Pope's new encyclical 'Spe Salvi' rejects atheism

Vatican City, Dec.03, 2007 (CINS /CNEWS) - In his encyclical released on Friday, Pope Benedict states atheism is responsible for some of the "greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice" in history.The 75 page encyclical – the second written by Benedict – urges Christians to put their faith for the future in God, and not in materialism, political ideologies or technology.Reuters reports that in the encyclical, the Pope writes that ideologies, such as Marxism, left behind a “trail of appalling destruction” because of its failure to recognise that man could not exist without God.The Pope begins the text by explaining “the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey.”“The dark door of time, of the future, has been thrown open. The one who has hope lives differently; the one who hope ...Read More

Annapolis summit found no solution to the nagging problems of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Jerusalem, Dec.03,2007 (CINS /CNS) - Media in the Holy Land showered attention on the Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Md., but Israelis and Palestinians, jaded from years of failed talks, were not getting their hopes up too high."Everybody has been following it, but the results are ambiguous," said Boutros Fawadleh, a 37-year-old English teacher at Our Lady of Seven Sorrows Latin Patriarchate School in the West Bank village of Aboud. "I think Palestinians are hopeful that this conference will be different."They hope the situation will be better for (us) but from past experience (these conferences) have just been words," he said.Though most of his acquaintances were supportive of the late-November conference, Fawadleh said, people still are not convinced that the meetings of political leaders will bring an end to the bloodshed.In Gaza and the West Bank, the militant Islamic Pa ...Read More

Pope at Angelus: Advent, Christ’s hope stronger than science

Vatican City, 03, 2007 (CINS/AsiaNews) – “Science contributes much to the good of mankind, but it is not capable of redemption.  Man is redeemed by love, which transforms his personal and social life for the better.  This is why hope, full and definitive hope, is guaranteed only by God, who in Jesus Christ came to us and gifted us life, and it will return in Him in the fullness of time.  It is in Christ that we hope, it is for Him that we wait!”  Weaving together hope, love, faith and waiting – recalling some of the themes present in his new encyclical Spe salvi – Benedict XVI began the first Angelus of the new liturgical year, which for the Church begins with the first Sunday of Advent. “Advent – said the pope – is ….  That time when in our hearts reawakens the hopeful waiting for He “who is who was and who will come again’ (Ap 1,8). The Son of God already came to Bethleh ...Read More

Russian theological schools are ready to train students from China

Moscow, Russia, Dec.02,2007 (CINS /Interfax) – Russian Orthodox theological schools are ready to train Orthodox students from China whose Orthodox Church is independent from Moscow, Metropolitan Kirill, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, said. At present, there are no Chinese Orthodox priests in the People's Republic of China whilst the number of Orthodox believers in the country is believed to be around 15,000, the metropolitan explained.The Chinese Orthodox Church was granted autonomy by the Synod of the Russian Church in 1957, but it has not had a primate since the death of bishop Vasily of Beijing in 1962.The Synod stated in 1997 that Patriarch Aleksij II of Moscow and All Russia would carry out canonical care for the parish of the Orthodox Church in China. “Russian Church is unambiguously inte ...Read More

Catholic Bishops of Korea assigned "duties" to their faithful

Seoul, South Korea, Dec.02, 2007 (CINS /AsiaNews) – Sharing ones goods with others ad the sanctification of the family, but above all bringing the Gospel to those who do not know it, in order to be an integral part of the Universal Churches mission.  These are the “duties” assigned by the Korean Bishops to their faithful at the beginning of the Advent season.The prelates in fact have written a letter to each of the parishes under their guidance which will be read on Sunday December 2nd, the first Sunday of Advent. The indications contained in the various texts “should become a path to follow not only during this holy period, but throughout our entire lives”.In his pastoral letter entitled ‘Family is a Base for Life,. Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul, said: “Most of all, the noble right and value of family, which is the fundament of respect for human beings, must be clearly proclaimed and recognized to cre ...Read More

