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Japan destroying its own
most precious treasure

TOKYO (SE): “Article Nine has been a sign of hope for a world that yearns for deep, inclusive and lasting peace,” the international Catholic peace organisation, Pax Christi, says in lamenting the decision of the Japanese Diet to rip the stuffing out of the nation’s Peace Constitution.

Pax Christi has endorsed the Global Article Nine Campaign and is appealing to the world to sign an online petition entitled, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; Save Japan’s Peace Constitution.

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From democracy to shadow state

HONG KONG (SE): Sri Lanka has one of the highest rates in Asia for the disappearance of thousands of never-to-be-heard-of-again people since 1971.

The covert government operations began to gain momentum in the lead up to and during the three-decades-long civil war that devastated the island nation up to 2009.

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Japan puts Asian agenda 
to Synod on Family Life

TOKYO (SE): Catholics remain a tiny minority in Japan, with more than half being migrants to the country, the bishops of Japan say in a 7,043-word summary of the results of a Vatican survey carried out on family life.

In their response to the Vatican as part of the preparation for the upcoming Synod on Family Life to be held in October, they are asking for more appreciation of the situation of minority Churches in predominately non-Christian societies.

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Locking horns over The Asian Jesus

MUMBAI (UCAN): Father Michael Amaladoss is one of the most respected theologians in India, but is believed by some to be under suspicion from the Vatican watchdog on doctrinal orthodoxy, the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith.

Father Myron Pereira says that he was summoned to Rome for a series of conversations with the congregation, although reports differ over how cordial they were.

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China’s trafficked women alive but not so well

HONG KONG (UCAN): Cambodian-born Khai Sochoeun spent time living in China, but she doesn’t know where exactly. She was married to a Chinese man for a few months, but she never knew his name.

The slight 29-year-old sits calmly under her family’s wooden stilt house as she recounts how she was duped into leaving her rural home with the promise of a well-paid factory job in China, only to be married off to a man who repeatedly abused her.

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Pope will focus on Christian unity on Holy Land trip

VATICAN CITY (CNS): On his first trip to the Holy Land, from May 24 to 26, Pope Francis will focus on the search for Christian unity, particularly between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Inevitably, however, in a region so rich in history and so fraught with conflict, he will address other urgent issues, including dialogue with Jews and Muslims, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the plight of the Middle East’s shrinking Christian population. 

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Poverty is not a project but an invitation to be with people

Do you recall the Great Jubilee Year 2000?

For a few years before the turn of the century, almost every statement by a bishop or other Church leader or organisation contained some paean to the jubilee.

The pope had called for it, and so all sorts of people either sincerely, or for show, acted as if the Church were on the verge of a great renewal and the world would enter a new age.

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The joy I find in the good news

 Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium) was published on the feast of Christ the King, the last day of the liturgical year in which Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio was elected as the successor of St. Peter.

The document is of a practical nature. It provides seven guidelines that can help us in making our lives more holy, more meaningful, dignified and missionary.

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Sacred art is a cup of ancient wisdom

HONG KONG (SE): A narrow stairway leading off crowded Shanghai Street in Jordan arrives at a small temple cum community centre of the Nepali population in Hong Kong, which on March 11 opened its doors to a rarity in the Buddhist and Hindu worlds: a female painter of the sacred, Renuka Gurung.

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Asian issues missing in the family synod questionnaire

The Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family scheduled for October has captured the attention of people in a way that its predecessors have not, simply because, this time, the focus will be on an issue on which the laity are the experts.

The enthusiasm of the laity is plain to see from the sheer number of other surveys that been a spin off from the Vatican questionnaire addressed to the bishops last October.