Pope Francis thanks Filipina actress

 

 

Rita Avila YouTube

Rita Avila, actress  http://youtu.be/63Uus-v4BsY

MANILA, Dec. 11, 2014 – Pope Francis, through a high-ranking Vatican official, thanked Rita Avila, a local actress and book author, for recently sending him personal copies of her two books, CBCPNews reported.

What are the books about, why is this actress writing books, and what did Pope Francis tell Rita?

Read full report

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Synod on the Family 2014: Commentary By Hector Welgampola

Hector Welgampola

Hector Welgampola

If synodal midwifery is to prevent hemorrhaging a familial Church …

There was a time when Africa was sneered at as the Dark Continent. But no longer. The recent Rome synod showed that now there is more to Africa than the stigma of Boko Haram, ISIS or Ebola.

Both theologian-Saint Augustine and his mystic mother, Saint Monica, would have felt vindicated by African voices at the Oct. 5-19 Synod on Family. Amid media-mediated efforts of deviant cultures, African synodists spoke up courageously for family values cherished by their peoples. As Augustine’s voice did in an earlier decadent era, African bishops’ stand helped prevent the synod’s gay abandon to effete post-Christian trends.

Some claim that it was pastoral realism that led German Cardinal Walter Kasper to canvass for permissiveness both sacramental and sexual. Whatever that may be, it brought into the open a reality less spoken of in public up until now: if pastoral policies need to suit the times, they need also to suit the climes.

As Hans Kung once wrote, this modern age too may “produce various and contradictory views of the Kingdom of God.” But every such view need not be imposed arbitrarily on all Catholics as universal Church teaching. Perhaps, that was why Nigerian Archbishop Ignatius Kagama held that, “the time has gone when we would just follow without question.” Also, that was why Guinean Cardinal Robert Sara recapped arbitrary moves to impose Western gender ideologies as a precondition for humanitarian aid to developing nations.

Some Asian synodists too echoed related sentiments. Their passivity did not always match the passionate pleas of African prelates. Yet, their interventions cited the unsung heroism of poor but virtuous families struggling to resist the imposition of secular values.

In a way, Cardinal Kasper’s disputed claim that “Africans should not tell us too much what we should do” did more than open a can of worms. It was a profound moment of truth. There was no need for others to make a big hue and cry about it.

After all, his plain-speak was an admission of the plurality of Catholics worldwide, who live in varied cultures while sharing a common faith. And of course, the converse also has to be true! Dechristianized societies should not dictate what Churches elsewhere should do. In particular, they should not project their secularized worldview as a universal Christian ethic.

If that realization emerges undiluted in the final document of the synod, then the consultation could claim a considerable achievement by way of preparation for next year’s synod proper. Hopefully, the recent synod had an opportunity to assess over-concerns about people’s sacramental and sexual life. And Pope Francis, who spoke very little during that process, seems to have said it all in his post-synodal remarks that the family is being “devalued”. Some translators of his remarks used the word “bastardized”!

In those frank words spoken Oct. 25 to members of a Marian movement from Cardinal Kasper’s own country, the Holy Father summed up the gut feeling of most Catholics about the trend to downgrade family life from a joyous vocation to a permissive social industry.

If those words are to hold out hope for the synod of 2015, that upcoming consultation will need active participation of more mothers, fathers and youths, but fewer celibates. Opening the synod to families will give voice to Church members who strive to live marital spirituality in family beyond what some may see as just a sacramental or sexual partnering. 

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Hector Welgampola has retired as Executive Editor of the former Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN) based in Hong Kong, then Bangkok. Before UCAN, Hector headed editorial teams of newspapers in Sri Lanka. Since retiring Hector has lived in Australia with his wife, Rita. He authored the resource book Asian Church Glossary and Stylebook.  

Write him: welgampo@gmail.com 

“United in Grief” over Malaysia Airlines 17 crash – Najib Razak

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak speaking at a press conference televised from Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, July 17, expressed shock and sadness over  Malaysian Airlines flight 17’s crash allegedly after being shot down over eastern Ukraine.

Following is the text of Razak’s statement in which he vowed thorough investigation into the tragedy that has thrown people of various nationalities together in grief…

Yesterday evening, I was informed of the terrible and deeply shocking news that a Malaysia Airlines jet went down in eastern Ukraine.

Malaysia Airlines has confirmed that the jet was Malaysia Airlines flight 17, which was on a scheduled flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

The flight departed Amsterdam at 12.15pm, local time. It was scheduled to arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 6.10 am, local, Malaysian time.

The aircraft was a Boeing 777-200.

The aircraft’s flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

And International Air Transportation Association has stated that the airspace the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions.

Malaysia Airlines has confirmed that the aircraft did not make a distress call.

The flight was carrying a total number of 295 people – comprising 280 passengers and 15 crew members.

Malaysia Airlines is in the process of notifying the next-of-kin of the passengers and crew. All possible care will be provided to the next-of-kin.

The Government of Malaysia is dispatching a special flight to Kiev, carrying a Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team, as well as a medical team.

According to information provided by Kiev Air Traffic Control, the location of the plane’s emergency locator beacon is 48 degrees 7 minutes and 23 seconds North; and 38 degrees 31 minutes and 33 seconds East.

The Ukrainian authorities believe that the plane was shot down.

At this early stage, however, Malaysia is unable to verify the cause of this tragedy.  

But we must – and we will – find out precisely what happened to this flight.

No stone can be left unturned.

If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice.

Emergency operations centres have been established. In the last few hours, Malaysian officials have been in constant contact with their counterparts in Ukraine and elsewhere.

And I will be speaking to a number of world leaders over the coming hours.

I have had several conversations with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands.

I have also spoken to the President of Ukraine. He has pledged that there will be a full, thorough and independent investigation, and Malaysian officials will be invited to take part.  

The Ukrainian president also confirmed that his government will negotiate with rebels in the east of the country, in order to establish a humanitarian corridor to the crash site.

Just now, I received a call from President Obama.

He and I both agreed that the investigation must not be hindered in anyway.

An international team must have full access to the crash site.

And no one should interfere with the area, or move any debris, including the black box.

This is a tragic day, in what has already been a tragic year, for Malaysia.

As we work to understand what happened, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of those on board the flight.

I cannot imagine what they must be going through at this painful time.

The flight’s passengers and crew came from many different countries.

But today, regardless of nationality, we are all united in grief.

A bulletin posted by Malaysia Airlines listed the number of passengers and crew according to nationality as follows:

Nationality Total
Netherlands 154
Malaysia 43 (including 15 crew & 2 infants)
Australia 27
Indonesia 12 (including 1 infant)
United Kingdom 9
Germany 4
Belgium 4
Philippines 3
Canada 1
Unverified 41
Total 298