CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 16 December 2017

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Zimbabwe arrests Brazilian Franciscan
HARARE (SE): Brother Rodrigo Peret, a Franciscan from Brazil and member of the Pastoral Land Commission of Uberlândia in Zimbabwe, was arrested along with 20 other international mining advocates in the town of Mutare on November 6.
 
An eclectic group from Brazil, Kenya, Britain, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda and Zambia, they were in Zimbabwe to express solidarity with people facing forced displacement from ancestral lands to make way for mining. The mining proceeds are never used to develop or benefit displaced communities, Vatican Radio reported.
 
Brother Perte’s work with Mining Affected Communities United in Action has been recognised by Human Rights Watch.
 
Outstanding mother mourned in Dhaka
DHAKA (UCAN): A mother of three priests in Bangladesh, Josephine Corraya, who received a national award for her humble and dedicated life of service, passed away November 9 at the age of 82.
 
She died in hospital after suffering a stroke she suffered on October 28.
 
Last year, she received the Mothers of Outstanding Personalities Award, which recognises mothers who have lived an extraordinary life of service by educating their sons and daughters.
 
Father Theotonius Rebeiro is chancellor of Dhaka, Father Leonard Rebeiro a parish priest in Chittagong and Father Augustine director of the bishops’ communication centre.
 
Kenya on verge of implosion
NAIROBI (SE): The bishops of Kenya announced in a statement on November 9 that they believe the country is on the verge of imploding. “The country is now threatened with disintegration and conflict, if the situation witnessed currently is anything to go by,” they said.
 
They said that the legal mess involving the presidential election has produced a stalemate that is making the country ungovernable, as it has deteriorated into a hostile division drawn up on ethnic grouping lines.
 
They add that the violence and police brutality have helped politicians to further polarise the country, as there is no political will to address the crime of distribution of wealth that is only producing anger and more violence.
 
No more mother or father
LONDON (CNS): A complaint that the terms mother and father discriminate against gay and step-parents have moved Catholic schools in England and Wales to drop the phrases.
 
A parent trying to enroll a child in Holy Ghost Catholic Primary School in London, said they had to specify mother/guardian and father/guardian, which discriminates against separated, step and gay parents.
 
The application form was judged to imply that the school was restricting its definition.
 
Patriarch meets former prime minister
RIYADH (AsiaNews): During his historic visit to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia on November 15, the Maronite patriarch, Bechara Cardinal al-Raï, met with the former prime minister of Lebanon who vowed to him that he will return.
 
Although he did not give much away, the cardinal hinted that Saad Hariri was forced to resign because of Beirut’s hostility towards the manoeuvrings of Hezbollah and Iran in the country.
 
Internet Obscurantis Award
NEW YORK (UCAN): China can lay claim to what could well bedubbed the Internet Obscurantist Award for the third year in a row after being named by Freedom House, a United States of America-based freedom-of-speech watchdog as the country with the tightest censorship.
 
Its report for 2017 says that as the Communist Party held its 19th Party Congress, many of its well honed censorship strategies have begun to invade the law books.
 
“The drive to codify what were previously ad hoc censorship and surveillance strategies persisted during the coverage period,” the report says.
 
Chapel vandalised in Mindanao
COTABATO (SE): It is suspected that supporters of an Islamist militant group desecrated a chapel in Labo-Labo in Shariff Aguak, Mindanao, on the evening of November 10.
 
Witnesses say the still-unidentified men poured gasoline on religious images and icons on the altar of the San Isidro de Labrador at about 9.00pm. The Philippine Star reported that some antique religious icons were damaged by fire.
 
It is the first time such an act of vandalism against a church has happened in the area.

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