Welcome to Starting Seven, The Pillar’s daily newsletter.
I’m Luke Coppen and I seek to guide you each weekday morning to the most interesting Catholic news and comment.
😇 Today’s feast: St. Elizabeth of Hungary.
📜 Today’s readings: Rv 5:1-10 ▪ Ps 149:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6A & 9B ▪ Lk 19:41-44.
🗞 Starting seven
7: And Matthew Neugebauer asks if a Vatican soccer team could ever compete in the World Cup.
🇻🇦 Today’s Bollettino
Appointment of Gleison De Paula Souza as secretary of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life. Resignation accepted of 75-year-old Bishop Francesco Lambiasi of Rimini, Italy; Bishop Nicolò Anselmi appointed as his successor.
Papal audiences for Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith; Bishop Hugo Norberto Santiago of San Nicolás de los Arroyos, Argentina; Archbishop Mieczysław Mokrzycki of Lviv, Ukraine, with Bishop Jan Sobiło and entourage; German bishops on their ad limina visit.
🧐 Look closer
Crunch time Germany’s bishops are in Rome this week for their first ad limina visit since 2015. The intensively prepared trip began on Monday with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica and continued with meetings with curial officials, building up to a keenly awaited encounter with Pope Francis and heads of Vatican dicasteries on Friday.
The meetings are taking place amid deep disagreements between the Vatican and German Church leaders over the country’s “synodal way,” a multi-year project bringing together German bishops and select lay people to discuss hot-button issues amid a devastating abuse crisis.
What do we know about how the ad limina trip is going so far?
Different approaches On Monday, German bishops reportedly met with Vatican doctrinal chief Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer. The Catholic news website Domradio.de said that the bishops “debated with the prefect … how the proposals of the synodal way are to be understood theologically and dogmatically.”
“For this meeting, Bishop Michael Gerber of Fulda had announced that he would present at the Vatican the decisions of the synodal way on the admission of homosexuals to the priesthood,” the website reported.
In September, the majority of synodal way participants (including bishops) endorsed a text calling for “a re-evaluation of homosexuality in the Magisterium,” which said that “no person should be prevented from taking up church offices and becoming ordained as a priest … because of having a homosexual orientation.”
A 2005 Vatican Instruction said that a candidate who “practices homosexuality or presents deep-seated homosexual tendencies” should be dissuaded from seeking ordination.
“According to participants, the talks with the synod secretariat in Rome … were primarily about exchanging views on the respective synodal experiences and perspectives. In the process, the different approaches of the German and the international Synodal Process became clear,” the website reported.
Katholisch.de said that after the meeting, German bishops planned to visit the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, led by Cardinal Kurt Koch. The Swiss cardinal provoked outrage among German bishops in September when he referred to the Nazi era while criticizing the synodal way and canceled a trip to Germany amid the fallout.
What’s next? All eyes will be on the German bishops’ Friday meeting with the pope and curial heads, which conference chairman Bishop Georg Bätzing has said will feature “an intensive look at the synodal way.” Both sides see the gathering as a unique opportunity to address tensions face to face. In the evening, German bishops will celebrate Mass at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, the seat of the Bishop of Rome.
On Saturday morning, Bishop Bätzing will preside at a press conference, where he will offer his take on the five-day visit. The Vatican is unlikely to offer a similar immediate public evaluation of the talks, so the full picture may take a while to emerge.
🔍 Stories to watch
🇲🇹 The Archdiocese of Malta is objecting to the construction of an apartment block that would tower over a neighboring chapel.
🇵🇱 The proportion of high school students attending catechism classes in the Polish capital Warsaw has fallen to 29%.
📅 Coming soon
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.
Nov. 28 Oceania’s bishops hold online conference in preparation for their 2023 general assembly.
Have a happy feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary.
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