Showing posts with label Oriental Catholicism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Oriental Catholicism. Show all posts

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Kasab The City of the Armenians is Liberated --- All Churches Destroyed by the Islamists

(Damascus) On the 14th and 15th of June the Syrian army regained control of Kasab.  The city, inhabited by Armenians city in northwestern Syria, is less than three kilometers from the Turkish border and 17 kilometers from the Mediterranean. It had been captured in March by anti-Assad rebels.

 As the Armenian Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX Catholic Tarmouni explained,   the advancing Syrian soldiers provided a picture of devastation. Alle Kirchen der Stadt wurden von den Islamisten zerstört. All the churches of the city were destroyed by the Islamists.   The crosses were torn from the churches, the icons damaged or burned, statues smashed.  The churches were burned down and the walls smeared with Islamist slogans and the Koranic suras.

 The reclaiming of Kasab  was attended by the regular Syrian associations, self-defense units formed by Syrian Armenians in part and associations of the Shiite Hezbollah from Lebanon.

 Islamists Systematically Destroyed Christian Symbols

  Desecrated icons of Kasab

 On March 21, the attack of the Islamists had begun. Particularly active was   the Al-Qaida Salafist associated Al-Nusra Brigade. The Islamists moved from the border mountains of Turkey into the city.  More than 700 families were evacuated from the city. What remained were units of the Syrian army and the young Armenian men who formed a self-defense militia to defend the churches of the town.  After heavy fighting, however, they had to retreat before the overwhelming power of the Islamists. Now they have returned to their liberated city.

  The Armenian Catholic Patriarch called on the refugee population to return to Kasab and participate in the reconstruction of the city.  The Armenians of Kasab are mainly engaged in agriculture. The city has a symbolic character for the Armenians.   Since 1915 they have had  been expelled by the Turks in the great genocide of Cilicia, and Kasab is the last Armenian enclave of this area.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi  
 Picture: Ora per Siria
Trans: Tancred
Link to Katholisches...

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Catholics of Iraq Plead to Pope for Help

The Christians in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul overrun by Islamists have asked Pope Francis and the universal Church for help.

Vatican City ( / KNA) The Christians in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul overrun by Islamists have asked Pope Francis and the universal Church for help. At the same time Archbishop Emil Nona Shimoun announced, according to a statement of the Vatican's Congregation for Eastern Churches on Friday, to keep churches, schools and other facilities for refugees of all religions open.

The head of the Congregation of Eastern Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, reportedly telephoned on Thursday to the Chaldean Archbishop Nona and his Syrian Catholic counterpart, Yohanna Petros Moshe. Sandri complained then, that in Mosul "in these tragic hours, Christians and Muslims have been forced to flee from their homes and their city in order to survive." The region is associated with the biblical figure of Abraham, “is experiencing an exodus of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children again." Further, the cardinal declared solidarity with the Baghdad resident Chaldean Patriarch Raphael I Louis Sako. He pointed to his use of dialogue and national reconciliation. Pray for peace for the Middle East and the whole world Link to

Friday, May 30, 2014

Shia Scholars Translate Catechism of the Catholic Church in Persian

Qom (AsiaNews) - Shia scholars have translated the Catechism of the Catholic Church into Persian. A group of translators from the University of Religions and Denominations (URD), located just outside of Qom, is behind this major step towards dialogue.

Under the guidance of Prof Ahmad Reza Meftah (pictured, centre), the translators (Profs Sulemaniye and Ghanbari) completed the work (almost 1,000 pages about theology and pastoral ministry) that is going to be released shortly.

Evidently, various Catholic officials in Iran checked their translation, which has an introduction by Card Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

The University of Religions and Denominations, which has about 2,000 students, offers courses in Islamic theology and denominations as well as Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism.

Link to Asianews….

Saturday, April 5, 2014

"Prayed Rosary With the Chains" -- Nguyen Huu Cau Freed After 40 Years in Prison

(Saigon) Persecuted by the communist regime, he used the chains that robbed him of   freedom to pray the rosary. Nguyen Huu Cau converted to Christ in prison. A few days ago he was released after more than 37 years in prison and a prison camp. "In 1986, I was baptized at the Easter Vigil by the Jesuit Joseph Nguyen". Cau described in an interview with Catholic News the hard fate of Vietnamese Catholics. The Jesuit priest was the one who told him about Christ in custody   and taught him the catechism. Since then, "I have prayed the Rosary every day seven times  and Stations of the Cross five times," said Nguyen Huu Cau-.
After futile attempts reeducation, Cau was released  last 22 March. 32 years spent as  the "enemy of the people" in prison and more than five years in a concentration camp. After his release, he said: "I thank God that He has forgiven my jailers."
Due to severe torture during his detention, Nguyen Huu Cau-is now deaf and almost blind. "In prison, I've gotten to know Christ and found to faith."

Prison camp Z30A K2 in the jungle

Cau was born in 1947. He served in the South Vietnamese army and became a captain. As such, he fought against the Communists of North Vietnam and the South Vietnamese Communists. When the Communists won in 1975, he was arrested and disappeared for several years in a concentration camp. In 1980 he was released from the camp, but in 1982 re-arrested because he had made hints on manuscripts of his poetry, that could have been criticism of the Communist regime.

From the Death Penalty to Life Imprisonment

In 1983 he was convicted of "sabotage" and damage to the reputation of the party and sentenced by the government as "an enemy of the people" to death. Later the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. For 32 years   Cau had been in the prison camp Z30A K2  in the middle of the jungle. He wrote more than 500 letters  to the Communist regime and called for the resumption of his trial. He never received a response. On 22 March 2014 he was released from prison 39 years after his first arrest. The release was due to an amnesty granted by Vietnam's State President Truong Tan Sang because of the precarious health of Nguyen Huu Cau-.

The Hardest Rosary of the World

 Cau prayed the Rosary "on the chain to which I was chained. It had 90 rings. I have made from the chain that took my freedom, my own personal rosary. From Father Joseph Nguyen Cong Doan, who was himself a prisoner, "I got to know the love of God. So I could even compose a song that is dedicated to the Holy Cross, which has carried me in an earthly captivity." Father Nguyen works today at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Jerusalem.

