19 January 2018
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  • 19/01/2018 - INDONESIA

    The diocese of Agats sends two teams to assist and distribute basic necessities in the affected villages. The peculiar characteristics of the remote territory make it difficult and dangerous to reach the most isolated settlements. In Jakarta, some Catholic humanitarian organizations and groups have set up a fundraising program. The Indonesian government deploys military paramedics. Critics of the government, accused of neglecting the remote eastern province.


    by Mathias Hariyadi

    19/01/2018 - MYANMAR

    Ethnic violence in Rakhine: Buddhist parliamentarian arrested for 'high treason'


    The nationalist politician attacked the government and incited the Rakhine ethnic minority to armed struggle against the government. The arrest occurred two days after the clashes in Mrauk U, where seven local people lost their lives. A Rakhine rebel group promises "serious" retaliation for the demise of the protesters. 


    18/01/2018 - VATICAN - CHILE

    Pope in Chile: This land surrounded by the driest desert knows how to put on party clothes


    At the final Mass of his visit to Chile, at the Campus Lobito in Iquique, Pope Francis prayed for "the integration of peoples" in an region that has know emigration and immigration. He called on people to be like servants at Cana – “they too are part of the miracle” – and take care of the poor and those who have a "watered down" life. He crowned the statue of Our Lady of Carmel (Virgen de la Tirana), patron saint of Chile, and received a crosier and a cross made of salt crystals.


    18/01/2018 - THAILAND – MYANMAR

    Caritas Thailand defending the rights of migrant workers


    The country has one of the largest migrant population in all of Southeast Asia, some 4-5 million, plus about a million illegal migrants. A new law on undocumented workers came into effect on 1st January. Starting last June, workers from Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos have been leaving in droves.


    18/01/2018 - VATICAN - CHILE

    Pope in Chile: to young people, always be "connected" to Jesus


    Francis reflects on the importance of always being connected online for young people today, so they don’t feel out of touch, disoriented, in a bad mood. With faith it is the same, "when we remain without this 'connection' that gives life to our dreams, the heart begins to lose strength". Call for Catholic Universities to propose a renewed humanism to today’s "liquid society", one that avoids falling into any kind of reductionism.


    18/01/2018 - INDIA

    Tamil Nadu, five gored to death in the 'Jallikattu' bull race


    The victims were watching the sporting event. Indian bullfighting is considered the oldest sport of modern times. The bullfighters do not use weapons, unlike the Spanish bullfighters.


    17/01/2018 - VATICAN - CHILE

    Pope in Chile: unity is not about being the same, but about reconciling diversity


    Francis celebrated Mass dedicated to the progress of peoples in a region where the Mapuche people still view themselves as victims of oppression and discrimination that have reduced their number. "The unity that our peoples need" comes from their recognition and solidarity. We “must abandon the notion that there are higher or lower cultures.”


    17/01/2018 - VIETNAM

    Court in Nghệ An upholds sentence against Catholic activist Nguyễn Văn Oai


    A member of outlawed pro-democracy Việt Tân movement, he is also the co-founder of an association of former prisoners of conscience, and was part of a group of 14 young Catholics and Protestants arrested by the regime in 2011. Last January he was attacked and arrested on charges of violating the terms of his conviction.


    17/01/2018 - VATICAN

    Card Filoni celebrates the feast of Fr Paolo Manna at PIME in Rome

    by Bernardo Cervellera

    The Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples met PIME missionaries and the Missionaries of the Immaculate. Without proclamation the mission reduces the Church's work to that of an NGO.  The mission ad gentes must be reawakened. A Missionary Month will be held in 2019.


    17/01/2018 - VATICAN - CHILE

    Pope in Chile: the Church's mission is for everyone, avoid clericalism


    Francis met Chilean bishops and priests and visited a women's prison. With the priests he returned to talk about the drama of pedophilia and in the nunciature he received a small group of victims of sexual abuse by clergy. The meeting took place in a strictly private form and no one else was present.


    17/01/2018 - MALAYSIA - EU

    Kuala Lumpur, farmers protest against EU palm oil ban


    The EU intends to ban its use in biofuels by 2021 due to concerns about the environmental impact. Malaysia is the second largest producer in the world. Over 650,000 small farmers and more than 3.2 million Malaysians depend on the palm oil industry.


