January 2017

Surrogacy has something to offend everyone
(Saturday, 14 January 2017 )

HONG KONG (SE): In February 2015, Thailand passed a law banning the practice of foreign people paying Thai women to act as a surrogate mother.

“This law aims to stop Thai women’s wombs becoming the world’s wombs,” Reuters quoted Wanlop Tankananurak, a member of the National Legislative Assembly, as saying at the time.

The law was prompted by a Thai national, Pattarmon...

Knights of Malta reject papal inquiry
(Saturday, 14 January 2017 )

HONG KONG (SE): The Sovereign Order of Malta, commonly known as the Knights of Malta, is rejecting a plan of Pope Francis to investigate the sudden and acrimonious dismissal of its grand chancellor, Albrecht von Boesalager, as unacceptable.

In a letter sent to the pope on December 23, the order pointed out that it is recognised as a sovereign body under international law with its own independent government.

It says that the dismissal was an act...

Ordinations help heal memories of massacre
(Saturday, 14 January 2017 )

BHUBANESWAR (SE): Kandhmal district in the Indian state of Orissa was the scene of a bloody anti-Christian massacre in December 2007, which left over 100 people dead and more than 50,000 displaced from their homes.

A wave of violence instigated by Hindu nationalists saw violence building until it overflowed into a massacre at the end of the year and continued for some time into the following year.

But on the same site on December 13 last year,...

Interfaith fun run for Asian Youth Day
(Saturday, 14 January 2017 )

SEMARANG (UCAN): At least 10,000 people took part in an interfaith fun run in Semarang, the capital of Central Java province in Indonesia, to promote Seventh Asian Youth Day celebrations due to take place in the city this year.

The run, organised by Semarang archdiocese, saw people from across the religious divide taking part. Priests, brothers and sisters also participated in the five-kilometre run through the city...

Around The Traps
(Saturday, 14 January 2017 )

Life and death religion 

LONDON (SE): Charles Prince of Wales told Radio 4 in London that he vividly recalls meeting a Jesuit from Syria who gave him “a graphic account of what life is like for those Christians he was forced to leave behind.” 

The prince said that it seems that religious freedom can be a matter of life and death. 

He added that he believes...

The good the brave and the ugly
(Saturday, 14 January 2017 )

MANILA (SE): Of the over 100 active bishops in The Philippines, only six have dared raise their voices against the wholesale slaughter of the poor that has been perpetrated by the president, Rodrigo Duterte, since his election in May last year under the guise of his much advertised war on drugs. 

But only one has spoken loudly and persistently. Archbishop Socrates Villegas, the president of the bishops’...

New guidelines on priestly formation
(Saturday, 14 January 2017 )

VATICAN (SE): A new instruction for the training of seminarians in the world today, released in early December by the Congregation for the Clergy, specifically states that the Church “cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called gay culture.”

UCAN reported that the 90-page document caused a bit of an...

Taiwan has role in China Church
(Saturday, 14 January 2017 )

TAIPEI (UCAN): The Church in Taiwan can play a bridging role between the Vatican and Beijing, as well as between the government-sanctioned official communities and the unofficial communities in China.

Speaking at a seminar hosted by the Chinese Christian Spirit Community on 2 December 2016, Father Jeroom Heyndrickx, a frequent visitor to China and Taiwan, said he is optimistic about China-Vatican relations.

Father Heyndrickx commented that he sees mainland...

Contemplative presence in China
(Saturday, 14 January 2017 )

GUANGZHOU (SE): Reports on the current talks going on between the Vatican and Beijing appear to be focussed on the appointment of bishops, an understandable agenda, but it reflects only one particular approach to the Catholic Church in China.

A United States of America doctoral student, Michel Chambon, points out in an article posted on the UCAN website that this has not always been the case and it tends to focus the...

Xi who must be obeyed
(Saturday, 14 January 2017 )

BANGKOK (SE): “From Trump to an ailing economy, the Chinese president will need to navigate through many unknowns,” a commentator on China and Church affairs in the country, Michael Sainsbury, says in an article posted on the UCAN website on December 21.

Sainsbury says that at least on the surface, 2016 was a good year for the Chinese president...