• INTERVIEW/MONSIGNOR KEVIN HALE

    Sir David Amess MP stabbed, Catholics in danger

    Sir David Amess, the British MP killed by an Islamic terrorist, was a practicing Catholic and defender of non-negotiable principles. He was denied the last rites, when a local priest was barred by the police from entering the crime scene. But, the proposal of an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would allow the last sacrament to be administered also in these cases. If the proposal becomes law, then even after his death, David will have achieved something good for British Catholics. Msgr. Kevin Hale, his friend and pastor shares his memories and concerns for the Catholic community.

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    • FRANCE

    Confessional secrecy, the Vatican speaks up

    The French Episcopal Conference is backtracking on its initial reactions to the violation of the sacramental seal, but it is the head of the Vatican’s Apostolic Penitentiary, Cardinal Piacenza, who has reaffirmed to ACI Stampa: “The secret cannot be touched”.

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    • PEW REPORT 2019

    Striking report describes religious persecution before Covid

    The Pew Research Center has released its report on religious freedom in the world. The data refer to 2019 and is similar to that recorded in 2018. As many as 57 countries impose "high" or "very high" restrictions on religious practice. But that was before the fateful 2020 arrived with its national lockdowns, providing opportunities for religious persecution also in the West.

     

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    • ESCALATION

    As Big Tech censures Christians, Europe winks

    Europe, invaded by the overwhelming power of the Big Tech lobbies, knowingly winks at all lobbies opposed to the Christian vision. Alarm bells have been sounded by intellectuals, legal experts, and heads of NGOs who have drawn up a number of defensive measures to overcome Big Tech censorship.

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    • LOCKDOWN CULTURE

    Another Easter of restrictions for Masses in Europe

    It will be another Holy Week with strictures placed on worship. The Vatican Easter Vigil Mass will take place earlier at 7.30 pm. In Germany, protesting bishops are pushing Merkel to reverse her government’s measures. Meanwhile, in Ireland,  threats are mounting to arrest 'disobedient' priests and in Belgium a 15-person limit remains in effect  for all religious services other than funerals. COMECE bishops denounced using Covid as a pretext to restrict religious freedom.

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    • RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

    Chinese Catholics forced to celebrate their persecutors

    2021 is not only the centenary of the Italian Communist Party, but also of the much more powerful Communist Party in China which still wields (absolute) power over the most populous nation on earth. Regarding this occasion, celebrated next 23 July (date of the Party's founding in Shanghai), Chinese Catholics have received precise directives from their government. The Communist regime is promoting a "pastoral" programme that is actually political and aims to transform the Church into a mouthpiece for Party propaganda.

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    • BELGIUM

    Left-wing tilt: a secularist threatened by jihadists

    Nadia Geerts, a Brussels-based philosophy teacher, militant atheist and radical secularist, wrote an article for Marianne magazine, expressing intellectual solidarity with Samuel Paty, a history professor beheaded by Islamists in France for having shown cartoon drawings of Mohammed in his classroom. Now, she is the one under threat. Who will the left stand with? Will a  multicultural Belgium come to her defence?

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    • THE OPEN DOORS REPORT

    340 million Christians persecuted: Islam the prime culprit

    The annual World Watch List was presented last week: in 2020 there were 340 million Christians persecuted because of their faith, 309 million of them very severely. The number of Christians killed increased by 60%: from 2,983 to 4,761, an average of 13 per day. 4,277 believers were arrested without trial and 1,710 kidnapped. Islam remains the main matrix of persecution. Religious nationalism and, especially in China, communism, also weigh heavily. North Korea is still the worst performer. Among the factors responsible for the greatest difficulties for Christians, especially where they are a minority, Open Doors identifies Covid.

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    • CHURCH FREEDOM

    Catholics and government "Fight over right to attend Mass" in Ireland

    Even if Masses in Ireland have just resumed after a six-week ban imposed by the government, some bishops and laity have accused the government of acting unconstitutionally.  To avoid further attempts to impose new closures, an appeal has been made to the High Court. The sentence is now in the waiting.

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    • RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

    Christmas Masses under attack in Europe and USA

    The European Commission's anti-Covid guidelines recommend EU Member States limit the celebration of Christmas Masses with the faithful and encourage religious ceremonies on TV. At the same time Christmas masses have been prohibited in Belgium, in France the government and the bishops are engaged in a tug-of-war and in Italy an obligation to anticipate midnight masses has been imposed. This amounts to an unprecedented attack on the freedom of the Church. We now await a response from Pope Francis. Until now he has openly supported government-imposed lockdowns and his addresses are used in the United States by Jeffrey Sachs, for years one of the principal advisors of Santa Marta, to support church closures.

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    • RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

    China shuts its doors to foreign religious

    China is becoming increasingly closed, especially with regard to religions. The draft of the new bill regulating "foreign religious activities in the People's Republic of China" spells further crackdown measures. New rules make entering China  even more difficult. Whoever doesn’t respect the spirit of  “sinicization” of religions in China is treated as a spy.

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    • RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

    North Korea: Auschwitz rebooted against Christians

    While the West is isolated at home out of fear, Christians in North Korea prefer freedom of the soul to physical safety. A document of the Korea Future Initiative is really an interview of about a hundred former inmates of labor camps, narrating the atrocities committed against women, elderly persons and children, but also offering the response of believers, who do not fear their persecutors, before whom they pray and smile.

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