Massive dharna in Ahmedabad

March 21, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

DharnaAhmedabad, March 20, 2015: It was a sea of humanity which Ahmedabad has rarely witnessed in recent times.  They came from all over – young and old, poor and rich from the slums and from the villages, ordinary people and those who belong to the cream of society. There were Hindus and Muslims, Jains and Buddhists, Parsis and Christians; some of them were also agnostics and atheists. They represented a whole cross section of society.

Inspite of their differences, they were together with one voice: ‘Enough is Enough!’ ‘Stop the Attacks on women, minorities, adivasis, dalits, farmers, poor and other vulnerable sections!’  ‘Protect & Promote Constitutional Rights!’ Speaker after speaker voiced their concern about what is happening in the country today. A handout distributed at the Dharna highlighted in particular the frequency of the attacks on women and minorities:

“What is happening to the women in India is indeed shocking; a highly patriarchal mindset with great gender insensitivity naturally provokes and even legitimises inhuman acts. Almost daily, we read about assaults, molestations and rapes of women. A normal society will never be able to accept the brutal rape of a six year old girl child in Ahmedabad or the barbaric gang-rape of a seventy-two year old nun in West Bengal. Yogi Adityanath’s men telling Hindus to rape dead Muslim women is sick to the core! Women today from all walks of life feel more and more insecure.

The attacks on minorities take place today with frightening regularity. Ministers of the Central Government and Members of Parliament make the most derogatory remarks against Christians and Muslims; they do so with impunity and immunity. Attacks on Christian institutions, Church personnel and the desecration of what is sacred to the Christians seem to happen all the time. Minorities are systematically denigrated with a highly placed politician even going on record to say that ‘Mosques and Churches are mere buildings’; besides, the divisive ‘ghar wapsi’ programmes; the insidious remarks to make ‘Gita’ as the country’s national book; the attempts to take away the ‘secular’ dimension from the Constitution are all areas of concern for large sections of India’s population.”

Among the several eminent speakers which spoke were Archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes sj of Gandhinagar, Bishop Silvans Christian of the CNI, Gujarat, Bishop Thomas Macwan of Ahmedabad, Fr. Francis Parmar, the Provincial Superior of the Gujarat Jesuits, Mr. Girish Patel, Senior Counsel, Gujarat High Court and doyen of the Human Rights Movement of Gujarat, Mr Gautam Thakker of the PUCL, Sr Nirmala Pricipal of  the Convent of Jesus and Mary Baroda, women activists Ms. Sophia Khan , Meenakshi Joshi, Sara Baltiwala and Ms. Sheba George.

At the end of the programme, the general feeling of the massive crowd was one of great satisfaction of the way they had broad-canvassed the issues that face the common person today and they were convinced that civil society all over needs to come out in larger numbers in order to safeguard the rights and freedom of every single citizen of the country.

The dharna was organised by the Gujarat United Christian Forum for Human Rights (GUCFHR) and supported by several like-minded individuals and groups which include Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Movement for Secular Democracy (MSD), Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), ANHAD, SANCHETNA, SAHR WARU, Darshan, INSAF, Ahmedabad Women Action Group (AWAG), SAFAR, Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM)

– cedric prakash sj


Christian Protest of Candle-lit Rally of Warangal

March 21, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Candle-lit Rally of WarangalWest Bengal, March 18, 2015: A loudly silent protest rally against the atrocities committed against Christians all over India especially the Catholic nun of 72 years in West Bengal and the constant attacks on churches and institutions was led by Bishop Udumala Bala. About 600 Catholics and Protestant Christians went on a Dharna in the heart of Warangal city. A good number of priests and nuns participated along with laity expressing solidarity and anguish and demanded justice for victims.

In a strong worded speech, Bishop Udumala Bala condemned the heinous acts committed by some anti-social and anti-Christian elements against the innocent and peace loving Christians across the nation. He voiced out his anguish and demanded safety of the Church personnel. The bishop opined that these crimes seemed to have an organized strategy to intimidate Christians. He expressed his deep sentiments of solidarity with those who are persecuted including the aged and ailing nun who was raped in West Bengal and expressed  surprise that there were no arrests made even after 5 days. His anxiety for the safety of the Christians in the face of various religious fundamentalists was clear and loud.

