April 2019

United Kingdom no-fault divorce undermines marriage from outset
(Saturday, 13 April 2019 )

MANCHESTER (CNS): “If notice can be given by just one party that they wish to leave the marriage without any recourse for the party that has been left, the equality and validity of that contract, and the trust and commitment vital for its success will be undermined at the outset,” The introduction of “no-fault” divorces in the United Kingdom (UK) will undermine marriages from the outset, said Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton, speaking on behalf of the Catholic...

Pope urges media to fight fake news
(Saturday, 13 April 2019 )

VATICAN (CNS): Media must make sure their efforts focused are on “facts rather than fake news, objectivity rather than gossip, accurate research rather than sloppy headlines,” Pope Francis told a group of Catholic and Protestant journalists from Germany during an audience at the Vatican on April 4.
The delegation included representatives from the German Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the Evangelical Church in Germany and public service media.

Papal document addresses evangelising in the digital age
(Saturday, 13 April 2019 )

VATICAN (CNS): In his new apostolic exhortation to young people, Christus Vivit (Christ Lives), Pope Francis warned that as the digital environment continues to become the norm, it has had a “profound impact” on young people’s ability to communicate and develop relations with others. He wrote that while digital communications and social media can be used as a tool of evangelisation and a place of dialogue with others, they also can be lonely environments where...

Duterte threatens to arrest all his critics
(Saturday, 13 April 2019 )

MANILA (UCAN): “I will arrest all of you. I will put you together with the criminals, rebels, and drug lords,” Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte ranted at a gathering of prosecutors on April 4.
“If you make it hard for me, I will declare a revolutionary war until the end of my term,” said Duterte, adding that he was willing to be hanged. “I’m willing to die,” he said.
Duterte’s recent tirade came after...

Top Philippine court orders release of drug war death files
(Saturday, 13 April 2019 )

MANILA (UCAN): On April 2 the Philippine Supreme Court ordered the Office of the Solicitor-General to provide police reports to two human rights groups seeking the release of documents related to the killings of thousands of suspected drug users and dealers over the past three years.
The Free Legal Assistance Group and the Centre for International Law, which had requested the documentation on cases they were handling, welcomed the court order.

Bangladesh to curb Islamic hate speech
(Saturday, 13 April 2019 )

Dhaka (UCAN) The government of Bangladesh moved to stem inflammatory public speeches by radical Islamist clerics.
In a recent letter to various state bodies, the Home Ministry made six recommendations aimed at monitoring and controlling clerics accused of delivering hateful sermons to Muslim devotees.
The letter also asked revenue officials to determine whether militant Islamic gatherings known as waz mahfils should be subject to taxation...

Outrage in Indonesia over child marriages
(Saturday, 13 April 2019 )

JAKARTA (UCAN): Church and rights advocates slammed Indonesia’s religious court for “abusively” granting permission for thousands of underage children to marry after an annual Supreme Court report, released in early April, indicated that 13,251 marriage dispensations were doled out 2018.
Indonesian law sets the minimum marriageable age at 19 for men and 16 for a girl. However, the religious court—where Muslims resolve matters concerning religion...

Diocese bemoans election cacophony
(Saturday, 13 April 2019 )

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (UCAN): The Diocese of Marbel, in Mindanao, the Phlippines called for election candidates to stop or turn down their “ear-splitting” campaign jingles in the run-up to national and local mid-term elections on May 13.
Father Ariel Destora, director of the diocesan Social Action Centre, slammed the noise pollution caused by sound systems — mostly blaring from vehicles — used by candidates. The din has been bad enough to disrupt the...

Child sexual abuse in the institutional Church
(Saturday, 13 April 2019 )

There are serious and profound changes taking place in the Catholic Church to acknowledge and prevent child sexual abuse by clerics and laypeople, to prosecute the perpetrators and to heal the victims. It is the belated result of generations of historical clerical child sexual abuse, and the denial and cover up of their crimes by some bishops and cardinals around the world. It has become a crisis for the Church as an institution.
Pope Francis recently...

Wilkommen im Hong Kong…
(Saturday, 13 April 2019 )

Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck of Essen, together with his collaborators paid a friendly (and pastoral) visit to Hong Kong as part of the partnership that has linked the two dioceses for more than half a century. During his stay, he had a chance to visit some of the works of the Hong Kong diocese and exchange with other people directly linked to the partnership. In fact, the two dioceses are called “sisters”. As far as we are concerned, the focus will be more on...