    16/01/2018 - BANGLADESH – MYANMAR

    Rohingya to be repatriated within two years

    by Sumon Corraya

    The agreement involves 156,000 refugees who fled in 2016 and 2017. Myanmar will take back 1,500 Rohingya per week. To do so, it is building a temporary camp for 30,000 people.


    16/01/2018 - VATICAN – CHILE

    Pope in Chile: The Beatitudes are a 'new day' for those who continue to look to the future


    In his first mass, Francis said that Jesus “shakes us out of that negativity, that sense of resignation that makes us think we can have a better life if we escape from our problems” through consumerism. Peace is sown by reaching out to those who face difficulties, those who have not been treated as people.


    16/01/2018 - VATICAN - CHILE

    Pope in Chile: the future depends on ability to listen to the voice of the people


    Francis, on arriving in Santiago, meets with the authorities of the country states that "it is not possible to settle for what has already been achieved in the past and stop to enjoy it so that this situation leads us to disavow that many of our brothers still suffer from injustice that they call us all". The request for forgiveness for the "irreparable damage caused to children by ministers of the Church".


    16/01/2018 - PHILIPPINES

    Mount Mayon eruption: Alert level 3 and 15 thousand displaced


    There are five alert levels. In the event of an alert four, forced evacuations planned in view of a "possible dangerous eruption". The red zone extended to seven kilometers radius from the crater. 2,462 meters high, Mount Mayon is popular with climbers and tourists. Over the past 500 years, the volcano has erupted 50 times. In 1814, it killed 1,200 people and buried the city of Cagsawa.


    15/01/2018 - THAILAND

    For Fr Bolgan, tribal people have been won over by God the Creator and God the Father


    The many conversions among northern people nurture Thailand’s young Church. Compared to ethnic Thais, tribal people are more open to the proclamation of the Gospel. The many languages and vast territory make pastoral outreach by the missionaries a difficult endeavour.


    14/01/2018 - VATICAN

    Pope: Seeking Jesus, meeting Jesus, following Jesus is the way


    During the Angelus, Pope Francis said that World Day of Migrants and Refugees will now be celebrated on the second Sunday of September, the next one being on 8 September 2019. “It is not enough to construct an image of God based on hearsay; we must go in search of the Divine Master and discover where He lives,” he said. The “role of a real witness [. . .] is fundamental,” he added, stressing the need to “overcome a religious practice that is habitual and obvious”. Lastly, the pontiff asked the faithful to pray for his visit to Chile and Peru, which starts tomorrow.


    14/01/2018 - VATICAN

    Pope: Migrants and local communities encountering Christ without fear


    Pope Francis celebrated Mass for World Day of Migrants and Refugees before thousands of believers, priests and choirs from African, Asian, Latin American. Around the altar of Confession stood the flags of the 49 countries from which migrants, refugees and asylum seekers have come. For the pope, it is urgent "to welcome, to know, and to acknowledge the other". For refugees it means "respecting the laws, the culture and the traditions of the countries that take them in." For host communities, this requires opening up “without prejudices to their rich diversity”. Host communities and refugees hold “fears”, but “Having doubts and fears is not a sin. The sin is to allow these fears to determine our responses”.


    13/01/2018 - PHILIPPINES

    Marawi bishop returns to the cathedral devastated by violence


    "It was heart-breaking," said Mgr Dela Peña who led a prayer around the altar of the church desecrated by terrorists. Reconciliation between Christians and Muslims is fundamental. The Catholic Church is helping people affected by the conflict with an assistance programme.


    13/01/2018 - VATICAN – CHILE

    Churches attacked on the eve of Pope Francis's trip to Chile and Peru


    Three churches in Santiago, Chile have been firebombed. In a fourth case, an explosive device was defused in time. This is the first time that a protest against Francis takes place over an apostolic trip. Pedophile priests and indigenous peoples in the Amazon are important problems. About 1.2 million people are expected in Santiago.  


    12/01/2018 - VIETNAM

    Benedictine monks in Thiên An resist pressures and interference from local authorities

    by Nguyen Van

    The Provincial People's Committee calls for the transfer of the father superior for his protests against land grabs at the expense of the monastery. The authorities have long sought to seize 110 hectares of protected forest and eradicate religious practice. The compound has been attacked by thugs to frighten Catholics and convince them to leave the area.


