Pope Francis’s apology is not enough, Remembering diplomat Kofi Annan, Why Europe and Turkey can’t lose each other, Lessons on infrastructure from the Roman Empire, Sexism on a global scale

A roundup of global commentary for the Sept. 3, 2018 weekly magazine.

Andrew Medichini/AP
Pope Francis holds his weekly general audience in the Pope Paul VI hall, at the Vatican, Aug. 22, 2018.

The Guardian / London 

Pope Francis’s apology is not enough

“The Catholic church is in meltdown: the appalling story emerged last week of clerical abuse stretching back decades in Pennsylvania...,” writes Joanna Moorhead. “And now ... Pope Francis has spoken out.... He acknowledges the church’s crimes ... and then he invites ‘the entire holy faithful people of God to a penitential exercise of prayer and fasting....’ Now, I like Pope Francis.... But here, pontiff, I see cardinal red.... How dare you call on us to repent for their sins?... [T]he church has failed ... to ask ‘the people of God’ to help it run the institution.... The proper response to the continuing avalanche of reports on the extent of the abuse is to reduce the power of the clergy....” 

Jamaica Observer / Kingston, Jamaica

Remembering diplomat Kofi Annan

“The common sentiment in the mountain of tributes paid to Mr Kofi Annan [who died Aug. 18] was that he was a decent human being who used his two terms as United Nations (UN) secretary general to work at making the world a better place...,” states an editorial. “The Ghanaian diplomat, who served as the seventh secretary general of the UN from January 1997 to December 2006, was the first black African to head the world body.... The world has indeed lost a great man ... who ... embodied the concept and spirit of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security [and] develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights....”

Deutsche Welle / Bonn, Germany

Why Europe and Turkey can’t lose each other

“Turkey cannot afford to have multiple battle fronts,” writes Seda Serdar. “US sanctions and tariffs and a political dispute with Washington over an imprisoned American pastor is forcing Ankara to cultivate better relations with Europe.... The Turkish government would need to make serious changes, both economically and politically, if it wants to receive any substantial support from Germany.... Because [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan’s goal is to fix the economy at any price, the country’s worsening economic situation could force his hand. However, Erdoğan could also turn to Russia or China, and Qatar is yet another option.... The EU, and especially Germany, should neither let Turkey distance itself from Western values nor allow it to descend into instability.”

The Asahi Shimbun / Osaka, Japan

Lessons on infrastructure from the Roman Empire

“Concrete has a surprisingly old history,” states an editorial. “The Roman Empire erected [many] structures.... Infrastructure construction ... became a burden as the structures became decrepit with age.... Is the degeneration of infrastructure a problem in all ages? A motorway bridge collapsed suddenly on Aug. 14 in Genoa, Italy, killing more than 40 people. Built in 1967, the bridge was said to have been developing visible cracks.... The disaster has attracted global attention because it could happen in any country.... Is Japan today able to check its aging roads, bridges and buildings, and appropriate the budgets needed for repairs?... Some historians point out that the degeneration of infrastructure over time was one of the causes of the fall of the Roman Empire.... Our concrete-clad society of today is also being challenged in the same way.”

Arab News / United Arab Emirates

Sexism on a global scale

“Japan was recently rocked by a scandal involving one of its most prestigious medical universities, when it was revealed that the university was deliberately discriminating against female applicants...,” writes Asma I. Abdulmalik. “This scandal only reemphasized an incontestable sexism problem in Japan.... This is also not unique to Japan.... Google, Microsoft and Goldman Sachs have all recently been sued for alleged gender bias. In most of the Arab world, gender bias against women in schools or in the workforce is not a novel argument. The reality is that discrimination against women still exists.... What impedes progress ... is ... the traditionalist, and sometimes patriarchal, thinking entrenched in most societies.... [W]omen still face discriminatory acts on a daily basis.”

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