CATHOLIC WORLD LAST WEEK (CWLW) 11-17 Feb, 2019

CATHOLIC WORLD LAST WEEK

(CWLW)

11-17 Feb, 2019

11-2-19

 

Cardinal Müller’s ‘Manifest’ draws criticism from Cardinal Kasper           11-2-19

Citing “growing confusion about the doctrine of the Faith,” Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has released a document entitled “Manifesto of Faith,” setting forth fundamental Church teachings that are now under attack.

In his manifesto, the German prelate focuses on the Trinity, the sacraments, the moral law, and the prospect of eternal life. He takes pains to emphasize the distinctive Christian belief in a triune God, the necessary role of Christ’s Church in salvation, and the importance of the sacramental life. In particular he explains that confession is necessary for the remission of grave sin, and that those who remain in a state of serious sin—including those who are divorced and remarried civilly—should not receive Communion. The manifesto presented by the German cardinal called attention to questions that have arisen during the current pontificate.

Cardinal Walter Kasper reacted strongly against the manifesto, saying that Cardinal Müller had given an incomplete and one-sided presentation of Catholic teachings. Cardinal Walter went on to charge that Cardinal Müller intended to promote his own personal views “behind the Pope’s back and enforce them in opposition to him.”

Weeklong observance in U.S. celebrates ‘beauty and gift of marriage’            11-2-19


National Marriage Week USA and World Marriage Day are opportunities for “building a culture of life and love that begins with promoting and defending marriage and the family,” said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia.

The archbishop, who is chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, made the comments in a letter to his brother bishops about the weeklong observance Feb. 7-14 and the international day, observed Feb. 10 this year.

The USCCB offers resources in English and Spanish about marriage, the promotion and defense of marriage as a lifelong union of one man and one woman through its websites ForYour Marriage.org, PorTuMatrimonio.org and MarriageUniqueForAReason.org.

Additional resources specifically for the celebration of National Marriage Week, including a preaching resource, poster, and prayer intentions, can be found on the USCCB website at https://bit.ly/294bMTI.

 

Venezuelan delegation received in the Vatican        11-2-19

Answering questions from journalists, the Ad Interim Director of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti said a Venezuelan delegation was received on February 11 in the Secretariat of State. Juan Guaido, recognized by dozens of countries as Venezuela’s leader, denounced Nicolas Maduro’s decision to prevent humanitarian aid from entering the country.

In the meeting, "the closeness of the Holy Father and the Holy See to the Venezuelan people was reaffirmed, especially to those who suffer". "In addition”, said Gisotti, “grave concern was underlined that a just and peaceful solution be urgently sought to overcome the crisis, respecting human rights and seeking the good of all of the inhabitants of the country and avoiding bloodshed".

 

Pope Francis celebrates Missionaries of Africa’s 150 years of service               8-2-19


Pope Francis welcomed members of the Missionaries of Africa and Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa to the Vatican's Apostolic Palace on February 8, and encouraged them to continue their mission on their 150th anniversary of their community’s founding.

“I encourage you to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus Christ, so as never to forget that the true missionary is above all a disciple,” Pope Francis told the missionaries.

In mid-nineteenth century Algeria, a French bishop, later Cardinal Charles Lavigerie, sought to share the Gospel among the local Africans living in his diocese by forming a community in 1868 that adopted the traditional dress in Algiers -- a white cassock with a red fez.

One hundred and fifty years later, the Missionaries of Africa, commonly called the “White Fathers” for their distinctive attire, have grown to have more than 1,500 vocations in 22 African countries -- 95 percent of which come from Africa.

 

There is no development without solidarity, Pope says in video message to World Government Summit                 10-2-19

 

Pope Francis sent a video message to the World Government Summit taking place in Dubai February 10-12.

The Pope emphasized that “we cannot really speak of sustainable development without solidarity”. He concluded his message with by thanking those taking part, and with the prayer that the Lord might bless their commitment “for a more just and prosperous world for everyone".

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of the Emirate of Dubai, commissioned the World Government Summit.

 

Geneva residents, in referendum, ban wearing of religious symbols by public employees           11-2-19

Geneva residents voted on February 10 for a controversial new "secularism law", which wil, among other things, ban elected officials and public employees from wearing visible religious symbols.

Teachers in Geneva are already banned from wearing visible religious symbols.

 

Benedictine nuns return to Italy’s Norcia                11-2-19

On the feast of St Scholastica, February 10, the Benedictine nuns of Saint Anthony returned to the city of Norcia, the birthplace of St Benedict, more than two years after the earthquakes that devasted the Umbrian city, in Italy.

The community will be living in a temporary housing model located in the garden of Santa Pace.

 

Taiwan - The President of the PMS at the meeting of the National Directors of Asia

"Gods calls us regardless of our own personal merit; God calls us to be apostles; the message that we bring is the very heart of our faith, the proclamation of the death and resurrection of Jesus". These are the three points highlighted by the President of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS), Archbishop Giovanni Pietro Dal Toso, during the Eucharistic celebration that he presided over on Sunday 10 February in the Holy Family church in Taipei, Taiwan, during the Continental Meeting of the National Directors of the PMS of Asia.
At the beginning of his homily, Archbishop Dal Toso recalled that the PMS "are a worldwide network at the service of the Holy Father to support the mission and the young Churches through prayer and charity. This week, the National Directors of the PMS in Asia are gathered here in Taiwan to reflect on how we can better help the Churches in Asia to become missionary".
The Archbishop concluded by exhorting to be grateful to God for this miracle that is renewed, even if "we are not worthy. But it is even more true that God wants to accomplish this miracle for us and for our salvation".

