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Friday, February 15, 2013

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : FRI. FEB. 15, 2013 - SHARE



 

VATICAN : POPE - JOY OF THE COUNCIL AND OTHER NEWS

WORLD LEADERS REACT TO POPE'S RESIGNATION

AUSTRALIA : ARCHBISHOP HART ON RESIGNATION - HEAD OF BISHOPS' CONFERENCE AFRICA : KENYA : LIFE BEGINS AT CONCEPTION IN CONSTITUTION
EUROPE : FREE GUIDE BOOK TO POPE'S ELECTION - DOWNLOAD
ASIA : INDONESIA : 3 CHRISTIAN CHURCHES ATTACKED
AMERICA : BRAZIL : YOUTH AND FRATERNITY CAMPAIGN 2013
TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : FRI. FEB. 15, 2013
TODAY'S SAINT : FEB. 15 : ST. CLAUDE DE LA COLOMBIERE
(Vatican Radio IMAGE -SHARE)BENEDICT XVI: JOY OF THE COUNCIL
Vatican City, 15 February 2013 (VIS) – Following are ample extracts from the Holy Father's warm and friendly chat yesterday with the clergy of Rome, which was held in the Paul VI Hall.
"We went to the Council not just with joy, but enthusiastically. There was an incredible expectation. We hoped that everything would be renewed, that a new Pentecost, a new era in the Church, had truly arrived, … rediscovering the bond between the Church and the world’s best elements, to open humanity's future, to begin real progress. We began to get to know one another ... and it was an experience of the Church's universality and of the Church's concrete reality, which wasn't limited to receiving orders from on high but of growing and advancing together, under the direction of the Successor of Peter naturally." The questions put to the Council Fathers dealt with "the reform of the liturgy, ... ecclesiology, ... the Word of God, Revelation, … and, finally, ecumenism."
"In retrospect, I think that it was very good to begin with the liturgy, showing God's primacy, the primacy of adoration. … The Council spoke of God and this was its first act: speaking of God and opening everything to the people, opening the adoration of God to the entire holy people, in the common celebration of the liturgy of the Body and Blood of Christ. … The principles came later: comprehensibility, so as not to be locked in an unknown and unspoken language, and active participation. Unfortunately, sometimes these principles are misunderstood. Comprehensibility does not mean triviality because the great texts of the liturgy?even when they are, thanks be to God, in one's mother tongue?are not easily understandable. Ongoing formation is necessary for Christians to grow and enter more deeply into the mystery so they might understand."
"The second theme: the Church. … We wanted to say and to understand that the Church is not an organization, not just some structural, legal, or institutional thing?which it also is?but an organism, a living reality that enters into my soul and that I myself, with my very soul, as a believer, am a constitutive element of the Church as such. … The Church isn't a structure. We ourselves, Christians together, we are the living Body of the Church. Of course, this is true in the sense that we, the true 'we' of believers, together with the 'I' of Christ, are the Church; each one of us is not 'a we' but a group that calls itself Church."
"The first idea was to present the ecclesiology in a theological format, but continuing structurally, that is to say, alongside the succession of Peter, in its unique role, to better define the role of bishops and the episcopal body. In order to do this we found that the word 'collegiality' was very intensely debated, somewhat exaggeratedly I would say. But it was the word … to express that the bishops, together, are the continuation of the Twelve, of the group of Apostles. We said: only one bishop, the bishop of Rome, is the successor of the particular apostle, Peter … Thus the group of Bishops, the College, is the continuation of the Twelve and has its needs, its role, its rights, and its duties."
"Another question in the ecclesiastical sphere was the definition of the concept of the 'people of God', which implies the continuity of the Testaments, the continuity of the history of God with the world, with humanity, and also implies the 'Christological element'. Only through Christology are we converted into the People of God and thus two concepts are united. The council decided to create a Trinitarian structure to the ecclesiology: the People of God the Father, the Body of Christ, and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. … The link between the People of God and the Body of Christ is, effectively, communion with Christ in the Eucharistic union. Thus we become the Body of Christ, that is, the relationship between the People of God and the Body of Christ creates a new reality: communion."
