CARDINAL PAROLIN: “THE POPE SEES CHINA AS A GREAT COUNTRY”

CARDINAL PAROLIN: “THE POPE SEES CHINA AS A GREAT COUNTRY”

In an unprecedented interview with an English-language Chinese newspaper – the Global Times – a sub-publication of the People’s Daily, the Vatican Secretary of State talks of positive developments in diplomatic relations between China and the Holy See, and of the mutual will to face and resolve problematic issues and questions.

By Linda Bordoni (vaticannews)

In a long Q&A conducted by an Italian correspondent for the Chinese publication, Parolin spoke of progress in the Provisional Agreement between China and the Holy See, he recalled some salient memories of his negotiations with Chinese representatives and he offered his perspective on China’s sinicization of religions, the process whereby non-Chinese societies come under the influence of Chinese culture.

Inevitable criticism
Having reiterated the will, on both sides, to look for practical solutions which concern the lives of real people who desire to practice their faith peacefully and offer a positive contribution to their own country, the Cardinal noted that there should not be a surprise if there is criticism, which can arise either in the Church or in China or from elsewhere, of an opening which can appear unprecedented after such a long period of confrontation.

Indeed, Parolin added, “it seems to me human and Christian to show understanding, attention and respect for those who express such criticism.”

The Cardinal acknowledged that not all problems have been resolved, and said that many questions still need to be addressed, adding that we are facing them with “willingness and determination.”

Sinicization and Inculturation
Regarding China’s sinicization of religions, Parolin said “Inculturation is an essential condition for a sound proclamation of the Gospel which, in order to bear fruit, requires, on the one hand, safeguarding its authentic purity and integrity and, on the other, presenting it according to the particular experience of each people and culture.”

He said that, “in the future it will certainly be important to deepen this theme, especially the relationship between ‘inculturation’ and ‘sinicization,’ keeping in mind how the Chinese leadership has been able to reiterate its willingness not to undermine the nature and the doctrine of each religion.”

Parolin went on to explain that, “These two terms, ‘inculturation’ and ‘sinicization,’ refer to each other without confusion and without opposition: in some ways, they can be complementary and can open avenues for dialogue on the religious and cultural level.”

Personal memories
Regarding his own memories and experience in dealing with Chinese representatives for many years, the Vatican Secretary of State recalled numerous hiccups, concerns and fears that inevitably have arisen throughout the process, but said the will to move forward prevailed on both sides.

He said that particularly important in creating a favorable atmosphere during negotiations, were the many moments of familiarity and friendship that arose, allowing the parties “to share the humanity that unites us beyond the differences that exist between us.”

Pope Francis
Cardinal Parolin concluded with an appeal from the Pope to Chinese Catholics “to undertake with courage the path of unity, reconciliation and a renewed proclamation of the Gospel.”

“He sees China not only as a great country but also as a great culture, rich in history and wisdom,” he said, reiterating the Holy See’s hope that “China will not be afraid to enter into dialogue with the wider world.”

“In the words of Pope Francis,” he said, “we would say that only by being united can we overcome the globalization of indifference, working as creative artisans of peace and resolute promoters of fraternity.”

For full interview in the Global Times: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1149623.shtml

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS CATHOLIC EXTENSION – PAPAL TELEGRAM FOR LOSS OF LIFE IN NEPAL – APRIL PRAYER INTENTION FOR MEDICAL PERSONNEL IN CONFLICT ZONES – CARDINAL PAROLIN MEETS PEOPLE WORKING AGAINST CRIMINALIZATION OF HOMOSEXUALITY

In his only appointment for the day, Pope Francis this morning attended the 4th Lenten sermon given by preacher of the papal household, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa.

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS CATHOLIC EXTENSION

Tune in to Vatican Insider on this first weekend of April when my guest in the interview segment is Joe Boland, Vice President of Mission at Chicago-based Catholic Extension. In a nutshell, Catholic Extension’s mission is to provide funding to help the Catholic Church grow in poor mission dioceses by investing in people, infrastructures and ministries. It is a wonderful, vibrant organization and I learned a lot – as you will! – when I spoke with Joe.