Later speaking at the meeting of the National DIrector of Asia, Archbishop Del Toso, said, “Asia is the continent that offers significant prospects for the missio ad gentes; Pope Francis has already visited Korea, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Myanmar and it seems that he will soon visit Japan; countries such as China and Vietnam are of particular concern to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
the President of the PMS recalled the common commitment of these continental meetings and of the individual National Directions, to reflect in particular on two topics: the theological foundation of the mission and on the future of the Pontifical Mission Societies.

Islamist party leaders face corruption probe in Malaysia              11-2-19

Investigations have been opened by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission following disclosures that Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) leaders had purchased luxury vehicles including a Range Rover, Audi A6, Toyota Vellfire, BMW motorcycle and a Mercedes-Benz among others.

The probe comes on the heels of an out-of-court settlement on Feb. 2 in Britain between PAS leader Abdul Hadi Awang and blogger Clare Rewcastle-Brown of Sarawak Report over corruption allegations.

Hadi had sued Rewcastle-Brown for defamation in 2017 after she wrote that PAS leaders received 90 million ringgit (US$22 million) from former premier Najib Razak in exchange for the party’s support in the last general election.

 

Myanmar's Buddhist refugees face hardship at border                11-2-19

Buddhist refugees recently displaced by fighting between Myanmar’s military and insurgents face hard times in a remote Bangladeshi village and at the border between the countries.

Some 200 Buddhists from Chin and Rakhine states crossed the border into Bandarban district, Chittagong Hill Tracts, in southeastern Bangladesh on Feb. 4-5 and hundreds gathered at the border before Bangladeshi guards sealed it off. They fled their homes to escape violence amid an escalation in fighting between the Arakan Army, an ethnic Rakhine insurgent group, and the military in recent weeks. But they are suffering from a shortage of food and clothes in the cold weather of late winter.

 

Bangladesh fetes 500 years of Christianity                11-2-19

Thousands of Catholics celebrated 500 years of Christianity in Bangladesh by paying tribute to early missionaries, martyrs, and Mother Mary from Feb. 7-8. The celebrations coincided with an annual pilgrimage to the popular Our Lady of Lourdes shrine in Diang, Chittagong Archdiocese.

About 7,000 people including 11 bishops, 75 priests, 18 religious brothers and 80 nuns flocked to the two-day program. 

The Arakanese massacre of 600 Portuguese Christians followed the martyrdom in 1602 of the Jesuit priest Father Francesco Fernandez. Portuguese traders brought Christianity in 1517 via Goa. Chittagong became the stronghold of Christianity, to be followed by Dhaka.

In remembrance of its fabled history, hundreds of Catholics climbed the hilly roads of Diang this month to honour those early martyrs and missionaries by offering flowers and lighting candles on their ancient tombs. Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop George Kocherry and Holy Cross Archbishop Moses M. Costa of Chittagong also unveiled a new "Rosary Garden" in the shape of rosary beads at the Marian shrine as a sign of respect.

"Five hundred years is sign of fullness, a matter of pride, joy and new inspiration for us. This is a calling for us to be missionaries and move toward a new way of serving the people," Archbishop Costa said.

 

12-2-19

Candles of Atonement to be lit in Irish Cathedrals and parishes               12-2-19   

“I encourage dioceses and parishes to undertake this new prayer initiative and to light the ‘Candle of Atonement’ in Cathedrals and churches across Ireland,” said Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, the Primate of All Ireland.

The annual Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of Sexual Abuse will take place on Friday 15 February, a week before Pope Francis’ gathering in Rome with senior bishops and major religious superiors to discuss child safeguarding throughout the universal Church.

“Many [survivors of abuse] have spoken to me about the importance of prayer for survivors, and for the need for the Church to be open to justice, to atone and never forget them,” Archbishop Martin said.

 

Sainthood causes of Blessed Mariam Chiramel, Blessed John Henry Newman advance          12-2-19

Pope Francis has authorized on February 12 the promulgation of two decrees on miracles for sainthood of Indian blessed Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidian and Cardinal John Henry Newman. So too were the causes of the servants of God towards beatification – Ecuador’s martyr, Jesuit Father Victor Emilio Moscoso Cárdenas (d.1897) and five others, thanks to whose intercession a miracle has been certified. Their names are Hungarian Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty (d.1974), Italian priest John Baptist Zuaboni (d.1939), Spanish Jesuit priest Emanuele García Nieto (d.1974), Italian Sr Serafina Formai (d.1954), Colombian Sr Maria Berenice Duque Hencker (d.1993). These six can now be termed venerable.

Indian Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan is the foundress of the Congregation of the Holy Family (CHF). The nun belonging to the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church was born in Puthenchira on 26 April 1876 and died in Kuzhikkattussery on 8 June 1926.

She is known for her extraordinary charity, especially a preferential love for the poorest of the poor. She was beatified on 9 April 2000 by Pope St. John Paul II in Rome.

Born in London on 21 February 1801 and died in Edgbaston on 11 August 1890, Cardinal John Henry Newman, the noted theologian and poet, was first an Anglican priest and later a Catholic priest and cardinal, who was an important figure in the religious history of England of his time.

He was one of the leading figures of the Oxford Movement that originated at Oxford University in 1833, that sought to link the Anglican Church more closely to the Roman Catholic Church. He is the author of the popular hymn:Lead Kindly Light. He founded the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Edgbaston, England.

