ZENIT – English https://zenit.org The World Seen From Rome Wed, 28 Sep 2022 03:32:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.11 https://zenit.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/8049a698-cropped-dc1b6d35-favicon_1.png ZENIT – English https://zenit.org 32 32 Two well-known U.S. cardinals speak out in article on Biden’s new LGBT policy https://zenit.org/2022/09/28/two-well-known-u-s-cardinals-speak-out-in-article-on-bidens-new-lgbt-policy/ Wed, 28 Sep 2022 03:31:44 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=207630 By the same token, Catholic hospitals and health care workers should not be punished because of their religious convictions or clinical judgments. We urge H.H.S. to reconsider its misguided mandate.

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Blaise Cupich and Timothy Dolan

(ZENIT News / Chicago-New York, 27.09.2022).- Today, one of every seven Americans in need of hospital care will receive it in a Catholic facility—a total of nearly 115 million visits to Catholic hospitals each year. They do so knowing they will receive excellent medical care and be treated with dignity, respect and welcome.

As Pope Francis has said, “Every health care facility, especially those of Christian inspiration, should be a place where care for the person is practiced and where it can be said: ‘Here you do not see only doctors and patients, but people who welcome and help each other; here you can experience the therapy of human dignity.’”

That is true for all people who come to us, no matter their age, sex, racial or ethnic background, or religion. It is also true for people who identify as transgender. They will receive the same treatment as any other patient. Catholic hospitals do not discriminate against anyone and to do so would be offensive to the embracing and expansive healing ministry of Jesus Christ. However, if health care facilities are to be places where the twin pillars of faith and science stand together, then these facilities and their workers must not be coerced by the government to violate their consciences.


@Vatican Media

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has proposed new rules implementing Section 1557, the nondiscrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act. It rightly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in health care. We wholeheartedly support all efforts to ensure that everyone, without exception, receives the best health care that is their due.

However, under this new proposed rule, it would be considered discrimination for a health care facility or worker to object to performing gender transition procedures, regardless of whether that objection is a matter of sincerely held religious belief or clinical judgment. This is government coercion that intrudes on the religious freedom of faith-based health care facilities. Such a mandate threatens the conscience rights of all health care providers and workers who have discerned that participating in, or facilitating, gender transition procedures is contrary to their own beliefs.

People of many faiths, or of no faith yet with deep personal convictions, may find these procedures profoundly troubling, and their constitutional rights deserve to be respected. In a society that protects the free exercise of religion, religious health care providers cannot be expected to violate the teachings of their religion as a condition of continuing their care, and religious health care workers cannot be expected to violate their consciences as a condition of employment.

Does objecting to performing gender transition procedures—but welcoming patients who identify as transgender—constitute discrimination? Of course not. The focus of such an objection is completely on the procedure, not the patient. Prohibiting the removal of a healthy, functioning organ is not discrimination, provided that the same determination would be made for anyone of any sex or gender, which is true at Catholic hospitals.

The proposed regulation does not codify the rights of faith-based providers to decline procedures based on conscience, as other federal laws do. Rather, it holds that H.H.S. reserves the right to decide whether, despite those existing conscience protections, it can force faith-based providers to violate their beliefs. Considering that the government is currently fighting court rulings that held that it violated religious freedom laws the last time it tried to impose a mandate like this, it is reasonable to lack confidence in the department’s commitment to construing these laws to provide appropriately robust conscience protections.

We support H.H.S.’s efforts to ensure all people receive high-quality health care. The church has supported universal health care as a basic human right for more than a century. We have long proposed moral principles for discerning health care policy: It should respect the life and dignity of every person, be accessible to all, honor conscience rights, be truly affordable, and be comprehensive and of high quality.

By the same token, Catholic hospitals and health care workers should not be punished because of their religious convictions or clinical judgments. We urge H.H.S. to reconsider its misguided mandate.

The promise of the Catholic hospital reflects the promise of the Catholic faith. It is a place for healing. It is an institution that has grown out of Christian fidelity to Jesus Christ, who healed the sick and cared for the poor. We are motivated by our faith in the God who makes all things new.

In Christ, God became flesh, suffered, died and rose from the dead. Jesus shows us what it is to be human and how to truly care for others. This vision of sacrificial love and service is our only mandate.

Blaise Cupich is Chicago bishop. Timothy Dolan is New York bishop.

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Silence and Listening: Pope’s Thoughts to Nuns So as Not to Go from Shout to Shout https://zenit.org/2022/09/27/silence-and-listening-popes-thoughts-to-nuns-so-as-not-to-go-from-shout-to-shout/ Tue, 27 Sep 2022 14:10:17 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=207623 Address to the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters of the Holy Family in the context of their General Chapter.

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(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 26.09.2022).- On Monday morning September 26, some nuns of the Congregation of Capuchin Tertiary Sisters of the Holy Family — who recently held their General Chapter in Rome –, were received by the Holy Father Francis in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.

Here is the Pope’s address in English.

* * *

Reverend Mother General,

Dear Chapter Sisters,

I am overjoyed to be able to welcome you here today, on the occasion of the celebration of your twenty-third General Chapter. I thank the Mother General for her warm words that express the benevolence of all the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters.