As I learned on its website, in 1907, Catholic Extension received its first papal approval by an Apostolic Letter of Pope Pius X. In 1910, the Pope raised Catholic Extension to the dignity of a canonical institution directly under his own guidance and protection. As a Papal Society, Catholic Extension’s president is appointed by the Pope himself. The current president is a native Chicagoan, Fr. Jack Wall. He was named in 2007 by Pope Benedict, (www.catholicextension.org)

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

PAPAL TELEGRAM FOR LOSS OF LIFE IN NEPAL

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, secretary of State, sent the following telegram of condolences in Pope Francis’ name to Bishop Paul Simick of the Vicariate of Nepal: “Upon learning the sad news of the tragic loss of life and the destruction of homes caused by the recent storm in southern Nepal, His Holiness Pope Francis wishes to express his solidarity with all affected by this disaster and assures those grieving for deceased and injured family members of his prayers at this difficult time. His Holiness prays especially for the victims and encourages the emergency personnel as they continue to aid those in need. Upon all the people of Nepal Pope Francis invokes the divine blessings of consolation, healing and strength.”

APRIL PRAYER INTENTION FOR MEDICAL PERSONNEL IN CONFLICT ZONES

The Vatican has released Pope Francis’ video message with his prayer intention for April which is for doctors and their humanitarian collaborators in conflict zones.

Following is the English translation of his April video message: “The presence of doctors, nurses, and other health care workers in war-torn areas is a sign of hope. They are wise, valiant, and good-hearted people who, following their vocation, work under extremely dangerous conditions. Let us pray for doctors and their humanitarian collaborators in war-torn areas, who risk their lives to save the lives of others.”

April’s video (click here: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-04/pope-francis-prayer-intention-april-2019.html#play) is prepared by the Worldwide Prayer Network of the Apostleship of Prayer.

CARDINAL PAROLIN MEETS PEOPLE WORKING AGAINST CRIMINALIZATION OF HOMOSEXUALITY

Responding to questions from journalists, interim director of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, stated on Friday: “Today in the Vatican, Cardinal Pietro Parolin received a group of approximately 50 persons working in various ways against the criminalization of homosexuality. During the meeting, research on the criminalization of homosexual relationships in the Caribbean was presented to the Vatican Secretary of State.

“Cardinal Parolin extended a brief greeting to those present, repeating the Catholic Church’s position in defense of the dignity of every human person and against every form of violence. After having listened to the presentations of some of the participants at the meeting, Cardinal Parolin then assured that he would inform the Holy Father of the contents of the research.”

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS CATHOLIC EXTENSION – PAPAL TELEGRAM FOR LOSS OF LIFE IN NEPAL – APRIL PRAYER INTENTION FOR MEDICAL PERSONNEL IN CONFLICT ZONES – CARDINAL PAROLIN MEETS PEOPLE WORKING AGAINST CRIMINALIZATION OF HOMOSEXUALITY

In his only appointment for the day, Pope Francis this morning attended the 4th Lenten sermon given by preacher of the papal household, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa.

VATICAN INSIDER VISITS CATHOLIC EXTENSION

Tune in to Vatican Insider on this first weekend of April when my guest in the interview segment is Joe Boland, Vice President of Mission at Chicago-based Catholic Extension. In a nutshell, Catholic Extension’s mission is to provide funding to help the Catholic Church grow in poor mission dioceses by investing in people, infrastructures and ministries. It is a wonderful, vibrant organization and I learned a lot – as you will! – when I spoke with Joe.

As I learned on its website, in 1907, Catholic Extension received its first papal approval by an Apostolic Letter of Pope Pius X. In 1910, the Pope raised Catholic Extension to the dignity of a canonical institution directly under his own guidance and protection. As a Papal Society, Catholic Extension’s president is appointed by the Pope himself. The current president is a native Chicagoan, Fr. Jack Wall. He was named in 2007 by Pope Benedict, (www.catholicextension.org)

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

PAPAL TELEGRAM FOR LOSS OF LIFE IN NEPAL

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, secretary of State, sent the following telegram of condolences in Pope Francis’ name to Bishop Paul Simick of the Vicariate of Nepal: “Upon learning the sad news of the tragic loss of life and the destruction of homes caused by the recent storm in southern Nepal, His Holiness Pope Francis wishes to express his solidarity with all affected by this disaster and assures those grieving for deceased and injured family members of his prayers at this difficult time. His Holiness prays especially for the victims and encourages the emergency personnel as they continue to aid those in need. Upon all the people of Nepal Pope Francis invokes the divine blessings of consolation, healing and strength.”