"On the question regarding Revelation, the fulcrum was the relationship between Scripture and Tradition. … Certainly, what is important is that the Scriptures are the Word of God and the Church is subject to the Scriptures, obeys the Word of God, and is not above Scripture. Nevertheless, the Scriptures are only such because there is a living Church, its living subject. Without the living subject of the Church, Scripture is only a book open to different interpretations and gives no definitive clarity." In this sense, "Pope Paul VI's intervention was decisive," with his proposal of the formula "nos omnis certitudo de veritatibus fidei potest sumi ex Sacra Scriptura", that is, "the Church's certainty on the faith is not only born of an isolated book, but needs the enlightened subject of the Church, which brings the Holy Spirit. Only thus can Scripture speak and from this springs all its authority."
"And, finally, ecumenism. I don't want to go into these problems now, but it was obvious that?especially after the 'passion' of Christians during the age of Nazism?that Christians could find unity, or could at least look for it, but it was also clear that only God can give unity. And we are still continuing along this path."
"The second part of the Council was much broader. The theme, arising with great urgency, was today's world, the modern age and the Church, and with it issues of the responsibility of the construction of this world, of society, responsibility for the future of this world and eschatological hope; Christian ethical responsibility … as well as religious freedom, progress, and relations with other religions. At that time, the entire Council, not just the United States, whose people are very concerned with religious freedom, really joined in the discussion … Latin America also joined in strongly, knowing the misery of the people of a Catholic continent and the responsibility of the faith for the situation of these persons. And thus Africa, Asia likewise saw the need for interreligious dialogue. … The great document 'Gaudium et Spes' analysed the problem between Christian eschatology and worldly progress, including the responsibility of tomorrow's society and Christian responsibilities in the face of eternity, and also the renewal of Christian ethics. … The basis for dialogue is in difference, in diversity, in the faith of the uniqueness of Christ who is one, and it is not possible for a believer to think that religions are variations on the same theme. No. There is a reality of the living God who has spoken and who is one God, an incarnate God, therefore one word of God who is truly the Word of God. But there is also a religious experience, with a certain human light on creation, and therefore it is necessary and possible to enter into dialogue and so to open oneself to others and to open all to God peace, all His children, all His family."
"I would like to add still a third point... the Council of the media. It was almost a Council itself and the world saw the Council through it. The 'Council of the journalists', of course was not carried out within the faith but within the categories of today's media. That is to say, it was outside of the faith, with a different hermeneutic … a political hermeneutic. For the media, the Council was a political struggle, a power struggle between the Church's different strands. … There was a triple problem: the Pope's power transferred to the power of the bishops and to the power of all: popular sovereignty. The same thing happened with the liturgy. They were not interested in the liturgy as an act of faith but as something where things are made understandable, a type of communal activity. … These translations, the trivialization of the idea of the Council were virulent in the practice of applying liturgical reform; a vision of the Council outside of its proper interpretation, that of faith, was born."
"We know that this Council of the media was accessible to all. Thus it was the dominant one, the most efficient one, and it created a lot of calamities, problems, and misfortunes. … The true Council found it difficult to make its thought concrete and actual. The virtual Council was stronger than the real council. But the Council's strength was present and, little by little, it became more and more actual, becoming the true force that is, after true reform, the Church's true renewal. It seems to me that, after 50 years, we see how the virtual Council has broken down, been lost, and the authentic Council appears in all its spiritual strength."
ROMANIA AND HOLY SEE: COOPERATION IN SAFEGUARDING COMMON VALUES