Under the guise of nationalism the way the government is handling the situation is causing fear among Christians. He condemned all these barbaric acts and encouraged the gathering to be fearless to serve the nation in the name of Christ, who told not only  to show the other cheek when one strikes on the one, but also questioned when a soldier struck him in front of high priest.

Brief but strong messages of solidarity and the need for Unity among all the Christians were delivered by a few priests, nuns, protestant pastors and lay young woman and men.

As a fitting climax of the protest dharna, all the members marched in procession on the main streets for 30 minutes with lighted candles, placards & banners and singing hymns of forgiveness and justice. All the participants lauded the daring call of Bishop Dr. Udumala Bala to protest in unison as one Church of Christ.

Electronic and print media covered this protest dharna and rally and gave wide publicity.

– warangal diocese

Over 12,000 Maharashtra Police posts vacant

March 21, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

maharashtra policeMumbai, March 14, 2015: Maharashtra has a staggering 12,115 police posts ranging from constables to additional director-general of police lying vacant, an RTI query revealed here on Saturday.

Of these, the highest number – 2,708 vacancies – are of police sub-inspector (PSI) rank, a critical backbone of the entire police department supporting investigations and maintaining law and order, said activist Anil Galgali.

The state has 219,986 police posts, of which 12,115 are vacant for various reasons.

Against the requirement of 9,659 posts of PSI, 6,951 are filled up, with a shortfall of 2,708.

Of 25 posts of additional director-general of police, three are vacant. Of the 47 posts of special inspector general of police (IGP), eight are vacant.

Similarly, seven out of 38 posts of deputy IGP, including two vacancies for two sanctioned posts of deputy IGP (technical), are not filled up.

At the superintendent of police (SP) and deputy commissioner of police level, out of the 265 sanctioned posts 30 are vacant, while there are 209 vacancies for the post deputy SP or ACP (unarmed) out of the 686 posts, he added.

In the armed category of deputy SP or ACP, there are 50 vacancies out of 87 posts, for assistant police inspector posts – 471 unfilled out of 4,447, for assistant sub-inspector there are 1,030 vacant out of 18,804, while for the post of police constables 2,323 out of 42,964 are vacant and constables 4,101 out of 96,240 are vacant.

The categories of police sub-inspector of motor transport of marine IInd Class and First Class Master Engine Driver are run with only 11 out of the total 270 posts, PSI Motor Transport 54 vacant out of 109 posts and at many times the current employees work under inhuman conditional due to severe pressures, Galgali said.

Following the replies from Public Information Officer P.K. Ghuge of the Maharashtra DGP office, Galgali brought it to the notice of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is holding the home portfolio.

He urged Fadnavis to take measures to immediately fill up the large number of vacancies at various levels to relieve the unwarranted stress and pressures on the police force.
“In fact, such constant pressures and difficult working conditions have resulted in various health conditions for the police force, resulting in suicides, heart attacks and other issues in recent years,” Galgali said.

– tcn


Pope: Church in Korea, Church of martyrs and lay people, a “promise for all of Asia”

March 20, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

korean christian prayVatican City, March 13, 2015: For Pope Francis, the Church of Korea, carried forward for two centuries by lay people, “drenched” in the blood of the martyrs, is a “promise for all of Asia”. Currently, it must be on guard against “religious affluence,” which can turn Christians into wishy-washy softies, since the “devil is clever” and seeks to weaken the faith.

The Holy Father spoke yesterday afternoon, greeting Rome’s Korean community, led by the members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea who are in the Eternal City for their quinquennial ‘ad limina’ visit.

In remembering his “beautiful, very beautiful visit” to Korea in August, the pope highlighted two traits of the Korean Church. “First, the laity. Your Church was carried forward for two centuries only by lay people. Help the laity be aware of this responsibility. They have inherited this glorious history. First, the laity: let them be brave like the first ones! Second, the martyrs. Your Church was ‘drenched’ in the blood of the martyrs, and this created life. Please, do not give in. Be on guard against ‘religious affluence’. Be careful, because the devil is clever.

