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What’s happening to press freedom?

In Hong Kong, following a spate of incidents including the government refusal to grant a free-to-air licence to the Hong Kong Television Network and the replacement of an outspoken programme host by Commercial Radio, the Ming Pao newspaper announced the replacement of its chief editor and the management of AM730, a free newspaper, claiming that advertising had been pulled because of its editorial stance.

These incidents have raised public concern over press freedom in Hong Kong.

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An ecumenism of sacrifice

Every year, January 18 to 25 marks the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This Sunday is a designated day of prayer for Christian unity.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the release of the Decree on Ecumenism (Unitatis Redintegratio), which points out that in the past, Christians differed in mind and went their own ways, “as if Christ himself were divided.”

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Empower witnessing by deepening faith

The Feast of the Lord’s Baptism brings the season of Christmas to close.  Some may think that the return to Ordinary Time implies the end of a joyful period of our faith life and a return to the parts liturgical year that are unimportant because of the term, ordinary. However, the word comes from the Latin term, orninalis—numbers in sequence (as in Week 1, Week 2, and so on)—rooted in the word ordo, from where we get the English word, order.

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The Epiphany

The feast of the Epiphany comes 14 days after Christmas and we celebrate it on the second Sunday after Christmas. The word comes from the Greek Epiphoaneia, meaning glorious appearance of God.

The feast has a long history. Its earliest reference is in the third century, but was not popularised until about 100 years later when it was used to tell the story of Jesus’ birth over a longer period of time.

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A new brood in the Vatican

Without judging the overall year for the Church, it has certainly been an interesting one at the top. The shock announcement by Pope Benedict XVI in February that he would step down in favour of a new man was initially viewed with anxiety, but the emergence of Pope Francis has proved at least exciting and certainly novel, without knowing where it will end up.

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The sanctity of the child

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas it is good to remember that our saviour entered this world as a child—a baby, requiring attention from his parents 24/7 to preserve his life and then, as he grew to provide him with education, love and guidance so he could mature into a well rounded man.

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A century of 
war and peace

As 2013 comes to an end, the world is preparing to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War I. While war is not exactly something to be celebrated, the half century since Pope John XXIII penned his watershed encyclical, Peace on Earth (Pacem in Terris), is.

In a Church which today dedicates itself to preaching a message of peace, finding an appropriate way to remember war can be difficult.

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Rebuilding the Church

The gala closing of the Year of Faith held at Hong Kong Stadium on November 24 opened with two young people sharing on how they see themselves as part of a missionary Church.

One reflected on his experience at World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil earlier this year and the other on her encounter with a missionary priest during the at-home programme run in Hong Kong.

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The Mason-Dixon Line

The government of Hong Kong eventually drew its long-awaited poverty line this year, but revelations in a newly released book by Leo Goodstadt make it look a bit more like a Mason-Dixon Line not to be crossed, rather than a socio-economic guide to instigating poverty relief measures.

The poverty line has been drawn at roughly half the average income for various social units and the government maintains that it will give useful information and statistics to allow it to draw up measures to combat poverty.

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Year of Learning

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King marks the closing of the Year of Faith, which celebrated 50 years since the opening of Vatican II and 20 years since the release of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The occasion will be marked at the Hong Kong Stadium and the bishop will launch a Year of Learning to run through 2014.