9-15 Oct, 2017


Australian bishops meet with curial officials                9-10-17

The leadership of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference met the Cardinal Secretary of State, the Secretary for Relations with States, the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and the secretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The parties discussed the “Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the relationship between the Church and society at large, the restoration of trust, and greater participation of the laity in decision-making roles in the Church,” according to the Vatican press office.

Dominican Republic - Bishop Peña Rodríguez denounces corruption in the judiciary: "Justice must go back and follow the right path"

The President of the Domincan Republican Conference (DED) described the Dominican justice system as ‘fragile’, as the code-and-law enforcement officers are doing a job that leaves much to be desired. Bishop Gregorio Nicanor Peña Rodríguez of the Diocese of Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia en Higüey and President of CED, states that "people who have the responsibility to enforce laws do not understand what this service means, therefore they only take advantage of the benefits and take money". "That is why it is necessary for justice to follow the right path, because the Dominican justice is good and the rules are good, but those responsible for the application are not doing their job," as he was commenting on the strage disappearance of a prisoner sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Bishops and representatives of all the dioceses of the country were meeting for three days to plan the pastoral actions of the year 2018 in the course of which he made this comment. The country’s 10.6 million people are 95% catholic.

Filipino bishops reject Duterte charges they are undermining government        9-10-17

The Catholic bishops’ conference stressed that in offering to protect whistleblowers who report death-squad killings, the Filipino hierarchy is not “plotting against anyone.” The statement was apparently in response to complaints by the country’s justice minister, Vitaliano Aguirre II, who charged that the Church is shielding witnesses On October 9 the Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved a decree confirming the martyrdom of two Franciscans (Father Tullio Maruzzo and Luis Obdulio Navarro) in Guatemala in 1981. 

The congregation also affirmed the “heroic virtue” of seven candidates for beatification: two from Italy and one each from Brazil, Ukraine, Poland, Spain, and France. and hampering investigations.

Pope approves expansion of Syro-Malabar Church in India           9-10-17

Pope Francis has established two new eparchies (the equivalent of dioceses) for the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in India, and extended the boundaries of two existing eparchies. The new eparchies cover territories in which the Roman and/or Syro-Malankara rites are already established. The Pope observed that in India, “overlapping jurisdictions should no longer be problematic.”

The Pope has erected the Syro-Malabar eparchy of Shamshabad, India, and appointed as first bishop  Raphael Thattil, currently auxiliary of Trichur, transferring him from the titular see of Buruni. Shamshabad is in Telengana state.

The Pope has erected the eparchy of Hosur, India, and appointed as the first bishop 60 year old Fr. Sebastian (Jobby) Pozholiparampil, currently syncellus (episcopal vicar) of the eparchy of Irinjalakuda. The headquarters of the new Syro-Malabar diocese is Hosur in the northern part of Tamilnadu – jurisdiction extending to Madras-Mylapore archdiocese and Chingleput diocese.

German bishops welcome papal document on liturgical translations         9-10-17

“Liturgiam Authenticam was a dead end,” said Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the president of the German bishops’ conference, expressing gratitude to Pope Francis for giving individual episcopal conferences greater control over liturgical translations. 
(In fact the papal document, Magnum Principium, explicitly stated that existing Vatican directives on principles of translation—including Liturgiam Authenticam—remain in effect.)

Pope meets leaders of Eastern Catholic churches        9-10-17

Pope met on October 9 the patriarchs and major archbishops who lead the Eastern churches that are in full communion with Rome. The Eastern bishops are in Rome for an assembly of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches.
In brief remarks the Pope said that as Roman Pontiff he carries out a “diaconal primacy—that of the servus servorum Dei [the servant of the servants of God].” He asked that the synods of the Eastern churches “collaborate” with Rome in choosing candidates for episcopal office.

Indonesia - To contribute to coexistence: Archbishop of Jakarta meets the leader of Parliament            9-10-17

To contribute to social and religious coexistence and to work together - politics and religious communities - for brotherhood among the different people and components of Indonesian pluralist society: this is the theme of the recent meeting between the Archbishop of Jakarta, Ignazio Suharyo, and Zulkifli Hasan, President of the People's Consultative Assembly, which is the legislative branch in Indonesia's political system.
Zulkifli Hasan said: " Archbishop Suharyo and I agreed in the desire and task of fixing our red and white drapery which is currently in danger of being torn because of mutual suspicion and prejudice". The physiological differences in Indonesian society can be solved, he added, "in the original Indonesian manner, made of hospitality, encounter and dialogue".
Archbishop Suharyo agreed on the fact that union among the various components of the nation is important and remains crucial for the country's progress and development: "We must keep our communion. The Indonesian army and police must also work in solidarity for our Red and White flag, as well as all other social components", said the Archbishop, reiterating "the commitment to equality and prosperity for all."

