27 September 2016
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    27/09/2016 - CHINA - VATICAN

    On October 7, the Regulations will be implemented. Criticism of contradiction between the emphasis on Constitution, which claims religious freedom in China and the Regulations which place numerous limitations on its expression. The State Council’s intervention on religions is "illegal”.  Requests for a law that would recognize the right also to the domestic churches (underground) and all religions, not only the 5 recognized by the Beijing government.


    by Bernardo Cervellera

    27/09/2016 - CHINA - ITALY

    Fr Gheddo: I saw the Church’s resurrection in China


    He visited China during the Cultural Revolution and after Deng Xiaoping modernisations. Catholic communities that seemed destroyed blossomed again. Ties with old PIME missionaries expelled by Mao Zedong were renewed. The mission has now new frontiers. Here is Fr Piero Gheddo’s autobiography.


    27/09/2016 - IRAN

    Tehran, Khamenei clips Ahmadinejad’s presidential ambitions: no to third term


    The Grand Ayatollah advises against the ultra-conservative leader’s running for president in 2017. His presence threatens to polarize the country, an "evil" for "everyone." Ahmadinejad in recent months had returned to the public arena. According to his supporters he will obey, despite himself, the dictates of the supreme leader.  They had already clashed in the past.

     


    27/09/2016 - HOLY LAND

    For Mgr Marcuzzo, pilgrimages are an instrument of the New Evangelization


    For the Patriarchal Vicar of Jerusalem, travelling in the footsteps of Christ is a source for the "rebirth of faith". It is an essential element for Europe and North America, where a crisis of religion is unfolding. The number of Chinese and Vietnamese pilgrims who understand “the wonder of faith" is growing. Israel restricts entry to Arab Christians, especially from Jordan. AsiaNews proposes a pilgrimage.


    27/09/2016 - SINGAPORE

    Singapore parishes to be a "place of evangelisation and hospitality for everyone"


    More than 400 representatives from the country’s 32 parishes met for a day to talk and bear witness. They discussed building the community of the faithful, promote evangelisation among young people, and encourage the involvement of the faithful in parish life. For the episcopal vicar for the New Evangelisation, a “Church that has so much hospitality in it will be a welcoming church”.


    27/09/2016 - CHINA

    Guangzhou: three trade unionists sentenced for causing social problems

    by John Ai

    The sentence includes jail time and probation. The accused were members of an NGO working on behalf of workers’ rights. They were charged with causing damage with strikes and negotiations with companies. All three pleaded guilty and decided not to appeal. The leader, Zeng Feiyang, was accused of receiving foreign funds to harm the Chinese government.


    27/09/2016 - SRI LANKA

    More than 800 Sri Lankan kids put on an “exhibit" of the Year of Mercy (PHOTOS)

    by Melani Manel Perera

    Students attending catechism in two parishes near Colombo organised the event, showing Jesus’s works and miracles, the holy doors open across the country, and a full-scale reproduction of a Holy Door. With this exhibition, " children were able to express their talents."


    27/09/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Peshawar: three years after the Protestant church massacre, some still struggle to survive

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    On 22 September, prayers were held at All Saints Church for the Taliban’s victims. Some of the injured still require hospital treatment. On Saturday, a Mass was held in St John Vianney Church. Arif Aqeel was left paralysed and mute by the blasts.


    27/09/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: "Strong prayers” to overcome “spiritual desolation"



    "We need to figure out when our spirit is in this state of all-encompassing sadness, when it has almost no breathing space: This happens to us all". We must pray, pray strenuously, just like Job, cry out day and night for God to incline His ear. "It is a prayer of knocking on the door, but forcefully."

     


    27/09/2016 - SAUDI ARABIA

    Thousands of Saudi women signed a petition calling for an end to male protection


    At least 14,000 women have joined the campaign, using their name. Many more have signed the initiative anonymously. The promoters are "very proud" of this support. Now they demand a response from authorities. But the campaign has met with resistance among some Saudi women who are in favor of protection.

     


    27/09/2016 - SRI LANKA

    Body of the journalist killed for criticizing government to be exhumed


    Lasantha Wickrematunge was killed in 2009 in broad daylight on his way to work. He had been a stalwart critic of the corruption of the government led by President Rajapaksa, human rights violations and the war against the Tamil Tigers. His tomb is guarded, to prevent retaliation of his killers who are still at large.


