CATHOLIC WORLD LAST WEEK (CWLW) 4-10 Dec, 2017

CATHOLIC WORLD LAST WEEK

(CWLW)

4-10 Dec, 2017

4-12-17

In airplane press conference, Pope defends handling of Rohingya crisis           4-12-17

Pope Francis explained his decision not to mention the Rohingya crisis directly during his visit to Myanmar, in an exchange with reporters during his return flight to Rome after his Asian trip.

The Pontiff said that “everyone knows what I think” about the treatment of the Rohingya, reminding reporters that he had spoken out several times, in public audiences, about the crisis. He remarked that he had also addressed the subject indirectly in Myanmar, by speaking in defence of the rights of minorities.

However, the Pope said that he had been advised by local Church leaders that an explicit reference to the human-rights crisis in Myanmar would provoke a negative reaction. “If I had said that word in the official speech, it would have been like slamming the door in the face of my interlocutors,” he said. He added that in meeting with the military leaders of Myanmar, “I have not negotiated the truth.” He said that he had sought to advance a dialogue on the role of human rights.

Pope Francis met Rohingya refugees, and spoke about the crisis, during the second stop of his Asian trip, in Bangladesh. He said that a meeting with representatives of the oppressed people was a high priority: “a set condition of the trip.”

Touching on one other issue during his in-flight interview, the Pope reiterated his belief that nuclear weapons must be abolished, and that nuclear deterrence cannot be morally justified. “This can be discussed,” he said, “but it is my firm opinion.” Pope Francis said that with the proliferation of sophisticated nuclear weapons “we are at the limit of lawfulness.”

 

In preview of synod, Pope Francis outlines vision of vocational ministry           4-2-17


In a message to a Vatican conference “Vocational ministry and consecrated life: prospects and hopes”, Pope Francis outlined his vision of vocational ministry to youth—the theme of the October 1918 Synod of Bishops. The Pope discussed 3 convictions, 3 challenges, and 7 traits of vocational ministry.

The conference was held at the Pontifical “Regina Apostolorum” Athenaeum from 1 to 3 December 2017. This Synod may help all consecrated persons to give a generous response to their own vocation, the Pope said, and, at the same time, help them all to intensify the pastoral vocation among families and young people so that those who are called to follow Christ in the consecrated life or in other vocations within the People of God can find the suitable channels to accept that call and respond generously to it.

Pope’s letter to Argentine bishops is magisterial teaching, Cardinal Parolin says         4-12-17

The Vatican has published a letter from Pope Francis to Argentine bishops, confirming their interpretation of Amoris Laetitia, in Acta Apostolicae Sedis (Acts of the Apostolic See), the official collection of formal Vatican decisions and decrees.

The Pope’s letter appears in Acta Apostolicae Sedis together with the full text of the Argentine bishops’ letter. It is also accompanied by a note from Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, who says that both the papal letter and the bishops’ guidelines should be recognized as acts of the “authentic magisterium.” Cardinal Parolin revealed that the Pontiff had ordered the publication of his letter in the official Vatican gazette.

In his letter Pope Francis said that the Argentine guidelines for implementation of Amoris Laetitia—which allowed for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion in some cases— reflected an accurate understanding of his apostolic exhortation. “There are no other interpretations,” the Pope wrote.

 

Pope Francis: Message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations              4-12-17
“Listening, discerning, and living the call of Lord” is the title of the Pontiff’s message for the 2018 World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which the Church will commemorate on the 4th Sunday of Easter (April 22).

Pope challenges Latin American politicians to serve the common good                 4-12-17


“How much we are in need of a good and noble politics, and its protagonists, here in Latin America,” the Pope said in a video message to a conference of Latin American Catholics in political life. The Pope also warned pastors not to identify “active laity” with laity active in parish and diocesan affairs: “we have forgotten and neglected the believer who often burns his hope in the daily struggle to live his faith.”

Holy See, at UN panel discussion, emphasizes importance of Christians, other minorities in post-ISIS Iraq           4-12-17


“ISIS is on the verge of military defeat, but unless those displaced from the Nineveh Plains can return, ISIS will have succeeded in its ideological objective to eliminate religious minorities from the region,” the Holy See Mission at the UN noted.

 

Peru to Withdraw Its ‘Gender Ideology’ School Curriculum           4-12-17

The Peruvian government will withdraw a 2016 national school curriculum that has been widely criticized for its “gender ideology.”

In a Nov. 24 statement, Peru’s Department of Education announced that a 2009 version of the National Curriculum will be reimplemented in Peruvian schools. The former curriculum does not include the gender ideology concepts addressed in the 2016 version.

The announcement was celebrated as a “new victory for parents” by a group using the hashtag #ConMisHijosNoTeMetas (“Don’t you mess with my children”). In March 2017, the group organized marches in Peru, drawing more than 1.5 million people to demonstrate against a progressive gender ideology.

 

US bishops’ grants for Latin America. including help for migrants and victims of natural disasters          4-12-17

With the goal of strengthening and supporting the pastoral work of the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America awarded nearly $3.2 million in grants for 183 pastoral projects in the region for 2018. These most recent grants were made at the Subcommittee's meeting in November and bring the total awarded for pastoral grants 2018 to almost $7.2 million. Four other projects were awarded in response to natural disasters.

 

Austrian cardinal co-hosts AIDS memorial service, urges non-judgmental attitude          4-12-17


Cardinal Christoph Schönborn served as co-host of a memorial service for AIDS victims in Vienna’s cathedral of St. Stephen. “We can change things by not judging or ostracizing,” said the Austrian cardinal. “Perhaps that will be the best message we can send out from here tonight.”

 

Priest, two others arrested at a US abortion clinic          4-12-17 \

Father Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for Life was one of three people arrested on 4 December in a “red rose rescue” at an abortion clinic in Washington, DC. The three had entered the clinic, giving red roses to women there, and urging them not to go through with abortion plans. They had said ‘mass murder’ of unborn must end.

A first: European Parliament holds hearing on persecution of Christians        1-12-17

The European Parliament on Nov. 30, 2017 held its first-ever public hearing on the global persecution of Christians. Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) was invited to provide factual background information as contained in the 2017 edition of “Persecuted and Forgotten?” a biennial report Christian persecution around the world.

