Pakistan: Shot for Trying to Build a Church
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Pakistan: Shot for Trying to Build a Church

“It was Sunday. We spent the whole day building the wall and finished at 7pm. We only wanted to secure our property against any forceful occupation. Three hours later, we heard a crowd chanting on our doorstep. As we tried to explain our stance, someone resorted to aerial firing. My brothers were the next targets,”…

Religious Sisters Reflect: New Forms of Religious Life for Our Times
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Religious Sisters Reflect: New Forms of Religious Life for Our Times

Catholic religious are experiencing the crises felt across the world, and it challenges them to redefine their mission and identity, says the Indian head of Assumption nuns. Sister Rekha M. Chennattu, superior general of the Religious of the Assumption congregation, was speaking after concluding a 20-day general plenary of her congregation in Paris. The congregation’s 23…

Lent: Asceticism Rediscovered
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Lent: Asceticism Rediscovered

At a surface level, asceticism (the constellation of the practices of voluntary self-denial such as fasting from food) does not hold much attraction for us today. In the film version of The Da Vinci Code, the crazy and murderous albino monk, Silas is depicted whipping himself and wearing a chain wrapped around his leg that he…

Asia: Inculturation – What makes Christianity Unique?
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Asia: Inculturation – What makes Christianity Unique?

Now the issue of how Catholicism and other religions engage and interact is back on the agenda in the clearest terms with Querida Amazonia from Pope Francis. The starting point for shaping the future of the Church in the region is to first listen, the pope says, to the rhythms of the people and their sense of…

China: The Face of Catholicism in the 21st Century
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China: The Face of Catholicism in the 21st Century

In the last twenty years, a good number of priests, nuns and laity were sent to abroad for further study, e.g., to the Philippines, the USA, Ireland, Germany, Italy, France and Taiwan. Some even studied for doctoral degrees. It is clear that these returnee priests, nuns and laity have encountered a variety of difficulties and…

Lent in Black and White – A Reflection
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Lent in Black and White – A Reflection

Two centuries after Nieuw Amsterdam had become New York, a treat still somewhat unique to that city was born, the black and white cookie. It is coated half-and-half with dark and light frosting. Though when I was a kid I gave up eating them during Lent, those cookies are an apt symbol for the season….

‘Moral Injury’ – A Reflection on Today’s Status Quo
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‘Moral Injury’ – A Reflection on Today’s Status Quo

So much happening every day and everywhere – deaths, births, politicking, floods, fires, locusts, wars, viruses, discoveries, fun, song and dance, sleep and work, prayer and penance, love and lust, peace and joy, anger and fear –  And so much written and reported about the same, and so much done to lament, alleviate or aggravate…

Pakistan: The Disturbing Story of a Blasphemy Law Convict
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Pakistan: The Disturbing Story of a Blasphemy Law Convict

Convicted of committing blasphemy and sentenced to death by a court in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore in 2002 – when he was 25 – he spent almost 19 years in jail in a country where the crime of insulting Islam, its Prophet Muhammad or its holy book, the Quran, has been at the…

India: Acquittal of Christians Wrongly Accused of Forced Conversions
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India: Acquittal of Christians Wrongly Accused of Forced Conversions

The six men and two women were freed on Feb. 18 by the criminal court in Ratlam in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.“Justice has finally been done,” said Tehmina Arora, director of the legal team of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Christian forum that took up the case. “But we must not forget the…

Philippines: Siffer Penalties for Child Abuse and Exploitation
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Philippines: Siffer Penalties for Child Abuse and Exploitation

Philippine lawmakers have passed a measure that would impose stiffer penalties in child abuse, exploitation and discrimination cases.The proposed Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act imposes bigger fines and longer jail terms for violators. “This is a good step to minimize or totally eradicate cases involving children,” said Father Conegundo Garganta,…

Cameroon: Bishops from across the Globe Call for Urgent Peace Talks
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Cameroon: Bishops from across the Globe Call for Urgent Peace Talks

Roman Catholic bishops from around the world are calling on the Cameroon government to hold urgent peace talks with the country’s English-speaking separatists and moderates. As violence grows in the central African country, church leaders are urging President Paul Biya to enter negotiations to find a peaceful constitutional settlement that addresses the grievances of the…

Pakistan: Constraints on Christian Outreach
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Pakistan: Constraints on Christian Outreach

In his book The Crimson Lily in our Midst, the British Mill Hill Father Tom Rafferty recounted the difficulties of evangelism in Punjab, Afghanistan, Kashmir and North West Frontier province (now called Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). “John van Eyndhoven was one of the first Mill Hill missionaries to be sent as chaplain to the British forces in North…