APRIL PRAYER INTENTION FOR MEDICAL PERSONNEL IN CONFLICT ZONES

The Vatican has released Pope Francis’ video message with his prayer intention for April which is for doctors and their humanitarian collaborators in conflict zones.

The Holy Father calls on the faithful to pray for doctors and their humanitarian collaborators in war-torn areas as they risk their lives to save the lives of others.

Following is the English translation of his April video message: “The presence of doctors, nurses, and other health care workers in war-torn areas is a sign of hope. They are wise, valiant, and good-hearted people who, following their vocation, work under extremely dangerous conditions. Let us pray for doctors and their humanitarian collaborators in war-torn areas, who risk their lives to save the lives of others.”

April’s video (click here: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-04/pope-francis-prayer-intention-april-2019.html#play) is prepared by the Worldwide Prayer Network of the Apostleship of Prayer.

CARDINAL PAROLIN MEETS PEOPLE WORKING AGAINST CRIMINALIZATION OF HOMOSEXUALITY

Responding to questions from journalists, interim director of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, stated on Friday: “Today in the Vatican, Cardinal Pietro Parolin received a group of approximately 50 persons working in various ways against the criminalization of homosexuality. During the meeting, research on the criminalization of homosexual relationships in the Caribbean was presented to the Vatican Secretary of State.

“Cardinal Parolin extended a brief greeting to those present, repeating the Catholic Church’s position in defense of the dignity of every human person and against every form of violence. After having listened to the presentations of some of the participants at the meeting, Cardinal Parolin then assured that he would inform the Holy Father of the contents of the research.”

POPE FRANCIS AND CATHOLICOS GEWARGIS PRAY FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS – CARDINAL PIETRO PAROLIN ON THE BONES FOUND IN VATICAN NUNCIATURE

Remember the disputed presidential election returns in Florida in 2000 when people were called in for a recount and results seemed to depend on what “hanging chads” said about a vote – the chad being that part of a ballot that was to have been punched out of the paper ballot by a machine so that the space next to a candidate’s name was clearly marked. Was the “chad” really punched out of the ballot and the candidate chosen – or was it “hanging” as a result of error?

As I mentioned Tuesday, election day in the U,S., there is no patron saint of elections, although the story did circulate that St. Chad – yes, there is a real St. Chad of Lichfield, England – was the patron of the disputed 2000 U.S. elections. He died March 2, 672.

There is a now a recount in Florida – will people be turning to St. Chad?!

As to “VATICAN INSIDER” this weekend, tune in for sure when I bring you the latest news updates and, in the interview segment, I talk to a Polish priest who speaks about a friend of his – St. John Paul!

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

POPE FRANCIS AND CATHOLICOS GEWARGIS PRAY FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS
By Devin Watkins

Pope Francis signed a Common Statement on Friday with Mar Gewargis III, Catholicos and Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, in which they appealed for an end to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.

The two religious leaders signed the statement at the end of their meeting in the Vatican, following a moment of prayer for persecuted Christians in the Middle East. (photo vaticanmedia)

In the statement, the Pope and the Patriarch encourage their ongoing theological dialogue and call for an end to violence against Christians in the Middle East, saying it is impossible to imagine a Middle East without Christians.

“This conviction is founded not simply on religious grounds, but also on social and cultural realities, since Christians, with other believers, greatly contribute to the specific identity of the region: a place of tolerance, mutual respect and acceptance.”

Christians risk leaving the region, they note, if peace is not restored through dialogue. “A truce maintained by walls and displays of power will not lead to peace, since genuine peace can only be attained and preserved through mutual listening and dialogue.”

Pope Francis and Patriarch Gewargis also appealed to the International Community to put in place “a political solution that recognizes the rights and duties of all parties involved.”

Finally, the two leaders affirm the need for inter-religious dialogue “grounded in an attitude of openness, truth, and love.”

Dialogue, they say, “is also the best antidote to extremism, which is a threat to the followers of every religion.”