Marcela Szymanski of the ACN EU Office provided a summary of the report’s main findings, along with a review of case studies. The report elicited considerable interest especially among those political leaders who had not been particularly aware that Christian persecution is so acute in countries like India, China and Nigeria.

 

Uprooted: The growing crisis for refugee and migrant children         4-12-17

UNICEF Report: Around the world, nearly 50 million children have migrated across borders or been forcibly displaced – and this is a conservative estimate. More than half of these girls and boys fled violence and insecurity – 28 million in total. These children may be refugees, internally displaced or migrants, but first and foremost, they are children: no matter where they come from, whoever they are, and without exception. Children do not bear any responsibility for the bombs and bullets, the gang violence, persecution, the shriveled crops and low family wages driving them from their homes. They are, however, always the first to be affected by war, conflict, climate change and poverty. Children in these contexts are among the most vulnerable people on earth and this vulnerability is only getting worse. The number of child refugees under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) mandate has more than doubled in just 10 years.

 

Bangladesh - The police: no seizure, Fr. Rozario is "mentally unstable"           4-12-17

There is mystery regarding the Catholic priest kidnapped and released in Bangladesh. Fr. William Walter Rozario is accused by the police of having somehow staged the kidnapping and having moved away from his diocese alone, because considered "mentally unstable". The paradoxical version of the police forces, who are still keeping Fr. Rozario in custody, was presented at a press conference held today in Natore where the priest was present without the opportunity to say a word and give his version of the facts. He is dazed and under a profound sense of shock. Till he comes to normal, we cannot know the truth.

He was going to bring a group of pilgrims from his Rajshahi diocese to take part in the papal events at Dhaka and he was last seen going to the printers in Bonpara in preparation for the pilgrim-journey to Dhaka. His bishop Gervas Rozario said he would be in the bishop’s house for a few days till he is out of the state of shock. It is suspected that the Muslim fundamentalists are behind the kidnapping.

 

Bolivia - Archbishop Gualberti: "The defence of democratic values loses moral force if it is not pursued with peaceful means"        4-12-17

 

"Even if the reasons for the protests and the defence of democratic values, institutions and the expressed will of the people are right, they lose their moral strength when they are not pursued with peaceful means", said Archbishop Sergio Alfredo Gualberti Calandrina of Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia), in the Mass, on the first Sunday of Advent.
"We must live this time of Advent in communion and peace, this call comes at the right time for our country and our city, which in these days has been the scene of much violence and fighting for various reasons". The Archbishop made a clear reference to the recent report where Santa Cruz is indicated as the first city for the number of cases of violence. Although it is a very controversial initiative, it is the duty of citizens to go to the polls peacefully, and vote according to conscience.

 

Modi hits out at archbishop for 'maligning' nationalists        4-12-17

Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized Archbishop Thomas Macwan of Gandhinagar of Gujarat state on Dec 3 for issuing pastoral letter to Catholics in the Gujarat to pray for the victory of "humane leaders" and to "save the country from nationalist forces".
Without taking the name of the archbishop Modi said: "I am shocked that a religious person has issued a fatwa to kick out rashtra-premis (nationalists)," the Times of India reported. Speaking at the opening of a 400-bed multi-specialty hospital run by the Swaminarayan sect, Modi said: "Only patriots can work for the welfare of people without discriminating on grounds of religion, caste and language..." Modi recalled the Centre's mission to rescue Christian priests, nurses and other Indians from strife-stricken countries. He said the Indian government had also rescued the citizens of 80 other countries. Attacking Archbishop Macwan on Twitter without taking his name, he said: "I was surprised to see a man associated with spirituality issue a diktat to remove nationalist forces from power..."

'Gay conversion' therapy a reality in China           4-12-17

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has revealed that some public hospitals and private clinics in China are making patients endure "gay conversion" therapy to re-orient their sexuality. 

However, analysts say it is mostly by pressure from parents that it is done, rather than as a government policy. Parents wanted their children to be made to conform to social expectations, not least through the institution of traditional marriage, the government said. But according to HRW, none of 17 individuals it interviewed gave "free and informed" consent because they had been subjected to personal pressure. Many were given electro-shock therapy and medication, orally or by injection, which was unknown to them. None of those who endured the conversion therapy were expected to file complaints. Some were afraid of the repercussions of having their sexual orientation made public.

Researchers find that both the opportunity for profit and the intense pressure to conform to traditional social norms is likely to explain why there is still gay conversion therapy in China, despite the lack of fundamentalist Christian groups.

Christian colony attack in Pakistan kills young boy            4-12-17

A bomb went off at the main gate of a Christian colony in the Pakistani city of Chaman on Dec. 2, killing a 7-year-old boy and two others, police said, the latest incident of violence in the restive southwestern province of Baluchistan.

"It was a hand grenade which caused the explosion at the colony's gate," Gul Mohammad, a police officer, told English daily Dawn. "The blast also smashed windows in nearby homes," he said. The attack in Chaman took place the day after Taliban gunmen wearing burqas stormed a college in the country’s northwestern region, killing nine people, mostly students. Both the terrorist attacks happened as Muslims were celebrating Milid Milad-un Nabi (the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad.) 

Shezan William, Executive Secretary of Caritas Quetta, said, "Christians are rarely attacked. The attack has raised concerns for the safety of churches especially in Christmas gatherings. We are in close contact with locals of the attacked colony and praying for the affected families."

Thirty-two Catholic fishermen dead, as cyclone hits India           4-12-17

A cyclone on the southern Indian coast over the weekend claimed the lives of at least 32 poor Catholic fishermen who were at sea and 200 more were missing. Thousands of other coastal residents had shifted into relief camps.

Gusty winds and heavy rains began to lash the coast near the southern tip of India on 30 November after a depression near Sri Lanka developed into a cyclone. The 'very severe cyclone' named Ockhi had reduced intensity by 4 December to become a 'severe cyclone'.

The confirmed deaths were in Kerala and Tamil Nadu states, according to government sources.

(8-12-17)

Fishermen of several Kanyakumari villages, who staged a ‘block-train-movement’ at the Kuzhithurai railway station, in protest against alleged lack of government efforts to rescue Ocki-hit fishermen, ended their 13-hour stir past midnight on 7 December when Catholic priests persuaded the fishermen to accept the District Collector’s promise. However, police have registered a case against 2000 protesters including 3 parish priests, Frs Lucian, Jestus and Asst parish priest Kennedy. This is to prevent further demonstrations.

