Asia Bibi, the woman unjustly sentenced to death for blasphemy and acquitted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on 31 October 2018, has arrived in Canada, where she has reunited with her family. This was stated by sources of the Pakistan Foreign Ministry and confirmed by her lawyer Saiful Malook.
In Pakistan the news generated favourable comments among Christians. Bishop Samson Shukardin, at the head of the diocese of Hyderabad, speaking to Fides, states: “It is an important decision of the government to let her leave the country, it is also an act of justice towards a woman who suffered great injustice and suffering for a decade. In fact Asia was declared innocent and freed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan and has every right to go wherever she wants, for her protection, security and future life”.
Local authorities have motivated their decision because the church and the cross are “too visible” from the nearby highway and passing cars can be distracted by the Christian symbol and the building. They also say that the church does not have all the necessary building permits. Instead parishioners maintain that the church – belonging to the official community – was built with the permission of the Religious Affairs Office.The Diocese of Handan has already been warned that there are at least 24 churches that “have no building permits” and will therefore be destroyed. In fact, as the pastor of one of them explains, “at the beginning of the construction of the church, we filed the request and we also obtained permission from the Religious Affairs Office of the village, the municipality and the county. Now they say that it is no longer valid! “.
An elderly Shanxi priest comments laconically: “The Communist Party is like a moon: it changes every day, from the first to the 15th of the month!”
Throughout the diocese the faithful are organizing moments of prayer to Our Lady to “ask for her protection”, hoping that “the holders of power will change their mind and grant true religious freedom to the people”.
Researchers at the University of Freiburg say the expected decline can be predicted a dwindling number of baptisms in Germany, the number of Germans who have departed from formal religious enrollment, and a decrease in Germany’s overall population, which is expected by 2060 to be reduced by 21 percent.
In total, the number of Germans who pay the country’s “Church tax” is expected to decrease by 49%. German law collects an income tax on the country’s Church members, which it distributes to Church organizations, among them the Catholic Church and the Evangelical Church of Germany, a federation of Protestant groups, mostly Lutheran, which constitutes the largest Protestant group in Germany.
Read the full article here; https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/german-church-membership-will-be-halved-by-2060-new-study-says-50310