“Let me tell you an anecdote: during the period of religious persecution, the Japanese tortured Christians – a lot of torture in your country too – and then took them back to prison. However, a month before their sentence, when they had to abjure, they took them to a beautiful house, gave them good food, in a nice environment. Why did they take them there a month before? To soften their faith, so that they would feel good, and then they proposed them to abjure their religion when they were at their weakest. Cardinal Filoni gave me a very good book on the history of the Japanese persecution. Some people gave in and fell by the wayside, whilst others fought on, until the end, and died.

“I am no prophet, but this can happen to you. If you do not go forward with the strength of faith, with zeal, with the love of Jesus Christ, if you go soft – [adhering to a] weak, wishy-washy Christianity – your faith will fail. As I said, the devil is clever and he will propose this to you, this religious affluence – ‘Let us be good Catholics, but only up to a point . . .’ – and will take away your strength. Please do not forget, you are children of martyrs, and apostolic zeal cannot be negotiated.

“I remember what the Letter to the Hebrews says, ‘Remember the early days, when you fought and suffered for the faith. Do not go back now (cf. Heb, 10:32-36). In another passage, towards the end, it says, ‘Remember your fathers in faith, your teachers, and follow their example’ (cf. Heb, 12:1). You are the Church of martyrs, and this is a promise for all of Asia. Go ahead. Do not give up. No spiritual worldliness, nothing. No easy Catholicism, without zeal. No religious affluence. Love for Jesus Christ, love for the cross of Jesus Christ and love for your history.”

– asianews

China’s crackdown on Jihad leaves Uyghurs running scared

March 20, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

UyghurBeijing, March 10, 2015: The central Turkish province of Kayseri lies more than 3,000 kilometers from China’s northwestern region Xinjiang. But for 500 Uyghurs resettled there in January, ethnically similar Turkey is the closest thing to home.

Others among this mostly Muslim minority have fared less well after fleeing escalating persecution in restive Xinjiang. Hundreds, maybe thousands, remain locked up in detention centers in Southeast Asia — or worse — back in China.

It is unprecedented in the sense that never before were Uyghurs fleeing as whole families,” said Kayum Masimov, president of the Uyghur Canadian Society, following trips to visit Uyghur asylum-seekers in Thailand and Malaysia.

As China cracks down following frequent terrorist attacks at home and pressures governments to return Uyghurs abroad, this ethnic minority complains it is running out of places to go without fear of harassment.

Beijing maintains that the reasons for ramping up security are very real. On Friday, Guangzhou train station in southern China suffered its second knife attack in a year leaving 10 people injured.

The identities of the attackers have not yet been made public but, as with other similar attacks, Uyghurs have come under strong suspicion.

On March 1, the southwestern city of Kunming marked the one-year anniversary of a bloody attack that left 33 people dead and 143 injured.

Overall, 2014 was the worst year on record in terms of Xinjiang-related violence with about 500 people reported killed.

Following an attack by Uyghur separatists at a market in Xinjiang’s provincial capital Urumqi that left 36 dead in May last year, the government launched a one-year “strike-hard campaign” recently extended until the end of 2015.

Defending China’s terrorism response on Sunday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi emphasized the need for international cooperation to deal with “a common scourge to mankind”.

China’s claims that Xinjiang separatists are increasingly linking up with jihadist groups overseas are valid, security analysts say.

Islamic State (IS) propaganda films uploaded last year showed Chinese fighting alongside militants from the Middle East, and videos purportedly filmed in Xinjiang have shown masked figures calling for Uyghurs to join the global Jihad.

“I don’t think people have a specific number as for how many Chinese are fighting in Syria [and Iraq],” said Yun Sun, a Chinese foreign affairs analyst with the Stimson Center in Washington, DC. “Some estimates point to several hundred, but I have heard bigger numbers.”

For many would-be jihadists from China, the first stop is typically Pakistan or Afghanistan. Both countries share borders with southern Xinjiang where tensions have been most pronounced, particularly around the ‘Silk Road’ city of Kashgar.

