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Rome & the World: A road by St. Peter’s awaiting Russian repairs

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Pope Francis during his weekly general audience in saint peter's square - June 22 2022

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Kathleen N. Hattrup - I.Media - published on 12/05/22

Also in today's headlines: German groups used political tactics for synod • And reforming the barracks of the Swiss Guard

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.

Monday 5 December 2022
1. Barred roads between the Vatican and Russia
2. A petition against the canton of Valais’ financing of the Swiss Guard barracks 
3. ‘Synodal way’ architect says political tactics built pressure for change
4. Crises that are hindering Francis’ pontificate
5. The appeal of 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner for the DRC, two months before Pope’s visit

1Barred roads between the Vatican and Russia

As relations between the Holy See and Russia continue in difficulties, Crux’sJohn Allen reports a fact that in times of peace could be seen as harmless, but which he finds has a certain importance in today’s context. Just a stone’s throw from St. Peter’s Square lies the Via delle Fornaci, a major Roman artery that leads from the Vatican all the way up the Janiculum hill. Although tourists hardly ever use it, it is an important road for the economic life and traffic of the Eternal City. However, for the last few weeks the passage has been blocked. This is apparently because the wall of the Villa Abamelek, which lines the road and is where the Russian ambassadors in Italy reside, is in danger of collapsing. Roman officials have asked the Russians to carry out the required repairs but so far they have refused to do so, explains Allen. As a result, this important road is closed and the headache has begun for the inhabitants of the neighborhood. Crux explains that a local bar has already closed due to the lack of traffic. 

Although far from the Ukrainian front, this story can nevertheless illustrate the growing gap between Russia and the Vatican after several months of war. A diplomatic crisis broke out after the Pope’s comments in an interview with America last week, as the Russians strongly condemned the fact that the Pontiff criticized the cruelty of the Chechens and the Buryati who have joined the ranks of the Russian army. While the Holy See is still offering to mediate and is holding out hope for a Christmas truce in Ukraine, the success of Vatican diplomacy seems to be unlikely. Unless a miracle happens, concludes Crux

Crux, English

2A petition against the canton of Valais’ financing of the Swiss Guard barracks

The million francs that the canton of Valais (Switzerland) had promised for the renovation of the barracks of the Pontifical Swiss Guard in the Vatican is being contested. According to the local press, a petition arrived in every mailbox in the canton this weekend titled “The million before the people.” This initiative hopes to get enough signatures to pressure the Valais State Council to withdraw its promise to subsidize the renovation. According to the local press, the association “Libre pensée” (Free Thought) is outraged that the government intends to use money from a local fund. However, the association argues that the fund is not open to financing projects that have “a predominantly religious character,” and the initiative is therefore illegal. The Valais State Council issued a legal opinion in response stating that they had every right to make this donation, which is aimed at the renovation of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and not a place of worship. It is therefore a question of protecting important cultural heritage, rather than concerning religion. The Valais State Council also recalled that the Swiss Guard has contributed to the influence of the country for 500 years and therefore sees a public interest in supporting this institution. So far, fewer than 500 people have signed the petition.

RTS, French

3. ‘Synodal way’ architect says political tactics built pressure for change

An architect of Germany’s “synodal way” has explained how organizers used tactics employed successfully in politics to build pressure for change in the Church.

The Pillar, English

4. Crises that are hindering Francis’ pontificate

A few months shy of the 10th anniversary of his election, Pope Francis finds himself at the head of a Church where opposing visions of the future of Catholicism are emerging among bishops and episcopal conferences. 

Domani, Italian

5. The appeal of 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner for the DRC, two months before Pope’s visit 

Human rights activist and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege will meet with Pope Francis on December 9 at the Vatican, two months before the Pontiff’s visit to the DRC. In an interview he warns about the Rwandan support to the armed group M23 in the east of his country, and asks for the mobilization of the international community.

Vatican News, French

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