Kerala,India, Sep.15, 2010 - A new cult Emperor Emmanuel also known as Zion flourishing in a place called muriyad, Kerala founded by Mr.Joseph Ponnara is deceiving large number of catholics from the true faith.
A report recently published by Mr.Michael Prabhu, a catholic apologist from chennai, India in his website www.ephesians-511.net describes how the catholics are deviated by Mr.Joseph ponnara through series of in house retreat programmes conducted by him every week in Zion.Mr.Joseph ponnara's personal interpretations of the scriptures are proclaimed as personal revelation to him by "God the Father" .
Zion condemns the catholic church as false church and the controversial revelations of this new cult is attracting many catholics from different states of India every week which is an indication of impending danger to the Catholic faith in India.
Vatican City, Oct.09, 2009 - The increasing number of Catholics in Africa who flock to the evangelical churches is a topic of concern at the second special Synod of Bishops for Africa.
Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, told synod participants Oct. 6 that while the church in Africa is experiencing rapid growth "there is sadly also an increasingly deeper fragmentation among Christians."
Sometimes dialogue with the charismatic, Pentecostal and other evangelical communities is difficult or even impossible "because of their aggressive behavior and, to say the least, their low theological standard," he said.
But ecumenical relations must continue or be established where possible, he said, and the church must engage in some serious, self-critical reflection.
Some of the questions the church must ask itself, the cardinal said, are "What is wrong or what is deficient with our own pastoral work? Why (do) so many Christians leave our church? What they are missing with us and searching (for) elsewhere?"
Bishop Adriano Langa of Inhambane, Mozambique, told the synod Oct. 7 that one of the main reasons for the exodus of Catholics toward these movements "is the lack or insufficiency of inculturation" in the Catholic Church.
Africa's cultural roots must be taken into account, but unfortunately the church has been guilty of "marginalizing, disparaging and even fighting African cultures," he said.
Other missteps, he said, include focusing evangelization efforts more on children and less on adults, not translating the Bible into local languages, discouraging the reading of the Bible, and not giving African Catholics "a language in an appropriate style."
Bishop Langa said many African Catholics are left feeling alienated from the church or inferior to other, more zealous, believers.
Also, anyone wanting to "escape the European and Latin American style and wanting to feel himself as a truly African Christian Catholic leans toward his African brothers of other faiths and creeds and takes on their language and style," he said.
Some synod speakers have expressed the need for improved catechetical formation and the building up of small Christian communities within the parishes.
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, told the synod Oct. 7 that the development of sects means pastors need to "take better care in the transmission of the content of the faith in the African cultural context."
"It is necessary to know and appreciate the religious roots" of the African peoples, especially since they already recognized the existence of God before the arrival of Christianity and Islam, he said.
Bishop Alfred Adewale Martins of Abeokuta, Nigeria, told the synod Oct. 8 that it is important everyone in the parish feels noticed and at home.
"We must ensure that no one is anonymous in the parishes," especially the most vulnerable like the unemployed and young people, he said. And people with "any sort of material or spiritual needs should be supported and assisted where possible."
A special ministry should be created in each parish that addresses the needs and concerns of young professionals and business leaders who "are targets of neo-Pentecostal groups," said Bishop Martins.
Ho Chi Minh City, June 17, 2009 – Vietnamese authorities arrested Paul Le Cong Dinh (pictured) on Saturday on charges of engaging in "propaganda against the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam," state-run media reported on Sunday. The high-profile 41-year-old Catholic lawyer has defended a number of pro-democracy activists. He has also published accounts of the country’s flawed economic, social and political system.
State-run media reported that police found “documents distorting the country's socio-economic policies” in Mr Dinh’s home and office.
They have also accused him of libelling Vietnam’s top leaders and of “colluding with domestic and foreign reactionaries to sabotage the Vietnamese state.’
Mr Dinh, who studied in France, has a Master's Degree in Law from Tulane University in Louisiana in the United States.
Back home he has defended leading human rights activists, such as fellow lawyers Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan, who have also been jailed for anti-government activity.
For many Mr Dinh’s arrest is a sign that the Vietnamese government is no longer going to use kid gloves against its critics. It also represents a warning to anyone who might envisage questioning the authorities’ policies.
Colombo, Srilanka, May 21, 2009 – The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka has made several petitions to the government in Colombo, following the national celebration of the end of the war, assuring that, at the dawn of this new era without violence the Church will do her part to build reconciliation and peace. Among the Church's requests are: to resolve the matter of the Tamil refugees with haste; protect minority rights for ethnic and religious groups; take measures for ensuring a “fair peace.”
In a statement sent to Agenzia Fides, Archbishop Oswald Gomis of Colombo affirms that “the war would end only on the day that we grow in nationhood realizing that we are all one people in one country with equal rights.”
