March 2017

A Family Lent
(Saturday, 4 March 2017 )

As Christmas seems to have just brushed us by, we find that we are already into Lent, which was marked with the celebration of Ash Wednesday on March 1 and both Pope Francis and the bishop of Hong Kong, John Cardinal Tong Hon, issued the messages for the penitential season.

Under the theme The word is a gift. Other persons are a gift, the pope points out that each of us meets...

Standard bearer of justice arrested in Manila
(Saturday, 4 March 2017 )

MANILA (SE): Leila de Lima, a long-time arch critic of the president of The Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, was arrested on February 24 on charges of receiving drug money and protecting drug offenders in order to finance her campaign for the senate last year.

De Lima, the justice secretary under the previous administration of Noynoy Aquino and current member of the upper house of the congress, has been in Duterte’s...

Spring at Caritas
(Saturday, 4 March 2017 )

HONG KONG (SE): Guests at the Caritas Spring Reception held in the community hall in its head office in Caine Road on February 17 were treated to an exhibition of Dragon Dancing by students from Caritas Lok Jun School and a graceful performance by students from the Caritas Pelletier School.

The Caritas Lok Jun School, located in Tai Wai, provides special education for children aged six to 18 who are moderately challenged...

Around the Traps
(Saturday, 4 March 2017 )

Ecumenical fest in Germany

BERLIN (SE): Germany is famous for its festivals, with the beer fest season holding worldwide attention.

But this year, there will be a festival of a different kind as Catholics and Lutherans will get together on September 16 to...

The hero is the villain
(Saturday, 4 March 2017 )

MANILA (SE): “The hero is now the villain,” Archbishop Socrates Villegas said in lamenting what he termed the new spirit of a now splintered EDSA Remembrance Day.

“History books are rewritten. Historical memory is revised. The hero is the villain. The plunderers are now the heroes,” he said in pointing out that the real spirit of what was a bloodless coup just 31 years ago has evaporated into a...

Catholic population grows faster than Mass attendance
(Saturday, 4 March 2017 )

HONG KONG (SE): The number of Catholics in Hong Kong has passed the 590,000 mark, an increase of some 5,000 over 2015, the latest statistics released by the Hong Kong Catholic Church Directory 2017 published in January this year indicate.

The latest calculation by the diocese shows that as at August 2016, there were around 591,000 Catholics in Hong Kong. Among them 389,000 local residents are listed.

Insidious diluting of the Kill Bill
(Saturday, 4 March 2017 )

MANILA (SE): In the face of mounting opposition from both the general public and the senate to a proposal before the congress to reintroduce the death penalty in The Philippines, the list of crimes that could see an offender go to the gallows, the lethal injection room or stand in front of a firing squad has been considerably trimmed from its original 21.

Those that are being kept on the bill are the rarely invoked crimes...

Boat capsizes during prayer for safety
(Saturday, 4 March 2017 )

COLOMBO (AsiaNews): An boat overloaded with people taking part in a procession as part of the celebration of Our Lady of Good Voyage capsized on February 19 off the southwest coast of Sri Lanka claiming many victims.

Our Lady of Good Voyage is considered to be the protector of fishing people and ironically, the victims perished in the midst of their prayer for safety at sea. Eleven passengers, including three children,...

Sex abuse commission shows Church has a long way to go
(Saturday, 4 March 2017 )

SYDNEY (SE): The three weeks of public shaming of the Australian Church before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse held in Sydney, concluded on February 23 with the archbishops of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide being jointly cross-examined on a number of issues, including the sacramental seal of confession.

In its examination of structural responses of the Church to the...

Clarifying confessional seal
(Saturday, 4 March 2017 )

SYDNEY (SE): Five archbishops in Australia told a hearing at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on February 24 that they would seek a clarification from the Vatican as to whether the seal of the confessional extends beyond the confession of sin to cover a person who tells of being the victim of a crime.

The bishops were being questioned on a hypothetical case of a young girl telling a...