I see with satisfaction that you come from every corner of the world, and it is a good thing because it indicates that you truly live a spirit of welcome and universal sisterhood, in accordance with your special relationship with the “Holy Family”. From thirty-four countries, she said, no? You wished to express this attitude, proper to the family environment, in the motto of your General Chapter, which revolves around two ideas: humble listening and synodality. It is nice, this thing of sending the tongue on holiday and devoting oneself to listening [laughter], that you work more on hearing than on speaking. They are inspiring words, which have a deep root in religious life. To listen, the first thing that is needed is silence, deep silence, inner silence, that which we find in prayer.

Very often our lifestyles are “full of noise,” as Saint Paul VI told us in his well-known discourse in Nazareth. It seems that the most important thing is to find that stimulus able to attract the attention of the other, that produces the most immediate response possible. For many, raising the voice, physically or morally, presents itself as the solution to coax the deafened mass to opt for their idea or opinion, always looking for a way to ensure that their signal is heard more, that it is more attractive or surprising, to assert themselves. To one’s dismay, one usually finds that those who had been called almost immediately turn away to flock to the call of a cry that is even more impactful. From one shout to another. This brutalizes, brutalizes, be afraid of the word, this going from one cry to another, this brutalizes humanity, limiting our freedom to the point of making us slaves to those who have the ability to condition those signals, through the media, education, public or political opinion, thus imposing their agendas, in this way, with petulance, with complacency.

The prophecy that Jesus asks of us is indeed to go against this grain, to seek out silence, to detach ourselves from the world, from noise. This permits us to pay attention and, with artisanal patience, to identify the different sounds, to weigh them up and to distinguish them. In such a way, that initial clamour begins to take shape; what seemed dissonant will be understood and situated, it will have a name, it will have a face. No note will be too high or too low, and no sound will be strident to our ears if we find the harmony that only our silence can give. And I say that only our silence can give, because harmony is found, not imposed. How many times we meet people who seem good, but are not harmonious people, people who do not have an inner unity that inspires them to go forth. That harmony that is born, that is not imposed.

The temptation is to have a beautiful melody in mind, and to reject or try to silence what is not in tune with it. I have my tune, I have my rhythm here, and all the rest is out. Temptation. But this is judging the other, placing oneself in God’s place, deciding who deserves and who does not deserve to be there. It is a great arrogance, that must be combatted with the humility of our prophetic silence. If I am capable of listening in this way, I will be able to hear all the voices clearly, all of them, understand their order, what they respond to, what they want to say, and why they say so in that way, at times in a way that is so disjointed and so unusual.

Dear sisters, be prophets of listening, first of all listening to the voice of God, who calls to you to love all without distinction, to love creation as a gift, to see its greatness in all, as Saint Francis teaches us in his Canticle of the creatures. This is the melody that is imposed in a natural way, because it is the proper essence of all things. In this melody, even pain, darkness, death, find their meaning, and they also find the brother in difficulty, those who are in need of forgiveness, in need of redemption, in need of a second chance; we can understand the reasoning of those who think differently from us, of those who contradict us, and even of our own limits.

It is precisely from this silence, from this silent listening to God, this silence in which man encounters God, that we can pass from cacophony to symphony. To the ‘sin’ (συν-) of synodality or, and this is the same thing, of walking together (συν -ὁδος), to being a choir with one heart and one soul, even though we are in different times and situations. It is not a utopia, if we truly convince ourselves that raising our voices is not the path, that the only path is Jesus. I will not hide from you that it is the path of the cross, of humility, of poverty, of service. It is the path chosen by Saint Francis, and by your venerable founder, Luis Amigó, who meditated daily on the Passion, inviting you to embrace the style of littleness and mortification as the path of heaven. It is interesting for you to know, that each one of you, with her own voice, that must be listened to by the others, if there is a good spirit, contributes to this symphony of the heart, to this consonance of a community, which does not mean that everyone hears the same thing, thinks in the same way, but that they are harmonically united. And the only one capable of giving harmony is the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit for harmony in your communities.

If, before the overwhelming silence of the Passion, the way is questioned like Pilate, and placed before the naked Truth, we ask, in the words of Saint Paul VI, that the silence of Nazareth, which cultivated the Holy Family, teach you, in your specific vocation as religious “contemplation and interiority, always being willing to listen to the good inspirations and doctrine of the true teachers, the necessity and value of proper formation, study, meditation, an intense interior life, personal prayer that only God sees” (cf. Saint Paul VI, Speech in Nazareth, 5 January 1964) – this last part from Saint Paul VI, all of it. And this in such a way that you may always be prophecy of that school of the Gospel which is the path of salvation for the world. Thank you. And I ask you, do not forget to pray for me.

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Changes in the Vatican: Following the Reform of the Curia, The Holy See has a New Prefect and a New Librarian https://zenit.org/2022/09/27/changes-in-the-vatican-following-the-reform-of-the-curia-the-holy-see-has-a-new-prefect-and-a-new-librarian/ Tue, 27 Sep 2022 13:49:16 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=207618 Portuguese Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça is the new Prefect of the Dicastery for Culture and Education, and Monsignor Angelo Vincenzo Zani is the new Archivist and Librarian of the Catholic Church.

