FROM THE WORLD
In China priests were imprisoned for teaching about Catechism
In a town Qingyuan near Baodinghe, in the province of Hebei, the Chinese authorities arrested two priests of the underground Church for organizing courses of catechesis for adults. They have been in prison for over a month, but the Italian missionary agency Asia News found out about their fate not earlier than on 19 November. It also published long reflections about ‘unprecedented’ reforms recently announced by the communist party, which arouse both hope and also fears about believers’ situation in the most populated country in the world.
Teenagers in Great Britain addicted to pornography
An English judge sentenced a 13-year-old boy, convicted of a rape, an attempted rape and sexual violence towards an 8-year-old victim to3 years of rehabilitation in a special centre. The convict had been allowed to watch pornography from the age of 10 and - as it was indicated in a verdict – finally wanted to make images taken from Internet real.
British experts are alarming that the problem of young people’s addiction to pornography is more and more serious. According to Dawin Hawkins, running the organization ‘Morality in Media’, children imitating what adults do, are not aware of anything bad in it. – So far nobody has taught them about it – adds the scientist, pointing to the fact that pornography is responsible to much extent for sexual crimes.
According to the journal ‘The Telegraph’, in the years 2009-2012, thousands of children in Great Britain committed 5028 sexual abuses. According to the survey of the University of East London 97 percent British boys and 80 percent girls watched pornography.
Poles from Germany in the Holy Land
Within religious experiences of the Year of Faith, Poles living in Germany took part in a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The pilgrimage was attended by 714 people from 21 Polish parishes, including 38 priests from the Polish pastoral ministry with priests guiding groups from Poland and nuns. The pilgrimage was prepared and coordinated by the Rector’s office of the Polish Catholic Mission in Germany. It was the first pilgrimage from Germany to Christ’s homeland, which was attended by so many Polish believers.
European Parliament honoured a 16-year-old Pakistan girl
In Strasburg on 10 November Malala Yousafzai, a 16-year-old Pakistan girl, fighting for the right to education for girls, received this year’s Award of Sacharowa for freedom of thoughts. – The award is granted to the person who has experienced a lot in her short life, a heroine - these words of the chairman of the European Parliament Martin Schulz were accompanying the act of granting the award to the Pakistan girl. – She is a symbol of resistance against fanaticism - said Schulz and he added: You deeply moved us with your ingenuity and wisdom. He emphasized that this reward is also a message for everybody, who are fighting for the right to education, especially for girls, ‘because education is not a privilege but the fundamental right’. Being agitated by long-lasting cheers of the gathered, Malala said that every man must fight for the survival of the weakest. She reminded that 57 million of children in the world cannot attend schools. – Many of them do not want to have iPhones, computer games or chocolate. They would only like to have books and a pencil – said the youngest laureate of the reward. She emphasized that this reward gives her encouragement to realize her purposes which she set to herself and she expressed her hope that also in the future the European Parliament will pay attention to countries from outside the EU, in which children are forbidden to have access to education. – Despite the terrorism, violence and conflicts, children in these countries always hope to have a better life – said the young Pakistan girl.
The ceremony of granting the reward to the Pakistan girl was one of the program points of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Sacharowa Reward. On this occasion in the plenary hall of the European Parliament, over 20 former laureates of this reward gathered.
Berlin is nearly a ‘religious desert’
It can be said that in religious matters Berlin is ‘nearly a desert’. He emphasized that it is the chairman of the Papal Council for Culture cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi in an interview with the German journal ‘Die Welt’. ‘In the capital city of Germany Christianity is in defensive’ – said the Vatican hierarch adding that Berlin belongs to those European cities in which secularization has moved very far and ‘it has become normal to concentrate on penultimate things’. Cardinal Ravasi defined European Christianity as ‘mother tongue’ also for those who reject it. ’Today we do not have a clear cultural identity any more. Whereas the Muslims have a strong cultural identity, based on their faith. So, Christianity which had such a big influence on Europe, was blurred’ – stated cardinal Ravasi. In his opinion, Christian religion must remain as subject at schools ‘and not only for spiritual reasons, because it will not be a sign in which we will recognize one another as the Church, but for cultural reasons’ – said cardinal Ravasi. He added that for the same reason, Christian roots of Europe as ‘a cultural fact’ should remain in preamble of the European Constitution. Also the Catholic Church must find a language adjusted to the needs of times – ‘short sentences, precisely formulated, as it can be said: tweety’.
