CATHOLIC WORLD LAST WEEK
15-21 October, 2018
‘The message of St. Óscar Romero is addressed to all without exception,’ Pope tells pilgrims
Receiving pilgrims from El Salvador who had come on 14 October to take part in the canonization of Archbishop Oscar Romero, Pope Francis said that St Óscar Romero’s message is addressed to all without exception.
The saint “repeated strongly that every Catholic must be a martyr, because martyr means witness, that is, a witness of God’s message to men,” the Pope said. “On one occasion, he referred to confirmation as to the ‘sacrament of martyrs.’”
Synod fathers to vote on final document paragraph by paragraph; 1st draft already prepared
According to the modus operandi of the Oct. 3-28 Synod as announced on 16 October the Synod fathers are to vote on final document paragraph by paragraph, instead of one comprehensive ballot on the entire text. This will forestall any accusation that the conclusions were drawn much before the voting or that conservative elements have prevailed. Moreover, it is learnt that a preliminary version of that final document has been prepared and given to members of a drafting committee selected last week, with five members elected by the synod, two sitting on the body ex ufficio, and three appointed by the pope
Synod press briefing: bishops apologize to youth, cardinal says African issues have been overlooked 15-10-18
On October 13, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of South Africa, Cardinal Juan José Omella of Barcelona, and Ms. Corina Fiore Mortola Rodríguez, a lecturer in Song for Musical Theater in Guadalajara, spoke to the press.
Corina Fiore Mortola Rodríguez, a lecturer in Song for Musical Theater in Guadalajara,Mexico, said that in a coffee break, she had a conversation with Pope Francis who told her that young people must “shake up the Church”. She says that the Holy Father told young to speak their minds. He expressed how the young people were touched when the Synod Fathers humbled themselves and apologised for what has happened in the Church that should never have happened. With great enthusiasm she said that young people, like her, want to share the energy they have for their faith like a hurricane – one that brings something good.
African issues like unemployment, poverty and migration, uncontrolled exploitation of the continent’s resources like minerals, child labour etc have been overlooked at the Synod, said Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of South Africa.
Cardinal Juan José Omella of Barcelona, Spain, said that the Holy Father is always with the Synod in the gathering of the general assembly. He says he listens and takes notes and clearly shows the gathering that what they are doing is something important and significant.
Synod press briefing: homosexuality, refugees, openness to change 15-10-18
The heads of the Jesuit, Dominican, and Conventual Franciscan orders addressed the press on October 15, as did Ms. Silvia Teresa Retamales Morales, a Chilean youth who “said that young people say that the Church should not discriminate against minorities—especially people of different sexual orientations.” The head of the Dominican order, Father Bruno Cadoré, added “that a hallmark of the Church is that it is open to change, orientated towards the future.”
Sudan: 13 Christians arrested in Darfur, another church told to hand over property 15-10-18
Sudanese security officials arrested 13 Christians in the western region of Darfur on Saturday, 13 October.
The Christians were taken from a home they share in the city of Nyala, southwest Darfur, by officials belonging to the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) but it is not clear on what charges, a local source told World Watch Monitor. Three of them have since been released without an explanation, the source said.
Meanwhile, a church in Omdurman, near the capital Khartoum, has been told to hand over ownership of its properties to a state-appointed committee. The government has imposed Sharia law on its citizens.
Activists attack church in Chile’s capital as Mass is being celebrated 15-10-18
The archbishop of Santiago, Chile, lamented the violent attack perpetrated by unknown people on the St Vincent de Paul church at Alameda on 14 October. The attack took place as Mass was going on. Since 2016, activists from the indigenous Mapuche people have engaged in a campaign of attacks against Catholic and Protestant churches.
Listen to God’s invitation and respond, Pope tells Madagascar youth 14-10-18
To the youth of Madagascar, who were observing World Youth Day Mada 9 in Mahajanga from 8 to 14 October, Pope Francis sent a video message asking them to listen to God’s invitation and respond to it generously. They were meeting under the theme “Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favour with God.” He reminded them that the Church is great is a great family in which they will always find support and comfort. Asking them to announce to all Jesus’ love he encouraged them to realize their dreams and work together to build their future and their country’s future, by always seeking good for each other.
Central Africa - "Strong insecurity in the diocese, while the UN sends contradictory messages", denounces the Bishop of Kaga-Bandoro 15-10-18
Bishop Tadeusz Kusy of Kaga-Bandoro, in the central-northern part of the Central African Republic, has complained about the contradictory message sent by MINUSCA (UN Mission in the country concerning the management of local displaced persons.
According to Bishop Kusy, while in Bandoro more than 15,000 inhabitants have been driven out from their homes by Seleka rebels for more than 4 years and put up in camps for displaced persons some three kilometers from the city, the local authorities and MINUSCA invite the population to rediscover the community life of the past in their neighbourhoods and yet build structures 3 kilometers from their houses inviting them to stay there; they have no security as armed groups and bandits surround them, he says.
Togo - Togolese youth to Pope Francis: need to strengthen youth pastoral 15-10-18
In Togo we need "a concrete and effective accompaniment of young Catholics on behalf of priests", as well as a "strengthening of youth pastoral care," say the youth of Togo addressing their request to the Synod of Bishops underway in Rome 3-28 October.
