In Brief

In Brief
China orders registration of poor Catholics

A priest in China’s Henan province claims to have received a notice from municipal authorities requesting churches in the province to gather statistics on the backgrounds of their congregations, especially those from poor families.

But he is refusing to cooperate out of fear that anyone named in the register could be barred from receiving state subsidies as punishment for practicing their Faith.

“This is totally unreasonable. I suspect their hidden agenda may be to cancel people’s low-income subsidies,” said the man, who declined to give his name for fear of reprisals from the state.

China has forged an uneasy truce with the Vatican in recent years despite the Communist country being officially atheist.


Schedule for Francis’ visit to Baltic region is revealed

Twenty-five years after St John Paul II visited Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, Pope Francis will make the same three-nation visit from September 22-25.

The four-day trip will take the Pope to two important Marian shrines, two major ecumenical encounters and places that commemorate each nation’s fight for freedom from oppression.

Abortion and the disintegration of families have been serious challenges for the Church and society in these three former Soviet republics, according to past reports from bishops during their visits Rome.


Pope expresses fear for Christians fleeing Middle East

Pope Francis said that if Christians continue to flee the Middle East, it would cease to be the Middle East. The Pope spoke at an ecumenical gathering in Bari on the Southern Adriatic coast of Italy to heads and representatives of 19 different churches.

In Syria, more than 600,000 Christians have fled and in Iraq, the Christian population is now one third of what it was five years ago. The Pontiff said that if the “dark clouds of war, violence and destruction” continued, the presence of Christianity in the region might be wiped out.


Cardinal praises US anti-gun march

Hundreds of protesters led by Chicago priest Fr Michael Pfleger and anti-gun activists filled a major Chicago highway for about an hour on July 7, demanding that city officials act to stop gun violence.

Chicago Cardinal Blase J. Cupich said he was thankful that law enforcement officials co-operated to allow the protest to take place. “Now it is time for all of us, especially our leaders, to take up with vigour the concerns raised by our young people and all those who marched today,” he said.

Days before the event, he issued a statement applauding “the courage shown by young people in our city and across the country”.


Nigerian Bishops criticise govt as violence continues

Nigerian Catholic Bishops have criticised the action of President Muhammadu Buhari as violence against Christian farmers continues. Feuds between Muslim semi-nomadic herders and predominantly Christian farmers has escalated recently with 200 people being killed in central Nigeria’s plateau state.

Bishops claim that due to President Buhari’s inaction in combatting fellow Muslims’ attacks, the president has lost the trust of the people.

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