 

Uganda - Protests against the use of the image of women to promote tourism           12-2-19

"Winston Churchill said that Uganda is the pearl of Africa and as Catholics, we are used to singing that our country is the pearl of Africa, but Uganda could not find anything better to show tourists that our wives, our mothers and our girls as tourist attractions "said Father Gaetano Batanyenda, a Ugandan Catholic priest, in taking a position on the" Miss Curvy Uganda "beauty contest, launched on 5 February, by the Minister of Tourism, Godfrey Kiwanda, as part of the promotional program "Tulambule" ("Let's tour") to attract foreign visitors.

In order to boost tourism, Fr Gaetano said, “the government is confirming a stereotype that women are sexual objects and can be harassed without problems.”

 

Burkino Faso - A new school for Fulani shepherds          12-2-19

Building a school for the Fulani shepherds, in the awareness of the preciousness of the service of education, part of the evangelical mission to give dignity to the most disadvantaged communities. With this spirit p. Maurice Oudet, a missionary of the White Fathers for years in Burkina Faso, has carried out a project in the field of schooling. The Fulanes, also known by the French term "peul", are a nomadic population that lives in a vast area ranging from Mauritania to Cameroon (about 19 million). They live breeding and move with large herds in search of pastures and wells for their animals. They often have tough clashes with resident populations because they migrate through cultivated fields, destroying crops, or contending for scarce water resources in a thirsty area like the Sahel. Hence Fr Oudet’s initiative to impart education to Fulani shepherds.

 

Indonesia - Religious leaders: preparing the voters for a free and responsible vote            12-2-19

Educating people to vote responsibly, avoiding ideological polarizations, always choosing the path of the common good: it is what the leaders of the Church and other religious communities to all Indonesian citizens, recommend, in view of the upcoming presidential elections of April 17. A group of over 50 teachers, leaders, academics and religious administrators held a seminar recently on "The role of religious leaders in the creation of a peaceful and dignified Indonesia".

The participants noted the major challenges facing Indonesia: endemic poverty, inequality, corruption, respect for religious freedom and human rights, improvement of education, health care, and employment.

 

El Salvador - Archbishop Escobar Alas congratulates the new President and recalls the issues to be addressed             12-2-19

 

Archbishop José Luis Escobar Alas of San Salvador presented his congratulations on 10 February to the President-elect, Nayib Bukele, and to the new Vice-President, Felix Ulloa, for having been elected on 3 February to govern El Salvador for the next 5 years.

The archbishop reminded the president-elect of the things he, the archbishop, had been emphasizing before the election: working for peace with justice, no privatization of water, appropriate change in the pension system, no imposition of new taxes, an increase in the minimum wage for the working class and solving the problem of corruption in the country.

Carmelites celebrate four centuries of worship in Asia            12-2-19

 

Carmelites concluded week-long celebrations of their 400 years of existence in Asia with a solemn Mass in Old Goa, the former capital of colonial Portuguese India, where the order began its journey.

More than 200 priests of the international Discalced Carmelite Order including leaders from across the globe attended a Mass on Feb. 10 at Se Cathedral in the western Indian coastal city, remembering their pioneers in the region. Wreaths were laid on the tombs of Carmelite priests and missionaries whose tombs were discovered during an excavation in 1985. The Discalced or barefoot Carmelites landed in Goa in 1619 after Pope Clement VIII delegated them to Asia in 1604.

A week-long extraordinary general definitory — a gathering of the Carmelites’ decision-making team — was part of the celebrations. The celebrations also included a seminar on the Carmelites’ arrival in India, its spread, spirituality, its contribution to spiritual apostleship and a discussion on the challenges facing the society.

On Feb. 8, Father Saverio Cannistra, superior general of the order, led a memorial Mass for Blessed Dionysius and Blessed Redemptus, the first martyrs of the society, amid the ruins of the first Carmelite convent in Old Goa. He said the strength of the religious lies not in numbers but “in the power of the spirit, the abundance of his gifts, which transforms our weakness and our fears into the courage and joy of the disciples and apostles of Jesus Christ.”

India has seven Carmelite provinces with 1,000 friars and 34 cloistered Carmel convents with 500 nuns.

 

Islamists attack Indonesian sexual violence bill             12-2-19

Religious conservatives in Indonesia are looking to shoot down a ground-breaking sexual violence bill. They claim the move to provide better legal protection for women conflicts with Islamic values, and promotes adultery and even homosexuality.

The Ministry of Empowerment of Women and Children and the House of Representatives are looking to see the bill become law before presidential elections in April. The bill looks to outlaw forms of sexual violence not covered by existing legislation and encourage women to report crimes. They include sexual harassment, forced prostitution and forced marriage.

However, opponents claim the bill is badly worded and too liberal as it implies that any form of consensual sex is acceptable, including gay sex. It does not stipulate that sexual relations should only take place between married couples, critics say.

An online petition calling on Muslims to reject the bill has gained more than 150,000 supporters.

Philippine dioceses ban electioneering in churches               12-2-19

As part of efforts to ensure impartiality, several Philippine dioceses have banned electioneering in church premises as campaigning for this year's national elections starts.

In Balanga Diocese north of Manila, Bishop Ruperto Santos said candidates would not be allowed to carry the offering during offertory processions during Masses. Any church people in parishes who work for an election candidate will also be required to take leave of absence from church duties.

In Caceres Diocese, in the southern part of the main Philippine island of Luzon, Archbishop Rolando Tirona also issued a directive prohibiting electioneering on church properties. That includes the holding of election rallies on church premises. Bishop Tirona also prohibited priests from conducting mass weddings, baptisms and confirmations sponsored by candidates or political parties. Priests are also prohibited from soliciting donations from them. "It is prohibited for any priest to openly and directly campaign for a particular political party or candidate," said Bishop Tirona.