Vatican City, 15 February 2013 (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience His Excellency Mr. Traian Basescu, president of Romania. President Basescu then met with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., secretary of State of His Holiness, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
During the talks, which were held in a cordial atmosphere, the good relations between Romania and the Holy See were discussed. In particular, the successful cooperation on a European level to safeguard common values was highlighted and prospects for cooperation between the Catholic Church and the Romanian State in the area of education were addressed.
Issues continuously affecting Catholic communities in Romania were not overlooked and the Catholic Church's contribution in integrating Romanian communities abroad was given recognition.

POPE RECEIVES "PRO PETRI SEDE" ASSOCIATION
Vatican City, 15 February 2013 (VIS) – This morning, in the Hall of Popes, Benedict XVI received members of the "Pro Petri Sede" Association from the countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, which annually offers economic assistance for the needs of the Holy See.
In his address, the Holy Father said that the Year of Faith "invites us to a genuine conversion to our Lord Jesus Christ, the one Saviour of the world. Accepting the revelation of God's salvific love in our lives by means of the faith calls our entire existence to be modelled on the radical newness that Christ's resurrection introduces in the world. Faith is a living reality that must be constantly discovered and deepened so that it might grow."
"Faith," the Pope concluded, "must guide Christians' gaze and action. It is a new criterion of understanding and action that changes one's entire life. As I said in the Apostolic Letter 'Porta fidei', the Year of Faith is an opportune moment to intensify the witness of charity: 'Faith without charity bears no fruit, while charity without faith would be a sentiment constantly at the mercy of doubt. Faith and charity each require the other, in such a way that each allows the other to set out along its respective path'. "


GERMAN LAWYER ERNST VON FREYBERG, NEW PRESIDENT OF SUPERVISORY BOARD OF IOR
Vatican City, 15 February 2013 (VIS) – According to a communique published today, the Commission of Cardinals for the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) has made an appointment, in accordance with the Institute’s statutes, of a new president of the Supervisory Board, Ernst von Freyberg. The other four members of the Supervisory Board will all remain in office.
"This decision is the result of extensive evaluation and a series of interviews that the Commission of Cardinals has conducted, with the constant support of the Supervisory Board. This painstaking and detailed process lasted for some months, making it possible to assess a number of candidates of professional and moral excellence, with assistance from an independent international Agency that is a leader in the selection of top executives."
"The Holy Father has closely followed the entire selection process leading to the choice of the new President of the Supervisory Board of the IOR, and he has expressed his full consent to the choice made by the Commission of Cardinals."
Included in the information is Mr. von Freyberg's curriculum. He was born in Germany in 1958 and from 1978 to 1985 he studied law at the universities of Munich and Bonn. From 1986 to 1987 he attended the Verwaltungshochschule Speyer. In 1988 he earned admission to the Bar at Landgericht, Ulm and passed the second law exam at Oberlandesgericht, Stuttgart. From 1988 to 1991 he worked for TCR Europe Limited (Bemberg Group), Three City Research Inc., and from 1991 to 2012 he founded and served as CEO of Daiwa Corporate Advisory GmbH. From 2012 to the present he has been with Blohm+Voss Group in Hamburg, Germany, serving as its chairman.
Mr. von Freyberg is an active member of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta. He is co-leader of the Association for Pilgrimages to Lourdes of the Archdiocese of Berlin. He is founder and member of Freyberg Stiftung since its creation in 2009. This foundation supports three Catholic organizations in France, Germany, and Austria, the FreiligrathSchule (primary school in Frankfurt) providing student scholarships. He is also a member of the supervisory board of Flossbach von Storch AG, a Cologne based asset management firm. He is a member of the advisory board of Manpower GmbH, a temporary work service firm in Germany.
Mr. von Freyberg brings with him a vast experience of financial matters and the financial regulatory process.

AUDIENCES
Vatican City, 15 February 2013 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received in audience seven prelates from the Liguria region of the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:
- Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa,
- Bishop Martino Canessa of Tortona,
- Bishop Mario Oliveri of Albenga-Imperia,
- Bishop Alberto Maria Careggio of Ventimiglia-San Remo,
- Bishop Alberto Tanasini of Chiavari,
- Bishop Luigi Ernesto Palletti of La Spezia-Sarzana-Brugnato, and
- Bishop Vittorio Lupi of Savona-Noli.

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 15 February 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father appointed Fr. Friedrich Bechina, F.S.O., official of the Congregation for Catholic Education, as under-secretary of that congregation.

WORLD LEADERS REACT TO POPE'S RESIGNATION

 

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT - SHARE
15 Feb 2013



British PM David Cameron paid tribute to Benedict's tireless work to strengthen British relations
Ever since Pope Benedict XVI made his surprise announcement on the eve of Ash Wednesday that due to his advancing age and increasing frailty he would step down as Pontiff in just over two weeks time, world leaders, politicians - Catholics and non Catholics - have paid tribute to his humility, compassion, his outstanding scholarship and brilliance as a theologian as well as his ability to reach out to all people during his eight year Papacy.
"The United States is grateful to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for his leadership of and ministry to the world's 1.3 billion Catholics," said John Kerry, USA's newly-appointed Secretary of State describing the 85-year-old Holy Father as "a man of action and principle, working to promote human rights and dignity in places around the globe where they have too often been denied."
President Obama also paid tribute to Pope Benedict XVI recalling how much he and his wife Michelle remembered their meeting with the Pontiff in 2009. In extending his appreciation and prayers to His Holiness on behalf of Americans everywhere, the President pointed out the critical role played by the Catholic Church not only in the USA but throughout the world.


