February 2019

Origin of slavery and dictatorship is fear pope says
(Saturday, 23 February 2019 )

VATICAN (CNS): “Fear is the origin of slavery,” just as it was for the ancient Israelites, Pope Francis said during a Mass celebrated at the conference, Welcoming Communities: Free of Fear, on February 15. 
 
“It is also the origin of every dictatorship because, on the fear of the people, the violence of the dictator grows,” he said.
 
The conference was sponsored by the Italian bishops’ office for migration, Caritas Italy...

Caritas Spring Reception honours friends
(Saturday, 23 February 2019 )

Hong Kong (SE): Caritas Hong-Kong hosted is annual spring reception on February 15 in the Community Hall of Caritas House, Caine Road, to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Over 200 benefactors, government representatives and well-wishers, together with John Cardinal Tong Hon, the apostolic administrator, of the Diocese of Hong Kong; Father Joseph Yim Tak-lung, the chief executive officer of Caritas; and Father Peter Choi Wai-man attended the reception.
 
Students of Caritas Chai...

World Youth Day delegate thrilled to walk with the pope
(Saturday, 23 February 2019 )

HONG KONG (SE): During the last World Youth Day (WYD), held from January 22 to 27 in Panama, Constance Lau Wing-chi, a delegate from Hong Kong had the privilege of being one of the five youth representatives from different continents to welcome Pope Francis to the event.
 
The 19-year-old Lau, the youngest delegate from Hong Kong, was chosen to represent delegates from Asia. She said it was the biggest reward and a gift from God in her WYD journey. She took the chance to ask...

School children expelled over HIV fears
(Saturday, 23 February 2019 )

JAKARTA (UCAN): Fourteen Indonesian orphans with HIV—seven girls and seven boys aged between seven and 10-years-old—were expelled last week from a state-run school in Surakarta, in Central Java province in early February.
 
The expulsions were the result of a backlash from parents, who discovered the children were HIV positive during a parents-teacher meeting in January, the Jakarta Post reported.
 
The parents allegedly threatened to remove...

Finding Jesus in stillness and silence
(Saturday, 23 February 2019 )

HONG KONG (SE): Speaking to an audience of about 300 people at St. Francis of Assisi College in Fanling on January 27, Benedictine Father Laurence Freeman, director of the World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM), asked people to picture a roomful of kindergarten children, sitting in a perfect lotus position, meditating in stillness and silence. 
He recently witnessed this incredible scene in Myanmar.
 
The children were meditating naturally, he said,...

Registration push sparks fears for unofficial Church
(Saturday, 23 February 2019 )

HONG KONG (UCAN): Catholics in China fear that a move by State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) and the Ministry of Civil Affairs to ensure legal status for religious venues could destroy the unofficial Church.
 
The two government bodies announced on February 12 that personnel of all religious venues should apply for legal person status from April 1.
 
“The authorities have previously pushed the unofficial Church to register but there was...

Summit on sex abuse: Silence and denial are unacceptable
(Saturday, 23 February 2019 )

VATICAN (CNS): When presented with an accusation that a priest has sexually abused a child, “whether it’s criminal or malicious complicity and a code of silence or whether it is denial” on a very human level, such reactions are no longer tolerable, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, the Vatican’s top investigator of abuse cases said during a news conference on February 18.
 
The archbishop, who handles abuse cases as adjunct secretary of the...

Truth will set you free!
(Saturday, 23 February 2019 )

“The truth will set you free,” said Jesus in John 8:32. We are made for truth. Indeed, it is the highest expression of our human dignity that we seek, discover and contemplate truth. Yet, the world is scared of the truth, both in the time of Jesus and even in the present day. The leaders of the world seek to coerce, obstruct and suppress the truth, and they annihilate anyone who speaks the truth. Jesus said, “I am the truth,” and they silenced him. History repeats...

Growing anti-Christian hostility in France
(Saturday, 23 February 2019 )

WARSAW (CNS): Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe, which is linked to the Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Europe, warned of growing “anti-Christian hostility” in France, identifying a spate of assaults on churches and Christian monuments.
 
“France is of particular concern now—while anti-Christian attacks are better documented here than in other European countries, the media pays little attention to them...

Sainthood cause of Blessed Newman advances
(Saturday, 23 February 2019 )

VATICAN (CNS): Pope Francis signed a decree recognising a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman of England, on February 12, clearing the way for his canonisation.
 
The pope also formally recognised that the late Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty of Hungary, who was jailed and exiled by the communists, lived the Christian virtues in a heroic way. The recognition is an early step in the sainthood process. 
 
Bishop Philip...