Dominican Republic - Bishop Peña Rodríguez to the judiciary: "Justice must go back and follow the right path"               9-10-17

The President of the Dominican Episcopal Conference (CED) described the Dominican justice system as "fragile", as the code-and-law enforcement officers are doing a job that leaves much to be desired. Bishop Gregorio Nicanor Peña Rodríguez of the Diocese of Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia en Higüey and President of CED, states that "people who have the responsibility to enforce laws do not understand what this service means, therefore they only take advantage of the benefits and take money". "That is why it is necessary for justice to follow the right path, because the Dominican justice is good and the rules are good, but those responsible for the application are not doing their job," he said. He spoke in the context of a prisoner’s disappearance who was serving a 30-year sentence.

Australia - The Bishops: it is necessary to develop an inclusive and sustainable economy             9-10-17

The “Justice and Peace” Commission of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC) presents the new report entitled "Everyone’s Business: Developing an inclusive and sustainable economy", which will be at the centre of reflection for the year 2017-18.

Starting from the passage of the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 20, 1-16), the Bishops say they are concerned about the increasing inequality and above all the situation of the most vulnerable. The text calls for a return to greater "inclusiveness" and hopes for a "new approach", capable of building an economic system that brings benefits and well-being to everyone, not just the rich elites.

The Bishops insist that economic growth alone cannot guarantee a global and sustainable development. They say “the excluded and the vulnerable” must be included in the decision-making.

Former Vietnamese refugee appointed bishop in US           9-10-17

Pope Francis named Vietnamese-American Father Nguyen Thai Thanh, who escaped religious persecution in his home country by boat, as auxiliary bishop for Orange Diocese in the U.S. on Oct. 6.

Bishop-elect Thanh will support Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange and Auxiliary Bishop Timothy Freyer in serving the spiritual needs of the diocese’s 1.3 million Catholics, including 100,000 of Vietnamese descent.

Prior to his new appointment, Father Thanh served at St. Joseph Parish of St. Augustine Diocese in Florida. Bishop-elect Thanh was born in 1953 in Nha Trang City, south central Vietnam.

Philippine military warns bishops on helping witnesses of killings          9-10-17

The Philippine military warned Catholic Church leaders to be "discerning" in offering help to policemen and witnesses who wanted to reveal information about killings linked to President Rodrigo Duterte's deadly drug war.

Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Gen. Restituto Padilla said it could be "possible that not all those who seek the help of the Church may be who they say they are."

He welcomed the "efforts of the church as part of the community," but said some of those who claimed to be witnesses, might "just want to use the Church so they can escape and go back to their old ways."

Catholic Novelist receives Nobel prize            7-10-17

Kazuo Ishiguro, the Japanese-born author of The Remains of the DayNever Let Me Go, and five other acclaimed English-language novels, was awarded the Nobel Prize on October 5. 

Ishiguro’s many Catholic fans heartily applauded the news. In striking contrast to many modern novelists, his deeply moral stories go to the heart of the human condition with a spare narrative style that hints at deeper forces beneath the surface.  Though he does not deal explicitly with religious faith, his moral vision is compatible with the Church's own insistence that the truth is knowable, and that we ignore it at great cost to our own human flourishing.  

In each of his stories, mostly told in the first person, readers are faced with the same question: What leads fundamentally good people to make choices they will regret for the rest of their lives? In fits and starts, with the aid of their selective, often aging memories, Ishiguro’s characters come to terms with the pivotal moments of their past.   (Joan Desmond)


Australian Church facing its greatest crisis, archbishop says            10-10-17

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane told The Tablet that the Church in Australia is experiencing a time of “deep, painful, and permanent change.” He said that challenges arise not only from a highly publicized inquiry into clerical abuse and criminal charges against Cardinal George Pell, but also from demands for the inclusion of women in Church governance.

Spanish cardinal denounces bid for Catalan independence as ‘sedition’    10-10-17

Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera of Valencia said that the campaign for Catalan independence is “an act of sedition, fraud, and betrayal, a coup against the rule of law and a violation of the nation’s constitutional order and the coexistence in freedom of all Spaniards.” He added that the call for dividing the country contrasts with the Gospel call to unity.

Vatican bank brings court action in Malta for lost investment funds         10-10-17

The Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), has brought suit in a Malta court against “various third parties deemed liable” for the loss of invested funds. A Reuters report, citing a Vatican source, said that the IOR had lost about €17 million ($20 million) in schemes administered by the unnamed parties in Malta.

New Canadian bishops’ conference president outlines vision for future        10-10-17

Bishop Lionel Gendron of Saint-Jean-Longueuil discussed Amoris Laetitia and the continued response to the priestly abuse of children in residential schools for First Nations (Native American) children. The bishop, the new Canadian Bishops’ Conference presiden, warned that a papal apology for abuse in Canada could lead to lawsuits.

Oxford college bars Christian group from registration fair               10-10-17

Balliol College said that the Christian Union could not participate in an event for entering students because of the “potential harm” the group might inflict on homosexual students. Organizers of the Balliol event said that the Christian Union had used faith as “an excuse for homophobia and certain forms of neo-colonialism.”