The Coordinating Council of Catholic Youth Action (CCACJ) of the Diocese of Lomé, after analysing the youth’s aspirations, says that the young Togolese call for "a system of promotion that foresees the professional integration of young Catholics" as for example creating a fund to finance youth initiatives on all continents; the youth also want concrete guidelines for "the civic engagement of young people, especially in those parts of the world where the problems of good governance and democracy are particularly serious"
Turkey - A conference in Istanbul on Ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue in the Franciscan mission 15-10-18
From 15-29 October the XXIII Course of permanent formation for ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue in the Franciscan mission begins, organized in Istanbul by the Pontifical Antonianum University and the Institute of San Bernardino Ecumenical Studies.
The course includes reports that deepen the theme of Islamic-Christian dialogue in Turkey and the Middle East, in light of the famous meeting between St. Francis and the Sultan of Egypt Malik al Kamil, which took place in Damietta in 1219 (an episode about which Father Gwenolé Jeusset ofm, president of the International Franciscan Commission for Relations with Muslims will speak).
From Thursday 25 to Sunday 29 October, the participants will take part in a pilgrimage to Antioch, Tarsus and the region of Cappadocia, led by Bishop Ruben Tierrablanca ofm, Apostolic Vicar of Istanbul.
Mexico - Body of the parish priest who died three days ago has been found 15-10-18
Some days after his death, on the afternoon of Saturday 13 October, in Ley del Servicio Civil area (Tijuana), the lifeless body of Father Ícmar Arturo Orta was found. This was announced by the Archbishop Francisco Moreno Barron of Tijuana. Father Orta had disappeared since Thursday 11 October, after having celebrated mass in the Colonia Obrera area.
A first report from the police points out that the priest’s body was found with his hands and feet bound and with signs of violence on his body. On Sunday afternoon, October 14, the Archbishop wrote a message to the faithful of the parish of San Luis Rey de Francia to communicate the violent death of their parish priest.
Brazil - the "Cirio de Nazaré" feast with 2 million people 15-10-18
On October 14th, the second Sunday of October, the annual "Cirio de Nazaré" feast was celebrated, in Belem, capital of Pará state and one of the largest cities of the Amazon, a tradition that dates back to 1700, when the image of the Virgin of Nazaré was found in the middle of the forest. The Virgin soon became the object of great devotion among the people of the region, and in 1793 the first Marian procession was held, which currently gathers two million people, and is one of the largest Catholic demonstrations in Brazil and in the world.
It is an overwhelming popular devotion together with the Feast of Our Lady of Aparecida celebrated on October 12. A popular spot for community prayer, thanks to a miracle, a basilica came up and the Church was involved.
India's female feticide not forgotten on 'Day of the Girl Child' 15-10-18
Anti-abortion and other groups have joined government efforts to change India's skewed sex ratio that is caused by large-scale female feticide.
According to the Population Research Institute, at least 12.7 million sex-selective abortions were conducted in India between 2000 and 2014.
On the eve of the United Nations' established International Day of the Girl Child, various groups joined a program in a public square in the capital, New Delhi, stressing the importance of protecting girl children.
The Oct. 10 event organized by a Christian rights' group called Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF)-India, which is opposed to abortion, was directed at creating awareness on the adversities of female feticide and domestic violence, organizers said.
"Girls and boys have an equal right to life and liberty," said Tehmina Arora, director of ADF-India. In 2015, the Women and Child Development Minister, Maneka Gandhi, said that female feticide claimed "2,000 lives of girls daily." Traditional Hindu families often prefer sons over daughters because of economic as well as religious considerations. Girls are often considered a financial burden because families must find money and jewellery items as a dowry for marriage.
Myanmar youth to be trained as leaders 15-10-18
Jesuits in Myanmar have opened a youth leadership training institute with the enthusiastic encouragement of Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon, the nation's commercial hub.
The Myanmar Leadership Institute (MLI) aims to help develop a more just society for the poor with professional leaders inspired by a commitment to peace and human rights. With the motto 'Learn to Lead, Lead to Serve', MLI will concentrate on the preparation of leaders in the fields of education, business and civil society.
Australian Jesuit Father Mark Raper, superior of Jesuits in Myanmar, said it would be a special privilege for young people entering the program to develop their potential. He added that the institute is open to all regardless of ethnicity or religion. A Jesuit newsletter quoted Father Joseph Anthony Jacob, the first director of the MLI, as saying that leaders are essentially pilgrims, not people who had already achieved perfection.
Indian rape-accused bishop bailed 15-10-18
A court in India's southern Kerala state granted bail on Oct. 15 to Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who was arrested almost a month ago and charged with raping a Catholic nun. The Kerala High Court granted bail on condition that the bishop, based in northern Jalandhar City, should not enter Kerala state other than to report once a fortnight to investigating police.
The bishop was also told to surrender his passport to the court to stop him from any attempt to leave the country.
Bible-school students forcibly recruited by ethnic militia 15-10-18
The United Wa State Army (UWSA) has forcibly recruited 41 male and female students in Shan State near Myanmar's border with China, according to ethnic-Lahu Baptist leaders.
Reverend Lazarus, general secretary of the Lahu Baptist Convention in Kyaing Tong, said 92 Lahu Christians were released recently after signing a pledge that they would only worship privately at home, not in churches. However, the students were made to join the militia that grew out of the former Communist Party of what was previously called Burma.
"We heard the students who were studying at a Bible school were assigned to different areas after they were forcibly recruited into the Wa army," Rev. Lazarus.He pledged to work for their release and called on the UWSA to set them free. Some 52 Lahu Baptist churches remained sealed-off and five had been destroyed.
Philippine re-election to UN rights body divides bishops 15-10-18
The re-election of the Philippines onto the United Human Rights Council last week on the grounds of anti-drug-war has drawn conflicting responses from the country's church leaders and human rights activists.
