We begin in Rome today where an estimated 20,000 people gathered at St. Peter's square in the rain, to join the Pope for his weekly general audience where he continued his catechesis on the Mass and reflected on the words, “Go in Peace”.
Those final words, “Go in Peace”, is an invitation, the Pope said, to proclaim God's blessings through your lives. It is not an opportunity to go outside and speak ill of others. "If we leave the church gossiping, saying, 'Look at this one, or look at that one,' with a loose tongue, he said, then the Mass did not enter our hearts. Every time we leave Mass, we must leave better than when we entered. With more life, with greater strength, with a greater desire to give Christian witness."
As the Mass ended, the Pope said, "the commitment of Christian witness" begins at home, at work and any time a Christian interacts with others; the idea is to "become Eucharistic men and women."
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Baptist minister and civil rights leader, Rev. Martin Luther King, who on April 4, 1968, was gunned down on the balcony of his hotel room in Memphis, Tennessee.
As the most prominent civil rights activist of his time, Rev. King fought for all races, a system that systematically promoted racism and a cultural divide. He was well-known for his Christian beliefs and his advocation of non-violence and civil disobedience, to bring about change.
This 50th anniversary "gives us an important moment to draw inspiration from the way in which Dr. King remained undeterred in his principle of nonviolent resistance, even in the face of years of ridicule and violence for the cause of justice," the US Conference of Catholic Bishops recently said in a recent statement.
Now you may recall, the Pope, in his 2015 address to the US Congress touched upon Martin Luther’s dream of full civil and political rights for all.
And lastly tonight, we go to China UCAN News is reporting that the Chinese authority has effectively banned all online sales of the Bible. People searching for Bibles at popular online stores were greeted with the message: "Sorry! No products in this category available."
Now apparently, there is a long-standing rule that the Bible cannot be sold publicly or on the internet in China but that rule has been allowed to slide over the years. By law, bibles can only be sold in churches that have government permits and it appears that the Chinese authorities are now starting to enforce that law.
It’s interesting that the Chinese Government has chosen now to enforce the law after claiming yesterday, to support “religious freedom” in a document they recently issued that uses beautiful wording to describe the principle of "independence, autonomy, and self-administration in religion.
That is all that we have time for today. Join us again tomorrow, when I bring you more news and stories from the Perspective of a Catholic Lens.
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