Pope Benedict XV1 with Queen Elizabeth
One of the first to speak after the German-born Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation was German Chancellor, Angela Merkel who said she had the greatest respect for the difficult decision made by the Holy Father. She then went on to describe him as "one of the most significant religious thinkers of our time."
In the Middle East where Pope Benedict made his historic visit to Israel and the divided city of Jerusalem in 2009, the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Yona Metzger said the Holy Father had done much to improve ties between Judaism and Christianity, which he credited with helping reduce anti-Semitism around the world.
South Africa's Archbishop of Pretoria, William Slattery said the continent's 170 million Catholics would remember the Pope fondly. He admitted that although the news had taken him and South Africans by surprise, people understood the reasons he gave for moving on and praised him for his courage and humility in making this decision.
The newly-elected Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the Anglican Church, the Most Rev Justin Welby also praised the Papacy of Pope Benedict XVI and recalled how in 2010 he became the first Pope in history to make a State Visit to England.
The Archbishop said he fully sympathized with the Holy Father's decision to step down as Pope, praising him for conducting his Papacy with "great dignity, insight and courage." Archbishop Welby also asked the 80 million strong Anglicans in his care to pray God to bless Benedict XVI in his retirement as well as those entrusted with the task of choosing his successor.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel describes Pope Benedict as one of the great thinkers of the age.
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron was also profound in his praise of Pope Benedict's eight year Papacy and said the octogenarian would be "missed as a spiritual leader to millions" and paid tribute to his "tireless work to strengthen British relations with the Holy See."
One of the most glowing tributes came from Brazil's Conference of Catholic bishops who hailed the Pontiff for his "humility and greatness."
Others internationally who were quick to pay tribute to Pope Benedict XVI included the President of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lander who praised his eight years as Pope which he said had "elevated Catholic-Jewish relations to an unprecedented level." He also said Pope Benedict had visited more synagogues than any other Pope in history.
The Secretary General of Mexico's Episcopal Conference, Bishop Eugenio Lira Rugarcia said that although the Pope appeared physically diminished on his trip to South America in March last year, his leadership, faith and ability to inspire had remained undiminished.


Pope Benedict prays at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on his historic tour of Israel in 2009
"Benedict XVI has been a completely open and transparent man and this decision must have been very hard," he said and praised the Pontiff for always acting firmly and clearly and never trembling or backing away from a difficult decision.
Among the many who have paid tribute to the Pontiff over the past few days have been economists who have praised Pope Benedict not only for his grasp of economics but for his ground breaking and far reaching Caritas in Veritate Encyclical.
Professor Philip Booth, Professor at London's prestigious Cass Business School in London says the Pope was very clear on his economic ideas and had a wise understanding of the problems facing the welfare state.
In the Pontiff's encyclical of 2009 the Pontiff said there would always be suffering which cried out for consolation and help. But he pointed out if a state provided everything, absorbing everything into itself, it would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy and incapable of guaranteeing the very things the suffering person needs - mainly, loving personal concern.


Newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury paid tribute to Pope Benedict XVI on behalf of the world's Anglicans
"We do not need a state which regulates and controls everything," Pope Benedict wrote and said "Solidarity as a virtue was far superior to an instrusive welfare state."
The encyclical also won wide praise from both economists and politicians for Benedict XVI's insistence that the state's role was to serve and "family and civil society must always take priority over the state."
SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY

AUSTRALIA : ARCHBISHOP HART ON RESIGNATION - HEAD OF BISHOPS' CONFERENCE

ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE RELEASE
Archbishop Hart's statement on Pope's resignation


Monday 11 February 2013

Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Archbishop of Melbourne released the following statement tonight:

'Pope Benedict has announced that because of advanced age and failing strength he is unable to fulfil the heavy demands of office, and in full freedom, he will resign on 28 February.

