CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 16 February 2019

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Christians lose  welfare rights

HONG KONG (UCAN): Officials in Guizhou province announced on July 2 that Christians could not have welfare or any old-age insurance, the United States of America-based China Aid reported on August 11.

“The county called on the government… to order believers to sign a guarantee stating that if they gathered again, their welfare would be cut off,” a Church community leader said.

China Aid says this is reminiscent of the ongoing pressure being applied to Christians from the Miao minority ethnic group in Sichuan province. 

For the past two years, 36 Miao Christians have not received any welfare payments since they were detained for practicing their faith on 28 September 2014, the group says.


Vietnam arms Spratly Islands

HANOI (AsiaNews): Vietnam has taken defensive measures on several of its islands in the disputed South China Sea with new mobile rocket launchers capable of striking China’s runways and military installations, across the vital maritime trade route.

Diplomats and military officers said that intelligence shows that Hanoi has shipped the launchers from the Vietnamese mainland into position on five bases in the Spratly Islands in recent months, a move likely to raise tensions with its former Chinese ally.

The launchers have been hidden from aerial surveillance and they have yet to be armed, but could be made operational with rocket artillery rounds within two or three days.


Mexican bishop accused of political interference

MEXICO CITY (CWN): Bishop Ramon Castro, from the diocese of Cuernavaca in Mexico, has been charged with interfering in political affairs.

However, he says that he will  risk jail rather than remain silent in the face of the horrendous injustices being prepetrated in the area.

Bishop Castro hosted a meeting of civic leaders at which many expressed highly critical opinions of the local governor of Morales state, Graco Ramirez, for failing curb the spiralling rate of violent crime.

The governor lodged a formal protest, saying that the bishop’s involvement in local politics is a violation of Mexican law.

The ruling Democratic Revolution Party has also criticised Bishop Castro for his public opposition to the legal recognition of same-sex marriage.

“If I go to prison, no problem,” the bishop told a local newspaper. “From there I’ll do the work of evangelisation.” He said that he is waiting to learn whether the governor’s complaint will result in prosecution or if he is just trying to call his bluff.


Muslims largest number of refugees entering United States

WASHINGTON (CNS): The Pew Research Centre reported on August 16 that 46 per cent of the 63,000 refugees who entered the United States of America in the current fiscal year are Muslim—around 29,000 people, the highest number of any year since data on self-reported religious affiliations first became publicly available in 2002.

Christians made up the second largest group of refugees, according to the report, accounting for 44 per cent—around 27,556 people.

Refugees from Syria, Somalia, and Iraq accounted for the largest numbers of Muslims accepted, though the report also noted that over the past 15 years, there have been far more Christian refugees than Muslim. 

Around 10 per cent of refugees admitted to the country this year come from other faith professions.


Pope names head of dicastery for laity

VATICAN (CNS): Pope Francis has named Bishop Kevin Farrell, from Dallas, Texas, to head the Vatican’s new dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life.

In a statement, the Dublin-born bishop, who will be 69-years-old on September 2, the day after the new office officially begins its work, said, “I look forward to being part of the important work of the universal Church in the promotion of the laity and the apostolate of the laity and for the pastoral care of the family in accordance with the pope’s recent apostolic exhortation, The Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia), and the support of human life.” 

Bishop Farrell is the brother of the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Bishop Brian Farrell. 

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