Institute of Missiology and Communications
Pune – India

December  – 2007


Chimpay, Argentina: First indigenous South American is beatified

Tens of thousands of faithful turned out on 11 November, Sunday to witness a ceremony honoring Ceferino Namuncura, the first indigenous South American to be beatified by the Roman Catholic Church. (afp.google.com)

India: Cardinal Vithayathil Demands Countrywide Jurisdiction For Indian Rites

Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil says the simmering inter-rite tension in the Indian Church can end only if the Vatican grants the two Oriental rites countrywide jurisdiction. Cardinal Vithayathil, archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly, heads the Syro-Malabar Church (SMC) as its major archbishop. The SMC, the smaller Syro-Malankara Church and the Latin-rite Church together make up the Indian Catholic Church. The SMC leader refuted charges that Syro-Malabar bishops and clergy divide the laity in the name of rites. "Disunity is caused not because of the diversity of the ritual Churches in the same place, but because of the evils of envy, unhealthy competition and lack of charity," he suggested. Cardinal Vithayathil went on to say many Latin bishops fear they would lose support if Oriental dioceses came up in their territory. According to him, his Church contributes 70 per cent of Church personnel for the Latin dioceses in the country. He dismissed as baseless the Latin-rite prelates' argument that different rites give a counter-witness to the Gospel in India, where Catholics form only 1.8 per cent of the population. The country has "ample room" for various Churches to evangelize without rivalry or confusion, he countered. The cardinal wants all Churches to be given jurisdiction over their people throughout India as soon as possible. Such a move, with some Vatican-approved norms, would prevent confusion and rivalry among the rites, he said. (UCAN)

Kenya: Message from the Global Christian Forum to all Christians

Final statement of the Global Christian Forum that concluded on Friday in Limuru, near Nairobi, Kenya on Our Journey with Jesus Christ, the Reconciliator says, “As a wide variety of Christian leaders, men and women coming from 72 nations and five continents, from a broad range of churches, confessions and organizations, we rejoice at the unprecedented opportunity we have enjoyed in Limuru, Kenya, from 6 to 9 November 2007. We the 245 participants have reflected on our journeys with Jesus Christ the Reconciler…For nearly a decade a compelling vision has empowered the Global Christian Forum process, whose participants have yearned to bring together church leaders and other Christians from all the families and traditions that lay claim to faith in Christ as Saviour and Lord. This vision has also reflected the dramatic shift in the shape of Christianity in the 21st century, which is growing so rapidly in the global south.”(allafrica.com)

Mexico: Basilica of Guadalupe is Second Only to the Vatican for Pilgrimages

Swirling toward the sky at the foot of a hillside just north of downtown is the Latin American Mecca, the sprawling Basilica of Guadalupe compound, home to both the modern basilica from the 1970s and its three-centuries-old predecessor in Mexico. Many U.S. churches have adopted the Guadalupe name, including one in Dallas, because Latin American immigrants are overwhelmingly guadalupaños who believe in the Virgin Mary's miraculous appearance before a humble Indian man, Juan Diego, in 1531. As proof of the miracle for a doubting bishop at the time, the virgin gave roses to Juan Diego, who held them in his tunic. When he opened it before the bishop, the flowers had transformed into the image of the dark-skinned virgin seen on posters, T-shirts and tattoos in Mexico, Latin America and, increasingly, in the U.S. A church in the virgin's honor was ordered to be built, but it took almost 200 years. It's one of the world's key religious sites and a wonderful and sometimes exotic place to visit. Preparations are under way for the feast day of the virgin on Dec. 12, and millions will visit from near and far during a week in which groups with diverse interests and ties will carry out annual pilgrimages to honor a figure of hope and healing. (dallasnews.com)

