News Briefs

Source: FSSPX News


Vietnam: Appointment of bishop accepted by the Vietnamese government

 On May 13, 2006 the daily Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office announced the nomination of Mgr. Joseph Chau Ngoc Tri as bishop of Da Nang by Benedict XVI. Appointed with the agreement of the Vietnamese government, the 49 year old bishop succeeds Mgr. Nguyen Binh Tinh who has reached the retirement age for prelates (75).

Vietnam has 6 million Catholics, that is 7% of the population, and constitutes the second largest Catholic community in South East Asia after the Philippines.

A comparative reconciliation between Communist Vietnam and the Vatican enabled Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, to ordain 57 priests at Hanoi in November 2005.


 Indonesia: Christians refuse to authorize the construction of a Mosque

 Since 2005, the construction of a place of worship in Indonesia has been subject to a decree by the Ministry of Religions, which requires the support of 90 members of the religion concerned and of 60 members of other religions of the region. But the Muslims of the district of Manokwari in the province of Irian Jaya (formerly Western Papua) have been unable to find 60 Christians in favor of the building of a mosque. In fact, the Christians of Irian Jaya, who are ethnic Melanesians, state that the authority of the Indonesian government on their province has been excessive since 1963 and are demanding their independence. The government of Jakarta has been accused of exercising its power with violence and with no regard for the native people.


Switzerland: Two Council Members want to ban minarets

 Alfred Heer and Barbara Steinemann, members of the UDC party of the Zurich Council have argued against the construction of minarets in the Canton where sites must be preserved from “such upsetting religious constructions.” Alfred Heer stated in the bulletin Reformierten Presse that the new cantonal law on planning and construction should ban minarets.

 Ismail Amin, the president of the Foundation “Islamic Community of Zurich” has condemned this initiative as discriminatory and confirmed that there was no question at present of the construction of any minarets. The Imam Ahmed Sadaqat said: “I have been the Imam of this mosque (with the only minaret in the canton) for five years, and there has never been any objection to the minaret (built in 1963).” The canton has ten mosques installed in apartments or former factories.


Switzerland: Re-allocation of protestant churches

 The municipality of Lausanne, which owns twenty-two protestant churches and three ecumenical centers, has approved the re-allocation of some places of worship following the merging of several parishes in 2000.

 Oscar Tosato, municipal councilor for Children, Youth and Education, said: “When I arrived at the municipality in 2002, I clearly stated to the parishes that the city would be unable to commit millions and millions to the renovation of all these churches.” “The Protestant Church of the canton of Vaud has never staked its future existence in its buildings,” explained Daniel Alexander, pastor of Saint Luc’s Church. “One must move with the times.”

“To be perfectly frank, we have considered demolishing the church of the Croix d’Ouchy, which is architecturally less interesting,” added Oscar Tosato. “This would allow us to increase the density of the quarter. But we would certainly have had to rebuild in the same volume, which is problematic. We have opted rather to keep this visual symbol, which is important for the area.” But “why would we sell these buildings while the city has such a need of places for houses in the area, for young people and artists?” “This sort of discussion is likely to become widespread in the cantons during the next few years,” said Antoine Reymond, a full time member of the Synod Council. 


 Russia: The Orthodox Church in exile rejoins the Patriarchate of Moscow

 On May 11, 2006, 150 delegates of the Russian Orthodox Church abroad gathered in San Francisco, voted by an overwhelming majority for reunification with the Patriarchate of Moscow. It was at the episcopal Council meeting between May 15 and 19 at San Francisco that the “historic decision” brought to an end more than 80 years of rupture with the Patriarchate of Moscow.

 After having fled Bolshevik Russia in 1917, the clergy and faithful in exile created the Russian Orthodox Church abroad. The Church in exile severed all links with the Patriarchate of Moscow when the Metropolitan Sergei swore allegiance to the Soviet government in 1927. The Russian Orthodox Church in exile has 500,000 faithful spread around more than 30 countries, in America, Europe and Australia.


 Spain: UEFA Cup winners give thanks to Our Lady

 Faithful to their club’s tradition, the Seville soccer team went to thank the Virgin Mary after their victory in the UEFA Cup final. The team went to the Cathedral Virgen do los Reyes in Seville to leave a spray of flowers. Cardinal Carlos Amigo praised the team for their commitment and blessed the players amid the thunderous applause of thousands of supporters. Seville beat the English team Middlesbrough on Wednesday May 10, by 4 goals to one in the UEFA Cup final.