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Starting Seven: November 15, 2022

Welcome to Starting Seven, The Pillar’s 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. Albert the Great.

📜 Today’s readings:  Rv 3:1-6, 14-22  ▪  Ps 15:2-3A, 3BC-4AB, 5  ▪  Lk 19:1-10.


🗞  Starting seven

1:  The U.S. bishops’ conference will elect a new president and vice president today (Barb Fraze, Zelda Caldwell, Christopher Gunty, Michael Sean Winters).

2:  German bishops reportedly discussed the synodal way’s proposals with Vatican doctrinal chief Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer on the first day of their ad limina visit (German report, analysis).

3:  More than 500 hate crimes against Christians were recorded in Europe in 2021, according to a new report.

4: Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk insists that the “Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church cannot be accused of nationalism.”

5:  Fr. James Martin says that if Catholic communicators “meet people where they are and speak in their language, we can’t go wrong.”

6: Br. Guy Consolmagno, director of the Vatican Observatory, praises Irish guitarist Rory Gallagher’s “raw power” and virtuosity.

7:  And an auction winner has had a tattoo of St. Nicholas applied to his arm in Amsterdam’s Basilica of St. Nicholas by “tattoo king” Henk Schiffmacher (Dutch report).


🇻🇦 Today’s Bollettino


🧐  Look closer

Radboud rebounds  A dispute over whether a university in the Netherlands should be recognized as Catholic appears to have been resolved after Rome’s intervention.

Dutch media reported that Radboud University, a public research university in Nijmegen with more than 24,000 students, would continue to be regarded as Catholic despite a bishops’ ruling in 2020 that it should no longer use the designation.

Identity crisis  The institution was founded in 1923 as the Catholic University of Nijmegen. Its founders included the Carmelite friar Titus Brandsma, who was canonized in May. A hotbed of resistance to Nazi occupation, the university was forced to close in 1943 for the remainder of the Second World War.

The Catholic University of Nijmegen was renamed Radboud University Nijmegen in 2004, in honor of St. Radboud, the 9th-century bishop of Utrecht. From 2005 onward, the board of the foundation overseeing the university began to clash with the Dutch bishops over its composition.

Taking their cue from John Paul II’s 1990 apostolic constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae, the bishops insisted that the majority of the board’s members should be active Catholics committed to upholding the university’s Catholic identity.

After the bishops rejected nominees for the board, the quarrel was brought to Rome in 2017. The Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education proposed creating a temporary committee to resolve the standoff, but mediation efforts failed.

The board then appealed to a Dutch court that hears corporate disputes, which ruled that it could temporarily appoint new members without Church approval, prompting the bishops to rescind its Catholic designation.

The last word  At the end of the Dutch bishops’ ad limina visit to Rome last week, Church leaders indicated that the situation had changed.

  • Speaking at a press conference, local Bishop Gerard de Korte said that “Rome sees Radboud University as something that belongs to the authority of the Holy Father” and “in that sense, Radboud University is still a Catholic university.”

The Radboud University magazine Vox described the development as “extraordinary news.”

The Dutch daily Trouw reported that Bishop De Korte visited the Vatican’s Dicastery for Culture and Education alone last Tuesday to discuss the issue. It added that he was in talks with Radboud University officials about ways to strengthen ties. The discussions are expected to end before the university celebrates its centenary in October 2023.

“The Holy See has the last word,” Trouw quoted Dutch Cardinal Wim Eijk as saying.


🔍 Stories to watch

🇺🇸  Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit has urged Catholics to pray, fast, and give alms after the passage of Proposal 3 (full text).

🇰🇬  The first Catholic cathedral in Kyrgyzstan is expected to be completed within three years (Italian report).

🇹🇷  Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I has visited the site of Sunday’s Istanbul terror attack.

🇳🇴  The Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Dehonians) are beginning a mission in Trondheim, Norway, fulfilling the 160-year-old vision of their founder Fr. Léon Dehon.

🇪🇸  Pope Francis has sent a letter to Cardinal Juan José Omella Omella marking 500 years since the conversion of St. Ignatius of Loyola to (Spanish full text).

🇮🇪  The income of Dublin’s Catholic archdiocese fell by 2.25 million euros in 2021.

🇳🇿  New Zealand’s bishops stressed “the importance of appointments of bishops to the dioceses of Palmerston North and Hamilton” at their November meeting in Wellington.


📅  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. 17  Cardinal Pietro Parolin celebrates a Mass for peace at the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

Nov. 18  Italian bishops expected to release abuse report.

Nov. 19  Pope Francis begins two-day visit to Asti, Italy.

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. Albert the Great.

-- Luke


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