Benedict XVI’s visit to Angola begins today

Bishop Filomeno Viera Dias of Cabinda said Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Angola, which begins today, constitutes “a great historic moment in the history of our people, our country, for reconciliation and the rebuilding of Angolan society, beginning with its deepest values.”Speaking to the Angopress news agency, the bishop said that “the preparation has been extremely careful, even though there have been some slight modifications, but we are optimistic. By Friday we will have everything in order to welcome the Pope.”Bishop Viera Dias said the Pope would be welcomed as only Angola can. “At this moment the only thing left is for me to ask Angolans to experience this moment as a great moment in the history of our people, our country, for reconciliation and the rebuilding of the Angolan society, beginning with its deepest values.The bishop called on all Angolans to attend the Mass with Pope Benedict XVI this Sunday.Angola is still recovering from the effects o ...Read More

Priest attacked in the Xiangong town mayors office.

Two men attacked and badly hurt a priest who had been invited to discuss issues relating to a seized Church property. The attack took place in the mayor's office in Xiangong town. Fr Francis Gao Jianli, 39, from Fengxiang diocese (Shaanxi), is currently hospitalised in Baoji city where he is under police surveillance and is being interrogated.The incident occurred last Monday. Father Gao had been asked to come to city hall to talk about a plot of land in Xiangong parish the Church had been claiming for some time. After words were exchanged the mayor called in the two attackers.This is not the first time that the authorities resort to force to stop Catholics from demanding the return of seized land.The most serious incident took place in November 2005 in Xian when 16 nuns were beaten for trying to defend a school slated fro demolition. Another serious case took place in Tianjin a month later in that same year at the expense of 50 priests and nuns.The ...Read More

Pope Benedict XVI deeply concerned about the Mumbai attack

Vatican City, Nov.28, 2008 – The Pope is “deeply concerned about the outbreak of violence” in Mumbai and “urgently appeals for an end to all acts of terrorism, which gravely offend the human family and severely destabilize the peace and solidarity needed to build a civilization worthy of mankind’s noble vocation to love god and neighbour.” In a telegram signed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of state, and addressed to the Archbishop of Bombay Card Oswald Gracias, Benedict XVI asks him to convey his “heartfelt condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in these brutal attacks, and to assure the public authorities, citizens, and all those affected of his spiritual closeness.” Finally, the Pope said that he is praying “for the repose of the souls of the victims and implores god’s gift of strength and comfort for those who are injured and in mourning.” ...Read More

Mumbai Cardinal Oswald Gracias condemns the attacks

Mumbai, India, Nov.28, 2008 – Sorrow for the terrible attack which has devastated the city and the nation, and condemnation of the folly of this “senseless logic of violence”, fed by “brainwashing” that is provoked by ideologies: this is how Card. Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai reacts to last nights terrorist attack in an interview with AsiaNews. The prelate underlines the “shame” of an attack which also targeted tourists, in a city that has always distinguished itself for its “tolerance” and “shared respect among cultures and religion”. He invites the international community to take into account and take action to “defeat the logic of evil with good and promote peace”. Here, below, we publish the Archbishops’ appeal given to our correspondent Nirmala Carvalho. “Our words cannot express our shock at this incident; I am deeply saddened by this attack on our city and on our beloved nation as a whole. The Church in India condemns this attack in th ...Read More

Catholic Church in India petitioned the Supreme Court to protect Christians

New Delhi, India, Sep 4, 2008 - The Catholic Church in India has petitioned the country's Supreme Court to protect Christian lives and property in Orissa state.Archbishop Raphael Cheenath of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar told the Asian church news agency UCA News Sept. 2 that the church decided to approach the highest court "as we are not getting sufficient response" from the Orissa government.The archbishop, whose archdiocese is in Orissa, said the church wants the court to order federal authorities to protect Christians in the eastern state."We want some clear help and response" from the government, added the archbishop, who has stayed in New Delhi since the violence broke out in Orissa Aug. 24.The church petition seeks the deployment of sufficient riot police in villages where Hindu extremists continue to destroy churches and Christian buildings. It also demands that the Central Bureau of Investiga ...Read More

