04 2016
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    03/05/2016 - BANGLADESH

    The 24th edition of a creative writing workshop ended today, organised by the Bangladesh Catholic Students Movement along with the Bishops’ Conference. Some 35 students followed courses taught by professionals in literature and publishing. For organisers, these youths will play “an important role in the life of the country” and the Church.


    by Sumon Corraya

    03/05/2016 - CHINA

    After burying woman alive, authorities in China return land to her church


    Ding Cuimei died on 14 April defending the Beitou church from demolition. The authorities acknowledge they have no legal claim to the land, which belongs to dead woman’s husband, Rev Li Jiangong. Local Christians demand justice.


    03/05/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Pakistan honours Christian politician in new postage stamp

    by Shafique Khokhar

    Dewan Bahadur S P Singha is on new 10-rupee stamp. He opted for Pakistan in a critical vote in the Punjab legislature at the time of partition. Christians and Muslims welcome the recognition, a sign that Pakistan is trying to promote interfaith harmony.


    03/05/2016 - IRAQ

    Islamic State attacks the Christian village of Teleskuf, in the Nineveh plain


    Some Christians guarding the village are wounded, and rushed to hospital. Residents had fled in August 2014 when Daesh stormed the region. Lately, the village had been under the control of Peshmerga and Christian volunteers. The Chaldean Patriarchate fears Jihadi attacks will drive out more people.


    03/05/2016 - MALAYSIA

    Kampar: soup kitchen "is a small way to let others know about the presence of God”


    With the Jubilee of Mercy, the Sacred Heart parish has begun to run a soup kitchen with volunteers helping to prepare up to 200 meals each Saturday, including university students and lecturers. The food is handed out near the local market where the needy line up. As volunteers meet the poor, “their eyes are opened to the needs of others,” said Fr Tan who is behind the initiative.


    03/05/2016 - INDIA

    Andhra Pradesh: Priest among 14 arrested for bishop's kidnapping

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    Fr. Raja Reddy is from the same diocese as Mgr. Gallela Prasad. The bishop was kidnapped and locked up a facility run by the priest. The police speak of kidnapping for ransom, injury, damage and criminal conspiracy. The kidnappers had already attempted the kidnapping four times.


    02/05/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Punjab: Muslims fund the construction of a Catholic church

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    The new church is being built in Khalsabad, a village near Gojra. The mud chapel used by eight local Catholic families was destroyed in the last monsoon. Muslim farmers and businesses gave financial support. For a Catholic clergyman, "This is a dialogue of life," even though Pakistan is famous for its violence.


    02/05/2016 - PHILIPPINES

    CBCP: may the upcoming elections be tools of peace and reconciliation


    For Mgr Socrates Villegas, president of the Bishops’ Conference, “One cannot proclaim Christ as King and at the same time accept the governance of one whose thoughts, speech and demeanour are diametrically opposed”. Winners should not seek revenge, but show respect for "the rights of God’s people enshrined in the Constitution and their demand for justice, unity, progress and peace”.


    02/05/2016 - INDIA

    May Day in India: justice and mercy in the workplace

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    Mgr Oswald Lewis heads the Labour Commission of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India. He spoke about workers’ conditions, many of whom are unorganised, without health insurance or social security. He stressed the need to eliminate child labour.


    02/05/2016 - IRAQ

    Mar Sako appeals to politicians to stop divisions, focus on shared plans for Iraq’s rebirth

    by Louis Raphael Sako*

    The Chaldean Patriarch sends a tough rebuke against the country’s rulers, who have failed to promote reforms and reconciliation, calling for action against Iraq’s “institutional, economic and security deterioration”. As Green Zone protest ends, government’s wrath begins.


    01/05/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: May the Holy Spirit help us to understand and to remember the words of Jesus


    After the Marian prayer of the Regina Caeli Francis appeals for peace in Syria: "There is a spiral of violence in the country that continues to aggravate the already desperate humanitarian situation of the country, particularly in the city of Aleppo, and claim innocent victims, even among children, the sick and those who with great sacrifice pledged to provide assistance to others ". Economic development "must take into account human dignity and fully respect labor laws". Pedophilia "is a tragedy. We must not tolerate it, the guilty must be severely punished."


    30/04/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: No one be distanced from God because of man-made obstacles!