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Valentina di Giorgio

(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 26.09.2022).- Since the coming into force of the Constitution that reforms the Roman Curia, there have been a few appointments pending. One of these was the Prefect for the new Dicastery of Culture and Education (which fuses what before was divided in two different entities). Published on Monday, September 26, was the news that Pope Francis appointed Portuguese Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça the Dicastery’s new Prefect. Cardinal de Mendonça had been Archivist and Prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library. 

The Holy Father appointed as new Secretary of the same Dicastery Monsignor Giovanni Cesare Pagazzi, Professor of Ecclesiology and Family Community of Rome’s Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute for the Sciences of Marriage and the Family in Rome. 

The Pontiff also appointed Monsignor Angelo Vincenzo Zani, until recently Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, to the Holy See’s vacancy of Archivist and Librarian.

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The China-Holy See Agreement and the treasure of faith https://zenit.org/2022/09/26/the-china-holy-see-agreement-and-the-treasure-of-faith/ Mon, 26 Sep 2022 13:34:37 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=207612 The one currently in force with the Chinese authorities is not comparable to the models of agreement reached by the Holy See with other governments.

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Giovanni Valente

(ZENIT News / Roma, 26.09.2022).- Four years ago, on September 22, 2018, representatives of the Holy See and the government of the People’s Republic of China signed the Provisional Agreement on the appointment of Chinese Catholic bishops in Beijing. The Agreement provided for a period of application ad experimentum of two years. In October 2020, the validity of the agreement was extended for another two years.

Today, as the deadline for the first extension nears, public statements by Pope Francis and Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin have hinted at a positive intention on the part of the Holy See to continue the process of negotiation, as well as the request to see the agreement implemented in due time and to discuss the margins of progressive improvement, with the sole aim of entrusting the pastoral office to worthy and suitable bishops.

To grasp the reasons of the Pope’s approach, as well as that of his collaborators, it is enough to keep in mind the recent history of Catholicism in China and recognize what has been been compass that has guided the steps of the Holy See during decades dealing with the affairs of Chinese Catholics.

Since the signing of the agreement, illegitimate episcopal ordinations have no longer occurred in China, those celebrated without papal consent, which had caused painful lacerations among Chinese Catholics since the late 1950s.

In the last four years, six new Catholic episcopal ordinations have taken place in China, with procedures that also involve the issue of the Papal bull of appointment. At the same time, six so-called “clandestine” bishops, consecrated in the past without following the protocols imposed by the Chinese apparatus, also requested and obtained public recognition of their role by the political authorities in Beijing. Small numbers, considering the number of Catholic dioceses in China that are vacant or headed by very elderly bishops. But all the Chinese Catholic bishops in China today are in full and public communion with the bishop of Rome.

The one currently in force with the Chinese authorities is not comparable to the models of agreement reached by the Holy See with other governments (the lastest being the one signed with Kazakhstan on the occasion of Pope Francis’ recent apostolic visit to the Central Asian country) to ensure legal recognition and spaces of agility to Church institutions and pastoral agents in the different national contexts.

The Agreement on the appointment of Chinese bishops touches the deepest fibers of the apostolic nature of the Church and the very dynamism of her sacramental life. The issue addressed in the Agreement concerns the faith of Chinese Catholics, and the suffering caused by the ecclesial lacerations which, in recent decades, have divided clergy and laity, communities and families themselves. The content of the agreement concerns the memory of the martyrs and the validity of the sacraments celebrated in parishes, chapels and homes in the People’s Republic of China. Goods that belong to a different order from those that are usually affected by the agreements signed by the Holy See with governments and sovereign entities.

The sacramentality and apostolicity of the Church recognized, preserved and lived in the pastoral framework of the ecclesial life of each Chinese parish, and the full communion of all bishops with the Bishop of Rome cannot be described as “disappointing” from the point of view of the Holy See, especially if one bears in mind at least a little of the history from which one comes.

In the dominant representations of the relations between China and the Vatican, the factors that pushed the Holy See to follow the path it has taken, and the criteria that have guided it in its choices on questions so vital to the sensus Ecclesiae of Chinese Catholics, are generally suppressed and hidden.

Those who qualify the Agreement as an operation with mediocre results, or even an error to be regretted, must not only remove the references to the sacramental dynamics which sustain the Church, but also hide everything that has happened to Chinese Catholicism in the last seventy years.

There have been seasons when, in the official media of the Chinese apparatus, the Bishops and the Vatican were generally defined as the “watchdogs” of Western imperialism. Today, even in the phase of growing international tension between the People’s Republic and Western geopolitical subjects, no one in China thinks of insulting the Pope and the Catholic Church as agents of hostile forces.

As international tensions and power clashes escalate, it is also worthwhile to look with faith at the delicate and providential condition in which the small flock of Chinese Catholics find themselves. It is precisely in this condition, shared with their compatriots, that they can experience the adventure of confession of faith in Christ in today’s China as it is, without privileges, without being pointed at and perceived as a foreign body, as exotic guests or representatives of distant cultures.