Cameroon’s bishops voice fears of genocide           10-10-17 

A statement from the bishops’ conference of Cameroon decries the “brutality, torture, inhuman and unjustified punishment” of government forces as the African country faces escalating demands for the independence of English-speaking territories.

They condemn the country’s government and security services for brutality and atrocities as well as violence perpetrated by young civilians after protestors demand independence in Anglophone parts of the country. The violence was precipitated by a government ban on access to the internet, they said.

Sheikhupura (Pakistan): Christian student perishes of gruesome torture by police        10-10-17

A young Christian student of class 8th, Arslan Masih died after police subjected him to ghastly torture, which resulted in his death. Arslan Masih son of Mushtaq Masih was lynched by the police men in front of 60 students. This happened on October 9 when the deceased was attending his academy classes.

Isaac tv reporter Saleem Iqbal revealed that Arslan Masih was lynched as a result of his denial to convert to Islam. He says that Arslan’s mother has verified the fact that few months back, Arslan’s class fellows pressurized him to convert to Islam. This proselytization proposal ended in a quarrel. Saleem Iqbal further reported that Arslan’s classmates had conspired against him and got him lynched at the hands of police.

Previously, it was detailed that the incident took place when Arslan Masih was at his academy located in Jabhran village in Sheikhupura District and was subjected to excruciating torture by at least six police men. Purportedly, he died on the spot. Reports emerged that the police left the dead body and fled from the scene.

Holy Land - 800 years of Franciscan presence in the Middle East         10-10-17

"As Franciscans, we see these eight centuries as a manifestation of God’s Providence, fidelity and goodness towards us, because he chose a simple, poor, colourful ecclesial instrument that is at times a bit messy, to carry on, not our history, but His own, which is always a history of salvation", said the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton, announcing that the Friars Franciscans of the Holy Land celebrate 800 years of their presence in the Middle East, with three days of conferences and meetings in the Old Town of Jerusalem.
Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, Fr. Michael Perry, will open the anniversary celebrations with a liturgical ceremony on 16 October at St. Saviour church. The following day, the Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, will speak about "The role of the Franciscans in the Holy Land", whereas October 18th will be dedicated to the reflection on the significance of the frescoes in the Upper Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi. A copy of the frescoes has been on display since the month of May at the entrance of the Custodial Curia of the Holy Land. The first Franciscan friars landed in Acre in 1217, led by Friar Elia da Cortona.

India - Caritas alarm: Child trafficking in northeast India            10-10-17

The Indian State of Assam has been the hub of human trafficking in the country; politics must act urgently to stop the trafficking involving in particular children: is the alarm raised by Caritas India, which releases the worrying figures of the phenomenon. In Assam there are 22% of cases of victims of trafficking across India. Data has been released by a National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) survey and is related to the year 2015. There is a huge increase in child abuse and children's rights violations. In 2015, 250% of cases of child trafficking were recorded in the northeastern States, mainly in Assam. Of the 1,539 human trafficking cases registered in 2015, 1,494 came from Assam. The total number of cases reported in 2014 was 435, while in 2013 there were 186. In the State of Assam there is also the highest number of trafficking regarding minors, 317 victims, 38% of the national figure. And these data, Caritas notes, can only be considered the "tip of the iceberg", as many cases remain unresolved and the phenomenon has large proportions.

In a recent meeting in Guwahati, Caritas India and its partners identified a starting point for potential intervention in favour of children in areas such as illiteracy, exploitation of child labor, sexual exploitation as well as migration of young girls and boys.

Indian bishops denounce burning of national flag, Hindu idol          10-10-17

Indian Catholic bishops have denounced youths who burned the national flag and an image of a Hindu deity in Mizoram state, northeast India.

"Those who have committed these acts cannot and should not profess to be Christians," the Indian bishops' conference said in an Oct. 6 media release signed by secretary general Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas.

A group of youths in Lunglei district, holding the cross and Bible, poured petrol on the image of Hindu's elephant headed deity Ganesha and set it on fire. They also burnt the national flag they were holding.

According to media reports, one of them was heard saying that Mizoram is the land of Jesus and they would not allow their land to be converted to Hinduism. The incident reportedly occurred on Sept. 21 and only came to the bishops' notice when national media began to report it much later, Bishop Mascarenhas said. "We must stand up against all sorts of fundamentalism, no matter from which religion it comes from," he said.

Hong Kong Caritas counsels against criminal sexual behavior         10-10-17     

Priests and laypeople are among the more than 600 people who have sought to end their criminal sexual behavior through a treatment and prevention programme run by Caritas in Hong Kong.

Francis Kong Po-cheung, project supervisor with Caritas Specialized Treatment and Prevention Project Against Sexual Violence, said 610 people have participated in the programme. Among them, Kong said, "were a few priests and laypeople" who have taken part since the programme began in 2008.