CARDINAL PIETRO PAROLIN ON THE BONES FOUND IN VATICAN NUNCIATURE

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State responded to journalists asking about the bones found in the Vatican nunciature to Italy in Rome at the end of October.

“There has been no connection made with Emanuela Orlandi by the Holy See,” Cardinal Parolin stated. He went on to say, “I do not know who connected this case with Orlandi.”

Journalists representing SIR (Servizio Informazione Religiosa, a news organization supported by the Italian Episcopal Conference) followed up, asking why the Vatican Secretariat of State immediately involved the Italian authorities. Cardinal Parolin explained that it was “simply done in order to be transparent—so that there would not be any accusation that the Holy See wanted to hide something. Things are being done with greater openness and transparency. Human remains were found, there’s the desire to get to the bottom of what was done, whose [bones] they are. And so help was asked of Italy.” (vaticannews)

(JFL: As I wrote in an October 31 post about the finding of the bones at the nunciature, media here immediately surmised that the bones might be those of Emanuela Orlandi, the 15-year-old daughter of a Vatican employee who went missing in 1983, or of Mirella Gregori, another minor who disappeared that same year.

Investigators will be comparing the cranium and teeth with DNA of the two girls in their possession. Orlandi’s disappearance has been one of Italy’s biggest mysteries for the past 35 years. There have been as many theories as to why she disappeared – or was kidnapped – as there are Agatha Christie novels.

Emanuela’s father worked for IOR, the Institute for Works of Religion, commonly known as the Vatican bank. The family lived inside Vatican City. The Orlandi family, Vatican officials, including the gendarmes and Rome police have followed every lead that came to them over the years, including numerous reports of sightings of Emanuela, both in Italy and abroad.)

POPE INVITES THE FAITHFUL TO OPEN THEIR EARS AND HEARTS TO GOD’S WORD – NEWS ABOUT CHINA AND THE VATICAN – SOME GOOD NEWS FROM CHINA: CELEBRATIONS AS BISHOP SHAO ZHUMIN RETURNS TO WENZHOU

The China story continues as you will see below, including an interview with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Partolin on Vatican-China relations and then a story about a Chinese bishop released after 7 months of being held by Chinese officials. If you want to know what the issues are for the Catholic Church and the Vatican in China this is a short but must-read article.

There was also the weekly general audience today and Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the Mass, highlighting the importance of the Liturgy of the Word.

POPE INVITES THE FAITHFUL TO OPEN THEIR EARS AND HEARTS TO GOD’S WORD

During his catechesis at the weekly general audience, Pope Francis told those present that Christians need to be constantly open to and challenged by the Word of God. By Linda Bordoni (for Vaticannews)

Pope Francis invited the faithful to place themselves in silent openness to God’s saving message as it resounds in the ecclesial assembly and is a fundamental aspect of God’s constant dialogue with his people.

The Pope’s words came on Wednesday during the general audience as he continued his ongoing catechesis dedicated to the Eucharist with a reflection on the Liturgy of the Word.

During Mass, he said, God speaks to his people through the Liturgy of the Word, and the same Holy Spirit who inspired the sacred Scriptures opens our minds and hearts to that living word.

“That’s why,” he explained, “personal choices regarding the readings are not acceptable.” He invited priests to use the readings listed in the Church’s Lectionary, and not replace them by reading from other sources – such as newspaper articles. This is something, he said, that favours ecclesial communion.“God’s Word is God’s Word! We can read the newspaper later on. In Church we read God’s Word. It is the Lord speaking to us.”

If you chat you cannot be listening to the Word of God

The Pope also reflected on the behavior of Church-goers pointing out that if one chats during Mass, one doesn’t hear God’s Word. He urged them to open their hearts in silence to be able to receive His message and then put its indications into practice.

“We need to listen! Since we do not live ‘by bread alone’, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God, we need to be constantly open to, and challenged by, that word, in our lives as individuals and in our life as a Church. This is why we talk about the Liturgy of the Word as ‘the table of God’s Word’ that the Lord sets to nourish our spiritual life.”

Active participation

The Responsorial Psalm, Francis said, favors God’s dialogue with his people as it sets the meditative mood for the next reading and he invited the faithful to participate “at least in the response”. The Liturgical proclamation, he added, expresses and favors ecclesial communion and accompanies believers in their journey of faith.

