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ISHVANI KENDRA
Institute of Missiology and Communications
Pune – India

September / 2005

I. REPORT AND DOCUMENTATION

China: New Bishop in China Received Approval by Rome and Beijing

Chinese government representatives joined 2,000 Catholics and 100 priests for the Episcopal ordination of Bishop Anthony Dang Mingyan July 26 in the Archdiocese of Xi’an. Bishop Dang’s nomination was the second approved by both the Vatican and the Chinese government in the last three months. The 38-year-old bishop will serve as an auxiliary to Archbishop Anthony Li Duan, known for his faith and great love for the Pope. Unlike last month’s ordination in Shanghai, no priests or guests from outside China were present. However, two officials from the State Administration of Religious Affairs, as well as two officials of the Beijing-based bishop’s council and of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association attended. (CNA)

Dublin: ‘Big Responsibility’ for Irish Churches as IRA Says No More War

The two church representatives invited to verify a process of putting Irish Republican Army weapons beyond use in co-operation with an official body to oversee the disarming process bear a great responsibility along with governments and church bodies, say denominational leaders. The 28 July announcement by the IRA orders a complete end to a 30-year “armed struggle” that was viewed as terrorism by its opponents and victims. The head of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, the Archbishop of Armagh, Dr.Seán Brady, said he hoped the IRA would deliver “not only on its declared commitment to end its armed campaign but also accompany this historic declaration with the kind of actions that will build trust, inspire confidence and encourage a positive response from others”. (ENI)

India: Margaret Alva Selected for Mandela Award

Former Union Minister and AICC general secretary Ms.Margaret Alva has been selected for the Nelson Mandela Award for Minority Empowerment for her contribution in the field of advocacy for minority causes Ms.Alva received the award at the United Nations in New York on August 5, according to the International Foundation for Minority Empowerment in the US. The award is an honour given to individuals and organizations in recognition of the outstanding achievements in the promotion of minority affairs and has been instituted in the name of Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela. (Satyadeepam)

India: Divine Word in Human Language

It took the Belgium-born Jesuit priest Fr.Christian Mignon (80) and his Kolkata-born Hindu Bengali poet collaborator Mr. Sajal Banergea, thirty five years to offer to the Bengali Christians the best possible translation of the Bible in modern Bengali. As the three-volume new translation of the Bible, entitled Mangalbarta (literally ‘goodnews’) Bible, makes its entry on to the lecterns and into the reading rooms of Bengali households.

Indonesia: Muslim Teacher Blends Interfaith Harmony in His Religious Education

A Muslim teacher who teaches Islam in a public senior high school of Central Java province in Indonesia stresses the importance of intra-and interreligious harmony in religious education. Muhammad Taufiqur Rahman, an Islamic religion teacher in a public high school in Semarang, north of Yogyakarta, says interreligious conflict and violence that afflict the country are against the real function of religion, which he says is to guide people to relate with God and others. Topics he includes in his classes are history of religions, history of the search for God by human beings, inclusive teachings in the Qur’an and of Prophet Mohammad, and the danger of extremism. During 10 years of teaching religion, he said he has noticed that his students have been respectful of the religious beliefs of their non-Muslim friends, as well as of other Muslims who practice different rituals. (UCAN)

Germany : Birth Place of Pope Benedict XVI to be Turned into Museum

The home where Joseph Ratzinger was born in the small Bavarian town of Marktl am Inn will be turned into a museum dedicated to Pope Benedict XVI, town officials said. The mayor of Marktt am Inn, Hubert Gschwend, announced the municipal council approved a proposal to turn the house into a museum, after the current owner of the property, Claudia Dandl, announced her intention to sell the building.

Japan: Children Challenge World Leaders on the Environment

600 children from around the world gathered for the UNEP Children’s World Summit for the Environment in Japan are challenging the world’s leaders to pay higher attention to energy, biodiversity, and water and recycling. At the same time they all commit themselves to environmentally friendly actions to make a difference for the future. The world summit for children held in the Aichi Prefecture in Japan was organized by the United Nations Environment Programme, with His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino of Japan as the honorary president. The 600 delegates, ages 10 to 14, came from 65 nations, many of them from developing countries. They also challenge the leaders in a petition, asking them to “create and enforce laws to improve efficiency in production, consumption and conservation of energy.” (UNEP)

Kenya: Kenyan Bishops Concerned About Increase in Crime

Noting that almost 100 people – including an Italian bishop – have been killed in northern Kenya in July. Kenya’s bishops said they are alarmed at the high levels of crime and insecurity in the country. “Insecurity must be halted” in all areas of Kenya “rocked by skirmishes and bloodletting,” the bishops said in a 18 July statement. The bishops made a “passionate appeal” to President Mwai Kibaki “to protect the lives and property of all peace-loving Kenyans.” The bishops said many of Kenya’s 32 million people have been victims of crime. (CNS)

