At the beginning of his trip to the Baltic countries, Pope Francis mentioned the 25th anniversary of Saint John Paul II’s visit. Lithuania has a population of around 2.9 million, 79 per cent of whom are Catholic. "Welcoming differences" is the model Lithuania experienced in its past, to be proposed today to the world. Young people "are not only the future but also the present of this nation, if they can remain attached to the roots of the people.”
The Provisional Agreement concerns the appointment of bishops. The Global Times today cited China’s Foreign Ministry, which denied the presence in Beijing of a Vatican delegation. China’s leadership appears divided on the matter. The goal of this “accord is not political but pastoral”.
Starting tomorrow until 25 September, the pontiff will visit Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Pope John Paul II visited the three Baltic states in 1993. In Vilnius, Francis will visit the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights and remember the martyrs at the Hill of Crosses. Local Churches are strongly committed to ecumenism. Mercy is the main theme.
Interview with Ryu Seung-Min, South Korea's gold medalist involved in inter-Korean initiatives and member of Peace and Sport. He was moved by the women’s hockey players, the first joint Korean team. Younger people should be involved.
"When the Apostle forgets his origins and begins to make a career, he moves away from the Lord and becomes an official", will be a "system of pastoral plans", but unable to transmit Jesus. To those who are scandalized, Jesus replies that I am not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick.
"The gravity of these phenomena cannot leave us indifferent. We are all called, in our respective roles, to cultivate and promote respect for the intrinsic dignity of every human person, starting from the family – the place where we learn from a tender age the values of sharing, acceptance, fraternity and solidarity - but also in the various social contexts in which we operate ".
"The Church, when it journeys through history, is persecuted by hypocrites: hypocrites within and without. The devil has nothing to do with repentant sinners, because they look upon God and say, “Lord, I am a sinner, help me!” And the devil is impotent".
A priest in charge of a Henan parish complains about the ban on displaying sacred images and attempts by the faithful to accommodate government authorities. The faith cannot be abandoned or betrayed, nor can it be negotiated. What cannot be asserted or defended in public is not faith.
In Shanghai the "basic values of socialism" are exalted on the pediment of the church. A painting of the Last Supper removed in Henan. Communities forced to sing patriotic hymns. Shaolin Monastery in Shaoshan must hold a flag-raising ceremony every morning. "The churches seem more and more like government offices".
Those with "strong religious beliefs" must be re-educated or expelled. Spreading "political rumours" and distorting the country’s history are banned.
At the end of the trip to Ireland, Francis renews his appeal for forgiveness for the abuses committed by people in the Church. But a dossier by the former nuncio in the US accuses him of covering the misdeeds of former Cardinal McCarrick and calls for him to resign.