The government has announced that 582 fishermen are missing and 4000 hectare of food crops and trees destroyed.

Cardinal Tagle calls on Filipinos to help Manila's poor           4-12-17

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the archbishop of Manila, has urged Catholics to help clergy minister to the Philippine capital's poor, especially internal migrants fleeing disasters and conflicts in their rural home communities.

Cardinal Tagle said Catholics should go beyond formal parish organizations and give help to "transients, the many poor, and victims of different calamities, natural or man-made calamities," during his homily at a Nov. 30 Mass to open the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons. Many  of the capital's residents, he pointed out, are migrants from the provinces. The cardinal stressed the need for lay Catholics to carry out bigger roles in evangelization. "I hope that in this year, you would help us priests and the religious on how to become more effective in spreading the Gospel," he said.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines has dedicated the year 2018 to the clergy and consecrated persons and lined up activities for "renewed servant-leaders for the new evangelization".

Clergy and religious “are greatly instrumental for the lay to become truly an evangelized and evangelizing community of disciples,” the bishops stated in their pastoral exhortation. “Yet they are not immune to the twin errors of a dichotomy of faith and inadequate discipleship of Christ.”

 

5-12-17

 

‘Perhaps we have arrived at the End Times’: Cardinal Burke in interview            5-12-17

Cardinal Burke discussed in an interview to “Cahtolic Herald” confusion in the Church, the dubia, the Mass, and the Knights of Malta. “One may have the feeling that the Church gives the appearance of being unwilling to obey the mandates of our Lord,” he said. “Then perhaps we have arrived at the end times.”

 

Patriarch’s message to Moscow raises hope for reunion among Ukrainian Orthodox      5-12-17

An extraordinary Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church concluded with a plea for unity. The Synod then received a surprisingly conciliatory message from Ukrainian Orthodox Patriarch Filaret, who had broken with Moscow after his country’s independence. The message raised the prospect of reunion between two bodies that have vied for the allegiance of Ukrainian Orthodox believers.

 

Croatian bishops charges UN tribunal is unjust in war-crimes trials           5-12-17


The president of Croatia’s bishops’ conference condemned “unjust verdicts” at a United Nations war crimes trial, after a jailed general publicly committed suicide when his appeal was rejected.

Archbishop Zelimir Puljic of Zadar, Croatia, said, “Unfortunately, this tribunal has acted from political motives and followed political goals in attempting to show everyone is equally guilty and responsible.” He said this following the Nov. 29 suicide of Bosnian Croat military chief Slobodan Praljak, who died of heart failure after drinking potassium cyanide during a hearing with five other Croatian-Bosnian military leaders in The Hague.

In a Dec. 1 Croatian Radio interview, Archbishop Puljic said he regretted Praljak’s action, but believed his claim to be “giving his life for the truth” had “positive connotations.” He said the tribunal judge had “reacted indecisively and coldly,” without “elementary human solidarity and compassion.”

 

Bishops call on UK Government to help Calais migrants                   5-12-17

From 27 – 30th November 2017 a delegation from Justice and Peace Scotland were guests of the Maria Skobtsova Catholic Worker House in Calais, France. Bishop William Nolan (President, and Bishop of Galloway) and Danny Sweeney (Social Justice Co-ordinator) went to witness first-hand the situation on the ground, over a year after the migrant camp, known as “the jungle” was dismantled, and the situation disappeared from the public consciousness of many. They were joined on 29th November by Bishop Paul McAleenan (Lead Bishop for Asylum and Migration, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales) and Tom Burke (CBCEW International Affairs Department).

Together the Bishops joined staff from Secour Catholique in Calais meeting young migrants who are sleeping rough, and learning about the challenges since ‘the jungle’ was demolished. Whilst the camp has closed young migrants remain. The Catholic Parliamentary Office, an agency of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, has called on the UK government to help Calais migrants.

 

Orthodox churches see decline in numbers, little growth outside Europe          5-12-17

 

The world’s Orthodox population remains heavily concentrated in Europe, especially in Russia, reports L’Espresso. However in Russia—home to 100 million of the world’s 260 million Orthodox— only 15 percent of them maintain that religion is “very important” in their lives and only 6% attend services weekly. 
Attendance rates at Orthodox services are low throughout Europe. But in Ethiopia, a healthy 78% of Orthodox believers go to church weekly.

 

Australia’s young Catholics are creating a resurgence in the Church, says bishop          5-12-17

Despite the heightened anti-Catholic feeling, an increasing number of young people are fervent in their faith, says Bishop Richard Umbers, the auxiliary of Sydney Archdiocese. The following are the reasons for his optimism.

The plebiscite over same-sex marriage has been upsetting. There has been heightening of anti-catholic feeling as a response to child abuse and very recently a number of 19-year-olds have beheaded the statues of Mary and Jesus.

Yet the same day, Maronite youth gathered round the statue to pray the rosary in reparation and many were present when new statues, donated by people, were blessed. An Australian who studied theology in Mosul was ordained priest in Sydney. Many Iraqi and Syrian Christians are entering Catholic schools. Across the west and south of Sydney there are a growing number of Syro-Malabar families who gather in groups to pray and learn catechesis. A Catholic band of youths have been performing to large crowds. A recent youth launch in Liverpool (to the south of Sydney) attracted more than 1,000 people to a Mass sung by Samoans. The youth members of Orange Sky who offer free laundry service and other groups will play at the upcoming Australian Catholic Youth Festival for 19,000 participants. An increase in vocations has been recorded.

Hence, Bishop Richard Umbers concludes, there has been a resurgence in pockets of young people in Australia who are quite fervent in their faith.

 

Canadian Rabbinic Caucus and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops: biannual meeting         5-12-17

The national bilateral dialogue of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus met for its biannual meeting on 29 November 2017 at the Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom, Montreal. One representative from the Catholic as well as the Jewish tradition presented a reflection on Psalm 23. The dialogue members then shared and discussed their approaches and interpretations for reading and praying the Psalms, in order to discover both the commonalities and the differences in their respective approaches. A culminating moment of the joint study came with the singing of Psalm 23 in both Hebrew and French.

The second half of the meeting involved two additional presentations. The Jewish representatives reflected on Israel as a theological/historical/contemporary political reality, and the Catholic representatives shared a reflection on the nature and mission of the Catholic Church.

