US congratulates Pope Francis on his 4th anniversary
On Monday, March 12, the anniversary of Pope Francis being elevated to the papacy, the United States offered its congratulations and wishes for collaboration in the future.
"On behalf of President Trump and the people of the United States, I offer my congratulations to His Holiness Pope Francis on the fourth anniversary of his election as Bishop of Rome and leader of the Catholic Church," said U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a statement.
On March 13, 2013, then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was elected Pope.
First US-born martyr to be beatified in September
Fr Stanley Rother, a native of Oklahoma who was killed while serving as a missionary in Guatemala in 1981, will be beatified in September.
Fr Rother's martyrdom was formally recognised by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints last December. His beatification has now been scheduled for September 23, to take place in Oklahoma City. Fr Rother was a priest of the Oklahoma City archdiocese, which made the announcement on March 13.
Saudi king meets religious leaders
"We shared aspirations and hopes with the Saudi king. This meeting is symbolic and very important," said Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo, after the Interreligious meeting organised by the Government on the occasion of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's visit to Indonesia. King Salman is visiting Indonesia for 12 days from March 1, with a delegation of 1,500 people, including 10 ministers and 25 princes.
Jesuit Fr Magnis Suseno, also a participant at the interreligious meeting, said: "First of all, King Salman, with his appreciation for good relations between religions in Indonesia, showed his support to President Joko Widodo and to his non-sectarian policies which are based on social and religious co-existence." Moreover, added Fr Suseno, "he disappointed those who expected that his visit would give a boost to the most conservative trends of Indonesian Islam."
Persecuted for their faith, Christian journalists tell their stories
"We cannot sell our magazines in public," one Pakistan Catholic journalist said. Indeed, "we cannot pin our name to stories of persecution." This case highlights the fact that minority media face obstacles in doing their work.
The Asia Journalists' Roundtable focused on the issue on March 10-11 at the Ecumenical Centre of the Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM), Jalan University Selangor.
Organised by SIGNIS, the World Catholic Association for Communication, the meeting, titled 'Communication, hope and trust in our time' saw the participation of some 20 journalists from 13 countries.
Ban social media for blasphemous posts
Pakistanis logging on to Facebook or Twitter may soon find themselves looking at a dull government page telling them that the sites have been banned to protect Islamic sensitivities.
The government has warned all social media websites that if blasphemous content persists, they will not hesitate to shut them down. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority will carry out the threat, if the websites refuse to comply.
"We will go to any extent, even permanently blocking all social media websites, if social media operators refuse to cooperate with Pakistan," Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali said in a statement on March 9.
Society of St Pius X warned
A Catholic bishop in the central Philippines has warned against the activities of members of the Society of St Pius X, also known as the SSPX, in Palo Archdiocese.
Archbishop John Du of Palo said members of the group have been reported to be conducting "missions" in the archdiocese, without coordination with local Church officials.
In a pastoral statement released on March 12, Archbishop Du warned Catholics "to be extra cautious in dealing with [SSPX members], so as not to further the animosity currently existing."
The SSPX, an international fraternity of priests founded by the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, is known for rejecting ecclesial reforms institutionalised by the Second Vatican Council.