Forgiveness for His Tormentors

Before his conversion, Nguyen-Huu Cau kept his hatred against the Communist regime and against his tormentors alive. He hoped someday to be able to take revenge for what they did to him. Several times he thought at the time of suicide to escape captivity. "But the love of God and the Blessed Mother have changed me. I feel no hatred more for my tormentors. The Holy Trinity and Mary helped me to overcome my strife with my fate. Have prevented me from being killed  while in custody all these years. "
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
image: Tempi
Trans: Tancred

Monday, February 10, 2014

Only Catholic Church appears able to aid starving population of Homs, Syria

Edit: I just ripped off the whole story from the site. It's a good story, it's just that there's so much advertising on Catholic Online right now, I don't know how anyone could read it.

AMMAN, JORDAN (Catholic Online) - The UN believes that about one million people in and around Homs are suffering from hunger, with several hundred living under the worst conditions, starving to death. Those facing the worst are surrounded by both rebel and government forces, and remain entirely under siege without food. Movement invites danger and any attempt to escape is made at significant risk. Still, many try, driven to the edge of madness with hunger.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Papal Nuncio to Indonesia: The Differences Between True and False Reform

(Jakarta) on the 15th of October Archbishop Antonio Filipazzi, the Apostolic Nuncio to Indonesia, just opened a meeting there on the 50th Anniversary of the promulgation of the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium of the Second Vatican Council. In the celebration of Holy Mass to begin the meeting, he delivered a sermon to be reproduced in excerpts. In it he talked about the primacy and beauty of the liturgy and criteria to distinguish true and false reform.

Nothing has Precedence Over the Liturgy

First, the nuncio stressed the importance of the Mass. It is neither a "secondary" nor a "purely formal" act or just an "accessory" for meetings and conferences. Rather, "the celebration of the liturgy even has priority over study, it remains infinitely greater and more important than all our thoughts about them." The Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium recalls the words: "From this it follows that every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of His Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others; no other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree."(SC 7). Nuncio Filipazzi urged cultivation and promotion of this awareness. The sacred liturgy should therefore "never be reduced to an arbitrarily manipulable object", as Pope Benedict XVI. has stressed. "Unfortunately it is perhaps that the liturgy seen is seen as an object that is to be reformed, and not as a subject capable of renewing Christian life - - even by us pastors and experts" (Speech to the staff of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute, Sant'Anselmo, 6 May 2011).

"We must approach the liturgy, be it when we celebrate it, as well as when we study it with the awed attitude of Moses, when he approached the burning bush, signs of the presence of the living God," said the Nuncio.

Neither the Holy Mass should be regarded as a mere formal gesture that set, because it is just as common in church meetings. Instead, the Council's Constitution recall that "the liturgy of the peak, where the action of the Church tends, and also the source from which all her power flows" (SC 10). "From this source of grace celebrated the sacred mysteries of the Church is also the light and the strength to think about the liturgy," Archbishop Filipuzzi. "The just shall live by faith" (Rom 1:17), St. Paul quoted in Romans, the prophet Habakkuk and remind us that the faith is the principle that everything must enlighten and guide our lives, because it related to the "impact of the liturgy on the reality that God and the salvation of concern," the nuncio. The deepening of the study of liturgy could therefore only be performed by the "light of faith".

"This session we will start on the anniversary of St. Teresa of Avila, Virgin and Doctor of the Church. The commemoration of the saints highlights an important dimension of the liturgy, which is pronounced in every Holy Mass at the end of the Preface: And so we join the angels and saints, and we sing the praise of your glory: Holy, Holy, Holy God, God of power and might. Heaven and Earth are Full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.

Earthly Liturgy as an Anticipation of the Heavenly Liturgy

The conciliar Constitution brings this dimension of the liturgy follows the expression: "In the earthly liturgy we take part in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, a minister of the holies and of the true tabernacle; we sing a hymn to the Lord's glory with all the warriors of the heavenly army; venerating the memory of the saints, we hope for some part and fellowship with them; we eagerly await the Saviour, Our Lord Jesus Christ, until He, our life, shall appear and we too will appear with Him in glory."(SC 8).

In the liturgy, the sky opens to the earth (cf. Benedict XVI., Esor. Ap. Sacramentum Caritatis, 35), God shows himself to us in all His majesty, and we encounter Christ. See the glory of God in the creation of the world as St. Paul calls to mind and as the Church in prayer says. Therein lies the beauty of the Divine Liturgy, the earthly liturgy of the Church, "a beauty that is inherent in the liturgy and does not depend on our efforts to make it beautiful by human agents that do not conform to the liturgy," said the Nuncio. The intrinsic beauty of the sacred celebrations acts of itself, "and not to have celebrated in our way through, as we think of the liturgy, so that it radiates this divine beauty."

The mentality has spread that thinks the liturgy is made "interesting" by Inventiveness

"Unfortunately, the mentality and the resulting practice has spread, according to which the liturgy must constantly change, adapt to different communities and should be made interesting by our inventiveness. Celebrations that spring from such thinking as this will not show the real beauty of the Church! Already the craving for new tools to make the liturgy interesting, have already shown how fickle and fleeting this contrived beauty is which is created by us," said the Nuncio. "The Holy Spirit enlightens the work of this conference and the liturgical life of Indonesia, so that the true nature of the beauty of the liturgy is always better recognized and understood, and all the priests and believers are trying to make them shine in every celebration," said Archbishop Filipuzzi.

The Nuncio then asked how the saints, for example, St. Teresa of Avila, can help ain the understanding of the liturgy today. The life and work of Saint Teresa of Avila was performed in a time that was marked both by the appearance of Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation, and on the other hand the Catholic reform, and thus, the response of the Catholic Church on the need for renewal in the Church, which mainly concretized in the Council of Trent and in the work of many saints of that century. At the time of the holy Carmelite, therefore, there were two forms of "reform" present: a reform that broke up the visible unity of Christ's Church, and reform, on the other hand, producing a new flowering of Christian life, which has rich whose benefits for us.

