CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 18 November 2017

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Fifty years of Catholic-Methodist dialogue
VATICAN (AsiaNews): A half a century of formal Methodist-Catholic dialogue was celebrated on October 19 when Pope Francis met with leaders of the World Methodist Council at the Vatican as a sign of the desire of the two Churches to end the rupture that has seen siblings separated for so long.
 
“As we look to the future, beyond the past 50 years, one thing is certain: we cannot grow in holiness without growing in communion,” Pope Francis told the gathering.
 
“We need, then, to remain together, like the disciples awaiting the Spirit, and as brothers and sisters on a shared journey,” he concluded.
 
Niqab and burka banned for public services
MONTREAL (SE): The niqab, a popular form of attire for Muslim women which covers the head and all but the eyes of the face, as well as the burka, which gives full coverage, has been banned in Quebec for anyone receiving a public service.
 
This includes riding on a bus, visiting the library, going for a medical check-up or meeting with their child’s teacher. The complete face must be uncovered during such times.
 
The justice minister, Stéphanie Vallée, said, “Having your face uncovered is a legitimate question of communication, identification and security.”
 
Kidnapped priest in Nigeria released
ABUJA (SE): Father Mauizio Pallù, who had been kidnapped in Nigeria has now been freed, the foreign minister, Angelino Alfano, announced.
 
Father Pallù was kidnapped around October 12 in the south of Nigeria, where he had been based for the past three years.
 
His car was blocked by a group of armed men who robbed his companions, before taking the priest away with them.
 
He was released unharmed and reported to be doing well. Earlier in the month, a local priest was kidnapped and released after a few days as well.
 
Miscreant bishop to return missing money
JAKARTA (UCAN): The pope has accepted the resignation of miscreant Bishop Hubertus Leteng, who has been accused of embezzling money from the diocese, but although the official communication did not say anything about returning it, at a meeting of Vatican officials with the Indonesian bishops and the diocese on October 11, Father Robert Pelita says that he was told he should give it back.
 
It is believed the bishop has undertaken to return it.
 
Size matters
MEXICO CITY (SE): In a testament to the old adage, size matters, the state of Zacatecas in Mexico has unveiled plans to build the world’s largest statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the country’s national patron.
 
With a bit of mixed motivation the local council is hoping that the 45-metre religious symbol will help attract enough tourist dollars to redefine it as an economic venture instead of a religious one and stem the flow of criticism over what is being seen as the state overstepping its limits by putting money into a religious project.
 
The cost is estimated at US$4.25 million ($32.9 million), with more than half coming from the private sector.
 
Abortion rate drops in United States
WASHINGTON (SE): The abortion rate in the United States of America dropped by 25 per cent over the six-year period from 2008 to 2014, the American Journal of Public Health reports.
 
The Washington Post reports that researchers have found that abortions dropped from 19.4 per 1,000 women of reproductive age (15 to 44) in 2008 to 14.6 per 1,000 in 2014.
 
The biggest decline was in the 15 to 19 age group, which shows a 46 per cent reduction. It is also the first time in 20 years it has dropped among the poorest women in America—the demographic with the highest abortion rate.
 
Catholic movie director honoured
COLOMBO (UCAN): The veteran Sri Lankan movie director, producer and screenwriter, 98-year-old Lester James Peiris, was presented with a lifetime SIGNIS Cinema and Teledrama Award on October 13 for his contribution to cinema.
 
Sociologist and writer, Praneeth Abhayasundara, said Peiris had made 20 feature films since he began in 1949, describing him as a national icon who portrayed religion, the caste system and culture through the struggles of conflicted characters in his stories.
 
“Before Peiris, Sinhala films were heavily influenced by South Indian movies,” Abhayasundara said. In 1956, Peiris directed Rekava with entirely Sri Lankan outdoor sets. It was considered to be a turning point.

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