Lima: Peruvian Catholic Bishops Defend Role of Clerics in Mining Protest

The Peruvian Bishops’ Conference has defended the actions of two Roman Catholic bishops from northern Peru accused of inciting recent anti-mining protests that have left one person dead and more than 20 injured. In late July more than 2000 peasant farmers converged on the London-based Monterrico Metals plc Rio Blanco project, located near the Ecuador border, in a bid to drive the project out. Many of the farmers walked for more than 12 days to reach the copper-molybdenum project. Residents there assert the project will contaminate nearby rivers in the agriculture-rich Huancabamba valley. Monteirrico Metals is currently exploring the area. Monsignor Daniel Turley, Bishop of Chulucanas and Francisco Muguiro Ibarra, the Jesuit apostolic vicar of Jaen sought to broker talks between farmers and company officials, but evoked the wrath of mining officials who claim the violence was instigated by the church, non-government organizations and political extremists. Among other officials, Deputy Mines Minister Romulo Mucho said the church had stepped outside its boundaries. Mining products account for about 55 per cent of Peru’s overall exports. (ENI)

Lome: Inter-Religious Group Urges Dialogue to Overcome Togo Crisis

The leader of an inter-faith peace mission to Togo has urged government and opposition politicians to work together to bring an end to political crisis that has gripped the West African nation since February but whose roots stretch back much further. The delegation urged the country’s religious communities to join forces to promote a “healing process” to the crisis that erupted in February with the death of the country’s long-serving president, Gnassingbe Eyadema, and the appointment of his son, Faure Gnassingbe, as successor in violation of the constitution. The visiting delegation noted Africa needed “transparency, good governance, respect for human rights, the rule of law, social justice, and gender equality” and to have leaders “who are accountable, not to outsiders, but truly accountable to their own people”. (ENI)

London: Direct Sign Language Training for Church Ministry to Start in U.K.

The first training course for the Christian ministry in Britain to be delivered directly in British Sign Language (BSL) for deaf participants is due to start in January, 2006. The two-year pilot course for up to 12 people is a joint initiative by the University of Chester in north-west England and a committee of the Archbishop’s Council of the Church of England. Instruction will be by lecturers from the U.K.-based Signs of God organization which trains interpreters to work in Christian settings and provides them with teaching resources. Tuition will be delivered through a combination of seminars, residential weekends and home on-line learning through the text and video with local one-to-one tutor support. The course was aimed initially at deaf people who worked or intended to work as pastoral assistants who required basic instruction. Candidates from all Christian denominations would need to have a good level of BSL and the support of their Church ministries or chaplains. (ENI)

London: Nun Protests Da Vinci Code’s Filming at English Cathedral

A Roman Catholic nun, Sister Mary Michael, has led a prayer vigil outside England’s Lincoln Cathedral in protest at the filming there of “The Da Vinci Code” and has accused the dean and those responsible for the Anglican building of the sin of buying pardons. The film’s producers are reported to have donated 100 000 British pounds (US$180 000) for the facility after Anglican Church officials at Westminister Abbey in London refused permission. The 61-year old Sister Mary belongs to Our Lady’s Community of Peace and Mercy order in Lincoln, eastern England. During a 12-hour vigil on 15 August she led a group of protestors who greeted Hollywood actor Tom Hanks as he arrived and hurried inside for the shooting of the book’s final scenes. On 16 August she returned for a lone protest. The nun told journalists the church should not accept money for something that was not a true story and that instead its members should be praying more for funds to arrive. Her action, she added, was intended to make a reparation to God for the blasphemy that was taking place. (ENI)

Nairobi: African Church Leaders Warn of Looming Crisis in Sudan

A delegation of African church leaders which visited Sudan after the death of John Garang, the Sudanese Vice-President and former rebel killed in a helicopter crash, has warned of a looming humanitarian crisis in Africa’s biggest country. Church leaders have pleaded for all Sudanese to stay on the peace path laid down recently after decades of civil war, and appealed on 4 August after their visit to Sudan for support, as violence left at least 130 people dead and hundreds injured. The three-day violence has pitted Christians and Muslim black southerners against Arab Muslim northerners, with the Church leaders fearing it could turn into a religious conflict. The Christian leaders told the media that the leadership of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and army, which Garang had led, had requested the African churches and religious organizations to intervene to restore peace. Garang was killed on 30 July after steering his movement into the Comprehensive Peace Agreement with the government, ending 21 years of civil war, one of Africa’s longest running conflicts. The agreement made him Sudan’s first vice president and the president of southern Sudan, posts he held for three weeks only. (ENI)

Nigeria, Lagos: Nigerian President Wants Church to Nurture God-Fearing Politicians

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, lamenting poor leadership and corruption among public officers in his country, has urged churches to help nurture political leaders who are honest, hardworking, visionary, and inspiring. “When we leave politics to people who do not fear God, have no respect for the constitution, are insensitive to the masses, lack a culture of dedication and service, are chronically corrupt, and pathologically fixated on indiscipline, nepotism, and the negation of public values, we sow the seeds of bad governance and the recycling of poverty, corruption and underdevelopment,” Obasanjo warned in his speech. According to the Nigerian President, “Dirty people make politics dirty. If we continue to leave politics in the hands of dirty people, it will continue to remain dirty. Children of God must rise to the occasion.” He said, “A good Christian would set a good example, positive leadership skills, a high organizational capacity, and a high capacity to respond to the yearnings of the people, a way of being his brothers’ keeper.” (ENI)