Cardinal Ravasi participated in the organized Courtyard of Pagans in Berlin on 26-28 November. In his speech during this forum of a dialogue, he touched on basic issues such as: problems of ‘life and death, truth and bioethics’. Debates in Berlin were under the motto: ‘Experiences of freedom with God and without God’. The meeting was organized by: the Papal Council for Culture, Conference of German Bishops and the archdiocese of Berlin.
Hagoa Sophia – a mosque?
The authorities of Greece definitely reacted to words of the Turkish vice-prime minister Bulent Arinc that the temple Hagia Sophia (Divine Wisdom) in Istanbul, being a museum now, will again become a mosque soon. The Foreign Minister Elefterios Wenizelos stated that such announcements ‘hurt religious feelings of millions of the Christians’. This former Christian basilica, built in VI century, was changed into a mosque after the conquer of Constantinople by the Osmans in 1453. It had been the mosque till 1934, when the chief of the country at that time, Kemal Ataturk changed it into a museum within secularization of the country. Arinc expressed his hope on 16 November that the ‘mosque Hagia Sophia will smile to us again soon’. He explained that the ‘place of cult cannot serve to a different purpose than the original one’.
This statement in inscribed into the policy of secularization of the society, run by the governing Party of Justice and Development. For example, in the beginning of November the prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, criticised coeducation in dormitories in the name of morality. Whereas, for a few days parliamentarians of the Party of Justice and Development have been attending debates of the parliament in their Islamic shawls.
UNO promotes contraception and abortion
Supporting and financing abortion, with particular consideration of teenagers expecting their babies – are suggested, among the others, by a recently published report of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Among other recommended actions there are also postulates in the document to strengthen pressure on sexual education among young people and wide promotion of contraception.
Dianne Stewart, being the leader of the UNFPA explains that ‘the new look at the phenomenon among teenagers’ would be based on ‘destroying obstacles restricting an access to information and services within the so-called sexual and reproductive health. In fact, she means an unlimited access to contraception and abortion.
Among suggestions there is also restriction of parents’ rights towards their underage children. Clerks are again postulating to acknowledge abortion as the basic human right.
Among advisors of UNO specialists there were, among the others, the representatives of the Guttmacher Institute, connected with an organization having vast benefits from abortion – International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). – We must be certain that sexual education takes place much earlier, still in the years of the Primary School – emphasizes Heather Boonstra from the Guttmacher Institute.
Archbishop George Carey
The former primate of the Anglican Church archbishop George Carey warned that the Church of England ‘is to extinct by one generation’. He appealed for changes which would lead to attract young people to the Church, otherwise there would not be young people in the church at all.
In the opinion of 78-year-old lord Carey, who was the leader of the Church in the years 1991-2002, believers should be ashamed that they do not invest in young people enough, and he encouraged to undertake immediate actions in this field, before it is too late. He also expressed his anxiety that today’s Church is too old-fashioned for young people.
Also lord Carey is sure that the Church of England can, must and should develop. – But sitting in a cold church, looking at the backs of people’s heads may be not considered as a very exciting place for meeting new people and listening to prophetic words – added the Anglican primate.
Execution of the Christians
During the recent public execution of 80 people in the Northern Korea, also the Christians were executed. The execution took place on 3 November in the presence of thousands people, including children.
According to observers, the dictator Kim Dzong Una, reigning in the Northern Korea, uses public executions as a means of scaring citizens. The reason for executions of the Christians by the communist regime was probably owning the Bible. Nearly three months ago Kim Dzong Un was to kill a dozen artists for owning the Holy Scripture, and because of alleged spreading pornography.
Organizations of human rights estimate that in the Northern Korea over 200 thousand people are imprisoned for religious and political reasons. Among them there are at least 30 thousand Christians.