Hold the Presses is your online newsportal en brings press releases from around the world. Journalists can use it for free, although it is their responsibilty to check the news. Hold the Presses is in no way responsible for the content of the press releases, the Sender is. We hope you enjoy reading the news we bring you on this website. If a message is published that is not acceptable, we apologize. Please contact us and we will remove the message as soon as possible.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

The Vatican: Vatican: AB Gallagher on Iran visit and Rohingya crisis

Vatican: AB Gallagher on Iran visit and Rohingya crisis
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican is following closely the plight of the Rohingya people , as Pope Francis prepares to visit Myanmar and Bangladesh at the end of November. Archbishop Paul Gallagher , the Holy See's Secretary for Relations with States, confirmed on Friday that the pope raised his concerns with Myanmar's leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, during her private visit to the Vatican in May. He said the country's bishops will continue to put pressure on the government to stop the attacks on Rohingya villages and to respect the rights of these suffering people. The Vatican foreign minister discussed the plight of the Rohingyas recently with top Iranian leaders in Teheran. During that September 5th to 9th visit, he also had "very frank" discussions about the difficulties facing Christians in Iran , as well as in war torn Syria and Iraq. In an interview with Vatican Radio, Archbishop Gallagher also spoke of the latest escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula , insisting that the crisis must be seen in a broader context of "unprecedented dangers" due to the worst global insecurity since the Second World War. Listen to Philippa Hitchen's interview with Archbishop Paul Gallagher:  Archbishop Gallagher said the Holy See is "extremely concerned" about increasing tensions on the Korean peninsula . Noting that there was no formal resolution of the Korean war, he said the Holy See "remains committed to promoting a nuclear free world ", based "on an ethic of fraternity, rather than the ethics of aggression". Pressure on North Korea He urged the international community to "continue to make pressure on North Korea", adding that the Vatican offers "whatever encouragement we can". Recalling his trips to Pyongyang 20 years ago, he said today "our channels [of communication] with North Korea are very weak indeed". Danger of global insecurity Speaking of his forthcoming visit to the UN, the Vatican foreign minister stressed the need for a united approach to North Korea and other areas of conflict. He said it's "very important for the international community to see the crisis on the Korean peninsula as also part of a general situation of great insecurity", adding that "we should be really waking up to the great dangers which are now facing the world, unprecedented dangers since the Second World War". Iran's role in Syria and Iraq Sharing details of his encounter with Iranian government leaders in Teheran, Archbishop Gallagher spoke of efforts underway in Geneva to end the Syria conflict. Asked about the future of the Christian communities in Syria and Iraq, Archbishop Gallagher replied that many of those who've fled the fighting will not return. Those in refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan, he said, will come back if there are assurances of peace and incentives, such as an initiative regarding the renewal of villages on the Nineveh plain. Christian presence in Middle East The Vatican foreign minister stressed that Christians play "an essential role in the Middle East, they're a bit like the cement that holds society" together. In the midst of ethnic or religious conflicts, he said, "Christians, who've been there forever, need to continue to be part of that society, to be citizens like everybody else, and to make their contribution for the rebuilding of these nations". Difficulties for Catholics in Iran Discussing the difficulties facing Catholics in Iran, Archbishop Gallagher said he raised these concerns openly in talks with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. He spoke of the different understandings of religious freedom, saying that the Iranian authorities were "very complimentary about the role and contribution that Christians make" but at the same time "it's also quite clear that rules of the game are very demanding on our Christian communities". He said he hoped his visit would draw attention to their plight and lead to future cooperation "to face some of the practical problems of these communities". Possible papal visit to Teheran? Asked about the possibility of a papal visit to Iran, Archbishop Gallagher said: "I think we're a long way from that,". He noted the positive relations with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue but said he stressed "that good relations with the Holy See are also supposed to be reflected in good relations with local Christian communities". Myanmar's Rohingya crisis The Vatican Secretary for Relations with States said he discussed the Rohingya crisis with Iran's political and religious leaders. He said both Pope Francis and Cardinal Parolin raised their concerns with Aung San Suu Kyi during her visit to the Vatican, noting that "her reply was in line with other things that have been said in recent days". Cardinal Bo and local bishops, he added, will continue to put pressure on the authorities "in a very complex and difficult situation", while the Holy See will follow developments closely in preparation for the pope's visit there. Pope concern for plight of refugees  Archbishop Gallagher stressed how Pope Francis has shown "great courage" in speaking out at times which could have jeopardized progress in bilateral relations. But he added, "the pope is clear that the plight and suffering of ordinary people is as important to him as the interests of the great and powerful". Asked if the crisis could jeopardise the papal visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh, he replied: "As we all know, it takes quite a lot to discourage the pope". (from Vatican Radio)...
Lees verder

