12/18/2014INDIA Clergy tunes "in to God's message" to mark Christmas in Vijayawada by Benigna Menezes* Priests and nuns from the diocese gathered for their annual Christmas meeting, which this time also included the inauguration of the Year of Consecrated Life. The variety of orders and congregations is "a gift from God that enriches the Church." Vijayawada
(AsiaNews) - More than 300 religious leaders gathered on Sunday for their
annual Christmas meeting at the NSM High School in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh
in order to "tune in to God's message and the Church's voice" and
thank the Lord for the privilege that awaits them this year. The evening...
12/18/2014INDIA Radical Hindus' Christmas reconversions postponed, not cancelled The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) takes a step back to let parliament's winter session to end. It pledges however to reconvert 5,000 Christian and Muslim families "before the end of the year". Opposition call on the prime minister to speak on the matter, but the ruling party says no.
12/18/2014PAKISTAN Karachi archbishop calls for prayer and silence in Catholic schools for Peshawar massacre victims by Shafique Khokhar
As Mgr Coutts remembered the "innocent victims of senseless violence," he called on the faithful to be a source of "peace and reconciliation". Intra-Taliban divisions exacerbate the violence. A power struggle between Pakistan's civilian and military leaders favours Islamist terrorism. For a Muslim activist, the attack is Pakistan's 9/11. Christian priest says it threatens the enlightened future of the country.
12/18/2014VATICAN Pope: God walks with us in history, and when we go wrong he correct history and brings it forward "Making history with his people means for God to walk with us and to test the ones he has chosen". But in the end He saves them: "Let us always remember, with confidence, even in the worst moments, even in times of illness, when we realize we have to ask for the Last Rites because there is no way out, to say: 'Lord, history did not start with me and will not end with me! You go ahead, I am willing to come with you'. And to put ourselves in the hands of the Lord".
12/17/2014PAKISTAN In a country in shock over Peshawar massacre, Islamabad bishop calls for unity against terrorism by Jibran Khan Mgr Rufin Anthony led a prayer vigil in memory of the victims of the Taliban attack on a military-run school, which killed 132 students, many of them children, and nine teachers. Survivors are now speaking about their dramatic experience. Christian and Muslim religious leaders, politicians and civil society groups unanimously condemn the attack. Pakistani prime minister ends moratorium on the death penalty.
12/17/2014INDIA Christmas in Mumbai, bringing Jesus to the lepers of Heaven's Gate About 300 people - including Hindus, Muslims and some Christians - will celebrate the birth of Christ at Swarga Dwar, Mumbai, an ashram founded by PIME. The days leading up to the celebration are special for its children who play cricket, football and other games. "The kids wait for this festival with joy. They like to prepare the tree and put the star on the crèche," the facility's head said.
12/17/2014VATICAN Pope: May God "convert the hearts of the violent who do not stop even before children" Prayers "for the victims of inhuman terrorist acts in recent days in Australia, Pakistan and Yemen." Tango dancers, a cake and birthday wishes in all languages for Francis' 78 years. The "meditations" on the family during the general audiences are part of a journey in which the Extraordinary Synod of October" was the first step."
12/17/2014INDIA Radical Hindus attack Christians singing Christmas carols by Nirmala Carvalho About 30 people assaulted the Pastor and the faithful of a Pentecostal community, including women and children, with sticks and clubs. The fundamentalists accuse the Christians of promising money to convert tribal people in the area. Police deny the allegations: "No forced conversion in the area, the Christians are innocent."
12/16/2014INDIA Catholic activist against handing education over to Hindu fundamentalists by Santosh Digal
AsiaNews interviews John Dayal, member of the National Integration Council who looks at the influence of radical Hindu Sangh Parivar groups on the educational policy of India's new Union government. "To demonize western and Islamic contribution to the evolution of the India we know today, is an exercise in futility, and very fraught with dangers."
12/16/2014PAKISTAN Card Gracias describes Peshawar school attack as a horrible tragedy that unites us all by Jibran Khan A TTP commando attacked a military-run school this morning, killing at least 120 people, including 84 students. The attack is a "revenge" for the army's operations in the north of the country. The cardinal Indian pledges "prayers" for peace. Pakistani Christian and Muslim religious leaders condemn the attack as "barbaric".
12/16/2014IRAQ - VATICAN As 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' continues, Mosul bishop notes that Jesus is born amid refugee containers by Amel Nona Persecuted by the Islamic state, refugees have lost everything: belongings, home, jobs, school, and their future. Yet, their faith and mission remain strong. For them, almost 900,000 euros have been raised and sent. Pope Francis sends a message of closeness. The campaign continues according to the Patriarch of Baghdad's proposal of fasting and moderation at Christmas and New Year, with the money saved offered to the Christians of Mosul.
12/16/2014AUSTRALIA - ISLAM Siege of Lindt Café in Sydney ends in bloodshed Two hostages and the gunman - an Iranian converted from Sunnism to Shiism - killed. According to the Prime Minister, he was "infatuated by extremism" and unstable from a mental point of view. Condemnation by the Council of Imams. Fears of attacks by young Australian sympathizers of al Qaeda or Isis that return home after fighting in the Middle East.