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Vatican appointee faces boycott in Indian archdiocese

The unprecedented move by priests and laity of Kerala-based Syro-Malabar Church may amount to 'defying papal authority’

Published: October 21, 2022 11:08 AM GMT

Updated: October 21, 2022 11:12 AM GMT

Some half a million Catholics and 450 priests in southern India’s Kerala-based Syro-Malabar Church have severed all links with their apostolic administrator which further escalated a five-decade-long liturgical dispute within the Eastern rite Church.

The defying group said they will not report to him and obey his instructions on pastoral duties. The priests in a resolution said that “the administrator or his acolytes will not be invited to any parish or other Church-run institutions.” A canon law expert, who did not want to be named, said the development should be seen as “a very serious move” and may amount to “defying the papal authority.”

Priests and lay leaders in the archdiocese have been opposing the imposition of a liturgical pattern approved by the bishops’ synod that requires priests to face the altar against the congregation during the Eucharistic prayer until Communion. The Vatican appointed Archbishop Andrews Thazhath on July 30 with a mandate to settle the dispute.

When he ordered priests to say the synod-approved Mass with immediate effect most publicly defied him and continue to say Mass the traditional way by facing the people. The Archbishop, in a video message, said he was merely following instructions from the Vatican.

Lay people at the Ernakulam-Angamly archdiocese in the southern Indian state of Kerala take a pledge to not allow Arhcbihsop Andrews Thazhath, the apostolic administrator, to enter the Archbishop’s House accusing him of misleading the Vatican against their interest in a long-standing liturgical dispute. on Oct. 16

Lay people at the Ernakulam-Angamly archdiocese in the southern Indian state of Kerala take a pledge to not allow Arhcbihsop Andrews Thazhath, the apostolic administrator, to enter the Archbishop’s House accusing him of misleading the Vatican against their interest in a long-standing liturgical dispute. on Oct. 16. (Photo supplied)

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The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has sentenced Sam Rainsy, the leader-in-exile of the outlawed Cambodian National Rescue Party or CNRP, to life behind bars.

Rainsy, who lives in France, has been convicted in absentia on charges ranging from incitement and defamation to plotting to overthrow the government, and his sentences to date total more than 40 years. In the latest case, Rainsy was charged for a meeting in 2013 with an ethnic Jarai leader whom he reportedly promised to uphold rights of minorities if CNRP won the upcoming national elections.

Cambodian opponent in exile and leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Sam Rainsy (left), arrives at the courthouse accused in a defamation lawsuit filed by Cambodia's prime minister, in Paris on Sept. 1. (Photo: AFP)

According to Voice of Democracy, details of the meeting became public through a video posted on Facebook in 2018 and the government latched on to it and accused him of “ceding territory to a foreign entity.”

The CNRP was tantalizingly close to winning the election in 2013. It was outlawed by the courts four years later and the long-ruling Cambodian People’s Party won all 125 seats it contested in 2018. 

A statue of Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gon, Korea’s first priest-martyr, will be installed in a niche outside Saint Peter's Basilica commemorating the 200th birth year of the saint, Korean Church officials said on Monday.

The preparation of the statue has been underway since Pope Francis accepted the proposal from Archbishop Lazzaro Heung-sik You of Daejeon, who is also the prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Clergy. "It is a great honor for our Korean church,” said Bishop Mathias Lee Yong-hoon, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea.

St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon (1821-46), the first Korean Catholic priest-martyr. (Photo: YouTube)

Prominent Korean sculptor Han Jin-seop will lead the production of the statue in Carrara marble. The Korean Church has organized various events commemorating the 200th year of the birth of the country’s most celebrated and revered Catholic saint.

Born to a family of Christian converts in 1821, Andrew Kim studied at a seminary in Macau and was ordained in 1845 as the first Korean Catholic priest. He was arrested and persecuted for his efforts in evangelization and executed in 1846 at the age of 25. Pope John Paul II canonized 103 martyrs including Andrew Kim during his visit to South Korea in 1984.

Authorities in Taiwan have arrested three people in connection with an "organ harvesting" ring that lured victims with false promises of high-paid jobs in Cambodia where they were told regular health checks were mandatory and subjected to X-rays.

Afterward, the victims — referred to as “piglets” — would have their organs such as kidneys and liver removed “under the guise of an allegedly mandatory epidemic prevention,” measure, the Taiwan News reported. The organs were then sold. Three people were indicted on Wednesday for violating the Human Trafficking Prevention Act with a petition filed with the Taoyuan District Court.

In this file photo, surgeons perform a transplant of a heart from a genetically modified pig, a first of its kind procedure, to a patient in Baltimore, Maryland, on Jan 7, 2022. Authorities in Taiwan have arrested three suspected members of an 'organ-harvesting ring' that lured victims known as 'piglets' to Cambodia. 

The three had formed a “snakehead gang” responsible for international human trafficking, the report said. Cambodian media has been awash with human trafficking reports since March but only last month the Cambodian government rejected allegations of organ harvesting and the sale of body parts for transplants on the black market.

