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Indonesian priest attacked with ax

JAKARTA (AsiaNews): A 17-year-old later identified as Ivan Armadi Hasugian tried to kill Father Albert Pandiangan as he was celebrating Mass in the Indonesian town of Medan, North Sumatra, on August 28.

The chief of Medan police, Mardiaz Kusin Dwihananto, said that it appears to be a copycat crime inspired by watching French priest, Father Jacques Hamel, being murdered on July 26 on the Internet.

Dwihananto attempted to detonate an improvised explosive device hidden in his backpack and when this failed, he launched himself against the priest wielding a knife and an ax.

Father Pandiangan was proclaiming the gospel and managed to dodge the blow, sustaining only a minor wound on his left arm. People then overcame the attacker and called the police.

The police believe that the attack could have been motivated by the promise of 10 million rupiah ($1.7 million) made to the boy by two unidentified men.

Several witnesses reported seeing two people flee the church when the bomb blast failed.


No romance campus

MANILA (Agencies): The Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education in Manila has criticised a policy at Golden Heritage Polytechnic College in Cagayan de Oro City banning romantic relationships among the student body to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

“We are not in favour of this policy,” Bishop Roberto Mallari told CBCP News. “We have a regular programme regarding values formation and responsible relationships. As a Catholic institution, we value programmes and guiding principles.”

Students who violate the true love waits policy face expulsion.

The bishops say that schools should prepare students for romantic relationships not ban them.


Father Hamel martyr to religious harmony

ROME (SE): The Italian Jesuit periodical, La Civiltà Cattolica, says it is important to remember that apart from Christians, the Islamic State has also killed thousands of Muslims. It says that it believes that when Father Jacques Hamel died while celebrating Mass on July 26, French institutions, fundamental principles, tradition of secularism interpreted as co-existence between different faiths and cultures was being attacked.

In his article, Father Giancarlo Pani says that this is why Pope Francis baulks at attributing to the terrorists any theological-political legitimacy.


Living the declaration of Moscow and Vatican

MOSCOW (SE): A Summer Institute opened in Moscow, Russia, on August 26 as part of a wider programme to promote relationships between the Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches.

Young theologians from Italy, France, Spain and Romania will be guests on a programme organised by the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The programme began in May, when the Vatican hosted 12 Orthodox theologians on an experience one described as “one of the most powerful and profound of my whole life.”

It is one of a number of initiatives to implement the Common Declaration signed by Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill on February 12 in Havana, Cuba.


No Muslim policy at hotels

GUANGZHOU (SE): Police have ordered budget hotels in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou to reject guests from five predominantly Muslim countries, Reuters reported.

Since March, low-end hotels have been told by police no guests from Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Afghanistan are allowed.

The Foreign Ministry claimed it had never heard of the policy, but several budget hotels told the international news agency that they had been receiving the instruction since March.

All of the countries listed have predominately Muslim populations and have suffered numerous terrorist attacks in the past few years or are currently undergoing serious conflict.


Papal knights for Taiwan

TAIPEI (UCAN): The grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, Edwin Cardinal O’Brien, is set to confer papal knighthoods on 22 people from three dioceses in Taiwan on September 11.

Nine are women and 11 men, in addition to Bishop Thomas Chung An-zu, from Chiayi, and Father Bonaventura Lin Szu-chuan, from Taipei, for their contribution to Church life.

The order holds annual formation meetings and raises money for the maintenance of the Holy Sepulchre in the Holy Land.

Thirteen Taiwanese are also members of the Order of the Gregory the Great, including the vice president, Philip Chen Chien-jen.

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