For one Catholic bishop, the election was "very ironic yet inspiring." Another said it was not deserved because of alleged human rights abuses committed by President Rodrigo Duterte's administration.
Catholic teacher tackles illiteracy in Indonesia 15-10-18
Realising that his Catholic alma mater had not improved the library-facilities from his days, a Catholic teacher decided to improve the situation and sent books and tried to better literacy level.
John Bosco Lobo (46) is a religion teacher in East Java, Indonesia, and during his visit to his native place in Nusa Tenggara he saw the pathetic condition of the old library he had known in his primary school days – the same old books with no additions, but now filled with dust. He and his wife began a campaign of appeal to donate books. "In a matter of days, a truck loaded with books arrived," he said Lobo sent them to his alma mater, St. Thomas Aquinas Senior High School in Mataloko, Flores, which then delivered the books to elementary schools.
According to USAID investigation in 2014, children in Java and Bali could read 59.2 words per minute, whereas those in Nusa Tenggara, Papua and Maluku provinces could only read 29.7 words per minute. Also the level of illiteracy was very high.
Polish president meets Pontiff 16-10-18
Pope Francis received in audience Poland’s President Andrzej Duda, who was visiting Rome for celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the election of Pope John Paul II. A Vatican statement released after the meeting indicated that the conversation had focus on “the importance of Christian values in the country’s history,” as well as the crises in the Middle East and in Ukraine, immigration, and climate change.
Major Orthodox split: Moscow breaks ties with Constantinople 16-10-18
The Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has officially broken off communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, after the latter announced plans to recognize a self-governing Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Pope Francis calls on religious believers to be builders of bridges, artisans of peace 16-10-18
In his message to the Archbishop of Bologna, Matteo Maria Zuppi, and to representatives of Christian Churches and Communities and of other world religions, gathered for the Community of St. Egidio's annual “Bridges of Peace” meeting, Pope Francis said it is urgent to heal the wounds of history and weave plots of peaceful coexistence for the future.
He urged those present never to be resigned to the demon of war, to the madness of terrorism, to the deceptive force of weapons that devour life. He reminded them of his peace message, two years ago at Assisi, of “our responsibility as believers to build a world of peace”.
Top Egyptian imam meets Pontiff 16-10-18
Pope Francis met on October 16 Sheikh Ahmad al Tayyib, the head of Al Azhar University in Egypt, the world’s leading institution of Sunni Islam scholarship. It was their fourth personal meeting. During that visit, Pope Francis and the Grand Imam spoke at the closing of an international peace conference organized by the Al-Azhar University.
Argentina feminist rally ends with Molotov bombs thrown at church 16-10-18
Argentina’s “National Encounter of Women” on 14 Oct. Sunday ended with violent protests that included bare-chested women throwing Molotov cocktails at a Catholic church and the
City Hall in the city of Trelew, located some 700 miles south of Buenos Aires.
“Abort your heterosexuality,” “Church and State, separate affair,” “death to the macho is not a metaphor,” and “lesbianize yourself” were among slogans an estimated 50,000 women who rallied through downtown Trelew left behind, with graffiti scrawled on storefronts, privately-owned homes and churches. Ten people were arrested in Trelew but released on Monday.
Bishop Barron, at Synod, rues superficial religion texts, says gays and lesbians should be called to conversion 16-10-18
“The Church’s first move in regard to everybody, in regard to gay and lesbians, is to reach out and say … ‘You are a beloved child of God,’” the Los Angeles (US) Auxiliary Bishop Robert Baron said on 12 Oct at the Synod. “Now, having said that, the Church also calls people to conversion. So Jesus calls, but then he always moves people to fullness of life, and so the Church also has a set of moral demands to everybody, and it calls them to conversion.”
Watering down Church teaching won’t attract young people, Cardinal Sarah 16-10-18
Just because some young people disagree with Catholic moral teaching, including in the area of sexuality, does not mean the church's teachings are unclear or should change, Cardinal Robert Sarah told the Synod of Bishops.
The church and its pastors should "courageously propose the Christian ideal corresponding to Catholic moral doctrine and not water it down, hiding the truth to attract young people to the bosom of the church," the cardinal said on Oct. 16.
Cardinal Robert Sarah is the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
Drugs, persecution are themes of Synod press briefing 16-10-18
At the daily press briefing on16 October two forgotten issues were addressed by the Synod Fathers who were present.
Dr Paolo Ruffini, Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Communications, listed many issues that the Synod assembly addressed. He mentioned issues like migration, freedom, sexual morality, the mystery of evil in the world, justice and the fight for human dignity.
Archbishop Jaime Spengler, O.F.M., of Brazil, says that the Synod has spoken about many things but not addressed the issue of drugs sufficiently.
Cardinal Louis Raphaël I Sako, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, head of the Synod of the Chaldean, Iraq, said that in the Instrumentum Laboris many issues are named. He lamented that there is no mention of young persecuted Christians.
In message to FAO, Pope urges international mandates against hunger 16-10-18
In a message to UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) for World Food Day 16 October, Pope Francis said, “The poor cannot wait.” The Pontiff said that plans to eliminate world hunger “require international entities, like the FAO, to engage responsibly with member states” so that they will carry out their mandates. This year’s theme for World Food Day was: Our actions are our future: A Zero Hunger world by 2030 is possible.
Church in Niger’s capital ransacked and burned 16-10-18
Attackers ransacked, looted and burned a church in the Kossey district of Niger’s capital Niamey on 11 October, leaving the building a charred shell, its floor covered with debris and broken and blackened musical instruments.
