July 2019

Migrants are not just a social issue pope says
(Saturday, 13 July 2019 )

VATICAN (CNS): Christians are called to follow the spirit of the beatitudes by comforting the poor and the oppressed, especially migrants and refugees who are rejected, exploited and left to die, Pope Francis said during a Mass commemorating the sixth anniversary of his visit to the southern Mediterranean island of Lampedusa on July 8.
 
The least ones, “who have been thrown away, marginalised, oppressed, discriminated against, abused, exploited, abandoned, poor and...

Reading can change your life
(Saturday, 13 July 2019 )

THE COMING OF the July summer vacation means the annual Hong Kong Book Fair is drawing near. The theme of the 30th anniversary of the fair is Sci-Fi and Mystery, with the tagline, Reading the World • When Fantasy Meets Reality. It will focus on promoting the best local science fiction and mystery books, including the work of Ni Kuang, Wong Yi, Eddy Lee, Leung For-hing, Joe Tsui and Chan Ho-kei. 
 
According to a press release from the Hong Kong...

German church needs spiritual renewal as well pope says
(Saturday, 13 July 2019 )

VATICAN (CNS): In late September 2018, the German Bishops’ Conference released a study that revealed an estimated 3,700 cases of sexual abuse were reported in Germany from 1946 to 2014. The statistics prompted outrage in the general public and the German bishops held several meetings to discuss reforms; some of the suggestions included reviewing the Church’s discipline on priestly celibacy, reviewing Church law, promoting more women in Church administration and reviewing Catholic...

Pope Francis meets with Russian president
(Saturday, 13 July 2019 )

VATICAN (CNS): Pope Francis welcomed Russian president, Vladimir Putin, to the Vatican on July 4, and the two discussed the ongoing wars in Eastern Ukraine and in Syria, the Vatican said. Russia plays a major role in both conflicts.
 
Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Vatican press office, issued a statement describing the discussions with Putin as “cordial.”
 
The meeting took place the day before the pope was scheduled to begin a two-...

Korean Catholics praise Trump-Kim summit
(Saturday, 13 July 2019 )

Seoul (UCAN):  The Korean Catholic Church welcomed the latest leaders’ summit between the president of United States of America (US), Donald Trump, and the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, as an important step towards achieving denuclearisation and a lasting peace.
 
The two met on June 30 at the truce village of Panmunjom, which is a symbol of the divided Koreas. Trump became the first sitting US president to cross the border as Panmunjom lies just on the...

Priest accused of sex abuse goes missing
(Saturday, 13 July 2019 )

MANILA (UCAN): Father Daniel Baul of the Archdiocese of Pampanga, who has been accused of sexually abusing a 17-year-old girl in a church-based centre for women and children has gone missing. He had been relieved of his priestly duties following the  allegations.
 
“His whereabouts are not known me,” Archbishop Florentino Lavarias of Pampanga, said although he added that he trusts the priest will “not try to evade the case.”
 
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Protection for rights and Church groups rejected
(Saturday, 13 July 2019 )

MANILA (UCAN): Church and human rights groups in the Philippines condemned a ruling by the Court of Appeals rejecting a petition seeking legal protection from military harassment.
 
The petition calling for writs of amparo (protection) and habeas data (access to information) came from the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), human rights group, Karapatan, and the women’s organisation, Gabriela.
 
In its decision, the court...

Pakistan’s bishops meet prime minister
(Saturday, 13 July 2019 )

ISLAMABAD (UCAN): A delegation from the Pakistan Catholic Bishops Conference (PCBC) met with the country’s prime minister, Imran Khan, on July 4 and handed him a check for US$35,250 ($252,567) for the construction of dams for the Diamer-Bhasha and Mahmand water reservoirs.
 
The delegation, facilitated by a Christian Member of the National Assembly, Jamshed Thomas, included PCBC president Archbishop Joseph Arshad of Islamabad-Rawalpindi; Archbishop Sebastian Francis...

Philippine bishops tackle green issues at plenary
(Saturday, 13 July 2019 )

MANILA (UCAN): The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) took up issues relating to care of the environment during its bi-annual plenary meeting at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Centre from July 6 to 8.
 
“The environment is a big issue that’s why we need to also look at it,” Father Marvin Mejia, secretary-general of the bishops’ conference, explained.
 
Columban Father John Leydon, co-convener of the Global Catholic...

Uncertain future for Myanmar’s returning refugees
(Saturday, 13 July 2019 )

MANDALAY (UCAN): More than 300 refugees from Myanmar, who have been living in camps in Thailand, have returned home, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), amid concerns over a scarcity of jobs and other barriers to rebuilding their lives.
 
About 100,000 refugees live in nine camps in Thailand along the border with Myanmar. Most are ethnic minority Karen from eastern Myanmar, who fled conflict and persecution, sometimes decades ago, during...