 

Myitsone Dam protest leader vows to fight on           12-2-19

 

A court in Myanmar’s Kachin State has fined a Catholic woman who organized a protest against the Myitsone Dam project for violating the peaceful assembly law.

Bernadette Ja Hkawng was fined 10,000 kyats (US$6.50) on Feb. 11 after using a loudspeaker and unauthorized slogans such as “No Myitsone Dam” in a Feb. 7 protest. “I work for the people not only in Kachin but also across the country, so I am ready to face any challenge,” Ja Hkawng said. She has called on all people in Myanmar to join hands to protect the Irrawaddy River and halt the Chinese-backed dam project permanently.

 

Indian state passes resolution to help Dalit Christians          12-2-19

 

India’s Andhra Pradesh state has passed a resolution which church leaders say will help socially poor Dalit Christians receive welfare benefits enjoyed by their counterparts in Hinduism.

The legislative house of the southern state passed the resolution on Feb. 7 appealing to the federal government to make amendments to regulations to allow Christians from Dalit communities to enjoy benefits meant for the advancement of socially disadvantaged people. The resolution proposed by chief minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu said that if Dalit people convert to Christianity it does not change their social and economic status.

The Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches (APFC), an ecumenical organization of heads of different churches, welcomed the resolution on behalf of the Christian community.

The Christians’ struggle began in 1950 when a presidential order said only Dalit people following Hinduism could enjoy constitution-guaranteed concessions and seat reservations meant for the socioeconomic advancement of Dalit people.

A 1950 presidential order effectively cut off benefits to Dalit people who converted to other religions. It was amended twice to include Dalits among Sikhs in 1956 and Buddhists in 1990, but not Christians.

Naidu’s move can put pressure on the other states as well as other political leaders ahead of the general election due in two months, a Christian leader said. only four other states — Bihar, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Pondicherry — have so far passed such resolutions recommending benefits for Christians of Dalit origin.

13-2-19

Pope at General Audience on Jesus’ way to Pray               13-2-19

At the Wednesday General Audience on February 13, Pope Francis, taking up the series of catecheses on the “Our Father,” focused his meditation on the Father of us all (Biblical passage: From the Gospel according to Luke 10:21-22). Here are his words in English:

In our ongoing catechesis on the “Our Father”, let us continue to learn from Jesus how to pray as he taught. True prayer is made in the intimate depths of a heart visible only to God. It is a silent dialogue, like the glance between two people in love. Yet in this way, the Christian does not forget the world, but rather brings its people and its needs into prayer. We notice the absence of the word “I” in the “Our Father”. Jesus teaches us instead to pray: “your kingdom come, your will be done”. The second half of the prayer then moves from “your” to “our”: “give us our daily bread; forgive us our trespasses”. This use of the plural shows that Christian prayer never asks bread for just one person, but always on behalf of others. In our prayer, then, do we open our hearts to the cry of others? We are all children of God, and at the end of our lives, we will be judged on how we have loved. Not a sentimental love but one that is concrete and compassionate, as seen in God’s word: “As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40).

Cardinal Cupich: The Vatican abuse summit will focus on ‘responsibility, accountability and transparency’            13-2-19

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, USA, one of the four members of the committee that prepared the Vatican summit on the protection of minors, told America he is confident “we can expect decisive action to follow from the meeting...both in Rome and in dioceses worldwide.”

He recalled that Pope Francis “has made it clear that the meeting,” which will be held at the Vatican on Feb. 21 to Feb. 24, “has a twofold purpose.” First, “to serve as a catechesis and formation so that the world’s bishops and the superiors of religious orders understand more profoundly the suffering [of the] victim-survivors” and “to make sure that everyone in the church around the globe—in every culture—is clear about their responsibilities for child protection as well as what it means for bishops [and superiors of religious orders] to own this issue and be accountable for it.”

He said that the summit’s second purpose is “to advance a framework of protocols for responding to allegations of clergy sexual abuse.” That framework, he added, would “identify for everyone the concrete steps required to implement practices that safeguard children and to bring justice to victims in a way that is responsible, accountable and transparent—even in cultures where law enforcement or the government may not be reliable partners.”

Chinese bishop sought to avoid involvement with Patriotic Association                13-2-19


Bishop Peter Jin Lugang made every effort to avoid joining the government-backed Patriotic Association before he was recognized by Beijing as coadjutor bishop of Nanyang, the AsiaNews service reports. The Chinese government requires prelates to work with the Patriotic Association, which Pope Benedict XVI wrote was “irreconcilable” with Church teaching.

 

Pope Francis praises Galileo Foundation’s work against human trafficking          13-2-19
 

After the General Audience on Wednesday Pope Francis had words of appreciation for the trustees and benefactors of Galileo Foundation who sponsor a wide variety of projects for the poor worldwide, particularly against human trafficking.

He said: I would like principally to emphasize your contribution to raising awareness of the plight of those who suffer from poverty and exploitation, especially those entrapped by the deadly crime of human trafficking. This is an urgent and essential duty for today’s Christians.

Cardinal Cupich: The Vatican abuse summit will focus on ‘responsibility, accountability and transparency’            13-2-19

Many wonder if the upcoming summit on the protection of minors will result in a concrete response to the problem, given that Pope Francis and Vatican media have sought to downplay expectations.

But Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, one of the four members of the committee that prepared the meeting, told America he is confident “we can expect decisive action to follow from the meeting...both in Rome and in dioceses worldwide.”

