December 2015

Counter-espionage in the monastery
(Saturday, 5 December 2015 )

BEIJING (UCAN): China has started training Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns in counter-espionage in its latest effort to manage  religious personnel deemed to be a threat to Communist Party power.

Twenty-two monks and nuns were instructed on a vague anti-spying law passed a year ago during a three-hour session led by security...

Indonesia blocks media to gag Papuan voices
(Saturday, 5 December 2015 )

Jakarta (UCAN): Indonesia continues to restrict foreign media access to the Christian-majority provinces of Papua and West Papua, despite assurances from the president, Joko Widodo, that reporters would have unimpeded access to the region.

Human Rights Watch Asia deputy director, Phelim Kine, said that elements of the Indonesian government have failed to deliver on Widodo’s promise to open Papua to foreign...

Faith does contribute to society development
(Saturday, 5 December 2015 )

HONG KONG (SE): “In a world where the contribution of faith to the development of society is rarely acknowledged, the Columban Sisters stand out as a group whose faith inspired expert and dedicated service to health, education and social development,” Peter Ryan, the consul general from Ireland to Hong Kong and Macau, said on November 23.

Speaking at a reception held at the consulate offices in Central...

Have mercy on North Korea
(Saturday, 5 December 2015 )

SEOUL (CNS): To mark the 70th anniversary of the division of the Korean Peninsula into north and south, and the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the archdiocese of Seoul launched a prayer movement entitled, North Korean Church in my Heart, on November 24.

The archbishop of Seoul, Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung, who is also the apostolic administrator...

Modern lesson from ancient times
(Saturday, 5 December 2015 )

Last weekend, the 1,400th anniversary of the death of St. Columban was celebrated at St. Joseph’s in Central. Columban was Irish and a monk. He set off for Europe with the confidence that he could meaningfully engage with the cultures of a foreign people and use his learning to contribute to their lives.

Columban was highly conscious of his own identity, leaving the earliest surviving literary record of Irish...

Get into the streets for Mother Earth
(Saturday, 5 December 2015 )

HONG KONG (SE): On November 29, the eve of the beginning of the United Nations Conference of Parties on Climate Change in Paris, people in Hong Kong responded to the call of Pope Francis to get out onto the streets and plead for the environment.

An animated Pope Francis said that he wants mess and bustle in the dioceses in his call to Catholic people to get out onto the streets.


Maguindanao Massacre is tragedy upon tragedy
(Saturday, 5 December 2015 )

MANILA (UCAN): “Let’s continue our advocacy for justice and peace,” Bishop Martin Jumoad said on November 23 as The Philippines marked the sixth anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre, in which 58 people, including 32 journalists, died.

“Let’s not sit down... instead push so that truth will prevail,” the bishop continued.

Bishop Dinualdo...

Prayer for China-Philippine standoff
(Saturday, 5 December 2015 )

MANILA (SE): Thousands of students across the Philippine island province of Palawan held a day of prayer on December 2 for the peaceful resolution of disputes in what Manila calls the West Philippine Sea.

Palawan is the part of The Philippines closest to the area under dispute, which lies within the bounds of its territorial waters.

Organisers of the prayer gathering at...

Where have all the bodies gone?
(Saturday, 5 December 2015 )

TACLOBAN (UCAN): The search for the missing victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), which hit the Central Visayas in The Philippines on 8 November 2013, is still going on, two years after official figures show that approximately a little over 6,000 people died and some 2,500 may be considered to be missing.

However, official figures of the death toll vary and officials from People Surge, a survivors’ organisation...

Pope gives Castro cross to refugees’ parish church
(Saturday, 5 December 2015 )

VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis is donating a crucifix that was given to him by the president of Cuba, Raul Castro, during the recent papal visit to the Caribbean nation to the parish church of Lampedusa, an island haven for refugees in the Mediterranean.

Vatican Radio reported on November 12 that the crucifix measures over three metres high and is crafted from wooden oars tied with ropes to symbolise the reality...