The allegations were made in Hong Kong and Taiwan but Chou Bun Eng, Cambodia’s permanent vice-chair of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking, dismissed them, saying “These stories are all fabricated.”

The Church in Indonesia is working toward eliminating food waste and hunger in the country by collecting and redirecting surplus food from different sources to those who need it.

Father Adrianus Suyadi, chairman of the Jakarta Archdiocese’s Socio-Economic Development Commission said there are already three parishes that collect excess food and distribute them to the needy. He said some other parishes are also working with Foodcycle Indonesia, a non-profit foundation that distributes surplus food items from sources such as wedding parties, bakeries, corporate lunches and supermarkets.

This picture taken on March 20, 2018, shows an elderly man (left) in the slums of Jakarta receiving a container with food from a volunteer of a program that aims to deal with its mammoth food-waste problem. (Photo: AFP)

Data from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry shows that Indonesia wasted 40 percent of its food in 20 years from 2000 to 2019. It is estimated that this food waste cost it an economic loss of 330 trillion rupiah or about US$ 212 million per year.

Indonesian Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo of Jakarta, who is also president of the Indonesian Bishops' Conference, says food waste is not only a matter of material loss, but also a "faith and moral" issue that Catholics need to address.

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has ordered a government probe into the Unification Church on Monday, after the assassination in July of former premier Shinzo Abe renewed scrutiny of the sect.

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The church has been in the spotlight since the man accused of killing Abe was reportedly motivated by resentment against the group, accusing it of pressuring adherents like his mother to make hefty donations.

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida waves as he delivers a speech before the start of the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, Mie prefecture on Oct. 9. (Photo: AFP)

Officially known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, the organization was founded in Korea by Sun Myung Moon and its members are sometimes called "Moonies." The church has denied wrongdoing, but a parade of former members has gone public with criticism of its practices, and revelations about its links with top politicians.

"The government will exercise its right to probe the church, based on the Religious Corporations Act," Kishida told the parliament. Local media said the investigation could lead to a dissolution order, which would see the church lose its status as a tax-exempt religious organization, though it could continue to operate in Japan.

Philippine authorities paraded before the media a suspected gunman in the murder of radio broadcaster Percival Mabasa. The 63-year-old prominent critic of the government and supporter of former Vice President Leonor Robredo was shot on 3rd October while entering a village in Las Piñas City, south of Manila, by assailants riding a motorcycle.

39-year-old Joel Estorial, the self-confessed gunman who turned himself over to the police, was presented to the media where he said there were three others involved in planning and executing the killing.

Joel Estorial (center), the alleged gunman in the killing of Philippine journalist Percival Mabasa, is presented to the media as Philippine Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos (left) speaks during a press conference at the national police headquarters in Manila on Oct. 18. (Photo: AFP)

When asked who ordered the killing, he claimed not to know the mastermind’s name but said he was already in prison. “Perhaps the killing was an act of revenge by someone who is suffering jail time because of an expose by Mr Mabasa,” police investigator Harold Beltran said.

The case drew international concern as Mabasa, popularly known on-air and online as Percy Lapid, was the second journalist killed since President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. took office on June 30, and the latest in a long line of targeted killings of journalists in the Philippines.

Fighting in Myanmar has prompted thousands more to flee from Chin state and seek refuge in neighboring Mizoram state in India.

There were 1,800 new arrivals in the last week of September alone, bringing the total number of refugees to 48,000, according to the latest report by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The report said more people are expected to cross into India due to the renewed fighting since August.

Myanmarese policemen, who fled Myanmar and crossed illegally to India, hold the three-finger salute in a temporary shelter at an undisclosed location in India's northeastern state of Mizoram on March 13, 2021. (Photo: AFP)

The agency said nearly 6,200 children from Myanmar are now enrolled in government-run and private schools in Mizoram. Churches, NGOs and other organizations in Mizoram have been at the frontline providing food and shelter for the Myanmar refugees.

Mizoram shares a long border with Myanmar, where the military seized power on Feb. 1, 2021, after toppling Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government and putting several political leaders and activists behind bars.

Nepal's wartime rape survivors are demanding justice saying their traumas have been met with official indifference till now. 

The Himalayan republic's decade-long Maoist insurgency ended in 2006 with a peace deal and a promise of justice for those who had suffered atrocities. But 16 years after the war ended, civilian courts have handed down just two convictions for civil war-era crimes, while rape survivors are frustrated that their traumas have been met with official indifference. "Incidents of rape had taken place during the 10-year war.

In this picture taken on June 17, 'Mira' a victim of sexual violence during Nepal's decade-long civil war speaks during an interview with AFP in Kathmandu. (Photo: AFP)

The government must admit this, and address this," Devi Khadka, coordinator of the National Organization of Conflict Rape Victims, told AFP.  Nepali society traditionally ties chastity to the honor of women and their households, and the stigma of rape often compels victims to keep silent.

Already suffering from physical and mental trauma, those that do come forward are often ostracized by their families and struggle to support themselves.

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