26 May 2016
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    26/05/2016 - SRI LANKA

    Heavy rains hit 237,000 people, including some 62,000 forced out of their homes. Death toll now stands at 102. Government has set up 250 sites for people displaced by floods. Catholic bishops have appealed to fellow Sri Lankans’ solidarity, and churches have opened their doors. Catholics and Buddhists are donating money slated for other uses, like personal birthday, and the Buddha’s own birthday.


    by Melani Manel Perera

    26/05/2016 - HONG KONG - CHINA

    Our Lady of Sheshan "helps Chinese Catholics “see hope in the dark"

    by Eugenia Cheung

    Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-fai, secretary of Propaganda Fide, celebrated Mass in Hong Kong’s St Jude Church on the Solemnity of Mary Help of Christians. During the service, he mentioned Fr Peter Yu Heping, who died in mysterious circumstances in 2015, but had great faith in the future of the Church in China.


    26/05/2016 - INDIA

    Bishop of Pune: The new shrine to St. Anthony, "monument of mercy" for the poor

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    The structure will be inaugurated on May 29. The first stone was laid in 2012 by Msgr. Salvatore Pennacchio, Apostolic Nuncio in India. The sanctuary over the years has attracted the faithful of every religion. It became the "symbol of the relations among the faithful." The bishop of Pune hopes it will foster fraternity and friendship.

     


    26/05/2016 - IRAQ

    Archbishop of Kirkuk: Against violence and extremism, a "wide awake and merciful" Church


    Msgr. Yousif says the upcoming assembly of Chaldean clergy in Erbil must "chart a new path" in an era of "enormous changes and challenges." The priests also "essential" for the Muslims, because they assume a "bridge" role with modernity. The work of Catholic education and health care. The refugees from Mosul witnesses of a faith stronger than terrorism.


    26/05/2016 - CHINA - VATICAN

    Evangelize China for the good of society, demanding an end to persecution

    by Bernardo Cervellera

    Official and underground Christians have celebrated the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, wanted by Benedict XVI. In a China marked by individualism and corruption, academics and scholars advise greater freedom for the economy and religious freedom for communities. Religions, viewed with suspicion by the leadership, are actually one of the few glues for a supportive and creative society. The strange silence of some commentators on persecution. The priority is formation of the clergy, the religious, the faithful. Now is the opportune time for the evangelization of China.

     


    25/05/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Activists from different religions pursue peace-building in Pakistan, against hatred and terrorism

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    Tehreek Rwadari, an interfaith movement that promotes respect for all religions and peace building in the country, celebrated its first anniversary yesterday. At the event, activists stressed the difficulties minorities, women and children face, as well as the lack of security. Extremism, mistrust and intolerance are the root causes.


    25/05/2016 - CHINA

    Eleven new priests ordained on the Day of Prayer for the Church in China

    by Victoria Ma

    Nine, all from ethnic minorities, were ordained by Ma Yinglin, Kunming’s illegitimate bishop. Mgr Wu Junwei, bishop of Yuncheng (Shanxi), ordained Fr Han Bo in Jinzhong Cathedral. Mgr He Zeqing, bishop of Wanzhou, ordained Fr Peng Yueyu of Chongqing.


    25/05/2016 - VIETNAM

    Vinh: Masses and torchlight processions for justice in sea pollution case


    Catholics took to the streets last Saturday to defend their bishop, vilified by state media. Mgr Hop had accused government authorities of ineptitude in tackling the environmental disaster. The diocese’s presbytery council signed a petition addressed to the authorities. Fishermen are caught between dead fish and Beijing’s fishing ban.


    25/05/2016 - ISRAEL

    Vicar of Jerusalem: Christian Schools without funds, Israel not respecting agreements


    The Ministry of Education has not paid 50 million shekels promised at the beginning of school year. The government wants to merge the schools into the public system, which would rob them of their Christian vocation and multicultural identity. Msgr. Marcuzzo announces an international mobilization campaign.


    25/05/2016 - INDIA - GERMANY

    India: Berlin awards Sister Hermanelde Pulm, for 50 years of service for poor

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    The missionary has worked in an Indian hospital since 1963. She is 79 years old and belongs to the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit. The Cross of Merit is the most important award of the German Federal Republic. Sister Hermanelde honored for her tireless and silent work, "far from the limelight."