We need good readers

Francis also reflected on the need for good readers and psalmists, whom, he said, must practice: “this favors an atmosphere of receptive silence” he said. “We know that the Lord’s Word is an indispensable aid to avoid getting lost: it lights up our path. …. How could we undertake our earthly pilgrimage, with all of its burdens and challenges without being regularly nourished and enlightened by God’s Word that resounds in the Liturgy?”
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In conclusion the Pope noted that it is not enough to listen only with ears, but with open hearts so that the Word can make its way inside us and make itself evident in our hands “as we carry out good works”.

NEWS ABOUT CHINA AND THE VATICAN

Cardinal Parolin, “Why we are in dialogue with China”

An interview with the Secretary of State who responds to the accusations made against the Holy See regarding the ongoing contacts, “We trust that the Chinese faithful, thanks to their spirit of faith, will know how to recognize that our action is animated by trust in the Lord and does not answer to worldly logic”


(From a La Stampa interview) – Several signals (including opaque operations, actual political manipulations, and even sabotage) indicate that important developments may occur in contacts between the Holy See and the Government of the People’s Republic of China. The time is right to listen to an authoritative word, which will help to grasp what the Pope and the Holy See really have at heart. And with our Chinese brothers and sisters in mind, help to dispel suspicions and artificial fumes, to look at the ecclesial heart of the whole question, outside politicized narratives. For this reason, Vatican Insider interviewed Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of His Holiness.

Eminence, what can you tell us about the dialogue between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China?
“As it is well known, with the advent of “New China”, there were, for the life of the Church in that great country, moments of serious contrasts and severe suffering. Since the eighties, however, contacts have been established between representatives of the Holy See and of People’s China, who have known different seasons and alternating events. The Holy See has always maintained a pastoral approach, trying to overcome the contrasts and making itself available for a respectful and constructive dialogue with the civil authorities. Pope Benedict XVI well represented the spirit of this dialogue in his 2007 Letter to Chinese Catholics, “the solution to existing problems cannot be pursued via an ongoing conflict with the legitimate civil authorities ” (n. 4). In Pope Francis’ pontificate, the ongoing negotiations move exactly along these lines: constructive openness to dialogue and fidelity to the genuine Tradition of the Church”.

What are the concrete expectations of the Holy See from this dialogue?
“First of all, I would like to make a premise: in China, perhaps more than elsewhere, Catholics have been able to preserve, despite the many difficulties and sufferings, the authentic deposit of faith, keeping firmly the bond of hierarchical communion between the Bishops and the Successor of Peter, as a visible guarantee of faith itself. In fact, communion between the Bishop of Rome and all Catholic Bishops touches the heart of the Church’s unity: it is not a private matter between the Pope and the Chinese Bishops or between the Apostolic See and civil authorities. Having said that, the main purpose of the Holy See in the ongoing dialogue is precisely that of safeguarding communion within the Church, in the wake of genuine Tradition and constant ecclesiastical discipline. You see, in China there are not two Churches, but two communities of faithful called to follow a gradual path of reconciliation towards unity. It is not, therefore, a matter of maintaining a perennial conflict between opposing principles and structures, but of finding realistic pastoral solutions that allow Catholics to live their faith and to continue together the work of evangelization in the specific Chinese context”.

TO READ ENTIRE INTERVIEW, CLICK HERE: http://www.lastampa.it/2018/01/31/vaticaninsider/eng/inquiries-and-interviews/parolin-why-we-are-in-dialogue-with-china-C8mlJsD0PDNsmsx7db6ZIJ/pagina.html

SOME GOOD NEWS FROM CHINA: CELEBRATIONS AS BISHOP SHAO ZHUMIN RETURNS TO WENZHOU

He had been in the hands of the police for seven months. Pressure exerted to make him join the Patriotic Association (Click here for video: http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Celebrations-as-Msgr.-Shao-Zhumin-returns-to-Wenzhou-(Video)-42977.html

Wenzhou (AsiaNews) – Msgr. Peter Shao Zhumin, bishop of Wenzhou (Zhejiang), recognized by the Holy See but not by the government, has returned to his diocese. On January 27th he was welcomed by the faithful with a celebration, prayers and a song specially composed for his return. The song praises him as “our dear bishop who leads us to Christ. Our bishop is the good shepherd … your name is always in our hearts “. (AsiaNews photo)

On May 18 he was taken from his diocese by public security forces and members of the Religious Affairs Bureau and held in Xining (Qinghai), 2500 km from Wenzhou, still under police escort. As of January 4 he is free to move and is no longer escorted by security personnel. Sources from the diocese had told AsiaNews that he would stop in Beijing at the hospital to be treated following an ear operation.

