#ShortNews: Chinese officials adopt 5-year plan to for “Sinicization” of Catholic Church

The Patriotic Association of Chinese Catholics (PA) and the Council of Chinese Bishops (BCCC) have launched a “Five-Year Plan of Development for the Sinicization of the Catholic Church in China”. In his address to the gathering, Yu Bo, vice director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, explained that ” The 4th coalition meeting is to implement deeper the spirit of the Ninteenh National Congress of the Communist Party in October 2017 and the spirit of the National Conference on Religious Work in April 2016, and to focus on the deliberations of a five-year plan to advance sinicization of the China Catholic Church”.

It involves:
a) increasing assimilation of Chinese culture into religious expression, eliminating “foreign influences”;
b) “independence from foreign influence” (which means to do without the mandate of the Holy See for episcopal ordinations);
c) submission to the Party because it must “guide” religions and must “hold firmly the role of leadership in all religious activities”.

However, a news report of the “Minzu Bao” (the official journal on religious and ethnic topics) of July 25 2017 on the first coalition meeting offered glimpses. Read more: http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Ahead-of-China-Vatican-dialogue,-a-five-year-plan-to-Sinicize-the-Church-under-the-Party-44038.html

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#ShortNews: Don’t postpone Baptism, Pope urges parents

Pope Francis has urged parents to baptize their children soon after birth, thus giving them the opportunity – and the free gift – of having Jesus Christ live inside them from the beginning. He was speaking during the weekly General Audience.

With a special appeal to new parents he highlighted the fact that Baptism is an unmerited gift, the door to the other sacraments, thanks to which Christians are able to grow in a life of grace until reaching their true homeland in heaven.

“The baptismal font illuminates all of our life, guiding our steps toward the Jerusalem in Heaven,” he said.

Thus, he said in off-the-cuff remarks, “don’t put off baptizing your children with the excuse that ‘he or she is unable to understand”, this attitude he said indicates that “you do not trust in the Holy Spirit”.

Read full story: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-04/pope-at-general-audience-baptism-christifies-us-.html

#ShortNews: Ukrainian Catholic bishops in US issue Easter pastoral letter

EASTER PASTORAL OF THE UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC HIERARCHY OF THE U.S.A. TO OUR CLERGY, HIEROMONKS AND BROTHERS, RELIGIOUS SISTERS, SEMINARIANS AND BELOVED FAITHFUL;

“Christ is Risen!”, “Indeed He is Risen!” greetings will be heard everywhere around the world. This is the best and perhaps most ignored message around the world. It was so when it was announced for the first time on Easter morning, and continues to be the case today too. Christ is Risen! Do you believe, doubt or dismiss it? Jesus’ own Apostles had a difficulty to accept the message, “when they saw Him, they worshipped, but they doubted” (Mt. 28:17). They saw Him, but still questioned the fact. How many times do we wonder and accept Jesus’ real presence in the Eucharist when we receive Him at the Divine Liturgy?

Read the full version: http://news.ugcc.ua/en/articles/easter_pastoral_of_the_ukrainian_catholic_hierarchy_of_the_usa_to_our_clergy_hieromonks_and_brothers_religious_sisters_seminarians_and_beloved_faithful_82248.html

#ShortNews: US adult Catholic population slipping, study shows

The U.S. adult population grew by 6.3% from 2010 to 2016. Growth in the numbers of adults self-identifying as Catholic have not kept pace and are falling into negative territory, according to an analysis of survey data in combination with Census numbers for adults. Since 2010, the adult Catholic population in the United States has declined by 0.9% (equivalent to a net loss of 511,558 adults affiliating). The number of adult Catholics declined from 59.1 million in 2010 to 58.6 million in 2016.

Globally, the Church continues to grow and the United States represents less than 6% of the world’s Catholics. It is also easy to think these changes are related to something that the Church specifically is or is not doing. Yet many other affiliations are experiencing much more significant declines. Generally speaking, these trends are also likely to be related to broader shifts in popular culture, the economy, the family, and to bring it back to the iGen—technology. There is so much more to explore.

Read More: https://nineteensixty-four.blogspot.sg/2018/03/a-dip-in-adult-catholic-population.html

#ShortNews: 700 churches closed in Rwanda

Rwanda has ordered 700 churches in Kigali Province to suspend activities from today (1 March) because of concerns over health and safety.

Professor Anastase Shyaka, Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB), which monitors public and private organisations, told reporters on 19 February: “Some churches conduct their worship services in shoddy and unclean structures – to the detriment of people’s health and safety. Cases of noise pollution have also been reported, while some operate without the required operation permits.”

Church representatives said the authorities were being too strict. “Those that failed to implement a few requirements should be reopened and allowed to work while fixing the problems raised,” said Bishop Innocent Nzeyimana, president of the Churches’ Forum in Nyarugenge district, as reported by AFP.

Read More: https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/coe/rwanda-700-churches-closed-down-in-just-one-province/

Rules For Fast And Abstinence For Traditional Catholics

Why do we fast and abstain?

“Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish.” (Lk. 13:5)

Because we are sinners, justice requires each of us to make recompense to God for the honor we have denied Him by our sins. Because we have misused our goods, our souls and bodies—as well as those of others—the natural law requires us to strive to restore the order we have disturbed by our sins. Thus, the Natural Law and the Divine Law bind us in a general way to perform acts of penance. In order to help us fulfill this requirement, Holy Mother Church, knowing our weakness and laziness, binds us under ecclesiastical laws to perform works of penance at certain times.

Throughout the centuries, these ecclesiastical laws have changed, sometimes becoming more strict, sometimes relaxing the discipline of penance. Regardless of changes to the Church laws, which exist to make our obedience to the natural and Divine laws of penance easier, the fundamental requirement remains: “Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish.”

Considering the alternatives of unending bliss in heaven or unending misery in hell, and considering that the effects of original sin and of our own sins make us lazy and apt to forget our duty towards God, it seems much more reasonable to err on the side of too much penance, especially in times of relaxed Church discipline such as our own, rather than on the side of too little.Read More »

#LittlePilgrimage 31. Ōura Church, Nagasaki, Japan

26 June 2017. It was drizzling when I went to Nagasaki during my Japan trip with my friend.

The alley to Oura church was a unique place where you could only find western buildings. You would feel like you’re somewhere in Europe, not Japan. Entrance fee for this church was ¥600. Paid at the ticketing counter just at the bottom of the stairs to the church, we also took the English version of the information book about the church.

#LittlePilgrimage 31. Ōura Church, Nagasaki, Japan, 〒850-0931 Nagasaki Prefecture, Nagasaki, Minamiyamatemachi, 5-3

The Basilica of the Twenty-Six Holy Martyrs of Japan (日本二十六聖殉教者堂) also Ōura Church (大浦天主堂 Ōura Tenshudō) is a Roman Catholic minor basilica and Co-cathedral in Nagasaki, Japan, built soon after the end of the Japanese government’s Seclusion Policy in 1853.

In 1863, two French priests from the Sociéte des Missions Étrangères, Fathers Louis Furet and Bernard Petitjean, landed in Nagasaki with the intention of building a church honoring the Twenty-Six Martyrs of Japan, nine European priests and seventeen Japanese Christians who were crucified in 1597 by order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The church was finished in 1864. It was originally a small wooden chapel with three aisles and three octagonal towers. The present structure is a much larger Gothic basilica that dates from around 1879. This version was built of white stuccoed brick with five aisles, vaulted ceilings, and one octagonal tower. The design most likely came from a Belgian plan used by Catholic missionaries in an earlier church built in Osaka. The stained glass windows were imported from France.Read More »