December 2013

Pope and Putin in historic meeting
(Saturday, 7 December 2013 )

VATICAN (SE): Relations between the Vatican and Russia took a big step forward on November 25, as Pope Francis and the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, agreed during a 30-minute meeting at the Vatican that there is an urgent need to bring an end to violence in Syria and ensure necessary humanitarian assistance for the population.

Also, both agreed that there is no military solution to the current conflict and that the...

There is a pre-family synod consultation
(Saturday, 7 December 2013 )

HONG KONG (SE): Despite the bickering between the Vatican press office and various sections of the media over whether or not the Holy See is actually consulting Catholics worldwide on issues of marriage, family life and understanding of Church social and moral teaching, many dioceses do in fact have a 46-point questionnaire circulating, as well as having it posted on their websites.

The questionnaire is intended to collect...

We are all born in Jerusalem
(Saturday, 7 December 2013 )

The late-Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini made Jerusalem his life’s place of the heart: I found in him a model and an inspiration in the unforgettable six months, which I wish had been never-ending, that I spent in the Holy City from February to August 2013.

And from Cardinal Martini I now borrow some thoughts to describe how I lived through that period.

Throughout history many...

Rebuilding the Church
(Saturday, 7 December 2013 )

The gala closing of the Year of Faith held at Hong Kong Stadium on November 24 opened with two young people sharing on how they see themselves as part of a missionary Church.

One reflected on his experience at World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil earlier this year and the other on her encounter with a missionary priest during the at-home programme run in Hong Kong.

Both...

Superior general arrested for kidnapping
(Saturday, 7 December 2013 )

ROME (Agencies): The superior general of the Camillian Fathers and Brothers, Father  Renato Salvatore, has been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping by Italian police, the vicar general of the congregation, Father Paolo Guarise, told the Catholic Herald.

The story goes that he tried to prevent two members of his congregation from attending the general chapter in May this year, as they were opposed to his re-election as...

German bishops defend their guidelines on the divorced
(Saturday, 7 December 2013 )

WARSAW (CNS): Bishop Gebhard Furst of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, Germany, disclosed on November 23 that the German Bishops’ Conference would adopt proposals on reinstating divorced and remarried parishioners as full members of the Church during their March plenary. 

Insisting that they have the endorsement of Pope Francis, Church officials have defended the plans. 

...

Church is prophetic in social outreach
(Saturday, 7 December 2013 )

HONG KONG (SE): “The government welcomes the support of the Church, Wan Xinhua, a Chinese government official, told a conference in Shanghai sponsored by the Bible Society on November 12, the Christian Post reported.

“We lack the resources to meet all the needs that we face, so we need religious organisations in order to do so,” he explained.

Xinhua said that the...

Sisters on bicycle pilgrimage
(Saturday, 7 December 2013 )

WENZHOU (SE): Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Wenzhou left their convents on a four day bicycle pilgrimage on October 27 that took them more than 200 kilometres away from home.

The sisters told Fides that their objective was to witness to the faith and to consolidate unity among them through the difficult, but enjoyable pilgrimage.

On their journey, they visited...

Chinese Muslims return from Mecca
(Saturday, 7 December 2013 )

BEIJING (SE): A group of 288 Muslims arrived in Beijing on a charter flight on November 7 becoming the last group from China to return from their pilgrimage to Mecca this year.

English.news.cn reported that all up 11,800 Chinese people travelled to Mecca this year. All have now returned safely to China from Saudi Arabia on specially chartered flights, a press release from the State Administration for Religious Affairs says...

Mass executions in North Korea?
(Saturday, 7 December 2013 )

SEOUL (SE): Media reports in South Korea are reporting that mass executions have taken place in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) for watching unauthorised movies, distributing pornography or owning a bible.

The Christian Science Monitor reported on November 12 that although it is difficult to corroborate such stories from North Korea, the South Korean JoongAng Illbo (Joong Ang News) reported...