December 2013

Court overturns blasphemy conviction
(Saturday, 7 December 2013 )

Lahore (Agencies): The Vatican news agency Fides reported that Younis Masih, a Protestant who was accused of blasphemy and sentenced to death on 30 May 2007, was finally released on November 28, seven months after he was acquitted by the Court of Appeal on April 3. 

However, he and his family remain in hiding for fear that extremists may still try to kill him.

Fides reported...

If you tramp on culture you can’t cry martyr
(Saturday, 7 December 2013 )

GUWAHATI (SE): If Christians go around trampling insensitively on other people’s cultures, then they should not cry foul if they receive a hostile reception and certainly not claim that they are being persecuted or some kind of a martyr.

“If we are persecuted because of our carelessness, institutional arrogance, lack of cultural integration, we should not consider ourselves martyrs,” Archbishop Thomas...

Singing against the stigma of AIDS
(Saturday, 7 December 2013 )

HONG KONG (SE): “According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, increased access to services has resulted in a 15 per cent reduction in new infections,” the manager of the St. John’s Cathedral HIV Education Centre, Elijah Fung, said at a charity concert held in the Anglican cathedral on November 12.

She added that over the past five years there has actually been a 22 per cent decline in AIDS...

Vatican launches compendium on interreligious dialogue
(Saturday, 7 December 2013 )

VATICAN (SE): A compendium on Church teaching on interreligious dialogue was launched by the Vatican Press Office on November 12 under the title of Interreligious Dialogue in the Official Teaching of the Catholic Church.

The 2,100-page manuscript covers the development of the Church’s understanding from the beginning of Vatican II up to the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI. It target audience is both Catholics and...

Pope Francis calls for open door 
policy in his first teaching document
(Saturday, 7 December 2013 )

CANBERRA (Agencies): The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium), the first teaching document produced by the hand of Pope Francis, was released to the world on November 25.

Father Frank Brennan, an Australian Jesuit and lawyer, describes the apostolic exhortation as tinged with delightful self-mocking.

He cites the papal phrase, “I am aware that nowadays documents do not...

For the Church this detail could well be the devil
(Saturday, 30 November 2013 )

HONG KONG (UCAN): “The devil is in the detail,” the old saying goes, but a decision made by the Third Plenum of the 18th Party Central Committee may make the detail itself the devil.

A report posted on the UCA News website under the penname of Joseph Wang, points out a highly significant sideline in the reports that have come out of the plenum, which ended on November 12.

...

Pope hits mega-celebrity status on Internet
(Saturday, 30 November 2013 )

ROME (Agencies): Pope Francis has been rated the most discussed name out of 1.83 billion personal names on the English-language portion of the Internet, a global survey carried out by Global Language Monitor reveals.

However, in terms of name only, which can be a generic term for people, organisations, programmes, laws and other things or events, he comes in ahead of ObamaCare, NSA (National Security Agency), Ed Snowden,...

China leads world in bible publishing
(Saturday, 30 November 2013 )

HONG KONG (SE): In an ironic twist, China has become the biggest producer of bibles in the world, churning out 3.5 million copies each year.

China Church Voices reported on October 22 that at a Christian Congress, which opened in Beijing on September 9, the governing body of China’s Protestant Churches, the China Christian Council, released a report on the work of bible production in China.

...

The Mason-Dixon Line
(Saturday, 30 November 2013 )

The government of Hong Kong eventually drew its long-awaited poverty line this year, but revelations in a newly released book by Leo Goodstadt make it look a bit more like a Mason-Dixon Line not to be crossed, rather than a socio-economic guide to instigating poverty relief measures.

The poverty line has been drawn at roughly half the average income for various social units and the government maintains that it will give...

Mass for Ngo Dinh Diem
(Saturday, 30 November 2013 )

HONG KONG (SE): A group of around 60 people gathered around the grave of the late president of what was known as the Republic of Vietnam, or South Vietnam in popular parlance, Ngo Dinh Diem, near Ho Chi Minh City, on November 2, the 50th anniversary of his abduction and death, to offer a Mass for patriots....