New York: US Christian Leaders Endorse Muslim Call For Common Ground

US Christian leaders, including traditional Protestants and evangelical Christians, have endorsed a document that responds positively to a call by Muslim leaders seeking common ground between Christian and Islamic religious traditions. Nearly 300 Christian leaders have now endorsed the document, "Loving God and Neighbour Together". It calls for both Christian and Muslim leaders to commit themselves to "the earnest work of determining how God would have us fulfil the requirement that we love God and one another". (ENI)

Nigeria : WIN Holds 2007 Africa Summit on the 10/40 Window

The Window International Network (WIN), an International Christian organization which has charged itself with the responsibility of global evangelism, held its 2007 Africa Summit in Abuja, capital city of Nigeria recently. The thrust of deliberation by the 250 participants, including delegates who converged at the Sharon Ultimate Hotel, Garki, Abuja, was how to penetrate the 10/40 Window with the Gospel message. In the parlance of the organization, nations within latitude 10 and 40 degrees north of the Equator are known as the 10/40 Window. This consists of 68 key nations that WIN is aiming at with the Gospel message. The fact that approximately 1.3 billion people within this window that covers the global from West Africa, North Africa, Middle East, Arabian Peninsula, East and South Asia have never heard the Gospel message appears very disturbing to the organizers of the Summit. It was revealed at the Summit that every major non-Christian religion is headquartered in the 10/40 Window. Such religions as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, as well as traditional religion and atheism hold sway there. And as it stands corruption, poverty, lawlessness and human rights violations run rampant in the 10/40 Window which makes it a breeding ground for demonic activities, the Summit noted. (www.spcm.org)

Nigeria: 150 Catholic Bishops Storm Abuja for Conference

About 150 Catholic Bishops and a number of priests, religious and representatives of the laity from both Anglophone and Francophone countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are being expected to arrive Abuja from December 5th to 9th, 2007. The purpose is to climax the Assemblage of the two Episcopal conferences of the catholic Bishops in the sub-region. A statement from the Abuja office of the Association of Episcopal Conference of West Africa (AECAWA) signed by the General Secretary, Rev. Father William Avenya, showed that the Nigeria President, Umaru Yar Adua, President of ECOWAS, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, and the FCT Minister, Dr. Aliyu Modibbo are among top government officials expected to grace the opening ceremony of the conference. The theme of the conference is "The Church, Family of God on Mission in West Africa: Go, Make Disciplines of all nations' (Mt. 28:19)." The Assembly, which may turn out to be the largest gathering of such calibre of Catholic clergies in the city of Abuja, is also the final stage of the merger initiative undertaken by Catholic leaders from both English and French language speaking nations of the sub-region. (allafrica.com)

Paraguay: Suspended Bishop Cleared as Presidential Candidate

An inactive Catholic bishop, Fenrnando Lugo Mendez, has been cleared to be an active candidate in Paraguay's presidential elections. Incumbent President Nicanor Duarte said that Lugo is qualified to stand as a candidate, despite a constitutional provision that bars priests from holding the presidency. Lugo has said that he has "resigned" his priesthood. The Vatican, which has pointed out that a priest cannot "resign" his ordination, has opposed the bishop's political aspirations. In February the Vatican announced that Lugo was suspended as a result of his continued partisan activity. Bishop Lugo was appointed in 1994 to head the San Pedro diocese. He resigned in January 2005, claiming uncertain health - a claim that has been undermined by his subsequent political activity. He is regarded as a favorite for election in the 2008 presidential contest. (www.cwnews.com)

