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Rome & the World: no park for Mt of Olives • priest peace prize winner • & more …

Mazur/UK Catholic

I.Media for Aleteia - published on 02/22/22 - updated on 02/22/22

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.

Tuesday 22 February 2022
1 – Benedict XVI and the German Church he served seek forgiveness in very different ways
2 – Israeli authority backs down from Mount of Olives park plan after churches protests
3 – Fr. Michael Lapsley: 2022 Niwano Peace Prize winner
4 – I’ve been on death row for 23 years: Catholic Mass gives me hope in the midst of my suffering
5 – Houses of worship grapple with the future of their online services

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Benedict XVI and the German Church he served seek forgiveness in very different ways

The New Yorker looks at the sharp difference in approach between Germany’s bishops and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on the issue of abuse, and how the structural changes that this crisis highlights are urgent. Writer Paul Elie, who teaches at Georgetown University (a Jesuit establishment), notes that part of the German church is showing an “openness to change,” including allowing laypeople to play a role in the formation of future bishops. Meanwhile the Pope Emeritus, in his testament letter earlier this month, placed his request for forgiveness only in the perspective of his own redemption, without questioning his methods of government. Paul Elie welcomes the “tender and vulnerable” tone of the Pope’s letter, which reveals a more intimate side of his personality, but he finds it does not align with the expectations of the victims.

The New Yorker, English

Israeli authority backs down from Mount of Olives park plan after churches protests

Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority is backing down from a contentious plan to encompass Christian holy sites on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives in a national park, after protest from major churches. The Armenian, Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches petitioned the environmental authorities and expressed “gravest concern and unequivocal objection” to the plan. They said it would disrupt the longstanding state of affairs and aimed to “confiscate and nationalize one of the holiest sites for Christianity and alter its nature.” The Nature and Parks Authority said it is freezing the plan for now and will coordinate and communicate “with all relevant officials, including the churches.”

Associated Press, English

Fr. Michael Lapsley: 2022 Niwano Peace Prize winner

Anglican Father Michawl Lapsley is the 2022 recipient of the prestigious Niwano Peace Prize, which honors individuals or organizations that have significantly contributed to peace through interreligious cooperation. Father Lapsley fought against apartheid in South Africa, an activism that cost him his two hands and eye when he was sent a letter bomb. He then contributed greatly to peacebuilding efforts in the aftermath of this system through “non-violent, multi-faith” means and “activities of healing based on restorative justice, dialogue, and reconciliation.” The members of the Prize Committee describe him as a powerful witness of healing and reconciliation. 

Vatican News,  English

I’ve been on death row for 23 years: Catholic Mass gives me hope in the midst of my suffering

Lyle C. May was sentenced to death for the murder of a woman and her 4-year-old son. On death row at Central Prison in Raleigh, North Carolina, he began attending Mass. “When I arrived on death row in 1999 and began attending Mass, there were eight of us.” Lyle tells his story, his relationship with his prisoner friends, as well as how he lives through the death sentence. “Catholic Mass became a respite,” he explains of his spiritual struggle, “pursuing faith in God while elected leaders and the courts invoked the same God to kill us—’eye for eye, tooth for tooth’—was difficult at first.” However, Lyle kept his faith and clung to the sound of the brass bells he waved as a child during consecration: “that sound was not just an answer to our suffering, but an end to it. Clear in its reminder. Absolute in its purity. Certain in the promise of eternal life.”

America, English

Houses of worship grapple with the future of their online services

“COVID-19 forced every church in America to rethink how to best serve their parishioners and the broader community,” said Toure Roberts, pastor of Potter’s House of Denver, a 3,500-seat sanctuary that had to be sold due to the excessive costs of maintaining it. Costs that could not be subsidized by the presence of the faithful since for the last two years, the celebrations were held online. As the pandemic enters its third year, more and more places of worship are having to weigh the costs and benefits of an online versus in-person celebration. Indeed, in the United States in 2020, more than 4,000 churches closed their doors. This issue also affects Jews who must judge whether or not remote worship (which requires an internet connection) is acceptable when Shabbat generally prohibits technology. What about Muslims for whom Friday prayer is “in person”? The challenges for religious worship are many, but the presence and gathering of the faithful is still a foundational basis. 

RNS, English

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Rome & the World
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