Chinese Catholics, like all Chinese citizens, live within the context of the provisions issued by the Chinese civil authorities. As baptized, they follow the faith of the apostles, of which communion with the bishop of Rome, guarantor of the unity of the Church, is an integral part. Their condition can lead to fatigue, disappointment, suffering. But by remaining immanent in this condition leaves the door open to witnessing, to the possibility of confessing faith in Christ, of walking each day in his company in the China of today, such as it is, performing the ordinary gestures linked to the mission of salvation entrusted by Jesus to His own: proclamation of the Gospel, catechism, administration of the sacraments, works of charity for brothers and sisters in need. Acts and words of this current of Christian experience free from all suspicion, which animates the daily life of so many Chinese Catholic communities, and which is also told by so many pieces of news by Fides.

In the happy and troubled events that have marked the last seventy years of Chinese Catholicism, the decisive factor was precisely the faith of the Apostles in which bishops, priests and lay people of that Church were in any case kept. Not out of heroism or stubborn voluntarism, but out of a gift of grace. The last Successors of Peter themselves experienced and attested that their communion with the Catholic Church in China was not to be restored with instruments of juridical supremacy, simply because such communion was already in place, based on the sharing of the same Catholic faith. It is the only treasure to be relied upon, even in the most enigmatic and controversial events of the present time.

The author is a director of the FIDES Agency.

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The Marriage Battle in America: Religious Freedom in Danger https://zenit.org/2022/09/25/the-marriage-battle-in-america-religious-freedom-in-danger/ Sun, 25 Sep 2022 21:24:43 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=207608 If approved, the Respect for Marriage Act” (RMA) would not only codify at the level of Federal Law the 2015 Obergefell vs. Hodges ruling, in which the Supreme Court ordered the recognition of “marriage between same sex persons” throughout the United States, but would also open the door to the legalization of polygamy.

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Ermes Dovico

(ZENIT News – The Daily Compass / Rome, 25.09.2022).- It’s been called the “Respect for Marriage Act”(RMA) a bill that, despite its name, as is the custom for the politically (and linguistically) correct, hopes to give the coup de grace to marriage in the United States, while at the same time putting religious liberty and freedom of conscience in serious danger. If approved, the RMA would not only codify at the level of Federal Law the 2015 Obergefell vs. Hodges ruling, in which the Supreme Court ordered the recognition of “marriage between persons of the same sex” throughout the United States, but would also open the door to the legalization of polygamy. In fact, the text states that any state of the United States must recognize “marriage between two persons” contracted in other Federal States, regardless of “sex, race, ethnic group or national origin.” Moreover, in regard to smoothing the way for polygamous unions, the Federal Administration would be obliged  to recognize any marriage (real or presumed) if “it’s valid in the State [for the purposes of the text, these means the whole of the United States in addition to Puerto Rico, ed.]”

In fact, that bill would have no hope of being approved if the Republican Party united to reject it. But therein lies the problem. The H.R. 8404 was approved in the House on July 19 of this year, with no less than 47 Republicans (over one fifth of the congressmen of the Grand Old Party – GOP), who added their vote to that of the Democrats, who already had the majority necessary for its approval. The 47 took advantage of the fact that their fellow Republicans and leaders in the House (Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise) had left the vote free.

The RMA must now go to the Senate, where the two Parties are at present in a substantial draw, and the Democrats need to get 10 votes among the Republicans to be sure to reach the anti-system threshold  (60 out of 100, namely, a three-fifths majority ) in the Congress’ upper chamber. Will they succeed? It’s known that at least four Republican Senators support the RMA explicitly or implicitly: Susan Collins, Lisa  Murkowski, Thom Tillis and Rob Portman. A possible fifth Senator, Ron Johnson, after the protests of some conservative media and pro-family groups in what seemed to be support for the RMA, made it clear since then that he wouldn’t approve it “in its present state.” I

It’s, in fact, the mobilization in favour or against the RMA, which could turn out to be decisive for the bill’s fate. Over the last few days, there have been two initiatives of an opposite tenor, addressed to Senators, especially of the GOP. More than 400 personalities, who called themselves “Republicans and conservatives” — from the Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, to Barbara, daughter of former President George Walker Bush, to Pennsylvania’s Senate candidate Mehmet Oz, and Colorado’s candidate Joe O’Dea –, have signed a letter requesting the approval of the Law of Respect of Marriage and “reaffirm that marriage for gays and lesbians is an established law.”

Let us recall that in the concurrent opinion written by Clarence Thomas on the historic Dobbs ruling in 2022, the Supreme Court Judge expressed the need to reconsider some of the controversial precedents, including the Obergefell case. The Democratic proposal thus intends to deactivate the new danger for its own ideological front, that is, that — after the Constitutional right to abortion, invented by Roe vs. Wade, the so-called right to “gay marriage” should also be annulled. 

However, as already mentioned, the RMA goes beyond the 2015 ruling, which enabled Obama light up the White House with the LGBT rainbow. This was denounced by some 2,000 ministers of worship and religious leaders of multiple Protestant denominations, who pointed out in a letter to Senators that their own vision of marriage between a man and a woman, open to life and stemming from an “eternal truth,” must “not be erased or punished.” The petitioners pointed out that, as opposed to the Obergefell ruling, where respect is preserved (at least) for those that defend the marital union between a man and a woman, the Democrats’ bill intends to denigrate and blame those that adhere to the principle of marriage as part of natural morality. 