Rome: Undermining Parents Access to Abortion and Contraception by Minors

The authority of parents in caring for their children received a blow recently when the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that underage girls can seek abortions without parental consent. According to a Nov. 3 report by the Associated Press, the ruling upheld a Superior Court decision finding the 1997 Parental Consent Act to be unconstitutional. In the United States, school officials in the state of Maine defended their decision to allow children as young as 11 to obtain contraceptives, reported the Associated Press on Oct 18. Portland's King Middle School will become the first middle school in Maine to make a full range of contraception available, including birth control pills and patches. Although students would need parental permission to use the city-run health center in the school, they wouldn't have to tell them they were seeking birth control. Many countries are increasingly making it easy for schoolgirls to receive contraceptives, without informing parents. In England, the Telegraph newspaper reported on Oct. 30 that almost one in six 15-year-old girls were given contraception last year, even though at that age they were too young to legally have sex. According to the article, 50,000 girls aged 15 attended contraception clinics in 2006-07, along with another 31,000 aged 13 or 14. The data came from the Information Center for Health and Social Care. The girls as young as 11 can obtain the morning-after pill at school without telling their parents. Mike Judge, a spokesman for the Christian Institute, commented on the statistics in the Telegraph. He urged giving them moral guidance and support, instead of distributing contraceptives. "Most women who look back on their teenage years regret starting sexual activity so early," he added. (Zenit.org)

Rome: Europe With Fewer Catholics Still Has the Most Cardinals

The number of Roman Catholics is diminishing in Europe. But the continent still accounts for half of the cardinals who are able to elect a pope, compared to South America, which has 42.3 per cent of all Catholics in the world, but accounts for fewer than 1 in 5 cardinal electors. Pope Benedict XVI on 24 November created 23 new cardinals, five of them older than 80. (ENI)

United Kingdom: Relationship - Globally, 70 Per cent of us Still Believe Marriage is for Life

A survey released by ACNielsen has revealed some surprising views on what love, romance and marriage really mean in the 21st century. “Record high divorce statistics combined with rising co-habitation rates and an increasing number of children born to common-law couples in the past ten years have certainly made the western world wonder if the age-old concept of ‘to have and to hold till death to us part’ is fast becoming a dying tradition,” said Patrick Dodd, President, ACNielsen, Europe. But with all things love and romance celebrated all over the world tomorrow, the concept of ‘love, till death do us part’ is alive and well, according to over 25,000 consumers polled online in 46 countries last December. “Seventy per cent of people surveyed say that marriage is for life (with American consumers topping the list at 78 per cent) and three out of five (60 per cent) saying that marriage is one of their lifetime goals,” said Dodd. (SkyNewswire.com)

Vatican City: Nuns in the Cloister, the Internet Breaks the Silence -
Schoenstatt Diversely-Able Priest Evangelises Via Internet

"With time the cloister has changed. Today the silence is broken by the Internet. In the past only the bell marked the passing of time. The convent walls seemed impassable. Today computers bring the world to the cloister." On the occasion of the Day Pro Orantibus, celebrated today, the Vatican Newspaper Osservatore Romano proposes an article "Scarpe aggrappate al cielo" (shoes gripped to the sky). Between the Internet and silence. The cloister is difficult to understand for those of us who count time between work and leisure time, much noise and all kinds of sounds and little silence. The 'being which comes before doing' is the first concern of the Pope to revitalise Christian testimony, and this is why he has focussed once again his attention of nuns in the cloister and their witness of life.
The writings of Fr Nicolás Schwizer of the Institute of the Schoenstatt Fathers, who has worked for many years in Paraguay, can be received free of charge every two weeks. In the year 2000 a road accident left him restricted in his movement, but he continues to evangelise through his reflections. A few months ago these reflections "Fr Nicolás preaches from the web" in Spanish, English, Portuguese and German were made available through e-mail. Today Fr Nicolas has more than 1,500 readers in different countries all over the world". Osservatore Romano www.fides.org (Agenzia Fides)

Vatican City : New Encyclical "Spe Salvi" to Be Released in 8 Languages

Benedict XVI's second encyclical, "Spe Salvi," will be signed and released to the public Nov. 30, the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle. The Pope's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone confirmed that the encyclical will also be released that day in eight languages, including English. The Holy See said "Saved In Hope" will be presented by Cardinal Georges Cottier, retired theologian of the Pontifical Household, and Cardinal Albert Vanhoye, retired professor of New Testament at the Pontifical Biblical Institute. As the Church prepares for the Year of St. Paul, the title, "Spe Salvi," refers to Paul's Letter to the Romans, 8:24: "For in hope we were saved." Hope has been an important theme in this pontificate. (Zenit.org)