He recalled that Pope Francis “has made it clear that the meeting,” which will be held at the Vatican on Feb. 21 to Feb. 24, “has a twofold purpose.” First, “to serve as a catechesis and formation so that the world’s bishops and the superiors of religious orders understand more profoundly the suffering [of the] victim-survivors” and “to make sure that everyone in the church around the globe—in every culture—is clear about their responsibilities for child protection as well as what it means for bishops [and superiors of religious orders] to own this issue and be accountable for it.”

He said that the summit’s second purpose is “to advance a framework of protocols for responding to allegations of clergy sexual abuse.” That framework, he added, would “identify for everyone the concrete steps required to implement practices that safeguard children and to bring justice to victims in a way that is responsible, accountable and transparent—even in cultures where law enforcement or the government may not be reliable partners.”

Cardinal Peter Turkson inaugurates the South Asian Conference on Dalit Christians          13-2-19

The South Asian Conference on the theme “Dalits Witnessing Faith at the Crossroads in South Asia and Christian Response” was organized by the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) Office for Dalits and Backward Classes at National Biblical Catechetical Liturgical Centre (NBCLC), Bangalore, India, on 13-14, February 2019. Cardinal Peter K.A.Turkson, Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development was the chief guest.

There were 170 delegates from all over India, which a number ofbishops. There were also delegates from Malaysia, Singapore, Nepal, Thailand, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Fr. Selva SJ, the director of Indian Social Institute, Delhi, explained the challenges faced by the Dalit Christians and Fr. Maria Arul Raja, professor of Scripture, gave the theological reflections on the topic. Fr. Paul Moonjeli the director of Caritas India promised that Caritas India is committed for the development of the Dalits.

Some delegates shared their faith experience of being Dalits. They shared that even in their own home-surroundings the untouchable practices are in different and subtle forms.  Ms. Ludhia Digal and Asmita Digal, the widows of the victims of the Kandhamal (Orissa state, India) violence shared the struggles of being Dalits and how their husbands gave their lives for the sake of their faith. The bishops along with the delegates submitted the memorandum to Cardinal Turkson requesting him to take the issues of the Dalit Christians to Pope Francis.

The participants planned for the way forward in which they plan to form a Forum of Dalit Christians at the Asian level.

Kazakhstan - New Caritas projects for the elderly and drug addicts          13-2-19

"The Caritas of Almaty is trying to give shape to a dream of Bishop José Luis Mumbiela: to be able to set up a home health care service for elderly people in our diocese, thanks to Caritas. We have asked some Italian organizations to start the training regarding Kazakh volunteers who can take care of social and health care. We hope, therefore, that the conference in Calcutta can give us the opportunity to establish collaborations or useful contacts to start the project". This is what Fr. Guido Trezzani, at the head of Caritas of the diocese of Almaty and Caritas Kazakhstan. He was in Calcutta, India, to participate in the series of conferences organized from 8 to 12 February, for the celebrations of the XXVII World Day of the Sick.

In addition to the field of care for the elderly, work continues in Kazakhstan on the project to establish a community of care for addictions.

South Korea - The President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference visits the North with a delegation of religious and civil leaders             13-2-19

To establish relationships of trust and launch various projects and cooperation in various areas such as tourism, culture, religion, education, sport, art with exchanges among students, educators: with this purpose a 250-strong delegation of religious leaders, including Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, President of the Episcopal Conference of Korea, government officials and representatives of civil society associations crossed the border on 12 February for a two-day stay.

This is the first cross-border event of 2019 and is the result of meetings between members of the Northern Government and the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation, active in the government of Seoul.      

 

Colombia - The Bishops: let us persevere in reconciliation and peace, let us fight corruption, let us keep hope alive         13-2-19

 

At the end of their Plenary Assembly, the Bishops of Colombia ask all for the commitment "to persevere in the construction of reconciliation and peace." "it is necessary to assume the culture of encounter, which allows us to open ourselves to all Colombians, accept the differences and deactivate hatred and revenge," they said.

They invite the ELN guerrilla to abandon their criminal actions. They ask the government for continued efforts to implement peace policy, a solution to armed conflict, elimination of corruption, solidarity with the poor and to keep hope alive.

 

Haiti - "The country is on the brink of collapsing": the Bishops denounce violence, intimidation, misery               13-2-19

The Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Haiti are alarmed about the terrible situation of general violence that the country is experiencing after the population took to the streets to demonstrate against the government of President Jovenel Moïse. Expressing solidarity with the victims of violence, they note how people are angry at the worsening of the economic difficulties, soaring inflation, non-availability of food etc. They appeal: "We must find a wise solution that takes into account the best interests of the nation and the defence of the common good, in this sense we call upon the conscience of the citizens of the various political parties for a patriotic decision."

 

Thai TV station suspended for criticism of junta        13-2-19

Thailand’s broadcasting watchdog has been criticized for taking a TV station off the air in the run-up to a general election due on March 24.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) on Feb. 12 announced the suspension of Voice TV for 15 days, starting from Feb. 13, after accusing the station of causing public confusion, inciting conflict in society and threatening national security because it provided airtime to candidates critical of Thailand’s military government and broadcast criticisms of the government’s handling of the upcoming election and the economy. “The suspension of Voice TV underlines the message that criticizing Thailand’s military government prior to the elections is forbidden,” said Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch (HRW). “Thailand’s generals are showing they don’t intend to ease their heavy-handed rule over the country to ensure a fair vote.”

 

India's tribal Christians back shelving of citizenship bill              13-2-19

 

The upper house of India’s parliament has shelved a controversial bill on citizenship amid prayers by tribal Christians for its defeat.

