Institute of Missiology and Communications
Pune – India

May  / 2006


Canada, Toronto: Evangelizing through TV

Television is not a forbidden territory for evangelization says the priest who served as national director of World Youth Day 2002 in Canada. Evangelizing through television becomes successful and effective, reaching out the Good News to thousands of people. It has become true and visible by the birth of “Salt and Light” television channel, on the wings of World Youth Day 2002. One of the obvious fruits of 2002 even is the outcome of the television network which came about through the generosity of an Italian Canadian family that owns the largest private print and media company in the country, namely St. Joseph’s Communications. (Zenit)

China: Holy See Responds to Recent Illegitimate Ordiantions

The Holy See has issued a strong response to the recent illegitimate ordinations of two bishops in mainland China. Father Joseph Liu Xinhong, 41, was ordainedon May 3 as Bishop of Anhui in eastern China, four days after Father Joseph Ma Yinglin, 41, was ordained on April 30 as Bishop of Kunming in southwestern China. Both were ordained without the approval of the Holy See. Nine Vatican-approved bishops from the government-approved “open” Church took part in the Kunming ordination, while five Vatican-approved bishops were involved in the Anhui ordination. Two bishops attended both ordinations. The Vatican statement, released on May 4, says the Holy Father received the news with “profound displeasure” because it gravely wounds Church unity. (UCAN)

France: Silence on Religious Freedom is Lamented: European Institutions Criticized

Political, civil and Church figures criticized the silence of some European institutions in the face of grave violations of religious freedom in the world. The criticism was articulated by Mario Mauro, vice president of the European Parliament; by Fr. Bernardo Cervellera, director of the Asia News agency; and by Attilio Tamburrini, director of the Italian section of Aid to the Church in Need. The three speakers criticized European institutions’ lack of attention in the face of the growing phenomenon of violations of religious freedom in many countries. Mauro contended that the European Parliament is often silent in the face of these enormous violations of the fundamental rights of millions of people and, yet, it makes criticisms “of an ideological character.” Mauro appealed to European deputies to take into account violations of religious freedom when concluding agreements, including commercial ones, with other countries. (Zenit)

India: Rampant Land Sales, Influx Of New People Worry Goa Church

As hundreds of families sell their properties in Goa and move to other places, Church people are worried over the disappearing Catholic culture in this former Portuguese enclave. Even dilapidated houses are in high demand among businessmen from northern India who buy, refurbish and then resell them to affluent people. Indians and foreigners look to buy land in this state popular with tourists. "Even officers transferred to Goa eventually end up buying bungalows because they claim to fall in love with this place," says James Fernandes, a Catholic sociology scholar. "Writers have suddenly found this a creative place. It's sickening because they have begun dictating terms to us," he told UCA News in the state capital of Panaji. Fernandes says the rampant land sales could soon render the indigenous Goans strangers in their own state. Land sales are "threatening the local culture and Goan identity due to the influx of migrants," bemoans Father Jose Dias of Cortalim parish, 20 kilometers south of Panaji. Since early March, 37 priests have banded in a forum called Save Goa From Selfish And Irresponsible Goans. Father Dias said the priests have held deanery-level meetings to seek a strategy to end the "de-Goanization" of their state. Parishes are grouped together in deaneries. Goa, which the Portuguese ruled 1510-1961, is known for its unique culture dominated by Catholic traditions, songs, dances and festivals, besides its imposing centuries-old church structures. About 30 percent of Goa's 1.3 million people are Christians, most of them Catholics. (UCAN)

Indonesia: Women’s Groups Reject Morality Regulations as Biased Against Women

Women’s groups from across Indonesia have voiced opposition to legislation that they say undermine women’s rights. To mark International Women’s Day, 50 activists of 25 women’s groups from the East Nusa Tenggara, Java, Maluku, Papua, Sulawesi and Sumatra regions met on March 8 in Jakarta. At a press conference afterward, they issued a joint statement titled “Rejecting Morality Regulations That Destroy Women’s Rights.” The women’s groups included the Catholic Women. All the groups are working partners of the National Commission on Violence Against Women, which held its triennial meeting March 9-13 in Jakarta. In their statement, the groups charged that “there are regulations at the local level and a bill at the national level that undermine women’s sovereignty on the pretext of upholding morality.” (Laity)

