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.”
News in Church Issues
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pope Francis addressed the following words to the indigenous peoples of the Amazonian region: “The Church is not alien to your problems and your lives, she does not want to be aloof from your way of life and organization. We need the native peoples to shape the culture of the local Church in Amazonia.”
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.
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.
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.