28 June 2017
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  • 28/06/2017 - VATICAN

    Francis created five new cardinals today. They come from Laos, Mali, Sweden, El Salvador and Spain. He described today’s reality in which “It is the innocent who suffer and die as victims of war and terrorism;” a world in which “forms of enslavement [. . .] continue to violate human dignity even in the age of human rights;” where “refugee camps [. . .] at times seem more like a hell than a purgatory;” and where “all that is no longer useful, people included,” is discarded.




    28/06/2017 - LAOS

    Laos’s new cardinal: “poverty, suffering and persecution are the three columns that strengthen the Church”


    The first Laotian cardinal talks about his election and the life of the Catholic Church in Laos. The latter endures persecution and bears witness to its faith amid many adversities. It has 45,000 members, 20 priests, 98 religious and 218 parishes. The cardinal was a prisoner of the government for three years. “I accepted it, as it was true. They were right, I was ‘promoting’ Jesus. It was a correct accusation,” he said. The government exercises tight controls over religions. Relations between Church and State are difficult. “We can change the government's way of thinking that we are not its enemy."


    28/06/2017 - HONG KONG – CHINA

    What changes and what remains of the last 20 years of Hong Kong. The contribution of Christians

    by Mary Mee-Yin Yuen (*)

    The handover of the former British colony to China in 1997 did not come without pain. Still, Beijing respected Hong Kong’s way of life for several years. In recent times though, mainland meddling in Hong Kong's internal affairs has increased. This has sparked a strong reaction in favour of democracy as well as autonomy, especially among young people. The Catholic Church remains committed to the common good. Card Zen is considered a hero of democracy and the marginalised. It is still possible to build trust between rulers and ruled. What follows is an analysis by a researcher at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.


    28/06/2017 - INDIA

    Former Indian public servants slam Modi for the dictatorship of the Hindu majority

    by Purushottam Nayak

    Some 65 former civil servants, including high ranking officials, sign the petition. In it, they slam the climate of religious intolerance towards Muslims, the beef ban, and the violence against students and intellectuals who dare stand against the dominant ideology.


    28/06/2017 - INDIA

    A photographer provokes: In India women are worth less than sacred cows (Photo)


    The project is by photographer Sujatro Ghosh. Women portrayed in the most famous places in Delhi. Every 15 minutes in the country a woman is raped. The "cow watchers" protest on social media and call for the young man to be slaughtered in front of a mosque.


    27/06/2017 - IRAQ

    For Catholic Leader, Mosul's liberation from IS is near with reconstruction to follow


    Duraid Hikmat Tobiya said that only a "few areas" remain in jihadi hands. Iraqi forces repel an IS counter-offensive. The fate of civilians remains a major concern. So far, more than 800,000 people have been displaced. Extremism must be controlled in sermons and school curricula. From Mosul comes an appeal to rebuild the mosque and minaret destroyed by the Islamic State.


    27/06/2017 - HONG KONG – CHINA

    Hong Kong’s 20 years tested by Xi Jinping's visit

    by Bernardo Cervellera

    The president and his wife arrive tomorrow for several ceremonies behind two-tonne barriers and heavy security screens. Deng had promised "one country, two systems," but in recent years the people of Hong Kong have had to fight for democracy and against security laws. Many statements coming from Beijing highlight the mainland’s blind supremacy. Dissatisfied, many young people are tempted by "independence".


    27/06/2017 - PHILIPPINES

    Marawi: Maute ready to release Fr Chito, but Manila refuses to negotiate


    Abdullah Maute is willing to release the priest if the authorities release his parents and relatives. “The government’s policy is not to negotiate with terrorists,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said. “We knew from the start that they don’t want to negotiate,” Marawi Bishop Edwin de la Peña noted. Terrorists say they are ready to pull back if the MILF intervenes. Government losses rise to 70. About 100 guerrillas still occupy Lilod, Bangolo, Raya Madaya and Marinaut. The army changes strategy.


    27/06/2017 - RUSSIA - VATICAN

    Card. Parolin to meet Putin. The Ostpolitik of the third millennium

    by Stefano Caprio

    The new season of the Russian-Vatican dialogue opened after the meeting of Francis and Kirill in Cuba. The mission of Moscow as the "third Rome" and as a bulwark against the enemies of the faith. Papal attempts to have relations with Russia even during the Soviet era. The theological school of M. Arranz. The Catholic Church agrees all pastoral initiatives with the Patriarchate. The problem of the uniates and the crisis of Ukraine. Ecumenical humanitarian aid to Aleppo.


    27/06/2017 - CHINA

    'Too late' to cure Liu Xiaobo, it’s terminal cancer


    Liu Xia, the wife of the great dissident, says any cure is now useless. The US Commission on China asks Liu Xiaobo be transferred to the United States for medical treatment. According to prison authorities, a team of eight doctors are watching over the Nobel Laureate’s Health. The accusation: he was allowed access to treatment too late.


