday 10 November 2022
1. Three pontificates and Vatican II 
2. The new auxiliary bishop of Donetsk deprived of his territory
3 . The Pope’s support for Archbishop Paglia 
4. The first sentence in Canaanite found… on a lice comb
5. The Vatican to visit Spanish seminarians

In a reflection published on the American website First Things, George Weigel, a renowned specialist on the papacy, looks back at how Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis have integrated the legacy of the Second Vatican Council into their respective pontificates. He recalls that on the morning of October 17, 1978, while concelebrating Mass with the College of Cardinals, the newly elected Pope John Paul II pledged that the program of his pontificate would be the full implementation of the Second Vatican Council, in which he had participated as bishop of Krakow. “His pontificate was an epic of teaching and witness that helped provide the Council the interpretive keys it had not given itself,” explains Weigel, who wrote a biography on the Polish pope. “Other councils had written creeds, defined dogmas, condemned heresies, legislated canons into Church law, and commissioned catechisms. Vatican II did none of those things, which was one reason why a donnybrook over the Council’s intention and meaning ensued,” says Weigel. 

Benedict XVI, who was a key player in the conciliar debates as a theologian, considered that Vatican II had as its objective to “rekindle the Church’s faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and renew the Church’s experience of the Holy Spirit, so that, like the disciples after the first Christian Pentecost, the Church would be emboldened for radical mission.” For Weigel, the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI must therefore be understood as a “continuous, 35-year arc of conciliar interpretation.” On the other hand, the author has reservations about Francis’ pontificate, who he believes has moved away from the teaching of the Council, notably with the China deal. Furthermore, “the Holy See’s adherence to the 2019 Abu Dhabi Declaration and its claim that the plurality of religions is an expression of God’s will does not sit easily with the Council’s proclamation of Jesus Christ as the one, unique redeemer of humanity,” regrets Weigel. He believes that “recent reforms of the Roman Curia, the deposition of bishops without due process, and curial diktats about the proper celebration of Mass ” have undermined episcopal authority, and that “the pontificate’s exceptionally narrow interpretation of the Council’s teaching on the liturgy has made the implementation of Vatican II even more contentious.” For this American intellectual, the debates on the interpretation of the Council will therefore still be at the center of the next conclave.

First Things, English 

2The new auxiliary bishop of Donetsk deprived of his territory

Father Maksim Ryabukha, the new Greek-Catholic auxiliary bishop of Donetsk, will not be able to go to his people in the occupied territories for the time being. “But thanks to the priests who continue to stay in the Kremlin-controlled areas, I already sent my greetings to everyone,” he assures the daily of the Italian Bishops’ Conference Avvenire. Elected by the Greek-Catholic Synod and then having received the approval of Pope Francis, this Salesian from Kyiv is described as a pastor with “solid optimism.” He will be consecrated bishop on December 22 in the Ukrainian capital and will have his “temporary” seat in Zaporizhzhia, in a rectory. 

He says he carries his people “in his heart” and will seek to be close to them through other means of communication. “The war did not start on February 24, but in 2014,” he recalls, explaining in the past he organized “camps for young people in war” when he lived in the Salesian community in Donetsk and Lugansk. Now, he believes, “the most difficult period has passed.” Ukrainians are not discouraged because they “believe in the good,” he explained, however, “there remains the terror” and “the massacres” perpetrated. The future bishop says that, as long as bombs are raining down, “it is difficult to speak of reconciliation.” He emphasizes that “it is important not to keep silent about the suffering” and that “it will take patience for all these wounds to be healed.” In the meantime, the young people with whom he conducted his pastoral work in Kyiv have not lost their sense of humor: their pastor, they joke, will now be able to create “the largest Salesian oratory in the world,” which will cover the regions of Donbass, Zaporizhzhia and Dnipro. 

Avvenire, Italian  

3 . The Pope’s support for Archbishop Paglia 

During the press conference on the plane returning from his trip to Bahrain, Pope Francis seemed to indirectly encourage the appointment of the economist Marianna Mazziccato as a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, headed by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, says Religion Digital. She is known for her liberal positions on abortion.  

Religion digital, Spanish

4. The first sentence in Canaanite found … on a lice comb

Terre Sainte magazine reports the discovery of the evidence of the very first sentence in the Canaanite language, found in Israel by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. It appears on a small ivory lice comb made from an elephant tusk. The sentence would have been written 3,700 years ago. It reads: “May this tusk remove lice from the hair and beard.”

Terre sainte, French

5. The Vatican to visit Spanish seminarians

Pope Francis has instructed the Dicastery for the Clergy to make a canonical visit to Spanish seminaries in January and February to evaluate the implementation of reforms. 

Alfa y Omega, Spanish

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