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Matteo Ricci Award to Indonesia

JAKARTA (UCAN): Jesuit Father Franz Magnis-Suseno, a German-born philosophy professor, has been awarded the Matteo Ricci International Prize this year for his commitment to promoting interreligious dialogue in Indonesia.

The Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Catholic University of the Sacred Heart) in Milan, Italy, presented the award on November 21.

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India moves towards a common civil code

NEW DELHI (UCAN): India has initiated a process to establish a uniform personal code to replace its religion-based family law system, but the leaders of various religious bodies, including Christian Churches, are baulking at the suggestion.

The Law Commission of India has published a notice seeking public opinion on the issue.

It is asking all concerned groups to engage with the commission by responding to a questionnaire.

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Taiwan opposition to same-sex marriage

TAIPEI (UCAN): The Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference in Taiwan issued a statement expressing the opposition of the Church to a bill that would allow same-sex marriage and asked the people of the island state to pray and fast for the cause.

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Learning from each other’s riches

TAIPEI (SE): Speaking at a Mass celebrated on what Taiwan celebrates as Mission Sunday on October 16, John Cardinal Tong Hon paid tribute to the late Paul Cardinal Shan Kuo-hsi, from Kaohsiung, for inspiring him to challenge the Catholic people of Hong Kong to be outgoing in sharing their faith and inviting people to come to the Church with them.

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No state law only Duterte law

HONG KONG (SE): “It is now Duterte’s administration. There’s no need for papers,” a police officer in Talisay City, Cebu, was overheard saying on September 11 when asked to show a warrant after bursting into a private home and beginning a room search.

The house belongs to Isabella Abangan, the mother of human rights advocate, Orlando Abangan, who was shot in several parts of the body by an unidentified gunman and died on the road on September 17.

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Self-identity conundrum mixed with anger

KUALA LUMPUR (UCAN): There’s something going on in Malaysia and it does not bode well.

Public discord and racial tensions overflowed on November 19 as over 15,000 people wearing the yellow of the Berish (Malay) 2.0 (Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections) spilled into the streets demanding that the prime minister, Najib Razak, resign over a huge misappropriation scandal involving tax payers’ money.

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Manila’s nuclear about face

HONG KONG (SE): The on-again off-again president of The Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, was given big cookie points on November 8 when he scotched the idea of powering up the mothballed nuclear power plant in Bataan and assured the nation that during his term of office nuclear power plants would not operate.

The local bishop in the area, Bishop Rupert Santos, said that he welcomed the decision, describing it as an expression of Duterte’s concern and care for the people and the environment.

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Call for a Church school comeback in Myanmar

YANGON (UCAN): Saying that in the heyday of the Christian school system during the 1950s, Burma had the best educated children in Asia, Charles Cardinal Maung Bo, from Yangon, intends to make an appeal to the government to allow Churches to contribute once again to the revitalisation of the nation.

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Religious persecution happens online

MANILA (UCAN): Despite the popular claim that The Philippines is a Catholic country, Archbishop Socrates Villegas insists that religious persecution is very much alive and well, even within the Church.

In a statement on November 14, the president of the bishops’ conference says, “Bashing in social media where truth is made to appear a lie and a lie the truth is another form of persecution.”

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Scoundrel above ground but hero under the dirt

MANILA (UCAN): Former Philippine president, Ferdinand Marcos, received a hero’s burial on November 18, digging deeper division in society.

The eight members of the senate who had voted against the controversial burial did not muster sufficient numbers to get a resolution filed by Risa Hontiveros on August 9 carried.

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