October 2016

Hard edge of China’s soft power
(Saturday, 22 October 2016 )

MELBOURNE (SE): As China was denigrating the Permanent Court of Arbitration in anticipation of an unfavourable judgement in the South China Sea case filed by The Philippines, on August 21 an unidentified woman of Chinese ethnicity looked defiantly at a television camera at a rally in the streets of Canberra, Australia, and blurted, “The South China Sea belongs to China and that is all there is to it!”

Bangkok-...

Senator prepares for the worst
(Saturday, 22 October 2016 )

MANILA (UCAN): “I prepared myself already for the worst. I already said goodbye to my family,” Leila de Lima, the former secretary for justice and currently a member of the senate, said at a ceremony to mark World Day Against the Death Penalty in the bishops’ conference chapel in Intramuros, Manila, on October 10.

De Lima was one of the first to take out an injunction in the senate against the burial of...

A house of cards founded on hallucination
(Saturday, 22 October 2016 )

MANILA (SE): As the administration of the Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, turns 100-days-old, it remains largely defined by his obsession—a massive onslaught on the poor in the guise of a war on drugs.

Although he has made significant progress with the Mindanao peace talks and in currying favour with China, his most conclusive achievement is inspiring over 4,000 murders of people who may or may not have been...

Bishops team up for ecumenical mission
(Saturday, 15 October 2016 )

VATICAN (SE): Fifty years ago the Anglican Centre was set up in Rome as a result of an historical meeting between Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey, the archbishop of Canterbury and head of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The golden anniversary was marked on October 5 with a joint declaration signed by Pope Francis and the current archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Justin Welby, declaring that together,...

Getting Church out of fossil fuels
(Saturday, 15 October 2016 )

MANILA (SE): Father John Leydon, the co-convener of the Global Catholic Climate Movement and its local representative in The Philippines, made an appeal to Church organisations to divest themselves of their investments in the mining and fossil fuel industry.

“These divestments are an important step toward fulfilling the promise and the call of Laudato Si’ (Praise Be: On care for our common home),”...

A proud celebration amidst a shameful reality
(Friday, 14 October 2016 )

HONG KONG (SE): Bethune was an eight-and-a-half-year-old girl in 1986 when she was hit by a taxi in Kowloon Tong. The daughter of Cynthia and Jun Abdon-Tellez was dead upon arrival at hospital.

In the same year the Bethune House Migrant Women’s Refuge opened its doors on September 21 and the board chose to name the shelter after their daughter—Cynthia Abdon-Tellez is today the general manager of the Mission for...

Two Asians among new cardinals
(Saturday, 15 October 2016 )

VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis named 17 new cardinals at his public angelus address at midday on October 10, including two from Asia.

However, only one is of an age entitling him to vote at a conclave that elects a new pope, Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario, from Dhaka in Bangladesh. The other is the 84-year-old former archbishop of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Archbishop Anthony Soter Fernandez.

...

China gets ticks for human development
(Friday, 14 October 2016 )

BEIJING (SE): “China has made great progress in human development, yet must continue deepening its reforms and encouraging social innovation to ensure that human development is inclusive and equal and benefits all members in society,” a press release from the United Nations (UN) Development Programme says on publishing its 2016 report on Human Development in China on August 22.

The committee noted that...

Two sides of pope’s views on marriage
(Saturday, 15 October 2016 )

VATICAN (SE): On his long flight from Azerbaijan to Rome on October 2, Pope Francis spoke at length with reporters during an in-flight press conference about his views on marriage and pastoral care of people in irregular situations.

He has been quite vocal in the past on the necessity of welcoming those who are divorced and remarried, as well as the same sex attracted into the caring fold of the Church, but on the plane he...

A place at the table
(Friday, 14 October 2016 )

In mid-September the South China Morning Post ran a story entitled the Silver Tsunami, which looked at worrying statistics of aging that will place extremely severe pressures on medical and social services in Hong Kong.

However, Hong Kong is not the only developed society in the world facing this issue. Australia is showing a similar demographic, which in its slightly...