While some urge the Church to ratchet up its culture war against Islam and the secular world in the wake of the Notre Dame fire and Sri Lankan bombings, Pope Francis has instead become something of a lone voice against right-wing political parties, fuelled by the global surge of anti-migrant populist nationalism.
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Catholic bishops from France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg have said the European Union risks being undermined by growing national opposition and urged citizens to rally behind it in upcoming continent-wide elections. "The EU is threatened today by various economic, political, demographic and ideological crises -- but we are convinced it has tools to overcome them," the church leaders said.
Many students have taken to the streets, waving banners, banging drums, singing, chanting, and calling for an end to the factors behind climate change, which is wrecking the planet. They are experiencing global warming on an unprecedented scale as huge amounts of CO2 and methane gases heat up the environment and cause the ice caps to melt at an alarming rate.
THERE is a hellish new development from Google: a so-called home monitoring system that will enable absent parents to supervise their children. The features it is developing under a European patent include “detecting child mischief”, followed by a verbal warning to the child from a smart speaker, and monitoring children via a network of devices and then warning parents via smartphone about what’s going on (it can identify bad language).
Should we care so deeply about our place in the world? Is it not just the latest example of a former great power suffering “the itch after the amputation”, as a Whitehall friend of mine with long experience of playing the world game once put it?
The current global crisis might be the last chance we have to bring the Christian social vision that inspired the post-war settlement in Europe back from the margins to the centre. The genuine horror of Christchurch and the somewhat comic nightmare that is Brexit: these are two manifestations of a global general crisis.
The bombings of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday were intended to strike a devastating blow to the country’s million-strong Christian community. Suicide bombers detonated one set of bombs at churches in the cities of Colombo and Negombo on the western coast, home to many Sinhalese-speaking Catholics. Another was detonated in a Protestant church 200 miles away – in Batticaloa, a city on the Tamil-majority eastern side of the island.
“Despite so many efforts to promote and reinforce the fundamental human right of religious freedom, we are actually witnessing a continued deterioration, we might even say an assault, of this inalienable right in many parts of the world,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin said on April 3.
Vatican hints that Pope Francis may meet Xi Jinping. Any encounter in Rome this week would be the first between a Chinese leader and a pope. Although a visit to the Vatican is not on Xi’s official schedule for his state visit to Italy, Monaco and France from March 21-26, a senior Vatican source claimed that the pope is willing to meet Xi and that the president’s intermediaries had made overtures to the Vatican.