August 2017

No to ID cards for Muslims
(Saturday, 26 August 2017 )

MANILA (UCAN): Human rights and religious groups have voiced opposition to a proposal from the Philippine National Police to issue identification cards to Muslims in The Philippines as a measure to root out extremists in the southern region of Mindanao.
Sister Famita Somogod, from the Rural Missionaries of The Philippines, called it discriminatory, adding that it highlights religion as being an issue in the current conflict that Mindanao is experiencing, which it is not....

Around the Traps
(Saturday, 26 August 2017 )

Prosecuted for saving lives
ROME (SE): Father Mussie Zerai, from Eritrea, has been charged in Italy with promoting illegal immigration. He denies the charge.
Father Zerai is the head of Habeshia, an organisation working to to save migrants in immediate danger. He explains that he has frequently received distress calls from vessels in the Mediterranean and insists that his organisation always alerts the proper authorities, relaying...

Vatican press runs hot on the offensive
(Saturday, 26 August 2017 )

ROME (SE): Hot on the heels of an article appearing in the Vatican magazine, Civilta Cattolica, attacking right wing Catholics in the United States of America (US) for what it called running an ecumenism of hate in cooperation with fundamentalist evangelical groups, a second article has appeared in a different Vatican publication, L’Osservatore Romano, claiming the main obstacle to the reforms Pope Francis wants to see in the Church is the clergy.

Blurring the trail to the drug lords
(Saturday, 26 August 2017 )

JAKARTA (UCAN): Amnesty International claims that the number of suspected drug traffickers killed by authorities in Indonesia has increased significantly since last year as a result of a shoot-on-sight policy. 
Bramantya Basuki said on August 15 following the recent fatal shooting of two suspected drug traffickers, “A total of 61 Indonesians and foreigners have been shot dead by law enforcement officers since January this year. Last year, there were 13 suspected...

Some trust in atheists but most don’t
(Saturday, 26 August 2017 )

LEXINGTON (SE): The results of a study indicate that people are far more suspicious of atheists than they are of people who have an adherence to one of the major religions of the world.
The survey discovered that people are much more inclined to suspect an atheist of immorality than a religious follower. This was found to be true even among people who are professed atheists.
In an article published in Nature Human Behaviour, the team that...

Top Vatican brass in Moscow
(Saturday, 26 August 2017 )

MOSCOW (SE): News media in Russia reported early in August that the Vatican secretary of state, Pietro Cardinal Parolin, was set to fly to Moscow on August 20 for a five-day visit. Although the dates of the visit had not been confirmed by the Vatican, it did say that he would make the visit before the end of August.
In the event, Cardinal Parolin arrived in Moscow on August 21 and during his four-day visit met with the Patriarch Kirill and the Metropolitan Hilarion, both...

Seeking a fuller picture of China’s missionary history
(Saturday, 26 August 2017 )

HONG KONG (UCAN): An academic conference on the missionary history of the Paris Foreign Mission Society was described as filling a few gaps in the modern understanding of the development of the Catholic Church over the centuries in China.
Organised by the Catholic Studies Centre of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Beijing Institute for the Study of Christianity and Culture and running from July 26 to 27, the papers presented pointed out that much of the...

Summer camps without bombs
(Saturday, 26 August 2017 )

ALEPPO (SE): The summer months in northern Iraq this year saw a special treat for some 860 young people who took up the offer to take part in two months of activities held by the Church in Aleppo.
For many of the younger ones it was not only the first time to have the freedom to join such a camp, but their first summer without the sound of bombs exploding in the background.
Fides reported that the Christian community is making the most of its...

A vocation camp Salesian style
(Saturday, 26 August 2017 )

On August 3, I joined the Salesian vocation director, Father Carlos Cheung Sam-yiu, together with two young Salesians and two other aspirants on the Salesian Hong Kong-Macau Joint Vocation Camp.
Organised by the vocation offices of Hong Kong and Macau region, a total of 20 young people attended the summer gathering in Macau, which ran under the theme Love and Service.
During our three days together we shared our experiences and insights...

History teaches but who learns?
(Saturday, 26 August 2017 )

DAVAO (UCAN): “If rationality still matters in this beleaguered Republic of The Philippines, how have we, as a people, shifted once more to supporting a rising authoritarianism?” Brother Karl Gaspar, a veteran of the resistance to the bloody regime orchestrated by former president, Ferdinand Marcos, asks.
With stark memories of the fear and brutality of the 1972 to 1981 martial law era and his years in prison, Brother Gaspar gasps with some amazement as recent...