In fact, the RMA foresees that both the Attorney General as well as persons that feel aggrieved can present civil lawsuits  against those that do not acknowledge marriage “between two persons,” including if it’s a homosexual union. This means that organizations that run, for example, foster care and adoption services, as well as other religious services operating in the social ambit in collaboration with the State, and even simple businesses and entrepreneurs  (think of the numerous judicial prosecutions of recent years against florists, photographers, confectioners, etc.) “can be faced with litigations simply for practicing their faith.” Tax authorities could also deprive non-profit religious organizations of tax exemption, again because they only acknowledge marriage between a man and a woman. 

And the Catholic Church? Already in July, the United States Episcopal Conference  — through Archbishops Salvatore Cordileone and William Lori — wrote a letter to the congressmen of the House of Representatives asking them not to approve the bill on marriage equality and, a few days later, Archbishop Cordileone renewed the American Episcopate’s exhortation with a missive to the Senate. The intervention of Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler was also decisive. He pointed out the “parody” of the RMA, explaining that it is “a flagrant negation of God’s plan for humanity and poses a great danger to us.” 

It’s difficult to say how it will end. The mobilization, however, is having some effect. If at first the Senate’s Democrat leader Chuck Schumer said he wanted to bring the bill to the floor already in September, after learning that the vote on the text would be postponed until after the mid-term elections, apparently to allow Republicans more inclined to vote for the text to be able to delay it, without being onesided, to come out unscathed from the discontent of their voters. Political games, hence, which do not calm things down, given also the fact that the Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell has yet to express his party’s position. 

Meanwhile, the bipartisan partisans of the RMA are working on amendments to explain that the text does not allow polygamy or undermine the freedom of religion and conscience. However, this might not be sufficient, as Life Site News reminds, given the activism of some judges. In any case, the underlying issue will continue to be the recognition  — by a Federal Law – of a “marriage” that isn’t such. And that, far from a neutral expansion of “rights,” would constrict freedom based on truth.

This translation into Spanish of an article published originally in Italian, was made by ZENIT’s Editorial Director. Virginia M. Forrester translate it into English.

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What Was Discussed During the Meeting Between the Vatican Secretary of State and the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs at the UN Headquarters in New York?  https://zenit.org/2022/09/25/what-was-discussed-during-the-meeting-between-the-vatican-secretary-of-state-and-the-russian-minister-of-foreign-affairs-at-the-un-headquarters-in-new-york/ Sun, 25 Sep 2022 21:16:22 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=207605 The subject was addressed of the independence referendums in some regions of Ukraine.

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Tim Daniels

(ZENIT News / New York, 25.09.2022).- The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that, in the meeting held on Thursday, September 22, –in the context of the 77th UN General Assembly, although not part of its official agenda–, between the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin and the Russian Foreign Affairs Minister, Sergey  Lavrov, the discussion focused on the situation in Ukraine.

“During the conversation the [Russian] Minister explained the reasons for the present crisis in relations between Russia and the West, the result [he said] of NATO’s ‘crusade’ to destroy Russia and divide the world. The measures adopted by our country are geared to guarantee independence and security, as well as to counteract the United States’ hegemonic aspirations to control all world processes,” stated a press release of the Russian Federation. 

Also discussed were the independence referendums in some regions of Ukraine. “Lavrov explained that the coming referendums in the regions of the Donetsk and Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson People’s Republics comply fully with International Law and are the realization of the legitimate rights of the inhabitants of these territories to self-determination and to organize their life in keeping with their civilizational, cultural and religious traditions.”

Finally, the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry highlighted “the productive unfolding of the Russian-Vatican dialogue, including at the highest levels, both on inter-State lines as well as between the Churches.” Also addressed was a “series of current issues [regarding] bilateral and international cooperation.” The Holy See did not issue a press release about this, although the international press pointed out the face-to-face meeting as a possible Vatican mediation in the conflict. 

Russian Patriarch Calls for Support of the War

Meanwhile, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow exhorted Russian men to remain faithful to the end, in the context of the obligatory recruitment of 300,000 men for the Army. It’s a measure of Putin to continue the war in Ukraine. 

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Italian Cardinal Comes Out in Defense of Cardinal Joseph Zen, Archbishop Emeritus of Hong Kong https://zenit.org/2022/09/24/italian-cardinal-comes-out-in-defense-of-cardinal-joseph-zen-archbishop-emeritus-of-hong-kong/ Sat, 24 Sep 2022 20:45:41 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=207601 Cardinal Fernando Filoni recalled that it has been said of the Archbishop that “he is the most Italian of the Chinese and the most Italian Chinaman. Here was the synthesis – the meeting of two cultures.”

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(ZENIT News / Rome, 23.09.2022).- In a letter to the Director of the Italian newspaper Avvenire, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher and Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, came out publicly in defense of the Archbishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun who is standing trial for defending human rights in Communist China. No other high-ranking ecclesiastic had spoken openly in defense of Cardinal Zen. 

Here is the translation of this text.

* * *

Insinuated in a trial is the saying: May he who can speak, speak! Not even Jesus eluded this in a trial, which would mark the history and life of a man who awakened admiration and profound religious respect: John the Baptist giving witness of the truth, to which no one is superior, claiming the oneness of the divine law, transposed into the Jewish Tradition. 

