Steve Jalsevac


NewsBytes, Jan. 1 - China: Oppression of Church and Others

Steve Jalsevac
Steve Jalsevac

* Disclaimer: The linked items below or the websites at which they are located do not necessarily represent the views of They are presented only for your information.

Compiled by Steve Jalsevac

China Declares Christian ‘House Churches’ a ‘Cult,’ Advocacy Group Reports
China reportedly has launched a new crackdown on “house churches,” Protestant congregations that do not belong to the country’s state-sanctioned, “patriotic” church organization. In an ominous development reported by the China Aid Association (CAA), a U.S.-based group that advocates for Chinese Christians, authorities allegedly have labeled the house church movement a “cult.”

China trying to prove it is ‘master of the Church,’ missionary priest warns

Father Bernardo Cervellera, a longtime observer of Sino-Vatican affairs, is deeply troubled by recent moves made by China’s communist authorities. “We are back in the 1950s,” said Fr. Cervellera. “Honestly, I would say that with these elections we are taken back to the time of Mao Zedong and the foundation of the Patriotic Association,”

Chinese government defends control of Catholic church
- American Thinker
A spokesperson for the People’s Republic of China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs said on Wednesday that the Vatican’s criticism of the recent National Congress of Chinese Catholics was “imprudent and ungrounded.”  Members of the CCPA are forbidden to acknowledge the Pope as the universal pastor of the Catholic Church, as Beijing will not tolerate any loyalty to any entity for any reason outside China. Thus, there are millions of “underground Catholics” in China who worship outside the CCPA at great risk.

Rift widens as China lashes out at Pope
- Times of India
The Chinese government has challenged the role played by the Pope and suggested that the Vatican was misguiding Catholics in the country. The statement, which follows Vatican’s criticism of the official church in China, indicated an intensification of the old conflict between the two sides.

“Who is actually using coercive measures and demanding Catholics betray their conscience? Isn’t it crystal clear?” a spokesman of the State Administration for Religious Affairs said Wednesday. He was responding to Vatican’s criticism of the decision of the official church to anoint a Bishop after a recent meeting.

China says Vatican must repair rift over bishop - Google News
The Vatican bears responsibility for restoring dialogue with China’s government-backed church after its criticism of leadership changes here frayed ties, a Chinese church official said Friday. China’s official Catholic church named new leaders at a conference not recognized by the Vatican, which last week condemned the election as a violation of religious freedom and human rights.

China forced its Roman Catholics to cut ties with the Vatican in 1951 shortly after the communist seizure of power. Dialogue has been used to ease tensions, but a main sticking point has been the Chinese church’s insistence that it — not Rome — has the right to appoint bishops.

Popes, Atheists and Freedom - Wall Street Journal
Secularists should recognize that the pope’s fight is their fight. In these times, the pope’s agenda is the civilized world’s agenda. The pope’s agenda is individual freedom. The reality of the modern Church’s interests aligned with the world’s best interests emerges forcefully in the recently published second volume of George Weigel’s magisterial biography of John Paul II, “The End and the Beginning.”

Days after Benedict XVI chastised China before thousands in St. Peter’s Square last week, a Chinese newspaper run by the People’s Daily replied to his defense of Christians there: “The Vatican has to face the fact that all religious beliefs are free in China, as long as they do not run counter to the country’s laws.”

“Face the facts” sums up nicely the worldview and foreign policies of China, Iran and Russia. Get over it. John Paul said no. Benedict again says no. Benedict’s fight for freedom and that of recent Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo are the same.

Inflation in China will cause the collapse of the regime
by Wei Jingsheng - Asia News
To make a few people wealthy, the communist government keeps most of the population in poverty. If they really have the welfare of their people at heart, Beijing must allow the revaluation of the Yuan and should open the market to the West.

Chinese Internet users hit 450 million mark, raising fears in government - Asia News
Increasingly, news are spread online, including those about abuses by the authorities, which have responded by boosting censorship and controls to nip in the bud all forms of dissent organised via the net. China’s booming online population has turned the Internet into a forum for citizens to express their opinions in real time in a way rarely seen in a country where the traditional media is under strict government control.

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Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

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By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

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By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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