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Rome & the World: damning report from Germany • evangelizing the (digital) evangelizers


ULI DECK / DPA / dpa Picture-Alliance

I.Media - published on 09/23/22

Every day, Aleteia offers a selection of articles written by the international press about the Church and the major issues that concern Catholics around the world. The opinions and views expressed in these articles are not those of the editors.

Friday 23 September 2022
1. Leading German Bishop to stay in post despite damning report
2. Catholic influencers propose digital pastoral care 
3. In the last seven months at least 270 religious buildings have been destroyed in Ukraine
4. Why won’t the Pope defend Cardinal Zen? 
5. Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, opened the 27th National Eucharistic Congress in Matera

1Leading German bishop to stay in post despite damning report

The deputy chairman of the German bishops’ conference, Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabrück, said on Thursday that he will remain in office, after a damning report was released on the handling of abuse cases in his diocese. On Tuesday, Osnabrück University published a 600-page interim report scrutinizing abuse cases in the diocese since 1945. The report accused Bishop Bode, who has been in this post since 1995, and his predecessors, of safeguarding failures. The report states that “in the first decades of his term of office, Bishop Bode repeatedly left accused persons in their offices, even those whose danger could hardly be doubted, or appointed them to offices that made further opportunities for committing crimes possible.” The 71-year-old said in Thursday’s press conference that he had discussed whether to resign with Father Hans Zollner, a safeguarding expert and Director of the Institute of Anthropology Interdisciplinary Studies on Human Dignity and Care (previously known as the Center for Child Protection). Bishop Bode said he has decided to stay in his role to oversee the process of strengthening safeguarding procedures through to its conclusion and also announced new measures to be implemented. In the statement he read at the press conference, the German prelate acknowledged that the report “documents significant shortcomings and serious mistakes,” and that he bears “responsibility for this.” “I myself acted negligently in some cases,” he said. He apologized for his actions and added that the “breaches of duty of care” were perhaps due to “gullibility or hesitation” but not done “with the intention of deliberately covering up or bending the law.” Osnabrück University’s final report will be published in September 2024. Bode was elected deputy chairman of the German bishops’ conference in 2017 and is one of four members of a committee overseeing the country’s “synodal way.” Several German dioceses have already published final reports on their handling of historical abuse cases, including the Archdiocese of Cologne, the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, and the Diocese of Münster, and several others have commissioned reports. 

The Pillar, English  

2Catholic influencers propose digital pastoral care

Within the global synodal process launched in 2021 by Pope Francis, the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication has participated in a niche initiative: questioning the digital world. The initiative “The Church listens to you,” organized by the “Computer Network of the Church in Latin America,” has presented to the General Secretariat of the Synod a document with the summary of the results obtained in a survey carried out by 244 Catholic influencers through their social networks. Some 110,000 questionnaires were sent out in 115 countries and in seven languages, among people with an average age of 40 years. The result? More than 150,000 synodal proposals. At the end of this large-scale project, the influencers pleaded for a digital pastoral ministry developed “in an organic, systematic, and institutional way.” It is a question, they explain, of helping “the Holy Spirit to continue to act on the Internet” because according to these influencers, 30% of those who follow them on the networks are not practicing Catholics but still turn to these digital missionaries. Influencers want to feel “part of the Body and Mission of the Church” and reach out to those “who feel lost.” Other themes that emerged in the survey responses were boredom at Mass, a thirst for silence and contemplation, and welcoming LGBT people. The synod is currently preparing for the continental phase, as in August the national consultation phase ended with local bishops’ conferences sending their results to Rome. The final session on the Synod on Synodality will be held in the Vatican in October 2023. 

Europa Press, Spanish. 

3. In the last seven months at least 270 religious buildings have been destroyed in Ukraine

Churches, mosques, synagogues, schools and administrative buildings are among the buildings in Ukraine that have been destroyed since the Russian invasion began. The count of the destruction includes 260 Christian sites, 5 Muslim buildings and 5 Jewish buildings.

RISU, English.

4. Why won’t the Pope defend Cardinal Zen? 

The American Conservative columnist Rod Dreher denounces Pope Francis’ “betrayal” of Cardinal Zen, in the name of a diplomatic rapprochement between China and the Holy See.

The American Conservative, English

5. Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, opened the 27th National Eucharistic Congress in Matera

The Archbishop of Bologna invited those present to “rediscover the taste of bread to satiate and be satiated.” Pope Francis, as primate of Italy, is scheduled to close the event on Sunday, September 25.

SIR, Italian

Rome & the World
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