Church History knows many examples of true and false reforms "History shows us that in almost every era in the Church encountered true and false reforms. Rather, even within each process for the renewal of ecclesial life, mixing elements of true reform and other, such that it impoverished and defaced the face of the Church. It is therefore necessary to clarify the criteria for identifying to distinguish between the true and the false reform.

These criteria can not be subjective or simply pragmatic, but must be criteria of faith, because the Church is a divine-human reality that can be truly realized only with the light of divine revelation. If we consider the two thousand years of experience of the Church, we can identify some criteria.

Any genuine renewal of the Church must take place in full accordance with the teachings of the Church, it must be done in respect of the hierarchical structure and the order of the Church, it must benefit the community and unity of the Church, it must preserve the heritage of spirituality and piety of the past, it must resist the urge of fallen human nature and especially also the influences of the secular mentality, and with an attitude of patience and humility," said the Nuncio.

"Light and Shadow" Since the Council - St. Teresa of Avila, however, Only Light

"These are the criteria that should guide the implementation of what the Second Vatican Council established 50 years ago in the liturgy. This half century saw light and shadow, positive and negative aspects of the liturgical life of the Church. It is also was associated that the instructions of the Council were not always implemented according to the principles of a true Church reform.

If we look at the life and work of Saint Teresa of Jesus, we see the full realization of the requirements for a true renewal of the church. At the end of her life, she could exclaim with good reason, I am a daughter of the Church, "and therefore she gave the Church impetus for a real and lasting renewal. We ask her for her intercession, so that the considerations of these days, but especially the liturgical life of the Christian community in Indonesia, will be conducted always of those true criteria. " Text: Giuseppe Nardi Image: Cantuale Antonianum / Vatican Trans: Tancred Link to Katholisches...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Diocese of Hong Kong: UN to Demand Religious Freedom of Beijing -- Four Underground Priests Arrested 17, November 2013

Diocese of Hong Kong: UN to demand religious freedom of Beijing - Four arrested underground priest 17th September 2013 10:07 | Note to editors (Hong Kong) Iustitia et Pax of the Diocese of Hong Kong, China appealed to the United Nations Commission, which periodically is concerned with the progress of religious freedom in the People's Republic of China. Iustitia et Pax called for the United Nations to urge Communist China to implement “religious liberty” in the letter of 18 July. The Diocese of Hong Kong gave the UN a number of new cases of serious violations of religious freedom. The specified include the illegal ordinations that the Beijing regime performs against the will of the Catholic Church. In the month of August alone, four underground Catholic priests were arrested. There is no information of where they are held or how they are doing. On the 2nd of September, a preparatory meeting of the UN Commission took place. A meeting is planned for the 22nd of October, in which the periodic report on religious freedom in China is to be presented and decided upon.

Text: Giuseppe Nardi Trans: Tancred

AMGD Link to katholisches...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Vietnamese Police Crush Catholic Protest With Brutal Violence

Edit: here's the translation of Katholisches.  Usually, it's on Asianews, but since they haven't translated it into English yet, here it is:

(Hanoi) The Vietnamese police attacked a peaceful rally of Catholics in the parish of My yen. With batons, electric pulse weapons, tear gas and shots in the air with live ammunition, the Vietnamese police took action against several hundred Catholics who were demonstrating for the release of two parishioners. The two Catholics are in prison without charge since June. According to witnesses, it was one of the bloodiest and most brutal of anti-Christian police actions in recent years.

Several dozen Catholics were arrested. The number of injured is much higher. The seriously injured were taken to Hanoi. Several of them are in  serious condition. My Yen is in the province of Nghe An, a coastal area in the central north of the country.

According to pro-government state television on Wednesday the Catholics drew up in the wee hours of the church near the seat of the People's Committee of Nghi Phuonh in Nghi Loc District. They demanded the release of Ngo Van Khoi and Nguyen Van Hai. On the evening before about a 1,000 Catholics had been demonstrating for their release. The authorities had announced after numerous petitions of the parish, the release of the two Catholics, without any conditions. The two men are still in custody

Radio Free Asia reported, the police appeared in front of the parish church of My Yen firing warning shots to disperse and to intimidate the Catholics. As they would not retreat, "the police came beating with batons and electric batons on the demonstrators." One of the Redemptorist affiliated websites has published numerous photos of some of critically injured Catholics. Many have head injuries. According to witnesses, about 3,000 police officers and soldiers had been used against the Catholics. Doctors were prevented from coming to the aid of the injured.

The two Catholics, Ngo Van Khoi and Nguyen Van Hai had been arrested in June by a special command of the security forces. Since then they are in detention, without  officially being charged of a crime. The families were initially told that they were for "disturbing public order" and in security custody. >Since this "disorder" is said to have taken place, it has not been clarified.

Vietnam has resisted   demands for religious freedom  and continued repression. The security forces take action against bloggers, dissidents and human rights activists who are calling for the right to religious freedom.  In 2013 more than 40 human rights activists have been arrested for "crimes against the state".  The arrests are made on the basis of a provision that classifies general and vague human rights groups as "subversive". In January, 14 were Vietnamese, including several Catholics, were sentenced to long prison terms on charges of "attempting to overthrow the government. A judgment that has been branded by many human rights organizations as political despotism.

Text: Asianews/Giuseppe Nardi
Bild: Asianews
Trans: Tancred

Green Pedophile Cohn-Bendit Supports Invasion of Syria in Support of Jihadis

Self-professed child molester-literatur and chairman of the Green Party in the European Parliament, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, apparently wants to leave Syrian children to the mercy of Jihadis and U.S. terror bombing.

Christian Girl Martyred to Death in Syria [Image: Alertadigital] 

The War Pig Green Cohn-Bendit

He shared this with the publication known for its Nazi entanglements , in a conversation with"Spiegel".

