Cardinal: Chinese Banned Catholic Youth From Festival

ASIANEWS, July 31 — Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun said the governments of four Chinese provinces forbade many Catholic youth from coming to Hong Kong for the Asian Youth Day, AsiaNews reported.

In an address July 30 at the July 28- Aug. 5 event that brought together 1,000 Catholic youth from 20 countries across the continent, the cardinal said, “Many Chinese youth told us they wanted to come but they did not manage to get permission from the authorities.” He did not mention the names of the provinces implicated but said that around 60 youth had managed to come “disguised” as tourists.

Despite the ban, around 30 Catholic youth from China did manage to come to attend the Day events. A university student from Hebei presented her request for permission together with another four people, but only hers was approved.

She said: “I gave ‘sightseeing’ as the purpose of my visit. My friends mentioned the function here and their applications were rejected.” Another student, who comes from Hunan, used the same approach: “We applied in groups of three or four, saying we wanted to go for tourism to make us look less suspicious.”

Religious Radio Station in the Cards for Ireland

THE UNIVERSE, Aug. 1 — Ireland will get its first new religious radio station — but it is not yet known who will run it, the British Catholic newspaper reported.

The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland has already placed ads inviting candidates to apply to run the new service, which will deal with general religious affairs and target listeners over the age of 15. The Church has not yet said if it will be bidding for the reins, although Catholics comprise 92% of the population. The selection process is expected to take six months with Oct. 25 set as the closing date for applications.

Citizens band radio broadcasts of Sunday Mass to individuals in their own homes, which started in Northern Ireland in 1997, had to be scrapped by order of the Radio Communications Agency after CB enthusiasts complained about airwaves interference.

It is believed the new station would broadcast on the AM band and would be strong enough to reach every home in the country. Speculation suggests that the station could see Catholic singer Dana Scallon returning to serve as a host. She was involved with EWTN during the 1980s when she hosted her own radio and TV programs.

Christian Shepherd Shines His Light in Islamic Pasture

THE NEW YORK TIMES, July 22 — Archbishop Henri Tessier of Algeria, the birthplace of St. Augustine, said the importance of the Church in a Muslim land is to act as a kind of living exhibition of Western values for Muslims who are otherwise cut off from the Western world, The Times reported.

The archbishop, 77, reflected on the ebbing of Christianity from North Africa’s shores as Islam spreads across Europe. Every morning he celebrates Mass for 15 or 20 people at the chapel of the diocesan house where he lives and then goes by car to his office. There he receives visitors and addresses the problems of his small flock.

When he began his work as a parish priest in 1958, there were more than 700 churches in the country. Now, there are only about 20 churches left, and they are mostly empty. But the archbishop is not a man to show despair. He maintains that the Roman Catholic clergy has a role to play in Algeria and elsewhere in the Muslim world even if there is no indigenous Church left to maintain.

“Our job isn’t to be a Church that takes care of the Church, but a Church that works for the country,” he said, adding that he believed the Church had won a measure of respect from Algerians for refusing to abandon the country. “With all of these problems, the Church is a sign and an instrument.”