Rihan Hanna Ayoub is one of five Christian Members of Parliament (out of 329) elected in this year’s election. A lawyer by profession, she was born and raised in Iraqi Kurdistan where she attended a local parish as a child. Faith, for her, is a "resource and strength in life and work". Christians have a crucial role in the country’s reconstruction.
A prelate from the Holy Land calls for unburdening bishops of their administrative tasks so that they can be shepherds again. Young people in the Middle East deserve a future of peace and security, jobs and a family without the danger of fanaticism present in other faiths. Staying in one’s land is a vocation.
Swiss authorities want proof of provenance and consent forms signed by the deceased or family members before allowing the exhibition to open. In the past, there have been reports concerning the illegal trade in body parts of executed prisoners for organ transplants.
About 7,000 people will take part in the first edition of a sacred music festival. Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla will attend. Muslims and Protestants support the event. For Mgr Petrus Canisius Mandagi, the festival will allow everyone to admire the true face of Indonesian society.
Bishop Joseph Han Zhihai was recognized by the government only last year. At the meeting for his election, the Church's "principles of independence and autonomy", considered "incompatible" with Catholic doctrine, are exalted. The United Front and the Patriotic Association in a campaign to make the China-Vatican agreement fail.
A conference in Lahore brought together the democratic exponents of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Christian mother, in prison since 2009 for blasphemy charges, could be released soon. Judges fear religious extremism: "Only courage and morality can defeat intolerance".
A Salesian educator talks about his interactions with young people in the metropolis and with students from mainland China. Expressing love for Christ through witnesses and fellow Christians is urgent. The maturing of the faith in young people is delayed by making compromises with those who hold economic and political power.
The Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops writes an open letter to the former nuncio to Washington. In it, he describes the former nuncio’s accusations as a baseless “political manoeuvre”. “I cannot understand how you could have allowed yourself to be convinced of this monstrous accusation which has no standing,” he writes.
Chinese faithful, official and underground communities, express their feelings about the present and the future of the Sino-Vatican provisional agreement. Many ask for the publication of the agreement document; others that bishops held in prison are freed and that the unofficial bishops are recognized by the government. The fear that China will belittle the Vatican. Fidelity to the Pope and to the unity of the Church, but concern for the rise in "collaborator" bishops.
For the optimists the provisional agreement is "historic"; for the pessimists it is the beginning of the total sell out of the Church to the Party. The Pope is involved in naming bishops. But we know nothing of a right of veto. The lifting of excommunications is good, but the faithful expect a public request for forgiveness. China has not asked for a break with Taiwan as a prior condition. Praise for Lithuanian martyrs, amid silence on the Chinese ones.