At the end of my term, as I looked back over the 15 years since the start of the Women’s Desk in 1995 following the resolution of the Bishops at the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) Plenary Assembly VI, of which I was the first executive secretary, I was happy that several conferences had set up some structure to deal with issues of women in their country.
News in Lay
Clericalism is a distortion of true priesthood – and it is an abuse of authority found in every institution, not just in the Catholic Church. It is certainly a major factor in the misuse of power that is at the root of the sexual abuse of children by priests. But all the people of God – bishops, clergy and lay people – have to take some responsibility for clericalism in the Church.
Throughout history, the education of Catholics has been largely entrusted to religious. This has been the case since schools arose around monasteries, and then universities were established. Numerous religious congregations, devoted to education, appeared, especially during the 19th century. Many saints have dedicated themselves to educating young people, such as Saint Marcellin Champagnat, Saint Joseph Calasanz and Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac. Thousands of religious and lay people have spent their lives offering a good education and in this way expanding the Kingdom of God.
On the occasion of the International Congress for the 150th anniversary of Maria Montessori’s birth, Pope Francis called her “one of the most eminent figures of the cultural scene of the 20th century, who left a profound mark on education and on society as a whole […] for the construction of a more fraternal and peaceful world. […] May this significant anniversary encourage generous dedication in favor of the new generations, to form people of solidarity, citizens of the world open to dialogue and acceptance.”
John Wilkins, former editor of The Tablet, has died aged 85. He joined the paper as assistant editor in 1967, before leaving to work as a BBC producer, and returned as editor in 1982 shortly after the pastoral visit of St John Paul II. He retired with the Christmas issue in 2003, after 21 years which saw circulation almost tripled.Born 20 December 1936, Wilkins was a scholar at Clifton College and Clare College, Cambridge, and did National Service in the Gloucestershire Regiment. He began his career at the ecumenical journal Frontier.
Must international relations be only a game of power, or is there a role for diplomats as builders of a shared civilisation in a world where people disagree? My understanding of diplomacy goes back to a moment of epiphany when I was a student.
In San Joaquin, which is a part of the municipality of Pantelho, people speak the indigenous language Tzeltal. Manuel Guzman Perez lives here with his wife and three children.The 30-year-old farmer cultivates coffee on the six hectares that were allocated by the community to his parents and their seven children.
Pope Francis invited young economists from around the world to meet and reflect on how to “change the current economy and give a soul to the economy of tomorrow.” He invited to participate in this broad, shared discernment, all those who today are beginning to study and practice an economics that is different from the one he rejected in the first chapter of his encyclical, Fratelli Tutti.
Ireland’s former president has always been vigorous in challenging the Vatican. Mary McAleese was the second woman to become president of Ireland, following Mary Robinson. Both were admirable holders of the office; both brought judgement, grace and stature to the presidency.
There are brilliant examples of great collaboration between the faithful, bishops and clergy. But Catholic Union leaders feel that in many dioceses, even basic provisos of the Code of Canon Law have not been observed, on issues of transparency, governance and the participation of the people.
The problem isn't social media. The problem—and the solution—is us. You often hear about the dangers of social media, including: narcissism, wasted time, envy of the lives of others, lack of integrity or the temptation to restart unhealthy relationships. Of course, these are all concerns, and you need to consider them in terms of what role social media has in your life.
“In the face of this crisis, which nobody can deny, the churches should be pushed to give to the lay people more tasks surrounding the spiritual life of the parishes,” Archbishop Antonio Mennini, apostolic nuncio to Great Britain, said.
Jack Ashley was a tireless crusader. For more than 40 years, first as an MP and then a peer he fought for the rights of the underprivileged and the disadvantaged. His efforts on behalf of the least fortunate in society won him the admiration and support of politicians from all parts of the political spectrum.
When I entered the Swiss Guards, I was twenty years old and, like my fellow guards, in peak physical condition. The term “vocation” means much more than the standard dictionary definition of “a career path or line of work.” It is more of a “calling” than a “job.” According to John Paul II, your vocation answers the question, “Why am I alive?”
Lay Catholics have an essential role to play in the new evangelisation in their parishes, but to do this they often need to acquire the appropriate skills. A new course of formation helps them to do just that. The programme aims to provide an integrated theological, spiritual and pastoral formation for laity which is ecclesially rooted in the life of the student’s parish.