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Bishops reflect vast and varied conditions of Church in Asia

COLOMBO (SE): The more than 140 bishops that came together for a plenary meeting around the theme of family life with officials from the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from November 28 to December 4, showed the great diversity in makeup, experience and situation of the Church in Asia.

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The why of Vietnam’s law on religion questioned

HOCHIMIHN (UCAN): The Vietnam National Assembly has ratified a controversial law on religious activities sparking a strong reaction from religious communities.

The Law on Belief and Religion, which was passed by the National Assembly on November 18 is the first ever law on religious activities since the country was reunified in 1975.

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Japanese and Korean bishops concerned over missile system

SEOUL (UCAN): At the annual meeting held in Incheon, South Korea, the bishops of Japan and Korea expressed concern that a decision by Seoul to deploy a United States of America (US) anti-ballistic missile system and the political swing to the right in the Land of the Rising Sun presents a real threat to peace in northeast Asia.

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More calls for Christian governor’s arrest

JAKARTA (UCAN): About 700,000 people gathered in Jakarta on December 2 to demand the arrest of the Christian governor of the city, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, for blasphemy.

In what became the third and largest rally over a two-month period, people dressed in white packed the National Monument Square and its surrounds from 8.00am onwards.

The president, Joko Widodo, vice president, Jusuf Kalla, and several ministers joined Friday prayers at the protest.

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A 50-year IMPACT

MANILA (SE): What is being touted as the oldest Catholic magazine in Asia is celebrating its golden anniversary in Manila.

“Through thick and thin, IMPACT Magazine has been zealous in pursuing the development of perspectives on social issues not only within the confines of the Catholic Church, but also in other Asian religions,” Monsignor Pedro Quitorio, the magazine’s current editor-in chief, wrote in a special anniversary issue.

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Lessons from Seoul

SEOUL (UCAN): South Korea is currently going through a politically tumultuous time, with the long standing demand for the president, Park Geun-Hye, to step down.

A Hong Kong person named Ching resident in South Korea for some time, says in an article posted by UCAN that the darkness and distress Park brought with her in 2013 has worsened since a political crisis broke out in mid-October. In a televised address, Park said she is now permitting the National Assembly to decide her fate.

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Bishops and senate gagged

MANILA (SE): In a lengthy response to the socio-political landscape of The Philippines released on November 22, the bishops of the country admit that they have been gagged by the very people of the Church that they are there to guide and lead.

On November 16, a member of the senate, Risa Hontiveros, found herself gagged on the floor of the chamber when she attempted to read from a newspaper article written by Sunday Examiner columnist, Father Shay Cullen.

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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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