Peruvian Bishops calling government to negotiate with indigenous organizations

Peru, Sep 4, 2008 - Catholic bishops in Peru's jungle dioceses have thrown their support behind indigenous organizations, calling on the government to negotiate with native peoples before passing laws that affect their lives and livelihoods.In an open letter released Sept. 2, bishops from six dioceses called on the government "to foster effective participation of the interested parties in the design and implementation of the country's development policies. If this is not the case, we warn that the physical and sociocultural survival of indigenous people will be threatened."The bishops expressed support of indigenous peoples in their fight against laws that change the way native or peasant community lands can be sold or leased, as well as a series of other decrees dealing with farmland, protected areas and water rights. The decrees form part of a package of 99 laws the government passed between March and June as part of its p ...Read More

Sister Nirmala's appeal to all India - (Full Text)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Orissa and all over India,Let us not forget our true identity as the beloved children of God our Father. We are brothers and sisters of one another no matter what our religion, race, culture or language is, whether we are rich or poor. Nothing should separate us.Above all, let us not use religion to divide us. Essence of all religion is love - love of God and love of one another. Violence on the ground of religion is an abuse of religion."Religion is meant to be a work of love. It is not meant to destroy peace and unity. Works of love are works of peace. Let us use religion to become one heart full of love in the heart of God". (Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta).Dear Brothers and Sisters, in the name of God and in the name of our own humanity, created for greater things, to love and to be loved eternally, and in the name of our country and its noble heritage, and in the name of the poor, the children, and all our su ...Read More

Obama is not for abortion - Sister Catherine

Washington, Sep 2, 2008 - In politics, every word, every action, every appearance is analyzed in terms of how it helps one side or hurts the other. Even prayer.So the appearances of Jesuit Father Edward Reese and St. Joseph Sister Catherine Pinkerton in leading prayers at the Republican and Democratic conventions, respectively, are getting at least a little attention by those wondering what the two Catholic religious leaders might be saying by their presence.To which they respond: nothing.Father Reese, president of Brophy College Preparatory School in Phoenix, accepted the invitation from the Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, and his wife, Cindy, to offer a prayer at the GOP convention in St. Paul, Minn., Sept. 3 because he has known the couple for years. The McCains' sons, James and Jack, graduated from Brophy. The McCains also have supported the school generously, and Cindy McCain is a me ...Read More

More than 600 churches have been demolished in India

India, Sep.1, 2008 - One week after the beginning of the violence in Orissa, thousands of people, most of them Christian, are still hiding in the forests or have found refuge in the shelter camps set up by the government.According to the latest figures, there are at least 6,000 people in the refugee camps, and 5,000 hiding in the forests around Kandhamal, but the number of refugees could soon reach 10,000. Today, in Bhubaneswar, a protest demonstration is planned in front of the state government headquarters in Orissa, organized by the activists of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), following the closing of Catholic schools yesterday all over India. About 25,000 institutes closed their doors, while the students and teachers marched peacefully through the streets of the country calling for an end to the violence against Christians.Meanwhile, the number of victims of the violence continues to increase: "We have received authentic information that the death tol ...Read More

A Hindu mob began our crucifixion parade - Fr. Thomas Chellen

Father Thomas Chellen, undergoing treatment at a Catholic hospital in Bhubaneswar, India, said he was grateful to be alive after a Hindu mob nearly set him on fire."They had poured kerosene on my head, and one held a matchbox in his hands to light the fire. But thanks to divine providence, in the end, they did not do that. Otherwise, I would not have been there to tell this horror," the 55-year-old priest, director of the pastoral center at Konjamendi in the Indian state of Orissa, told Catholic News Service in a telephone interview from his hospital bed Aug. 28.Following the Aug. 23 murder of a Hindu leader, Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, by Maoist extremists, Father Chellen said Hindu mobs started attacking Christian centers in Kandhamal, the district where the slain leader was based.When a Hindu mob of 500 people broke into the pastoral center around noon Aug. 24, Father Chell ...Read More

