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Around the Traps

Indian priest stabbed in Melbourne

MELBOURNE (SE): Father Tomy Kalathoor Mathew, who hails from Kerala in India, was stabbed in the foyer of the church prior to a Mass in Italian at his parish in the Melbourne suburb of Fawkner by a man of Italian ethnic origin on March 19.

The Associated Press reported that he was stabbed in the neck with a kitchen knife. The man said to him that because he was Indian, he must be Hindu or Muslim and therefore could not celebrate Mass.

The man was arrested and Father Mathew was in a stable condition.


Populist defeat in Netherlands

THE HAGUE (SE): A spokesperson for the Dutch Bishops’ Conference, Anna Kruse, said the bishops would not issue a statement in reaction to the victory of the prime minister, Mark Rutte, in the March 15 election, but hinted they were pleased with the outcome.

They had urged voters not to indulge in anger and intolerance.

“Although it is hard to say how much influence the Church had on the outcome, our own pre-election statements were received positively and clearly appealed to Catholics, who form a significant part of the electorate,” she added.


A Dalai Lama no-brainer

WASHINGTON (SE): The Chinese Foreign Ministry traded a new round of barbs with the Dalai Lama over an interview with comedian, John Oliver, on Untied States of America television.

The Dalai Lama said on Last Week Tonight that hardline Chinese officials have a part of their brain missing. He reaffirmed that he could be the last Dalai Lama in line, ending the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual succession Beijing works hard to kill off.

The Dalai Lama said in broken English that China’s plan is a “foolish act—shortsighted, without using human brain properly,” Foreign Policy reported on March 7.


Syriac Catholics overseas now 80 per cent

DAMASCUS (SE): The head of the Syriac Catholic Church says that 80 per cent of his flock now live overseas.

“The problem is convincing our flock to be patient and return home,” Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan said on March 8. “It is very hard to convince our young generations to return… It is not easy to convince our people to live up to their Christian vocation in those very horrendous situations they experience.”


No pope at Asian Youth Day

JAKARTA (UCAN): The Indonesian Bishops’ Conference has confirmed that Pope Francis will not attend the upcoming Seventh Asian Youth Day to be hosted by Semarang archdiocese in Central Java province.

Instead, Pope Francis plans to visit Bangladesh and India.

“Vatican secretary of state, Pietro Cardinal Parolin, met with President Joko Widodo in November 2015 and invited him to come to the Vatican. The president replied saying that it would also be good if the pope could come to Indonesia,” the archbishop of Jakarta said.

The week will focus on self-development so as to be closer to God, others and creation.


St. Patrick the undocumented migrant

DUBLIN (SE): The primate of all Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, said in his St. Patrick’s Day message that St. Patrick should be reflected on as a refugee and undocumented migrant.

“This St. Patrick’s Day, prompted by the situation of thousands of displaced people around the world, let us think about Patrick the unlearned refugee, not think of Patrick without acknowledging the enormous humanitarian and pastoral challenges facing growing numbers of people who find themselves displaced and without status in our world.”

St. Patrick once described himself as an unlearned refugee.


Irish religious told to cough up abuse funds

DUBLIN (SE): Ireland’s prime minister, Enda Kenny, has demanded that religious congregations measure up to the responsibilities that they have accepted and make substantial payments into a fund for compensating victims of sexual abuse.

The congregations agreed in 2002 to pay Ä128 million ($1.05 billion) into a compensation fund. That figure was nearly tripled after the Ryan Commission investigated the prevalence of abuse in 2009, detailing the failures of Church leaders to curb clerical misconduct. To date, however, they have paid only 13 per cent of the sum they promised.

Kenny advised religious leaders to get on with it.

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