Welcome to Starting Seven, The Pillar’s new daily newsletter.
I’m Luke Coppen and I aim to guide you each weekday morning to the most interesting Catholic news and comment.
😇 Today’s feast: St. Lawrence O’Toole.
📜 Today’s readings: Rv 1:1-4; 2:1-5 ▪ Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 & 6 ▪ Lk 18:35-43.
🗞 Starting seven
2: Archbishop Eamon Martin has told graduates of St. Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth, that there is “a crying need for atonement, inner healing and hope” following abuse scandals (full text).
5: Catholics and Methodists are celebrating “55 years of nonstop dialogue.”
6: Ross Douthat reflects on “what the pro-life movement won for itself” in the U.S. midterm elections.
🇻🇦 Today’s Bollettino
Papal audiences for Archbishop Mark Miles, apostolic nuncio to Benin and Togo; Johanna Gerarda Maria Ruigrok, the Netherlands’ new ambassador to the Holy See; Cardinal Mario Grech; Hazim Tahsin Said, Prince of the Yezidis; Msgr. Fernando Chica Arellano; Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt; Members of the Federation of Christian Organizations for International Volunteer Service (FOCSIV, Italian full text); Members of the Apoteca Natura pharmacists’ network (Italian full text).
Notice that Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Dec. 12, 2022, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
🔄 Weekend round-up
On Saturday, Nov. 12, Pope Francis met with Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama of Raleigh, North Carolina, appointed a new nuncio to Jamaica, and addressed Catholic teachers and members of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication (Italian text).
🧐 Look closer
The Rhine meets the Tiber Bishop Georg Bätzing underlined the need for unity and renewal at a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Monday as Germany’s bishops began their ad limina visit.
“Preserving unity while enabling conversion and renewal is truly not an easy task for our Church today,” the chairman of Germany’s Catholic bishops’ conference said.
Speaking in Limburg on the eve of the bishops’ Nov. 14-20 trip to Rome, Bätzing stressed that there were high expectations and an unprecedented degree of public interest in the visit.
Synodal showdown? There’s no secret about the visit’s central topic: the “synodal way,” the multi-year initiative bringing together Germany’s bishops and selected lay people to discuss four topics: power, the priesthood, women in the Church, and sexuality.
The Vatican has intervened repeatedly in the process, which seeks sweeping changes to Church structures, teachings, and practices. Pope Francis appeared to criticize the initiative during recent inflight press conferences, while Vatican Cardinal Kurt Koch canceled a trip to Germany after a backlash over his comments about the synodal way.
The interventions have caused frustration among synodal way supporters, who insist that the process is the only possible response to an abuse crisis that has demoralized the German Church and prompted an exodus of Catholics.
Bätzing suggested on Saturday that there was “a lot of incomprehension” in Rome about the synodal way and said he was “very grateful that we really have a lot of time to talk about this with each other.”
Smoothing the way? The German bishops will visit Vatican dicasteries over the coming days before gathering together for a meeting with the pope and dicastery heads.
Anne Preckel of Radio Vatikan said that the German bishops had prepared thoroughly. Bätzing visited Rome last month to pave the way for the ad limina meetings.
“This suggests that the Vatican is also concerned with conducting this conversation well,” she said. “There is a need for clarification, but all those involved are prepared and already have an initial common basis with which to go into the meetings. The fact that the German bishops have a lot of time in Rome is certainly a great opportunity.”
“I know from my time at the Vatican that the experience of Martin Luther runs deep south of the Alps,” he commented. “We should not treat the memory of the Reformation as a trauma. But there is a need for explanation. We bishops have a kind of debt to discharge. The art will be to link the synodal path we are taking in Germany into the synodal processes of the universal Church.”
🔍 Stories to watch
🇨🇩 Bishops have called for a march for peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
🇲🇿 Mozambique’s bishops said that “no peace can ever survive in the face of exclusion and social injustices” in a statement at the end of their plenary assembly.
📅 Coming soon
Nov. 16 Aid to the Church in Need launches “Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2020-22” at the start of Red Week.
Nov. 18 Italian bishops due to release abuse report.
Nov. 20 Feast of Christ the King; World Youth Day 2022 (in dioceses); Beatification of Fr. Giuseppe Ambrosoli in Gulu, Uganda; Cameroon’s Archdiocese of Bamenda launches Year of the Eucharist; FIFA World Cup begins in Qatar.
Nov. 21 Belgium’s bishops start ad limina visit.
Nov. 22 St. Peter’s Basilica hosts discussion on Petrine primacy.
Nov. 23 Msgr. Alberto Perlasca faces three days of questioning in Vatican finance trial.
Nov. 27 First Sunday of Advent.
Have a happy feast of St. Lawrence O’Toole.
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