The dialogue is scheduled to meet again in May 2018.

 

Madagascar - After the nightmare of the plague, life resumes         5-12-17

 

"In the last few days there have been no reports of cases of plague in the capital. The situation has improved": says Sister Giacinta Gobetti, missionary of the minor Carmelites of charity in Antananarivo. After declaring the "state of emergency" by first closing schools and then banning any form of gathering in public places, the Malagasy government announced recently the end of the epidemic in urban areas, but the attention remains high throughout the country, which has recorded 202 deaths due to cases of plague since August, because the epidemic is seasonal and will last until April 2018.
Plague is endemic in some areas of Madagascar, but this year's epidemic has been more contagious because two-thirds of the cases were related to lung plague, which can be transmitted from human to human and can lead to death in only twenty-four hours.

 

Sri Lanka - Defeating violence against women: the commitment of Christian communities       5-12-17

"Women in Sri Lanka still face an increasing rate of violence after decades of ethnic conflict and civil war. The Christian community in Sri Lanka is called to a strong commitment to eradicate violence against women at all levels": is the appeal launched by a recent assembly of the" Christian Conference of Asia "(CCA), an ecumenical body that gathers Christian communities present on the continent. 
The meeting dedicated to the condition of women was organized in Colombo in collaboration with the "Ecumenical Women's Action against Violence" and the "National Christian Council in Sri Lanka".
The focus of the consultation, which was attended by women from various Christian Asian communities, including representatives of the Catholic Church, was to evaluate the possibility of coordinated actions to counter the scourge of violence against women in Sri Lanka.
According to studies and local reports, about 40% of women in Sri Lanka today suffer from some type of violence, while over 60% of women are victims of domestic violence.


Bangladesh - Bishop Gomes: "We are all involved in asking the Rohingya for forgiveness"       5-12-17

 

"By coming to Bangladesh the Pope first of all wanted to show, as spiritual leader, trust in our country and attention towards the Bengali people. We are grateful. The whole country stopped to welcome him and follow his gestures and words. For the little flock of our Church it was an exciting and important moment from a spiritual point of view, because he came to encourage and strengthen the faith of the people of God". This is what Theotonius Gomes, Auxiliary Bishop of Dhaka and president of Caritas Bangladesh said, talking about the legacy and the spirit that Pope Francis’ visit left in the country.
Bishop Gomes remarks: "The meeting with the Rohingya refugees that the Pope wanted to meet one by one, in person will remain engraved in our memory. Our request for forgiveness still resounds in our hearts, made in the name of all humanity. We all feel involved in this forgiveness, as men and as Christians. And we feel involved in the commitment to help them".

 

Middle East - Heads of Churches meet "global" leaders: Orthodox Patriarchs meet Putin, Archbishop Warda meets Pence in the USA          5-12-17


The contribution of the Russian military allowed the Syrian army to "free" even the areas of Syria most dear to Christians "from terrorists". And the collaboration between the Patriarchate of Moscow and the Catholic Church may have a "decisive role" in encouraging the return of Christian refugees to their homes, in the regions freed from the control of the jihadists. This was emphasized by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who on Monday December 4 received the Patriarchs and Heads of Delegation of the Orthodox Churches who arrived in Moscow to participate in the celebrations scheduled for the 100th anniversary of the Restoration of the Patriarchate in the Russian Orthodox Church. The Russian President specified that the Russian support will not be reserved exclusively for Christians, but will be offered to Syrians of all faiths. The Kremlin leader also said that the working group created between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church will be able to play a "leading role" in promoting the return of the Christian population to Syria.
Also on Monday, December 4, Archbishop Bashar Warda, at the head of the Chaldean Archeparchy of Erbil, was received by US Vice-President Mike Pence. The conversation between Warda and Pence focused on the condition of the Christian communities in northern Iraq and on the initiatives put in place to encourage the return of Christian refugees to Mosul and the Nineveh Plain.

 

Brazil - Assassination of the missionary Vicente Cañas: executioner condemned        5-12-17

 

The only accused survivor, Ronaldo Antônio Osmar, former civil police delegate, accused of participating in the murder of the Spanish Jesuit missionary Vicente Cañas, in April 1987, was found guilty by the Regional Court of Cuiabá and sentenced to 14 years and 3 months imprisonment. The first trial on his case came up only in 2006, 19 years after the crime, and the accused were acquitted for lack of evidence. This new trial lasted two days, November 29 and 30, which led to the condemnation of Osmar.
According to the information, one of the missionary’s executioners confessed the crime and embroiled the accused and those who had hired him to organize it. Fr Fausto Campoli, Vicente Cañas’ confrere, testified the Jesuit’s close relationship with the Indios Enawene Nawe and how they considered him a member of their people, thus disproving the thesis that they may have killed him.
Fr Vicente Cañas born in Spain on October 22, 1939 he arrived in Brazil in 1966. In 1968 his new destination was Mato Grosso, where he committed himself wholeheartedly in the inculturation of indigenous peoples. He was killed at 48 years of age in a violent manner.

 

Colombia - Catholic politicians of Latin America: "We ask for a more fraternal civilization"      5-12-17

 

"The scourge of corruption is the most damaging for our peoples of Latin America, public corruption erodes societies, injustice and the lack of unity increase in industrialized countries, the globalization of economy clearly brings the lack of solidarity of our societies. We demand a new civilization, the civilization of fraternity": said Gabriela Alejandra Castellanos, executive director of the National Anti-Corruption Council of Honduras, during one of the reports presented at the Meeting of Catholics with political responsibilities at the service of the Latin American peoples. The meeting was held from 1 to 3 December, at the headquarters of the Colombian Episcopal Conference, in Bogotá, organized by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America (CAL) and by the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM).
"In this closed-door meeting, 95 guests including Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, priests and lay people who exercise or have held political offices in their countries had a thorough dialogue to guide the search for the common good of society, exchanging experiences, testimonies and reflections on the political responsibilities at the service of the Latin American populations".

Archbishop's poll letter shocks Indian prime minister           5-12-17

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken strong exception to a Catholic Archbishop who warned that "nationalist forces" could take over the nation.

