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BY John Lilly
New Church Opens Its Doors to
GULF TIMES, April 23 — The Catholic
community in Ras Al Khaimah,
Dubai, has seen
its congregation triple since they took possession of their own worship space,
the Middle Eastern daily reported.
Catholics in Dubai
began using St. Anthony of Padua
Church in mid-December
following a fire that devastated St. Luke Church, where they had worshipped for
about four years. The Catholics, along with other Christian denominations, used
St. Luke’s for worship but lack of space limited the size of congregations
Masses are held in a variety of
languages, including Latin, English, Malayalam and Arabic and attract
worshippers from a number of different countries including Lebanon, the Philippines
“At our last three Masses, we had
a total of about 3,600 people, which is excellent,” said Baby Mathew. “The
whole community is very much pleased that we are using our own church now.”
Cardinal Issues Plea for the
DAILY INQUIRER, April 23 — Speaking
from one of the world’s most infamous symbols of environmental destruction,
Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales urged a greater respect
for nature, the Philippine daily reported.
“Give the earth back its primal
strength by respecting the laws of nature instead of abusing its bounty for
greed and profit,” he said in his homily during Mass at Manila’s
Smokey Mountain, once a massive heap of trash
that stood for years as a symbol of poverty in the country. The cardinal led
environmentalists, businessmen and government officials, including President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in celebrating Earth Day at
the former mountain of shame, which is now a resettlement site.
Cardinal Rosales said, “God has
shown humans, through tragic experience, that nature has a way of fighting
back, if only to protect them and their future.”
Croatian Bishop Seeks ‘Decency Zone’
ASSOCIATED PRESS, April 25 — Bishop Ivan Kordic of the northwestern Croatian island of Krk has asked public officials
to declare a “decency zone” in the city’s center, Associated Press reported.
In a letter, Bishop Kordic said “scarcely dressed” summer tourists wearing
nothing but swimsuits “harm the morale, the spirit and the soul” of other
people in the city. The Church has already successfully fought against sex
education that promoted use of contraceptives and for the longtime practice of
keeping retailers closed on Sunday. But this task may prove harder to
Tourist officials and many
residents have already rejected the idea, arguing that in Krk,
as most other Croatian tourist resorts, city centers are adjacent to beaches
and it is therefore normal for people to walk around, have a drink or do some
shopping in their swimsuits. Besides, a dress code could put off tourists, who
are responsible for most of the island’s — and the country’s
— hard currency income, they said.
“It’s quite logical that one
should be dressed decently when entering a holy place,” Majda
Sale, a local tourist worker, told a local newspaper. “But walking in public
places is a question of personal freedoms and a good taste.”
BY Jim Cosgrove
King Juan Carlos Invites Pope Benedict to Spain
AKI, Sept. 5 — King Juan Carlos invited Pope Benedict XVI to Spain for the 2006 World Meeting of Families in Valencia, the website for AdKronosInternational reported.
The international meeting on family issues was originally convened by Pope John Paul II. It will be held in early July. The king presented the invitation on behalf of Premier Jose Luis Zapatero. Both Juan Carlos and Zapatero supported the homosexual “marriage” legislation that Spain passed in June. Spain became the third country to legalize homosexual unions.
Benedict XVI has spoken out against same-sex unions, although he hasn't specifically targeted the Spanish law, AKI reported. On June 6, he referred to homosexual “marriage” as anarchic “pseudo-matrimony.”
Paisley Demands End to Sectarian Attacks
BELFAST TELEGRAPH, Sept. 5 — Democratic Unionist Party leader Iain Paisley condemned sectarian attacks on Catholic homes in Antrim, the Belfast Telegraph reported.
Following weeks of sporadic petrol and paint bomb attacks on homes in Ballymena and nearby towns, Paisley, an outspoken critic of the Catholic Church, insisted convicting the culprits was the only solution.
“There is no excuse for it, it has to stop and I have made that clear in the recent attacks on Roman Catholic Church property in Ballymena.
Paisley said he had met with Catholics in Ballymena to discuss the sustained attacks. He also said he had visited staff at St Louis’ school in the town which was badly burnt in a gasoline bomb attack.
Paisley said, “What you have to do: We have to insist that both communities reveal to the police what they know; and the sooner people are charged and found guilty and imprisoned, if needs be — that will stop it; nothing else will stop it.”
Bishops Request Probe Into Priest's Murder
WEBINDIA123, Sept. 6 — The Catholic Bishop's Conference of India (CBCI) asked the Assam government to probe the murder of a 65-year-old priest in Tezpur, the wire service WebIndia reported.
