CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 20 April 2019

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Around the Traps

Visit by Timor Leste president to Vatican blocked
BANGKOK (CNS): The government of Timor Leste, one of Asia’s most Catholic countries, is blocking a planned trip by its president, Francisco Guterres, to the Vatican, where he plans to invite Pope Francis to visit. 
 
The president and government have been in a standoff since June, when the Alliance for Progress and Change (AMP), which won the May 10 general election, presented its candidates for the nation’s ministry for presidential approval. 
 
After a few rounds of discussions over nearly a dozen contentious nominations, Guterres declined to endorse nine nominees he claims are under suspicion or investigation for corruption, leaving open important ministerial positions. 
 
The AMP has said the president should approve the ministers and, if any formal proceedings are brought against them, they would have to stand down while they are tried in court. 
 
“As long as the president will not swear in the nine nominees, the AMP will block the president from visiting abroad,” a spokesperson for the government said.
 
Holy Land cemetery vandalism concerns Church leaders
JERUSALEM (CNS): Church leaders in the Holy Land expressed concern in the wake of two separate incidents over a one-week span involving the Christian community. 
 
On the evening of October 16, the monks of the Salesian Monastery at Beit Jamal, west of Jerusalem, discovered that their cemetery had been vandalised, including broken crosses and damage to tombs. 
 
The monastery, which has good relations with its Jewish neighbours, was vandalised two years ago and in 2017, vandals desecrated the monastery’s church. 
 
No suspects have been arrested in either case. 
 
“It is of regret and anger to see ourselves busy condemning such criminal acts, which were repeated many times in recent years, while we almost don’t see security and/or educational treatment to this dangerous phenomenon by the state authorities, especially while top officials in the country claim as if Christians are doing very well in it,” said the Assembly of the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land in a statement. 
 
The group called on Israeli authorities to increase efforts to find the culprits and for more public education campaigns to prevent future attacks. 
 
Nations are built by migrants pope says
VATICAN (CNS): Pope Francis said countries do not develop by themselves; they are built by migrants, adding that migrants often choose to travel to a new land in a group, like those currently travelling through Central America and heading to the border between the United States and Mexico.
 
His off-the-cuff remarks were made on October 29 to a group of Scalabrinian Missionaries who were in Rome for their general chapter meeting. 
 
The pope thanked them for their work, noting the biblical mandate for “welcoming the stranger” and the importance of knowing how to do that act of charity well. 
 
“It is true that today there is a surge in being closed to the stranger and there are also many situations of trafficking of foreign people; the foreigner is exploited,” he said. 
 
Pope Francis said that in his experience, his home country of Argentina “is a cocktail of waves of migration.”
 
Leading figure in centering prayer dead 
SPENCER (CNS): Trappist Father Thomas Keating, a leading figure in the centering prayer movement that got its start in the 1970s died on October 5 at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts, the United States. He was 95-years-old. 
 
According to his nephew, Peter Jones, he had been in poor health for a number of years.
 
Father Keating had been abbot at the abbey for two decades in the 1960s and 1970s. 
 
Joseph Parker Kirlin Keating entered the Cistercian Monastery Our Lady of the Valley in Valley Falls, Rhode Island, in 1944 and was ordained a priest in 1949. He took the name Thomas due to his admiration of St. Thomas Aquinas. 
 
He turned to centering prayer—a technique of praying silently to God without words—based on the encouragement issued by Pope St. Paul VI during the Second Vatican Council to rediscover the contemplative tradition. 
 
He helped found the Contemplative Outreach for centering prayer practitioners in 1984, serving as its president from 1985 to 1999.

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