12/26/2014VATICAN Pope: like Saint Stephen, in the trials accepted because of one's faith, violence is defeated by love During the Angelus, Pope Francis notes that the festivity of the first martyr continues "the celebration of Christmas", stripping it of "that false sugar-coating that does not belong to it." He mentions "those who are discriminated against, persecuted and killed for bearing witness to Christ." Religious freedom is "an inalienable right of every human person." Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "In the trials accepted because of one's
faith, violence is defeated by love, death by life," said Pope Francis on
the day the Church remembers the first martyr of its history, Saint Stephen. The
pontiff's teaching came as...
12/25/2014VATICAN Pope; May Christmas bring the hope of peace to those suffering in the Middle East and the world, especially the children In his 'Urbi et orbi' message, Francis turned his thoughts to the victims of war in the Middle East, Nigeria, Libya, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as to those who suffer from tensions in Ukraine. " May Jesus save the vast numbers of children who are victims of violence, made objects of trade and trafficking, or forced to become soldiers; children, so many abused children. May he give comfort to the families of the children killed in Pakistan last week. May he be close to all who suffer from illness, especially the victims of the Ebola epidemic".
12/25/2014VATICAN Pope: May the world and each of us accept "God's tenderness" at Christmas "The question the Child asks us with his presence is: Do I let God love me? And again, do we have the courage to accept with tenderness the difficult situations and problems of those next to us, or do we prefer impersonal solutions, more efficient perhaps but lacking the Gospel's warmth? How much does the world need tenderness today! God's patience, God's closeness, God's tenderness."
12/24/2014INDIA As India shifts towards fundamentalism, Indian priest urges Christmas prayers for religious freedom by Dominic Emmanuel* As Hindu nationalist parties and movements come to power, a nationalist and extremist definition of the nation is taking hold. Attacks against minorities, particularly Christians, continue. By his silence, the prime minister takes sides. India is now likely to become another Pakistan. A public relations officer at the Archdiocese of Delhi shares his thoughts.
12/24/2014VIETNAM Christmas among the poor fishermen of Thanh Hoa by Thanh Thuy Many fishermen have lost their job. Fishing in the river is hard because of pollution and waste. For Bishop Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh, Christmas is a season accompanied by works of charity for anyone, Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
12/24/2014SOUTH KOREA Christmas in Korea amongst the migrants, putting the person first Father Maurizio Giorgianni, OMI, has lived in South Korea, with legal and illegal immigrants for almost 22 years. The visit of Pope Francis and the Nativity "have a common message which is useful to the entire Korean society: man must go back to being the center of society and of development." The festivities with those whose visas have expired: “I try to be a friend and to build true and sincere relationships.”
12/24/2014ASIA Tears (and Best Wishes) for Christmas by Bernardo Cervellera At Christmas God shows us that he has not tired of us. Despite so many wars, injustice, torture, persecution, God has not stopped trusting in man and comes to his aid. The world lives of sterile immobility and apocalyptic terror. With Jesus' birth the world began to change and there are witnesses of hope in Iraq, in Hong Kong, in the Middle East. The revolution of solidarity.
12/23/2014CHINA As more than 400 crosses are destroyed in Zhejiang, violence spreads to Henan, Shandong, and Anhui by Bernardo Cervellera In the latest incident of its kind, the cross of a Protestant Church in Dingqiao was torn down on 19 December. Some members of the local congregation were injured trying to stop the destruction. On 18 December, the cross of a church of Nanle (Henan) was also destroyed and 4 million yuan saved by parishioners to build more churches were seized. The "Three Rectifications and One Demolition" campaign targets mainly sacred buildings.
12/23/2014INDIA Church prepared to use "any means" to stop laws that violate religious freedom, says Card Gracias The prelate issues a stinging statement against recent anti-Christian attacks and any plan to legislate in the matter of conversion. He said he would take "court action" to stop any draft bill of this kind. Instead, he insisted on the need to protect the rights guaranteed by the constitution, and defended the role of Christian schools, which are centres of excellence where no faith is imposed.
12/23/2014TUNISIA - ISLAM Despite suspected ties to the old regime, Essebsi is the new president of Tunisia Beji Caid Essebsi wins more than 55 per cent of the vote. More than 3.1 million voters cast their ballots with a turnout of around 60 per cent. The new president dedicates the victory to "the martyrs of Tunisia," stating that he "will be president for all Tunisians". His challenger admits defeat and pledges cooperation for the sake of "national unity". The economy and Islamism are the main challenges.
12/23/2014LEBANON The war against Sunni terrorism is Lebanon's main news for 2014 by Fady Noun Talks to trade Islamist detainees for 30 captured soldiers and police officers are evidence of how the authorities are unable to elaborate a clear strategy to free the hostages, powerless vis-à-vis the execution of soldiers. This failure underscores the country's sectarian divisions in which each group tries to free its own hostages. It also shows how the legal state has failed to enforce its authority militarily, especially since its military forces lack the necessary equipment and intelligence to mount operations against jihadist strongholds.