Burmese Catholics seek Pope's prayer

Mae Sot, Myanmar, Dec.19,2007 (CINS/AsiaNews) - We ask the Pope that with the arrival of Christmas, he "continue to pray" for the Burmese people, and that with his words he "help keep the world from forgetting the sufferings of our country". This is the moving appeal sent to AsiaNews by some Catholics in Myanmar, who remain anonymous for obvious reasons of safety. The same desire to keep attention focused on the fate of the country formerly known as Burma is expressed by some Buddhist exiles in Thailand. They speak of the cruelty of a military regime that for over 40 years has thrown the once-flourishing country into misery, ignorance, and fear; of the massive exploitation of a people purely for economic gain; of the paralysis of a generation of disillusioned and distrustful young people who flee to other countries in the vain hope of finding a better future. But they ask the world not to forget the tragedy that is ...Read More

Today in Church History

1352 Etienne Aubert elected as Pope Innocentius VI 1947 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Optissima Pax ...Read More

Food for Thought: Suffering and Joy

The more we are afflicted in this world, the greater is our assurance in the next; the more we sorrow in the present, the greater will be our joy in the future.- St. Isidore of Seville ...Read More

Christian stores and Church in southern Egypt attacked by muslim extremists

Rome, Itlay,Dec.18,2007 (CINS/CNA).- Thirteen businesses belonging to Christians, as well as the façade of a church, have been attacked by Muslim extremists during the last week in Isna in southern Egypt.According to Egyptian security officials, at least seven Muslims have been arrested as suspects in the attacks.  The AGI news agency reported that “tensions between the local Christian and Muslim communities increased last Wednesday when a group of Islamic followers surrounded a Christian-owned business and destroyed the windows, probably as an act of revenge.”AGI also reported that two days earlier, a Muslim man was arrested and then released after he was accused of robbery by a Christian man. ...Read More

Holy See asks Brazilian Bishop Luiz Flavio to cease the hunger strike

Vatican City, Dec.18, 2007 (CINS/CNA).- The Holy See, through the Apostolic Nuncio in Brazil, has asked Bishop Luiz Flavio Cappio of the Diocese of Barra to end “as soon as possible” the hunger strike he has been carrying out for 18 days.Bishop Cappio began a hunger strike in protest against a decision by the government to divert the San Francisco River, which crosses the semi-arid region of Brazil, in order to bring water to northeastern Brazil, which is plagued by constant drought.Recently, the bishop said he would continue his hunger strike until “the project is definitively cancelled…or until the ultimate consequences.”  However, this past week the Apostolic Nuncio in Brazil, Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, sent the bishop a letter asking him to end the hunger ...Read More

Women are seen as a burden in India and China

Madrid, Spain, Dec. 18, 2007 (CINS/CNA).- India and China, the Asian giants with more than one billion inhabitants each, have been forced to prohibit the use of ultrasounds in order to determine the sex of unborn babies in order to prevent the selective abortion of girls, since the number of baby boys far exceeds the number of baby girls being born in the two countries.An article published by the Spanish daily “El Pais” reports that throughout Asia “there are on average more men than women, especially among the younger generations.” However, “if proportions between the sexes on this continent were the same as in the rest of the world in 2005, there would need to be an additional 163 million women.  That is the conclusion of a study by the UN Population Fund presented this week at the Congress on Health and Sexual and Reproductive Rights of Asia and the Pacific in Hyderabad ...Read More

Antonietta Meo,six-year-old Italian girl soon to become one of the youngest saints

Vatican City, Dec.18,2007 (CINS/CNA) - An Italian girl who died of cancer at the age of six and a half could soon become one of the youngest saints canonized in recent years.On Monday Pope Benedict XVI signed papers confirming the “heroic virtues” of Antonietta Meo, who was born in Rome in 1930.According to Vatican Radio, Meo, nicknamed “Nennolinia,” was a cheerful girl who was diagnosed with bone cancer at the age of five and as a result had to have a leg amputated.  She accepted her fate and, wearing a heavy prosthetic leg, continued to play with the other children at her kindergarten.  She wrote many prayers in the form of letters which, according to Vatican experts, reveal a “truly extraordinary life of mystical union” with God.  In one of the l ...Read More

