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Prayer for incoming officials in Philippines

MANILA (UCAN): Luis Cardinal Tagle has issued an oratio imperata, or mandatory prayer to be recited at Masses in Manila, for the newly elected government officials.

The archbishop of Manila urged people to pray that the governing authorities will have true love for the poor and true reverence for human life, as well as unyielding opposition to the culture of death.

He said they should have “a passion for truth that liberates and integrity that inspires, sincere generosity and courageous simplicity of lifestyle, and a spirit of heroic sacrifice and unrelenting fortitude.”

The prayer was recited from June 21 to 29, a novena of days running up to Duterte’s taking of office on June 30.


Pope Benedict thanks successor

VATICAN (SE): In his first public statement since his resignation, the former bishop of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI, thanked his successor, Pope Francis, for his kindness towards him, saying that it has been a real inspiration.

Pope Benedict was celebrating his 65th anniversary as a priest at the apostolic palace on June 28. Pope Francis congratulated him, calling his retirement a Franciscan step; like St. Francis of Assisi praying in the Porziuncola.

The retired pope said of his successor that “more than the Vatican Gardens, his goodness is the place where he dwells and is protected.”

The 89-year-old appeared frail, but fully alert and spoke off the cuff.


Confession not quite under fire

ROCKY RIVER (SE): A priest in Rocky River, Ohio, has revealed that a man aimed a gun at him while making his confession earlier this month, Fox News reported on June 29.

The priest said that the man did not threaten him, but continued to point the gun at him. “I’ve never done confession with somebody pointing a gun at me the whole time,” he remarked.

Local police have circulated a description of the man and asked for public help in apprehending him. The Cleveland diocese advised priests to exercise caution after the bizarre incident.

South Sudan’s monkey government

MALAKEL (CWN): “This is the country (where) we have voted for its independence so that our country displaces us. Our own country. We are ruled really by monkeys. We are ruled by monkeys. We have to be very clear: we are ruled by monkeys,” Bishop Roko Taban Mousa, from the newest nation in Africa, South Sudan, said.

“More than 100,000 people are in the bush being displaced by their own government. This is the country we have chosen,” the bishop of Malakel was reported by a South Sudanese radio station as saying on June 28.

Bishop Mousa called the government devils and madmen.


Myanmar blocks report on military abuse

YANGON (SE): The Ta’ang Women’s Organisation in the Union of Myanmar was denied permission by the local government in Yangon to hold a press conference on June 28 to release the results of an inquiry into military abuse of civilians, especially in Shan state.

The report entitled, Trained to Kill, contains more than 100 interviews with local Ta’ang people, who claim to have been victims of military brutality between 2011 and 2016.

The report will be submitted to the newly-elected president, Htin Kyaw, and to the upper and lower houses of the parliament.

The Irrawaddy reported that the management of the Excel Treasure Hotel where the press conference was scheduled was told to cancel the appointment as the local government did not approve.


Pushing religion into Russia-China relations

MOSCOW (SE): Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate introduced an initiative to establish a Council for Interreligious Cooperation as part of the Russian-Chinese Committee for Friendship, Peace and Development to the deputy head of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, Jiang Jianyong, on June 23.

The Chinese representatives at the meeting put forward their proposals for the council’s work plan and listened to the opinions of the Russian delegation.

The desire for the council to broaden its information base by giving them an office alongside the Russian-Chinese Committee for Friendship, Peace and Development was expressed.

The Russian delegation included Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist and Orthodox representatives, as well as representatives of government.

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