Wombs for Sale in India

India, Dec. 02/ 2007 (CINS /Spero) - In November a gay Israeli couple “had” twins in India, born of one of the two fertilised eggs donated by one women donor and brought to term by another. The news has re-ignited debate over so-called “wombs to rent”: thousands of women who in exchange for money allow themselves to be implanted with fertilised eggs and give birth to other peoples children. Akanksha Fertility Clinic, run by Doctor Nayana Patel in Anand (Gujarat), is famous: she currently has 50 pregnant Indian women cloistered in secret locations. They “rent” their wombs in Exchange for food, healthcare and compensation in cash amounting to 250 thousand rupees (6.308 dollars). Far more than a poor women in India would earn in a lifetime, enough to buy a small home or to pay for her won children’s education. But the price is advantageous for foreign couples, above all from Britain and the USA, who pay between 30 and 40 thousand dollars risking legal problems. ...Read More

“Turn up to vote!” - Religions back Russian elections

Moscow, Dec.02, 2007 (CINS / Asianews) –The appeal is always the same: “Turn up to vote!”. But this time it is being launched by Members of the Russian Presidential Council for interaction with religious organizations, – from Russian orthodox to Muslims – taking part in the national campaign ahead of tomorrows parliamentary elections.  In an official document issued this morning, the Council – which also groups Buddhists, Jews, Orthodox, Muslims and Protestants – invites “all believers and compatriots to express their maturity and to take part in the elections”, underling the importance of thus “defending the Motherland”. Mobilisation across various sectors of society to urge voters to the polls has been massive, with religious representatives doing their part.  Metropolitan Kirill, number two of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, and head of the Department for External Ch ...Read More

Pope invites Islamic leaders for dialogue

Vatican City,Dec.02, 2007 (CINS /CWN) - Pope Benedict XVI has answered a call for dialogue between Christian and Islamic leaders, inviting a group of 138 Muslim officials to Rome to continue the exchange. The Pope's answer to the Muslim leaders-- who had released their open letter on October 13-- came in the form of a letter to Jordan's Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal, the president of the Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought and one of the 138 Islamic leaders who had signed the open letter. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, signed the response, explaining that he was writing on behalf of Pope Benedict . The Pope voiced his "deep appreciation" for the Muslim leaders' initiative, and observed: Without ignoring or downplaying our differences as Christians and Muslims, we can and therefore should look to what unites us, namely, belief in the one God, the provident Creator and universal Judge who at the end of time ...Read More

One in ten teenage girls has had an abortion

Madrid, Dec.02, 2007 (CINS /CNA) - According to official statistics from health officials in the Spanish region of Asturias, one in ten teenage girls has had an abortion during the last year.  The figures represent the highest number of abortions during the last 18 years and confirm that the distribution of the morning-after pill has not resolved the problem. Asturias has become the Spanish region with the seventh highest number of teen abortions.  According to the Spanish daily “La Nueva España,” of the 57,000 women in Asturias between the ages of 15 and 24, 744 underwent abortions in 2005.The newspaper reports that last year some 10,638 morning-after pills were distributed in Asturias, but that did not “stop abortions among Asturian teens.  In 2006, the number of abortions among this group of the populace surged and came within one tenth of those that were performed in 2004, when the record for the number of teen abortions in Asturia ...Read More

Holy Father visited the “San Giovanni Battista” Hospital

Vatican City, Dec 02, 2007 (CINS /CNA) - Bearing a message of Christian hope, the Holy Father visited the “San Giovanni Battista” Hospital, stressing that hospitals can become “privileged places that are a testimony to the Christian love that fuels hope.” In the Hospital for the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, the Holy Father celebrated Mass for the first Sunday of Advent to more than 350 parishioners, dozens of patients, along with their families, doctors, nurses and authorities.In his homily, the Pope noted that this liturgical season is a time of Christian hope – to which he has devoted his second encyclical, Spe Salvi.The Pope explained that we need hope in the great and small things to keep us on God’s path.  “Without the great hope, it is not enough to overcome everything else.  This great hope can only be God, who embraces the universe and can give us what we alone cannot achieve.”The Pope assured his daily pray ...Read More

