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Excommunicate Mugabe

HARARE (SE): Pastor Phillip Mugadza petitioned Pope Francis on October 12 to excommunicate the president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, for running down the country’s economy and exposing the country’s citizens to poverty.

He handed in his petition to Father Gabriel Pesce at the apostolic nunciature in Harare, the African News Agency reported.

“We of the above-mentioned nation hereby hand you this petition asking you to excommunicate the president of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Robert Gabriel Mugabe. The nation and its peace-loving people have been subjected to poverty of unimaginable levels when Zimbabwe is endowed with all minerals discovered so far,” it reads in part.


Caritas India wants transgender recruits

NEW DELHI (UCAN): Caritas India is looking for transgender recruits as part of its efforts to stop discrimination.

It confirmed this on October 10 after holding internal talks on its inclusive development policy.

“Caritas is open to work with transgender people. I am even open to recruiting them,” Father Frederick D’Souza, the director of Caritas India, said.

Father Paul Moonjely added, “We have been reaching out to transgender people in our development programmes, but have largely failed to recognise them and show data on how many of them we have supported.”

India has nearly 500,000 transgender people, according to the 2011 government census. 


Christian-Taoist dialogue

TAIPEI (CWN): Seeking the Truth Together, an international conference on Christian-Taoist dialogue, took place from October 15 to 16 at Taipei Baoan Temple.

Delegates came from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the Church in Taiwan, the Daoist Baoan Temple, the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences and the World Council of Churches.

The delegates spoke of “the need to seek the truth together for greater understanding, mutual enrichment and cooperation, especially through compassionate service without distinction.”

They also acknowledged challenges linked to globalisation, migration, religious and inter-cultural tensions and the rise of fundamentalism.

China releases Tibetan duo

LHASA (SE): Two Tibetan singers were released from jail in southwestern China after they completed a four-year sentence for producing a CD with politically sensitive songs, Radio Free Asia reported.

Twenty-seven-year-old Pema Trinley and 35-year-old Chakdor were freed from a Sichuan prison on October 3.

“When they arrived in their hometown, relatives, former prison mates and other supporters gave them a warm welcome by offering ceremonial scarves,” the report says.

In 2012, the duo produced The Pain of an Open Wound, which praised the exiled Dalai Lama and Tibetan self-immolation protests.

Chakdor’s brother had self-immolated.

Papal condolences to Thailand

VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis sent his condolences to the prime minister of Thailand following the death of the country’s king.

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and I extend my heartfelt condolences to the members of the royal family and to all the people of the kingdom at this sorrowful time,” Pope Francis wrote in his October 14 message.

He added, “I pray that, as a fitting tribute to the late king’s legacy of wisdom, strength and fidelity, all Thais may work together to further the path of peace…”


Neckties and hurricanes

PORT-AU-PRINCE (SE): Survivors of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti put on their Sunday finest as they picked their way through rubble and downed power lines to gather in ruined churches on October 9, just three days after the devastating storm ravaged their homes.

Photographs posted on news websites show pews in the open air, with the rubble from the hurricane piled to one side, as a neatly clad congregation in suits and ties, smart slacks and dresses made a colourful scene in what once had been churches with roofs.


Palestinian leader donates to Holy Sepulchre

RAMALLAH (CWN): The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, made a personal donation to support the restoration of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

At an October 17 meeting with Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic representatives, Abbas called it “a national and religious symbol for the Palestinian people.” He added, “We have the duty to take care of it, to protect it, and to contribute to its restoration.” Abdullah, the king of Jordan, has also offered a large personal contribution.

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