Kong said it takes a lot of courage for them to take the first step in facing their problems. The programme conducts personal counseling to help people get rid of criminal sexual behavior. Group sharing and mutual help groups are also available. Kong said the priests and laypeople participating in the program had to have halted their criminal sexual activities for a lengthy period before joining.

Former Philippine Jesuit provincial superior dies at 74         10-10-17

Father Romeo ‘Archie’ Intengan, former provincial superior of the Society of Jesus in the Philippines, died on Oct. 10, a week before his 75th birthday on Oct. 18.

The Philippine Province of the Jesuits announced that Intengan suffered cardiac arrest while being brought to a hospital.

Father Intengan joined the Jesuits in 1970, and was ordained a priest in 1977. He served as superior of the Philippine Jesuit Province from 1998 to 2004. The late Jesuit became a prominent political figure during the years of the Marcos dictatorship after he co-founded the Philippine Democratic Socialist Party in 1973. He was put in prison in 1978 for leading a protest march against fraudulent elections. He fled the country two years later using false papers.

Sri Lankan parishes campaign for the unborn child          10-10-17

Parishes, church movements and institutions in Colombo Archdiocese have organized a campaign to protect the unborn in Sri Lanka.

They conducted special prayer services and screening of films across the archdiocese to educate Catholics on the evils of abortion, Oct. 8. Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo asked family life committees in parishes to be active in the campaign, "otherwise, they will be ruthlessly murdered by unscrupulous elements in the name of a so called right to choice," he said. Catholic bishops are currently opposing the government's decision to broaden the scope for legalized abortions.

Currently, abortion is illegal in the island nation except when it is needed to save the life of the mother. According to media reports, 10 to 12 percent of maternal deaths are due to excessive bleeding and infections after unsafe and illegal abortions.

An estimated 650 illegal abortions take place daily in Sri Lanka.

Mexico - Among the countries not in a declared war, Mexico has the largest number of murders in the world              10-10-17

"Among the countries that live without war (declared), Mexico is the one where the greatest number of people are killed in the world": this is what the apostolic Nuncio in Mexico, Archbishop Franco Coppola has said. This situation of violence in the country, the Archbishop pointed out, has to do with the disarticulation of society and the absence of the State. At a press conference Archbishop Coppola said that in order to resolve this situation, which has even reached and touched the Catholic Church, it is necessary to strengthen the social fabric, besides having a stronger presence of the State in many places of the Mexican territory to ensure the security of the population.


Death penalty never justifiable, Pope says         11-10-17

In an October 11 address marking the 25th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis said that “it must be clearly stated that the death penalty is an inhumane measure that, regardless of how it is carried out, abases human dignity.”

The Pope mentioned the Catechism‘s teaching on capital punishment as a topic that requires “a more adequate and coherent treatment.” St. John Paul II had already altered the text to say that situations justifying execution today “are very rare, if not practically non-existent.” But the Catechism still upholds the traditional Catholic teaching that “does not exclude recourse to the death penalty.”

In more general comments on the Catechism, Pope Francis said that the Church’s teaching “develops and grows because it is aimed at a fulfillment that none can halt.” He said that “doctrine cannot be preserved without allowing it to develop, nor can it be tied to an interpretation that is rigid and immutable without demeaning the working of the Holy Spirit.”

Pope at General Audience - Hope’s new dimension: attentive waiting        11-10-17

Continuing his catechesis on Hope, Pope Francis on Wednesday 11 Oct. spoke of hope as attentive waiting.

Jesus tells his disciples to be like those who await the return of their master, with lamps alight (cf. Lk 12:35-36). As Christians, therefore, we are always attentive, awaiting the Lord’s return, when God will be all in all (cf. 1 Cor 15:28). Such attentiveness requires patience, however, if we are not to lose sight of God’s grace when our days are monotonous, or our difficulties many. For no night is so long, as to make us forget the joy that comes with dawn. As Christians, we know that Christ will return; that no matter what we may suffer, life has its purpose and deeper meaning, and that the merciful Lord will greet us at its end. Thus we can look upon history and our own lives with confidence and hope, knowing that the future is not guided solely by the work of our hands but by God’s providence. May we repeat everyday the words of the first disciples: “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20). And in our most difficult moments, may we hear the consoling response of Jesus: “Behold, I am coming soon”

India - Condemnation of the Bishops: Hindu leader offends Mother Teresa            11-10-17

It is necessary to condemn and take legal measures regarding the false accusations and derogatory words against Mother Teresa of Calcutta by Hindu leader Swami Parpoornanda Saraswathi: says Archbishop Thumma Bala, at the head of the diocese of Hyderabad and President of the Council of Bishops of Telugu states. The Archbishop calls on the governments of the States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana not to remain indifferent in the face of offensive words against Saint Mother Teresa, broadcast during a television program in recent days.