Abducted Syriac Orthodox priest, Edip Daniel Savci is freed

Ankara, Dec.01,2007 (CINS /AsiaNews) – Syriac Orthodox priest, Edip Daniel Savci (see photo), regained his freedom today in Turkey after being abducted two days ago on his way from Mor Yakup monastery to a parish church in a village near Midyat.The announcement that the cleric was free came from the governor of Mardin province Mehmet Kiliclar, who was quoted in the Anadolou news agency.The priest was released in Batman, capital of the homonymous province which borders Mardin, home to most of Turkey’s 25,000-strong Syriac Orthodox Christian community.Kidnappers had demanded € 300,000 (US$ 445,000) for the cleric's return, but the money was not apparently paid because Turkish security forces were fast on the heels of both abductors and abductee. It is not clear though whether he was freed as a result of their direct intervention or because his captors let him go when they saw police close in. ...Read More

Pope has also hopes for atheists

VATICAN CITY, Dec.01,2007 (CINS /AsiaNews) – In his new magisterial encyclical “Spe Salvi,” Benedict XVI calls on every Christian to become “ministers of hope for others” (n. 34). In it he refers to the universal value of mission, something more than a plain exhortation. Christians, he says, are called to “produce” hope for the world in the fields of science, culture and politics.The hopelessness in today’s society is for all to see. Social problems grip entire populations; hunger, disease and the lack of human rights are still seeking solutions as a result of the inanity of many government and international organisations and because many prefer not to put their power and wealth on the line and prefer to build up armies and plan wars rather than work for peace.Faced with the same problems day in and day out, humankind has tired with its younger generations less and less interested in the common good. This is true for Asia, w ...Read More

European parliament condemns persecution of Christians

Brussels, Nov.16, 2007 (CINS /AsiaNews) – Iraq, China, Vietnam, Turkey, Pakistan, Gaza and the Philippines have placed Asia in the unenviable position of being the continent with the most numerous violations to religious freedom. Condemnation for such violations came this time from the European parliament which adopted a resolution by a margin of 57 to 2 with one abstention with regards to “serious events which compromise Christian communities' existence and those of other religious communities.”Referring to various international agreements and conventions that protect human rights and religious freedom and citing a list of violations of violations of religious freedom, the resolution strongly condemns a plethora of acts of violence.  In the text, the European parliament “[u]rges the governments of the countries concerned to improve the security situation of the Christian communities; stresses therefore that the public autho ...Read More

LTTE shelled a Catholic school on Monday

Mannar,Srilanka Dec. 01, 2007 (CINS /CNA) - Members of the Tamil Tigers shelled a Catholic school on Monday, seriously injuring seven people including five children.  The sound of the shelling reverberated across the area, and many parents and children suffered minor injuries while running for safety.  Parents fear the attack has caused trauma and fear psychological problems among their children.Heavy artillery and mortars were used in the attack.  More than 10 artillery shells exploded inside the school premises, defense sources said.Sri Lankan security forces retaliated by attacking several identified Tamil Tigers artillery launching pads.  Security sources said this counterattack saved over a hundred lives and the school itself.The attacks were believed to be related to the "Tiger Day" commemorations of November 27. ...Read More

Italian diocese has forbidden its priests to celebrate Tridentine Mass (Latin Masses in the old rite)

Liguria, Italy, Dec. 01, 2007 (CINS /CNA) - Only months after a document issued by Pope Benedict XVI provided universal permission to celebrate the Tridentine Mass, An Italian diocese has forbidden its priests to celebrate any Latin Masses in the old rite.Monsignor Andrea Giusto, the Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Savona-Noli in the Liguria region of northwest Italy, issued the order.  Currently, the see of Savona-Noli is vacant pending the appointment of a bishop.In the absence of an appointed bishop, Monsignor Giusto said there is insufficient clarity about the licit celebration of the Tridentine Mass.  "I firmly ask the priests of the diocese not to give permission to groups that ask for the celebration and to ensure that in no church in the diocesan territory Masses according to the pre-Conciliar rite are celebrated," Monsignor Giusto said. ...Read More

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