The CBCI said the killing of Father Mathew Nellickal, the vicar general of Tezpur who was found dead Sept. 3, was yet another instance of increasing attacks on the Christian religious personnel across the country.
“The CBCI, the apex body of the Catholic Church in India, expresses its distress at the killing of a 65-year-old priest, who served in Tezpur for the last 30 years. We condemn the dastardly murder,” the bishops said in a press statement.
Bishop Percival Fernandes, the secretary general of CBCI, regretted that Church leaders were attacked in the northeast despite the “sterling development work they are doing in the area.”
Adoptions by Homosexuals Place Children ‘in Peril’
BBC NEWS, Sept. 4 — Cardinal Keith O'Brien of Scotland said proposals to allow homosexual couples to adopt would place children “in peril,” BBC News reported.
Cardinal Keith O'Brien said youngsters would be guinea pigs in a “distorted social experiment.” He said studies had suggested that drug use, homosexuality, stress and mental illness were more common among those raised by same-sex couples.
The Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland have both spoken out against the proposals, which were unveiled in June. People have until 31 October to have their say on the new legislation, which would allow unmarried and same-sex couples to adopt if they could prove that they were part of an enduring family relationship.
Writing in the Sunday Times, Cardinal O'Brien accepted that the current adoption system was failing children. He urged Catholic families to come forward, predicting that if they did so there would be no need to widen the definition of those able to adopt.
“We ignore a wealth of global evidence and place innumerable children in peril if we forget certain immutable truths; children need a male and a female role model in a permanent relationship,” he said. “Scotland's adopted children must not become guinea pigs in some distorted social experiment aimed at redefining marriage, subverting the family and threatening the good of society.”
BY Jim Cosgrove
Australian Archbishop Answers Critic
ABC ONLINE, Aug. 29 — An Australian archbishop said the Church has the right to comment when political issues have a moral dimension, the online edition of the Australian Broadcasting Co. reported.
Hobart Archbishop Adrian Doyle, in response to a Tasmanian politician who described Church leaders as “uninformed, ignorant and unhelpful,” on the issues, said not only does the Church have the right to comment, but is expected to comment.
“We're in a no-win situation,” he said. “There are people who criticize us for not speaking up loud enough and often enough, and now we're told that we have no place in the conversation at all.”
Bishop Imprisoned for 28 Years Dies
ASSOCIATED PRESS, Aug. 28 — Bishop Xie Shiguang of Mingdong, China, a leader of the country's underground Catholic Church, died Aug. 27 of leukemia, Associated Press reported.
Bishop Xie was first arrested in 1955 by Chinese authorities “because of his loyalty and obedience to the pope,” and released a year later, Vatican radio reported Aug. 27. He was arrested again in 1958 and jailed until 1980, the report said.
The bishop was also imprisoned from 1984-1987, and finally for two years starting in 1990, and was kept under surveillance by authorities until his death, the radio report said.
The Vatican praised Bishop Xie as a “courageous witness to Christ.”
Islamic Extremists Forcibly Shut Down Javan Chapel
ASIANEWS, Aug. 29 — A group of about 200 Islamic fundamentalists forcibly shut down a Catholic Chapel in Margahayu, which is linked to the Buah Batu's parish church in West Java, shortly after the 6:30 pm Saturday Mass, AsiaNews reported.
Right after Mass, the Islamists approached the celebrating priest, Father Iwan Pr, and told him to immediately close the chapel and stop all liturgical service.
The report said the forced closing is indicative of the Islamic fundamentalism that is growing in Indonesia.
In the last year, militants for the Islamic Defender Front, a local extremist group, forcibly closed 23 Christian churches. Muslim leaders like former President Abdurrahman Wahid have called on the government to “intervene quickly and decidedly” to defend Christians.
Russia Records More Abortions Than Births
MOSNEWS, Aug. 23 — Russia had approximately 100,000 more abortions than births in 2004. The reason for the carnage, the country's leading obstetrician told the Russian news service MosNews, is to avoid the costs of raising children.
Russian women had 1.6 million abortions compare to 1.5 million births. One-fifth of the women who had abortions were under the age of 18, said Dr. Vladimir Kulakov, vice president of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. “Many more” abortions weren't reported, he added.
According to LifeSiteNews.com, the Mary Mother of God Mission Society operates a crisis pregnancy center and post-abortion counseling service in Vladivostok. Father Myron Effing said some women have had as many as 30 abortions because of a lack of hope for the future. He said the Russian government also severely restricts working visas to those seeking to enter the country to do religious work, including pro-life work and education.