Pope Francis expressed concern over the re-emergence of aggressive feelings against foreigners, especially immigrants, as well as a growing nationalism that neglects the common good, saying such trends compromise international cooperation, mutual respect and the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.
The Pope pointed out that migration is a permanent feature of human history, and all nations are the result of the integration of successive waves of people or groups of migrants, who while being images of the diversity of humanity, are united by common values, cultural resources and healthy customs.
The Pope also called for a “multifaceted” form of globalization based on mutual recognition between the collective identity of each people, nation and globalization itself, which leads to a general state of peace and harmony.
On the contrary, he said, a new season of worrying nuclear confrontation seems to be opening, because it cancels the progress of the recent past and multiplies the risk of war. If the offensive and defensive nuclear arms will now be placed on earth and space, the Pope warned, the so-called new technical frontier will have raised and not lowered the danger of a nuclear holocaust.
The Pope concluded urging the members of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences to help him spread the awareness of a renewed international solidarity with respect for human dignity, the common good, respect for the planet and the supreme good of peace.
The repression and sinicization of the Catholic Church continues in the Henan. Two days ago the local authorities of Weihui, in the diocese of Anyang, destroyed the huge iron crosses that stood out on the two bell towers.
Destroying too much visible crosses, eliminating decorations, paintings and statues judged as “too Western” is the way in which the “sinicization” is affirming itself, to bring out a Christianity “according to the Chinese characteristics”, and above all subjected to the authority of the Party Communist. In Henan this campaign has lasted for years. Often the crosses are replaced with Chinese flags, giving churches an image of “government office”.
Since the launch of the new regulations on religious activities, Henan has become a sort of pilot-experiment of repression: several churches have been closed, the catechism is forbidden for children and teenagers, Christian graves destroyed. According to some priests, the reason is simple: in Henan Christians are about 4% of the population, making it one of the provinces with the highest percentage of Christians. “By showing such violence – says a priest – the government tries to frighten not so much those who are already Catholics, but the people who would like to convert to Christianity”.
The effects of Sri Lanka’s Easter suicide bombings reverberated across two faiths Sunday, with Catholics shut out of their churches for fear of new attacks, left with only a televised Mass, and Muslim women ordered to stop wearing veils in public.
Many across the nation knelt before their televisions as Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, delivered a homily before members of the clergy and the country’s leaders in a small chapel at his residence in the capital.
The closing of all of Sri Lanka’s Catholic churches — an extraordinary measure unheard of in the church’s centuries on this island off the southern tip of India — came after local officials and the U.S. Embassy in Colombo warned that more militants remained on the loose with explosives a week after bombings claimed by the Islamic State group and aimed at churches and hotels killed more than 250 people.
“This is a time our hearts are tested by the great destruction that took place last Sunday,” Ranjith told those watching across the nation. “This is a time questions such as, does God truly love us, does he have compassion toward us, can arise in human hearts.”