January 2012

Police back off on requiring permit for carol singing at home
(Friday, 6 January 2012 )

KUALA LUMPUR (SE): In the run up to Christmas, two parishes in Klang, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, received notification from the police demanding that the names and address of people who had been singing Christmas carols be reported, as they were in contravention of the new state security legislation.

The police said that Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 required that a permit was necessary for people to...

Monks brawl at Bethlehem basilica
(Friday, 6 January 2012 )

BETHLEHEM (CWNews.com): An ugly brawl broke out between Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic monks at the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem on December 28.

Police were called in to separate the angry monks. No major injuries were reported.

Jurisdiction over the basilica—built on the site where Jesus was born—is shared by Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Catholic...

Woman named new secretary-general to South African bishops’ conference
(Friday, 6 January 2012 )

CAPE TOWN (CNS): “I see my appointment as recognition from the bishops of the work that women are doing in this part of the world,” said Sister Hermenegild Makoro, the new secretary-general of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference on December 12. 

She pointed out that “in parishes, women are talking the lead” and her appointment is natural extension of the many tasks...

Ordinariate set up for former Anglicans in the United States
(Friday, 6 January 2012 )

WASHINGTON (CNS): The Vatican announced on January 1 that Pope Benedict XVI has established an ordinariate in the United States of America (US) for former Anglicans who wish to become Catholics and named a married, former bishop of the Episcopal Church to head it. 

The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, functionally equivalent to a diocese, but national in scope, will be based at a parish in...

The Epiphany 
of the laity
(Friday, 6 January 2012 )

We have now moved into the second Year of the Laity in Hong Kong. It is a reminder that we must respond to the call from God and, as Jesus described it, become the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. Soon after his birth, he received a visit from the magi, the three wise men from the east, something which tells us that the God he came to tell us...

Cuba to free 2,900 political prisoners ahead of papal visit
(Friday, 6 January 2012 )

HAVANA (CNS): In a speech to Cuba’s National Assembly on December 23, the country’s president, Raul Castro, announced that 2,900 political prisoners would be freed in the spring, a move he partially attributed to Pope Benedict XVI’s upcoming visit.

The pope has said he will visit Cuba and Mexico before Easter, although the official dates have not yet been announced.

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Archbishop remembers Havel as friend and fellow prisoner
(Friday, 6 January 2012 )

PRAGUE (CNS): “He knew the loss of freedom, the denial of human dignity, oppression and imprisonment,” Archbishop Dominik Duka, of Prague in Czechoslovakia, said of the former president of the country, Vaclav Havel, on the day of his death.

The archbishop called him a “friend and fellow prisoner.”

The president of the Czech Bishops’ Conference...

Church in Tianjin welcomes new members
(Friday, 6 January 2012 )

KAIXI (Agencies): “They witness faith and preach Christ just like the apostles,” the pastor of the village of Xiao Han, in Tianjin diocese, China, said of the 350 adults who received the sacrament of confirmation on December 10.

Fides reported that those who received the sacrament had been through an intense preparation programme, adding that the parish welcomed them with great.

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Meeting highlights the significance of lay organisations
(Friday, 6 January 2012 )

PATTAYA (SE): The second annual gathering of Ecclesial Movements in Asia was held from November 25 to 27 at the Redemptorist Centre in Pattaya, Thailand, highlighted the important role that lay organisations play in the pastoral role and evangelical mission of the Church in society.

Meeting under the theme, Mission in Asia–New Evangelisers for the New Evangelisation, the gathering was convened by the Office of...

The importance of understanding sexuality
(Friday, 6 January 2012 )

HONG KONG (SE): “Imagine God preparing for man and woman. He built two seven-storey towers, one blue and one pink. But then they were shattered by a terrible earthquake, which left life and love in the blue tower in a terrible mess,” Father José Luis Soria said at a talk on Understanding Human Sexuality at the Diocese Centre on December 19.

At an evening organised by the Catholic Marriage Advisory...