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Lay off the bishop parliamentarian pleads

COLOMBO (UCAN): Over 5,000 people attended a public show of support for Bishop Rayappu Joseph from the northern Mannar diocese of Sri Lanka, as an opposition member of the parliament was putting pressure on the government to stop harassing the bishop, saying it has led to threats being made against him.

In a letter sent to Pope Benedict XVI on June 13, Jayalath Jayawardena said the bishop is coming under increasing attack by several government ministers and the media.

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Shrine now a national pilgrimage site

Nagasaki (UCAN): Nishizaka hill, Nagasaki, the site of the 1597 martyrdom of Paul Miki and companions, was declared a national pilgrimage site at a June 10 ceremony, two days after the 150th anniversary of their canonisation in 1862.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan decided at its plenary session last February to mark the anniversary by making the declaration.

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Sri Lankan member of parliament proposes barring religions from government

Colombo (UCANews): Opposition lawmaker, Wijedasa Rajapakse, proposed amending Sri Lanka’s constitution to create a clear separation between politics and religion in the country. 

The member of the President’s Counsel submitted a Private Member’s Bill to parliament on May 31 that, if passed, would prevent religious leaders of any faith profession from becoming a member of parliament or local government bodies.

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Church in Korea continues to grow

SEOUL (AsiaNews): The Church in South Korean is continuing to grow, with figures from 2011 showing that 134,562 people were baptised, which brings the Catholic population to 5,309,964, or 10.3 per cent of the national population.

The Catholic population in South Korea has increased at a yearly average of two to three per cent over the past decade, according to Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea 2011, published by the Catholic Bishops’ conference of Korea.

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Christian politician shot in Pakistan

LAHORE (SE): The violent death of Irshad Younas Chaudhry on April 27, a Christian politician and lifelong defender of the rights of people from minority groups in Pakistan, is being mourned by Church people across the country.

Reports indicate that Chaudhry was at home in Islamabad, when a stranger arrived, produced a gun and shot him in the chest.

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Decorated priest espouses same dream as founder of Pakistan

On March 16 this year, Columban missionary, Father Robert McCulloch, was awarded the highest honour that the Pakistani government can bestow on a foreign national at a ceremony in the parliament in Rawalpindi, the Sitara-e-Quaid-e-Azam Award, named in honour of the founding father of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

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Building bridges to unite Christians and Muslims in Iraq

KIRKUK (AsiaNews): The Chaldean diocese of Kirkuk, northern Iraq, organised a reconciliation forum on April 25 on Building Bridges of Peace.

An initiative of Archbishop Louis Sako, the meeting brought together some 50 Christian and Muslim leaders, as well as politicians, including the provincial governor, members of councils, party chiefs and tribal sheiks; religious leaders from the Shia, Sunni and Christian communities; and representatives of the Kurdish, Arab, Turkmen and Assyrian-Chaldean communities.

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Celebrated Catholic at 60th birthday party for nunciature in Tokyo

TOKYO (AsiaNews): On the morning of April 20, the nuncio from the Holy See to Japan, Archbishop Joseph Chennoth, held a garden reception for members of the diplomatic corps and representatives from the world of culture at the nunciature in Tokyo to mark 60 years of diplomatic relations between the Land of the Rising Sun and the Holy See.

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Religious women stunned at findings of Vatican investigation

 

VATICAN CITY (CNS): In announcing major reform of the association of religious women in the United States of America (US), the Vatican has been both encouraging, but critical not so much of what is being done, but what is not.

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