    At an extraordinary Jubilee audience, Francis returns to the theme of reconciliation, "God has never failed to offer his forgiveness to men: his mercy is felt from generation to generation." An appeal to confessors: "You are in the place of God the Father." A special Jubilee greeting for the police and the Armed Forces: "Faced with every day challenges, irradiate Christian hope, which is the certainty of the victory of love over hatred and peace over war."


    30/04/2016 - SYRIA

    Pastor of Aleppo: "My city is a ghost town. Our Lady, bring us peace!"


    Father Ibrahim Alsabag speaks to AsiaNews of closed schools and shops, people barricaded in their homes even if they are not safe. Jihadist groups behind wave of violence, which has dragged in other rebel groups. Syria and Aleppo dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that She may bring peace. The war has strengthened unity between Christians and created greater solidarity with Muslims.

     


    30/04/2016 - LEBANON - EU

    Patriarch Rai’s wake up call to EU: We need solutions to Middle East conflicts


    Speaking to the European parliament, the head of the Maronite Church warns that the conflicts in the region not just directly impacting Christians, but also the Mediterranean and the EU itself. Islamic extremism is wiping out centuries of dialogue and is a threat to world peace. Enshrine Lebanon’s neutrality and encourage Muslim nations to separate religion from the state.

     


    29/04/2016 - INDIA

    Card Gracias, saddened by the attack on Bishop Gallela Prasad, champion of the poor

    by card. Oswald Gracias

    The archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conference condemns the attack against the bishop of Cuddapah. He calls on the authorities to act quickly. He also prays that God may “touch and turn the hearts of those who committed this sacrilegious assault.” The attacked bishop is closely involved in empowering the poor and women.


    29/04/2016 - INDIA

    Msgr. Menamparampil: Amoris laetitia affirms values of Indian families

    by mons. Thomas Menamparampil

    The apostolic administrator of Jowai comments on Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation. He believes that the papal document is applicable to the condition of the Indian tribal families. Amoris laetitia talks about "irregular" situations, marriages, divorces, abandoned children. All of this is also found in India where, as the Pope recalls, we must not give in to easy judgments, but to discern each situation case by case.
     


    28/04/2016 - IRAQ

    Patriarch Sako: Amoris Laetitia, a source of mercy and learning for Christians and Muslims


    The Apostolic Exhortation contains essential elements for Christian families. It has also elicited “positive thoughts” among Muslims. For the Chaldean Patriarch, Islam too is waiting for something different on the family and spousal relations. Despite the war, few families have broken down, which is not the case for those who emigrated. Married priests could be a model for the whole Church.


    28/04/2016 - RUSSIA – VATICAN

    Orthodox Church: Bishop Tikhon (Shevkunov) wants to lead the Russian anti-ecumenical movement

    by Marta Allevato

    Sergei Chapnin, former editor of the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, holds this view. In a recent public statement, the bishop and rector of the Sretensky Theological Seminary said that most Orthodox do not view sympathetically dialogue with Catholics, and that most do not see "any real future in the idea of Church ecumenism."


    28/04/2016 - THAILAND

    Thai Muslim leader calls for learning from other religions to build peace

    by Weena Kowitwanij

    The Department of Religious Affairs organised an inter-faith forum that brought together leaders of major religions. According Abdulau Nhumsuks, a member of the Bangkok Islam Association, the idea that learning the teachings of other faiths is a sin “is old-fashioned and incorrect”.


    28/04/2016 - BANGLADESH

    Church slams LGBT activists’ murder in Dhaka, a moral failure for the government


    After two young LGBT activists are killed by persons unknown, the president of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, says although the Church “does not approve the way of the LGBT life, it recognises the rights of all human persons,” including the right to life which is sacred. Killing people is what terrorists do. The government must guarantee protection to every citizen. For Rosaline Costa, a friend of one of the victims, “no more compromises with Islamist parties”.


    28/04/2016 - CHINA

    Xi Jinping and religions: the Party must lead “effectively” and “forcefully”

    by John Mok Chit Wai

    John Mok Chit Wai, from Chinese University of Hong Kong, highlights President Xi’s intentions toward religions, which should have no autonomy, and submit to the party. For some, this is the beginning of a "Second Cultural Revolution" to “decimate the religions”.


    28/04/2016 - INDIA

    Madhya Pradesh, police interrupt a Christian marriage: "The spouses are Hindus"

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    Security officers and Hindu extremists stormed a place of worship in Satna, arresting 10 people including the pastor and the groom's parents. He is accused of having converted the pair illegally to Christianity and celebrating a marriage between minors. Christian leaders: "This is abuse of anti-conversion laws".