Indonesia, Atambua: Bishops’ Office Takes Campaign for Gender Equality to Dioceses

A network set up by Indonesia’s Catholic bishops has recently run a seminar on gender equality in Atambua diocese, West Timor, as part of a nation-wide Church campaign. Jaringan Mitra Perempuan (JMP, women’s partnership network) conducted the April 24-26 seminar under the theme, “Building Awareness of Equality of Man and Woman as the Image of God.” As the seminar began, Divine Word Father Yustus Asa, Atambua’s vicar general and head of the local organizers, observed that gender inequality has been a problem throughout human history. “This seminar gives us a good opportunity to reflect on and better understand the proper status of men and women,” he said. The keynote speaker, Maria Josef Florensia Sri Murniati, executive secretary of JMP, told participants that her organization is promoting gender equality to implement a recommendation that Sidang Agung Gereja Katolik Indonesia (grand synod of the Indonesian Catholic Church) made last year. So far, she noted, such seminars have been undertaken in 21 of Indonesia’s 37 dioceses. During the grand synod last November, nearly 350 synod delegates from all dioceses discussed gender equality as one of 17 major issues. At the recent Atambua seminar, Murniati referred to a “global paradigm” that always puts women in second place and asserted. “The Church in Asia invites all people to change the paradigm.” The Church is an appropriate place to begin, she said, because it is “a place of changes.”(UCAN)

Korea, Uiwang: Asia / Oceania Nuns Pledge to be ‘Contemplative Prophets’

Women Religious who attended the 14th Asia/Oceania Meeting of Women Religious (AMOR XIV) say that bringing the concerns and hopes of the countries and territories where they live and serve to the meeting has helped them deepen the meaning of their calling as “contemplative prophets.” In their final statement, the 98 participants resolved to commit themselves to rediscover the Blessed Mother by deeply rooting themselves in Scripture and contemporary theology. They also pledged to live and proclaim Gospel values, and said they are willing to take risks for the cause of justice and peace in partnership with others. Their final statement was issued at the close of the April 24-04 May meeting in Uiwang, 25 kilometers south of Seoul. AMOR founded in 1972, now has 24 member conferences of women religious superiors in Asia and Oceania. Its assemblies in recent years have been held once every three years. (UCAN)

Madrid, Spain: Fewer Young Spaniards Say They are Catholic

Fewer than half of young people in Spain consider themselves Catholic, a steep drop from a decade ago, says a new study. The Santa Maria Foundation presented the study entitled “Spanish Youth 2005” which analyzes various aspects of the younger generation. The report found, among other things that “10 years ago, 77% of young people considered themselves Catholic; today, for the first time in history, they do not reach 50%.” The report’s authors attribute this phenomenon to the fact that “young people do not find attractive models of religiosity.” Other causes mentioned by the report are “the growing secularization of society, political changes in a clearly secularist direction, and the mistrust that the Church arouses among young people.” Young people’s greatest criticisms of the Church are “its excessive wealth, its interference in politics and its conservatism in sexual matters, “explains the report, presented Tuesday. Only 10% of young people say they are committed Catholics, as opposed to 20% who are characterized by religious indifference, agnosticism or atheism. (Renovaçao)

Madrid: Expert Says Changing Islamic Mentality Requires Enormous Educational Effort

Father Khalil Samir, a professor at the Oriental Pontifical Institute of Rome and St.Joseph’s University of Beirut, said this week that in order to change the Islamic mentality, “which is fearful of reality,” an “enormous educational effort” is needed at schools and universities, while paying special attention to textbooks and teacher formation. In statements made to the Italian daily “Avvenire”, Father Samir, an expert in Islamic issues, said, “The enlightened West should help the most liberal Muslims to be heard in their countries and contribute to the spread of their ideas by fostering the circulation and translation of their works, inviting them to speak in Europe.” “Above all,” he stressed, “an enormous educational effort needs to be initiated at schools and universities,” with special attention to textbooks and teacher formation. (CNA)