According to the Hindu nationalist leader, "Mother Teresa organized the illegal trafficking of 50,000 women, making them work as nuns after converting them to Christianity." Swami also said that the religious undeservedly received the highest national honour, the "Bharata Ratna" prize in 1980 from the Government of India.
"Is this not an insult to the nation and to the President of India who recognized the services of the Mother to the poor, the needy, the terminally-ill, the elderly, the abandoned and the suffering?", wonders Archbishop Bala. "The work of Saint Mother Teresa - continues the text - is recognized all over the world and in 1979 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Currently there are 5.161 Sisters of Mother Teresa in 758 Homes working in 139 countries.

Besides, the comments of Paripoornananda Swamiji were not requested because the subject of the discussion was something different. It was not necessary for Swamiji to speak of the Pope and Mother Teresa". The Archbishop notes that "Paripoornananda Swamiji's comments and accusations on Mother Teresa not only deeply hurt the hearts and feelings of the Catholic Church and the Christian community, but also of people belonging to all regions and religions who respect her as saint and mother of the poor and the suffering".

The Bishops ask the government to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in the future.

Pope rejects ‘axis of evil’ rhetoric, Father Spadaro tells Notre Dame audience         11-10-17

In a speech at the University of Notre Dame, Father Antonio Spadaro, the Editor of Civilta Catolica said that God’s mercy is the essential message that Pope Francis wants to convey. The Jesuit editor, who is a close adviser to the Pontiff, said: “The Pope rejects the mixing of politics, morals, and religion that leads to the use of a language that divides reality between the absolute Good and the absolute Evil, between an axis of evil and an axis of good. He said, “Mercy is essential to understanding pope’s political engagement”

Vatican’s UN envoy speaks on rights of children           11-10-17

Speaking to a UN session on the rights of children, Archbishop Bernardito Auza focused on the needs of children in families of migrants and the sufferings of those in countries at war.

Togo - The population in Mango is shocked and traumatized, the Bishop asks for justice and respect of rights             11-10-17

Conflicts continue in the city of Mango, in northern Togo, due to the protests by opposition supporters who have been calling for a constitutional reform for months. 
Thousands of people took to the streets in several cities in Togo, but the most serious incidents were recorded in the city of Mango, where demonstrators set fire to cars and homes. In several other northern cities of the country, including Bafilo and Dapaong, clashes between police and demonstrators have been reported.
Bishop Dominique Banléne Guigbile of Dapaong, intervened immediately especially on what happened in Mango, in his diocese. "The population of Mango and surroundings were deeply shocked, traumatized, and hurt by the state of urban guerrilla that has been going on for several days, …all of which have undermined peace and social cohesion.. The respect of rights and dignity of the person must be guaranteed to all" said the bishop.

United States - Bishops to Congress: "To ensure true protection for dreamers once and for all"   11-10-17

The White House released the "Immigration Principles & Policies" on Oct. 8, 2017, which outline the Trump Administration’s position on immigration especially regarding younger immigrants, known as “dreamers”: the 800,000 illegal immigrants were brought to the United States illegally as children, who the Obama administration enrolled in the DACA ("Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals“) program.
Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of the Diocese of Austin, Texas, President of the Migration Commission, urged Congress to "ensure true protection for dreamers once and for all".

He said, "The Administration’s Immigration Principles and Policies do not provide the way forward for comprehensive immigration reform rooted in respect for human life and dignity, and for the security of our citizens. They are not reflective of our country’s immigrant past, and they attack the most vulnerable, notably unaccompanied children and many others who flee persecution. Most unfortunately, the principles fail to recognize that the family is the fundamental building block of our immigration system, our society, and our Church."

Church official condemns strip search in Philippine prison         11-10-17

The head of the prison ministry of the Philippine bishops complained of the "dehumanizing" treatment visitors to the country's national penitentiary undergo.

Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, said visitors are forced to remove their clothes and subjected to an "intimate search."

"There's no exemption ... even our volunteers and chaplains are stripped naked," he said, adding that the policy has prevented visits to the maximum compound of the New Bilibid Prison.

Diamante said even some prison ministry workers who attend to the needs of the sick prisoners are now reluctant to come for a visit. Church activities in the prison are also affected.

Rights group cautions Pakistan over rise in extremism           11-10-17

Pakistan's independent human rights group has warned of growing resentment and frustration among citizens over the dismal state of human rights, misuse of blasphemy laws and enforced disappearances.

"Lack of attention to governance and indifference towards the people's rights has caused deep resentment and frustration among the citizenry, which all institutions must urgently wake up to address," the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said in a statement, following its executive council meeting Oct. 8.

South Korean church pushes for abolition of death penalty            11-10-17

Catholic Church leaders in South Korea have asked the country's parliament to legally abolish capital punishment as part of commemorations for World Day Against the Death Penalty.

Such sentiments were put forward at an event attended by religious leaders, rights activists and politicians at the National Assembly Oct. 10. Co-organized by Korean bishops' Committee for Justice and Peace and lawmaker Fidelis Lee Sang-min of the ruling Minjoo Party, the event commemorated the World Day Against the Death Penalty and the 20 years of moratorium on death penalty executions in South Korea.