The Green Daniel Cohn-Bendit is thus supporting the proposed cleansing in Syria by Barack Hussein Obama.

For this ethical [sic] cleansing, foreign terrorists, supported by the U.S. and its European satellite states Al-Qaeda will be included as allies.

The Syrian children will especially be affected. These are suddenly no longer the focus of the "Kinderfreunds" by Cohn-Bendit.

Syria's al-Qaeda-opposition

If it goes according to his will and that of Barack Hussein Obama,these foreign al-Qaeda terrorists who have already long been the "opposition" in Syria, will dedicate the land to allah, recognize sharia including the stoning ritual.

Thus the sexual revolution envisaged by the Greens for Syria, is then probably that raped women are to be stoned by men because of extramarital sexual intercourse.

Hillary Clinton: "We created Al-Qaeda"

Al-Qaeda is an Islamist private army established by the U.S. for aggressive economic and financial imperialism. Al-Qaeda has staged coups with the support of the CIA putting obedient holy warriors of Allah from Africa to Asia into power - Europe has to wait a bit.

See the video " Hillary Clinton: We created Al-Qaeda ":

Rogue State U.S.A.

The United States is the head of global terror in the name of "human rights." The head chopping jihadists are financed, organized and armed to end Russian influence in Syria by Nobel Peace Prize Obama and the EU. Thus they will kill off the Syrian people.

This Green-pacifist, pedophile scribbler seems happy to promote it. Also, the Green Party leader in the European Parliament was even openly accused by Rep. Marie Le Pen of pedophilia:

See: "Le Pen traite Cohn Bendit Pédophile de au Parlement "

America's future as a global superpower is dependent on Al-Qaeda and imminent Antichrist. Al-Qaeda leads geopolitical wars in the U.S. interest.

It may - as was seen in the U.S. attack on Afghanistan's Taliban - well come to disagreements.

Poison gas in Syria

In Syria a (small) part of the army have defected along with the military equipment to the rebel insurgency. Probably including the chemical weapons.

Cui bono?

The U.S. government has threatened Syria with a military strike, if it uses poison gas.

And suddenly there was a poison gas alarm. Just as the rebel hordes increasingly came under the pressure of the government troops.

Al-Qaeda has produced here an ordered pretext for the next U.S. imperialist military attack, so that the U.S. bombing of the military can "tip" the balance of power in favor of the Islamists?

The applause of the green pedo-writer, Cohn-Bendit seems safe to them.

Link to

How much more fitting now does a decadent Rock band's music appear nowadays.

Carmelite Nun Says Gas Attacks Were Faked: Would-be US Allies are Muslim Jihadists

Edit: this article from Haeretz is hardly defender of Christians in Syria, but it does put a light on their plight. Of course, she seems to have definitively crossed the line from contemplative to active life in her approach to what is a terrible emergency:

Why a Carmelite nun believes the chemical attack in Damascus was faked. By Gideon Levy | Sep. 1, 2013 | 8:25 AM | 29 Sister Agnes-Mariam de la Croix in Jerusalem this week: Chemical attacks were faked. Photo by Alex Levac

Sister Agnes-Mariam de la Croix feared that the United States would attackSyria on Saturday night. She expected the attack to be massive and would bring disaster to Syria and the entire region. According to Sister Agnes-Mariam, there are today 150,000 well-trained jihadist fighters from 80 countries in Syria, with arms they have received from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, and even from the United States. She says some of them are in a drugged state, induced by Captagon pills.

The nun lives in Syria and is the abbess, or mother superior, of the Monastery of St. James the Mutilated. She argues that these jihadi fighters control 60 percent of the populated areas of Syria. She claims that Islamic-Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra, which the United States has designated a terrorist group, is responsible for the acts of mass murder, rape and looting that have been committed in Syria. She also claims the Chechen fighters are exceptionally cruel and that, among the foreign fighters, there are a fairly large number of released prisoners and citizens of western countries. In her opinion, most of Syria’s citizens support the regime of President Bashar Assad because they fear a takeover of the country by Islamic extremists.

She calls on the world not to attack Syria, and to stop the flow of foreign fighters into its territory and the supply of arms they are receiving. When she journeys through Syria today, she feels as if she is in Afghanistan or Somalia. An American attack on Syria will hurt its army and open the door to a complete seizure of the country by the global jihad movement, she firmly believes. “If this regime is toppled,” she says, “it will be worse than Iraq. It will have consequences for Lebanon, Israel and Jordan, and it’s not a situation that will promote security.”

She also believes the pictures of the victims of last month’s alleged chemical attack in east Damascus are fabrications.

I met Sister Agnes-Mariam this week in a convent in Jerusalem’s hills, not far from Abu Ghosh. She is visiting Israel for a few days and next week will return to Syria, where she has been living for the past 19 years. Her life story is as surprising as her statements about the situation there.

She was born Fadia al-Laham, 61 years ago in Jounieh, Lebanon (her parents had fled Nazareth in 1948). When she was 15 her father died, and, as she herself admits, over the next few years she became a hippy and flower child who used drugs and drifted between Nepal and India. On her palm, concealed by her nun’s habit, she still has a few tattoos from India – a memento of that time in her life. She says she loves to listen to The Doors, The Rolling Stones and Santana. Her Indian experiences led her to embrace a cloistered life and, for 22 years, she lived in utter solitude in a Carmelite monastery in Lebanon’s highland region.

Sister Agnes-Mariam moved to Syria 19 years ago and, together with two other nuns, rebuilt the ruins of a monastery on the main road between Damascus and Homs, not far from the village of Qara. She became mother superior of the Monastery of St. James the Mutilated. In addition to the nuns of the convent, there are 20 Sunni refuges who have sought asylum from the horrors of the war.

She was forced to leave the monastery in June 2012, after the threats on her life increased because she was suspected of being an agent of the Assad regime. Her monastery is situated between the area controlled by the Free Syrian Army and the area controlled by the “foreign legions.”