In all these months, police exerted psychological pressure on him to make him join the Patriotic Association, the Party body that wants a Church independent of the Holy See. Faced with his refusal, in early December, representatives of religious affairs asked him to sign a document with the four conditions for receiving government recognition. They include his support for the principle of an independent Church; support for self-nomination and self-ordination [of the bishops]; concelebration with an illegitimate bishop, not recognized by the Vatican; submission to the new religious regulations that will be launched next February. But again Msgr. Shao refused.


For decades the Catholic community of Wenzhou – about 130,000 faithful – has been divided between official and non-official communities: more than 80 thousand belong to the unofficial community. There are 70 priests, divided equally between the two communities. Msgr Shao, 54, despite being a member of the underground Church, is also appreciated by the official community.
Following the bishop’s abduction, the German ambassador to Beijing Michael Clauss spoke up for his release. Even the Holy See had expressed concern over its fate.

POPE FRANCIS TO TRAVEL TO MYANMAR AND BANGLADESH – IN BRIEF

PAPAL TWEETS:

Sunday, August 27, feast of St. Monica, mother of St. Augustine; Today how many mothers shed tears, like St Monica, so that their children will return to Christ! Do not lose hope in God’s grace!

Monday, August 28, feast of St. Augustine the once errant son of St. Monica who became a saint: “You made us unto Yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you”. (St Augustine’s “Confessions”)

POPE FRANCIS TO TRAVEL TO MYANMAR AND BANGLADESH

The Holy See Press Office made the following announcement this morning:

“Welcoming the invitation of the respective heads of state and bishops, His Holiness Pope Francis will make an Apostolic Visit to Myanmar from 27 to 30 November 2017, visiting the cities of Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, and to Bangladesh from 30 November to 2 December 2017, visiting the city of Dhaka. The program for the Visit will be published shortly.

On Sunday, in fact, at the Angelus, Pope Francis offered prayers for the victims of massive flooding in Bangladesh, Nepal, and northern India over the past several days: “I express my closeness to all the [affected] populations, and pray for the victims and for all who suffer because of this calamity.”

Annual monsoon rains have caused the flooding, which has claimed the lives of more than 1,200 people, and disrupted the lives of some 24 million others. Rescue and relief efforts are ongoing, with international aid agencies reporting thousands of villages cut off. People in remote and isolated areas have been without food and clean water for many days. (Vatican Radio)

Also Monday, the Vatican released the official logos for Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Myanmar logo

The logo for his visit to Myanmar depicts Pope Francis releasing a white dove from within a heart drawn in the colors of Myanmar’s flag: yellow, green, and red. An outline of Myanmar’s landmass sits beside the Pope within the heart, while the motto for his journey is shown above: “Love & Peace”.

Bangladesh logo

The logo for Pope Francis’ visit to Bangladesh has colored streamers in the shape of a dove, with a cross raised over a water lily (Bangladesh’s national flower) within it. Above, the official motto for the Apostolic Journey, “Harmony and Peace”, is written in red.

IN BRIEF

CARDINAL DANIEL DINARDO, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, and president of the U..S Conference of Catholic Bishops, released a statement regard the Texas floods on the website of the USCCB: “Please join me and pray for all of those affected by the storm and in need of assistance during this natural disaster,” the cardinal said Aug. 26. “In addition, I ask the faithful to also keep the emergency response personnel and volunteers in your prayers. For those residing in our Archdiocese, in Texas and along the Gulf Coast, be safe and may God have mercy on those affected by Hurricane Harvey.” Sunday he said: “Your safety and the safety of your loved ones is paramount during this emergency. Please do not be concerned about attending Mass today, and heed the warnings of civil authorities to shelter in place. More here: http://www.usccb.org/news/2017/17-150.cfm

