Catholic Online REPORT -Two parcel bombs detonated in two separate embassies in Rome. Two people were seriously injured in the blasts - a mailroom employee at the Swiss embassy may lose a hand in the bombing, and another person at the Chilean embassy suffered injuries.
A mailroom employee at the Swiss embassy may lose a hand in the parcel bombing in Rome, and another person at the Chilean embassy suffered injuries.
"There is serious threat against foreign embassies in Rome," Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told reporters after the explosions.
"It is too early to know the origin of the threat. We are checking all the embassies in Rome and the Italian embassies abroad for suspicious packages. We should avoid being alarmist. The police are investigating the situation," he said.
A "suspicious package" was also found at the Ukrainian Embassy in the Italian capital -- but it turned out not to be dangerous.
Police began their sweeps of all embassies and consulates after the blasts. Many countries have two diplomatic missions in the city, one to the Italian state and a separate one to the Vatican.
Bomb threats were phoned to City Hall but no other bombs have yet been discovered. There has been no claim of responsibility for the attacks.
The bombings come a day after police blanketed Rome in heavy security due to student demonstrations.
The demonstrations passed off largely peacefully, but protests a week earlier resulted in many minor injuries and millions of dollars in damage.
In November, police discovered 14 parcel bombs coming from Greece, most of which were sent to various embassies in Athens. Police intercepted and destroyed most of them, but a woman at a courier office was wounded by one of the devices and another device exploded in the courtyard of the Swiss Embassy.
Other parcel bombs were addressed to European targets including the leaders of Germany and Italy.
Two men accused of participating in the bombings were taken into custody after they were arrested in Athens in possession of two parcel bombs, Glock pistols, a bulletproof vest, and a wig.
Greek authorities said that they believed the letter bombs was the work of a home-grown Greek terrorist group that does not have ties to international organizations like al Qaeda.
Wenzhou (AsiaNews) - The 83-year-old Bishop Zhu Weifang of Wenzhou has been installed this morning, Dec. 23, as bishop of Wenzhou, Zhejiang province.
The new bishop explained to AsiaNews that he was ordained two years ago. He has been approved by the Holy See and recognized by Chinese government. He also invited “underground” Catholics from Wenzhou diocese to attend the liturgy.
Mgr. Zhu said his Christmas wish is “to have communion and unity among Catholics in the diocese, reconciling between open Church and underground communities.”
Local sources said the installation was arranged by the government, and many government officials came to the ceremony.
There are 29 priests, 40 nuns in the official Church, while the whole diocese has a Catholic population of 110,000, according to Mgr. Zhu.
Born in 1927, Mgr. Zhu, was ordained a priest in 1954.
Coadjutor Bishop Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou leads the underground community.
Photo: UCAN (Z.Y.)
CCCB REPORT: The angels sang of peace on Christmas night. The Prophets had promised peace. Each celebration of the Eucharist we proclaim it and share it with one another. Christ’s peace is much more than the absence of war and violence, important though these are. It does not concern stillness and quiet, though these are vital for our wellbeing. The peace Christ offers is a renewed and whole relationship that brings all into unity and harmony: God and humanity, heaven and earth, nature and society, brothers and sisters, no matter how estranged.
God’s saving justice is always accompanied by peace. The Lord who “guides our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1.79) is the One who scatters the proud, brings down the powerful, sends the rich away empty, lifts up the lowly, and fills the hungry with good things (Luke 1.51-53). The Blessed Messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation (Isaiah 52.7) is the Suffering Servant, “rejected by others, a man of suffering” (Isaiah 53.3).
Willingness to serve while ready to be disappointed and even hurt is part of what it means to be a follower of Christ. Christmas Day is followed by the feast of Saint Stephen, a deacon and the first Christian martyr. As a result of the birth of Jesus, the Holy Innocents were massacred under the order of King Herod. The wonder and joy of Christmas envelope the helplessness of humanity and also the hope that comes from kindness and compassion.
As we celebrate this Christmas, may we be renewed by our hunger for justice and our desire for compassion. Let us rededicate ourselves to our mission as peacemakers, as suffering servants with Christ. This was the humble, vulnerable sign given to the shepherds that first Christmas night: “You will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”
The peace of Christ be with us all this Christmas.
+ Pierre Morissette
Bishop of Saint-Jérôme
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
ALL AFRICA REPORT: The Angolan Catholic priest Apolónio Graciano on Thursday, in Luanda, said that being Christmas the birthday day of the son of God, Jesus Christ, it represents a propitious period for the Angolan society to strengthen the struggle for retrieval of moral values.
Speaking to ANGOP, in light of the December 25 date (Family Day), in order to accomplish this goal it is necessary that families, during this festive period, hold a spirit of Angolan conscience, solidarity, fraternity and companionship among families.
On the other hand he regretted the fact that the Angolan families are dysfunctional due to the war that ravaged the country for a long time and consequently caused poverty and misery in many families.
St. Charbel Makhlouf
MYSTIC AND MARONITE HERMIT
Feast: December 24