ASIA/JAPAN - Pastoral visit to Japan by Cardinal Filoni starts tomorrow
Tokyo – Tomorrow Sunday 17 September, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, will arrive in Japan for a pastoral visit which will conclude on 26 September. The Cardinal's busy agenda starts Monday 18 with the first stop at Fukuoka, to visit the Seminary there, deliver a discourse and celebrate Mass. The following day in Nagasaki, the cardinal will meet priests, religious men and women and lay faithful and after visiting important venues in the city. He will meet pre-seminarians and aspirants and conclude the day with Mass celebrated in the Cathedral. On 20 September, after talking with the bishops of the Nagasaki region, Cardinal Filoni will go to Hiroshima, and after a visit to the Peace Memorial , he will meet priests, religious and lay Catholics followed by the celebration of Mass in the Cathedral. Friday 22 September the Prefect of Propaganda Fide will be taken to see the sites of the earthquake and Sunami at Sendai and celebrate Mass in the Cathedral. Saturday 23, in Tokyo, he will deliver a discourse and celebrate Mass. Sunday 24 the morning will include a visit to Sophia University , a meeting in the afternoon with priests, religious and lay people and the celebration of Mass in the Cathedral with the bishops of Japan. On Monday 25 the Cardinal will give a talk and then dialogue with the Bishops. The following day he will depart for Rome. Fides spoke with Divine Word missionary Bishop Isao Kikuchi, who cares for the diocese of Niigata and is chairman of Caritas Japan: "We are very happy about the visit – the Bishop said- this is the first time that Cardinal Filoni comes to Japan. We hope his presence will serve as encouragement for our small Catholic community. The Cardinal will have the opportunity to see the reality of the Church in Japan and also the Japanese society. He will visit different dioceses and communities, lead prayers for peace at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, visit areas affected by the tsunami, and view the work of assistance and rehabilitation promoted by Caritas. I believe, that most important, will be his encounter with our seminarians to confirm and encourage them on their vocational journey". The Bishop mentioned some principal challenges for Church in Japan: "We are experiencing ageing, of society in general and of our people and our workers, and this makes our parishes more difficult to run; most demanding is a growing presence of Catholics among immigrants from various countries whose pastoral care is an urgent and necessary task; there is the decline in the number of vocations to the priesthood and to the religious and consecrated life. This phenomenon has sociological and anthropological roots and reflects what is happening in our Japanese society where the space for religious practice is ever smaller in the frenetic life style of our day". "It is our hope that the visit by the Cardinal Prefect of Propaganda Fide to our country will shine like a light on our path: we welcome him as a sign of God's blessing and His will for us", concludes Bishop Isao Kikuchi. According to the latest edition of the Annual of Catholic Church Statistics, Japan has a population of 126,958,000 of whom 544,000 are Catholics. There are 16 ecclesiastical circumscriptions, 3 metropolitan archdioceses and 13 dioceses, with 870 parishes. The Church serves the people through 26 bishops, 532 diocesan priests, 914 religious priests, 26 permanent deacons , 190 brothers, 5,334 women religious, 1,645 catechists, 40 minor seminarians, and 87 major seminarians. ...
Lees verder

Pope prays for families who are suffering
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday asked the faithful to join him in prayer for all families "who are feeling the effects of unemployment and for those who are persecuted because of their faith as well as for every family that is suffering". The Pope's words came in a message signed by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on his behalf. It was addressed to participants in the X National Pilgrimage of Families for the Family organized by the "Renewal in the Spirit" movement. Hosted, this year by the town of Scafati and Pompei in Italy's southern Campania region, there are over 10,000 participants from all over Italy. In his message the Pope sends greetings to all participants assuring them of his spiritual closeness. He also expressed his pleasure that organizers have placed the event within a programme of preparations for the 2018 World Meeting of Families in Dublin. The General Secretary of the Italian Episcopal Conference, Archbishop Nunzio Galantino, joined the Pope's greetings with a message of his own in which he highlighted the valuable witness of the "Renewal in the Spirit" movement, and recalled the fundamental role of the family in the current social, anthropological and institutional context.          (from Vatican Radio)...
Lees verder