Church and World Events

Less religion, more suicides

A study conducted by Tyler Vanderweele, professor of epidemiology at Harvard University, shows that lack of religiosity is one of the leading factors contributing to unhappiness and suicide. The published data refers only to the United States, but Vanderweele says that research being carried out in 22 other countries is yielding similar results.

The research shows that today’s youth are more vulnerable to depression, and confirms that marriage and participation in religious communities are “powerfully related to many aspects of well-being.” Conversely, “participation in social networks contributes negatively to well-being” among young people.

The study also reveals that those who regularly participate in religious communities are 30% less likely to die within fifteen years or to suffer depression, five times less likely to commit suicide, and half as likely to divorce.”

Meditations on the Mass in the United States

Throughout the Easter Season, the Catholic Bishops of the United States will promote a series of meditations on the beauty of the Holy Mass. The initiative, entitled Beautiful Light: A Paschal Mystagogy, aims to awaken in the faithful an appreciation for the divine mystery of the Eucharist, rediscovering the truth, beauty and goodness contained in this Sacrament, “the source and summit of the Christian life.”

During the seven meditations given by Bishops, theologians and scholars, themes such as sacrifice, the universal call to holiness, Jesus’ love for souls, the Paschal Mystery and the joy of Trinitarian adoration will be addressed.

Exhibition of British crown jewels

The Tower of London will host an exhibition of the British crown jewels, focusing on their Christian inspiration, to mark the year of the coronation of King Charles III. According to historian Charles Farris, these jewels “are the most powerful symbols of the British monarchy, and hold deep religious, historical and cultural significance,” which will be extensively addressed in the exhibition.

Among the jewels that will be displayed are St. Edward’s Crown – used for the coronation of English monarchs –, along with the Imperial State Crown, the sceptre, the orb, the swords of justice and mercy, and the Coronation Spoon, dating to the 12th century. Also on display will be the anointing Ampulla and St. Edward’s Sapphire, said to have been taken from a ring that belonged to the Saint. The exhibition will also display other items from the royal treasury, such as the renowned Koh-i-Noor, the most famous diamond in the world, and the Black Prince’s Ruby, one of Queen Elizabeth II’s favourites.

The most trustworthy religion in South Korea

Catholicism is the most trusted religion in South Korea according to a survey recently conducted by G&Com Research at the request of the Christian Ethics Practice Movement.

Of the over a thousand respondents, 21.4% stated having more confidence in the Catholic Church, surpassing the level placed in other religions, such as Buddhism, which received the recognition of 15.7%. Moreover, 26.4% affirmed that Catholicism offers the greatest positive contribution to South Korean society, expressed in community service initiatives such as child care centres, schools, nursing homes, colleges and hospitals, among others.

National Day for Men’s Rosary

The Men’s Rosary movement, which gathers approximately 2.5 million adherents throughout Brazil, received Senate approval for the bill that establishes September 8 – Solemnity of the Nativity of Mary – as its national day.

The author of the bill justified the request on the basis of the “deep devotional significance for Brazilian Catholics and the power of this movement for the strengthening of a just society, in solidarity, and committed to the dignity and spirituality of the human being.” For his part, the spokesperson for the project highlighted that “the Men’s Rosary is a Christian movement that aims to engage men of all generations in the Catholic Church through this act of faith and devotion, as a fundamental stimulus for the formation of the Christian family and society as a whole.”

Notre-Dame Cathedral Will Reopen

Four years after the devastating fire that almost destroyed one of the most emblematic cathedrals in the world, Notre-Dame in Paris, French authorities have announced its planned reopening in the year 2024. Although the restoration work may possibly extend until 2025, liturgical services, as well as visits, can resume for Christmas 2024.

Notre-Dame Cathedral during the fire that broke out in 2019

To the joy of the faithful, the iconic Viollet-le-Duc spire – which collapsed during the fire – will be rebuilt following the original model, according to General Jean-Louis Georgelin, president of the public commission in charge of the restoration: “The return of the spire to the Paris skyline will be, in my opinion, the symbol that we are winning the battle for Notre Dame.”

Permanently Available Confession

This is the goal of the Divine Mercy Chapel in the complex of Our Lady of Guadalupe Minor Seminary in Makati City, Philippines. The Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Jose Fuerte Advincula, presided over the ceremony to begin the construction of the chapel, which will offer Confessions twenty-four hours a day.

“God has always been waiting for the preeminent moment when a person can feel, can do, and can approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation,” commented the Cardinal, who hopes that in the new chapel the faithful will have the opportunity to benefit from this sublime Sacrament at any time.

Feminist attacks on churches

On International Women’s Day, feminist groups attacked several Catholic churches around the world, assaulting people, damaging buildings and insulting the Christian Faith and its moral values with vulgar slogans. The episodes, which are repeated with impunity every March 8, were fewer this year due to police intervention and the rapid action of the faithful to defend the churches. However, the day left its stamp of hatred in several cities in Spain and Latin America, especially in Mexico.

In Bolivia, Archbishop Oscar Omar Aparicio Céspedes of Cochabamba objected to the vandalism perpetrated in San Sebastian Cathedral, stating: “Precisely in the name of respect and non-violence, they do violence to us and insult us. I believe that this is unacceptable to all of us.”

Young man pilgrimages from Poland to Fatima

In a pilgrimage of over two hundred days, twenty-three-year-old Jakub Karłowicz, from Poland, walked over 5,600 kilometres, passing through ten countries, praying the Rosary. The walk, which began on July 17, 2022, was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, with the Shrine of Fatima as the final destination. Leaving aside credit cards, money and spare clothes, Jakub entrusted himself to Divine Providence and travelled only with his rosary, which he considers “the most efficacious weapon in the world.”

The pilgrim visited different shrines, where he was able to attend Holy Mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and offer many Hail Marys for world peace. His journey, under the patronage of St. John Bosco, had thousands of followers on the webpage Under God’s Protection, where Jakub relates that he never went hungry, thanks to the hospitality of families, parishes and people of good will who helped him throughout his march.




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