Chinese Catholic bishop was arrested after Olympic

Beijing, Aug. 25, 2008 - China's most prominent "underground" Catholic bishop was arrested on Sunday, August 24: the day that also saw the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Beijing. Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo of Zhengding was taken into custody by several police officers at Wuqiu cathedral. No immediate reason was given for his arrest, and authorities have not disclosed where the aging bishop is being held. The 73-year-old Bishop Jia, who heads an active diocese of over 100,000 Catholics in the Hebei diocese, spent 15 years in prison, from 1963 to 1978. Since his release he has been re-arrested at least 12 times; ordinarily he has been detained for a few days of interrogation each time. He has been living under house arrest since 1989. During the Olympic Games, Chinese Christians had been warned not to organize public worship. About 1,000 Catholics in Zhengding defied those orders to join Bishop Jia fo ...Read More

Pope Benedict XVI : the mission of the Church to bring Christ to all mankind

Castel Gandolfo, Aug. 25, 2008 -  At his Angelus audience on Sunday, August 24, Pope Benedict XVI  said that the mission of the Church-- to bring Christ to all mankind-- should never be identified with any nation or culture. In his remarks to the crowd gathered in the courtyard of the apostolic palace at Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father reflected on the day's Gospel reading, with Peter's profession of faith and Jesus' reply: "You are Peter and upon this rock I shall build my Church." "This is the first time that Jesus speaks of the Church," the Pope observed. As he gives Peter the commission to lead the Church, Jesus also indicates the purpose of the Petrine ministry: to build up the Church by protecting against division-- by serving as the one rock upon which the Christian community is founded. The Pope told his audience that he felt the weight of this responsibility, and asked for the prayers of the faithful to help him with his duties. ...Read More

Pope Benedict XVI sketched a rough biography of St. Paul

Vatican, Aug. 27, 2008 - At his Wednesday public audience on August 27, Pope Benedict XVI sketched a rough biography of St. Paul. The Holy Father had announced on July 2 that he planned a series of weekly talks on St. Paul's life and teaching during the current Pauline year. But the Pope's regular cycle of weekly audiences was interrupted by his vacation and his trip to Australia for World Youth Day. Upon resuming his weekly sessions, the Pope devoted two audiences to other topics: on August 13 to the importance of prayer and on August 20 to the veneration of the saints. So his August 27 talk was only the second in the projected series. The audience was also the first held at the Vatican in several weeks; on the two previous Wednesdays the Pontiff had met with the faithful in the courtyard of his summer residence. Today he traveled by helicopter from Castel Gandolfo to the Vatican, returning later in the day. Explaining his pla ...Read More

Indian Catholic missionaries raped, killed

Bhubaneshwar, India, Aug.26,2008 ( - An orphanage run by Catholic missionaries has been burnt by Hindu extremists killing one woman while another was raped, reports from India say.The International Herald Tribune quotes a senior police officer as saying the woman who died was most likely a lay employee giving computer training to children at the orphanage not a nun as reported earlier."Police are investigating. ... The woman most probably was not a nun," said Gopal Chandra Nanda, director general of state police, the most senior officer in the state.The conflicting reports could not immediately be reconciled. George Abraham, secretary to the archbishop of Delhi, said the identity of the woman had not yet been confirmed because the orphanage was in a remote area.The attack occurred in Khuntapali, a village in Orissa state, during a strike call ...Read More

30th anniversary of the U.S. bishops' pastoral statement

The 30th anniversary of the U.S. bishops' pastoral statement on people with disabilities offers an opportunity to acquaint a new generation of bishops and young people with the document's message, according to speakers at an Aug. 13 "Webinar.""I'm not suggesting you take on a whole new line of work," said Peg Kolm, director of the Office for Ministry to Persons With Disabilities in the Archdiocese of Washington. "But you need to take this work to the next generation in a partnership year."Janice Benton, executive director of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability, said many in the disabilities community viewed the November 1978 pastoral statement as "our Declaration of Independence." The document said there "can be no separate church for people with disabilities" but only "one flock that follows a single shepherd."The hourlong Web-based seminar sponsored ...Read More

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