Niger’s tiny Christian minority make up less than 1% of the population, but had traditionally lived peacefully and unthreatened alongside the large Muslim majority. The rise of jihadist groups in the Sahel region, including Boko Haram, Islamic State in West Africa and groups affiliated with Al Qaeda has led to an escalation in tension.
Vandals desecrate graveyard of monastery near Beit Shemesh 16-10-18
Beit Jimal, a popular pilgrimage and tourism site, has been repeatedly vandalized in recent years, he said. Vandals desecrated the cemetery in 1981 and 2015. In 2013, a firebomb was thrown at the church causing minor damage, and the words “price tag” were spray painted on an wall. In 2017, vandals shattered stained-glass windows, destroyed a statue of the Virgin Mary, and damaged furniture.
Niger - "Release Fr. Gigi Maccalli": voices join in the appeal in favour of the kidnapped Italian missionary 16-10-18
The native place of the Italian missionary Gigi Maccalli, kidnapped on 17 September in Niger, has cried with one voice “Release Fr Gigi Maccalli.” We hope that maximum attention is paid to this case that has deeply affected our community, concerned about the fate of a generous son, says the Council of Crema in Italy.
"On the night of 17 September - recalls the text - a commando of men still unknown broke into the mission of Bomoanga, in Niger and kidnapped Father Pierluigi Maccalli, a missionary priest who has been working on the African continent for many years". "From that moment - the text continues - there has never been any update from Niger: we know nothing about the kidnappers - perhaps jihadists from neighbouring Burkina Faso – we know nothing about the reasons and purposes, we know nothing about Father Maccalli’s condition. What further worries us is the silence that surrounds this story that touches our community closely".
Cameroon - A young seminarian killed in the English-speaking region 16-10-18
A seminarian was killed in one of the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon. Gérard Anjiangwe was 19 years old; he was killed by a group of soldiers on October 4, in front of the parish church of Santa Teresa of Bamessing, a village near Ndop in Ngo-Ketunjia department, in the northwest of Cameroon.
The Archdiocese's statement says that around 9.30 am, at the end of mass, while Gérard Anjiangwe and the faithful "were in front of the church, a military truck arrived from Ndop and stopped at the beginning of the road leading to the church. Some soldiers got out of the vehicle and started shooting.
While the faithful took refuge in the sacristy, barring the door, the seminarian prostrated himself on the floor and started to pray the rosary. When at the repeated order of a soldier he got up, he was questioned, again ordered to kneel down and shot in the neck three times. He was the only child of his parents. Presidential election was held on 7 October in the country’s English-speaking region.
India - Trial for seven innocent Christians: appeal for their release 16-10-18
It is urgent to speed up the judicial process which sees seven innocent Christians of Kandhamal, a district in the Indian state of Orissa, in prison. The seven have been languishing in jail because of the false accusation of the murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati , the Hindu leader killed by the Maoists in 2008. This is what the Delhi Minorities Committee (DMC) asks for, which has produced and published a documentary film in Hindi entitled "Kaid mein Bekasoor" (Innocents imprisoned).
"It is a shame for Indian democracy and judicial system that the seven innocents - six of them illiterates – are in jail to perpetuate a political fraud", urged Journalist Anto Akkara, who made 27 trips to remote Kandhamal jungles/villages and authored the nationally acclaimed book "Who Killed Swami Laxmanananda?"
Brazil - Presidential run-off, the Church: "Need to protect the Constitution and democracy" 16-10-18
"The Constitution is intended to ensure the exercise of social and individual rights, as supreme values of a fraternal, plural society and without prejudices", and today the Charter "is affected by an intolerance that denies the diversity of the Brazilian people, stimulates prejudices and encourages social conflict": this is what is stated in a statement circulated by Caritas and the Social Pastoral of the Brazilian Church, two weeks since the run-off for the election of the President of the Republic, on October 28th.
The wides-ranging text is entitled "Democracy: change with justice and peace", and is signed not only by Catholic bodies but also by the "Justice and Peace" Commission, and by the National Conference of Religious.
Australia - Catholic Church at the forefront of the anti-poverty week 16-10-18
The Australian Catholic Church is actively involved in the "Anti-poverty Week", until 20 October 2018. The initiative, which aims to raise awareness on issues related to poverty, was conceived as an extension of the International Day against Poverty, organized by the UN and celebrated on October 17th each year.
During this week, various cities in Australia are organizing activities aimed at highlighting or resolving problems of poverty present in the country or abroad. Among the most involved: Catholic bodies, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Caritas, Catholic Healthcare and Catholic Social Services Australia, which appear as sponsor of the Week.
Pakistani Catholic refugees in Thailand plead for Vatican help 16-10-18
Thai authorities have stepped up their campaign against illegal migrants and visa over-stayers in the country in which process many Pakistani Catholics has been caught up in the dragnet.
In their ongoing operation called "X-Ray Outlaw Foreigners," immigration authorities have arrested more than 2,200 foreign nationals nationwide, including hundreds of Pakistani Christian asylum seekers. Bail is denied. Ifthey be deported back to Pakistan their lives might be in danger at the hands of Muslim extremists who have been targeting local Christians.
"Our only hope is now that the Vatican will get involved," these Christians say. "In the past Pope Francis asked people [in Europe] to welcome and protect Syrian refugees," he adds. "Perhaps he can do the same for us too."
Sri Lanka cardinal slated for 'debunking' human rights 16-10-18
A group of priests and activists in Sri Lanka have urged Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, to refrain from using his office to undermine human rights efforts in the country after he delivered a controversial homily on Sept. 23.