People in northeastern states where Christians form a substantial population have been protesting the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) want to push into law a before general elections due in two months.

The bill aims to accord Indian citizenship to non-Muslims — specifically Hindus, Christians, Jains, Parsis and Buddhists — who entered India from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan before 2014 and have lived in the country for six years continuously.

The lower house of India’s parliament, Lok Sabha, passed the bill in January despite violent protests in Assam and other states.

Christians in states such as Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland have been conducting special prayers seeking the defeat of the bill.

 

Bangladesh gets first female Christian MP            13-2-19

A Catholic lawyer has become the country’s first female Christian member of parliament in Muslim-majority Bangladesh. Gloria Jharna Sarker,(in the picture,extreme left) a mother of two, will represent the ruling Awami League party in Bangladesh’s Lower House.

The Awami League was allotted 43 places for 50 seats reserved for women in the Jatiya Sangsad (National Assembly) and submitted its list to the Election Commission on Feb. 12.

The commission validated the list on Feb. 13 and selection should be finalized by March 4.

Sarker joins Jewel Areng, an ethnic Garo Catholic who was directly elected to parliament for the second time in the Dec. 30 election. He is the son of the first Christian parliamentarian, Promod Mankin.

 

Philippine bishops laugh off move to change country's name           13-2-19

Filipino Catholic bishops have laughed off a proposal by President Rodrigo Duterte to change the name of the Philippines to "Maharlika," which reportedly means "noble."

Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon said the proposal was "distasteful," especially at a time when the country is preparing for the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in 2021.

14-2-19

Pope Francis appoints Cardinal Farrell as Camerlengo of Holy Roman Church         14-2-19

Cardinal Kevin Farrell, the prefect of the dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life, has been named camerlengo by Pope Francis.

The camerlengo (chamberlain) is the head of the Apostolic Camera, the Vatican office responsible for administration of the Vatican and the temporal goods of the Holy See during the vacancy created by the death or resignation of a Roman Pontiff.

Because the serious work of the camerlengo occurs only during a papal interregnum, Cardinal Farrell will be able to continue his work as head of the dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life. His appointment fills an opening created when the previous camerlengo, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, died last July 5.

 

Cardinal O’Malley seen at odds with Pontiff on sex-abuse policy            14-2-19


Wall Street Journal report points to signs of tension between Pope Francis and Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the head of the papal sex-abuse commission. The American cardinal objected in 2017 to a Vatican panel that had reduced canonical penalties for clerical offenders. “If this gets out, it will cause a scandal,” he reportedly said. His warning was ignored, and since that time his influence has dwindled, the Journal reports.

 

Pope discusses ethics of artificial intelligence with Microsoft chief                14-2-19

 

The chief of Microsoft Company, Brad Smith met the Pope on 14 February.
Smith tweeted, “We live at a time when we must stay true to timeless values as we advance new technology. I spent the afternoon at the Vatican discussing the teachings of the church, AIl ethics, and why we must always put humanity first.”

 

‘We must rediscover the reality of the Sacred Liturgy,’ Pope Francis Appeals          14-2-19

We must rediscover the reality of the sacred liturgy, and not reduce it.

Pope Francis underscored this when speaking to the Plenary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in the Vatican today, Feb. 14, 2019.

“The starting point,” he told the participants, “is instead to recognize the reality of the sacred liturgy, a living treasure that cannot be reduced to tastes, recipes and currents, but which should be welcomed with docility and promoted with love, as irreplaceable nourishment for the organic growth of the People of God.” Speaking of formation, he urged them to never forget that first of all, that the liturgy is life that forms, not an idea to be learned. 

 

Pope to IFAD: Putting technology at the service of the poor            14-2-19


Pope Francis encouraged everyone working at the International Fund for Agricultural Development, not to lose hope, not to give in to resignation, “thinking that it is only a drop in the ocean”. We can inject enthusiasm into everything we do, “day by day, even in small things”, he said. This means "putting God in what we do", added Pope Francis: “because God never tires of doing good, of starting again. He never tires of giving hope”.

The Pope urged IFAD staff on 14 February always “to look for a face”, the faces of the people behind the case studies. “It is important not to stay on the surface”, he said, “but to enter into reality, to see the faces”.

 

India - A sister of Mother Teresa in prison: the Church calls for justice             14-2-19

"It was an emotional heart-breaking visit to jail", said Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas SFX, Secretary General of the Catholic Indian Bishops' Conference. After a long wait, Bishop Mascarenhas was able to visit Sister Concelia Baxla, a nun of Mother Teresa, who together with an employee of the Nirmal Hridya Home, Anima Inwar, was arrested two hundred and twentytwo days ago on charges of child trafficking.

"Nirmal Hriday (Immaculate Heart) is one of the 18 houses of mercy run by the Mother Teresa Sisters in the State of Jharkhand. "The misuse of the police force, the manipulations of political authorities, the apathy of our justice system in the story of this poor, naive and innocent woman who has devoted all her life to the selfless service of the poor and marginalized is a story of many poor prisoners of our country. Many like her are languishing in jail as under-trials waiting for the slow churning of the wheels of justice which often appear to be spun by money power, political clout, massive media propaganda and even blatant manipulation of evidence", the Bishop said.
"The poor sister suffers from diabetes and varicose veins", recalls the Bishop. "Uprooted from her daily routine, left to suffer alone, all of us, her co-sisters, Superiors, Bishops, priests and all who know her and are convinced of her innocence can only look up to heaven in helplessness and hope, as every attempt to even get bail for her has been brusquely rejected by our judiciary at various levels sometimes in a matter of minutes", notes the bishop.
"What pains me most is that an elderly woman, suffering from ill health could not get bail because the charges had not yet been framed" says the CBCI Secretary General.