Archbishop Macwan of Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat, kicked off the row on Nov. 21 by sending a letter to all bishops in the state. The letter warned that nationalists had become increasingly politically dominant in India and were on the "verge" of holding power nationwide. This was seen as a clear reference to the highly nationalist, pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). On Dec. 9 and 14 elections are due to be held in western India's Gujarat state, where the BJP has ruled since 1995. The BJP rules nationally as well as in a number of India's 29 states.

Prime Minister Modi responded that he was "shocked" that a man of religion was effectively trying to direct Catholics on how to vote. Modi was addressing a public meeting in Gandhinagar on Dec. 2 ahead of the election in his home state.

Archbishop Macwan, without specifically naming any political party in his letter, sought prayers to help voters elect people who would remain "faithful" to India's secular constitution and respect human rights.

The Gujarat Election Commission on Nov. 25 asked Archbishop Macwan to explain why his letter should not be viewed as a violation of electoral conduct laws. The prelate said he had only issued a request for prayers with no bad intentions against any particular political party.

 

Indonesians called on to vote for only Muslim leaders           5-12-17

Leaders of hard-line Islamic groups in Indonesia have called on Muslims to only vote for co-religionists in elections for public office. The rationale was that not electing non-Muslims would improve the implementation of Islamic teachings.

On Dec. 2 about 40,000 Muslims from Jakarta and West Java gathered to commemorate a rally held a year ago targeting former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian also known as Ahok. He was sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy after challenging claims that the Quran required Muslims to be led only by fellow Muslims. He essentially claimed that the Quranic verse at the center of the row was misinterpreted by his Muslim electoral opponents.

The Dec. 2 commemorative rally’s aim was to promote Muslim leaders ahead of 2018 provincial, district and municipal elections as well as a presidential election due in 2019. Various speakers called on voters to seek advice from Muslim clerics before casting ballots.

 

Philippine military under fire over aid blockade            5-12-17

 

Troops are blocking aid to almost 2,000 indigenous people who fled their homes amid intensifying military operations against communist rebels in Mindanao last week, according to church officials in the southern Philippines. More than 257 tribal families from 14 communities fled their mountain homes in the town of Lianga in Surigao del Sur province to an emergency center nearby on Nov. 26.

Father Raymond Montero Ambray of Tandag Diocese said food and medical assistance from church and aid groups were being prevented from reaching them. "The military is also deterring ordinary people who want to bring food and aid to evacuees who are starving and sick," he said. It was also said that soldiers had set up roadblocks on mountain roads to Lianga, allowing only local government social welfare teams to deliver limited food supplies to the displaced.

Indonesia's Christian leaders call for national unity          5-12-17

Christian leaders in Indonesia have issued a joint message calling on Catholics and Protestants to promote national unity amid growing intolerance as the country prepares for elections next year.

Holy Cross Bishop Antonius Subianto Bunyamin of Bandung, secretary-general of the Catholic bishops' conference and Reverend and Gomar Gultom, general secretary of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia were among the Christian leaders who signed the message. "The unity of the Indonesian nation is under threat from divisions. Anxieties have been felt in recent months. Certain parties, clearly or unclearly, have attempted to take a path that deviates from our national philosophy of Pancasila [five principles]," they said.  "It can be seen at many rallies and incidents in relation to unhealthy political competition that uses all means, including a narrow fanaticism and even religious incitement," they said.

 

6-12-17

Pope signals opposition to Trump plan for Jerusalem embassy            6-12-17

At his public audience on December 6, Pope Francis said that he “cannot keep silent” about the situation in Jerusalem—an obvious reference to the announcement by US President Donald Trump to move the US embassy to that city. The Pope made “a heartfelt appeal for everyone’s commitment to respect the city’s status quo, in conformity with the pertinent United Nations resolutions.”

Meanwhile, Jerusalem’s Catholic, Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Protestant leaders said in a joint statement that President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will “yield increased hatred, conflict, violence, and suffering” and “cause irreparable harm.”

 

Pope: ‘safeguard the treasure of the incredible patrimony of the Latin tradition’          6-12-17

 

Pope Francis urged Vatican academics to speak to the hearts of young people while passing on the knowledge and the wisdom of the Fathers. The Pope's words came in a message addressing members of the Pontifical Academies as they held their 22nd Public Session on the theme: “In Interiore homine”.

Pope Francis expressed his hope that the recognitions at the annual conference represent an encouragement to reflect upon and keep alive the concept of the absolute centrality of mankind in the Christian and human experience as expressed by classical Latin and Christian authors.

He recalled the Fathers of the Church and the Latin writers of the first Christian millennium focusing in particular on the figure and on the role of St. Augustine whom, he said, “taking cue from his personal experience as witnessed in his ‘Confessions’, offers us unforgettable pages” of wisdom.

Pope reflects on journey to Myanmar and Bangladesh             6-12-17

At the Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis reflected on his just-ended apostolic journey to Myanmar and Bangladesh highlighting the value of interreligious dialogue undertaken in the first leg of the journey and expressing solidarity with Bangladesh’s efforts to provide relief to the Rohingya refugees flooding into the nation in the second leg of the visit.

“I stressed the importance of dialogue and cooperation in the building of a society in which everyone, with the exclusion of none, is accepted and respected,” the Pope said about his talks in Myanmar. “In Bangladesh, a country of Muslim majority, I reaffirmed the importance of dialogue and cooperation between Christians and Muslims.  I wished also to express solidarity with the country’s efforts to provide relief amid the crisis of the Rohingya refugees,” Pope Francis said. He highlighted the fact the final Mass with young people was attended also by young followers of Islam and other religions.

 

Iraqi Archbishop meets US Vice President Pence ahead of Middle-East Trip        6-12-17

On meeting the U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on 4 December, Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, Iraq, said he had a “substantial discussion” on the needs of persecuted Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq.

“I updated him on the situation facing our people and expressed our hope that peace would soon come to Nineveh,” Archbishop Warda said in a statement about meeting.

Since 2014, the Islamic State has forced thousands of Iraqi Christians to flee their homes after telling them they must convert to Islam, pay an exorbitant tax or be killed. Many of these Christians have resettled in or around Erbil.

Indian archdiocese ready to gather evidence on Kandhamal martyrs             6-12-17      

The Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar in eastern India’s Odisha state is preparing to initiate the sainthood cause of those who perished in the 2008 anti-Christian violence by Hindu extremists in Kandhamal district. In a December 3 letter, Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar appointed Father Purushottam Nayak to research and prepare a dossier containing documents for some 100 martyrs of Kandhamal, Mattersindia reported.