    27/06/2017 - SYRIA

    "Aleppo more beautiful": Christians and Muslims clean the city


    The initiative was promoted in collaboration with the governorate of the city. From clearing sidewalks to the restoration of activities. Fr. Ibrahim: to make the city symbol of the Syrian conflict more beautiful is a "challenge" that "unites" faithful of all religions. And an "opportunity" to renew "that wonderful mosaic that is our society. There is also a summer camp for 860 children. 


    26/06/2017 - MONGOLIA

    Economy, relations with China, and religious freedom dominate presidential election


    Mieygombo Enkhbold, of the Mongolian People's Party, and Khaltmaa Battulga, of the Nationalist Democratic Party, are the frontrunners. The vote is a referendum on economic policy. The country is trying to curb China’s hegemony. In religious matters, nothing has changed. Buddhism is protected by the state whilst Christians endure restrictions.


    26/06/2017 - INDIA

    Mgr Menamparampil warns against the obscurantist danger hanging over India

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    Outlawed fundamentalist groups have the support of political and religious leaders, and are not punished for violence against minorities. The economy excludes the most vulnerable groups in society. “Vegetarian terrorism" is unleashed against killing cattle. For Hindu activists, violence against cows is criminal, but violence against human beings is simply punishment. The fear of conversion marks every Christian with suspicion. For one witness, “The better the person, the greater the danger”. Hindutva followers have historicised mythology. "By taking mythologies as histories they are humiliating the sense of history of their own people.” However, the prelate has confidence in Indian society. “All we have to do is create situations where interactions are possible; where everyone has an opportunity to explain himself."


    26/06/2017 - CHINA-VATICAN

    The last 10 years of the Church in China: from the Letter of Benedict XVI to the silence on the arrest of Msgr. Shao Zhumin

    by Joseph

    The silence on the persecution of Chinese Catholics and their bishops in Wenzhou and Shanghai. The organisms that Benedict XVI did not accept (Patriotic Association and Chinese Bishops' Conference) because "incompatible with Catholic doctrine" now govern the Church. Dialogue between China and the Vatican must address the issue of underground bishops out in the open and not under the shroud of secrecy. An analysis from a northeast Chinese Catholic, as the Vatican celebrates a new round of China-Holy See talks.


    26/06/2017 - VATICAN – CHINA

    Holy See has expressed “grave concern” over the fate of Mgr Shao Zhumin, held by police for more than a month

    by Bernardo Cervellera

    The bishop of Wenzhou (Zhejiang), who belongs to the underground community, is said to be undergoing brainwashing to join the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. Since China and the Holy See resumed talks three years ago, this is the first time that the Holy See Press Office speaks about a detained bishop. The faithful have felt too much pain over the Vatican’s extended silence. Germany’s ambassador in Beijing, Michael Clauss, has talked about the case. The Vatican’s press office calls on the faithful to pray for Bishop Shao Zhumin and “the path of the Catholic Church in China.”


    26/06/2017 - CHINA

    Dissident Liu Xiaobo leaves prison suffering from terminal liver cancer


    He has been allowed treatment outside the prison, but he will not seek medical treatment abroad. In 2009, he was sentenced to 11 years for "inciting subversion of state power" after he co-authored Charter 08. Whilst in prison, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.


    24/06/2017 - INDONESIA

    For Eid, Catholics change their Mass timetable to leave carparks free for Muslim "brothers"

    by Mathias Hariyadi

    In Jakarta, car parks for the cathedral and mosque are used by both communities. Early morning moves to "leave room" for the celebrations of the Islamic feast. Message from the Archbishop of Jakarta.


    23/06/2017 - MYANMAR – UNITED NATIONS

    Distrusts towards the United Nations grows in Myanmar


    The main criticism is the lack of top officials who understand the country. Many people see the UN fail in the way it handles humanitarian crises. UN resident coordinator for humanitarian aid Renata Lok-Dessallien is leaving. To be effective, the UN “must be sensitive to local issues and take them into account, The Irrawaddy writes.


    23/06/2017 - INDIA

    Although government and opposition pick Dalit candidate for the presidency, castes remain


    Ram Nath Kovind is backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party. Meira Kumar has the support of 16 opposition parties led by Congress. The two veteran politicians are in their seventies. For Lenin Raghuvanshi, the choice of Dalit candidates “does not change the evils of the caste system”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has divided the opposition.


    23/06/2017 - INDIA

    Northeast India, Msgr. Menamparampil proposes an ecumenical prayer for peace


    The United Christian Forum in North East India welcomes the initiative of the emeritus Archbishop of Guwahati. From next August, the first day of every month, the invitation to all Christians "to stand for a few minutes of prayer". The "timely" response of the local Church, following the vandalism of the Bongaigaon cathedral.