Syro-Malabar synod accuses members of defamation     14-2-19

Two lay Catholics have been accused of defamation by the synod of India’s Syro-Malabar Church over comments about a controversial land deal and a rape allegation against a bishop.

The top decision-making body of the Eastern-rite church based in Kerala state served a defamation notice, following a Synod decision, accusing them of posting falsehoods on social media with the intention of damaging the reputation of the church and its leaders. The notice was served to Riju Kanjookkaran and Shyju Antony of an organization called Archdiocesan Movement for Transparency.

The defamatory posts and comments on social media have damaged the reputation of the church of four million Catholics, said the notice.

The land controversy made headlines early last year when some priests of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly alleged its head and the church’s major archbishop, Cardinal George Alencherry, and two senior priests sold off land incurring a loss of some US$10 million.

In the second case, Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar was arrested last September on charges of raping a nun when he visited her Kerala convent. The nun’s Missionaries of Jesus congregation functions under the patronage of Bishop Mulakkal, a native of Kerala.

 

Filipino women mark Valentine's Day with protest dance        14-2-19

 

Filipino women from various church groups in Manila marked Valentine's Day on Feb. 14 with a protest dance to dramatize their call for an end to violence against women.

The gathering aims to "affirm the participation of women in defending life and dignity," said the Ecumenical Women’s Forum in a statement. "It is most rational to speak up about the truth of our situation as we seek justice and continue our struggle against tyrants and dictators," the group added.

Minnie Anne Mata-Calub, acting general-secretary of the National Council of Churches, said the protest also "aims to call out the misogynistic and anti-women policies of the government."

15-2-19

The Catholic Church in India mourns the brutal killing of soldiers           15-2-19

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India condemn the dastardly and cowardly attack on our soldiers in Kashmir, said the Catholic Bishops of India in a statement. They said, “The Catholic Church in India mourns the death of our soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. Violence solves no purpose and can never solve any issue. Our hearts go out to the families who have lost their beloved and we pray for them in this difficult and sorrowful moment.”

Fortythree men of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed on February 14 when a convoy in which they were travelling was attacked by a Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber, who rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into one of the convoy’s buses near Awantipora (Pulwama district), in Kashmir state.

We pray for peace and Harmony and pray for our beloved country India that in this grave moment we may act with wisdom and with the grace of God, the bishops said.

Central Africa - "An agreement imposed from outside on behalf of rebel groups, who are often foreigners" says a Bishop             15-2-19

"When the agreement reached in Khartoum was signed, it was already a dead letter the next day in Bangui", said Bishop Juan José Aguirre Muños, Bishop of Bangassou, in commenting on the agreement between the Government of the Central African Republic and 14 rebel groups. The agreement was negotiated in Khartoum and then signed on 6 February in the Central African capital, Bangui.

The fact that the negotiations took place in the Sudanese capital and not in Addis Ababa the Ethiopian capital and the African Union's headquarters, according to Bishop Aguirre, is significant because the leaders of five rebel groups feared being arrested there because wanted by the Court International Criminal Court. Sudan, on the other hand, does not recognize the Court therefore Khartoum was a safe place for them.
The signing was done under international compulsion, he says. Those who gained an advantage are not the citizens of Central Africa. if the rebels and others already control 80% of the mines of diamonds, gold, cobalt, mercury, they want more, says the Bishop.

 

India - Attack in Kashmir while Christians, Hindus, Muslims march for peace              15-2-19

"As our journey of peace, harmony and fraternity began, about forty Indian soldiers were martyred in Kashmir. The intent of terrorists is to destabilize the context and relations between India and Pakistan, but also our current government is called to a greater commitment to peace. It is time to respect the human rights of workers, peasants, tribal dalits, minorities and women so that we can all walk on the path of peace, fraternity and protect our constitution and democracy. This is the mission of the Indian government": says Anoop Shramik, human rights activist and organizer of the demonstration and five-day march for peace launched on February 13 from Lumbini (Nepal), the birth place of Buddha and will end in the birthplace of Kabir, Magahar in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state.

 

Porto Rico - Towards the Extraordinary Missionary Month: "Every baptized person is called to bring the Good News to the suburbs"             15-2-19

Extraordinary Missionary Month of October with an Extraordinary Missionary Year which began a month ago, on January 13, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. The National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies, the Bishop Daniel Fernández Torres of Arecibo says: "Already since its proclamation, the decree that encouraged the beginning of the extraordinary Year has been celebrated throughout the island with the renewal of baptismal promises". The first step was therefore "to deepen the call to conversion starting from the identity of the baptized".

The second aim is to realize that each baptized person may feel guided, together with his community, to bring the Good News to all the suburbs". "The laity are called to make Jesus present in the world, in everyday life", comments Bishop Fernández Torres, "going out without fear to bring our faith to the streets, to the shopping center, to school, to parks, to sport, at work, in hospital, in culture". The goal is "to transform temporal realities according to the values of the Kingdom".

 

Hindus oppose German missionary's statue in Indian parish           15-2-19


Members of a Hindu group are up in arms over a statue of a German Jesuit priest outside an Indian Catholic church, claiming that the missionary worked against local people and honouring him insults tribal sentiments.

The tribal cell of the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Feb. 13 petitioned police to remove the bust of Father John Baptist Hoffmann from the compound of Sarwada parish in Khunti district, about 55 kilometers from Ranchi, the state capital of Jharkhand state.

The group claims that in the 19th century Father Hoffmann and the British attacked the civilization and culture of tribals. Having his bust on tribal soil is unacceptable.