Currently she lives in Damascus and is an international peace activist trying to warn the world of the dangers of a jihadist takeover of her adopted country. She is fighting what she considers a pack of lies, trying to counter the propaganda and disinformation in the Arab and international media, and documenting the atrocities of the war for the organization she has established. She arrived this week to visit relatives in Nazareth and to participate in an interfaith conference in Israel.

Read further...

Saturday, July 27, 2013

For 1500 Days on Death Row -- Asia Bibi Refuses to Convert to Islam

(Islamabad) The now 42-year old Catholic mother has been unjustly accused, since 2009, of insulting Islam. It is a triviality to charge someone and put them in jail for this offense. It may lead to harsh prison sentences. Asia Bibi was sentenced, however, in the first instance by a court, to death. Since then, she is waiting on death row for her appeal.

For 1,500 days Asia Bibi is innocent and in prison. A "wrong" word, refusing to convert to Islam and the trap has snapped shut. Asia Bibi was reported by Muslim women, work colleagues, who were supposed to be friends. But Asia Bibi faces a stigma: she is Christian. The police arrested, allegedly to protect her, because Muslims want to practice their hangman's justice. A more accurate legal review of the indictment did not take place.

The scandal ensures worldwide attention. The Catholic minority minister Shahbaz Bhatti of Pakistan campaigned for her release and was assassinated by Islamists. The Muslim governor of the home province of Asia Bibi, Salmaan Taseer, who fought for the mother and her family, was brutally murdered by Islamists. The murderer was enthusiastically celebrated as a hero of Islam.

A fatwa was issued against Asia Bibi, that requires every Muslim to murder the Catholic. Therefore, the necessary safety precautions make life in prison for the "condemned" even more unbearable. Pope Benedict XVI. appealed to the government and the Pakistani people. Vatican diplomacy tried to reach for extradition for Asia Bibi. This is so that she would be removed as a "bone of contention" from the country, but bringing her to safety. But the Islamists have created a death zone of scorched earth for the Christian. No Pakistani politician dares after the murders to unleash the Islamist "people's anger" on earth. Western governments have kept up with symbolic "pressure" on the government of Pakistan. Pakistan is an important and historic U.S. ally in the region. The neighboring country of Afghanistan could fall into the hands of the Islamists by way of the Asia Bibi case. Thus is the fear in the Western state offices. The strategy is: peace before justice. Asia Bibi has thus become a symbol for hostages, for a country where power is not exercised by the Islamists.

In the first half of June, Asia Bibi was shifted from the high-security prison in Sheikhupura in the women's prison in Multan. For the family members, the trip also means twelve hours for each visit. Rides that always are always made by the family with special precautions to avoid detection, or falling into the hands of Islamists. "It sounds absurd, but the family members are currently living almost a more dangerous life than Asia Bibi behind the terrible prison walls," says a Christian family lawyer. Whoever was able to visit Asia Bibi in the past few months, got to hear the same words: "Please, do everything possible for my freedom. I am strong, but I'm going weaker day by day."

Asia Bibi is far from the only recent case of the tragic Islamist hounding of Christians. The list of persecuted Christians is long and the number of Christians killed grows from year to year. The young Christian Rimsha Masih was eventually acquitted because it could not be proven that the Imam falsified incriminating evidence. A rare stroke of luck, where justice came before Islam. A return to her life was still no longer available for the young girl in Pakistan yet. Islamists do not think much of the state courts. Your judgment is sure, with or without a judge. Rimsha Masih received political asylum in Canada and lives with her family recently in the North American country. However, they are there under false names and with new documents, because Islamists are present almost everywhere.

The fate of Asia Bibi might also threaten two other Christian women and their families. In one place, the southern province of Sindh, a rich Muslim landlord has tried to abduct the Catholic Nazia Masih, to marry her after the forced conversion to Islam. Her family was able to prevent the worst appealing to the local bishop. But Nazia and her aunt, the Catholic nun, Sister Marie Khurshid's lives are in danger. The Islamists have vowed revenge.

Text: Giuseppe Nardi
 Image: Tempi
Trans: Tancred

Friday, July 19, 2013

Latin Mass in Hanoi: Travel Impressions of a Healthy Church

(Hanoi) The situation of Christians in Vietnam, one of the last Communist "paradises", is very difficult. The regime varies in its dealing with the Catholic Church and sees it as a competitor of his absolute claim to power. Vietnam still triggers shudders from Americans of the middle and older generation and is equally known by Europeans. The north of the country in 1954 of Indochina under Communist control prosecuted a war against France, then south in 1975 during the Vietnam War against the United States. A success that was only possible because it was primarily a struggle for national liberation from foreign rule in both wars for many Vietnamese. "The prospect of seeing their own daughters grow up in a Communist, but Vietnamese country, the majority Buddhist Vietnamese were less horrified at that time less at a Communist takeover for them, than to imagine a future in brothels for GI's and rich Americans," [You mean the Socialists don't frequent brothels?] said a French Foreign Legionnaire, who fought at Dien Bien Phu. The Catholics chose between unfreedom and poor experience of freedom, for the latter variant, which could secure them the necessary freedom to develop and to deal with the scale of Christian freedom. The Americans were defeated in a fierce battle. Since 1976, Vietnam was reunited under the official designation Socialist Republic of Vietnam. For Christians, the country brought hards times. Already in 1954, all of the parishes of the North had fled to the South. Nevertheless, the Church has survived.

Elisabetta Galeffi has returned from a trip to the Southeast Asian country. She does not report on religio-political issues, including the persecution of Christians under the Red Flag. It is characterized by empathetic, attentive observations, the image of a vibrant, healthy Catholic community that experienced a large influx of vocations to the priesthood and the religious orders.

At Mass in Ho Chi Minh City

To cross the square, to reach Notre-Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), requires a cool head. The slalom between hundreds of motorcycles, the only escape for a breath of pedestrians in the maze, is a thrilling endeavor.