Valencia: Holy Week Speaks to Culture in its Most Profound Roots, says Spanish Archbishop

In his weekly pastoral letter, Archbishop Agustin Garcia-Gasco of Valencia, Spain, said that “what we relive in Holy Week always speaks to our culture in its most profound roots,” adding that it has special meaning in today’s world because of growing individualism present throughout modern culture. In his letter the Archbishop notes that the different celebrations and re-enactments of Holy Week in churches and on the streets provide people the opportunity to recall the overwhelming gesture of love of Jesus, the Son of God, who gave his life for us,” and to affirm that “the total manifestation of God always puts forth a message of truth and love, which is none other than the way to laying down one’s life for others. (CNA)

Vatican City: Pontiff Sends 200 Neo-catechumenal Families on Mission

Benedict XVI sent more than 200 neo-catechumenal families on mission to dioceses around the world. The Way’s initiators, Kilo Argüello, Carmen Hemández and Fr. Mario Pezzi and 1,100 priests formed in the Redemptoris Mater seminaries that have sprung from these communities were present. The Holy Father addressing these families said: “They are families that leave without many human supports, but who count above all on the support of Divine Providence.” The Pope recommended them to witness this with their life: “In a world that seeks human certainty and security, show that Christ is the sure rock on which to build the edifice of one’s life, and that confidence placed in him never disappoints,” he added. (Zenit)

Vatican City: Consecrated Women: Essential for Evangelization

The Vatican paid particular homage to consecrated women, whose contribution it sees as crucial for spreading the Gospel. Celebrating the 10th World Day of Consecrated Life, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples published, through its Fides news agency, a lengthy report to highlight “the precious contribution offered by the consecrated woman.” According to the report, at the end of 2003 there were 855,655 consecrated women “at the service of the Church and brothers, especially the neediest” in the world. The number of women religious of active life, both of pontifical as well as diocesan right, reached 776,269. There were 56,409 I Africa; 222,643 in the Americas; 148,225 in Asia; 338,688 in Europe; and 10,304 in Oceania. Those of feminine secular institutes reached a worldwide total of 28,916. There were 474 in Africa; 5,763 in the Americas; 1,440 in Asia; 21,194 in Europe; and 45 in Oceania. Also, within contemplative life, there are 3,589 convents with close to 50,470 nuns: 30,435 in Europe; 14,479 in the Americas; 3,400 in Asia; 1,926 in Africa; and 230 in Oceania. (Zenit)

Warsaw: Vatican Nuncio Demands Radio Maria Stay out of Poland’s Politics

In a letter sent this week to the bishops of Poland and to the provincial superior of the Redemptorist community in Poland, who own Radio Maria, the country’s Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk, demanded the station “fulfill its pastoral obligations” and stay out of politics. “I ask and demand that the Bishops’ Conference of Poland consolidate its efforts to ensure that Radio Maria and other media outlets linked to this station fulfill their pastoral obligations and the Church’s principle of staying out of political battles,” the Archbishop wrote. Archbishop Kowalczyk also asked that the intervention of the Holy See be taken as a serious warning, and he invited the provincial of the Redemptorists to adopt adequate and effective measures to resolve the matter. In 2005 during a visit to the Holy See, several Polish bishops indicated that Radio Maria had participated too directly in the political campaign of a specific party. (CAN)

Washington DC: National Catholic Prayer Breakfast and Political Leaders

This morning in the nation’s capital, Catholic and political leaders from around the U.S. gathered for the annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast. For his part, President George Bush praised the Catholic Church for its voice in the national immigration debate and called for hope in a time of national and international tension. President Bush quipped about what an honor it was that the organizers of the Catholic event invited himself – a Methodist. He also added his particular thrill “to be here with the cardinals of the Church.” He began by saying that the world needs a “hopeful moment,” at a time “when more people have a chance to claim freedom that God intended for us all.” “It is also a time of great challenge,” he said. “Some people believe you cannot distinguish between right and wrong. The Catholic Church rejects such a pessimistic view of human nature and offers a vision of human freedom and dignity rooted in the same self-evident truths of America’s founding.” (CNA)

Washington D.C.: New Priests to Include Grandfathers Look at the Class of ’06 in U.S.

