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Rome & the World: What could happen with Church teaching on contraception?

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Why does the Catholic Church refuse to allow contraception? – it

CC Digital Media

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

Also in today's headlines: Mobile health unit in St. Peter's • Nun killed in Mozambique a martyr?

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 11 November 2022
1. How could the Catholic Church develop its teaching on artificial contraception?
2. Pope Francis’ engagement with the Muslim world makes demands on Asian bishops 
3. Bahrain: a humanitarian gesture towards a detainee after the Pope’s visit
4. Mobile health unit returns to St. Peter’s Square
5. Italian nun murdered in Mozambique could be recognized as a martyr 

Among scattered rumors that Pope Francis is considering a new document that could soften the Church’s ban on artificial contraception – marking a potential break with the encyclical Humanae Vitae written by Paul VI, whom Francis beatified and canonized – The Tablet‘s Rome correspondent met with the Pope’s top adviser on the matter, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. This co-founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio begins by explaining that being “pro-life” is not just about reaffirming the Church’s traditional opposition to abortion and contraception, but about promoting a broader and richer vision of what it means to cherish life. “Today what is always important to us is to be really pro-life in a manner that is effective and in no way ideological,” confided the 77-year-old Italian Archbishop. He believes that threats to life include war, hunger, poverty, falling birth rates, teenagers committing suicide, and the elderly being excluded and forgotten. The economy is also an issue that touches on the question of life, because poverty kills. “Two million children die of malnutrition every year,” said Bishop Paglia. This is why economist Mariana Mazzucato was appointed to the Academy, because of her expertise in her field of research, even if her pro-choice positions on the issue of abortion contradict Church teaching, the president explained. Throughout his pontificate, Pope Francis has insisted that abolishing the death penalty, protecting migrants, protecting the environment, and combating economic injustice are part of a package of life-related concerns, and that the Church therefore cannot focus exclusively on abortion. Regarding Humanae Vitae, Paul VI had warned that widespread use of contraceptives would lead to a decline in moral norms and respect for women. Archbishop Paglia considers it necessary to emphasize the prophetic element of that encyclical, which can be seen in the falling birth rates in the West. However, he points out that the rejection of contraception cannot be the only doctrine: For example, the promotion of “responsible parenthood” is an insufficiently explored topic. In any case, theological dialogue must continue in order to develop a Catholic thought that is understandable in a world that is facing many upheavals. “A whole new chapter on the ethics of life could be emerging,” writes the British newspaper’s correspondent.

The Tablet, English 

2Pope Francis’ engagement with the Muslim world makes demands on Asian bishops

“The papal interest in building bridges with Muslims is hardly reflected in the Church in Asia, which houses more than half of the world’s Muslims,” writes UCA News journalist, Ben Joseph,in an article looking back at Pope Francis’ “impressive track record” in Muslim-Christian dialogue.

The latest initiative of the Argentine Pontiff took place in Bahrain. There the soon-to-be 86-year-old Pope addressed more than 200 religious leaders from different parts of the world, and the Muslim Council of Elders, chaired by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb. A few weeks earlier, the Pope had addressed a message of peace to Muslim-majority Central Asia at an interfaith congress in Kazakhstan. However, this papal ambition to forge close ties with the Muslim world is finding little echo in Asia. Nations such as India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Bangladesh alone account for 40% (800 million) of the world’s two billion Muslims, Joseph points out, noting that Asian bishops have not really invested in dialogue and encounter with these communities. “The papal interest in building bridges with Muslims is hardly reflected in the Church in Asia, which houses more than half of the world’s Muslims,” the author explains. Moreover, this dialogue with Islam seems to be neglected by the leaders of the Church in Asia, as relations with Buddhism or Hinduism are prioritized.

How can this be explained? One of the reasons given is the prospect of “being accused of engaging in charity to convert poor Muslims in Asia, particularly South Asia, which has the dubious distinction of housing the world’s poorest Muslim communities.” Another argument for the episcopate’s timidity is its fear of engaging with an Islam that would link it to a political dimension of the religion.

UCA news, English

3. Bahrain: a humanitarian gesture towards a detainee after the Pope’s visit

After the Pope’s recent trip to Bahrain, the family of an imprisoned Shiite activist, Mohammed Ramadhan, was allowed, for the first time in years, to have physical contact with him during a visit. His case had been raised during the Pontiff’s trip because his death sentence was allegedly linked to a confession extracted under torture.

Asia News, Italian 

4. Mobile health unit returns to St. Peter’s Square

In view of next Sunday’s World Day of the Poor, and after a two-year suspension due to the pandemic, the mobile health unit for the poor in St. Peter’s Square has been set up again. 

Vatican News, Italian 

5. Italian nun murdered in Mozambique could be recognized as a martyr 

Described by many as a “saint,” the Italian nun Maria de Coppi, killed in a terrorist attack on the Comboni mission of Chipene (Mozambique) last September, could be recognized as a martyr, according to several religious leaders in the country. 

7 Margens, Portuguese 

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