July 2019

Healing Hong Kong’s trauma
(Saturday, 27 July 2019 )

HONG KONG HAS been seriously injured due to backlash to the now-suspended extradition bill.  The School of Public Health of the University of Hong Kong found that nearly 10 per cent of people in Hong Kong were found to have suspected depression in the past two months in the course of the last two months and that the city it suffering an “epidemic of mental health” issues.
 
Many organisations are trying to remedy the situation by helping people deal with...

New Vatican press office director
(Saturday, 27 July 2019 )

VATICAN (CNS): Pope Francis appointed Matteo Bruni director of the Holy See Press Office, it was announced on July 18. He takes over from Alessandro Gisotti who has been the interim director since December 31.
 
The 42-year-old Bruni has worked as assistant to the director since 2013, helping to organize and coordinate media presence and pools on papal trips.
 
Born in Winchester, England, Bruni began working at the Vatican press office in 2009, coordinating...

Congo’s Church leaders urge international help to contain Ebola
(Saturday, 27 July 2019 )

OXFORD (CNS): Catholic church representatives in Congo have called fort international action to contain Ebola, after an epidemic in the country’s eastern provinces was declared an emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on June 17 during at meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
 
“The Congolese people have suffered so many troubles in recent years—Ebola is only the latest,” said Monsignor Andre Massinganda, deputy secretary-general of the National...

Philippine bishops get renewed radio franchise
(Saturday, 27 July 2019 )

MANILA (UCAN): The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines renewed its franchise to operate radio stations in the country for another 25 years even without the signature of the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, who had repeatedly threatened to close media outlets critical of his administration.
 
A bill seeking to extend the franchise became law on April 22 after Duterte did not act on the matter. Under the 1987 constitution, the president has 30 days...

Bombed Philippine cathedral reopens
(Saturday, 27 July 2019 )

MANILA (UCAN): The Cathedral of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in the violence-plagued southern Philippine town of Jolo reopened on July 16, nearly six months after a fatal January 27 bombing attack (Sunday Examiner, February 10). Five soldiers were among those killed in the twin explosions that rocked the cathedral which also caused serious damage to the  structure which was later repaired with help from the charity, Aid to the Church in Need.
 
Hundreds of people...

Sedition charges smacks of harassment
(Saturday, 27 July 2019 )

MANILA (UCAN): “They are based on nothing but false testimony. What motivates the supposed witness to give false testimonies is what in fact (the police) should be investigating,” Bishop Virgilio David of Kalookan, said in reaction to the filing by Philippine authorities of charges of inciting sedition, cyber libel, libel and obstruction of justice against himself, three other Catholic bishops, three priests, a religious brother, the country’s vice president and 35 members...

Duterte diffident on China in SONA
(Saturday, 27 July 2019 )

MANILA (UCAN): In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered on July 22 at the Batasang Pambansa Complex, in Quezon City, Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, insisted the West Philippine Sea belonged to his country, but defended his agreement to allow Chinese fishermen to operate in the area, saying it was not a constitutional violation. 
 
The South China Morning Post reported him as saying he made the agreement with China’s president, Xi...

Caritas aids Indonesian drought victims
(Saturday, 27 July 2019 )

JAKARTA (UCAN): Tanks of clean water are being rushed to drought-plagued areas of Central Java, Indonesia, by Caritas.
 
“We have formed a network of 47 volunteers and distributed 49 tanks of clean water to six villages in Yogyakarta province’s Gunung Kidul district in coordination with the local government,” Sister Huberta, Caritas’ programme manager for disaster risk reduction in the Archdiocese of Semarang from Caritas said.
 
The...

Poverty drives more Filipino women into early marriage
(Saturday, 27 July 2019 )

Maricel Kuyog wanted to share her story with someone not from her village. She had the chance when a group of humanitarian workers came for a visit. She took them to her house, which was partially damaged by a typhoon that hit the northern Philippines in 2018.
 
The house was relatively bigger than the others in the village, but it was dark and empty. The only place that seemed to be in order was the kitchen.
 
“I love to cook,”...

The courage to survive
(Saturday, 27 July 2019 )

He is only 13 years old and we can call him Jaybe. He has no formal education, cannot read or write and is one of hundreds of thousands of lost children of the Philippine slums. His father left the family for another woman and abandoned him with his two brothers and a three-year-old sister, Jinna. 
 
His mother helped them all survive as a street vendor selling rejected vegetables from the market to people as poor as herself to support her four children. Jaybe’s...