The ordination class of 2006 includes a set of twins, grandfathers, former Protestant ministers, the father of a priest and the son of a deacon. The twins, James and Joseph Campbell, 26, the youngest of a family of 13 children, will be ordained for the Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania, with their classmate Marc Solomon. James studied at St.Vincent Seminary, Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and Joseph at North American College, Rome. Some ordinands are in their mid-20s, such as John Paul Erickson, 26, of the Archdiocese of St.Paul and Minneapolis, and Jason Vidrine, 24, of the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana. Others are much more senior, such as John Dant, 66, of the Archdiocese of Louisville, who was a vice president for air operations for United Parcel Services, and Thomas Bartolomeao, 69, of the Diocese of Rockford, Illinois, whose career included work as a business owner, educator and candidate for political office. A few have come into the Catholic church from other religions. Steven Rogers, 49, of the Diocese of Kansas City – St.Joseph, Missouri, grew up a Southern Baptist. (Zenit)


Angola, Ballundo: The Murder of Portuguese Missionary

The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples expressed its sadness over the murder of Portuguese missionary Fr. José Afonso, 80. The priest of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit “was shot seven times at close range in the face. The missionary had just gone to bed when about 15 armed men broke into his room and shot him dead without even giving him time to get out of bed.” Police think the motive was robbery. The modest house was turned upside down and the catechist, the missionary’s assistant, was threatened and ordered to hand over objects of value. (Zenit)

Iraq, Baghdad: The Targeted Attack on Iraq Churches

On Sunday, Jan.29, three people died and more than 20 were injured when bombers targeted six crowded churches in Iraq. The terrified parishioners ran for their lives when the car bombers struck in coordinated attacks that took place, as services got under way on Sunday evening in Baghdad and the northern city of Kirkuk. (Zenit)

Myanmar: Workshop Equips Volunteers to Serve HIV / AIDS Patients

Volunteers serving people with HIV / AIDS in Pyay diocese say a Church-run care and counseling workshop has helped equip them with skills for more effective service. The recent Home-based Care and Counselling Workshop held by Karuna Myanmar Social Service of Pyay diocese (KMSS-Pyay) for its volunteers was tremendously beneficial. Karuna (compassion) Myanmar is the social and development organization of the Myanmar Catholic Church. (UCA News)

Thailand: FABC Documentation Centre Set-up in Bangkok

Cardinal Micahel Michai Kitbunchu, President of the CBCT has generously granted the use of an entire floor in one of the buildings at the St. Louis Hospital Compound, Bangkok, Thailand, for the use of FABC as a Documentation Centre, wherein the various publications of FABC may be kept and archived. While the Central Secretariat remains in Hong Kong, the venue in Bangkok will serve as meeting place for various FABC events and also as a possible location of the FABC Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

Turkey, Ankara: Priest Shot Dead in Church

An Italian priest was shot dead in his church in the Turkish Black Sea, city of Trabzon. CNN Turk television said that police were looking for a 17-year-old seen fleeing from the Santa Maria church. The state Anatolian New Agency identified the murdered priest as Fr. Andrea Santoro, 60, reported to have been in Turkey for about five years. Trabzon Governor Huseyin Yavuzdemir condemned this attack against a man of religion. (Zenit)


Joseph Mattam, and Joseph Valiamangalam, Emerging Indian Missiology: Context and Concept, Delhi: FOIM / ISPCK,2006.

This volume presents the papers discussed at the 10th Annual Meeting of FOIM in 2004. This volume challenges the readers to be very sensitive to the context.

Siga Arles, Missiological Education: An Indian Exploration, Bangalore: Centre for Contemporary Christianity, 2006.

This book is the most comprehensive survey of developments in India since Independence in both theology and theological education.

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Lazar Thanuzraj Stanislaus, SVD (Director)