Church leaders say the BJP has deliberately made unfair claims against the missionary to create a controversy to divide tribal people, a major voting bloc in Jharkhand. Dividing tribal votes on religious lines could help the BJP garner non-Christian tribal votes, they say. The BJP has “miserably failed to fulfil its promises and meet the aspirations of the people” and has “embarked on a divisive agenda” ahead of both state and national elections, said Father Masih Prakash Soy, secretary to Bishop Binay Kandulna of Khunti..

Father Hoffmann (1857-1928) came to India as a Jesuit novice at the age of 20. As a priest, he worked mostly among the Munda tribal people in the present Jharkhand area and established several measures for their rights including a cooperative society and a bank. Besides helping to enact laws to protect tribal people, he also contributed to their language and culture by providing a grammar book and a 15-volume encyclopedia on Munda culture and civilization, said Father Xavier Soreng, a Jesuit social worker based in state capital Ranchi.

16-2-19

Australia - The commitment of Catholic organizations for the "end of life"           16-2-19

 

Defining an accompanying path to "end of life" and fostering equal access to palliative care for all terminally ill patients: these are the themes at the center of the recent conference organized by the Australian Catholic health organizations in Melbourne, entitled "Our enduring commitment to the end of life care". Catholic Health Australia (CHA), a non-governmental network of Catholic health services in the country, reports that the initiative was organized in response to the imminent entry into force of the "Voluntary Assisted Dying Act" in the state of Victoria: this is the provision that legalizes the "assisted death" for terminally ill patients, approved in November 2017 and effective in June 2019.

The Conference participants have said, "Our main objective is not simply to respond to the new law on end of life, but it is to ensure that our ethics spreads more and more and continues to put itself at the service of needy for centuries to come. Today the Australian Church continues and carries on the Catholic tradition of caring for the person and his dignity, from birth to death.

 

Burkino Faso - Salesian missionary of Spanish nationality killed in an assault by jihadists         16-2-19

A Spanish Salesian missionary, Fr. Antonio César Fernández Fernández, was a victim in the early afternoon of February 15th of a jihadist attack perpetrated forty kilometers from the southern border of Burkina Faso. The Salesian was hit by three gunshots while he was in a car with two confreres from the Ouagadougou community. The three were returning from Lomé (Togo), where they had participated in the first session of the Provincial Chapter of the Salesian Province of Francophone Western Africa (AFO).

The car in which he was traveling p. Fernández and his brethren, who remained unharmed, was also hit in the assault on the Nouhao customs control post on the border with Ghana and Togo. In the assault, perpetrated by a jihadist group, in addition to the Spanish missionary, four Customs officers from Burkina Faso were killed.

Antonio César Fernández Fernández was 72 years old and had been a Salesian for 55years and a priest for 46 years. Born in Pozoblanco on 7 July 1946, he was a missionary in several African countries since 1982. He was currently serving in Burkina Faso.

 

Theodore McCarrick dismissed from the clerical state                16-2-19

The Holy See announced on February 16 it had removed Theodore Edgar McCarrick (88) from the clerical state.

In a short statement, the Vatican said at the end of a penal process, the Congresso — a weekly meeting of superiors and officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF)— issued a decree finding McCarrick guilty of committing “delicts” while a cleric.

It described these as “solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.”

The CDF issued the decree on Jan. 11, but the archbishop emeritus of Washington D.C. appealed against the decision. The Vatican said CDF officials meeting on Feb. 13 considered McCarrick’s recourse against the verdict but rejected it and notified McCarrick on Feb. 15.

17-2-19

Angelus: Pope warns against idolatry, Jesus calls us to happiness              17-2-19

At the Sunday Angelus prayer on February 17, 2019, Pope Francis explained how Jesus, “declares the poor, the hungry, the afflicted, the persecuted blessed while he admonishes those who are rich, well fed, who laugh and are acclaimed by people.” He went on to say that the "woe to you" phrase, “addressed to those who are doing well today, serves to "awaken" them from the dangerous deception of selfishness and open them up to the logic of love, while they still have time.”

The Pope emphasized that “the passage of Sunday’s Gospel, therefore, invites us to reflect on the profound meaning of having faith, which consists in trusting the Lord totally... he alone can give our existence that much desired fullness, yet one that is difficult to achieve.”

The danger of idolatry

He noted that, even today, “there are many promise success in the short term.” Pope Francis said, “great profits to be had, magical solutions to every problem, and so on. And without realizing, it is easy to slip into sin against the first commandment: idolatry, replacing God with an idol.”

The Beatitudes of Jesus, the Pontiff concluded, “are a decisive message, which spurs us on not to place our trust in material and transitory things, not to seek happiness by following the sellers of smoke, the professionals of illusion.”

Angelus: Pope invites prayers for Protection of Minors meeting              17-2-19

Pope Francis during the Sunday Angelus meeting asked for prayers for the upcoming 21-24 February Vatican “Meeting on the Protection of Minors”.

The Pope said that all the Presidents of all the Episcopal Conferences would be there and he invited those present at Angelus prayer to pray for the meeting, which the Pontiff said, he wanted “as an act of strong pastoral responsibility in the face of an urgent challenge of our time.”

The Meeting will include plenary sessions, working groups, moments of common prayer, listening to testimonies, a penitential liturgy on 23rd, and a final Eucharistic celebration on 24th.

Pope Francis knows that a global problem can only be resolved with a global response. The Pope wants it to be an assembly of Pastors, a meeting characterized by prayer and discernment, a catechetical and working gathering.”

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