At a press conference in Paris, Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, the Maronite Patriarch of Antioch, spoke highly of the cooperation between Muslims and Christians in Lebanon. Noting that Lebanon separates religion and State, Rai added that Christians and Muslims have a fully equal representation in government posts. “Our dialogue is not just an occasional meeting or a special event but a dialogue of life,” he said.

He added a word of warning as the high number of displaced people in Lebanon [there are 1.5 million Syrian refugees and nearly 200,000 Palestinian refugees] is endangering demographic balance. “If you love Lebanon, help it to maintain its identity,” Cardinal Rai said.

Pope rebukes Fifa

Pope Francis has sent a letter to Fifa president Gianni Infantino through the Pontifical Scholas Occurrentes Foundation asking for an explanation of the alle­gations that hundreds of trafficked victims died in slavery while building facilities to be used to host the football World Cup in Qatar in 2022. The allegations had been presented to the Pope by Guillermo Whpei, president of the Foundation for International Democracy.

Schonborn at odds with Ladaria

Luis Ladaria Ferrer SJ,  prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who is set to be made a cardinal on June 29, and Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna and president of the Austrian Bishops’ Conference, do  not agree on the possibility of women being ordained priests.

On May 30, Ladaria reaffirmed the impossibility of ordaining women in the Catholic Church. In an article in L’Osservatore Romano he stated that the Church’s teaching that women cannot be ordained to the priesthood cannot be changed. He said that those who hold that a future pope or council can change this teaching are sowing doubts  and creating serious confusion among the faithful.

Interviewed on the subject in his Easter interview for the Salzburger Nachrichten on April 1, Schönborn referred specifically to the possibility of change via a council. He said that the question of women’s ordination was one that “can certainly only be clarified at an [ecumenical] council. It cannot be solved by a pope alone. It is far too important a question for it to be solved from the desk of a pope.”

However, Cardinal-designate Ladaria said the Church’s belief in a male-only priesthood is infallible teaching that should be held as an unchanging and “definitive” part of the Catholic faith.

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)


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