The Sunday Mass in Ekala, an industrial area in Western Province, created concern and attracted criticism from rights activists after the Cardinal suggested human rights were "a myth" propagated for "people with no religion."
The group, including 15 priests, nuns and academics from various dioceses, including war-hit areas, urged him to choose his words carefully when speaking in public; "Instead, please support, encourage and lead the faithful, including the clergy, religious and laity, to become more aware of human rights and get involved in struggles for human rights.”
Church schools in India among those that 'should not exist' 16-10-18
Muslim and Christian leaders in India see danger in a pro-Hindu group's demand that the government revoke a policy allowing minority groups to own and manage educational institutions in the country.
A report released Oct. 10 by the Centre for Policy Analysis, a think tank of hard-line Hindu group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, stated that allowing religious minority groups to have institutions for their own people was tantamount to "compartmentalization" that works against the unity of India.
"There is no rationale for the existence of a separate wing for education of minorities such as [the] National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions in the Ministry of Human Resource Development. Aren't such types of national level regulating bodies compartmentalizing education on religious lines and weakening the national mainstream?" asked the report.
The Centre for Policy Analysis wants the government to discontinue the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, a legal body that advises the federal and state government on issues related to minority institutions.
Archbishop Thomas D'Souza of Calcutta, who chairs the Indian bishops' office for education, said the demand goes against the provisions of the Indian constitution that allows religious minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice to help advancement of their community members.
"All Indians, particularly religious minorities, should be afraid about such demands," Archbishop D'Souza said.
Some 220 million people or 18.4 percent of 1.2 billion Indians are officially considered part of a religious minority. The Catholic Church in India runs some 50,000 educational institutions including 400 colleges, six universities and six medical schools.
Jakarta archbishop calls on Catholics not to waste food 16-10-18
Jakarta Archdiocese called on all 65 parishes ahead of this year's World Food Day on Oct. 16, to share food with those most in need.
Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta said in a pastoral letter called, "In Diversity, Food Unite" read out during Sunday Masses over the weekend that every man's need for food should build solidarity with others, instead of greed.
“Indifference kills”- Pope at General Audience 17-10-18
In his second talk on the 5th Commandment at the Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis said that anger against a sister or brother “is a form of murder” and that Jesus adds that even insult and contempt can kill. Here are the Pope’s words:
“You shall not kill”, which reveals how precious human life is in God’s eyes; we are made in his image out of his infinitive love for us. But we learn that there are other ways of “killing” a person: anger, insult, scorn and indifference towards others can kill, perhaps not their physical bodies, but rather the unseen spirit within them. Although the opposite of killing might seem to be not killing, that is only a first step towards loving. We need to do the opposite of what Cain did to Abel: we are each other’s keepers, protectors and guardians. For this we need Christ’s love and mercy. The commandment not to kill is a call to love and to mercy, a call to live according to the life of the Lord Jesus, who gave us life by rising to life; this life is the Father’s gift to each of us.
‘Underground’ bishop elected to lead local Patriotic Catholic group in China 17-10-18
Bishop Joseph Han Zhihai of Lanzhou, a leader of the “underground” Church, has been elected a local president of the Catholic Patriotic Association. The local organization has disavowed the recent accord between the Holy See and Beijing. He was approved as bishop by the Chinese government only last year.
At the meeting for his election, the Church's "principles of independence and autonomy", considered "incompatible" with Catholic doctrine, were exalted.
French church desecrated 17-10-18
The church of St-Cyr-l’Ecole in Yvelines in the suburbs of Paris was desecrated and this was discovered on the evening of 16 of October. The police after investigation said at the foot of the Statue of Saint-Julitte excreta, urine and cigarette had been thrown. A complaint has been registered.
Asia - The young Christians of Asia, ambassadors of peace 17-10-18
Young Christians in Asia are called to be "ambassadors of peace" in the various social and political contexts of the Asian nations where they live. This is what emerges from the third meeting of the forum "Young Ambassadors of Peace in Asia" (YAPA), born within the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA). The week-long program focuses on the theme "Peace with Justice and Human Security" and is being attended by young people sponsored by CCA member churches and councils as well as representatives of Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim organizations in Asia.
The aim is to raise awareness that young Asian Christians are called to be ambassadors and catalysts of peace, according to the message of Christ, in the territory or region in which they live.
Holy Land - The demolition of the village of Khan al Ahmar begins. Appeal of the Episcopal Justice and Peace Commission 17-10-18
The Justice and Peace Commission of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land issued a statement to express once again its dissent and its alarm for the announced demolition of the Bedouin village of Khan al Ahmar, in the occupied West Bank, east of Jerusalem.
On Tuesday, October 16, three bulldozers continued the work of levelling the land around the village, in an area considered strategic for the expansion of new settlements of Jewish settlers. The levelling operation is carried out to create tracks to facilitate the entry of military troops, when the evacuation order of the Bedouin population who live in the village starts, before demolishing the houses- this in spite of protests and clashes with soldiers.
Honduras - "We are not criminals, we are migrants": three thousand Hondurans fleeing their country 17-10-18
On behalf of the 3000 Hondurans fleeing from their country, the Latin American Bishops’ Conference, CELAM, has pleaded: "Like the ancient Israelites, the Honduran people are walking in their exodus, fleeing from political and economic slavery imposed by corruption and the deterioration of government systems. There are many forced migrations and in Latin America these migrations are marking the current history".
