Vatican Roundup

Vatican Roundup A ventilator being tested on a person. (AFP or licensors)
Bangladesh Catholic hospitals treat Covid-19 patients with Pope’s ventilators

he Catholic Church of Bangladesh has expressed its gratitude to Pope Francis for donating three ventilators in the country’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Donated through the Apostolic Nuncio, a ventilator was sent to Dhaka and the others were sent to two Catholic hospitals in Dinajpur and Jessore.

Holy See’s Press Office had announced on June 26 that the Pope had donated 35 ventilators to 13 countries with fragile healthcare systems, as a gesture of his closeness and support in their fight against the Covid-19 virus.

Among the beneficiaries Haiti, Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Venezuela, Cameroon, Bangladesh, Ukraine and Zimbabwe.

Fr Kamal Corraya, Executive Director of the St John Vianney Hospital in Dhaka, which received one of the ventilators, said the Pope’s gift for their intensive care unit has been a blessing. “It will be very useful for assisting coronavirus patients,” he told the Vatican’s Fides news agency.

In Bangladesh, the Catholic Church manages 12 hospitals, 78 dispensaries, six leper hospitals, 15 homes for the elderly and the disabled.

May we turn our frontiers into spaces for mutual enrichment  Francis

Pope Francis greeted participants of the European project ‘Snapshots from the Borders’ by describing their project as “a forward-thinking one”. He said that through it, they are promoting a “deeper comprehension of migration”, allowing European societies to “give a more human and coordinated response to the challenges of modern-day migration”.

Snapshots from the Borders is a project aimed at informing European citizens about the realities surrounding migration today.

For the past three years, the organisation has been bringing voices and effective solutions from borders where hot-button issues regarding migration are a concrete reality raising awareness, sharing knowledge, encouraging participation and showing citizens that they have an important role to play.

Pope Francis went on to state that “the current migration scenario is complex and often has dramatic implications”. The global interdependencies that determine migration flows should be studied and better understood, he said, adding that the many challenges affecting the world are challenges affecting everyone.

“No one can remain indifferent to the human tragedies that continue to occur in different regions of the world,” he said.

Agreement between Holy See and Burkina Faso comes into effect

An agreement between the Holy See and the State of Burkina Faso guarantees the Church the possibility of carrying out her mission in the west African nation.

The Accord, which entered into effect on Monday, was finalised after being signed at the Vatican on July 12, 2019.

A statement released by the Holy See Press Office notes that the agreement recognises the “public legal personality of the Church and its institutions”.

The Holy See and the State of Burkina Faso, “while safeguarding their own independence and autonomy, undertake to work together for the moral, spiritual and material well-being of the human person and for the promotion of the common good”.

Burkina Faso is located in West Africa, and is surrounded by Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana, and Ivory Coast. Some 20% of the population of 21 million people is Catholic.

Holy See: corruption, real danger for peace and security

In a discourse delivered  to the final meeting of the 28th Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Economic and Environmental Forum, Archbishop Charles Balvo, Apostolic Nuncio to the Czech Republic and Head of the Holy See’s Delegation, underlined that “corruption is a real danger to the peace and security of our OSCE region”.

The Archbishop also said: “There is reason to be concerned that the vast amount of funds released for Covid-19 pandemic recovery has already attracted criminal activities, which include the risk that those most in need of financial support will remain without the urgently necessary help.”

The Archbishop said it was important to acknowledge that “corruption occurs, to varying degrees, in each of the OSCE participating States”.

“Only by acknowledging the existence of corruption will we be able to fight against it,” he added.

While the current pandemic is a “tremendous test” for the international community, Archbishop Balvo pointed out, it provides a real opportunity “to seek new and innovative solutions that are not divisive, politicised or partial”.

‘Real, not virtual, people at the centre of education’

Despite the world’s educational system taking a battering under the Covid-19 pandemic with distance learning, the Vatican reaffirms the direct and interpersonal relationship of exchange and dialogue between teachers and students as indispensable for the learning process.

The Congregation for Catholic Education stressed the point in a letter published last Thursday. It is addressed to Catholic schools, universities and educational institutions around the world.

The letter laments that educational systems have suffered under the pandemic at both the school and academic levels under the Covid-19 lockdowns. The effectiveness of distance learning using digital platforms, the Congregation notes, has been conditioned by a marked disparity in educational and technological opportunities. Citing agencies, it said, “some 10 million children will not have access to education in the coming years, increasing the already existing educational gap”.

Under Covid-19, distance learning has been necessary. Yet, it has shown that the educational environment is made up of people who meet, interacting directly and “in presence”, is not simply an accessory context to the educational activity. Rather, it is the very substance of that relationship of exchange and dialogue (between teachers and learners). This, the Congregation stresses, is indispensable for the formation of the person and for a critical understanding of reality.

‘Never again to the culture of abuse’, says Francis

Pope Francis has written a prologue to a recently published book on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church entitled ‘Theology and Prevention’.

“Fighting against abuse means fostering and empowering communities capable of watching and announcing that all life deserves to be respected and valued, especially those of the most defenceless who do not have the resources to make their voices heard,” Pope Francis wrote in the introduction to the book.

“In this most recent time in the Church we were challenged to face this conflict, accept it and suffer it together with the victims, their families and the entire community, to find ways that make us say: never again to the culture of abuse,” the Pope said.

The book, Theology and Prevention: A Study on Sexual Abuse in the Church, was published in Spanish this month by Sal Terrae and edited by Fr Daniel Portillo Trevizo.