March 2012

Legal amendments in China a positive development but big worries remain
(Saturday, 24 March 2012 )

HONG KONG (SE): A draft of an amendment to the Criminal Procedural Law making clear that confessions extracted under torture, as well as depositions obtained through violence, threats or any illegal means should be excluded as evidence from the courtroom, was submitted to the Eleventh National People’s Congress held during March in Beijing, China.

The amendment also moves to define and describe exactly what...

A time for healing and forgiveness not grilling
(Saturday, 24 March 2012 )

HONG KONG (SE): On the third, fourth and fifth Sundays of Lent, parishes preparing to welcome adults and older children as new members of the Church through baptism at Easter, celebrate what is known as the scrutinies.

As the name suggests, the scrutinies involve a questioning of those presenting themselves for baptism. However, rather than an examination, it is regarded more as a rite of healing and strengthening...

St. Pius X Society refuses to toe the bottom line
(Saturday, 24 March 2012 )

VATICAN (SE): Another overture from the Holy See to the recalcitrant Society of St. Pius X has met a brick wall, with the superior general, Bishop Bernard Fellay, refusing to toe the Vatican’s bottom line on March 16.

Bishop Fellay had already rejected a Doctrinal Preamble presented to him by William Cardinal Levada on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI.

The pope had...

A wakeup call on the cash splash
(Saturday, 17 March 2012 )

HONG KONG (SE): Spending is a culture deeply ingrained in all of us. We can splash the cash and wave the credit card almost as compulsively as we breathe the air.

The moment we wake up we are already pondering our choices, from breakfast to the daily newspapers, magazines and a host of other things.

However, what we want may not always be what we need. We buy out of habit...

Women hold up half the sky…
(Saturday, 17 March 2012 )

This is the oft-quoted saying of Mao Zedong, but I like to point out that the sky is vast and we are still learning about its dimensions, whereas we know the dimensions of our planet Earth, and women stand firmly on its soil.

I would like to add to Mao’s quote by saying holding up half the sky may not be possible for anyone, but we know that women can hold down their place on earth. 

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Baptism is beginning of the long haul
(Saturday, 17 March 2012 )

At a Mass on March 3 welcoming John Cardinal Tong Hon back from Rome as a cardinal, the bishop of Hong Kong outlined his four pastoral concerns: evangelisation, promotion of vocations to the priesthood and religious life, care for non-Chinese Catholics living in the local diocese and the Church in China.

He put evangelisation as the top of his priority list and highlighted it as something that all pastors and...

Don’t pull the trigger on Iran bishops counsel
(Saturday, 17 March 2012 )

WASHINGTON DC (SE) : “Resolve conflict with Iran through diplomatic, not military means,” the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops says in a March 2 letter addressed to the secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The bishops are encouraging their government to work to reduce nuclear arms and maintain security in the Middle East, without recourse to war.

...

United States government making chilling attack on religious freedom
(Saturday, 17 March 2012 )

HONG KONG (SE): Two newspapers in the United States of America (US) have sprung to the defence of the bishops in their standoff with the president, Barack Obama, over compulsory facilitation and supply of contraceptives by religious employers, which is being imposed by the Health and Human Services Department.

A February 26 statement from Francis Cardinal George saying that the Catholic Church would be forced to...

Is Twitter becoming dictator-friendly?
(Saturday, 17 March 2012 )

BANGKOK (SE): The term Twitter Revolution has been in wide use during the Arab Spring, with walls of Middle East capital cities covered with messages thanking the network for its support during troubled times.

However, Reporters Without Borders is asking if these notes of thanks may already obsolete, as the site has announced that it is introducing country-specific censorship in order to satisfy local laws....

More Church land disputed in Vietnam
(Saturday, 17 March 2012 )

HO CHI MINH CITY (SE): Within days of the conclusion of what was described as a satisfactory Holy See-Vietnam government confab, which ended in Hanoi on February 27, AsiaNews reports that more land claimed by the Redemptorist congregation in Ho Chi Minh City has been confiscated by the government.

Although it has been home to a kindergarten for decades, the Redemptorists are pointing out that since the kindergarten...