     


    25/05/2016 - EGYPT-VATICAN

    Pope-Grand Imam of Al Azhar: Egypt’s press enthusiastic and "political" comments


    Al Sisi mediation praised for success of encounter. Amazement at the sobriety of the Vatican statement. A corrective measure for Islamophobia generated by the Islamic State. A reader: I believe in Pope Francis and his smile

     


    25/05/2016 - MACAO-CHINA

    The Church of Macao prays for China: Now is the right time for evangelization

    by Xie Qircan

    For the first time, since the appointment of  bishop Stephen Lee, the celebration of the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China took place at a diocesan level, in the cathedral, in the presence of the bishop. The memory of the martyrs, Chinese and foreign, who evangelized China; the prayer to Mary so that Christians may face the new challenges of a Chinese society in transition. It is the duty of all Chinese faithful  to evangelize China.

     


    24/05/2016 - IRAQ

    For Iraqi priest, IS, violence and divisions have created a sense of brotherhood with Muslims


    Living side by side has been replaced by a desire to be “a community”, said Fr Samir Youssef, a priest in Iraqi Kurdistan. This is the result of the “merciful” welcoming of Christian, Muslim, and Yazidi refugees. Recently, 62 people from the diocese of Amadiya took part in a spiritual retreat to discuss pastoral outreach, mercy and catechesis. Iraq need more nuns and priests.


    24/05/2016 - CHINA – VATICAN

    At least 20,000 Catholics pray at Sheshan for the Church in China

    by Victoria Ma

    Pilgrims came from other dioceses like Ningbo and Taiyuan. Some groups organised web prayers. Under house arrest since 2012, Mgr Thaddeus Ma Daqin was not present. The Diocese of Shanghai organised a solemn pilgrimage.


    24/05/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Lahore High Court rules on divorce law, ends marriage discrimination for Christians

    by Shafique Khokhar

    The 1869 law is restored. In 1981, under General Zia’s rule, an amendment was introduced that allowed Christian couples to divorce only in case of adultery. This chained women to violent and polygamous marriages, and forced Christians who wanted to end a marriage to convert to Islam.


    24/05/2016 - PHILIPPINES

    Duterte’s attack on Filipino bishops "violent and unprovoked"


    The new president has attacked the church calling it "the most hypocritical institution" in the world, offending bishops and accusing them of being corrupt. He adds that he will "challenge the Catholic faith", imposing a limit of three children per family, free the former president Arroyo and bury the dictator Marcos in the "graveyard of heroes." Catholic source: "I am surprised by this violent and unprovoked attitude, particularly unsuitable in a president."

     


    24/05/2016 - SINGAPORE – ITALY – VATICAN

    Singapore president in Italy to meet Pope Francis



    24/05/2016 - VATICAN-RUSSIA-UKRAINE

    Lukashenko: Pope Francis and Kirill should meet in Minsk for peace in Ukraine

    by Nina Achmatova

    Belarussian President reveals a proposal he put to the Pope in their recent meeting in the Vatican: "spiritual initiatives" also needed to promote solution. Normandy quartet hold phone call over implementation of Minsk agreements.


    23/05/2016 - SYRIA

    Aleppo Pastor: attack on the Franciscan College harms civilians, sows chaos and terror


    For Fr Ibrahim, the terrorist attack was meant to cause panic in the population. The Jihadi message is "either with us or you die”. Rockets hit a retirement home, killing a 94-year-old woman, and wounding two more. Islamic State attacks in Tartus and Jableh, which killed more than 100, is a "message" to the Russians.


    23/05/2016 - INDIA

    Three evangelical Christians arrested in Madhya Pradesh for "forced conversions”

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    Rev V A Anthony V, his wife Prabha and another woman are arrested after police and Hindu radicals stopped them and took them into custody. Extremists waited until the court rejected the accused’s request for bail. For Christian leaders, religious freedom is at risk under Hindu nationalist rule.


    23/05/2016 - VATICAN - ISLAM

    Pope receives grand imam of Al-Azhar, dialogue and not violence between Catholicism and Islam


    The meeting focused “on the shared commitment of the authorities and the faithful of the great religions for peace in the world, the rejection of violence and terrorism, the situation of Christians in the context of conflicts and tensions in the Middle East and their protection" .


    23/05/2016 - VATICAN - ISLAM

    Meeting between Pope Francis and the Imam of Al Azhar "for dialogue and peace in the world"

    by Bernardo Cervellera

    Egyptian Catholic Church spokesman: "Happy for this meeting." Vicar of Al Azhar: "A message of tolerance." The highs and lows of the Al Azhar-Vatican relationship. The breakthrough with Al Sisi and his project to modernize Egypt and the teaching of Islam.

