Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
New law leaves Catholics vulnerable
Laymen, underground priests say changes do little to free them from arbitrary arrestThe Great Hall of the People, where the plenary meeting of National People‚Äôs Congress is convened
- ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong
- March 22, 2012
Patrick Poon, a member of the diocese‚Äôs Justice and Peace Commission, said the final text of the law, published by the China‚Äôs official Xinhua News Agency on March 17, left a ‚Äúblind spot‚ÄĚ that could be used by authorities to continue detaining priests and others without charge.
The revised law included changes to the wording of the controversial Article 73 relating to secret detentions.
Article 73 had spurred wide condemnation in and outside China for what critics said would effectively legalize secret detentions.
In its original form, Article 73 allowed for the detention of anyone suspected of endangering state security and engaging in terrorism under house surveillance for up to six months without any legal obligation to inform family members.
‚ÄúSince the definition of state security endangerment and terrorism is ambiguous, apparently the article that singles out these two crimes is tailored for political dissidents and ethnic minorities of Tibetan and Uyghur origin in western China,‚ÄĚ Poon said.
The wording of these two crimes has been dropped in the approved law, which means authorities will now be obliged to inform family members of detainees within 24 hours of detention regardless of their crime.
He said the amendments showed that authorities were ‚Äúmaking a concession amid criticisms,‚ÄĚ but that people should pay attention to how the law would be implemented next year.
However, Poon said Catholic priests and other personnel could likely be even more vulnerable under the revised law.
‚ÄúThough underground clergy rarely face these two charges, police tend to confine them in detention centers, guesthouses or force them to take the so-called learning class for a prolonged period of time without giving any reason,‚ÄĚ he said.
‚ÄúThe revisions do not deal with Church personnel and fail to address what is the disciplinary treatment for the officials if they do not observe the law,‚ÄĚ he said.
Some ‚Äúunderground‚ÄĚ priests are also pessimistic about the revised law.
One underground priest who asked not to be named observed that the general public has little concern for the revisions, as they are disappointed at the lack of mechanisms to appeal against the authorities‚Äô enforcement of the law.
They know ‚Äúthe will of law enforcement agencies is above everything,‚ÄĚ he said.
Another underground cleric who also declined to be named said the inclusion of ‚Äúrespecting and protecting human rights‚ÄĚ in the revised law‚Äôs first chapter but thinks it amounts to little more than an empty slogan.
A third underground priest pointed added that ‚Äúour plight is not just caused by imperfect laws. It is caused by the system, which the law cannot change but is serving it.‚ÄĚ
Government steps up suppression
Underground bishop undergoes ‚Äėstudy‚Äô
Rule of law plays rule of man