Jesus also paid for His testimony to the truth: What is truth? (cf. John 18:38), Pilate asked Him ironically in a dramatic trial in which the Nazarene was accused of violating Rome’s sovereignty and was about to be sentenced to death. The verdict was issued, and Jesus was sentenced to an infamous death; but that trial, never concluded, will never be forgotten while the Gospel is proclaimed on earth. “I am the Truth” (John 14:6), Jesus had proclaimed, but Pilate’s assessment didn’t matter to him, and Pilate washed his hands. 

Another trial is being held these days in Hong Kong, a city I loved a lot, having lived there for over eight years. I met Father Joseph Zen Ze-kiun there. He was the Inspector of the Salesians, and was Chinese to the core – very intelligent, acute, with a winning smile. They said to me, “He is a Shanghainese!” Little by little I understood the meaning of this.

At that time, in additional to being Provincial, he was as Professor of Philosophy and Ethics and was very well regarded. He spoke Italian perfectly, not only the language but his manners were close to European culture, which he learned in European schools as a youth. It was said of him : “He is the most Italian of the Chinese and the most Italian Chinaman.” Here was the synthesis, the meeting of two cultures. 

In reality, he continued being Chinese; he never denied his identity. And I found this very beautiful and fascinating. He represented the prototype of an interculturality that reminded me of Xu Guangqi, a “Christian in the Ming court” (Elisa Giunipero), or, in other senses, the acuteness of Monsignor Aloysius Jin Luxian, a Jesuit, Bishop of Shanghai at the time of Deng Xiaoping and later, who liked to introduce himself as the “Nicodemus of our times.” Both were Shanghainese.

Shanghai was a city of martyrs, at the time of the Nazi occupation, by the Japanese: it was an incredibly sad time, full of violence and destruction, which no one forgets. Cardinal Zen’s family was also a victim of it; they lost all their possessions and had to flee. 

Young Zen never forgot that experience and drew from it consistency of character and lifestyle and, then, great love of freedom and justice. Shanghai was heroic, and her sons were considered heroes, almost untouchable, including by the Communist regime. Cardinal Zen is one of the last descendants of those families. Heroes should never be humiliated; it was also the mentality of the Chinese establishment, as it is in the West for victims of our own Nazi-Fascism.

In the decade of the ‘90s, Joseph Zen taught in several Seminaries of Hong Kong and China (Shanghai, Peking, Xian, Wuhan). He was invited to Shanghai by Bishop Jin Luxian. He accepted for the good of the Church, which rose from its martyrdom and sought the path of survival; this was flexibility, not surrendering. He looked ahead and did not judge people; it was his philosophy of life. Political systems,  –he said– can be judged but not people, and in this regard his thought was clear. Judgment is deferred to Gid, who knows the heart of men.

His respect and support of the person has always been the cornerstone of his human and priestly vision and it continues to be so today, although these days he’s being tried in Hong Kong. His moral integrity and his idealism were regarded as of the highest level when John Paul II appointed him Bishop and Benedict XVI created him Cardinal. Some consider him characteristically somewhat nervous. And who wouldn’t be so in face of injustice and of the need for freedom, which every genuine political and civil system should defend?

I attest to two more things: Cardinal Zen is a “man of God.” Sometimes ill-tempered, but submissive to the love of Christ, who wanted him as His priest, profoundly enamoured, as Don Bosco, of youth. No one, among those I’ve met, can I say was as truly “loyal” as him. 

Testimony is essential in a trial. Cardinal Zen must not be condemned. Hong Kong, China and the Church have in him a devout son, of whom one must not be ashamed. This is a testimony of the truth. 

 

Translation of the Italian original by ZENIT’s Editorial Director and, into English, by Virginia M. Forrester.

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Statement of His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin at the UN High-level Meeting https://zenit.org/2022/09/24/statement-of-his-eminence-cardinal-pietro-parolin-at-the-un-high-level-meeting/ Sat, 24 Sep 2022 00:31:19 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=207597 At the UN High-level Meeting to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.

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(ZENIT News / Nueva York, 23.09.2022).- On 21 September 2022, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See, issued a statement at the UN High-Level Meeting to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities. As part of a year-long commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Declaration, this High-Level Meeting has been convened in order to assess constraints and achievements, share examples of best practices, and establish future priorities.

The statement was delivered by Monsignor Joseph Grech, an Official at the Secretariat of State.

In his statement, Cardinal Parolin stated that the terms ‘minority’ and ‘majority’ are descriptive labels, and their use must not erode the principle that everyone is equal in dignity and therefore has equal rights. He also noted with grave concern that Christians continue to be the most persecuted group in the world. An estimated 360 million Christians across 76 countries face discrimination, violence, and persecution, whilst other religious minorities suffer similar treatment.

Cardinal Parolin concluded by stating that the protection and promotion of the fundamental human rights of people belonging to national, ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities should be founded on dialogue, mutual cooperation, and reciprocal understanding.

The text of the statement follows.

***

Statement of His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin
at the UN High-level Meeting to commemorate the
30th anniversary of the adoption of the
Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to
National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities

New York, 21 September 2022

 Mr. President,

The Holy See is pleased to participate in this High-level Meeting marking the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.

