Ivory Coast and Pope Francis • NYT takes on Church history

Every day, Aleteia offers a selection of articles written by the international press on 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.

Thursday, September 15, 2022
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1. Ivory Coast: President Alassane Ouattara will meet Pope Francis on September 17
2. The history of the Catholic Church dissected by the New York Times
3. The Head of the Order of Malta clarifies certain questions
4. An Ethiopian cardinal works for peace in Tigray
5. Oblates for the exclusion of Father Joannes Rivoire
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1Ivory Coast: President Alassane Ouattara will meet Pope Francis on September 17

Next Saturday, Pope Francis will receive the President of Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, in private audience at the Vatican. The Ivorian president’s last visit dates back to 2012. At that time, he was received by Benedict XVI, when his country was just emerging from a bloody crisis. Indeed, the presidential duel between President Ouattara and his rival, Laurent Gbagbo, had led to a post-election war that left 3,000 dead and resulted in Gbagbo’s arrest in April 2011. Ten years have passed and things subsided in the West. African country, the two former rivals meeting even this summer for a “reunion”. However, the Catholic Church in Côte d’Ivoire, very active during the crisis of the early 2010s, remains vigilant. This article from the French daily The Africa Cross recalls that, although relations between the government and the Church are generally good, in 2020 there have been some episodes of tension. The most notable example was when the Ivorian government spokesman criticized the episcopate after statements about the detention of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, the fate of the reconciliation project and compensation for victims. The article also recalls that Cardinal Jean-Pierre Kutwa, who had been made a cardinal during Pope Francis’ first consistory in 2014, had spoken out against the third candidacy of Alassane Ouattara in 2020. This declaration had not been well received at the time. It remains to be seen what Pope Francis will say to President Ouattara, re-elected in October 2020 with 95% of the vote.

The crossFrench

2The history of the Catholic Church dissected by the New York Times

A new book released Sept. 6 titled “Catholicism: A Global History from the French Revolution to Pope Francis,” is considered by The New York Times do a “remarkable job of explaining how the epic struggle between Reformers and Traditionalists has brought us to the present moment in the Roman Catholic Church”. Written by an American historian, John T. McGreevy, the book gives “narrative meaning to one of the most tumultuous periods in the history of the oldest institution in the Western world”. The NYT reporter analyzes that today the Church finds itself in perhaps “the worst crisis in its history”, due to the problems of sexual abuse, which have led to a drop in the number of Catholics in certain regions. However, the book highlights how the Church is actually “dynamic and growing” in the Global South. The author of the article points out that Pope Francis’ recent trip to Canada is an example of humility rooted in the Gospel, which “may be one of the reasons why the Catholic Church has remained so resilient in a world where she is usually three steps behind. “The book begins with the struggles the Church faced during the French Revolution. He then moves on to the Church’s turbulent relationship with emerging democracies between the 17th and 19th centuries. “It is not surprising that a top-down, insular institution did not know what to think of government by the people,” the article explains. When turning to the Church in the 20th century, the NYT reporter suggested that McGreevy should have further developed the relationship between fascism and the Church. The book then ends with the revolution of Vatican II, where “rather than build a fortress against modernity, the Church would engage the world”.

The New York TimesEnglish

3. The Head of the Order of Malta clarifies certain questions

The Lieutenant of the Grand Master and Head of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Fra’ John T. Dunlap, gives an extensive interview to dispel misunderstandings about the recent reform of the Order of Malta.

NCRegisterEnglish

4. An Ethiopian cardinal works for peace in Tigray

Following Ethiopian Cardinal Souraphiel’s call for dialogue and a ceasefire, members of the Tigrayan forces say they are ready to participate in peace talks mediated by the African Union.

ACI AfricaEnglish

5. Oblates for the exclusion of Father Joannes Rivoire

The Oblates of Mary Immaculate have initiated canonical proceedings for the dismissal of a French-Canadian priest accused of sexual assaults against young Inuit in the 1960s.

AFPFrench