Venice: A Catholic Church Turns Into A Mosque

Believe it or not! A parish Church turns into a mosque every Friday, for the Muslims brothers and to offer their customary prayers. This is a reality in the parish of Our Lady of Assumption of Ponzano near Venice, the romantic city of Italy. The pastor of the parish, Don Aldo Danieli, 69, affirms, "It's useless to speak of religious dialogue and then bang the door on their face. Pope John Paul II addressed them as, 'dear Muslim brothers'. How can we close our Church doors to them?" At Ponzano, in the province of Treviso, live some 11,500 people of whom 232 families are immigrants, making their number roughly 650. These are mainly immigrants from North African countries and Eastern Europe. Two years ago, Don Aldo decided to open the doors of the Church to these Muslim immigrants and keep a portion of his own parochial house including a kitchen and a little at their disposal. On Fridays an average of 200 Muslim believers gather in the Church and offer prayers. But in the month of Ramadan, the number swells to 1000-1200. The decision of Don Aldo has disturbed the peace of mind of more than a few parishioners. The protests of even the local bishop and priests have reached his ears. "I haven't asked the express permission of the bishop, because it's an act of charity. No permission is needed to do charity. For the rest, I am older than the bishop and been his professor in the seminary too. Even if he had prohibited me, I wouldn't be obliged to obey him," Don Aldo is firm in his resolve. He does not hesitate to proclaim, "Better praying Muslims than non praying Christians. If you brand me a racist, you are wrong". In the last two years a Don Aldo has received a number of emails and letters advising him to "remain with his own flock". The letters cautioned him, "These people come as immigrants and then claim the place for themselves and throw us out". Don Aldo has taken into confidence the Parish Pastoral Council and is unrelenting. "The pope has exhorted to open wide the doors to Christ: Christ lives in Muslims too." (mangalorean.com)

A New Book on Analysis of Social Abuses

Anson Shupe, Rogue Clerics, The Social Problem of Clergy Deviance, Transaction Publishers, 2007, pp. 217.

This comprehensive analysis offers the first up-to-date analysis of sexual, economic, and authoritative clergy malfeasance across faiths and denominational authority structures. Drawing on examples taken from antiquity up until the present day, and using reports by historians, theologians, church spokespersons, therapists, social scientists, and journalists, Shupe critically evaluate clergy deviant behavior, dividing it into various types. He also makes use of the therapeutic literature, addressing victimization at the level of the individual, church, and community at large. In this way, he compares the response of the clergy to victims’ attempts to mobilize movements calling for church reform. Perhaps most controversial, this book considers the possible relationship of homosexuality in the clergy to the occurrences of scandals in all religious traditions across the board.


Kim, Kirsteen, The Holy Spirit in the World, Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2007.

This is a comprehensive, eccumenical and constructive theological vision that engages Christian mission in our contemporary pluralistic world.

Perennes, Jean-Jacques, A Life Poured Out: Pierre Claverie of Algeria, Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2007.

The author reveals the inner and genuine development of a person who is committed to the development of Algeria.

Smith, Susan E., Women in Mission: From the NewTestament to Today, Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2007.

This volume is a land mark in women’s history and essential reading for everyone engaged in historical theological mission and women’s studies.

Wickeri, Philip L., Reconstructing Christianity in China: K.H.Ting and the Chinese Church, Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2007.

This is an absolutely indispensable book for everyone who cares about the Church in China.

Twomey, D. Vincent SVD, Pope Benedict XVI: The Conscience of Our Age - A Theological Portrait, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2007.

Lazar Thanuzraj Stanislaus, SVD (Director)

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