Following last year’s attack on Kunming train station, the leader of the Xinjiang rebel Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) issued a call to arms from a hideout near Pakistan’s remote border with Afghanistan.

“China is not only our enemy, but is the enemy of all Muslims…. We have plans for many attacks in China,” he told Reuters in a rare phone interview.

As in Syria and Iraq, the number of Chinese militants operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan remains unknown, says Saifullah Mahsud, executive director of the FATA research center, an Islamabad-based think-tank that tracks Islamic militant groups. There is an enduring Uyghur presence in areas including North Waziristan, however.

Following an Islamist attack on Karachi’s Jinnah Airport in June, the Pakistan army launched Operation Zarb-e-Azb in tribal areas along the Afghan border targeting groups including the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, TIP’s armed wing.

“We have heard that perhaps 30 or 40 of them have been eliminated during the current operation,” Mahsud told

Pakistan and China maintain close relations and have for years cooperated in fighting Islamic groups. In recent months, security has been stepped up due to escalating violence on both sides of the remote border that separates the two countries says Mahsud.

“But we’re talking about the Himalayas here, you know, so mountains thousands of feet high. How can you secure a border like that? It’s impossible,” he adds.

The geographic challenges have not stopped China from trying. In a bid to secure its long, remote borders that snake across the Himalayas, separating China further south from Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam, Beijing set up a special security force in April last year.

Operating well into the interior of the country as far north as Henan province in the northeast, the Ministry of Public Security has paired with local police to prevent Chinese from crossing the border. The principle target has clearly been identified as Uyghurs.

Between April and the end of January, more than 800 people were captured trying to cross illegally into Vietnam, almost all of them Uyghurs trying to join terrorist cells overseas, according to Chinese state media.

On January 18, Chinese police shot dead two Uyghurs in Guangxi province at the Vietnamese border after they “violently resisted arrest”, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. A third Uyghur man escaped and was captured the following day.

National broadcaster CCTV screened images of the man, describing him as 175cm tall. Little else is known about him, including his current whereabouts.

In recent weeks, the state media has consistently painted the vast majority of fleeing Uyghurs as would-be jihadists.

In some cases, Beijing has reached out to Interpol to try to help track down and arrest alleged terrorists. The volume of such cases remains unknown. However, a spokesman said it is Interpol policy not to specify how many ‘red notices’ individual countries submit, referring back to Chinese authorities.

Clamping down on Uyghurs in Xinjiang, Beijing has in recent months closed hundreds of madrassas, banned burqas and barred under-18s from mosques — much stricter measures than those placed on other Muslims living further east in China.

In trying to contain Uyghurs from leaving China to mix with Muslims overseas, restrictions have extended to barring most Uyghurs from the annual Hajj to Mecca, notes Alim Seytoff, director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project in Washington, DC.

“An ordinary Chinese can apply for his passport and receive it in two to four weeks,” says Seytoff. “It is almost impossible for an ordinary Uyghur to apply and get a passport in this way.”

Restrictions in Xinjiang are expected to get even tougher when Beijing passes a new anti-terrorism law in the coming weeks amid strong criticism from rights groups. Again, Beijing has been explicit that it specifically targets Uyghurs as the Communist Party tries to contain what it views as a low-level separatist insurgency.

Facing heavy restrictions on their faith and unable to leave, Uyghur Muslims have increasingly been pushed to try to flee Xinjiang by illegal means, argues Seytoff.

While Beijing has rarely deviated from the narrative that these people are would-be jihadists, Seytoff and Masimov point to the large numbers of Uyghur women and children who have fled China as evidence that the vast majority are innocents.

“It is difficult to comprehend how toddlers can possibly be joining various fighting groups in Syria but it is the only plausible excuse for the Chinese state to advance,” says Masimov.

Verifying which narrative is closer to the truth remains difficult.

Rising numbers of Uyghurs have fled to Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia in recent years where hundreds have been caught by police and put in detention centers, though exact figures are unknown.

The UN High Commission for Refugees doesn’t count numbers along ethnic or religious lines, while some Uyghurs claim to be Turkish in a bid to resettle there and many fail to claim asylum altogether, says Vivian Tan, UNHCR’s regional spokesman.