The nation has realized in the years of conflict and suffering, that it is “a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural community. As such we are now left with the great task of nation-building forgetting our ethnic, political and religious differences,” the Archbishop said.
Archbishop Gomis continued: “It is imperative that there be a political formula that will inspire confidence and promote a sense of belonging among the minority groups in the country. We have to leave the sad and bitter memories of the past three decades and look positively and optimistically towards the future in hope. All of us have to share the blame for our division and forgive each other. We should have the humility and wisdom to learn from the sad experiences of that past. It is then, and only then, that we could build nationhood that will bring true peace and prosperity to our beloved country - Sri Lanka. Let us always remember that united we will flourish but divided we will perish. May Sri Lanka be a land where unity, equality, and fraternity reign supreme!”
The Secretary of the Bishops' Conference, Bishop Norbert Andradi, OMI, told Fides yesterday that “the Church will do her part for a future of peace and unity in the country”.
Caritas Sri Lanka has also made an appeal to the government in Colombo, asking that they address these three main issues: assistance to the thousands of refugees who have suffered months of war; providing homes for the refugees and homeless, helping them to return to a stable economic status and normal life; establishment of a “fair peace” that takes into account the demands of all Sri Lankan citizens, no matter their ethnic origin.
Caritas is especially working to provide for the Tamil refugees who have been victims in the government's attacks on the rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who have surrendered after 25 years of conflict.
Caritas Director in Sri Lanka, Fr. Damien Fernando, after having seen the refugee camps, declared: “We need to see an urgent improvement in the conditions in the camps. People in them don't have the food, medical supplies, and the security they need. Families must be reunited. The government needs to take the initiative to speed up its plans to resettle the people in the camps back to their homes.”
Vatican City, April 04, 2009 - The recent arrest of a Chinese bishop and other instances of religious persecution in China are obstacles to dialogue, said the Vatican.
The arrest of 74-year-old Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo of Zhengding was "unfortunately not an isolated case: Other clergy are also deprived of their freedom or are subjected to undue pressure and restrictions in their pastoral activity," said the Vatican in a statement released April 2.
In the statement released after a meeting in Rome of the Vatican's Commission for the Catholic Church in China, the Vatican expressed its "deep sorrow upon hearing the news of the recent arrest" of Bishop Jia.
"Situations of this type create obstacles to an atmosphere of dialogue with the competent authorities," it said, noting Pope Benedict XVI's desire for dialogue which he expressed in his June 2007 letter to Chinese Catholics.
Bishop Jia, who has not registered with the government, was taken by five police officers from his residence in Hebei province March 30, the same day the Vatican commission on China began its meeting. Pope Benedict established the commission in 2007 to study issues related to the Catholic Church in China.
Several sources told the Asian church news agency UCA News they believe the action is related to a recent move toward reconciliation between the diocese's two Catholic communities: those registered with the government and those not registered.
During the Rome meeting, the commission's members talked about many of the complex problems the church in China faces -- problems "that stem not just from difficulties inside the church, but also from the uneasy relations with civil authorities," said the Vatican statement.
A major topic of discussion during the meeting was the formation of seminarians, consecrated persons and the permanent formation of priests, it said.
It said religious men and women "have the important task of living as faithful disciples of Christ and as members of the church, and to contribute to the good of their country as exemplary citizens."
The Vatican statement said the pope told commission members April 1 that it was important to help Catholics in China "let others know the beauty and reasonableness of the Christian faith and to present it as the proposal offering the best answers from an intellectual and existential point of view."
Coadjutor Bishop John Tong Hon of Hong Kong, one of the commission's members, told Catholic News Service April 2 that the pope spent about 30 minutes listening to commission's last day of deliberations.
The pope then made brief comments telling the commission he knew that "we're all trying our best" to address the problems Catholics in China are facing and that they were "working for the good of the church in China," said Bishop Tong.
He said that in light of the church's designated year of the priest, which will run from June 19 to June 19, 2010, the Vatican might issue a special letter addressed to priests in mainland China.
According to UCA News, Vatican-approved bishops might be forced to take part in the elections for chairpersons of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and the government-sanctioned Bishops' Conference of the Catholic Church in China, which are expected to take place during the national assembly. The patriotic association was set up to uphold the principle of an "independent, autonomous and self-managed" church in China.
The Rome-based agency AsiaNews said March 30 that Chinese government authorities are reportedly not pleased with the prospect of the two church communities working together as they see the unregistered church being run by a "foreign power," the pope.
The Vatican has said the church is not involved with meddling in the country's internal affairs and it has expressed a willingness to move its nunciature from Taiwan to Beijing, as soon as diplomatic relations are established with China.