The large cathedral with two towers was built by the French in 1877-1880, with red bricks, which were specially imported from Toulouse. It is the largest Catholic church in the country. It forms the center of the Place de la Comune de Paris in the city traffic. The distinctive French main post office is on one side of the square. Opposite the gardens with the large statue of Mary, a true urban and literary monument in numerous articles of war correspondents from around the world and the novel The Quiet American by Graham Greene, which takes place in Saigon, is described. Here in the most elegant part of the economic center of Vietnam you can still imagine the old capital of Indochina. On Sunday the whole city convenes together here, sitting at the tables of the cafes or picnic on the expansive lawns of the gardens, the girls and boys have their pictures taken around the cathedral and the statue of Mary.

At 11 clock in the morning, a favorable time throughout the world, to attend the Sunday Mass that doors of Notre Dame remain closed like an impregnable fortress. Only in the early afternoon do they open and the cathedral is filled with believers within minutes. All benches are filled to the last seat. The people bring tiny folding stools and jostle in the aisles until not a meter in the church is free. The latecomers must celebrate the Mass in front of the entrance gates, many sit on their motor scooters, hundreds.

Once the celebration of Mass begins, the noise of the continuous space traversing motorcycles gives way to church music, which is transmitted via powerful speakers into the open so that they can be heard in the coffee houses and the side streets. There are often repetitive melodies in the standard national style, as you can encounter them in Buddhist temples, but are sung with Christian texts, as they are known in Western churches. It's a meeting of cultures, carried out by the graceful voices of the Vietnamese and their passion for the beautiful song.

In Hanoi, a concert of brass and drums happens at Ly Quoc Su, attracts at the center of the old town. At the end of the narrow streets appears unexpectedly, the majestic Cathedral of St. Joseph in neo-Gothic style, reminiscent of Notre Dame in Paris in miniature. A huge procession of devotees follow the white-clad brass band and children in long blue robes, carrying a canopy with a small statue of the Virgin Mary. The clergy in solemn liturgical vestments stops in front of the facade of the church to bless the faithful, incense rises in dense swaths. The Joseph Cathedral was built in 1886 by naked concrete. The concrete is old and dark, capable of displaying a place of deep spirituality.

A garden behind the church offers with tropical plants and fragrant flowers offers some cooling for the rectory, a school for poor children and a dormitory. A magical garden breaks the ranks of the small streets like an oasis in the bustling chaos of the densely populated residential area of Hanoi. The Mass is an ancient rite. For those in the Vietnamese capital 6 o'clock in the evening is an exciting return to the past. The women wear their best Ao dai for the occasion, the national dress with wide-legged silk trousers covered thinly over long tight knee-or ankle-length silk robes in bright colors. They look very elegant and move with the utmost grace. The liturgy is celebrated in Latin, which emphasizes the brotherhood, even here, in the midst of such a different culture, with an indecipherable signature. The familiar Latin invites you to join in the singing loudly, to share with these people a faith that seems so honest.

In Vietnam, 9-10 percent of the population are Catholics. [They were a majority before the War] The number of practicing Catholics is very high and the vocations are numerous. They form by the Buddhists, the second largest minority in a country that in its overwhelming majority is atheist, according to official figures.

Traveling the country from south to north, you will encounter along the main axis, numerous churches that were built during the French colonial rule from 1858 to 1954. In addition to the churches in the cities, especially the elegant religious architecture surprisingly amidst the emerald landscapes and before the deep blue backdrop of the great Vietnamese rivers, the South China Sea or the Gulf of Tonkin. Even the wood and straw hut churches in the north on the border with the People's Republic of China in the rice fields of the mountains around Sapa are inviting and decorated with pious devotion and all are filled with believers, no matter where you go, and with music and songs. For the Black Hmong, an ethnic minority of the Catholic faith, the churches are the center of life of their small farming communities.

Text: tempos
 Introduction / Translation: Giuseppe Nardi Image: Tempi
Trans from German: Tancred

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Eucharistic Miracle in Sri Lanka? Buddhist Vandals are Forgiven by Cardinal Ranjith

(Colombo) A group of Buddhists devastated the Catholic Church of St. Francis Xavier in Angulana, in the Archdiocese of Colombo in Sri Lanka. The vandals smashed a 143 year old statue of Mary. However, their goal was the Blessed Sacrament. The perpetrators tore the tabernacle with the Blessed Sacrament from the altar, broke it up and set it on fire. According to police, at least 30 liters of kerosene were poured over the tabernacle, to put it on fire. However, by some miracle the consecrated Hosts did not burn in the tabernacle which was damaged but remained intact.

When the sacristan discovered the vandalism, he rang the church bells, so that the faithful flocked together. The Catholics of the Archdiocese of Colombo are shocked by the incident.

Many look to the integrity of the consecrated hosts as a miraculous intervention. A Eucharistic miracle, which should demonstrate the power of God, and shame the attacker, as it happened in Lanciano, Bolsena and many other places over the past 2000 years? "A great miracle has happened, mediated by Jesus in our country and it will give the attackers a message: No one can destroy Christ and His love. No one can harm Him," were the quoted voices of local Catholics by Asianews.

Pastor Christo Viraj Fernando and his chaplain Kasun Fernando condemned the violence. At the same time, they called on the faithful to remain calm, to thank God for the wonderful integrity of the consecrated Hosts to pray for the conversion of the perpetrators and to forgive them.

Cardinal Albert Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo has initiated investigations. The intact Hosts were brought to safety in order to allow the police, but also the church to inspect them. The Cardinal will perform the reconsecration as competent bishop for a church desecration according to church canons, before the church can be reopened for worship.

The incident occurred on 5 June at about 10 clock in the evening. Initially, Buddhist extremists were thought of as they have attacked Christians for months in Sri Lanka, but it may also be an attack from the Islamic minority. The attacks usually are a result of Buddhist extremist organizations Bodu Bala Sena and Sinhala Ravaya. A new phenomenon, the police and the public are faced with new challenges. Previously religiously motivated violence were a rarity on the island.