“It’s especially sensitive in the urban context as we’ve seen that publicity often results in increased harassment, sometimes even arrest and detention,” she added.

Although Turkey resettled some 500 Uyghurs in January after they spent a year in detention in Thailand, hundreds of others are reportedly being held in the south of the country and in Bangkok.

“The Thai government in the beginning thought of sending them back to China because the Chinese government and the Chinese ambassador requested they do so,” said Veerawit Tianchainan, executive director of the Thai Committee for Refugees Foundation in Bangkok.

But following US intervention and Turkey’s indication that it would receive Uyghurs, China began to soften its position, he said.

“So what Thailand has done is just keep them in detention and then let the two superpowers fight this problem out themselves,” said Veerawit, who met with senior Thai government officials at the end of last month to discuss the situation facing the Uyghurs.

Turkey has in recent years offered a rare haven for Uyghurs while other countries have been scared off by diplomatic pressure from Beijing. Although they share Turkic ethnicity with Uyghurs, still some Turks are opposed to receiving them.

While many Turks appear to support receiving a group they consider brothers, others have argued that Turkey has already become strained after receiving millions of refugees fleeing fighting in Syria and other hotspots in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, ties between Ankara and Beijing have become strained.

The Communist Party was livid after Chinese authorities arrested 10 Turks and nine Uyghurs in January for trying to leave China with forged passports.

“The Turkish authorities’ shilly-shallying over the East Turkestan Movement has made their country a favored stopover for Uyghur militants from Xinjiang on their way to terrorist camps in other countries,” read an editorial in the state-run China Daily a few days later.

Although the Turkish government is understood to have been reticent at first in the face of Chinese pressure, so too has Thailand; but both are now expected to arrange for more Uyghurs to leave Bangkok soon, Veerawit told on Monday.

Like the 500 Uyghurs who reached Turkey in January, another group of an unknown number is expected to be among a lucky minority to flee Xinjiang and make it to a third country in safety, albeit after months in detention in Thailand.

Masimov, who himself was an asylum-seeker to Canada, says that Beijing needs to stop deliberately confusing ordinary people with groups determined to cause violence in the name of Islam if Uyghurs are to ever gain better treatment at home and abroad.

“Nowadays we are called ‘religious extremists’, ‘terrorists’ and ‘Islamists’,” he says. “We’ve grown accustomed to labeling by the Chinese state which blames everyone else but themselves.”

– ucan

God’s accuracy

March 20, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

God is ableWhen GOD solves our problems, we have faith in HIS abilities;

When GOD doesn’t solve our problems HE has faith in our abilities.

God’s accuracy may be observed in the hatching of eggs. . . . .
-those of the canary in 14 days;
-those of the barnyard hen in 21 days;
-eggs of ducks and geese in 28 days;
-those of the mallard in 35 days;
-The eggs of the parrot and the ostrich hatch in 42 days. (Notice, they are all divisible by seven, the number of days in a week!)

God's timingGod’s wisdom is seen in the making of an elephant. The four legs of this great beast all bend forward in the same direction. No other quadruped is so made. God planned that this animal would have a huge body, too large to live on two legs. For this reason He gave it four fulcrums so that it can rise from the ground easily.

The horse rises from the ground on its two front legs first. A cow rises from the ground with its two hind legs first. How wise the Lord is in all His works of creation!
-Each watermelon has an even number of stripes on the rind.
-Each orange has an even number of segments.
-Each ear of corn has an even number of rows.
-Each stalk of wheat has an even number of grains.
-Every bunch of bananas has on its lowest row an even number of bananas, and each row decreases by one, so that one row has an even number and the next row an odd number. Amazing!
-The waves of the sea roll in on shore twenty-six to the minute in all kinds of weather.
-All grains are found in even numbers on the stalks.

God's timingGod has caused the flowers to blossom at certain specified times during the day. Linnaeus, the great botanist, once said that if he had a conservatory containing the right kind of soil, moisture and temperature, he could tell the time of day or night by the flowers that were open and those that were closed!