They "completed three days of walking this October 15. They are thousands of kilometers that they will have to travel on foot, they are mainly peasants, men, women and children, even disabled people in wheelchairs, affected by poverty, violence and corruption, they are migrants who touch the heart of the world".
When stopped at the Guatemalan border by local authorities, they said, "We have the right; we are not criminals, we are migrants."
Vatican 'plans to interfere' in China despite landmark deal, says govt official 17-10-18
The Vatican is still planning to interfere in affairs of the Catholic Church in China, a provincial religious affairs official told local Catholic representatives at a government seminar.
And some adherents of the faith had lost their minds, according to the Hubei Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee seminar held in the wake of the Vatican recently signing a provisional agreement with Beijing covering aspects of church-state relations. It was made clear to representatives of the Catholic Affairs Centre in the province that the government believed the Vatican's policy of meddling in China had not been abandoned.
The seminar was held in Wuhan city of Hubei province Oct. 8 to 11, less than a month after the Vatican-China deal was reached.
Children of Philippine drug war victims join global prayer 17-10-18
Children of victims of the war against drugs in the Philippines are joining a global campaign to pray the rosary for peace on Oct. 18.
The international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need said at least 1,200 parishes and 700 Catholic schools from 41 Philippine dioceses are also participating in the "One Million Children Praying the Rosary" campaign. The highlight of the Philippine observance will be a prayer led by orphans of drug war victims in Kalookan Diocese, in Manila.
Malaysian court bars unilateral child conversions 17-10-18
A Malaysian court has reaffirmed that the conversions of minors to Islam can only be made with the consent of both parents and not just a single parent.
The ruling by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Oct. 16 was seen as testing the precedent set by the landmark ruling in January by the country's supreme court that overturned the conversion to Islam of three children of Indira Gandhi, a Hindu mother, by her estranged husband.
In the latest case, the first similar case since the landmark verdict, justice Azizah Nawawi said she was bound by the federal court's decision and ruled in favour of the Buddhist father who had challenged the unilateral conversion of his two children by his Muslim convert ex-wife.
Vatican diplomat renews call for nuclear disarmament, says nuclear deterrence is ‘deeply flawed’ 18-10-18
Archbishop Bernardito Auza, apostolic nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, renewed the Church’s call to disarmament at the seventy-third Session of the United Nations General Assembly on General and Complete Disarmament.
He said the strategies of deterrence on which some nations rely are deeply flawed.
The Holy See urges Governments, he said, to consider reallocating a sizable portion of the savings from disarmament for the development of their own citizens and of the world’s poor. In addition, the Holy See would urge the “international authority” designated by the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to include among the terms of disarmament for new signatories the reallocation of funding from nuclear armaments to sustainable development as an element of disarmament planning.
Cardinal Kasper laments xenophobia, nationalism, ‘America first’ 18-10-18
“The xenophobia that spreads throughout Europe today is in clear contradiction with the Bible and the Christian conception of man, according to which every person has their value and must be accepted in a humane manner,” the 85-year-old German Cardinal Walter Kasper, formerly president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity said. He was giving an interview to a news agency at Bologna, Italy. “Politics today is extremely selfish: America first, Italy first, Germany first ... I grew up at a time marked by unbridled nationalism. I was a child during the Third Reich. All these challenges are interconnected today and generate fears.”
Fear grips churches in northeastern Kenya as Muslim extremists kill 2 Christian teachers 18-10-18
Islamic extremists suspected to be Al Shabaab militants on Oct. 10 at 1 am killed two Christians in northern Kenya, sources said.
In Mandera East, in Mandera County on Kenya’s border with Somalia, more than 20 suspected Somali Al Shabaab rebels detonated an Improvised Explosive Device at the block housing where non-local teachers live, instantly killing two teachers. In an area with many Muslims of Somali descent, militants assume that Kenyans who come from the interior to work are Christians. One of them was Catholic and the other Protestant. An area source said local sources.
Australia - Catholic Mission supports the construction of a professional training centre for women in Myanmar 18-10-18
A centre for female professional training in Myanmar’s Yangon is nearing completion, says Sister Agatha Phawsu, of Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco – a project of “Catholic Mission Australia (the Pontifical Missionary Societies of Australia)
The Centre will allow 30 girls to take two-year professional training courses in the food and home management sectors. "The idea is to equip women with the skills required by employers. The Center will aim to respond to the various challenges related to education and support for girls in Yangon, where there is a high school dropout rate and there are few job chances", reports the Centre.
The Pontifical Australian Mission Societies also support the San Giovanni Catholic school in Hakha, a remote city in the north of the country.
Lao further squeezes religions 18-10-18
A sweeping new decree passed late last year, abrogating the right to personal belief, has upset religious groups and led to calls for its repeal.
Critics have banded together to justifiably argue that the one-party state is using the 'Decree on Associations' to suppress religion at its discretion. The decree makes the government the final arbiter on what is permissible.
This means any religious activity — including association — requires layers of bureaucratic approval that are rarely granted for minority faiths such as Christianity and Islam.
Indian police pursue Christian donations 18-10-18
Officials probing more than 80 Indian Christian institutions in Jharkhand state have recommended a federal investigation on fund diversions, which church leaders say is an attempt to project Christians as law breakers.
The state's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has recommended a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the premier agency under the federal government, the local Hindi language daily Prabhat Kabar (Morning News) reported Oct. 17. Since July, the state has been investigating 88 Christian organizations, including those managed by various Catholic dioceses and religious congregations such as Jesuits, Salesians and several groups of nuns. They are accused of diverting overseas donations to help win converts.