When using the terms ‘minority’ and ‘majority’, we should remember that these descriptive labels must not erode the principle on which fundamental human rights and freedoms are based: everyone is equal in dignity and therefore has equal rights. It is therefore crucial to “reject the discriminatory use of the term ‘minorities’ which engenders feelings of isolation and inferiority.”[1] At the same time, the opposite stance of promoting assimilation risks erasing unique national, ethnic, religious, and linguistic characteristics and values, “blurring what is distinctive about origins and backgrounds and turning [people] into a new line of malleable goods.” [2]

Throughout the world, national, ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities share the aspiration to affirm their identity and to live peacefully with others. Therefore, their protection cannot be achieved without respecting certain key principles, namely protection of existence, non-exclusion, non-discrimination, and non-assimilation[3] – such that integration does not become assimilation.

As for religious minorities, the Holy See notes with grave concern that, Christians continue to be the most persecuted group in the world, and not only in countries where they are a minority group. It is estimated that around 360 million Christians across 76 countries face discrimination, violence and persecution because of their faith. Needless to say, other religious minorities suffer similar treatment. This is a clear violation of the fundamental right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. [4]  This also threatens related rights, such as the right to practice religion in public and private, both individually and collectively; the right to own, build, maintain and use religious buildings and property; the right of churches and religious communities to organize themselves according to their own institutional structures; and the right to train, choose and nominate their own clergy.

Mr. President,

The protection and promotion of the fundamental human rights of people belonging to national, ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities should be founded on the “adoption of a culture of dialogue as the path; mutual cooperation as the code of conduct; reciprocal understanding as the method and standard.” [5] Identity and dialogue are not unreconcilable poles. Our own identity “is strengthened and enriched as a result of dialogue with those unlike ourselves. Nor is our authentic identity preserved by an impoverished isolation.” [6]

Thank you, Mr. President.

________________________________________
[1] Pope Francis and Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, A Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.
[2] Pope Francis, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Christus Vivit, 186.
[3] Commentary of the Working Group on Minorities to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.
[4] Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18.
[5] A Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.
[6] Pope Francis, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Querida Amazonia, 37.

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Feast Day of Padre Pio 2022: Cardinal O’Malley Blessed Three Sculptures at the Church of St. Pio of Pietrelcina https://zenit.org/2022/09/24/feast-day-of-padre-pio-2022-cardinal-omalley-blessed-three-sculptures-at-the-church-of-st-pio-of-pietrelcina/ Sat, 24 Sep 2022 00:25:58 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=207590 Three bronze sculptures of Padre Pio by the renowned Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz were donated to the Padre Pio Foundation of America and to the Shrine of St. Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo (Italy).

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(ZENIT News / San Giovanni Rotondo, 23.09.2022).- “May art open doors, touch hearts and help to move forward,” said Pope Francis at the beginning of September in a private meeting with artists participating in the “Primer Vitae Summit” at the Vatican.

On the feast day of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, better known as Padre Pio, these words of the Supreme Pontiff take on a special meaning: as of yesterday, three bronze sculptures depicting the Capuchin friar, famous for his miraculous gifts and for the stigmata on his hands, feet and side, will be placed in the shrine of St. Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy. The works of artist Timothy Schmalz were donated to the Padre Pio Foundation of America and the Shrine of St. Pio.

Timothy is a Canadian renowned artist in the religious sculptures field -famous works include Homeless Jesus and Angels Unawares. His pieces have been installed all around the world in churches, shrines and multiple religious sites, thanks to donations from several benefactors and sponsors.

This is a great year for devotions to the Capuchin friar, with his recent film just released: Padre Pio, starring Shia LaBeouf, premiered on 2 September 2022 in competition in the Giornate Degli Autori section of the 2022 Venice International Film Festival, where it received a four-minute ovation.

Cardinal O’Malley: Blessing of the Sculptures and Mass
The American Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston (US), presided today the Mass for the feast day of Padre Pio in the presence of the authorities of the sanctuary, friars, priests and faithful who came to gather in prayer. The Mass took place in the church of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, where the sculptures were blessed at the end.

In his homily, Cardinal O’Malley, also a Capuchin friar like Padre Pio, elaborated about the saint’s feast day: “Padre Pio carried the burden of the stigmata for five decades, this and so many other physical sufferings were borne with love and patience. In a world where pain is seen as the greatest evil, Padre Pio shows us the power of the cross. When the cross is born with love and in union with Jesus it is life-giving and leads to resurrection.”

Meanwhile yesterday, Msgr. Franco Moscone, Archbishop of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo, blessed one of the sculptures in the Sanctuary of St. Michael the Archangel, Monte Sant’Angelo.

“Everything Padre Pio did was a miracle”.

Three sculptures have arrived to the shrine: “Padre Pio fighting a devil” (life size), “Padre Pio with Mary” (life size) and “Padre Pio with Saint Michael” (medium size).

Commenting on his most recent work, sculptor Timothy Schmalz said: “Padre Pio has brought peace and confort to thousands and thousands of people, myself included, for so many years now. And this I consider a miracle, as it is something he continues to gift every day. This was of course inspiring. And also, watching Padre Pio fighting a devil is a way of showing to all those with their own daily struggles that, with the intercession of the saints, victory is possible.”

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Three Conditions for a Consultant to Be Able to Correct the World, According to Pope Francis https://zenit.org/2022/09/24/three-conditions-for-a-consultant-to-be-able-to-correct-the-world-according-to-pope-francis/ Sat, 24 Sep 2022 00:19:07 +0000 https://zenit.org/?p=207583 In the special audience to the participants in the Deloitte Global Meeting.

