March 2012

Clamp down on Church groups in Laos
(Saturday, 10 March 2012 )

VIENTIANE (Agencies): On February 22, officials in the village of Kengweng, southern Laos, confiscated a 37-year-old Church building, BosNewsLife reported the Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom as saying.

The director of the organisation, Sirikoon Prasertsee, said, “What is happening in Kengweng village is part of a wider effort to restrict religious freedom and a wider crackdown on Christians...

Call to end the use of psychiatric hospitals for political purposes
(Saturday, 10 March 2012 )

HONG KONG (UCAN): A statement issued by the Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch ahead of the upcoming National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, is calling on authorities to stop locking up innocent people on the pretext that they are mentally ill.

The China-based human rights group also asked the two congresses to make public apologies and pay compensation to...

Holy See-Vietnam confab 
satisfactory communiqué says
(Saturday, 10 March 2012 )

VATICAN (SE): “The Vietnam-Holy-See relationship has attained positive developments on the basis of good will and constructive dialogue, as well as respect for principles in the relationship,” a joint communiqué released at the conclusion of a two-day meeting of the Vietnam-Holy See Joint Working Group held in Hanoi on February 27 and 28.

Both parties informed each other of their respective...

Anger over priest’s funeral in Kunming
(Saturday, 10 March 2012 )


KUNMING (UCAN): The funeral of Father Lawrence Zhang Wenchang in Kunming, Yunnan province, took place in his hometown on February 13. However, local Catholics are upset over three issues.

He was a member of the unofficial Church community, yet no priest from the unofficial community was present at the funeral.

He also belonged to the Yi ethnic group and local people...

Call for electoral change
(Saturday, 10 March 2012 )

HONG KONG (UCAN): Religious leaders have called for changes in the election process of the special administrative region’s chief executive officer amid deepening scandals surrounding two of the leading candidates.

“The congenital defect of the small-circle election makes us angry and disappointed,” leaders from various Protestant denominations, theological seminaries and Christian organisations...

Letter from Vatican archive vindicates Pope Pius XII
(Saturday, 10 March 2012 )

Rome (CathNews): Documents released from the Vatican’s secret archives as part of the exhibition, Lux in Arcana: The Vatican Secret Archives Reveals Itself, appear to vindicate the much maligned Pope Pius XII.

The wartime pope was praised by former Jewish prisoners for preventing their deportation to death camps, the British newspaper, The Telegraph, reported on March 2.


It is business as usual but more so 
new cardinal tells media
(Saturday, 10 March 2012 )

HONG KONG (SE): The first Hong Kong-born cardinal described the honour bestowed upon him by Pope Benedict XVI at a consistory in the Vatican on February 18 as a challenge to serve with greater courage.

John Cardinal Tong Hon told the Hong Kong media on March 2 that although he is the one on whom the honour has been conferred, it is more a recognition of the importance of the Church in Hong Kong and China....

Chinese ritual for honouring the dead gets thumbs down in Malaysia
(Saturday, 3 March 2012 )

KUALA LUMPUR (UCAN): The reintroduction of a rite approved 73 years ago honouring the dead was used at some Masses around Malaysia over the Lunar New Year, but generally got the thumbs down.

A table with an ancestral tablet was set up next to the altar. At the end of the Mass, the priest took three joss-sticks and raised them to his forehead with both hands, while prayers were said for departed relatives and friends...

No matter how tall the tree grows its leaves still fall to the ground
(Saturday, 3 March 2012 )

SYDNEY (SE): A landmark birthday celebration for 90-year-old Father Paschal Chang brought the Chinese Catholic community of Sydney, Australia, together for a gala dinner in Chinatown on February 12, to honour the life of the priest who, over the past 58 years, has done so much to nurture the faith among them.

Born in Jinan, Shandong province, on 16 February 1922, Father Chang was sent to Rome for studies and...

Libya one year after the revolution
(Saturday, 3 March 2012 )

BENGHAZI (CNS): “Thank God everything passed peacefully” Bishop Sylvester Magro, of Benghazi, after a February 19 Mass on the first anniversary of Libya’s revolution. The celebration was attended by just a few dozen people, mainly Filipinos.

Beyond the gates of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, the city’s boulevards were crammed with thousands of revellers marking the occasion, guarded...