    12/01/2018 - INDONESIA

    Franciscan sister dedicated to orphans in Medan

    by Mathias Hariyadi

    Sister Bernadette Saragih helps young women acquire an education and qualifications. The latest initiative of St Angela orphanage is a theatrical piece in Jakarta, a project made possible by the contribution and participation of numerous Catholics.


    12/01/2018 - VATICAN

    Pope: prayer is born of faith and 'courage'


    It takes courage to "get to the Lord" and courage to "challenge the Lord" like the leper who said to Jesus: "If you want you can heal me". "The Lord has told us: 'Ask and it will be given to you’. We also take this Word and we trust, but always with faith and putting ourselves at stake. This is the courage that Christian prayer has. If a prayer is not courageous it is not Christian".


    11/01/2018 - EAST TIMOR

    A new political and constitutional crisis threatens the country’s stability


    A minority government is challenged in parliament. Asia’s most Catholic nation could end up without a government for five months, thus raising fears about its economy and the ratification of an important treaty with Australia.


    11/01/2018 - CHINA – VATICAN

    The ten most important news stories for the Chinese Church in 2017

    by Peter Peng

    The year saw the passing of a number of individuals who defended the freedom of the Church, people like Mgr Luke Li Jinfeng and Fr Sun Zhenhua. It also saw Mgr Ma Daqin’s U-turn and his return to the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, and action to stop the demolition of a church in Wangcun. Above all, it was the year of 97 priestly ordinations in the official Church and a certain number in the underground community, a year of “difficulties and challenges” but also “opportunities and hope".


    11/01/2018 - CAMBODIA-CHINA

    New economic agreements with Beijing: Phnom Penh increasingly distant from the West


    The two countries are linked by a solid political, economic and military understanding. China provides loans for the construction of an airport and a motorway. Bilateral trade between the two countries will reach $ 6 billion by 2020. 


    11/01/2018 - MYANMAR

    Rakhine, Burmese army: responsible for the massacre of 10 Rohingya


    It is the first time that military admit bad conduct. The incident occurred on September 2 in the village of Inn Din, at the height of the tension between Rohingya, military and local ethnic groups. The military blames Islamist militants for disturbances in the settlement.


    10/01/2018 - VIETNAM

    Twenty-two senior officials on trial in Hanoi on corruption charges


    Former minister and politburo member Dinh La Thang is one of the defendants. His arrest sparked tensions between Vietnam and Germany. Former PetroVietnam chairman Trin Xuan Thanh could get the death penalty for embezzlement. Many suspect a showdown within the Party.


    10/01/2018 - VATICAN

    Pope: silence during mass to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit


    In the Mass, after the Penitential Act, our prayer takes a particular form in the oration called the 'Collect'. "With the invitation" pray ", the priest exhorts the people to gather with him in a moment of silence, in order to become aware of being in the presence of God and bring out, each one in their own heart, their personal intentions for Mass ".


    09/01/2018 - CAMBODIA – CHINA

    Chinese dams on the Mekong threaten fisheries, communities


    Nearly 4,800 km long, the river is the largest inland fishery and second only to the Amazon for its biodiversity. About 60 million people depend on it. Six Chinese-built barriers stud the upper part with another 11 under construction. The effects on the environment and the economy are felt the most downstream.






    Editor's choices

    EGYPT – LEBANON
    Muslims and Christians meet in Cairo for Jerusalem, 'the cause of causes'

    Fady Noun

    A conference was held on 16-17 January at al-Azhar. Many prominent figures from Lebanon took part, including the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi. The Arab world is divided between "complicit passivity" and "noisy but ineffective speeches". For a former Lebanese premier, coordinated actions are needed to ensure greater efficacy on behalf of Jerusalem’s "pluralistic identity " and "religious freedom". Card Al-Rahi called for joint prayers, Islamic-Christian interfaith solidarity in the Arab world, and support for the Palestinians.


    CHINA
    Yunnan: Christians accused of membership in an apocalyptic sect get up to 13 years in prison



    The Three Grades of Servants cult, an underground pseudo-Protestant sect founded in Henan, is especially strong in the countryside. Those convicted claim they are just ordinary Christians and know nothing about the sect. Defense lawyers have been threatened with loss of their license to practice.


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