CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 September 2018

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Radicals stage protest at Catholic school
Mumbai (AsiaNews): A group of radicals in Madhya Pradesh staged a protest on January 15 against a Catholic school, run by the Sisters of St Joseph of Chambery for reprimanding two unruly students.
 
The Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of the Hindu fundamentalist Vishva Hindu Parishad, used the incident as an excuse to accuse the administration, without any proof, of having suspended 20 students for chanting patriotic slogans.
 
They gathered in front of St Joseph Convent School in Namli, Ratlam District, complaining about the sisters’ anti-national behaviour. The school rejected the accusations and called for police protection.
 
Two students were cautioned for harassing other students and for singing the Vande Mataram (hymn to Mother Earth), which became famous during the Indian independence movement as a form of non-violent protest against British rule. 
 
When contacted by the school authorities, their parents promptly apologised for their inappropriate behaviour.
 
In a January 4 incident, members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (All Indian Student Council), a right-wing nationalist Hindu student group, threatened to perform a Hindu rite at St. Mary’s Post Graduate College, in the diocese of Sagar (Sunday Examiner, January 14).
 
Catholics urged to help immigrants facing deportation
NEW YORK (CNS): Catholics have a responsibility to look past the noisy rhetoric of the current debate on immigration and answer the “cry of the poor” by engaging with individuals facing individuals affected by the January 2017  executive order on deportation of the president of the United States of America, Donald Trump. 
 
That was the focus of a National Migration Week discussion January 11 at the Church of St. Francis Assisi in New York, at which presenters discussed practical actions to extend Christian charity and seek justice. National Migration Week began on January 7and ended with the World Day of Migrants and Refugees on January 14 
 
“We’re talking about being correct with our faith response as Christians. Are detention and deportation the right solutions?” Franciscan Father Julian Jagudilla asked the participants. 
 
“Are we here for our interests or the interests of the people we serve?” he asked.
 
Father Jagudilla, director of the Migrant Centre at St. Francis of Assisi since 2012, detailed routes to legal immigration and said there are more than 12 million people who face removal from the US because of an irregular or precarious immigration status.
 
Belgian Catholics concerned about abuse of euthanasia law
OXFORD (CNS): Catholics in Belgium are concerned the country’s euthanasia law is being abused to kill patients without legal checks and safeguards. 
 
Auxiliary Bishop Jean Kockerols of Mechelen-Brussels said that “not just the Church’s hierarchy, but doctors and medical professionals as well” were concerned. 
 
On January 9, the Belgian Church’s Cathobel news agency published an article saying the Federal Euthanasia Control and Evaluation Commission violated its statutes by failing to refer suspected legal abuses for investigation. 
 
“It’s shocking that, 15 years since its creation, this commission has not referred a single file to prosecutors or condemned a single doctor,” the report said. 
 
“It is acting as judge and jury, and not fulfilling its role. It isn’t broadening application of the law, but violating it,” the article said. 
 
Bishop Kockerols said that the Church had long been aware the commission was “not working as it should.” 
 
He said the bishops would support any investigation into its activities or “any steps to ensure it functions as it’s supposed to.”
 
German bishop urges church debate on blessing same-sex unions
OSNABRUCK (CNS): The Bishop Franz-Josef Bode from Osnabruck, vice president of the German Bishops’ Conference, has urged a debate on whether Catholic clergy should bless same-sex unions. 
 
“I’m concerned with fundamental questions of how we deal with each other; although ‘marriage for all’ differs clearly from the Church’s concept of marriage, it’s now a political reality,” said the bishop. 
 
“We have to ask ourselves how we’re encountering those who form such relationships and are also involved in the Church, how we’re accompanying them pastorally and liturgically.” 
The first same-sex weddings were conducted in Germany, following a 30 June 2017 vote by the parliament to allow them. 
 
“Same-sex relationships are generally classified as a grave sin in the Church, but we need to think how we can differentiate,” Bishop Bode said in a Janaury 10 interview with the Neue Osnabrucker Zeitung daily.

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