Among those attending the event were Bishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik of Daejeon, president of the CBCK committee.


In troubled Burundi, Catholic bishops say parties should dialogue for peace        12-10-17

The situation of destructive force of ethnic politics is quickly spiraling out of control in the largely Catholic country, said Bishop Joachim Ntahondereye, the chairman of the episcopal conference in Burundi.

“We insist that inclusive dialogue is prioritized by all for the interest of the nation,” said Bishop Ntahondereye of Muyinga in early September. “We must block those who opt for the path of war.”

The controversial election in 2015 gave birth to an armed opposition force and violent clashes that have left hundreds of people dead and thousands of others displaced.

At the moment, neighboring countries are hosting thousands of Burundian refugees. According to the Burundi bishops, refugees are living in terrible conditions, where they are without some of the most important basic needs. They stress that the return of the people is critical, so the citizens can rebuild their country together. The bishops are calling for a national dialogue, in which all groups participate.

Holy See, Japan mark 75 years of diplomatic relations              12-10-17

The Holy See and Japan are marking 75 years of their diplomatic relations his year, It was in 1942 ‎that full diplomatic relations were formalized between the two states, making Japan the first Asian ‎country to do so.  However, informal relations existed as early as 1919 when Japan agreed to a Holy ‎See request to send an Apostolic Delegate to the country, it must even go back to the visit of St Francis Xavier to Japan. Today, Holy See has an Apostolic Nunciature in Tokyo, while Japan has an embassy to the Holy See in ‎Rome.

Yoshio Nakamura is the current Japanese ambassador to the Holy See explained that full diplomatic relations were established 1942 with the outbreak of World War II, and Japan requested the Holy See to mediate to end the war and make peace.  Hence the theme of this 75th anniversary is peace.

Korean Church against death penalty             12-10-17

Church in South Korea proposed a Bill on October 10 for the Abolition of Capital Punishment on the Occasion of 20th Year without Execution of Death Penalty in Korea.

An event was co-organized by Korean bishops' Committee for Justice and Peace and lawmaker Fidelis Lee Sang-min of the ruling Minjoo Party,  to commemorate the World Day Against the Death Penalty and the 20 years of moratorium on death penalty executions in South Korea.

"Today's event is a stepping stone for South Korea to make its journey from moratorium of death sentence to its legal abolition," said Bishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik of Daejeon, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea committee. "Only when the value of human life is respected, the cruelty of humanity can be cured," he said. "Now it's time for the National Assembly to answer our calls by presenting a bill to abolish it and passing it."

National Assembly speaker Chung Sye-kyun said that the National Assembly will try its best to abolish it in the process of constitution revision and bill deliberation. South Korea has not carried out an execution since Dec. 30, 1997. South Korea is considered a de facto abolitionist country, but it still has capital punishment in codes of criminal law.

There are 61 people currently on death row in the country.

Uganda - Reception in the North of the country of South Sudan Refugees fleeing conflict and famine           12-10-17

Uganda in recent months has faced a flow of refugees out of the ordinary. The West Nile Region and the Kiryandongo District, with approximately 2.7 million inhabitants, have in fact taken in an enormous number of South Sudanese refugees fleeing conflict and famine in their home country.

In response to this emergency, Doctors with Africa CUAMM officially presented its new project in Arua, in the north of Uganda, aimed at strengthening the health care system in these areas of the Country, in order to provide mothers and children in the area, including both residents and refugees from South Sudan, with the food and health care they need.
"CUAMM is working to strenghten the health system, fight malnutrition and give assistance to mothers and children. For the right to health for everyone, refugees and non-refugees", said Peter Lochoro, Doctors with Africa CUAMM’s country representative.

Colombia - Between violence and reconciliation          12-10-17

Despite the ceasefire, attempts of pacification and the steps towards national reconciliation, violence continues in the southern part of Colombia. About half of the people who were forced to move to Colombia in 2017 were from the department of Chocò (southwest): said the director of the National Secretariat for Social Pastoral, Mgr. Hector Fabio Henao. "There were 11,000 displaced and nearly 5,000 of these people came from Chocò", said Mgr. Henao speaking to the local radio "La FM", and added that "the department is going through a critical moment".

Although the Catholic Church had previously informed that the ceasefire between the government and the guerrilla of the National Liberation Army (ELN) has been proceeding since 1 October, Mgr. Henao said that the situation in Chocò is critical, because in that area there are other criminal organizations that attack the civilian population.

Young Chinese Catholic photographer earns international award            12-10-17

For young Catholic photographer Tu Chun, the appeal of the ancient and picturesque Chinese World Heritage city of Hangzhou includes its large population of immigrants from poorer provinces and elsewhere.

And it was for a series of photographs on expatriates living in Hangzhou that he won a bronze medal in the 2017 International Photography Awards-China (IPA-China) in the 'people' category.

