Catholic Delegation Allowed to Visit Hospital
For the first time in its history, North Korea has allowed a predominantly Catholic delegation to visit its pediatric hospitals, according to AsiaNews.
Maryknoll Father Gerald Hammond said, “We have been in North Korea since May 12, bringing medical aid. We have visited Pyongyang, Nampo, and the southeastern province of Pyengan. I am thoroughly convinced that permission for this visit was a gift from God.”
“The health ministry allowed us to visit 17 state pediatric hospitals, dedicated to tuberculosis care. Currently eight of these structures are materially supported by the Catholic Church,” he said. “Our commitment is a tangible sign of the Pope’s care for Korea, and of the aim to make sure the people of Korea do not feel abandoned.”
Praying for a ‘Maddie Miracle’
Pilgrims at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal joined in prayer for the missing Madeleine McCann, London’s Daily Record reported.
Kate and Gerry McCann, the 4-year-old’s parents, visited Fatima to light candles for their daughter and to ask God to bring her safely back.
Inside the Chapel of Apparitions for Mass, the McCanns heard Msgr. Luciano Guerra lead prayers for Madeleine. He said, “Let us pray for all the little children that are away from their homes, especially little Madeleine, that Our Lady can keep them in her care. Let the Holy Spirit lighten the hearts of those who have responsibilities, so that this tragedy can come to an end.”
Panel Begins Work to Prevent Violence
The Associated Press reported that a new Catholic-Protestant commission began work to curb the annual sectarian violence that occurs during Northern Ireland’s traditional Protestant summer parades.
More than 100,000 Orangemen and so-called “kick the pope” bands of fife and drum parade widely throughout Northern Ireland each summer, particularly on July 12, an official holiday in the British territory. The “Twelfth” holiday parades commemorate a 17th-century military victory by the Protestant King William of Orange versus James II, the Catholic king he had dethroned.
The Strategic Review of Parading Body has been asked by the British government to come up with a final report by early 2008.
Chinese Protest Over Forced Birth Control
Citizens in southwestern China clashed with police in late May over the government’s crackdown on families for having more children than allowed, the International Herald Tribune reported.
Many parts of China levy fines on families that violate the country’s restriction having more than one or two children. Women have also been forced to have abortions and be sterilized. Officials in several parts of Guangxi mobilized their largest effort in years to stunt population growth by instituting mandatory health checks for women.