18 Notes & Comments

posted Apr 20, 2017, 8:04 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 20, 2017, 8:04 AM ]

Pope: Begin to rise again asserting the value of life


Asserting the “value of life . . . is already starting to rise,” Pope Francis said in his address to the pilgrims who had gathered St Peter’s Square for the Regina Caeli, the Marian prayer recited in lieu of the Angelus during Easter celebrations.

“We shall be men and women of the resurrection,” he added, “if, in the midst of events that trouble the world and the worldliness that keeps away from God, we are able to undertake acts of solidarity and welcome, and feed the universal desire for peace and the aspiration for an environment free from degradation. These are shared and human signs that, inspired and sustained by faith in the Risen Lord, can acquire an efficacy far greater than our capacities. Yes indeed, Christ is alive and active in history through his Holy Spirit: he redeems our miseries, reaches every human heart, and gives hope to anyone who is oppressed and suffering.”


Resurrection Flame


For most people, Easter is synonymous with eggs and bunnies. But, in the Roman Catholic tradition, the most distinct symbol of the festival is the Paschal candle, ubiquitous at midnight services all over the world.

Paschaltide (also called the Paschal season or Paschal time) is a religious season for Christianity that focuses on celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It typically commences with a vigil before the midnight mass, requiring the lighting of the Paschal candle.

While the Church is the Paschal candle’s final destination, its journey begins in Goa, at an industrial unit in Verna. The labour-intensive task of its making is handled by Blessed Joseph Vaz Enterprises, the archdiocese of Goa’s authorised centre. But don’t let the ‘industrial’ nature of the unit fool you. Paschal candles are not machine-made. “They have been handcrafted since 2013,” says Fr Jose Furtado, the Centre’s managing director.


Study finds religious persecution spread to more countries in 2015


Global religious persecution spiked from 2014 to 2015, the Pew Research Center noted in a new report released this week.

“Government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion increased in 2015 for the first time in three years,” the latest annual Pew Research Center report on “Global Restrictions on Religion” began.

In 2015, there were “very high” or “high” levels of animosity shown towards religious groups in 40 percent of countries, the report noted, either through restrictive government laws targeting religious groups or violence or harassment toward adherents of specific religions by other members of society.

The 2015 percentage was up six points from 2014, when 34 percent of countries reported such levels of hostility to religious groups.

Pew’s report drew from various sources on global religious freedom, both from the U.S. government (annual international religious freedom reports of the State Department and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom), the European Union and United Nations, and other non-governmental organisations.

The report was part of the “Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures project,” funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John Templeton Foundation.

Certain countries and regions of the world showed especially high hostility towards religious groups. Russia, Egypt, India, Pakistan, and Nigeria all showed both government harassment of and social animus toward certain religious groups.