On Monday, the police arrested four teenagers. They are said to have done the deed while intoxicated. The facts did not correspond to the first suggestion, that there were two Buddhists and two Catholic perpetrators. According to police, all four perpetrators were Buddhists. Cardinal Ranjith has shown them the spirit of Christian love in public, such as the Sunday Times reported from Sri Lanka.

Text: Asianews / Giuseppe Nardi Image: Tamil Week Trans: Tanc

Monday, April 22, 2013

Syria: Franciscan Church Utterly Destroyed

Edit: an increasingly US brokered war continues in Syria as Catholics and Orthodox Christians are being driven from the land.

Damascus, 22/04/13 (Kipa) The Franciscan church and associated monastery in the Syrian town of Deir ez-Zor were destroyed in a violent explosion. This was reported by the Vienna-based foundation "Pro Oriente", citing the Vatican's Fides news agency on Sunday. Speaking to the press agency Tony Haddad said, the Franciscan Church was until then the only remaining undamaged Christian house of worship in the city on the Euphrates. It remains unclear how the church was destroyed.

Eyewitnesses reported that rebels entrenched in the Church, following which government soldiers took the church under attack. There is also the version of a car bomb.

Haddad revealed his bitterness about "so much hate and disrespect.” The religious explained that there are no more Catholics. Recently had left together with the Mother Teresa Sisters and about a dozen residents of a nursing home, the city in view of the critical situation of the two in Deir ez-Zor, and just recently was Franciscan Fathers. They were the last surviving Catholics at Deir-ez-Zor. Haddad is nevertheless optimistic: "The church is made of stone and can be rebuilt one day will begin in the spring of Middle East peace." (Kipa / cap / on)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Pope Francis: Chinese Church “Is in my heart"

Pope Franics received John Cardinal Tong, the Bishop of Hong Kong, on Tuesday.  The theme of the audience was the situation of persecuted Christians in the People’s Republic of China.  The Pope has said that the Chinese Church is in my heart.  “I pray daily for her”, says the Pope.

From katholisches… to be continued.  From Vatican Insider:

Cardinal Tong, the only Chinese cardinal to have participated in the recent conclave, talked with the new pope on a number of occasions in the days following his election. He revealed what the Pope said to him in those encounters, when he spoke during a solemn mass in Hong Kong’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on April 8 to celebrate the inauguration of the Petrine ministry of Pope Francis. encounters.

The Chinese cardinal resided in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the Vatican guesthouse where all the cardinals stayed during the conclave, from March 12, when the conclave began. He remained there until March 20, when he departed for Hong Kong, where he is bishop.

Pope Francis too resided in that same guesthouse and has actually decided to continue living there, instead of moving to the papal apartment on the third floor of the Apostolic Palace, because he wants to be near the people. As a result, he and the cardinal met several times in the days following his election.

In his homily in Hong Kong Cathedral, Cardinal Tong recalled how after his election as pope in the Sistine Chapel on March 13, at about 7 pm, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio took the name Francis. Then, after putting on his white cassock, “he first went to embrace Cardinal Ivan Dias who had difficulty in walking.” Tong noted how “the new Holy Father really cares for everybody, particularly the weak.”

Then, he said, Pope Francis “accepted the congratulations and loud applause of the cardinals” and then “one by one, we extended our personal greetings and embraces of love to him.”

When it came to his turn, Tong presented the new Pope with “a small bronze Chinese statue of Our Lady of Sheshan” and told him, “The Catholics in China love you and will pray for you. Also, we ask for your care for all Chinese Catholics, and please pray for us!”

Pope Francis smiled and responded, “Chinese Catholics have given many testimonies to the Universal Church”. Then to Tong’s surprise, “He kissed my right hand to show his love and devotion for the Church in China. This gesture moved me deeply.”

Next day, March 14, at 5 pm, he recalled that Pope Francis celebrated his first mass as Successor of Peter in the Sistine Chapel together with all the cardinal electors, and in his homily, “he shared with us his reflections about the Church. He highlighted three actions that the Church must take: Journeying with the Lord under the light, actively building up the Church, proclaiming the Gospel and professing our faith. All these focus on the Crucified Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Hong Kong born cardinal revealed that on March 15, early morning, when he was on his way to the chapel in the Domus Sanctae Marthae he happened to be on the same elevator as Pope Francis. The Argentinean-born Pope then told him that the statue of Our Lady of Sheshan, now standing in his own room, reminded him of the Jesuit Saint Francis Xavier who arrived in China more than 460 years ago, . “He told me he never forgets to pray for Chinese Catholics”, the cardinal said.

During Mass that morning, he said, “Pope Francis pointed out in his homily that St. Ignatius of Loyola taught us not to forget the Suffering Jesus whenever we encounter difficulties in life; in this way, God will help us to enter into the mystery of Jesus’ resurrection.” Then, towards the end of his homily, Tong said, “unexpectedly, Pope Francis openly thanked me for the statue of Mary.”

Later that same day, when Pope Francis greeted all the cardinals, one by one, in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, Tong revealed, “I thanked him for remembering the Catholics in China.”

On March 20, the day after the papal installation, Cardinal Tong bade farewell to Pope Francis before departing for Hong Kong, and told him, “On behalf of the Church in China, may I congratulate you again and thank you for your care and prayers for the Church in China.” At that point, he said, the Pope “kissed my hand again to show his devotion to the Church in China, and told him, “The Church in China is in my heart”.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Cardinal Darmaatmadja Resigns -- Only 116 Electors in the Conclave

(Rome)  It will now be only 116 and not 117 Cardinals who will participate in the Conclave in order to elect the next Pope.  The 78 year old Indonesian Cardinal Julius Riyadi Damaatmadja and emeritus Archbishop of Jakarta will “of his own free will” not participate in the Conclave, because his state of health no longer allows him to take the trip, as reported by Asianews.

The Cardinal lives in an Emmaus House because of “worsening” health problems for some time, an elder hostel for priests in Central Java.  As Asianews reports, the Cardinal is among other things almost blind.  A “collected,  independent movement” is no longer possible as he himself explained to the news agency by telephone.  “I am convinced”, says Cardinal Darmaatmajda, “it is not possible for me to sit with the other Cardinals in order to elect another Pope.  For this reason he is “extraordinarily sorry”, but he doesn’t want to hinder the Conclave because of his health and possibly bring confusion to the process of the election.

