News in Church Issues

Chinese state intensifies control over 'official' religions

Chinese state intensifies control over 'official' religions

by: ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong in Church Issues,

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).

Pell and the Pope’s dilemma

Pell and the Pope’s dilemma

by: Christopher Lamb - The Tablet in Church Issues,

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.

Global commemoration for victims of religious persecution

Global commemoration for victims of religious persecution

by: Hugo Simon - La Croix International in Church Issues,

The situation of minority faith groups continues to deteriorate year after year and, in response to this observation, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously decided last May to proclaim Aug. 22 as the International Day of Remembrance for Persons Who Have Suffered Violence Because Of Their Religion Or Belief.

How the top-heavy Catholic Church is losing the ground game in China

How the top-heavy Catholic Church is losing the ground game in China

by: Ian Johnson - Cultural Exchange with China in Church Issues,

Across China, the number of Buddhists and Taoists has risen quickly and is now in the hundreds of millions. The comparison with Protestantism is even more striking. In 1949, China had one million Protestants. Today, the figure is estimated at 50 million to 60 million, with Protestant congregations especially strong where Catholicism is weakest—in China’s rapidly growing cities and among well-educated white-collar professionals.

Does Church teaching change?

Does Church teaching change?

by: John W. O’Malley - La Croix International in Church Issues,

John O'Malley SJ explores Church doctrine at Trent, Vatican I and Vatican II.  Although the documents of the early councils of the church recognized that bad customs and bad teaching had to be uprooted, which is a form of change, they most characteristically betray a sense of continuity with previous Christian teaching and practice.

Drop in German church membership causes concern

Drop in German church membership causes concern

by: Anne-Bénédicte Hoffner - La Croix International in Church Issues,

There is widespread anxiety at the publication of the annual statistics of the German Catholic Church for 2018. The German Bishops' Conference (DBK) is not even trying to hide its concern. According to a short report posted on the DBK website on July 19, Catholics numbered just over 23 million at the end of last year, representing 27.7 percent of the total population in Germany.

The body in religion: A troubled history

The body in religion: A troubled history

by: Anne-Bénédicte Hoffner - La Croix International in Church Issues,

Although far from unambiguous, the Catholic Church's discourse on the body has long been marked by mistrust, from which it has never completely freed itself. For three days earlier this month, historians of religion, law and art discussed the reasons for this misunderstanding at the La Tourette convent in Lyon. 

The radical theological vision of Pope Francis

The radical theological vision of Pope Francis

by: Robert Mickens, Rome - La Croix International in Church Issues,

In part, the piece tried to show how the pope is seeking to unite all of humanity – especially people of the various faiths – in contrast to those who are deliberately manipulating religion to sow division.

Addressing the roots of clergy sex abuse

Addressing the roots of clergy sex abuse

by: Fr Amado L. Picardal CSsR - La Croix International in Church Issues,

Priests should be able to mutually affirm and appreciate the good things that they are doing and to admonish those who fail to live up to the ideals of the priesthood whether informally or formally — during meetings and recollections. There is a need to develop a corporate culture among the clergy where everyone is encouraged and inspired to live up to the high standards of the priesthood and those whose behavior is inappropriate or sinful can be corrected. 

Broken trust in a broken clerical system

Broken trust in a broken clerical system

by: Robert Mickens, Rome - La Croix International in Church Issues,

A priest friend predicted some 15 or more years ago that the next big scandal or crisis in the Church would be of a financial nature. He was speaking of a clerical system that puts "Father" in charge of everything – even the parish purse strings. Thank God the Catholic Church has as many good and honest priests as it does. Because it sure calls for heroism to be good in a very bad and broken clericalist system where "Father knows best" and the people are expected to do what he tells them.

German bishop says only a new theology can save the Church

German bishop says only a new theology can save the Church

by: Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, Vienna - La Croix International in Church Issues,

Wilmer, who was superior general of the worldwide missionary and teaching order known as the "Dehonians" (Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart) before becoming bishop, drew criticism just three months into his new job when he told the Kölner Stadt Anzeiger that abuse of power was in the Church's DNA.

The European and American Catholic divide

The European and American Catholic divide

by: Massimo Faggioli - La Croix International in Church Issues,

The anti-European sentiment running in the veins of the U.S. Catholic hard right has put Trump's "Make America great again" on the geopolitical map of the Church. Trumpism has penetrated the body of American Christianity and that means the future of the global Catholic community is now an open question.

When the Bishop of Rome speaks to his diocese, people should listen

When the Bishop of Rome speaks to his diocese, people should listen

by: Robert Mickens, Rome - La Croix International in Church Issues,

Pope Francis' most recent address to Rome's diocesan assembly did not make many headlines. But it should have. And here's why. This is all a rather long preface to the May 9 visit Pope Francis made to St. John Lateran, where he gave an important – but somewhat overlooked – address to Rome's diocesan assembly.  Because this was another one of those talks where the pope spoke freely and prophetically about his vision for a renewed, missionary Church.

‘The future is bright: I’m convinced of that’

‘The future is bright: I’m convinced of that’

by: Blanche Girouard and John Griffiths - The Tablet in Church Issues,

What is the experience of being a priest today, serving in an ordinary parish, in a Church that is struggling to maintain its credibility? In a new six-part series, six men – some ordained more than 50 years ago, others not long out of the seminary – share their fears and concerns, their hopes and dreams.

Combating Clericalism

Combating Clericalism

by: Claire Lesegretain - La Croix International in Church Issues,

When the pope speaks of clericalism, he insists on the fact that this problem concerns the whole Church. If there is temptation to perversion, it affects all that is most sensitive in the life of the Church. Moreover, you only need to see the extent to which the pope's words evoked strong reactions to realize that this is a crucial matter. 

Rethinking the diversity of ministries to overcome clericalism

Rethinking the diversity of ministries to overcome clericalism

by: Isabelle de Gaulmyn, Strasbourg - La Croix International in Church Issues,

A conference organized by the Strasbourg Faculty of Theology has examined several possibilities for re-balancing the power of priests and lay people. "Clericalism is the enemy!" was the mantra of anticlerical Republicans during the late 19th century. Curiously, the slogan has now become a favorite among Catholics in relation to ecclesial dysfunction.