Poland: “John Paul II Day” Instituted in Poland

A new holiday was just added to the calendar in Poland: John Paul II Day. The initiative, approved by 338 votes in favor, 3 votes against, and 2 abstentions, commemorates the Polish Pope on 16 October, the day that Cardinal Karol Wojtyla was elected Pope, reported the KAI Polish news agency. The day will also serve to remember the innumerable initiatives of the former archbishop of Krakow, and later Pope, oriented to resolving social, political and international conflicts. (Zenit)

Seoul: Local Church Prepares to launch New Pro-Life Campaign

On 27 August South Korea’s national Pro-Life Movement will launch a new pro-life campaign starting with a Day to increase awareness on questions connected with bio-ethics, assisted fertility treatment and scientific research using human embryos. Recently through their Commission for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Commission for Bio-Ethics, the Catholic Bishops of Korea clarified and defended the position of the Catholic Church also in view of experiments on human carried out by a Korean scientist: “Dr.Hwang’s research – the text reads – is a manipulation of human life, it offends the dignity of the human person by treating the embryo as an object of research and experiment”. (Fides)

France, Taizé: Brother Roger Schultz of Taizé Assassinated

Catholics and Protestants alike are shocked at the stabbing to death of Brother Roger Schultz, founder of the well respected ecumenical Taizé monastic community in eastern France. According to reports, a 36-year old Romanian woman overpowered and stabbed Brother Roger, 90, three times in the throat during a prayer service in front of some 2,500 pilgrims at Reconciliation Church in Burgundy. The Taizé community was founded in 1940 after Roger Schultz bought a small house in the village of Taize, where he began welcoming refugees from World War II. Today, thousands of Christians – particularly young people – travel to France to take part in the community’s prayer and song. It has likewise been visited by prominent religious leaders including the late John Paul II. (CNA)

Poland, Warsaw: Polish Church Reports Vocations’ Upsurge After Pope’s Death

Poland’s Roman Catholic Church is reporting a sharp rise in priesthood vocations since the 2 April death of Pope John Paul II, with seminary applications doubling in some dioceses. Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza daily newspaper reported that record applications had been filed in the Polish-born Pope’s one time Krakow diocese, as well as in nearby Katowice and Tarnow. Several other dioceses had cited a doubling in numbers. “This is the fruit of John Paul II’s life and death”, a seminary rector in Koszalin-Kolobrzeg, Wladyslaw Lukasz, was quoted saying in the paper. “A vocation can sometimes be a lengthy path, but not always. John Paul II was a charismatic that he could certainly have provoked a desire to follow him.” Polish newspapers have also reported a sharp increase in young people attending summer vacation programmes with the Jesuit, Franciscan and other religious orders. (ENI)

Philippines, Zamboanga City: Christians and Muslims Unite to Prevent Crime Among Young People

A joint effort is needed to fight the scourge of juvenile delinquency, institutions, religious communities, social centers, schools, families must all play a part: this emerged during a forum organized in Zamboanga City, Mindanao (Southern Philippines), to discuss the situation and identify ways to prevent young people from falling into the trap of crime. Representatives of the institutions and also Christian and Muslim leaders agreed to promote common initiatives to reach the common goal of preventing youth crime and helping street children start a new life. The forum also discussed the situation of young people in prison. Many of the inmates in prisons in Zamboanga city and in the region are boys aged 9 to 18 detained for various petty crimes. The Centre offers annual seminars on dialogue, individual responsibility for social harmony, relations between believers of different religions and themes such as the fight against fundamentalism and terrorism. (Fides)

II. BOOKS

Kim, Kirsteen, ed., Reconciling Mission: The Ministry of Healing and Reconciliation in the Church Worldwide, Selly Oak Mission Series: ISPCK/UCA, Vol.1, 2005.

The biblical-theological reflections, contained in the book, are both informed and insightful. They focus on reconciliation and healing as a most relevant paradigm for understating Christian mission today.

D’Sa,Thomas, ed., The Church in India in the Emerging Third Millennium, Bangalore: N.B.C.L.C., 2005.

This huge volume is the outcome of a study of reflections done by some theologians, who have touched upon important current issue, that are vexing the Society and Church in India. It contains 4 orientation papers and 37 research papers.

Irvin, Dale T. and Sunquist, Scott W., ed., History of the World Christian Movement,
Vol. I – Earliest Christianity to 1453,
Bangalore: Theological Publications in India, 2004.

This book, the 1st of 2 volumes, is a thorough lucid solidly researched book, the best recent extended up-dating of the History of the 1st 14 ½ centuries of global Christianity.

ISHVANI KENDRA
P.B. 3003, Pune – 411014 – INDIA
Ph : (0091) - 020 – 27033820; 27033507

E-mail: ishvani@dataone.in
Website:
www.ishvanikendra.org

Please forward this Mission Scan to any of your friends and acquaintances.
Lazar Thanuzraj Stanislaus, SVD (Director)