Church and World Events

Exhibition of works by Viollet-le-Duc

The Museum of Fine Arts in the medieval city of Carcassonne in southern France opened an exhibition in June dedicated to works by the famous architect Eugène Emannuel Viollet-le-Duc, which is due to remain open until October.

Entitled Viollet-Le-Duc, trésors d’exception, the exhibition comprises the precious reliquaries containing Our Lord Jesus Christ’s crown of thorns and a nail used in the Crucifixion – saved from the fire that devastated Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral four years ago – as well as liturgical objects born from the genius of the French architect, including monstrances, thuribles and statues.

Less digital technology in schools

On May 15, Sweden’s education minister, Lotta Edholm, announced that she was halting strategies to implement digital teaching in schools, following evidence of the deleterious effects of screens on students’ learning and reading comprehension, warning of the danger of forming “a generation of functional illiterates.”

The measure draws attention to the fact that the country has been one of the pioneers in the use of new technologies in education. “In the future, the government wants to see more textbooks and less screen time at school,” the minister emphasized.

This is just one of a number of initiatives that have emerged recently in the wake of various studies of schoolchildren and adolescents that show a worrying decline in capacity for concentration, patience and attention during class, the emergence of vision problems, the atrophy of critical thinking and a lower retention of information.

In countries such as Spain, research shows a clear correlation between academic success and moderate use of electronic devices and social media.

One in three countries in the world lacks religious freedom

This is the conclusion of a report published by the Aid to the Church in Need Foundation at the beginning of June. The report notes that religious freedom is being severely restricted in more than 60 countries around the world, affecting almost five million people.

While persecution and threats continue to intensify, impunity for crimes of religious oppression is only growing.

Dramatic situations such as the multiplication of terrorist attacks, the decimation of the cultural heritage and religious symbols of entire communities, the proliferation of anti-conversion laws, the increase of financial restrictions and the threat to life, are now a constant in the lives of many Catholics.

Exposition of relics in Aachen

From July 9 to 19, Aachen Cathedral in Germany welcomed thousands of the faithful during the exposition of several relics that belonged to Emperor Charlemagne.

Every seven years the collection of priceless treasures – a tunic of the Blessed Virgin, the cloth that covered the decapitated head of St. John the Baptist, the swaddling clothes that wrapped the Child Jesus and a piece of the cloth worn by Christ at the Crucifixion – has been displayed in the cathedral for the veneration of the faithful since the year 1349.

After ten days, the relics are resealed in their reliquary, and the key is divided between the cathedral chapter and the town hall.

Conversion of another Anglican bishop

The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, erected by Benedict XVI in 2011, has received into full communion with the Catholic Church the Reverend Richard Pain, former Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Monmouth, Wales. Retired three years ago, he made the decision to convert after much reflection and prayer.

Since its creation, the Ordinariate has welcomed at least fifteen Anglican bishops who have converted to the Catholic Faith.

Fewer and fewer Catholics in Germany

The Catholic Church in Germany is going through one of its worst crises in history. According to figures published on June 28 by the German Bishops’ Conference, 522,821 faithful abandoned the faith in 2022, a figure that far exceeds the previous year’s record of 359,338 people. The archdioceses most affected in absolute numbers are those of Cologne, Munich and Freising, and Freiburg im Breisgau.

Bishop Georg Bätzing of the Limburg diocese and president of the Bishops’ Conference, expressed his concern at the figures and regretted that “many people have lost confidence in the Church and their ties to it.”

Vietnamese couples buck divorce trend

Recent statistics and sociological studies in Vietnam have highlighted the strength of Catholic married life, in contrast to the country’s increasingly widespread trend towards divorce.

A growing number of young couples have chosen to avoid having children or to separate, almost doubling the divorce rate in ten years. According to the Institute for Family and Gender Studies, the country registers an average of sixty thousand divorces per year, which represents 30 per cent of the total number of marriages.

In the Catholic community, on the other hand, a survey conducted in 2021 by the Archdiocese of Hanoi with 5,610 faithful showed very different results. Among Catholics, only 1% reported being separated or divorced, more than 80% opt for a peaceful solution in conflict situations, 79.6% ask God for help and 40.1% ask priests or religious for advice.

Of those interviewed, 92.7% said they live in a harmonious family despite difficulties, and 96% attend Sunday Mass regularly and approach the Sacraments frequently, which demonstrates that sacramental life is the mainstay of marital stability.

What people has the highest belief in God?

This question was answered by the Global Religion 2023 survey, conducted in twenty-six countries between January 20 and February 3.

Brazil appears in first place in the results of the study, with 89 per cent of people believing in God, along with South Africa. Colombia follows with 86 per cent, Mexico with 85 per cent and Peru with 84 per cent.

Of the 1,000 Brazilians interviewed, the majority demonstrated a strong belief in the power of God in the face of every kind of difficulty, crisis or illness, and expressed that this faith helps them overcome many challenges in life.

Historic ordination in Bangladesh

On June 9, the small village of Mariapally, located in Satkhira, southern Bangladesh, rejoiced at the ordination of its first native priest: Fr. Ruben Robel Biswas, a member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross.

The ceremony, presided over by Bishop James Romen Boiragi of Khulna, was considered a precious fruit of the seventy years of evangelization in the region by the Xaverian missionaries. Today, all the inhabitants of the village are Catholics.

Mont-Saint-Michel abbey celebrates 1,000 years

The famous abbey built on Mont-Saint-Michel in France is celebrating 1,000 years since its foundation. The monastery, considered a symbol of French Catholic identity, is today one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in the world.

The celebrations will include the exhibition The Abode of the Archangel, which tells the story of the abbey through thirty works of art. In addition, throughout summer and part of autumn, an unprecedented light show will be projected onto the hill from various points of the bay, to commemorate the long and glorious evolution of the shrine dedicated to the Prince of the Heavenly Militia.




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