The CID has completed investigating 10 of the Christian organizations involved and found there were "suspicious cash transactions" involving of millions or rupees. It also found that funds were being used illegally for religious promotional activities as well as in the providing of inaccurate information to the government, the news report stated.
However, Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary general of the Indian bishops' conference, maintained that church organizations have been strictly following the law and the recommended further probe was a clear case of harassment. Bishop Mascarenhas said that the state administration, run by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that also rules nationally, has been targeting Christians because they work for the weakest sections of society. He and other Christian leaders accuse the BJP of supporting the ideology of Hindu upper caste domination and trying to stifle minority groups such as socially poor Dalits, formerly known as untouchables, and tribal villagers.
The regional bishops' council of Jharkhand has also slammed the government, describing the allegation of funds being diverted for proselytizing as baseless.
Vietnam releases, then exiles jailed Catholic blogger 18-10-18
Vietnam has freed a well-known Catholic blogger and rights activist jailed two years ago on a ten- year sentence for posting anti-government material on social media and forced her into exile in the U.S.
Mary Magdelene Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, known as Mother Mushroom, was driven from Prison Camp No.5 in Vietnam's northern province of Thanh Hoa to Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on Oct. 17, the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers group said. "Security officers only allowed Quynh to speak to officials from the U.S. embassy in Hanoi at the airport for five minutes before putting her on a flight at noon," the network said in a statement. Quynh met her two children and mother Nguyen Tuyet Lan on the plane, which arrived in Houston the same day. The network described as “a woman who fights tirelessly for human rights, national sovereignty and environmental protection will begin."
Archbishop Vigano answers critics, challenges others to speak out 19-10-18
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano has issued a third public testimony, answering the criticism of Cardinal Marc Ouellet and challenging other prelates to speak out against corruption in the Church.
In his new message Archbishop Vigano repeats his charge that Theodore McCarrick was protected by a powerful homosexual network, and says that “the evidence for homosexual collusion, with its deep roots that are so difficult to eradicate, is overwhelming.” Answering Cardinal Ouellet’s angry public denunciation, the archbishop clarifies the sequence of events in which he spoke to Pope Francis about McCarrick’s misbehavior, and emphasizes that existing Vatican documents will confirm his charges. The former nuncio to the United States concludes his latest statement with a challenge to other bishops to follow his lead and speak out.
Pope discusses abuse scandal in meeting with Italian seminarians 19-10-18
Pope Francis described the abuse scandal as “a global scandal, that makes one reflect on the human sacrifices of children as pagans once did.” He added, “The greatest scandal, to me, is the frivolous priest.”
Pope Francis was talking to seminarians from northern Italy’s Lombardi region and after hearing their questions offered them solutions and reflections.
Archbishop sues Peruvian journalist for aggravated defamation 19-10-18
Peruvian journalist Paola Ugaz was criminally denounced for aggravated defamation by the Archbishop of Piura and Tumbes, José Antonio Eguren Anselmi. The archbishop accuses Ugaz of having damaged his honour and reputation in seven tweets the journalist published on Jan. 20, 2018 about alleged sexual abuses and land trafficking allegedly committed by his ecclesiastical community.
Archbishop Eguren, who belongs to the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SVC) as a member of the generation that founded the community, has requested three years of prison for Ugaz and 200,000 soles (about US $60,000) in civil reparations. The SVC is an ecclesiastical community linked to the Catholic church.
South Africa - "The hundreds of miners affected by pneumoconiosis are an indictment of human greed" 19-10-18
"For decades, coal mining companies allowed their workers to be exposed to unsafe levels of coal dust. The mines need to take both ethical and legal responsibility for the sick miners", said Bishop Abel Gabuza of Kimberly and President of the "Justice and Peace" Episcopal Commission of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference on the initiatives taken by the Church in South Africa to help the workers affected by pneumoconiosis, also called black lung disease, that is contracted in coal mines through inadequate protection from coal dust.
South Africa is one of the countries with highest prevalence rate on black lung disease.
"Most of the miners who become sick were sent home with little or no compensation after working in mines that have generated millions of Rands for their shareholders", emphasizes Bishop Gabuza who supports the class action launched by hundreds of miners who have contracted the disease and by family members of the workers who in the meantime have died due to pneumoconiosis.
Cameroon - Church collapses during the prayer of the rosary; at least two dead and one missing 19-10-18
At least two people died in the collapse of the church of Sainte Marceline de Minkan in Odza, a suburb of the capital of Cameroon, Yaoundé, which occurred on the evening of 17 October. The collapse was due to heavy rains. According to Fr. Félix Désiré Amougou, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Yaoundé, the provisional toll of the tragedy is 2 dead, 4 wounded, and one missing.
The collapse occurred when the faithful were in church to pray the rosary.
More church crosses demolished in China 19-10-18
Chinese officials have ordered the demolition of more crosses and some other church structures less than a month after a landmark deal was signed between the Vatican and the country's communist regime.
But within dioceses in Zhejiang, Henan and Guizhou provinces, there has been a new campaign to remove public symbols of Christianity.
In southwestern Guizhou, officials Oct. 15 issued an order to the Anlong Church to remove structures and crosses, said to be in violation of planning laws, that were erected as part of a local pilgrimage.
On Oct. 12, two crosses cross of the Luoyang Catholic Church in Henan province was demolished by authorities at 2 am. In the same province on Oct. 3, a church in Hamadan diocese had a cross forcibly removed. A senior provincial official had previously stated that action was required as the cross was too obviously visible from a nearby train station. On Oct. 11, the cross on a bell tower and a wall of a Church in Wenzhou City of Zhejiang province were demolished by 40 workers dispatched by local communist officials.
