It is commendable that, where no one acts, the church performs a substitute work in areas where she is not specifically competent, but refuses to be identified with the humanitarian institutions. She keeps vigilance to avoid being innocently involved in spectacular and lucrative initiatives, so as not to compete with civilian structures that, through the commitment of lay Christians, is instead called to animate. She possesses a divine word and it is on this word that she relies, resisting the temptation to resort to means that people consider more effective.
Both Moscow and Rome should be satisfied at the outcome of the visit on 30 May to the Vatican by a delegation of senior figures in the Russian Orthodox Church. Pope Francis made it clear that he is still seeking closer and warmer relations with Russia, even at a time of growing East-West tensions, and is hoping for real co-operation with the powerful Russian church in the humanitarian field and in helping Christians who face persecution in the Middle East.
Catholics have been caught up in a police crackdown aimed at suppressing opposition to a proposed special economic development plan and the approval of a controversial cybersecurity law. In Ho Chi Minh City, activists estimated that some 200 protesters, many of whom were Catholics, attempted to congregate in the city's downtown area but were detained, beaten and interrogated by police on June 17.
The 1,400-year-old schism between Sunni and Shia Muslims has rarely been as toxic as it is today, feeding wars and communal strife in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere. But what lies behind the Sunni-Shia split?