The lives of each of us may be ordered by the Lord in a beautiful way for His glory, if we will only entrust Him with 0ur life. If we try to regulate our own life, it will only be a mess and a failure. Only God, who made our brain and heart, can successfully guide them to a profitable end.

– fwd: menino martis

Who is to blame for the rise of ISIS — Bush or Obama?

March 20, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-lead

Obama and BushU.S., March 19, 2015: President Barack Obama indirectly blamed the foreign policy of his predecessor, President George W. Bush, for the rise of the barbaric and brutal Islamic State terrorist organization in Iraq.

In an interview with Vice News founder Shane Smith released on Tuesday, Obama was asked how the ISIS terrorist group, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State, which has seized large chunks of Syria and Iraq, was able to become “so popular so fast.”

Obama responded saying that the group’s rise was aided by the U.S. invasion of Iraq that began in 2003 during Bush’s presidency.

“Two things,” Obama said. “One is ISIL is a direct outgrowth of Al Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion, which is an example of unintended consequences, which is why we should generally aim before we shoot.”

Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, who served as U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence under Bush from 2002 to 2007, told The Christian Post in a Thursday interview that the president is simply looking to find somewhere else to lay the blame.

“I find that an incredible statement,” Boykin, who is the executive vice president of the Family Research Council, asserted. “Al Qaeda existed before 9/11. Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden were responsible for 9/11. The fact that Al Qaeda in Iraq, under the leadership of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi emerged as a major force there is, I think, a ridiculous statement to say that they emerged there because of the invasion or that we created them.”

“The reality is that is an Al Qaeda affiliate in Nigeria that is capturing young girls and is killing people. The events in Tunisia were perpetrated by an Al Qaeda affiliate. Did we create that?” Boykin asked. “The answer is no. I think that the president is scrambling for somebody to blame.”

Boykin went on to explain that the reason ISIS has gained so much momentum is because of Obama’s own “failed foreign policy.”

“I think that one of the reasons that we are seeing them gain strength and momentum is because of failed foreign policy that has done nothing to stop them,” Boykin argued. “I think [Obama] needs to look internally at the very poor decisions that he has made and the fact that he hasn’t had a policy that in anyway has impeded their growth.”

In the Vice News interview, Obama offered assurance of his current plan to defeat ISIS with limited U.S involvement and stated that the international U.S.-led coalition will eventually defeat ISIS in Iraq.

“We got a 60-country coalition. We will slowly push back ISIL out of Iraq,” Obama contended. “I am confident that will happen.”

Although Obama is “confident” in the coalition efforts to defeat ISIS, Boykin feels there is no way ISIS will be defeated under Obama’s current strategy.

“It is definitely not going to in any amount of time destroy ISIS, no matter what he says. The pace at which we are pursuing this so-called strategy, we are not going to destroy ISIS,” Boykin argued. “The question is, could we destroy ISIS? And the answer is, it is questionable. Could we destroy them if we had an all-out campaign against them? It is questionable. But, it is for certain that at the current pace, with the current strategy, we are not going to destroy ISIS.”

Boykin offered his own strategy for defeating ISIS and said first the president needs to admit to the religious nature of the group’s war.

“To begin with, we start by our president acknowledging that ISIS is a component of Islam and that ISIS is fighting in the name of Islam, that ISIS is motivated by the theology of Islam and identifying who the enemy is and what makes them fight,” Boykin stated. “Once we do that, then we engage the Muslim communities around the world, who don’t want to be part of this grand jihad. There are many, many Muslims who don’t but they sit on the sidelines and they watch to see if we are going to take a stand, if we are going to actually recognize who the enemy is. As long as we continue to deny who the enemy is, those components of the Muslim community that also reject jihad, that rejects sharia, they are going to continue to sit on the sidelines.”

Boykin also warned against the United States providing weapons to other Islamic groups and said weapons should only be provided to groups that the United States knows it can trust.

“We [need to] arm our friends, not our enemies,” Boykin said. “We don’t arm these Islamic groups like the Free Syrian Army and the rebel groups in Libya, we arm our friends like the Kurds and the Christian militias that want to fight for themselves.”

