We should be grateful to Anne-Marie Pelletier for her recent book L’Église, des femmes avec des hommes, which collects and develops several lines of reflection on the relationship between women and men in the Church that she had already initiated in previous writings.
News in Church Issues
Over the last few decades China’s growing involvement in Africa has led many observers to point out that Chinese Christianity could benefit from this new proximity. In fact, the growing number of citizens from the Middle Kingdom who move to Africa encounter vibrant Christian communities. It appears that some of those Chinese have also embraced Christianity and taken it home with them.
This week sees the start of a new school year, pandemic permitting, of course. It’s the perfect excuse to explore the role of medieval monasteries in education, or to be specific, the part monasteries played as providers of what we’d now call a secondary education (watch this space for a column on monks and universities).
China has accomplished much in recent decades with huge social, economic and political transformations. However, the challenges faced by the local Catholic Church are not vanishing. All kinds of difficulties continue to constrain the growth of the Chinese Catholic Church, forcing it to adapt its own framework and to produce new responses.
The Zimbabwe government has launched an astonishing attack on the country's Catholic bishops after the bishops issued a pastoral letter critical of the government.
Certain doctrinal criticisms of the current pontificate show a gradual but increasingly clear-cut separation from the Second Vatican Council — not from a certain interpretation of some texts, but from the Council texts themselves. Some interpretations that insist on contrasting Pope Francis with his immediate predecessors thus end up openly criticizing even St John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
China has been accused of hacking Vatican computers as well as those in the Diocese of Hong Kong and other Catholic organizations from May.The hacking appears to be an attempt to gain an advantage in talks between the Vatican and China, due to resume as early as this week, about a fresh deal on the appointment of bishops.
On May 12, 2016, at a meeting of the International Union of the Superiors General of Women’s Religious Orders, one sister asked Pope Francis why women were excluded from decision-making processes in the Church and from preaching at Eucharistic celebrations. In asking, she cited his words, “the feminine genius is needed in all expressions of the life of the Church and Society.”
The Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy has released a new document to help guide the reform of parish communities. Entitled "The pastoral conversion of the Parish community in the service of the evangelizing mission of the Church," the document promotes pastoral care based on closeness and cooperation between parishes, Vatican News reported.
But the loving convergence of divine and human desire promoted by the Our Father is suddenly interrupted by the penultimate petition, "and lead us not into temptation". It is precisely this last aspect that has generated pastoral discomfort and has led exegetes and Church leaders – among whom we now include Pope Francis – to ask for a modification of the centuries-old formula of the liturgical prayer that would respond to sentiments now widely shared and promote a more accurate and respectful conception of God.
The Covid pandemic will have long-lasting repercussions for the Church. Our Rome correspondent suggests that the Catholicism that will emerge from the crisis under the leadership of Pope Francis will be leaner and clearer in its mission.
La Civiltà Cattolica was founded in the mid-nineteenth century but only since last February has it been available in English. The following is a speech about the publication’s purpose given by editor-in-chief Father Antonio Spadaro, SJ, at a meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in the city of Cebu.
Russia's Orthodox patriarch has vowed to continue fighting for unity and "canonical purity" throughout 2020. Meanwhile, the head of Ukraine's new independent church predicted more Orthodox leaderships would grant him recognition during the coming year.
Just over a year ago, on September 22, 2018, an Agreement was signed between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Despite its temporary nature, its importance is such that it has attracted much comment, and it has already become the focus of in-depth study.
Pope Francis will be in Thailand in November during a trip that will take him to Japan. The Thailand he comes to visit appears to be in a time of change – a new king, an unstable government, and a place at the heart of one of the major economic centers of the world.
Ireland’s population is rapidly ageing – and so too are its Catholic priests. Some Church leaders are looking abroad for younger talent to help fill the ranks. The number of priests in Ireland has fallen precipitously since 1959, according to The Vanishing Catholic Priest, a study conducted by sociologist Brian Conway of National University of Ireland, Maynooth.
The interest of Pope Francis for the indigenous peoples has deepened with time. What is true in general is true for him, too: “Today, we are more aware of the wealth of indigenous peoples. This is true precisely in an era when, both politically and culturally, they tend to be increasingly nullified through globalization understood as a ‘sphere’ concept, or a globalization where everything is standardized.”
Pope Francis opened the much-awaited Synod of Bishops' special assembly for the Amazon by attacking "the greed of the new colonialisms" and the "devastating fire … ignited by interests that destroy." As he opened the gathering of bishops in Rome Oct. 6, Francis clearly defined the debates that will take place over three weeks.
A leading academic in Hong Kong says the Chinese government is attempting to tighten even further its control over religious groups. Professor Ying Fuk-tsang, director of the divinity school of Chung Chi College at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, has spoken at length about a consultation paper published Aug. 28 by Beijing’s State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA).
The Holy See, he said, respects the Australian judicial system but also recognises that the cardinal maintains his innocence, and he has the right to appeal to the High Court of Australia. The Church maintains its closeness to victims, and the right to pursue clergy abuse offenders. Any internal disciplinary procedure against Pell would not take place until all his legal avenues have been exhausted. This is the usual procedure.