'After a lifetime of service as an eminent theologian and teacher, he was elected Pope in April 2005. Millions of Catholics are grateful for his holiness and teaching, and are encouraged by his gentle and loving service.

'As he retires to a life of prayer for the Church, we remember with gratitude and prayer his faithfulness to the call given him as Vicar of Christ and chief pastor of the universal Church.'


As President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Archbishop Denis Hart spoke to the media about the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

To Listen to the Archbishop's interview with Jon Faine on 774 ABC click HERE
To watch the Archbishop's interview on ABC News 24's Breakfast program click HERE

Here is the Vatican's English translation of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation remarks, delivered in Latin, during an ordinary public consistory to approve the canonization of new saints on 11 February 2013.
Dear brothers,
I have convoked you to this consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of bishop of Rome, successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a conclave to elect the new supreme pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the holy church to the care of our supreme pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the cardinal fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new supreme pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the holy church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
From the Vatican,
Pope Benedict XVI
SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE

EUROPE : FREE GUIDE BOOK TO POPE'S ELECTION - DOWNLOAD

IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT
Following Pope Benedict XVI's announcement of his resignation on Monday, many are now speculating on what is going to happen next. This new and completely up-to-date publication takes you step by step through what happens until the election of the new Pope.
Written by expert Monsignor Charles Burns, Ecclesiastical Adviser at the British Embassy to the Holy See, this free downloadable book from the Catholic Truth Society, is an easily accessible and authoritative explanation of what happens, when and why.
To get your copy, click here: http://www.ctsbooks.org/FileDepository/products/imports-2013/Conclave_Mgr_Charles_Burns_EX48.pdf
To browse all CTS publications, see: http://www.ctsbooks.org/
SHARED FROM IND. CATH. NEWS

AFRICA : KENYA : LIFE BEGINS AT CONCEPTION IN CONSTITUTION

We-will-Uphold-Morality,-Affirms-Deputy-Presidential-Candidates
CISA NEWS REPORT SHARE - NAIROBI, February 15, 2013 (CISA) Deputy Presidential candidates were unanimous on the sanctity of life and believed that life begins from conception. They have agreed that abortion should not be tolerated, and supported the Kenyan constitution that outlaws abortion, except in circumstances where the mother’s life is in danger.
Hon Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka from the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) assured Kenyans that, “With regard to the very important matter of abortion, I personally hold the view which again is clearly elaborated in the constitution, that life begins at conception. Not only that, every human being has a right to life… I am opposed to abortion because abortion is killing a child.” However, he agreed that abortion should only be done if the life of a mother is at stake and only a trained professional should perform it to save the life of the mother.
Shem Ochuodho, the deputy presidential candidate for the Safina Party, Jeremiah Kioni from the Amani Coalition, Ronnie Osumba from the Eagle Alliance, Joshua Onono, from the Alliance for Real Change Party and Winnie Kaburu, from RBK party agreed with Mr Kalonzo.
William Ruto stated that his position and that of the Jubilee Party is that abortion is unconstitutional and there should be no grey area allowing the murder of the child or the mother.
“I am a catholic by faith and I will take the position of the Catholic Church,” stated Augustine Lotodo. He said that there should be no abortion; however, he reiterated that because we live in a democracy, the majority will take the day in decisions that concern morals. He urged the public to convince the rest that abortion and homosexuality is not right.
The candidates had similar sentiments on the issue of same sex marriages. They unanimously condemned same sex marriages.
Kalonzo Musyoka said, “In article 5 of our constitution, marriage is defined as a relationship that occurs between a man and a woman, and that I uphold.”
They were speaking during a Deputy Presidential debate organized by religious media stations, Kenya Broadcasting Cooperation, KBC, the national broadcaster and Daystar University held on Thursday February 14. The debate was enshrined on religious values and morals in society and was broadcast live on several Christian media stations and the national broadcaster, KBC.
The Deputy Presidential candidates agreed that corruption is a major disease in the country that needs to be addressed and fought. All the candidates pledged that their parties were ready to fight corruption, and they had established methods that will be used to uproot corruption from its roots. In addition, the candidates agreed that upholding marriage and family values was important, and they would endeavour to support such values. They added that they would work together with the church to ensure that proper laws were put in place to safeguard the morality of Kenya.
The debate was organized in light of the coming General Elections in Kenya scheduled for March 4th and was moderated by Ms Catherine Achieng’a while Sr Agnes Lucy Lando, Director Ukweli Video Productions was the Master of Ceremony.
SHARED FROM CISA NEWS AFRICA