CARDINAL SECRETARY OF STATE PIETRO PAROLIN, this evening at 6:30 in the millennia-old St. Peter’s Basilica in Ciel d’Oro di Pavia, northern Italy, celebrated Mass on the tomb of St. Augustine on the liturgical memory of the saint. The remains of St. Augustine have been in Pavia since the 8th century. In a note published by the Pavia Committee for St. Augustine, the cardinal said: “I have a great love and admiration for St. Augustine. I consider him a friend, a teacher, a model. The pages of his writings that move me and fill me with fire are when he speaks of Jesus, of eternal life and the intense desire to attain it, of prayer, of Christian virtues and above all of love and humility. Relative to my work at the Holy See, the pages that greatly interest me are where St. Augustine enters into dialogue with the society of his time, and gives the Church the task of promoting harmony and solidarity, that is, to make herself build the City of God within earthly cities.”

 

VISIT TO RUSSIA BY CARDINAL SECRETARY OF STATE PAROLIN

Pope Francis tweeted today: When we are feeling sad, when it feels like everything is going wrong, we should remember: “God loves me. God never abandons me”.

VISIT TO RUSSIA BY CARDINAL SECRETARY OF STATE PAROLIN

DAY ONE – MONDAY, AUGUST 21

(Vatican Radio) Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin on Monday described the tone of his two-hour meeting with Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Patriarchate of Moscow,  as “very constructive”.

The cardinal is on a four-day visit to Russia during which he is scheduled to meet the Russian Patriarch Kirill and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday before holding talks with President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Wednesday.

The website of the Moscow Patriarchate showed a picture of Parolin clasping hands with Hilarion and holding talks in a room decorated with Orthodox icons. It said the two men discussed “key topics of bilateral relations… in the context of the current international situation.”

Answering journalists’ questions after the Monday meeting, the Vatican Secretary of State said that a good part of the conversation touched on the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine as well as on the Holy See’s concern for the situation in Venezuela.

The Russian news agency Tass highlighted the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church and the Holy See reportedly share the same position regarding “the need for a peaceful solution for the middle-eastern region and in particular for Syria” and that a return to normality in that country will be possible only after the total expulsion of IS militants from the occupied territories.”

Cardinal Parolin reportedly noted that Christians are beginning to return to the areas that have been taken back from the so-called Islamic State, but said that notwithstanding some positive developments, the general situation remains very difficult, especially from a humanitarian point of view.

DAY TWO – TUESDAY, AUGUST 22

(Vatican Radio)  Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergej Lavrov for talks on Tuesday, during which they discussed issues of international concern and agreed to visa-free diplomatic travel. (photo news.va)

During the press conference following their talks, the Holy See and the Russian Federation signed an Agreement waiving visa requirements for holders of diplomatic passports.

Cardinal Parolin and Foreign Minister Lavrov called this a sign of the two countries’ desire to continue to work together on bilateral relations and issues of international concern.

Cardinal Parolin said he raised questions regarding the Catholic Church’s life and activity in Russia with his counterpart.

He said difficulties remaining between the Vatican and Russia include “working residency permits for non-Russian personnel and the restitution of several churches necessary for the pastoral care of Catholics in the country.”

Christians in Middle East

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov evoked the need for solutions for Christians living in the Middle East.

“We need to find similar solutions that would provide proper balance between different ethnic and religious groups in Yemen, Libya, and Iraq, where state building processes are underway,” Mr. Lavrov said.

Cardinal Parolin said he recognized the difference in approach between Russia and the Holy See on these issues. But he said the two share a “strong concern for the situation of Christians in several countries of the Middle East and the African continent”.

“The Holy See nourishes constant concern that religious liberty be preserved in all States and in all political situations,” Cardinal Parolin said.

Dialogue in Venezuela

Responding to a question about the situation in Venezuela, Cardinal Parolin said he believes Russia can help to overcome this very difficult moment.”

He said Russia can promote the Vatican’s efforts to create dialogue between Venezuela’s government and the opposition.

“This is the only solution the Holy See sees for an exit to this situation.”

Cardinal Secretary of State Parolin meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Wednesday.