     


    26/09/2016 - MALAYSIA

    Malaysian Church provides pastoral care for migrants who “are brothers, not enemies"


    Dominic Lim, director of the Human Development Commission of the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, talks about the work parishes do for migrants. Malaysia has not signed the UN Refugee Convention and has no obligation to grant asylum, work and education to these people. The first enemies to defeat are "prejudices and unjustified fears" by local faithful.


    26/09/2016 - ASIA – UNITED STATES

    US presidential election is an "unavoidable challenge" for East Asia


    Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo will follow very carefully the first US presidential debate. Clinton and Trump have different positions that find different echoes in various Asian countries. Given trade ties, the US-China relationship is not questioned, but how that might evolve raises questions. Islam and Islamic terrorism remain an unknown factor.


    26/09/2016 - SYRIA

    For Jesuit priest, big powers’ confused plans fuel Aleppo’s tragedy


    Fr Sami Hallak talks about a widespread feeling of "incomprehension" among civilians. In the western sector there is relative calm, but poverty and unemployment are rising. The battle is centred on the eastern sector, where "bombs and explosions" can be heard. Mercy means “sharing the experience of violence” and rebuilding a new life, but “peace is still far away”.


    26/09/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: from Friday on a "journey of peace" to Georgia and Azerbaijan


    A difficult journey to two countries where Catholics are a small minority. In Tbilisi, for the first time a delegation from the "intransigent" Georgian Orthodox Church will participate in a Papal liturgy. In Baku the meeting with the Sheikh of Caucasus Muslims.


    26/09/2016 - CHINA – VATICAN

    Taizhou bishop dies, he had been recognised by the pope and Beijing

    by Zhen Yuan

    Mgr Antony Xu Jiwei, 81, died of illness. He had entered the seminary in 1948 but was not ordained due to China’s "political events" until 1985. He spent several years in prison and hard labour. "The period of imprisonment has strengthened my faith,” Bishop Xu once said, “every day.” Since the diocese was founded, it has had only two bishops. Xu’s predecessor, Mgr Jou Hou-shan, was one of the first six Chinese bishops ordained by Pius XI.


    26/09/2016 - INDIA

    Ranchi, 3 thousand activists against hunger in India

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    26/09/2016 - NEPAL

    As Nepali Catholic Society renews its leadership, “interest in the faith is growing"

    by Christopher Sharma

    The Catholic organisation was founded 25 years ago to defend the rights of Catholics in the country. "In the past we could not evangelise, but now we are allowed to bring Jesus and the pope’s precious words to everyone,” says new president. More and more Nepalis are asking to convert.


    26/09/2016 - BANGLADESH

    Dhaka, Islamic-Christian couple: "Coexistence is possible"

    by Sumon Corraya

    Ashim Gomes, Christian, and Munira Islam, Muslim, have been married for 11 years. They have an eight year old daughter, and have chosen to baptize her. The couple speak of their joys and their sorrows at a pastoral meeting organized by the archdiocese. The major disagreements arise when both try to convince the other that their religion is the best.

     


    26/09/2016 - INDIA

    India ratifies the Paris climate agreement: Modi seeks space among global powers


    The premier also announced the date, scheduled for October 2, the day Mahatma Gandhi was born. India is among the countries that emit the most greenhouse gases in the world. The agreement will enter into force upon ratification by 55 countries representing at least 55% of the emissions.


    26/09/2016 - JORDAN

    Amman, Jordanian intellectual and journalist killed over anti-jihadist cartoon


    Nahed Hattar was gunned down at the court entrance. He was on trial after spending two weeks in jail. His assassin is a well-known local imam, and he acted to "avenge the insult to God", already known to security forces as an extremist element. Muslim intellectual: "Terrorism is genetic in most of the Arab-Muslims".


    26/09/2016 - THAILAND

    Prime Minister Chan-o-cha "covering for corrupt brother"


    The relative of the prime minister, who is also an army general, won lucrative construction contracts for personal purposes. The prosecution of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra: "The Prime Minister should apply same justice to friends that he reserves for his political opponents."


    25/09/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope at the Jubilee of catechists says that it is by loving that God-who-is-Love is proclaimed


    Speaking before thousands of catechists from around the world during the Jubilee Mass, Pope Francis highlighted "the centre" of the faith that is to be proclaimed: "the Lord Jesus is risen, [. . .] and he has given his life for you”. He also focused on the quality of the messenger, who proclaims “not by the power of convincing, never by imposing the truth, no less by growing fixated on some religious or moral obligation.” The rich man is blind because he does not see the poor. He squints because “he looks with adulation at famous people, of high rank, admired by the world, yet turns his gaze away from the many Lazaruses of today”. Nowadays, “we have fallen into this abyss of indifference, worldliness, selfishness". Francis expressed solidarity with Mexican bishops committed to the family against gender ideology. He mentioned the beatification of Fr Engelmar Unzeitig, killed in Dachau as well as the Day of the Deaf.


