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Rome & the World: China’s religious freedom stance compared to … France

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I.Media for Aleteia - published on 11/23/22

Also in today's headlines: Ireland's last Catholic clauses • and cause for canonization of cardinal who died in 2017

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.

Wednesday 23 November 2022
1. France and China, two restrictive approaches to religious freedom
2. Ireland prepares to abandon the last Catholic references in its Constitution
3. The German Bishops’ thoughts after their ad limina visit
4. Cause for the beatification of Ticino Cardinal Agustoni opened in the South of Italy 
5. Cardinal Tagle announced the appointment of a Caritas Commissioner
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Ueno Kagefumi, former Japanese ambassador to the Holy See between 2006 and 2010, compared China’s approach to religion, which he described as “one of the most atheistic regimes in the world,” to France, “the most atheistic” or with the “least religious people” in Western Europe. In an article published by the Catholic website UCA News, he points out two commonalities between these countries with distinct political cultures. First, the desire to nationalize the religions of his country: Xi Jinping insists on the sinicization of religions in China, while Emmanuel Macron has declared that Islam in France should be Frenchified. A nuance though is that in China, religions must submit to Marxism while in France, they must submit to the Enlightenment, “similarly characterized by anti-religious ideology, though more purified and much stronger.” Kagefumi also notes that France imposes restrictions on religious symobols in public spaces, such as Muslim headscarves, in the name of secularism, similar to China who however imposes these restrictions “much more harshly and more massively.” In this, the Japanese diplomat notes, France differs sharply from the more liberal view of religion found in the United Kingdom and the United States.

UCA News, English  

2Ireland prepares to abandon the last Catholic references in its Constitution

Micheál Martin, the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister), has pledged to hold a referendum next year on clauses of the Irish Constitution that deal with maternity and the home. In the government’s sights are articles 41.1 / 41.2 and 41.3.1. According to the Catholic site First Things, with the new wording Ireland will move towards “a Constitution scrubbed clean of all original provisions giving special recognition and protection to families created through the marriage of a man and a woman and in which the woman plays a distinctive role within the home.” The 2023 Constitution will likely “privilege a much broader concept of caregiving across a multiplicity of settings and circumstances.” The changes to the Constitution must be approved by a parliamentary bill before being submitted to the people in a referendum. However, the article notes that the opponents to the project are “very few.” This referendum could therefore see one of “the last remaining ‘Catholic’ clauses buckle and fall.” After that, other articles could be “nibbed away,” as well as the presidential oath (which starts with “In the presence of Almighty God” and concludes with “May God direct and sustain me”). First Things predicts that the ultimate step in this process will likely be the removal of the preamble, which begins: “In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred, We, the people of Éire, Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial…” It will then become “Catholic Ireland’s last stand in a long-lost war.”

First Things, English. 

3. The German Bishops’ thoughts after their ad limina visit

Relieved, pensive, or grateful, the German Bishops look back on their visit to Rome and explain that the talks gave them much to reflect on.

Die Tagespost, German 

4. Cause for the beatification of Ticino Cardinal Agustoni opened in the South of Italy 

The diocesan investigation for the cause of beatification of Ticino Cardinal Gilberto Agustoni (1922-2017) was opened on November 19, 2022, in Santa Maria di Leuca, southern Italy. He began working at the Vatican at 27 years old and spent his entire career at the service of the Holy See, most notably as an advisor for the reform of the liturgy during the Second Vatican Council and as prefect of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

Cath.ch, French 

5. Cardinal Tagle announced the appointment of a Caritas Commissioner

Cardinal Tagle tells members of Caritas Internationalis that the Pope’s decision calls for humility and discernment. 

Vatican News, Italian 

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