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A scandal of nothing amidst plenty

MANILA (UCAN): The poor amidst plenty syndrome of The Philippines is a national disgrace for a country which prides itself in being Catholic.

The problem is especially amplified during Christmas, a time of year marked with feasting and professing faith in the God of the poor.

The desperate poverty incidence among Filipinos now sits at more than 25 per cent of the population, despite the promise of the government to bring it down to 18 per cent by this year.

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A hoverboard Christmas song turns sour

MANILA (Agencies): What happens when a priest gets a bit carried away with enthusiasm for the Christmas spirit and sings his Christmas greetings to his congregation as he wanders the church at the end of Mass?

Well, if you are Father Albert San José and you are at the parish of Our Lady of Miraculous Medal in Biñan, Quezon City, you get to apologise and take an enforced holiday for a few weeks.

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Cardinal Tong celebrates Christmas at Stanley Prison

 

HONG KONG (SE): For Catholics in Stanley Prison, the Christmas celebration  received a boost from John Cardinal Tong Hon when he said Mass on Christmas Day to share the joy of the occasion with those whose festive season is often devoid of family and religious celebration.

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China’s Christmas runs hot in the cold

HONG KONG (SE): While the biting chill of a Chinese winter did nothing to cool the warmth of the Christmas spirit, the police and security forces were out in force to hose down enthusiasm among the country’s thousands of unregistered House, Catholic and Protestant Churches.

Radio Free Asia reported that in Beijing many unregistered Churches were told to keep things low key and not to invite outsiders to join them.

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Vietnam bars thousands from Christmas Mass

HANOI (AsiaNews): Christmas was banned in the Central Highland province of Kontum in Vietnam by government authorities forcing Christmas Mass to be cancelled in at least two parishes and leaving thousands of expectant people both surprised and disappointed.

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Christmas death threats for clergy in Bangladesh

DHAKA (AsiaNews): Bishop Bejoy D’Cruze and Bishop Paul Panen Kubi in Bangladesh both reported that they received death threats on their mobile phones in the run up to Christmas last year.

The bishops from Shylet and Mymenshing said that they believe that the death threats came from Islamist radicals. 

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A colourful Indonesian Christmas

HONG KONG (SE): The Indonesian Catholic Community in Hong Kong celebrated Christmas with colour and song at Christ the King Chapel in Causeway Bay at a Mass on the afternoon of December 25, led by Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung, and a morning worship service that featured well-known pop singer, Agustinus Gusti Nugroho, buoying spirits and setting the scene for a joyful day.

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Christmas in the city

HONG KONG (SE): By far the largest congregation of the festive season in Hong Kong gathered in Chater Garden on Christmas Eve to celebrate the Misa de Aguinaldo (Gift Mass) on a warm and balmy December 24.

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Searching for the light of Christmas

HONG KONG (SE): A longing for peace, security and the freedom to be ourselves dominated messages from religious and world leaders in the run up to Christmas in 2015, with the bishop of Hong Kong, John Cardinal Tong Hon, saying in his message to the city that peace is becoming more tenuous and seems to be moving beyond the stretch of our fingers.

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Is there time for Christmas?

In this press button era, when we can call up the whole world on the Internet with one touch of a finger, we would like to command our happiness with similar ease; it should be instant and total.

The illusion that we can do this is common enough, as we see all around us: Eat me, Drink me, Wear me, Drive me and you’ll be happy forever.