- Jan 28, 2020
New regulations in China stipulate that if a religious group holds an activity without permission, authorities could impose a minimum fine of more than $15,000. Revenue from gatherings and property could also be confiscated. In addition, government religious authorities could demand that church officials, or those in control of venues, be removed from their positions.
Holy Week is a time of prayer and celebration around the world, but several local Churches are facing particular hardships during the most sacred time of the liturgical year. Even in predominantly Catholic countries such as Venezuela and Spain, the Church is facing hostility from government authorities.
Church leaders in Nigeria are calling on the government to do more to stop the ongoing conflict in the north of the country. One local bishop said there is “a deliberate policy of injustice designed to shut our people out from the scheme of things and deny us our rights.”
Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, said he will advocate differently for Iraqi religious minorities with options other than the setting up of a safe corridor to leave the country. “We have to live in a secure but integrated community where Chaldean Catholics, Syriac Catholics, Sunni Muslims, etc., have relationships with each other,” he said.
The current regime in North Korea allows for Christmas displays but only if void of any religious significance, because it views foreign faiths as a very real threat. The country used to have a flourishing Catholic community once, but it has all but disappeared and today there are almost no practicing Christians left.
Pope Francis has chosen as cardinal an 88-year-old Albanian priest who for 28 years suffered appallingly for his refusal to renounce his faith.