Lastly, Boykin said that the United States should equip the U.S. Special Operations Command with everything they need to arm, train and lead trusted militia groups in the fight against ISIS.

– christian post

St. Joseph is the model of the educator, daddy & of the father

March 19, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

St. JosephVatican city, March 19, 2014: Here is a translation of Pope Francis’ address this morning at the general audience, which in light of today’s solemnity, he dedicated to St. Joseph.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Today, March 19, we celebrate the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of Mary and Patron of the universal Church. Therefore, we dedicate this catechesis to him, who merits all our gratitude and our devotion for his having been able to take care of the Holy Virgin and her Son Jesus. Joseph’s characteristic is to be a guardian: it is his great mission, to be a guardian.

Today I would like to take up the topic of guardianship according to a particular perspective: the educational perspective. We look at Joseph as the model of educators, who takes care of and supports Jesus in the course of his growth “in wisdom, age and grace,” as the Gospel says. He was not Jesus’ father: Jesus’ Father was God, but he behaved as a father to Jesus, he behaved as a father to Jesus to make him grow. And how did he make him grow? In wisdom, age and grace.

St. JosephWe begin with age, which is the most natural dimension, physical and psychological growth. Joseph, together with Mary, took care of Jesus especially from this point of view, namely, he “brought him up,” taking care that he did not lack the necessary for a healthy development. Let us not forget that the diligent looking-after of the life of the Child entailed also the flight into Egypt, the harsh experience of living as refugees – Joseph was a refugee, with Mary and Jesus – to escape from Herod’s threat.

Then, once they had returned to their homeland and were established at Nazareth, there is the whole long period of Jesus’ life in his family. In those years, Joseph also taught Jesus his work, and Jesus learned to be a carpenter with his father Joseph. So Joseph brought up Jesus.

We pass to the second dimension of education, that of “wisdom.” Joseph was for Jesus an example and teacher of this wisdom, which is nourished by the Word of God. We can think of how Joseph educated little Jesus to listen to the Sacred Scriptures, above all accompanying him on Saturdays to the synagogue of Nazareth. And Joseph accompanied him so that Jesus could hear the Word of God in the synagogue.

And, finally, the dimension of “grace.” Referring to Jesus, Saint Luke says: “And the grace of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40). Here, certainly, the part reserved for Saint Joseph is more limited compared to the ambits of age and of wisdom. However, it would be a grave error to think that a father and a mother can do nothing to educate their children to grow in the grace of God. To grow in age, to grow in wisdom, to grow in grace: this is the work that Joseph did with Jesus, to make him grow in these three dimensions, to help him to grow.

FatherhoodDear brothers and sisters, Saint Joseph’s mission is certainly unique and unrepeatable, because Jesus is absolutely unique. And yet, in his taking care of Jesus, educating him to grow in age, wisdom and grace he is a model for every educator, in particular for every father. Saint Joseph is the model of the educator and of the daddy, of the father. Therefore, I entrust to his protection all parents, priests – who are Fathers – and those who have an educational task in the Church and in society. In a special way, I would like to greet today, Day of the Father, all parents, all daddies: I greet you from my heart! Let’s see: are there some daddies in the Square? Daddies, raise your hand! But how many daddies! Best wishes, best wishes on your Day!

I ask for you the grace to be always very close to your children, letting them grow but being close to them, close to them! They are in need of you, of your presence, of your closeness, of your love. Be for them like Saint Joseph: guardians of their growth in age, wisdom and grace. Guardians of their path; educators, and walk with them. And with this closeness you will be true educators.

Thank you for all you do for your children, thank you. Many good wishes to you and happy Daddy’s Feast to all the daddies who are here, to all daddies.

May Saint Joseph bless you and accompany you. And some of us have lost our daddy, he has gone, the Lord has called him. So many who are in the Square do not have their daddy. We can pray for all the daddies of the world, for the living daddies and also for the deceased and for our own, and we can do so together, each one remembering his daddy, if he is alive and if he is dead. And we pray to the great Daddy of us all, the Father. An “Our Father” for our daddies: Our Father …

And very best wishes to the daddies!