Tu entered photographs of 40 expatriates and their families taken over two years in what is the capital city of Zhejiang province.

He considered the subject matter to partly be an exploration of so-called globalization. Tu was inspired by exhortations of Pope Francis on the need to care for immigrant families.

Philippine bishops welcome creation of bank for migrant workers        12-10-17

The Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People of the Philippine Catholic bishops welcomed a government order to create a bank for Filipino migrant workers.

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, head of the commission, said the move is "good news" to migrant workers and will be valuable in providing financial assistance. "They can save money, even time and effort, going to different banks, and sending money to different remittance centers," said the bishop.

"They can avoid loan sharks, higher interests on remittance and cunning people who take advantage of our workers," he added.

Korean church activists support decent working conditions           12-10-17

Church labor activists in South Korea have held nationwide campaigns to raise people's awareness about working conditions and labour rights as part of the World Day for Decent Work.

The Christian Workers Movement of Korea (CWMK) organized simultaneous campaigns for decent working conditions across the country including in Seoul, Incheon and Daejeon on Oct. 7. The Catholic labour activists handed out leaflets informing the public about labour rights and the need to improve the labour conditions in some industries.

Emmanuel Nam Myeong-soo, president of CWMK, said that this year's campaign focused on the abolition of an irregular working force and the increase of the minimum wage.


Pope Sends Telegram for California Wildfires        13-10-17

Hearing of the wildfires in California, United States, Pope Francis has sent condolences to the people affected by the disaster. In a telegramme sent on 13 October in his name to Archbishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone of San Francisco and Archbishop José Horacio Gómez of Los Angeles, Cardinal Pietro Parolin expresses the Pope’s prayerful closeness to the victims and and his request to the civil authorities to come to their aid.

‘Visiting Your Country Was a Special Grace for Me,’ Pope Tells Sri Lankan Visitors          13-10-17

‘The possibility of visiting your country was a special grace for me, at a moment when, after years of strife and suffering, the nation was striving for reconciliation and healing.’ Pope Francis told this on Oct. 13, 2017, to a delegation of faithful from Sri Lanka, including members of the Organizing Committee for his pastoral visit in January 2015, in the Vatican.

In his address, the Holy Father said how he was deeply moved by the great number of Sri Lankans, united across religions and cultures, who came out to greet him, and by the moving and beautiful celebration of the canonization of Saint Joseph Vaz, missionary to the Indian Ocean.

Recognizing the sacrifices made by many families and individuals and encouraging their work, the Pontiff concluded entrusting Sri Lanka’s people and her leaders to the intercession of Our Lady of Madhu.

Pope Francis Affirms Benefits of ‘Unified’ Sports                 13-10-17

Pope Francis on October 13, 2017, affirmed the value of “unified” sport “through which athletes both with and without intellectual disabilities will play together.”

He made his comments during an audience with the Special Olympic Athletes participating in the “Unified Football” Tournament, October 13-15, 2017, in Rome, to mark 50 years since the birth of the international sports association.

 “This beautiful activity, which you carry ahead with commitment and conviction, nourishes hope in a positive and fruitful future for sport, because it ensures that it becomes a true occasion for inclusion and involvement,” the Holy Father said. “Never tire of showing the world of sport your shared commitment to constructing more fraternal societies, in which people can grow and develop, and fully realize their own capacities.”

Pope Francis Receives Prime Minister of Lebanon               13-10-17

Pope Francis met Prime Minister of the Republic of Lebanon, Saad Rafic Harir on October 13. The two leaders discussed the situation in Lebanon and the developments in the Middle East and the importance of keeping a Christian presence in the area.

Archbishop Auza: Poverty a Tragic Outcome                13-10-17

Poverty is one of the tragic outcomes of social, economic and political exclusion, said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations. His comments came on October 12, 2017, during the Second Committee debate on Agenda Item 23, dedicated to the “Eradication of Poverty” at the United Nations in New York.

He went on to say that exclusion blocks the participation necessary for integral human development and concentrates development benefits and opportunities in the hands of some. And he urged a concerted strategic focus on pathways to participation, especially education, health, and nutrition; social protection policies for seniors, children and poor families; and policies to increase access to jobs, credit and entrepreneurial opportunities for women.

Archbishop Auza Calls for ‘Indigenous’ Definition                13-10-17

Indigenous Peoples should be treated as dignified partners whose free, prior and informed consent should be sought in all matters concerning them, said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations. He stressed the need for an agreed definition of “indigenous peoples” that pertains across various contexts.

His remarks came on October 12, 2017, during the Third Committee debate on Agenda Item 69, dedicated to the “Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” at the United Nations in New York.

