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Pope’s gift from China

ROME (SE): The gift from China that Pope Francis spoke of with journalists during his return flight to Rome from Baku in Azerbaijan on October 2 is a silk print drape inscribed with ideogrammes from the historical Christian Stele of Xi’an.

It depicts the long narrative inscribed on the famous stele, which is also referred to as the Nestorian Stele, which dates back to 781 during the Tang Dynasty, and documents the first 150 years of the presence of Nestorian Christians in the Middle Kingdom.

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Bishops team up for ecumenical mission

VATICAN (SE): Fifty years ago the Anglican Centre was set up in Rome as a result of an historical meeting between Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey, the archbishop of Canterbury and head of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

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Getting Church out of fossil fuels

MANILA (SE): Father John Leydon, the co-convener of the Global Catholic Climate Movement and its local representative in The Philippines, made an appeal to Church organisations to divest themselves of their investments in the mining and fossil fuel industry.

“These divestments are an important step toward fulfilling the promise and the call of Laudato Si’ (Praise Be: On care for our common home),” Father Leydon said.

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Two Asians among new cardinals

VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis named 17 new cardinals at his public angelus address at midday on October 10, including two from Asia.

However, only one is of an age entitling him to vote at a conclave that elects a new pope, Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario, from Dhaka in Bangladesh. The other is the 84-year-old former archbishop of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Archbishop Anthony Soter Fernandez.

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Two sides of pope’s views on marriage

VATICAN (SE): On his long flight from Azerbaijan to Rome on October 2, Pope Francis spoke at length with reporters during an in-flight press conference about his views on marriage and pastoral care of people in irregular situations.

He has been quite vocal in the past on the necessity of welcoming those who are divorced and remarried, as well as the same sex attracted into the caring fold of the Church, but on the plane he made a quite clear distinction between dogma and pastoral care.

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Rent a Priest picks up the slack

KOCHI (UCAN): Former Catholic priests in the southern Indian state of Kerala have launched a Rent a Priest service which aims at filling the gap for people who do not want to go to their parishes.

People who can’t stand their parish priests can hire a former priest through the service who is listed under an association called Catholic Priests, Ex-Priest and Nuns Association.

Former priests in this association provide sacramental services.

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China contributes to Vatican consultation on environment

VATICAN (SE): “The long term task of building a harmonious society and the understanding that to be truly and enduringly harmonious, the harmony must not only extend beyond the borders of China and include all peoples of the world, but above all, it must include harmony between humans and nature,” Hu Deping, the head of a delegation from China to a consultation prior to the Conference of Parties 22 on the environment held at the Casina Pio IV at the Vatican, said.

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Pope receives gift from Xi Jinping

HONG KONG (SE): “And the Chinese president sent me a gift. They are good relations,” Pope Francis told an inflight media conference on his way back to Rome from Georgia and Azerbaijan on October 2.

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Vatican peace push to Colombia

BOGOTA (SE): Pope Francis is continuing his push for world peace. Following on from his World Day of Prayer for Peace at Assisi and the appearance of his secretary of state, Pietro Cardinal Parolin, at the United Nations to address 193 representatives of countries on Vatican diplomacy for peace, he dispatched the cardinal to Bogota, Colombia, as a go between in the 52-year-old conflict between the government and the Colombia People’s Army.

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Bringing former enemies together in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO (UCAN): In a move to encourage reconciliation in post war Sri Lanka, Caritas has set up 40 Caritas Village Peace Committees in 13 dioceses that span Tamil, Sinhalese and Muslim communities.

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