    27/04/2016 - INDIA

    Indian bishop: Church must focus on priestly training

    by Benigna Menezes*

    Mgr George Palliparambil is the bishop of the Diocese of Miao, Arunachal Pradesh. Yesterday, he celebrated the ordination of five new priests in Eluru from to the Missionaries of Compassion. In addition to India, they operate in Australia, Venezuela and the United States. The prelate spoke with concern about several suicide cases among Indian priests.


    27/04/2016 - CHINA

    Harry Wu, witness to China’s Laogai, forced labor camps, has died


    The dissident spent 19 years in a "re-education through labor camp". Released, he fled to the United States from where he began a decades-long battle against the laogai system. Thanks also to his commitment and his courageous witness, Beijing was forced - at least on paper - to close its slave labor camps. As a Catholic, spoke out on many occasions in defense of religious freedom in China.

     


    26/04/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Ahmadis increasingly victims of human rights violations in Pakistan

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    According to the annual report on persecution against the group, 248 Ahmadis were murdered last year, with another 323 victims of attempted murder. Scores of their places of worship have either been seized or illegally disposed. Many of their tombs have been desecrated. Since 1974, Ahmadis have been treated as “non-Muslims” and a government ordinance bans them from using Islamic greetings and prayers, or to refer to their places of worship as mosques.


    26/04/2016 - MYANMAR

    Karen State: Buddhist militants erect a pagoda on land owned by an Anglican church


    The incident occurred in Hlaingbwe, a village in south-eastern Myanmar.  U Thuzana, a 73-year-old Buddhist monk from the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army, ordered the construction in what is the latest challenge to the state’s Christian minority.  For the Anglican bishop, Christians harbour “no grudges or hatred”.


    26/04/2016 - INDIA

    Bishops meet Prime Minister Modi in Delhi, ask him to invite Pope Francis to India

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    The leaders of the Indian Catholic Church asked the prime minister to lead a government delegation to Rome for the canonisation of Mother Teresa. The bishops praised the government's involvement in trying to get the release of Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil, who was abducted in Yemen. Modi pledged support for Ranchi hospital for the poor and Tribals, an initiative of local Catholics.


    26/04/2016 - PHILIPPINES - CANADA

    Jolo, radical Islamists behead a Canadian hostage


    John Ridsdel was held since September 2015 had been kidnapped along with another Canadian, his Filipina girlfriend and a Norwegian.  Ottawa condemns "a cold-blooded murder, for which responsibility falls on the head of those who did it". In the same area it the former PIME missionary Rolando Del Torchio was released a few days ago.

     


    26/04/2016 - BANGLADESH

    Bangladesh, two LGBT activists killed

    by Sumon Corraya

    Xulhaz Mannan and Tonoy Majumder were hacked to death with machetes. Six men raided the apartment of Xulhaz and also wounded the building’s security guard. The US official had founded the first newspaper that deals with the rights of the LGBT community in the country. In Bangladesh homosexual relations are illegal.

     


    26/04/2016 - SYRIA - TURKEY

    In memory of the genocide, Armenian districts of Aleppo bombarded. Christians rail against Assad


    Explosions also in Yerevan and Karabakh. The Aleppo Armenians accuse the "Islamic terrorists" backed by Turkey, of  using raids to "commemorate" the anniversary of the genocide. Fires in the districts of Suleymaniye and Ashrafieh. 17 Armenians killed, including three children and a woman. For the first time, in Yerevan, a bus packed with explosives is detonated .






    Editor's choices

    VATICAN
    Pope Francis tells young people that “genuine love” is not a “soap opera”, but Christians’ real identity card



    In his homily for the Jubilee of Teens, Pope Francis asked questions and gave answers to the 70,000 present. Stressing the great ideal of love as giving oneself “without being possessive”, he noted that freedom is “being able to choose the good”. He warned young people “who dare not dream,” telling them that “If you do not dream at your age, you are already ready for retirement”. He also received funds raised for the Ukraine, and appealed for the release of bishops and the priests held in Syria.


    IRAN
    Odd alliance between the US and Iranian fundamentalists

    Bernardo Cervellera

    Washington is still preventing the use of US dollars in transactions with Iranian banks, preventing business with the outside world in spite of the nuclear deal. This way, the US is helping Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards, who want to torpedo the agreement in order to maintain their hold on power. Meanwhile, most Iranians hold down two or three jobs just to make ends meet. An unstable and bellicose Iran is a boon for arms sales. A report follows.


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