Pope says he's open to visiting North Korea 19-10-18
Pope Francis, at a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, said he is willing to visit North Korea.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had asked Moon to tell the pope of the invitation. According to Yonhap, the Korean news agency, Moon's press secretary told reporters the pope said he would accept "if an [official] invitation arrives and I can go.'" Meeting the South Korean president on Oct. 18, the pope praised Moon's efforts to promote peace in the Korean Peninsula.
Filipino kids join global prayer for end to drug killings 19-10-18
More than a thousand Filipino children in a Manila suburb prayed for God's intervention on Oct. 18 to "heal the country" of its ills and end a campaign of killings targeting drug suspects.
Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan said the number of orphans created by the drug war is surging. And in any war "children suffer the most," he said.
"[People] don't understand what's happening," said Bishop David whose diocese on the outskirts of the Philippine capital has become a major drug war battleground. On Oct. 18, the bishop led children in praying the rosary as part of the global "One Million Children Praying the Rosary Campaign."
It is a prayer initiative of the international pastoral non-profit group, Aid to the Church in Need, to gather young people from around the world to pray the rosary for world peace.
Now in its third year, more than 80 countries participated in the event, an initiative of international non-profit group, Aid to the Church in Need, which was joined in the Philippines by children from 1,200 parishes and 700 schools in 41 dioceses.
Vatican - Share the Journey: fight fear by walking with migrants and refugees 20-10-18
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila and President of Caritas Internationalis, invites communities of citizens all over the world to fight hatred and fear with a million-year march of solidarity worldwide kilometers, alongside migrants and refugees. The worldwide pilgrimage is an initiative that arises in the context of the migration awareness campaign titled Share the Journey, "Let's share the journey".
"The big challenge in this time of harsh divisions - said Cardinal Tagle - is to oppose a rhetoric of fear and hate with actions of love, kindness and mercy, such as the ones proposed in our Share the Journey campaign".
The Rome walk is one of many being organised around the world, and Cardinal Tagle will officially launch the Share the Journey global pilgrimage on Sunday 21st October in Rome.
Indonesia - The Bishop visits the displaced persons of Palu: "I am here to give comfort" 20-10-18
"I am here to give comfort and encourage the population that suffers": said Bishop Benedictus Estephanus Rolly Untu of Manado, of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, addressing the displaced who are temporarily in the parish church of Santa Maria of the Sacred Heart, in the centre of Palu, the city strongly hit by the earthquake that devastated the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on 28 September, in the East of the Indonesian archipelago. Hundreds of Catholic faithful in Palu found comfort in the recent visit of the Bishop, who also touched the most remote area of Kulawi, about 87 kilometers from Palu, with difficult road access due to heavy landslides that hinder the journey.
The Bishop, describing his humanitarian mission, said: "The local Church is providing every possible humanitarian aid for the displaced persons in Sidera and Jonoogo, in the district of Sigi", including tents and survival kits.
Vatican – Catholic Church statistics 2018
As of 31 December 2016 the world population was 7.352.289.000. Catholics in the world numbered 1.299.059.000 with an increase of 14.249.000 in one year. (Asia: + 1.956.000); Percentage 17.67%; Dioceses 3,016; Bishops 5,326; priests 414.969 (- 687) ((Asia + 1.304));
Sisters 659.445 (-10.885) ((Asia (+ 533)); seminarians 116.160 (+999) ((Asia (+9)).
Catholic schools: 72.826 kindergartens with 7.313.370 pupils; 96.573 primary schools with 35.125.124 pupils; 47.862 secondary schools with 19.956.347 pupils. The Church also cares for 2.509.457 high school pupils, and 3.049.548 university students.
Hospitals 5.287; Dispensaries 15.937 (Asia 3,300).
Care Homes for people with Leprosy, mainly in Asia (352); 15.722 Homes for the elderly, or the chronically ill or people with a disability, mainly in Asia (3.660).[ for details cf attached fie]
Pope at Angelus: ‘Service is antidote to glory-seeking’ 21-10-18
Speaking to the faithful who had gathered in St Peter’s Square on Sunday, Pope Francis commented on the day’s Gospel (Mk 10:35-45) which treat of the brothers James and John who had asked Jesus to sit at his right and left at the coming of the Kingdom of God
Jesus tries to correct his disciples, the Pope said, by “converting them from the mentality of the world to that of God.”
The Pope said Jesus turns their request for glory into a “cup” to drink and of a “baptism” to receive. “They too, like the other Apostles, will participate in his cross when their time comes.”
The Holy Father said Jesus is inviting the disciples to follow him and learn the way of love “at a loss”, that is, not for profit or earthly gain. “Our heavenly Father will take care of the reward,” he said. Pope Francis said service is antidote to glory-seeking.
Pope recalls World Mission Sunday 21-10-18
On the annual occurrence of World Mission Sunday, Pope Francis invites all people, both young and old, to participate in the mission of the Church to bring the Gospel to everyone.
He asked for support for the Missions. “No one is so poor as to be unable to give what they have, but first and foremost what they are,” said the Pontiff.
Pope promotes ‘Share the Journey’ global pilgrimage 21-10-18
Pope Francis greeted participants in the global pilgrimage portion of Caritas Internationalis' Share the Journey campaign, as Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, its director, took the first steps with migrants and refugees to launch the initiative on Sunday. The aim of this initiative was to express solidarity with migrants and refugees, who are specially taken care of by Caritas.