Fr. Nayak’s mandate will come into effect on January 1, 2018. According to the archbishop, Father Nayak “will collect a list of persons martyred during persecutions, a critical biography of the persons proposed, a report on the virtues, the reputation of their sanctity, reports of favours granted, if at all, through their intercessions, any possible obstacles to the cause, all the published writings on the persons proposed, a list of witnesses, both favorable and unfavorable to the cause.” 

Archbishop Barwa termed it as an “important and sacred task” of the archdiocese. 

 

Cardinal encourages broad investigation of human-rights violations in Central African Republic                 6-12-17


Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui, in the Central African Republic, has suggested that the country’s justice system be integrated with the International Criminal Court that is now investigating human-rights violations. There is an “interminable list” of human-rights violations, he said, and many people do not have access to the international court, located in the Netherlands. While encouraging forgiveness of past wrongs, the cardinal said that “forgiveness has never rules out justice.”

 

In Denmark 97% of Down Syndrome babies aborted last year          6-12-17

In Denmark in 2016, 133 out of 137 babies found before birth to have Down Syndrome were aborted. That is 97% of all diagnosed cases. Carsten Sondergaard, the Danish ambassador to Ireland, has written to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment to tell them Denmark does not have an official policy to eradicate Down Syndrome, but given that rate of abortion, they might as well have. While 97% of babies found to have Down Syndrome while still in the womb were aborted, 85% were aborted overall

Italian doctor who called homosexuality a ‘health hazard’ cleared in defamation case

An Italian Catholic doctor accused by LGBT activists of defamation after she highlighted in a Facebook post the skyrocketing rates of sexually transmitted disease among homosexuals has been found not guilty. 

LGBT group Torino Pride had made the accusation against Dr. Silvana De Mari (64), alleging that in declaring homosexuality a “health hazard” she had defamed homosexuals. 

De Mari, a surgeon and psychotherapist, was acquitted on the grounds that it would be impossible to ascertain who would have suffered injury because of her broad statement. De Mari said in her defence that it was clear that homosexuality was not a normal condition, referencing her own expertise, Breitbart reports.

De Mari had stated in her original Facebook post: 

The recent numerous epidemics of primary-secondary syphilis registered especially in Western Europe have as main risk factors: homosexuality (45–90%). ... As confirmed by literature, the co-infection of syphilis-HIV in homosexuals goes from 10% to 70% in many clinical studies. ...

Bishop Kussala and South Sudan’s governors search for peace          6-12-17

 

The Bishop of Tombura-Yambio and President of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Barani Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala recently delivered a speech at the Interstate Governors’ Strategic Intervention Conference that took place in Yambio, South Sudan. 

Drawing from the religions’ teaching and traditions, the Bishop called on everyone to make yet another effort to bring peace to the country.

During the conference, seven inter state governors and religious leaders listened to each other with the view to exploring “possibilities of promoting greater peace and prosperity” in South Sudan.

The Bishop made a passionate appeal for the cycle of violence, in South Sudan, to end. 

“Different from other service programmes or volunteer work, a peacemaker journey is as much about who you are as what you do,” Bishop Barani Kussala said.

 

Relic of St. Francis Xavier set for cross-country tour, will get its own seat            6-12-17

 

Angèle Regnier says travelling Canada with the 465-year-old severed right forearm of St. Francis Xavier will be "like doing a road trip with a friend."

"I mean, I know it's bones, but connected to that is a living friendship with St. Francis Xavier," Regnier, the co-founder of Ottawa's Catholic Christian Outreach, told As It Happens guest host Helen Mann.

Regnier will accompany the sacred Catholic relic from Rome to Ottawa before embarking on a 14-city tour of Canada from Jan. 3 to Feb. 2. Fortunately, (to withstand the cold) she said the church has provided her with a duffel bag lined with foam specifically made for transporting the relic. The saint will, however, get its own seat on the flight on Air Canada. “You can't just toss the arm that baptized over 100,000 people into the cargo bay and hope for the best,” Regnier said.

 

Australian lawmakers approve legal recognition of same-sex marriage         6-12-17
 

Australia’s parliament has voted to recognize same-sex marriages, with the legislation passing both houses by comfortable margins. The lawmakers voted down “conscience-clause” provisions.

 

Pope calls international Lutheran leaders to renewed efforts to promote Christian unity    6-12-17

“Although the past cannot be changed, the future challenges us: we can no longer refuse to seek and foster greater communion in charity and faith,” Pope Francis told leaders of the Lutheran World Federation.

 

Pope meets Palestinian religious leaders, encourages dialogue          6-12-17

“I am conscious of the kindness that the authorities of the State of Palestine, particularly President Mahmoud Abbas, have shown to the Christian community,” the Pope said in his remarks. The meeting came the day after Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Palestinian Commission for Interreligious Dialogue established a Joint Working Group for Dialogue.

Central Africa - War crimes: "Justice is essential for social cohesion and peace"         6-12-17

 

"I think it can be an advantage to combine the internal justice of Central Africa with that administered by the International Criminal Court", says Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Archbishop of Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, in an interview with Centrafrique Espoir.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is investigating an "interminable list" of crimes against humanity committed in Central Africa before, during and after the civil war that broke out in 2012

For the same reasons, former Vice President was also condemned.

The Country is therefore suffering under a long series of crimes that constitute a serious obstacle on the path of peace and reconciliation. "It is important for the human being to realize the evil he has committed against his brother", points out Cardinal Nzapalainga. "Justice - which can deprive you of freedom for a certain period of time - is a positive value to reflect and mature in humanity. To say no to impunity is to say no to the infernal cycle of violence. Nothing must be above the law", he underlines.

 

Egypt - Coptic Church: the transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem puts global stability at risk              6-12-17

 

The possible transfer of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would have "negative consequences" not only on the ever fragile stability of the Middle East, but also on that of the world as a whole. This is the alarm launched by the Coptic Orthodox Church on 5 November, with a statement that anticipated the concerns expressed by Pope Francis, at the end of Wednesday’s general audience. The decision to recognize Jerusalem as the exclusive capital of Israel, according to the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, would go against all international conventions in this regard, and would compromise attempts to overcome disputes through dialogue and the search for shared solutions that are respectful of the spiritual profile of the Holy City and its history.