Vatican’s meeting with Israel fails, Pope's visit to Holy land abandoned

Vatican City, Dec.18,2007 (CINS/Cathnews) -  The Vatican spokesman has said Pope Benedict will not visit the Holy Land next year after a Vatican meeting with Israel failed to resolve outstanding issues including Church property taxes and visas for clergy.DPA reports Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said while the Pope had expressed on several occasions his desire to visit the Holy Land, a "condition of general peace" and "local realities" need to be considered before the Pontiff accepts the standing invitation by Israeli President Shimon Perez.Last week, a meeting between the Holy See and the Israeli government, was supposed to have agreed to an accord which would finalise legal and financial status of the Church in Israel. ...Read More

Released Bishop Julius Jia will be rearrested soon

Zhengding, China, Dec.18,2007 (CINS/AsiaNews) – After almost four months of detention, Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo of Zhengding (Hebei) was released on 14 December, but he should be detained again very soon. According to local sources, Bishop Jia's family made numerous requests for his release because an uncle is seriously ill and wants to see him before dying. With Christmas approaching, the source added, the bishop reportedly also asked the local government many times to release him so that he can celebrate the major holiday in his cathedral in Wuqiu, near the provincial capital of Shijiazhuang.A local Catholic also cited a government official saying that Bishop Jia will again be detained after a few days because he needs to undergo a "learning session," but the official did not specify if that would b ...Read More

Today in Church History

283 St. Gaius begins his reign as Catholic Pope 1526 Pope Clemens VII publishes degree Cum ad zero - forms Inquisition 1538 Pope Paul III excommunicated England's King Henry VIII  ...Read More

Food for Thought: Faith

Faith is a beam radiating from the face of God- St.John Eudes ...Read More

Episcopal Conferences of West Africa: Holy Spirit will lead us to be true Shepherds of hope

Abuja,Nigeria,Dec.17,2007 (CINS/CISA) -The newly formed association of West African Catholic bishops is meant to enhance the church’s mission in the region, officials said.The 16-nation Association of the Episcopal Conferences of West Africa (AECOWA) was formed last week in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, at the end of a summit that brought together Catholic leaders and laity from the region.AECOWA replaces two language-based bishops’ conferences, namely CERAO (Conference Episcopale Regionale d’Afrique de l’Ouest) and the AECAWA (Association of Episcopal Conferences of Anglophone West Africa).Peter Cardinal Turkson, metropolitan Archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana, was elected AECOWA president, while Theodore Adrien Cardinal Sarr, metropolitan Archbishop of Dakar, Senegal, will be vice president.The new association, which the bishops celebrated as “a new Pentecost” for We ...Read More

After four Months of confinement Bishop Julias is released

Zhengding,China, Dec.17,2007 (CINS/UCAN) -- After almost four months of detention, Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo of Zhengding was released on Dec. 14.Bishop Jia is unaffiliated with the government-approved Catholic Church and has been detained numerous times in past years. Catholic sources in Zhengding diocese told UCA News the 72-year-old bishop arrived at his cathedral in Wuqiu village, Hebei province, Dec. 14 evening. The village is near Shijiazhuang, Hebei'a capital, 270 kilometers southwest of Beijing.According to one source, Bishop Jia's family made numerous requests for the release of the bishop because the uncle of the bishop is seriously ill. With Christmas approaching, the source added, the bishop reportedly also asked the local government many times to release him so that he can celebrate the major Chur ...Read More

Pope receives postulators of the causes of saints

Vatican City, Dec.17, 2007 (CINS/VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received postulators of the causes of beatification and canonization of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The Pope began his address to them by mentioning the forthcoming 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the Apostolic Constitution "Divinus Perfectionis Magister" with which, in 1983, John Paul II revised the procedures of the causes of saints in order to respond to the wishes of experts and pastors who were calling "for a more manageable procedure, while still maintaining solidity of research in this field, which is so important for the life of the Church. "Through beatifications and canonizations," the Pope added, the Church "gives thanks to God for the gift of those of His children who have responded generously to divine grace, honoring them and invoking them a ...Read More

Media registration for WYD 2008 opens

Sydney, Australia, Dec.17, 2007 (CINS/Cathnews) - Operational plans for World Youth Day Sydney 2008 (WYD08) received the thumbs up from the Vatican body that oversees preparations.The plans cover 23 separate events during the WYD08 week from 15 - 20 July next year, some of which will be attended by Pope Benedict .The largest event will be the Final Mass for an estimated 500,000 people at Randwick Racecourse.WYD08 Bishop Anthony Fisher said members of the Pontifical Council for the Laity (PCL) were briefed on 17,000 pages of plans."The PCL were extremely positive and even made some helpful suggestions," Bishop Fisher said from Rome. ...Read More

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