– zenit

Jamiat-e-Ulama to oppose prime accused of Malegaon 2008 blasts Lt. Col. Purohit’s bail plea before SC

March 18, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Jamiat Ulama-e-HindMumbai, March 14, 2015: Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind has decided to oppose bail of 2008 Malegaon blasts accused Lt. Col. Shrikant Prasad Purohit before Supreme Court.

Gulzar Azmi, Secretary of Jamiat’s legal Cell said here on Sunday, “As per directions of our National President Arshad Madani sahib we have decided to oppose bail application of Purohit and have asked our legal cell to draft application to be filed in this regard before Supreme Court.”

This is not the first time that Jamiat has decided to oppose bail of any accused. Recently it has appeared as an ‘intervener ‘ before Bombay High Court to oppose bail of Dhananjay Desai the prime accused in the brutal killing of a tech savvy Muhsin Shaikh in Pune on June 2, 2014.

As for opposing bail of Purohit, a Supreme Court Adv. Irshad Hanif is expected to file an application on behalf of Jamiat for intervention in the bail proceedings on next hearing before the Supreme Court.

National Investigating Agency (NIA) too has decided to oppose the bail sought by Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Lt. Col. Purohit.

“We are opposing the bail plea as we want further custody of the accused,” A Mariaputham, counsel for the NIA had told the Supreme Court.

Ever since transfer of the case to NIA from Maharashtra ATS in 2011, the agency wants to grill accused in the case but as accused have challenged custodial interrogation by NIA, the matter is long pending before the Supreme Court.

The NIA is arguing before the Supreme Court that they would want to question the accused and hence they ought to be granted custody of the two accused in the interest of investigating the case.

On September 29, 2008, three blasts ripped through textile town Malegaon in Maharashtra killing seven persons. Initially Muslim outfit was suspected for the attack but the investigation headed by late ATS chief Hemant Karkare concluded that the Muslim outfit was wrongly implicated and it was the handiwork of a right wing group affiliated with organization ‘Abhinav Bharat’ which had carried out the blasts.

It was alleged that Lt Col. Purohit had supplied RDX to other accused in the case to make bombs. Purohit however disputed the claim before court stating he was doing his job as a military intelligence officer and was trying to infiltrate the radical outfit. Reportedly his peers do not agree with Purohit and claims they were not kept in the loop by Purohit.

– tcn

Pentecostal pastor mobbed for ‘converting people’

March 18, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Praying for the victims of Kandhamal violenceRajpur, March 09, 2015: A Pentecostal pastor in India had to be rescued by police after being surrounded by right-wing activists who had accused him of converting local people.

Pastor Lal Singh and another man known only as Idaram were bought to a police station in Barwani district following complaints by a local right-wing group. Activists had protested outside Idaram’s house, where a prayer meeting was taking place, shouting anti-Christian slogans.

After the pastor and his colleague were taken to the police station, the protestors surrounded the building, forcing the authorities to detain the two men for longer.

“The [activists] were agitated and would have harmed the pastor had I released him,” Head Constable Rameshwar Pande told The Indian Express.

The officer in charge of Rajpur Police Station, Asharam Varma, told the newspaper that the accusations of conversion were found to be false, and the men were not charged.

Five states in India currently have anti-conversion laws which state that those who wish to convert to another religion must first gain official permission. Religious leaders are also required by law to report conversions or risk a three-year jail sentence themselves.

However, a fifth of the population identify with religions other than Hinduism, and there have been increasing calls for the government to strengthen protections for minority groups.

Prompted by the urging of Barack Obama on a recent visit to India, in addition to a spate of church attacks in Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised to promote religious freedom.

“We cannot accept violence against any religion on any pretext and I strongly condemn such violence. My government will act strongly in this regard,” he said last month.

However, reports recently emerged of 20 Christian evangelists being harassed and beaten by police in Rajasthan state.

People’s Union for Civil Liberties head Kavita Srivastava told the World Watch Monitor (WWM) that the Christians were detained in Jaipur after attempting to preach there on February 25. They were also allegedly beaten with sticks on their hands and wrists by policemen.

– christian today

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