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TOPIC: vatican city


Between Xi Jinping And Pope Francis, China's Catholics Are Still Stuck In Limbo

An agreement between the Vatican and Beijing was quietly renewed recently. However, China still views Catholicism with a mix of deep suspicion and general distraction. Meanwhile the faithful and pastors are caught between two very different worlds.

At a mass on the Assumption of Mary, the Italian priest broke the bread and gave half of it to Liu, an underground priest from China. This simple and solemn rite symbolizes communion with Jesus and the unity of the Catholic Church. But it was only when Liu left his country that he could undertake the rite with a foreign priest, who was also not allowed to preach in China.

The atheist Chinese Communist Party considers religion to be a spiritual opium, and accuses Catholicism in particular of being an accomplice of Western imperialism. The Beijing-backed Catholic Patriotic Association began electing and consecrating its own bishops since 1958, attempting to satisfy the desire of the faithful while severing the link between Chinese Catholics and the Pope.

In order to resolve the plight of Chinese Catholics, after the efforts of three popes, the Vatican and Beijing signed a two-year Provisional Agreement on Nomination of Bishops in 2018. On Oct. 22, when the world’s eyes were focused on Xi Jinping’s groundbreaking third term as president, which is also the expiry date of the previous agreement, the Vatican immediately announced the renewal of the agreement for another two years.

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The Latest: Deadly Police Raid In Rio, Scottish Elections, Pizza Vending Machines

Welcome to Friday, where a shooting at a favela in Rio kills 25, the Pfizer jab shows promising results against COVID variants, and pizza vending machines arrive in Rome. We also look at how central banks are finally starting to take an interest in cryptocurrencies.

COVID-19: Pfizer vs. variants, pandemic Olympics: Two different studies show that Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine is highly effective in preventing death and serious illness from the English and South African variants. Meanwhile, with less than three months to go before the summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan has decided to extend its COVID-19 state of emergency until May 31st.

• 25 killed in Brazilian police raid: A police raid against suspected drug traffickers in the favela of Jacarezinho in Rio de Janeiro has left 25 dead, among the bloodiest assaults ever by Brazilian authorities long accused of excessive violence.

• Poland and Hungary block "gender equality" phrase: Lobbying by the two central European countries has resulted in the removal of the phrase "gender equality" in a draft declaration on social cohesion that the European Union is due to publish, according to documents seen by Reuters.

• Scotland election could lead to vote on independence: Results from the Scottish election are expected later today. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, slated to lead the Scottish National Party (SNP), has vowed to push for another referendum on Scottish independence if her party wins a majority of seats.

• Chinese rocket debris to land this weekend: China's Long March 5B rocket, currently in the upper atmosphere, is set to make an uncontrolled landing this weekend. There are still no clear predictions regarding whether it will land on inhabited land. The U.S. has called on China to engage in more "responsible space behaviors," but has not announced any plans to shoot down the debris.

• European leaders urge Israel to stop settlement expansion: European countries including France and Germany have urged Israel to stop settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank.

• Fresh pizza vending machines are coming to Italy: Rome has inaugurated a pizza vending machine that provides cooked pizzas in only three minutes.

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Between Two Popes: Father Georg Gänswein Redefines Vatican Diplomacy

It is the most delicate of roles right now, as Father Georg continues to serve his original boss, retired Pope Benedict XVI, while also heading the Papal household of Pope Francis.

VATICAN CITY — During the morning audience, Father Georg sits smilingly beside Pope Francis. In the afternoon, he returns to play guardian angel to — and be the eyes and ears for — Benedict XVI.

Jockeying between two worlds has never scared Georg Gänswein.

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Vatican, Costa Rica, France: #MeToo And The Sound Of Broken Silence


The #MeToo movement was, above all, a collective "breaking of the silence" that shifted the longstanding balance of power on the question of sexual misconduct, particularly in the professional world.

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Andrej Mrevlje

China And The Vatican, Intrigue At The Heart Of Power

The old, retired cardinal has had enough. He does not like what the Vatican is doing in China. He takes a plane and asks to be received by the pope. But instead of bringing it to an end, the encounter between the two men escalates the tensions around the Vatican's pending agreement with China, a deal between two opposing arms of Catholicism in one of the most strictly controlled regimes in the world.

The outcry of betrayal came from 86-year-old Cardinal Joseph Zen, affectionately named "Lion in Winter." For decades, Zen has been urging the Vatican to take a stronger stand in defending the Catholic Church from persecution and control by Chinese Communist authorities. Cardinal Zen, now retired, is a Shanghai native but fled to Hong Kong to escape Communist rule at the end of the Chinese Civil War. He spent almost whole his life in Southeast Asia, and traveled to China often.

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The Communist Woman And Jewish Shrink In Pope's Past

Pope Francis is not afraid of speaking freely, with his sermons and writings — and a fair share of press interviews — stirring up the Catholic establishment since his election in 2013. Yet a new book based on transcripts of 12 separate conversations with a French sociologist is particularly rich in revelations.

The 432-page Politique et société, du pape François - Rencontres avec Dominique Wolton ("Pope Francis: Politics and Society. Conversations with Dominique Walton") will be out on Wednesday.

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Pope Francis: No Fear Of Islam In Europe

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La Croix, May 17, 2016

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Vatican Newspaper On Rouhani Meeting With Pope Francis

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L'Osservatore Romano, Jan. 27, 2016

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Julia Villaro

Pope Francis Reveals His Belief In The Power Of Art

VATICAN CITY — For Pope Francis, "a work of art is the strongest evidence that incarnation is possible." It is an idea expressed in his book "La Mia Idea Di Arte" (My Idea of Art), co-written with Italian journalist Tiziana Lupi as part of the Church's latest attempt to recover bonds with its traditional allies and tools of conversion: painting, sculpture and architecture.

The two have grown apart of late, as art has cozied up to the idol of money, Biblically known as mammon. Francis is convinced that art can be an effective tool for resisting greed, and one that serves social and ecological purposes while revealing the beauty people hold inside.

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