In Brief

Source: FSSPX News


Ivory Coast : Exposition of the relics of Saint Teresa from February 15 to April 30, 2006

 On November 5, Fr. Tite Lath, national director of Catholic Societies of the Ivory Coast, announced during a press conference that the relics of Saint Teresa would be exposed throughout the Ivory Coast in order to obtain a return to peace in the country. The Ivory Coast daily Notre Voie added that the relics will be taken there by Mgr. Bernard Lagoutte, rector of the Basilica of Lisieux.


Great Britain : Christmas lights “too Christian”

 On November 7, East Anglia District Council, in Suffolk professed a great deal of interest in a report which stipulated that the annual subsidies granted to 13 towns and villages did not conform “with the fundamental values of equality and diversity”. The authors of the report assert that Christmas is a purely Christian festival and the propose that subsidies for the illuminations be cut by half next year, and then cancelled in 2007. These “too Christian” lights would be offensive to non-Christians. Frank Jones, an independent councilor, declared : “Our entire culture is affected by the vague possibility that the things we do could anger people of other religions”.


Vatican : Series of stamps in November and December 2005

 On November 22, the Vatican and Swiss Post Offices have issued a special set of stamps to mark the occasion of the fifth centenary of the Pontifical Swiss Guard. The illustrations have been taken from one of the stamps from the series issued by the Vatican City in 1956 during the 450th anniversary of the Swiss Guard. A special stamp bearing the image of two Swiss Guards has also been issued. On the same day, the Vatican Post Office is offering for sale an aerogramme commemorating the 7th centenary of the death of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino, accompanied by a special postmark.

 Finally, as every year, a series of three stamps for Christmas has been proposed to collectors, with a special postmark featuring different details from The Adoration of the Shepherds by the French painter Francois Le Moyne (1688-1737) which is kept in a parish church in the Turin region (Italy).

 Collectors will have to make sure that philatelic material to be stamped arrives at the Vatican Postmarks Office, before December 22. The Vatican Post Office will be using the special Christmas postmark , on which is written “Christus natus est, Alleluia” (Christ is born, Alleluia) and "Vatican Post-23 XII 2005”, with the reproduction of a work by the artist Irio Fantini. Philatelic material to be stamped with this postmark should arrive at Vatican Post Offices no later than January 25, 2006.


Argentina : the Church opposes once again the law in favor of condoms

 On Sunday November 6, Mgr. Carmelo Giaquinta, archbishop of Resistencia (north west), called for civil disobedience, unless the law authorizing the distribution of condoms in state schools is repealed. “To the adult who leads children and adolescents astray, Jesus said that it would be better to put a millstone round his neck and cast him to the bottom of the ocean”,- echoing the declaration of Mgr. Antonio Baseotto, several months ago, of throwing the Health Minister into the sea with a millstone around his neck.

 On November 7, Gines Gonzales Garcia, Argentine Health Minister, declared the free distribution of condoms in schools, justified by the fight against Aids and under-age pregnancies, despite opposition from the Catholic Church in Argentina.


Italy : “Catacombs” for baptised Muslims

 L’Avvenire, the daily paper of the Italian Bishops’ conference, has written in its November 8 edition the work, Histoires de musulmans convertis written by the journalists Giorgio Paolucci and Camille Eid (Ed. Piemmne). The authors have published an investigation carried out among Muslims converted to Christianity in Italy.

 “Islam has only one door, the entrance”, revealed the witnesses questioned, who are forced to hide, as in the times of the Catacombs”, because they risk losing their lives. If all cases are not dramatic, the safety of these new converts does not come without a total break with their original background.

 “We feel abandoned in the face of the threats we suffer”, they say. After our conversion, we have no one to support us. Whereas Christians who become Muslims are able to display their faith, we live in fear. We are asking the Church and the State to protect us”!


India : Report on anti-Catholic violence in 2005

 On November 9, the agency Fides cited the report of the Catholic association “All India Catholic Union” sent to the Prime Minister of the Indian Union. The association, which brings together 16 million Indian Catholics, has “warned of danger in the face of the many attacks against members of the Christian community , or against their buildings”. The report, written in collaboration with the Indian Bishops Conference, the “National Council of Churches in India” and the ecumenical organization “All India Christian Council” specifies that “it is imperative that we see a more resolute intervention on the part of the government in defending religious minorities”. Since, it recalls, the number of incidents in 2005 is equal to that of the years when the Bharatyia Janata, the nationalist party favorable to fundamentalist Hindu groups, was in power.

 The states most affected are Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The association underlines the situation of Indians who are outcasts, for the most part poor peasants, suffering social discrimination.

Argentina : Election of the President of the Bishops’ Conference

 On November 8, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, aged 69, was elected president of the Argentine Bishops Conference by his peers meeting for a plenary assembly . Thus he succeeds Mgr. Eduardo Vicente Miras, archbishop of Rosario. The son of a railway worker of Italian origin, the Jesuit Jorge Bergoglio was consecrated bishop in 1992. Firstly auxiliary at Buenos Aires, he became titular bishop in 1998. He was made a cardinal by John Paul II in 2001.

 The new president of the Bishops’ Conference, who was a likely candidate for the papacy during the conclave, kept his distance in the recent conflict between several bishops and the Argentine government of Nestor Kirchner, on the subject of abortion and condoms.