A new version of the Great Game is unfolding in Afghanistan, the five Central Asia countries, as well as Nepal, India and Pakistan. As Washington and Delhi undertake a rapprochement, Beijing develops closer ties to Iran and Pakistan. Afghanistan too is in China’s sight, but US influence remains strong. COVID-19 becomes part of the diplomatic game.
The tabloid linked to the People's Daily cites Archbishop Sachez Sorondo, Mgr Zhan Silu and Francesco Sisci who back the renewal of the provisional agreement, but fails to mention any supporter in the Party. For a Vatican official, this agreement is like poison for the Church.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith rectifies some ambiguous formulas, seemingly more democratic and less clerical. Sacramental action takes place in the name of Christ “who acts in his Church”. The ministry is not the “exercise of a power”, nor manipulation of formulas to one’s liking.
“Let us pray for the victims” of the explosions in Beirut as well as Lebanon said the pontiff, “so that, through the dedication of all its social, political and religious elements, it might face this extremely tragic and painful moment and, with the help of the international community, overcome the grave crisis they are experiencing.”
The book ‘Cina COVID 19. La Chimera che ha cambiato il Mondo’ (Edizioni Cantagalli, Siena, 2020, 272 pages, 20 euros) by scientist Joseph Tritto was released today. China conducted bioengineering experiments with French and US financial and scientific help. The work was meant to develop vaccines, gradually morphing into military research. The Wuhan lab is now run by China’s People's Liberation Army under General Chen Wei, an expert in biochemical weapons and bioterrorism. Vaccines are a commercial venture. Getting China to sign the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention is one objective.
In a message to the young people meeting in Medjugorie, Francis writes that the Mladifest offers them an opportunity to meet the living Jesus Christ. “The Virgin Mary remains the Church’s great model with a young heart, ready to follow Christ with freshness and docility.”
According to OECD data, except for China (+11.5), other countries have experienced heavy losses: South Korea (-3.3), the US (-9.5), Germany (-10.1), France (-13.8), Spain (-18.5), Italy (-12.4). In OECD countries, unemployment is expected to reach 10 per cent by the end of 2020. Job recovery is not expected until the end of 2021. Pope Francis makes an appeal.
"With the convergent commitment of all political and economic leaders, the labour market can be relaunched: without work, families and society cannot move forward. Let us pray for this, because it is and will be a post-pandemic problem”.
A young lay person from northern China talks about the difficulties that followed the signing of the Agreement. Fr John understands Pope Francis' sense of mercy towards official bishops and priests. Repression has increased against other religious groups, in particular Protestants.
A private US company, Recorded Future, detected the espionage operation against the mail servers of the Vatican Secretariat of State, the Diocese of Hong Kong, and the Holy See’s Study Mission in Hong Kong, which acts as a quasi-nunciature. PIME’s mail server did not work for weeks. The AsiaNews website has been attacked but not disabled. The hacking is the work of RedDelta, an entity linked to the Chinese government. Recorded Future appears to have no links to the Trump administration. Espionage and hackers are an international problem to live with.
During the Angelus Pope Francis stressed that “the building of the Kingdom requires not only God’s grace, but also the active willingness of humanity.” Life is "mediocre" when it is satisfied with "attractive but ephemeral things, whose bright lights prove illusory as they give way to darkness.” Creativity is the path to give life. The pontiff called for a round of applause for grandparents, urging young people to visit the elderly. He also praised the ceasefire in the Donbass.
The date is symbolic. On 24 July 1923, Turkey and the Allied powers signed the Treaty of Lausanne, which marked the of the Ottoman Empire. Among the thousands of people who rushed to the first Islamic prayer in Hagia Sophia in 86 years, some carried the flags of the Empire. Others wore the fez, the Ottoman headdress that Kemal Atatürk, the father of modern Turkey, had banned in 1925. As part of his drive to build a secular country, he turned Hagia Sophia into a museum.
AsiaNews' investigation into the situation of the Church in China almost two years after the agreement between China and the Holy See continues. The testimonies we present today, speak of closed churches, blocked masses, canceled catechism courses, crosses removed, publications for underground and official communities censored. Government repression affects not only Catholics, but all religions.
The Pontifical Academy for Life calls for solidarity vis-à-vis pandemic. The virus “is the result, more than the cause, of financial greed, the self-indulgence of life styles defined by consumption indulgence and excess.” What is more, “It is clear that the pandemic is worsening the inequalities that already are associated with processes of globalization, making more people vulnerable and marginalized without health care, employment, and social safety nets.”
The two churches – the Catholic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart and the Anglican Cathedral Church of Resurrection – are in Lahore. According to Fr Faisal, such government initiatives truly build peace and project a positive image of Pakistan in the world.