Cardinal prays for religious freedom in China
CARDINAL Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, a former Bishop of Hong Kong, has called on Beijing to end the persecution of Christians and to allow religious freedom. Cardinal Zen was leading a prayer service outside China’s Hong Kong liaison office, in Sai Wan, on Sunday. Fifty Christians had gathered in protest against the removal of crosses from more than 2000 churches in Zhejiang province, since 2014. “We can’t just watch on the side. If we don’t speak out, we are the accomplices,” Cardinal Zen said. On the same day, a petition to ask Pope Francis to pray for religious freedom, to pray for two missing bishops, and to stop the removal of crosses, reached 800 signatures.
Church leaders in Australia condemn cuts to aid budget
THE Australian Primate, the Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr Philip Freier, has joined the leaders of 12 Christian denominations in urging the government to abandon a £119-million cut in the country’s aid budget. In a letter to the Treasurer, Scott Morrison, published in the newspaper The Australian, the church leaders write that the move will reduce the aid budget to its lowest level in Australian history. “Australia’s support for aid and the flourishing of our neighbours is fundamentally a moral question, and it rises above partisan politics,” it reads. The chief executive of World Vision told The Melbourne Anglican that the cuts were “unprecedented”.