 

Philippines - A priest killed, a targeted execution: alarm of rural missionaries            6-12-17

 

Marcelito Paez, called Tito, an elderly priest of the diocese of San Jose, was killed in the Philippines. As confirmed by Bishop Roberto Mallari, who leads the community of San Jose, in the central part of the Filipino island of Luzon, he was shot by four motorcycle-riding gunmen around 8 pm on December 4 as he was driving through Jaen town. He died in the hospital about two hours later due to gunshot wounds. It was a real execution, that Bishop Mallari "strongly condemns", asking the authorities "to investigate and do justice to his death ". So far no criminal group has claimed the killing.
Vigils and spontaneous prayer meetings have brought together the local faithful, whom the Bishop invited to "stay united in prayer for justice".
Fr Paez, a diocesan priest, was known for his active involvement in the defence of social justice, especially in human rights issues that affected the poor. For many years he had been part of the Commission for the social action of the diocese, at the head of the "Justice and Peace" office.
The priest was currently the coordinator in Luzon of the "Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP)", which tries to offer an active Christian presence in rural areas. On the fateful day Fr Paez assisted in facilitating the release of political prisoner Rommel Tucay who was detained in a prison in the city of Cabanatuan.


Indian bishop criticizes death-penalty call for cow slaughter           6-12-17

 

Bishop Vincent Barwa, who chairs the bishops' office for ethnic minorities and lower caste people, said the demand by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council-VHP) for a national law to execute people who slaughter cattle or transport beef sought to create violence and religious divisions.
In the last three years, India has witnessed more than 20 mob lynchings connected with what is generally referred to as "cow slaughter".
Bishop Barwa said demands for capital punishment for cow slaughter targeted Christians, Muslims, Dalits and indigenous groups who had no religious prohibition on the eating of beef.

Kerala Church urges PM to visit Ockhi affected areas                6-12-17

The Kerala Region Latin Catholic Council (KRLCC) has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit the areas that have been affected by cyclone Ockhi and reiterated its demand to declare the disaster a national calamity.
Addressing a press conference on Dec 5, Vicar-General of Thiruvananthapuram Archdiocese Fr Eugene H. Pereira said a visit by the Prime Minister would instil confidence among the fishing community. He also called for a special package of Rs10,000 million at the earliest. Of the 375 fishermen who had put to sea from Thiruvananthapuram, 162 have returned and around 50 have been found dead. Over 200 were yet to be rescued. 
Lashing out at the government for the alleged lapses in disaster management, Fr. Pereira demanded that an all-party meeting be convened soon to review the situation. An all-party delegation should submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister, he said.

 
Eight tribal leaders shot dead by Philippine troops            6-12-17

 

Religious leaders and human rights workers condemned the killing of eight tribal members during a military offensive on Dec. 3 against communist rebels on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao.

A military spokesman claimed all the dead were members of the New People's Army (NPA) who died fighting against government troops. Two soldiers were killed and three others wounded in the clashes, Second Lt. Ranjan Palacio said

But Father Ariel Destora, Social Action Center director of the Diocese of Marbel in South Cotabato province said tribal chieftain, Datu Victor Danyan was not a rebel but the chair of a legal organization, the T' T'boli-Manobo S'daf Claimant Organization  (TAMASCO). The group is fighting to prevent coal-mining firms setting up mines on their ancestral lands.  "We mourn what happened to Datu Victor," said Father Destora, who said three other members of Danyan's family also died.

 

7-12-17

Praise from Pontiff at 90th birthday celebration for Cardinal Sodano           7-12-17


Pope Francis highly praised Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the longtime Vatican Secretary of State, at a Mass celebrating the 90th birthday of the powerful Italian prelate. Cardinal Sodano continues to act as the Dean of the College of Cardinals.

Canadian government may expand euthanasia to teens, mentally ill         7-12-17

Canada enacted a euthanasia law in 2016 after its Supreme Court declared an anti-euthanasia law unconstitutional. Now a government-appointed panel is reviewing the country’s 17-month-old law on medically assisted death, assessing whether it should be extended to teens and the mentally ill, thus heading for a major expansion.

For some, the potential expansion is a frightening but inevitable part of state-sanctioned killing, regardless of the original restrictions.

Pope thanks Polish donors of Vatican Christmas tree          7-12-17

Pope Francis met on December 7 in a private audience a delegation from Poland, offering his thanks for the Christmas tree that now stands in St. Peter’s Square.

Pope received President of the council of ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina              7-12-17

 

The Holy Father Francis received in audience on 7 December Denis Zvizdic, President of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina. They discussed in particular the path of integration of the Country in the European Union and the challenges that it finds itself facing, including those regarding economic development and the growth of employment.

 

Pakistan - Christians, Hindus and Muslims last farewell to priest, first Pakistani friar minor             7-12-17

 

An emotional crowd of priests, religious and faithful, hundreds of former students, many of whom Hindus and Muslims, attended the funeral mass held on December 6, in the Cathedral of Saint Patrick in Karachi, to accompany and pay the last respects to Fr. John Baptist Todd OFM, a well-known Pakistani priest and Franciscan educator of Karachi. Fr. Todd died at the Hospital of the Holy Family on December 4, at the age of 96, after seventy years of priesthood. 
Fr. Todd, who was the first Pakistani minor friar, served the nation for sixty years as a pedagogue and teacher.

 

India - Appointment of Coadjutor Bishop of Alleppey

 

Pope Francis has appointed the Fr. James Raphael Anaparambil, of the diocese of Alleppey, India, as coadjutor of the same diocese.
The new Bishop was born on 7 March 1962 in Kandakadavu, (diocese of Alleppey).  Since priestly ordination he has been chaplain in parishes and worked in a seminary; holds a Doctorate in biblical theology and Hebrew language at the Pontifical Urbanian University, Rome; he was lecturer in Biblical theology for many years. later  he served as rector of the Pontifical Saint Joseph Seminary, Carmelgiri, Aluva; later lecturer at Saint Joseph Seminary, Carmelgiri, Aluva; since 2016  he has been the director of the revision of the Bible in Malayalam even as he continued as seminary lecturer.

Vietnam bars another priest from leaving country          7-12-17

A Redemptorist priest from Hanoi has been barred from leaving the country for "national security" reasons.

