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A cross too far

 A church without a cross is a bit like a government office without a coat of arms. Both symbols are powerful and reflect a strong identity.

The cross symbolises a call to the selfless love Christ showed and the coat of arms the promise of law and order in society.

An attack on either is an assault on the core identity of those who revere them.

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A year for the word of God

In the pre-Vatican II Church, reading the bible did not get big ratings and sometimes was even actively discouraged by Church authorities and virtually not mentioned, with the exception of the readings at Mass on Sundays.

Although official attitudes have done an about turn on the subject in more recent decades, it is still a topic that requires much attention and people who do want to read, frequently ask for guidance on how to do it intelligently.

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The topic is marriage

 The most politicised success of the pro-same-sex marriage lobby has arguably been in Ireland, where just over 60 per cent of the registered population turned out to give a 62.1 per cent yes vote to changing its constitutional definition on May 22 this year.

Although this equates to only 36 per cent of the total number of registered voters, it is being hailed as an important step forward.

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Spoiling for a showdown

Within a 10-day period, two bishops’ conferences in Asia have issued warnings that current tensions among Asian countries could well boil over into violence.

Highly aware of the friction between their own country and China over sovereignty of the Sentaku or Daioyu Islands, the bishops of Japan interpret the national security laws passed by the administration of the current prime minister, Shinzo Abe, as spoiling for a showdown.

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The environment is your friend

On June 18, Pope Francis released his encyclical Laudato Si’: On care for our common home. It is a watershed document in the same sense as the famed, Of things new (Rerum Novarum), by Pope Leo XIII, when he became the first pope to address the condition of labour in 1891.

Laudato Si’ is the first papal document to comprehensively address the pressing duty of human beings towards the entire creation, including the environment, and the finely balanced ecology of the Earth.

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Reading our way into growth

THE ANNUAL HONG Kong Book Fair is an occasion when many Catholic books are on display and readily available, but unfortunately, a lot of people remain indifferent towards books, only buying ones that help their children. There appears to be considerable room for improvement in the reading on faith-formation department.

What sort of role does reading play in the process of faith-growth? Although many people may feel it is not essential, there are those who would disagree.

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Summer vacation – a fruitful season for children

As summer vacation approaches, students are making intense preparations for their final exams. However, many parents have already been working since as early as May and June to select summer activities for their children so that they can fully utilise their leisure time and develop their talents. Many community centres, family life centres, youth centres and Church organisations are also offering a variety of well-designed summer activities for children.

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Electoral reform storm and martyrs of China

The storm over political reform in Hong Kong has simmered down for the time being in the after the defeat of the government’s controversial electoral reform proposal by a majority vote in Legislative Council on June 18.

Does this mean that the government should halt the reform process at this stage? Even advocates and legislators in the pro-Beijing camp do not seem to have reached a consensus while others have argued that abandoning political reform violates the Basic Law.

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The earth was here before us 
and it has been given to us

“Laudato si’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord.” Has there ever been another encyclical that has so grabbed the world’s imagination and the attention of the media? Laudato si’—the encyclical titled after the words in St. Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of the Creatures—urges the world to embark upon a revolutionary ethical rethink and change of heart in its relationship with planet earth. “We are not God.

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Old wine in new skins!

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” goes a quote sometimes attributed to Albert Einstein. Certainly the Hong Kong government’s attempts to push its political reform package for the election of the chief executive has appeared to be an exercise in precisely this.