MARCH 10, 2013, Vol 63, No 05


Our new Coadjutor Archbishop!
“The Catholic Church has played a significant role in Singapore’s history, and forms a key part of its diverse religious landscape.” – Lee Hsien Loong

Few worshippers seen in this church in Germany.Few worshippers seen in this church in Germany.It is most gratifying to see our Sunday Masses well-attended, with a significant number of Catholics regularly attending daily Mass.

The growing number of altar servers is testament to a healthy family environment which actively propagates the faith among the young. The encouragement of parents to their sons to participate in this ministry gives hope that we will have an increase in priestly vocations in future.

Myriad programmes organised by the Church that nurture the spiritual growth of the community are often well received.

It is most heartening that we have a significant core of faithful practising Catholics who are actively engaged in the life of the Church. The vibrancy of the faith is palpable and this augurs well for the Catholic Church in Singapore.

This is in stark contrast to the Catholic Church in America and Europe where church attendance among the Catholic population has dwindled to as low as 10 percent, and the closures of countless parishes caused by the sex-abuse scandal among the clergy is cause for alarm.
  The traditional family is a vital resource for society, said speakers at a UN event. The traditional family is a vital resource for society, said speakers at a UN event.UNITED NATIONS – Despite threats on many sides and prophesies of its extinction, the traditional family remains a vital resource for society, according to speakers at a UN event on Feb 15.

The panel was held in conjunction with the 51st session of the UN Commission for Social Development. It was sponsored by the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations and the Pontifical Council for the Family.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, council president, said the family is “the fundamental unit of human society. It is where the generations meet, love, educate, support each other and pass on life from age to age”.

The family is “the source of social capital and the birthright of all humanity,” he said, adding that the stability of any society in fact depends on the “stability of the families from which it springs”.

“Family is the school of society, the way to learn to be together with others,” he continued. “If you don’t learn to experience solidarity there, it’s really difficult to have a city or a society.”

He said the “natural family” is comprised of mother, father and children. Notwithstanding the many attacks against it, the natural family “comes first in the hearts of the world’s peoples ... and the great majority of young people look forward happily to marriage as a lifelong faithful union with their husband or wife”.
  An embryologist removes frozen embryos from a storage tank at an IVF clinic. CNS file photo An embryologist removes frozen embryos from a storage tank at an IVF clinic. CNS file photoSome couples resort to IVF because of cultural pressure and lack of knowledge of Church teaching.

BANGKOK – After Mr John Tran Minh Chien’s wife was unable to get pregnant after seven years of marriage, the couple decided to travel from their home in southwestern Kien Giang province to Ho Chi Minh City to get medical help.

Mr Chien, a tractor driver, said he was found to suffer from male infertility.

“I could not get my wife pregnant after receiving fertility treatment from the hospital during the past year,” he told the Asian Church news agency ucanews.com. “So this year we decided to get in vitro fertilisation treatment to have a baby ourselves.”

As a Catholic, Mr Chien is defying the teachings of his faith.

With in vitro fertilisation, a woman’s eggs are removed, united with sperm in a laboratory, and then implanted in the womb of the mother or a surrogate.

  A bishop baptises a man at Jingxian cathedral in China’s Hebei province. China says the Vatican must refrain from interfering in China’s internal affairs, particularly in the name of religion. CNS file photo A bishop baptises a man at Jingxian cathedral in China’s Hebei province. China says the Vatican must refrain from interfering in China’s internal affairs, particularly in the name of religion. CNS file photo

ROME – China has sent a message to whoever would be the new pope, urging him stop the Vatican from interfering in China’s domestic affairs.

“China is willing to develop relations with the Vatican if the Vatican severs its diplomatic ties with Taiwan and refrains from interfering in China’s internal affairs,” Mr Hong Lei, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, said in Beijing on Feb 18, according to a report in The People’s Daily online.

The paper is an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.

AFP news agency reported that Mr Hong did so when asked for China’s reaction to Pope Benedict’s shock decision to step down on Feb 28.

“China hopes the Vatican will show flexibility and sincerity in creating conditions for the improvement of China-Vatican ties under the new pope,” Mr Hong stated.