The Jesuit Darmaatmadja was ordained to the priesthood in 1969  and was named the Archbishop of Semarang in Indonesia in 1983 by John Paul II.  John Paull II. was also the one who raised him to the state of Cardinal in 1994 and called him to be the Archbishop of Jakarta in 1996.

Text: Asianews/Giuseppe Nardi
Photo: Asianews

Monday, January 7, 2013

Japanese Translator: Thomas Aquinas as Bach

Edit: this is probably one of the most genius comments written this year.

Bangkok ( Ryosuke Inagaki (84) emeritus Philosophy professor of the University of Kyushu, has completed his translation of St. Thomas Aquinas' "Summa Theologica" into Japanese.  "Thomas' writing is like a piece by Bach, with a rhythm, which lightens the way.  For that reason, once I was into the translation,  it went seemingly fast,"  said Inagaki to the press service of Ucanews on Monday.  He did not find the work as an obligation.

The professor had completed the translation of  20 of the 45 volumes himself and accompanied the project till its completion at the end of September.  The "Summa" of the Dominican friar and Doctor of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas (from 1225-1274) is counted of the most important theologico-philosophical works of the Middle Ages.

Inagaki, who was himself baptized as a student, learned of the work of Thomas Aquinas, among other things, from a US Officer stationed in Japan after the Second World War.  Later he studied the concept of Thomas' natural law.  As a translation project he pushed through the eleventh volume.

His favorite edition of the "Summa theological" remained according to Ucanews, a 1952 soft cover exemplar for the general US market with the title "My Way of Life".  The title made correct statement that Thomas wanted to make an instruction manual for people "who really wanted to be truly and actually happy", said Inagaki.

There were 15 researchers participating in  the Japanese translation by the agency.  Half of them did not survive to finish the last volume.  The founder of the publishing house, in which the Japanese "Summa" appeared, died two days after the completion of the galley proof of the last volume.  A Latin-German, was begun to 34 volumes of the extant edition in 1933.  It is still not finished.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

"Convert to Islam or Die" -- Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Unleashes Fatwa Against Christians

(Bagdad) On the same day in which the Syrian-Catholic Cathedral was solemnly re-consecrated, the Grand Ayatollah issued a Fatwa against the Christians of Iraq.  The Christians are expected to convert to Islam or are liable to be killed.  The Catholic Cathedral was the scene of a bloody attack on 31 October, 2010.  An Al-Qaeda unit attacked the church, as the Christians there were celebrating Holy Mass. 58 Catholics lost their lives in the attack, among whom were two priests.

The Shi'ite Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Sayid Ahmad al Hassani al Baghdadi announced his call to murder Christians with the Egyptian television broadcaster Al Baghdadia.  Al Baghdadi, which belongs to one of the most radical members of the Islamic Jihad, is calling Christians as polytheists and friends of Zionists.  Al Baghdadi's call to the Christian minority of Iraq reads:  "Convert to Islam or Die".  The women and girls of the Christians "can be legally considered to be wives of Muslims", said the Grand Ayatollah.  Al Baghdadi,  who was born in Nadjaff in Iraq, is one of the "holy cities" of Shi'ite Islam, lives today in Syria and there supports the armed struggle of Islamists.

The Catholics of Bagdad regard the Fatwa as "extremely troubling".  Whatever effect they will have, they should not be underestimated.  Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, of the Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches,  undertook the re-consecration of the Cathedral.  In his sermon he spoke of the murdered Christians in 2010, that the tears and the blood of martyrs are seedlings, which will bring forth new fruit.  Cardinal Sandri held a five day visit to Iraq, in order to strengthen the Christians there during the year of Faith.

Text: Asianews/Giuseppe Nardi
Bild: Asianews

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Oldest Christian Church in Iraq Discovered

Edit: post edited to reflect proper dating criteria, Anno Domini, instead of the Godless C.E..

The article says that the site was "Nestorian" Christian, but that doesn't mean that these people held Nestorian views. In any case, even Nestorians are preferable to Protestants.

Noah Wiener • 08/06/2012

A 2007 expansion of an airport in Najaf, Iraq exposed the remains of the earliest known Christian church in Iraq. Originally built some 1,700 years ago, the remains require proper excavation, but the wartime discovery coupled with a lack of funding has hindered scientific study. The ruins point to a thriving Christian community in early first millennium Iraq. Some scholars believe the site to be the Arab Christian center Hira, an important center of Nestorian Christianity for centuries. Christianity was spread by the Arab Christian Lakhmid dynasty, who made Hira their capital in 266 a.D. The discovery of the oldest known Christian site in Iraq is a reflection of Iraq’s rich and diverse cultural heritage in Iraq, and Iraqi archaeologists hope to conduct a proper excavation in the future.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Sign of Hope in Japan: Traditional Catholics

The traditional Rite in Japan

In Japan the Catholic Church has a difficult situation.  Its presence in the population is almost hardly relevant -- it sits at under 0.5 percent.  Under the direction of the predominant Jesuits of the (nominally Catholic) Sophia University, have opened the National Church to the most extreme form of the "spirit of the Council".  That is also valid for the Liturgy, beneath the veil of a supposed inculturation the traditional patrimony of the Church is often almost impossible to detect, not only for foreigners, but also for the native Japanese as well.

Despite, or perhaps really because there is also a group of traditionally oriented Catholics that has been formed, there is a national branch of the International Federation Una Voce, and for 3-4 weeks, Fr. Augustin Ikeda (SSP) offers a sung Mass for those who want the traditional Mass.  The Mass doesn't take place in any of the few Catholic churches in Tokyo,  but in the home of a member of Fr. Augstin's community.   Pictures of the Mass are located on TNLM and on the page of the Japanese "Blog of a Practicing Catholic Metropolitan."

Translated from