AMERICA : BRAZIL : YOUTH AND FRATERNITY CAMPAIGN 2013

Agenzia Fides REPORT - "We are 25% of Brazil's population, about 50 million people, immersed in a digital world, lacking public policies that see young people not only as a problem or a transition group, but as protagonists of a strategic development. We must promote youth policies that see youth as an active subject of law," said Rodrigo Crivelaro, president of the Municipal Council of the youth of Santa Barbara Oest (SP) and representative of the Youth Pastoral (PJ), on the occasion of the launch of the Fraternity Campaign 2013.
A note sent to Fides by the PMS in Brazil, reports that the Fraternity Campaign 2013, under the slogan "Brotherhood and Youth", was presented by the Secretary of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, Msg. Leonardo Ulrich Steiner as a "Lenten march ", a period of personal and communal conversion. Msg. Ulrich Steiner, said that this initiative which started in 1964 in the Archdiocese of Natal (RN) has "become a journey of personal, community and social conversion, and proposes issues of great importance for the Church and the Brazilian society."
The Brotherhood Campaign 2013 falls into a special context for the preparation, in all the dioceses of the XXVII World Youth Day to be held in July in Rio de Janeiro. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 15/02/2013)

ASIA : INDONESIA : 3 CHRISTIAN CHURCHES ATTACKED

ASIA NEWS REPORT
by Mathias Hariyadi
Three Protestant churches were attacked at dawn. Unknown assailants who arrived on motorbikes threw Molotov cocktails against the buildings. The attack lasted an hour and follows a similar incident a few days ago. Observers fear an escalation in sectarian violence as part of a political plan to destabilise the country.


Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Indonesian authorities have appealed for calm after a number of Christian places of worship were attacked in Makassar, capital of South Sulawesi. In Jakarta, the central government is particularly concerned to avoid an escalation that might lead to sectarian violence.

Three Protestant churches were attacked with Molotov cocktails by unknown assailants. Although there was little damage, the incident has raised concerns that they are part of some political plan to heighten sectarian tensions in order to destabilise the country's political institutions and thus undermine coexistence in the world's most populous Muslim country.

The attack occurred in central Makassar at dawn yesterday, St Valentine's Day, which is a controversial celebration in the Muslim nation. Riding their motorcycles, unidentified attackers three flammable devices at the different places of worship over the period of an hour.

The first church that was hit belongs to the GKI (Indonesian Christian Church), on Samiun Road (pictured). This was followed by an attack against the Toraja Church on AP Pettarani Road and finally a third Protestant church in Gatot. Local sources report that no one was hurt and the three buildings suffered only minor damages.

A police spokesperson in Jakarta said that the attack was connected to attempts by Muslim extremists to heighten sectarian sentiments and fuel religious conflict.

In light of the situation, Indonesian State Intelligence Agency Chief General Marciano Norman appealed to residents to stay calm, urging them not to respond to provocations from any group.

Home to an important university, Makassar has over the years become a major tourist and trading centre. For a long time, it was an island of peace and calm.

Things began changing last year when Muslim extremists three a homemade device against South Sulawesi Governor Sahrul Yasril Limpo. Earlier this year, two Muslim extremists were killed in a shootout with police at a local mosque. And this Monday, unidentified attackers firebombed the Toraja Mamassa Protestant church, causing minor damage.

Sulawesi Island and neighbouring Maluku Islands are not new to bloodshed. Between 1997 and 2001, violence broke out pitting Muslims against Christians. Thousands of people were affected. Homes, churches and mosques were destroyed. An estimated half a million people became homeless, including 25,000 in the city of Polo alone.

The violence came to a formal end on 20 December 2001, when Christian and Muslim leaders signed a truce in Malino, South Sulawesi, worked out by the government.

This however did not stop all acts of violence. Perhaps one of the worst was the beheading by Muslim extremists of three Christian schoolgirls in October 2005.


SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : FRI. FEB. 15, 2013



Matthew 9: 14 - 15



14 Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?"
15 And Jesus said to them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.





 

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