April 2018

Registration of religious communities enforced in parts of Henan
(Saturday, 21 April 2018 )

HONG KONG (UCAN): The Chinese government has ramped up efforts to tighten control over religions in the Pengyuan district of the populous central province of Henan.
 
On April 4, local authorities posted a notice demanding those who follow the officially listed faiths—Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism—register with the residents’ committee.
 
Authorities in Henan, which has an estimated 300,000 Catholics, have been...

Cardinal Zen receives human rights award
(Saturday, 21 April 2018 )

HONG KONG (AsiaNews): Cardinal Joseph Zen, the former bishop of Hong Kong, received the human rights award from the Stephanus Foundation on April 7.
 
Past recipients include Chaldean Patriarch Mar Louis Sako, Syriac Orthodox Sister Hatune Dogan, and Brother Andrew, nicknamed God’s smuggler for his exploits in smuggling Bibles into the countries behind the Iron Curtain.
 
Cardinal Zen noted that those who received the award before him suffered...

Cardinal Zen receives human rights award
(Saturday, 21 April 2018 )

HONG KONG (AsiaNews): Cardinal Joseph Zen, the former bishop of Hong Kong, received the human rights award from the Stephanus Foundation on April 7.
 
Past recipients include Chaldean Patriarch Mar Louis Sako, Syriac Orthodox Sister Hatune Dogan, and Brother Andrew, nicknamed God’s smuggler for his exploits in smuggling Bibles into the countries behind the Iron Curtain.
 
Cardinal Zen noted that those who received the award before him suffered...

Top religious affairs official promoted in new structure
(Saturday, 21 April 2018 )

HONG KONG (UCAN): The long-standing director of China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA), Wang Zuo’an, has been formally transferred to the United Front Work Department (UFWD), as the religious affairs bureau is officially absorbed into the latter office.
 
While Wang will be promoted to deputy director of the UFWD, he will his retain his SARA title to prevent confusion in dealings with other nations on religious matters.
 
China...

Social rights advocates jailed in Vietnam
(Saturday, 21 April 2018 )

HA TRINH (UCAN): Teresa Tran Thi Xuan, a 42-year-old social rights advocate, was sentenced to nine years in prison by The People’s Court in Ha Tinh Province on April 12 for “attempting to overthrow the people’s government,” according to the state-run Ha Tinh newspaper.
 
The newspaper reported on April 13 that Tran faces an additional five years under house arrest after finishing what observers called a very harsh sentence.
 ...

Duterte’s apology too late
(Saturday, 21 April 2018 )

HONG KONG (SE): The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, who was in Hong Kong for the second time in 10 months, apologised to the Chinese people on April 12 for the Manila bus hijack hostage tragedy in 2010 in which eight Hong Kong tourists were killed during the botched rescue attempt. 
 
The South China Morning Post reported on April 13 that Duterte told the crowd of 2,500 gathered at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal on April 12 that he was sorry for the...

Day of prayer for vocation to be saints
(Saturday, 21 April 2018 )

Gaudete et exultate (Rejoice and be glad), the apostolic exhortation on holiness by Pope Francis, although signed on March 19, on the feast of St. Joseph, was released for the public three weeks later, well in time for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, celebrated on April 22. 
 
There are many who believe that vocations to priesthood and religious life is a challenge facing the Church in the modern world. Changing value systems coupled...

Christian leaders condemn missile strikes against Syria
(Saturday, 21 April 2018 )

VATICAN (CNS): “While I unceasingly pray for peace and invite all people of good will to keep doing the same, I appeal once again to all political leaders so that justice and peace may prevail,” Pope Francis said after the United States of America (US), France and the United Kingdom (UK) launched missile strikes on Syria on April 13, targeting sites intended to weaken the nation’s chemical weapons capability. 
 
The missile strikes came a week after an...

Marawi Cathedral to be demolished
(Saturday, 21 April 2018 )

MANILA (UCAN): The 84-year-old St. Mary’s Cathedral in Marawi, Mindanao, will soon fall to the wrecking ball to pave the way for the rebuilding of the war-torn city.
 
Authorities said the cathedral and the bishop’s residence are no longer structurally sound because of bomb explosions, air strikes and exchanges of gunfire during the conflict.
 
Terrorist gunmen set the cathedral on fire on 23 May 2017 and took Father Teresito Suganob, the vicar...

London council sets up buffer zone around abortion clinic
(Saturday, 21 April 2018 )

YORK (CNS): Members of Ealing Council, west of London, the United Kingdom (UK), voted on April 10 to establish a public space protection order, banning public prayer and offers of assistance to women within 100 metres of an abortion clinic run by Marie Stopes UK.
 
The council has become the first local authority in the UK to approve a buffer zone around an abortion clinic, making the country the second western democracy to ban pro-life activities in the vicinity of abortion...