South Sudan - Peace is built with prayer: visit of the Community of Taizé in South Sudan      13-10-17

Peace is born from the heart of every man and is built in society and in the nation through prayer: this is the message left by the representatives of the Community of Taizé to the youngsters in schools in South Sudan. The girls of a Catholic secondary school in South Sudan, under the guidance of the Sisters of Loreto, continue to draw inspiration from the Community of Taizé, an ecumenical community founded in France.
Sister Orla Treacy, headmistress of the “Loreto Girls Secondary School” in the Catholic Diocese of Rumbek in South Sudan, talked about the meeting between the girls of her institute and the communities of Taizé present in Kenya and France: "We nurtured a long friendship with the community of Taize in Kenya, thanks to visits by brother Luc from Nairobi in South Sudan. Last year, two of our graduates spent three months with the community and with the young of Taizé in France", continues Sister Orla.

Lebanon - Demonstration of Iraqi Christian refugees: We do not want to go back to Iraq, give us permission to emigrate          13-10-17

Some dozen Iraqi Christian refugees organized a demonstration in Beirut on Wednesday, 11 October in front of the offices of the High Commissioner for Refugees to ask the competent authorities to remove the obstacles posed to their expulsion requests towards other Countries, registered in the competent offices of several foreign diplomatic missions operating in the Lebanese capital. The demonstrators reiterated that they have no intention of being repatriated to Iraq, and have also expressed critical considerations towards their respective ecclesiastical authorities, arguing that they also contribute to curbing and preventing the granting of expatriation permits, because they are afraid to see the Christian presence in Iraq irreparably diminish.

Colombia - The "horrible night" of Tumaco: abandonment, violence and death, invisible borders, drug trafficking              13-10-17

After stating that violence and death due to the abandonment and marginalization by the State, leading to emergence of armed groups, there is a new dimension to the violence, says the Tumaco diocese of Colombia, led by Bishop Orlando Olave Villanoba: selective deaths, the re-activation ‘invisible borders’ and social control by illegal armed groups. With the consequence, there are missing persons, increased drug consumption by the young, forced displacement and forced recruitment of children - boys and girls.

The statement denounces drug trafficking as the main sin in society, which has upset the reality and destroyed families and personal, family and community life projects".


Pope sends video-message to pilgrims in Fatima for end of Centenary celebrations        14-10-17

Pope Francis sent a video-message to pilgrims gathered in Fatima to mark the closing of the Centenary of the Fatima Apparitions.

“Never be afraid, God is infinitely greater than all of our problems. He loves us very much. Go forward in your journey without losing sight of the Mother, like a child who feels safe when close to his mother, we too are safe when close to Our Lady” he said.   

In his message which was broadcast on giant screens at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima on 13 October, the Pope recalled his own pilgrimage to Fatima in May and the blessings received and he urged the faithful “never to put the Rosary aside, but to continue to recite it as She asked”. 

United States – 18.5% of US Hispanics live under below-poverty line        14-10-17

The US Hispanics form the group that suffers greatly from hunger and poverty, much below the general level of the people, according to an organization “Pan para el Mundo”. This Christian charity organization has said that in 2016 18.5% of Latin-American families had to struggle to have enough food to survive compared to 12.3% of non-Latins. Almost every 5th Hispanic (19.4%) has lived in greater poverty compared to the 12.7% who have lived below poverty line. Food insecurity has affected the children since 24% of the Latin American Children had a greater probability of not having nourishing food compared to the 14% non-Latin children. Moreover, 30% of the heads of Latin families do not possess valid documents.

Bishop Jose Garcia, the executive counsellor of the organization, has said that in spite of their big number, they can still be supported better through better nutrition-economics 


Pope Francis canonizes 35 new saints               15-10-17

Inviting all faithful to practice Christian love every day, Pope Francis canonized 35 new saints, nearly all of them martyrs, holding them up as models who “point the way”.

To the over 35,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Canonization Mass on 15 October Sunday, he said “They did not say a fleeting ‘yes’ to love, they said ‘yes’ with their lives and to the very end”.  

Those canonized included thirty martyrs, both priests and lay persons, who suffered anti-Catholic persecution in 1645 at the hands of Dutch Calvinists in Brazil, while three indigenous children in 16th century Mexico were martyred for refusing to renounce their Catholic faith and return to their ancient traditions. The other two new saints are a 20th-century priest from Spain and an Italian priest who died in 1739.

Pope announces Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region           15-10-17

Pope Francis has announced a special assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region that will focus on the needs of its indigenous people, on new paths for evangelization and on the crisis of the rain forest.

The Pope’s announcement came on Sunday during the Angelus after a canonization Mass during which he canonized 35 new saints, including three indigenous children martyred in 16th century Mexico.

“Accepting the desire of some Catholic Bishops’ Conferences in Latin America, as well as the voice of various pastors and faithful from other parts of the world, I have decided to convene a Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region, which will take place in Rome in the month October 2019”  he said. The main purpose of the Amazon synod, the Pope explained, will be to “identify new paths for the evangelization of God’s people in that region”.

Special attention, he added, will be paid to the indigenous people who are “often forgotten and without the prospect of a serene future, also because of the crisis of the Amazonian rain forest, a ‘lung’ of primary importance for our planet.”