     


    23/06/2017 - ASIA-EUROPE

    Asia-Europe: human rights crisis (and freedom of trade)

    by Luca Galantini

    The rare stand taken by the German ambassador Michael Clauss for the release of Msgr. Peter Shao Zhumin and Freedom of Commerce on the New Silk Road, under the shadow of the Chinese monopoly. The silence surrounding the fragmentation of the international legal system. Instead of democracies, there are autocratic regimes, violent nationalisms, oriental satrapies. And Trump sells arms to Saudi Arabia.


    22/06/2017 - IRAQ

    Mar Sako: reconstruction and coexistence plans in Mosul and Nineveh to offset Islamic State destruction


    The Chaldean Patriarch condemns the destruction of Mosul’s historic mosque and the devastation by the Islamic State’s "culture of death". He prayed in front of Fr Ragheed’s church for coexistence between Christians and Muslims. He called on Catholics in Europe and the West to visit the refugees, to teach them "to have more confidence in the future". He gave a first assessment of the return of displaced people.


    22/06/2017 - THAILAND – MYANMAR

    Suicide rate soars among Burmese refugees in Mae La Camp (Thailand)


    The camp hosts about 50,000 Myanmar citizens, mostly ethnic Karen. In two years 28 refugees took their lives and 66 attempted. For camp residents, "The situation is tragic". Suicides are caused by the lack of freedom, limited educational opportunities, uncertainty, and economic difficulties. Four in 10 deaths were from drinking weed-killer. Family problems were a factor in almost half of all cases, alcohol and substance abuses more than a third.


    22/06/2017 - VATICAN

    Pope: The Churches of the East are alive, despite persecution and terrorism


    Receiving the participants at the "Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches" Assembly, Francis recommends the formation of the clergy. "Let us not forget that in the East even today, Christians - no matter whether Catholics, Orthodox, or Protestants - spill their blood as a seal of their witness."


    22/06/2017 - INDIA

    For Bishop Menamparampil, vandalism against Catholic cathedral in Assam has hurt and raised concerns among Christians


    The cathedral is in Bongaigaon. Diocesan authorities have called for calm and organised a prayer vigil for peace and harmony. The pyx was stolen, and the tabernacle broken. For Sajan K George, the "robbery is a way to offend [Christian] religious feelings”.


    22/06/2017 - TAJIKISTAN

    Dushanbe: young Tajiks banned from pilgrimage to Makkah


    Officially, the reason is to encourage seniors to make the journey; in fact, the aim is to prevent youth radicalisation. The Islamic majority country tightens controls on the religious life of its people.


    22/06/2017 - CHINA

    Protestant Christians jailed to confess membership in an "evil cult"


    Fengle is a house church in Jiangmen, but the government treats it as an "evil cult". Police seized bibles and arrested and interrogated some members. However, “the biggest cult is hidden in plain view: the Communist Party.”


    22/06/2017 - PHILIPPINES

    Pigcawayan, Biff rebels free hostages. Six dead


    Attacks on military outposts at Barangay Malagakit and Barangay Simsiman. Islamist rebels repelled and fled to the marsh of Liguasan in Maguindanao. During the retreat a school building seized, 31 hostages freed. The military: The attack is not related to Marawi's siege.

     


    21/06/2017 - IRAQ – VATICAN

    For Bishop Ortega, Christian suffering in Iraq is a gift for us. Now it is time to rebuild


    Christians did not give up their faith, or even pretended to, but left everything behind. Now their life is precarious but there is no grudge in their hearts, as they pray for their persecutors and thankful for what happened because "it was an opportunity to rediscover what is most important, which is faith". On the Nineveh Plain, military victory is not enough. Christians have to return because they are "the presence of Christ."


    21/06/2017 - PHILIPPINES

    Duterte warns of “religious war” in Mindanao, Church and analysts disagree


    Christians “have better guns. They are buying,” said the president. Analysts dismiss his view as baseless attempt to justify martial law. For Card Orlando Quevedo, archbishop of Cotabato, the government should “address the economic and political roots of terrorism” rather than focus on a military solution.






    Editor's choices

    VATICAN – CHINA
    Holy See has expressed “grave concern” over the fate of Mgr Shao Zhumin, held by police for more than a month

    Bernardo Cervellera

    The bishop of Wenzhou (Zhejiang), who belongs to the underground community, is said to be undergoing brainwashing to join the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. Since China and the Holy See resumed talks three years ago, this is the first time that the Holy See Press Office speaks about a detained bishop. The faithful have felt too much pain over the Vatican’s extended silence. Germany’s ambassador in Beijing, Michael Clauss, has talked about the case. The Vatican’s press office calls on the faithful to pray for Bishop Shao Zhumin and “the path of the Catholic Church in China.”


    VATICAN
    Pope: The Churches of the East are alive, despite persecution and terrorism



    Receiving the participants at the "Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches" Assembly, Francis recommends the formation of the clergy. "Let us not forget that in the East even today, Christians - no matter whether Catholics, Orthodox, or Protestants - spill their blood as a seal of their witness."


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