RELIGION: Pope Francis compares damage caused by Covid-19 and climate crisis to damage from global conflict

Dear Reader,

This week I want to start with a question: do you know what your parish and diocese are doing to address the Pope’s call to synodality? Please email me if you have time, with any details you would like to share, or concerns that you believe the synodal process should be addressing. The Tablet is currently working on a series of webinars to address this subject. In my own parish, in the Archdiocese of Southwark, we have a webinar coming up next week. We have also been invited to join one of three parish groups to pray and talk about the issues we believe need discussing, and will give feedback accordingly. Here at The Tablet we would like to create a resource page for any and all to access, rather as we did with the pandemic. A number of us have been searching for a while for such a resource, without success, so prompted by Clifford Longley, along with other staff members, we have decided to create one of our own, in the hope that it is useful to many. This is just the start and we have a good amount of time ahead of us. But we will need your help. 

Pope Francis and US President Joe Biden – calling for climate justice.

1. In his message to COP26, delivered by the leader of the Vatican delegation Cardinal Parolin yesterday, Pope Francis compared the damage caused by Covid-19 and the climate crisis to the damage that results from global conflict. Earlier, Parolin said: “It is the Holy See’s hope that COP26 will reaffirm the centrality of multilateralism and of action, also with regard to the so-called non-state actors.” By Sebastian Milbank. Ellen Teague is there, and is reporting on activism and other issues, such as the pilgrims walking to the summit who have converged on central Glasgow, calling for climate justice for the Global South. Cardinal Nichols has warned Boris Johnson of the “devastating consequences” of climate change for the poor. Pope Francis is not at COP26, but met US President Joe Biden in Rome, where Christopher Lamb reports on the outcome, perceived as a rebuke to those who want to deny Biden communion. Chris also analysed the Pope’s diplomatic push ahead of the summit. Meanwhile, Benedict Rogers believes Biden needs to talk to the Pope about China. And in the print edition, Peter Stanford talks to Pawel Kisielewski. “The fact that leaders of governments from all over the world are coming together in Glasgow over the next two weeks to look for solutions is an encouraging sign that humanity is beginning to understand the moral responsibilities involved,” says The Tablet in our leader this week.

2. The German bishops’ conference has rejected the addition of a “gender star” after the word God, which would have seen it rendered as God*, as suggested by a German Catholic youth organisation. Christa Pongratz-Lippitt reports. 

3. The De La Salle Order has issued an apology for sex abuse of children by members of the order, following a series of allegations and the suspension of its current provincial after he was accused of historic abuse. By Catherine Pepinster. Twelve bishops in Mexico are being investigated for covering up the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults, reports Madoc Cairns.

4. The former Anglican Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, has been ordained as a Catholic priest by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, in a ceremony described by the cardinal as a “moment of great joy”. Madoc Cairns reports.  

5. Several US dioceses have started down the synodal pathway inaugurated by Pope Francis earlier this month, although with differing emphases and vigour depending on the diocese. Michael Sean Winters reports that the US listening process is off to a patchy start. 

6. The latest budget drew a mixed response from Catholic and other Christian groups, as new spending commitments failed to fill the gap left by the withdrawal of pandemic-era measures. By Madoc Cairns. Clifford Longley asks whether the mask of Thatcherism has finally fallen.

7. The Pope has agreed to visit Canada on “a pilgrimage of healing and reconciliation”, in the latest response to the residential schools scandal by Church leaders. Madoc Cairns reports.

8. Br Johannes Maertens, a missionary monk of the Community of the Good Shepherd, writes about a hunger strike by activists calling for a halt to the evictions of the Calais migrant camps. Returning to Calais, where he worked in the camps for four years, he witnessed the increasing devastation wrought by these evictions.

9. “Here lies Fays, Régine killed on December 3, 1956 by the parish priest G – D at the age of 19 years.” This is the inscription on the grave of nineteen year old Régine Fays, killed in France in the middle of the last century, a young mother who bore a priest’s child. Vincent Doyle looks back at the brutal murder of a mother and baby.

10. To the ancients, both Christian and pagan, the word “happiness” meant something quite different from its current colloquial connotation. Fr Alban McCoy OFM Conv on happiness and saintliness – the unconventional lives of our early saints.

Ruth Gledhill

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