Father John Luu Ngoc Quynh from the Redemptorist Community in Hanoi was stopped by security officials at Noi Bai Airport on Dec. 5 and prevented from traveling to France, the community said in a statement. The 53-year-old priest offers pastoral care to migrant workers and students in the Redemptorist-run Thai Ha church.

Philippine churches combat HIV stigma as infections soar        7-12-17

The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) has stepped up its campaign to fight the stigma faced by people with HIV amid rising infection rates partly blamed on social bias.

The NCCP rolled out its "90-90-90" program this week. The organization wants 90 percent of all persons at risk of HIV exposure to undergo tests under safe and caring conditions, and for those who test positive to receive their church's care by 2020.

Indonesian church helps natural disaster victims        7-12-17

Catholic dioceses in Indonesia are providing assistance to mostly Muslim Javanese landslide victims as well as those affected by a volcanic eruption on the Hindu Island of Bali.

Since late November, tropical cyclone Cempaka has brought floods and strong winds to Central Java, East Java and Yogyakarta. Government announced that 41 people had died and dozens were missing.

In Bali, even though volcanic activity of Agung volcano had decreased since its eruption on Nov.25, more than 40,000 people were still in camps, government shelters and church facilities.

Indonesian church addresses needs of the disabled            7-12-17

Disabled people in Bogor diocese of Indonesia's West Java have welcomed efforts to redress past neglect of their spiritual and practical needs.

On Dec. 3, coinciding with the International Day of Disabled Persons, the diocese held a special Mass attended by hundreds of disabled faithful. A commitment was given to render greater assistance to them. Franciscan Bishop Paskalis Bruno Syukur said that, among other things, special catechists would be provided to teach Catholic subjects to the disabled. The diocese will also hold retreats for those who care for the disabled, including parents. Bishop Syukur added that twice a month the proceedings of Masses would be communicated to the deaf through sign language."They are an integral part of the Church," the bishop said.

 

8-12-17

 

Pakistan – Pope appoints bishop of Islamabad-Rawalpindi            8-12-17

 

Pope Francis has named on 8 December Faisalabad’s Bishop Joseph Arshad the new bishop of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, raising him to the rank of an archbishop (ad personam).

'One whisper and you are dead'          8-12-17

One whisper and you are dead.

Irfan Mufti, deputy director of the secular activist group South Asia Partnership-Pakistan, posted this message on social media recently. He was warning of the rise in Pakistan of extremist Muslim cults such as Tehreek-e-Labaik in Punjab province.

Christian and other minority religious leaders also fear the growing political influence of Tehreek-e-Labaik. This group recently staged a series of violent demonstrations in Punjab, accusing the national government of pursuing an anti-Islamist agenda. The sect attacks moderate Muslims as well as Christians, Hindus and others and wants Sharia law imposition.

HK bishop declares 2018 Year of Youth            8-12-17

Hong Kong Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung in his advent message on Dec. 3 announced 2018 as the Year of Youth in his diocese.

The declaration was in line with the 2018 Synod on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment and Pope Francis' exhortation. The Year of Youth commenced on the first Sunday of Advent 2017 and will close on the feast of Christ the King 2018.

In his first pastoral letter, Bishop Yeung stressed the importance of continuing dialogue with young people. "You, the young people, are our hope," he said. He also said in the letter that youths gave him valuable opinions, including strengthening contact with young people via digital media; greater youth participation and organizing youth festivals.

 

9-12-17

 

Alarming malnutrition for Saharawi refugees            9-12-17

 

The situation of the Saharawi refugees in the Algerian refugee camps is very alarming on account of malnutrition because of the reduction of international aid.

Buhubeni Yahya, the president of Saharawi Red Crescent disclosing this has said that while there is need for $135 million to meet their needs of 2016-2017; today only 48% has been obtained.

 

Philippines – Govt: Rebels are terrorists; Church: Restart dialogue          9-12-17

 

The Christian Churches of the Philippines invite President Rodrigo Duterte to resume dialogue with communist-inspired rebels, deploring their being called “terrorists.” Just when one part of the country looks to the birth of a child who reigns as ‘Prince of Peace’ for Christian faithful, it is worrying that President Duterte has signed a declaration calling the Communist Party of the Philippines a ‘terrorist organization.’ This is said by Archbishop Antony J.Ledesma, the Co-president of Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP), that unites 5 church groups:the Catholic Church, the national council of Philippine Churches, the Association of Major Religious Superiors of Philippines, the Council of the Evangelical Churches and Ecumenical Bishops’ Forum. The PEPP promotes ‘just and lasting peace’ upholding peace-process between the Philippine government and rebel groups.

 

Pakistan – Year of the Eucharist “to live the full of faith in Pakistan”          9-12-17

Pakistani Christians must face multiple challenges. Every new day social, cultural and religious challenges increase affecting the small community of the faithful in Pakistan. In such a situation, the Year of the Eucharist will be font of fullness of life and joy – said the just nominated bishop of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, Archbishop Joseph Arshad, the president of Pakistan Bishops’ Conference. The year of the Eucharist will be for Pakistan catholics a momen of spiritual growth and interior renewal, to share the love of Christ will the whole of humanity and to renew service to our country, said the Archbishop.  

The Year of the Eucharist was inaugurated on 25 November 2017 with a solemn mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Karachi presided over by Archbishop John Coutts, it will end on 25 November 2018 with a Mass in the Lahore.

 

10-12-17

Pope Francis appeals for nuclear disarmament and climate change action             10-12-17

Pope Francis said on 10 December at the Angelus that he is close to the Indian communities of Tamil Nadu and Kerala States in the wake of Cyclone Okhi, and in particular to the families of the many fisherman who have gone missing since the cyclone swept those coastal areas.

Over 500 fisherman are missing and feared dead since the cyclone struck on November 29th.  

Pope Francis also mentioned that the anti-nuclear weapons group chosen to receive the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize will be presented with the award today.

He said that “the commitment towards upholding the dignity of all people, in particular the weakest and most vulnerable, means also working with determination to build a world without nuclear arms”.

Pope Francis also wanted the “Our Planet Summit” scheduled to start in Paris on 12 December to favour the clear awareness on the necessity to implement decisions that are truly effective in confronting climate change and in fighting poverty and promoting human development.

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