    24/09/2016 - VATICAN – FRANCE

    For pope, interreligious relations can alleviate the wounds of the Nice attack


    In his meeting victims of the terrorist attack in Nice on 14 July and their relatives, Pope Francis encouraged religious groups to entertain fraternal relations and refuse hatred. As a token of the who were killed, the pope received the gift of 86 flowers. Some secularists and environmentalists criticised the meeting. Muslim and Jewish leaders express their appreciation.


    24/09/2016 - PAKISTAN – INDIA

    Lahore: Christians and Muslims stand for peace in Kashmir, against India-Pakistan skirmishes

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    Activists appeal to the governments of the two countries to an end the war of words and solve peacefully the dispute. For the bishop of Faisalabad, war is no solution for culturally close countries. It is necessary to foster human rights and social justice to counter belligerent slogans.


    24/09/2016 - SRI LANKA

    Colombo students’ practical advice to protect the environment by eliminating plastic bags

    by Melani Manel Perera

    About 2,000 women and girls took part in a six-kilometre march to back Pope Francis’s Laudato si’ encyclical, which speaks about social justice. Sri Lanka is among the five countries that pollute oceans the most. Developing best practices in school can be passed on in the family.


    24/09/2016 - INDONESIA

    Jakarta’s Christian governor is Islamists’ "common enemy" in upcoming elections

    by Mathias Hariyadi

    Campaigning for the post of Jakarta’s governor starts today. Election is set for July 2017. Outgoing Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic Christian Chinese is seeking re-election. He is backed by the country’s second largest party, but opposed by radical Islamic parties because of his faith and for his fight against corruption.


    24/09/2016 - UNITED STATES – SAUDI ARABIA

    Obama vetoes law that would allow legal action against Saudi Arabia over the 9/11 attacks


    The US president expressed "deep sympathy" for the victims’ families, but reiterated his opposition to a law that is "detrimental to US national interests." Riyadh threatens to break off economic agreements with Washington. Law sponsors pledge to overturn the veto with a two-thirds vote in Congress. Hillary Clinton is in favour of the law.


    24/09/2016 - CHINA

    FAST: China inaugurates the world’s biggest telescope


    With a 500-metre diameter, the new facility will help study the structure of galaxies and the formation of stars. There is no competition with the United States.


    23/09/2016 - INDONESIA

    Islamic radicals in Makassar tell Protestant church it does not have the right to a building permit

    by Mathias Hariyadi

    Ethnic Toraja attend the parish church. Pastor says it has “proper papers” and saw the mayor visit.


    23/09/2016 - IRAN

    Iranian women’ revolution on two wheels against Ayatollah Khamenei’s ruling


    With the hashtag #IranianWomenLoveCycling, campaign gets more and more women to post pictures of themselves on two wheels on social media in what constitutes an open challenge to the supreme leader’s fatwa according to which cycling endangers women’s “chastity”. For Iranian activist, “Women are the main agents of change.”






    Editor's choices

    ASIANEWS SYMPOSIUM
    Mother Teresa, Mercy for Asia and for the world (VIDEO)



    We publish the video recordings of the presentations made at the international symposium organised by AsiaNews on 2 September. In order of appearance: Fr Ferruccio Brambillasca, PIME Superior General; Card Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation of Propaganda Fide; Sr Mary Prema, Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity; Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, postulator of the Cause of Mother Teresa; Card Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai; Fr John A. Worthley, on the influence of Mother Teresa in China; a witness to the influence of Mother Teresa in the Islamic world; and Mgr Paul Hinder, Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia.


    CHINA-VATICAN
    Beijing issues new, harsh draft regulations on religious activities

    Bernardo Cervellera

    Fines of up to 200 thousand yuan (27 thousand euro) for "illegal religious activities" by Catholic or other members of underground communities. "Illegal activities" include "dependence from abroad" (such as the relationship with the Vatican). The regulations preach non-discrimination, but party members are forbidden to practice their religion, even in private. Strict control of buildings, statues, crosses. Clampdown on the internet. It could be the end of the underground community.
     


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