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(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 22.09.2022).- On Thursday morning, September 24, the Holy Father received in special audience, in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, the participants in the Deloitte Global Meeting. As is known, Deloitte is a management consulting company.

Here is the English version of the Pope’s address.

* * *

Dear friends, welcome!

I thank Mr Renjen for his words summarizing your work of assisting the business world to make right decisions in diverse situations. I have learned that at any given time of the day there are 350,000 people working for your company engaged in providing advice and assistance to other organizations. This is a weighty responsibility!

Today, the world is suffering from worsening environmental conditions. Moreover, many populations and social groups live in undignified manner due to a lack of nutrition, health, education and other fundamental rights. While our human family is globalized and interconnected, poverty, injustice and inequalities remain.

In what ways, then, can consultants, managers and experienced professionals help in reversing or at least correcting this situation? How are they to organize their work in order to strive for a more humane, just and fraternal world? I would like to suggest three such ways.

1st To keep alive the awareness that you can leave a mark

The first is always to remain aware that you can leave a mark. This means ensuring that your mark is positive and moves towards integral human development. Your knowledge, experiences, skills and vast network of relationships constitute an immense «non-material fund» that can help entrepreneurs, bankers, managers and public administrators to understand their situations, to imagine the future and to make decisions. By helping them to understand, therefore, you help them to make decisions. This gives your organization, and each one of you, the ability to guide choices, influence criteria and evaluate priorities for companies, universities, supranational bodies, national and local governments, and decision makers at the political level.

You are well aware of your «power». This should be accompanied constantly by the desire to direct your analysis and proposals towards choices consistent with the paradigm of integral ecology. A good question to ask yourselves when evaluating what is and what is not effective would be: «What kind of world do we want to leave for our children and grandchildren?»

2nd Assume and exercise your cultural responsibility

The second suggestion I would offer is to take up and fulfil your cultural responsibility, which also stems from your wealth of intelligence and connections. By «cultural responsibility» I mean two things: ensuring adequate professional standards, and also an anthropological and ethical standard that enables you to suggest responses that are consistent with an evangelical vision of the economy and society; in other words, with Catholic social doctrine. This is a matter of assessing the direct and indirect effects of decisions, and their impact, first on communities, individuals and the environment, and only then on businesses. «The different cultures that have flourished over the centuries need to be preserved, lest our world be impoverished. At the same time, those cultures should be encouraged to be open to new experiences through their encounter with other realities» (Fratelli Tutti, 134).

3rd Value diversity

A third suggestion is to enhance diversity. All human organizations – institutions, businesses, banks, associations, movements – have the right, if honestly and correctly led, to be able to safeguard and develop their own identity. Here we can speak of «entrepreneurial biodiversity», to use a good expression, as a guarantee of freedom of enterprise and freedom of choice for customers, consumers, savers and investors. Entrepreneurial biodiversity is also an indispensable condition of stability, equilibrium and human prosperity.  This is what takes place in nature and can also happen in economic «ecosystems».

Over the past fifteen years, the world has experienced severe and continuing crises. We had not finished dealing with the financial crisis of 2007 before we had to face the crisis of sovereign debt and of real economies, followed by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine with all its global consequences and threats.

In the meantime, our planet continued to suffer from the effects of climate change; cruel and hidden wars were being fought in various regions, and tens of millions of people have been forced to migrate from their homelands.  While daily life improved for one part of humanity, the other part has suffered from unscrupulous choices and has become the main victim of a sort of counter-development. Indeed, Saint Paul VI explained clearly that development of social justice is the new name for peace (cf. Populorum Progressio, 76-80).

What can professional consultants do in this difficult and uncertain situation? They can do a great deal by organizing their analyses and proposals with an integral perspective and vision. Indeed, dignified employment for people, care for our common home, economic and social value, and positive impact on communities are all interconnected.

Today’s consultants, aware of their role, are called to propose and discuss new directions for new challenges. The old schemes worked only partially, in different contexts. I would call this new generation of consultants «integral consultants»: experts and professionals who take into account the connections between problems and their respective solutions and who embrace the concept of relational anthropology. Such an anthropology «helps the human person to recognize the validity of economic strategies that aim above all to promote the global quality of life that, before the indiscriminate expansion of profits, leads the way toward the integral wellbeing of the entire person and of every person. No profit is in fact legitimate when it falls short of the objective of the integral promotion of the human person, the universal destination of goods, and the preferential option for the poor,» and, we can add, the care of our common home.

My hope is that you can assist organizations to respond to this call. You have the right skills to cooperate in building that necessary bridge between the current economic paradigm – based on excessive consumption and which is experiencing its final phase – and the emerging paradigm centred on inclusion, moderation, care and wellbeing. I encourage you to become «integral consultants» in order to cooperate in reorienting our way of living on this our planet, which we have damaged in terms of both the climate and inequality.

Dear friends, in thanking you for this meeting and expressing my good wishes for your work, I bless you and your families, especially your children, the sick and the elderly, who are our wisdom. And I ask you, please, to pray for me. And if any of you do not pray or believe, at least wish me well. I need it! Thank you.

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