     


    22/05/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: May Chinese Catholics become concrete sign of love and reconciliation


    After the Angelus, Francis remembers the Day of Prayer for the Church in China, which falls on May 24: "Let us ask Mary to give to his children in China the ability to discern at all times the signs of the loving presence of God, that always welcomes and forgives. " Before the Marian prayer, a reflection on the Holy Trinity: "This feast invites us to engage in the daily events to be leaven of communion, of consolation and of mercy."


    21/05/2016 - VIETNAM

    To please Obama, Hanoi releases Catholic human rights icon Fr. Van Ly


    The communist authorities have released the priest in his 70's, leader of the struggle for rights and religious freedom. The years in jail have taken their toll physically, but not on his spirit. He is "bright and determined." Activists say his release is a gift to Obama on the eve of his trip to Vietnam.


    20/05/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Lahore attack: Christians and Muslims thank Caritas for financial aid

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    Caritas Pakistan hands out cheques worth US$ 380 to 19 beneficiaries, including four Muslim families. The Taliban’s Easter Sunday attack killed 78 and wounded 350, mostly Muslims. “I pray to Allah that others follow the example of the Christians,” Muslim doctor says.


    20/05/2016 - HOLY LAND

    New Custos of the Holy Land’s challenge is to maintain dialogue


    Br Francesco Patton, of the Diocese of Trento, replaces Fr Pierbattista Pizzaballa, grateful for the latter’s 12 years of outstanding service. The new Custos welcomed the appointment "with trepidation” and “confidence." He plans to remain "a man of dialogue" and take care "of the friars and their life".


    20/05/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Faisalabad, 20 years of Christians and Muslims praying side by side

    by Shafique Khokhar

    The Church and mosque are only separated by a wall. There has never been any violence or controversy. Islamic religious: "We have changed prayer schedules so as not to disturb eachother. We installed the speakers inside the mosque". The parish priest: "Before being Muslim and Christian we are men, and this unites us in prayer".

     


    19/05/2016 - INDIA

    Dalit Jesuit tells bishops that the Indian Church discriminates against Dalits

    by AXJ Bosco sj

    In an open letter to Card Baselios Cleemis, president of the Indian Bishops' Conference, the clergyman denounces the silence surrounding the abduction and violence against Mgr Prasad Gallela. He asks the cardinal to speak on behalf of the entire Catholic Church in expressing solidarity with the kidnapped bishop, and identify the racist bishops to move them to other dioceses.


    19/05/2016 - IRAQ

    Erbil: Chaldean Church to strengthen the mission in Iraq and among diaspora communities


    Priests and bishops are called to a meeting on 20 and 21 June. Focusing on the challenges and opportunities in this Year of Mercy, Patriarch Sako calls for a "human, spiritual and national awakening" in the face of “existing challenges, risks and temptations”. The future of the Church, he warns, depends "on the quality of its clergy."


    19/05/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: "fear and misunderstanding" should not hamper action in favour of those forced to emigrate


    In his meeting with new ambassadors, Francis insisted that international action should help people stay at home and “remove weapons” from those who perpetrate violence and engage in human and drug trafficking. The pontiff also expressed solidarity with persecuted Christian communities.


    18/05/2016 - INDIA

    University Grants Commission wants to impose Hindu mantras on all students for International Yoga Day

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    International Yoga Day falls on 21 June. An Indian department issued a protocol on how to celebrate it. This includes Hindu sacred mantras. However, imposing Hindu rituals on Christians and Muslims goes "against their freedom of religion."






    Editor's choices

    CHINA - VATICAN
    The persecution of Catholics during the Cultural Revolution

    Sergio Ticozzi

    The documentation of that violent period was burned or buried in archives. Only a few survivors speak. The persecutors are silent in fear. The burning of religious objects and furnishings in Hebei. Bishops humiliated and arrested in Henan; nuns beaten with sticks and killed, or buried alive. A persecution that "is not over yet"; Today it is perhaps only more subtle.


    CHINA
    Silence shrouds 50th anniversary of Cultural Revolution in China and in the West

    Bernardo Cervellera

    The bloody campaign launched by Mao Zedong killed nearly 2 million people and sent  a further 4 million to concentration camps. Every Chinese has been marked by fear. But today, no memorial service has been planned and no newspaper article has appeared. The Party’s internal struggles and Xi Jinping’s fear of ending up like the USSR. Even today, as then, there are those in Europe who keep quiet and laud the myth of China. Many are predicting a return to the "great chaos".

     


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