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Last priest from Dachau dies

MUNICH (SE): The last surviving priest from the Dachau Concentration Camp, Father Hermann Scheipers, died on June 2 at the age of 102.

As a young priest, he was arrested in 1940 by the Nazi regime for the sympathy and pastoral care that he offered to indentured Polish labourers. Many years later he discovered the true reason for his arrest in his Stasi file. It reads, “Scheipers is a fanatical proponent of the Catholic Church and thus likely to cause unrest among the population.”

He died in Ochtrup in Münsterland, the town where he was born. Aleteia reported that when he entered the camp at Dachau, he was greeted with the words, “You are without honour, without help and without rights. Here, you can either work or perish.”

Father Scheipers said that the only two alternatives were work or escape. He worked!

 

Vietnam police beat up congregation at Mass

HANOI (AsiaNews): Around 30 government agents stormed a house in Muong Khuong, Vietnam, near the Chinese border, interrupting a Mass and beating up the congregation.

Father Nguyen van Thanh was told to stop the Mass and people were pushed and shoved out of the building. Two were taken into custody, including a 14-year-old.

A district vice-president and two vice-presidents of other government organisations were among the marauders.

One person said, “I do not understand why they arrested me and beat me up like I was a criminal. They choked me and banged my head against the wall.”

He was then called a security risk.

“We have asked local authorities many times to let us build a small church,” some parishioners said, “but they have always refused.”

 

First Catholic radio station in Bangladesh

RAJSHAH (SE): Radio Jyoti (light) became the first Catholic broadcaster in Bangladesh on June 5 at a grand opening in Rajshah. It broadcasts online and can also be accessed through a smartphone.

“The goal is to preach God’s message and spread Jesus Christ’s teachings through our radio programmes,” Bishop Rajshahi Gervas Rozario told AsiaNews.

Its studio is located at the Emmaus Catholic Church in Bogra and its goal is to raise awareness about Christ and the Church.

Some 25 young Catholic people, mostly from ethnic minorities, have been trained to produce and host programmes. Although it is currently only on air for an hour a day, plans are afoot to increase its programming.

 

Pope Benedict 65 years a priest

ROME (SE): The former bishop of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI, has been invited to revisit his old haunt in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican on June 28 for the first time since his resignation to be honoured in the Clementine Hall on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of his ordination as a priest.

He was ordained as Joseph Ratzinger on 29 June 1951 in Freising, Germany, at the age of 24.

Pope Francis will join his predecessor for the occasion.

 

Abu Sayyaf beheads second Canadian

MANILA (UCAN): Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez, from Mindanao, backed the government decision not to pay ransoms to the Abu Sayyaf for the release of hostages, despite the beheading of a Canadian, Robert Hall, on June 13.

The bishop of Marbel said, “It will just encourage criminals. No ransom, no hostage taking.”

Security forces discovered a head in a plastic bag outside the cathedral in Jolo, which is believed to be that of the Canadian. The Abu Sayyaf announced that it would behead if a ransom was not paid.

Hall, together with fellow Canadian, John Risdel; a Norwegian, Kjartan Sekkingstad; and Filipino woman, Marites Flor; were kidnapped from a resort on Samal Island in Davao del Norte province on September 27 last year.

The hostages were taken to Sulu, where Ridsdel was beheaded on April 25.

 

Vatican wants more talk with American religious women

VATICAN (SE): In the ongoing investigation by the Vatican of women’s congregations in the United States of America, a number of them are to be invited to answer questions about their practices and their adherence to Church teaching.

The National Catholic Reporter says that 15 congregations may be invited to dialogue with the Vatican. The prefect of the Congregation for Religious, Joao Cardinal Braz de Aziz, said four or five have already been contacted.

He described recent conversations as very serene, but insisted that the Vatican is listening in a transparent way, without fear, without judging.

Conversations began in 2008 and formerly ended in December 2014. The cardinal said that he hopes future conversations will not be characterised by the tension that was the hallmark of previous ones.

 

Qatar clemency

MANILA (SE): The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, has granted a pardon to 15 Filipino migrant workers doing time for a crime.

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila said the pardon was customarily issued as part of the observance of the holy month of Ramadan, as the emir usually hands them out twice a year, during Ramadan and on Qatari National Day in December.

Those granted clemency in Qatar have usually served a substantial portion of their sentence.

CBCP News reported on June 14 that last year 22 Filipinos received pardons.

 

Hero’s burial for Marcos divisive?

MANILA (UCAN): “How can this move unite when many are opposed to it?” Bishop Broderick Pabillo asked about the decision of the president-elect, Roderigo Duterte, to allow the martial law president, Ferdinand Marcos, to be buried at the Heroes Cemetery.

The auxiliary bishop of Manila called it a divisive move, as it has been a hot topic of disagreement for years. Duterte, on the other hand, says that it will erase one hatred among the people.

He added that because Marcos was a soldier and had fought for the country he is entitled to be buried there, but Bishop Pabillo disputed this saying that not all soldiers are given that privilege.

 

Peace institute opens in South Korea

SEOUL (UCAN): An institute to study peace-building methods for north-eastern Asia was opened in South Korea on June 1 with a lecture from the former minister for unification, Jung Se-hyun, on the reality and the forecasts for peace in the region.

Bishop Peter Lee Ki-heon, from Uijeongbu, opened the Catholic Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Institute.

“It is our duty to work for the evangelisation of North Korea as our diocese is located close to the border,” Bishop Lee said.

 

The institution will also invite Buddhist and Protestant researchers to cover areas such as theology, philosophy, politics, economics and literature.

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