Fr Stephen Smuts

Posts Tagged ‘Communism

China Ends One-Child Family Policy

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The barbaric social engineering experiment has ended. The low birth rate has resulted in an ageing population.

The Catholic Herald:

China has ended its one-child policy after three decades.

The ruling Communist Party has said it will ease family planning restrictions, allowing couples to have two children.

It is thought the one-child policy has prevented about 400million births since it was introduced.

The controversial policy was introduced nationally three decades ago in 1978 with the aim of tackling China’s rapidly growing population.

It faced global criticism when it was brought in, as critics suggested it was an abuse of people’s human rights.

Those who violated the policy faced a range of punishments, from fines to loss of employment or forced abortions.

While the restrictions reduced the country’s birth rate, it has seen a rise in the relative number of elderly people.

Now, amid concerns over China’s ageing population, the party has bowed to activist’s call for change.

The policy had been relaxed in some areas, as sociologists began to raise concerns about rising social costs and falling worker numbers.

The rules were not formally relaxed by the Communist Party until two years ago, when it allowed couples in which at least one of the pair is an only child, and those who had a girl, to have a second.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

October 29, 2015 at 16:59

Posted in Culture

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Church Fresco Depicts Tito, Marx and Engels in Hell

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The Church is in Montenegro:

Fresco from church in Podgorica, Montenegro

A church in Montenegro has sparked controversy by displaying a fresco depicting Yugoslav communist leader Josip Broz Tito in the fires of hell with Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

The newly built Church of Resurrection in the capital Podgorica has already drawn criticism for its lavish design.

Critics now say the church should not be interfering in politics.

Works by philosophers Marx and Engels were required reading when Montenegro was part of communist Yugoslavia.

One church leader, named only as Dragan, told the Agence France-Presse news agency that Marx, Engels and Tito “personify communist evil in the Balkans” and the artist should be “allowed the freedom to see things as he wishes”…

The Church of Resurrection in Podgorica

I don’t see any mention of the Churchmen who are being swallowed by the Behemoth.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

February 4, 2014 at 15:28

Cuba Makes Good Friday a Holiday!

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USA Today is reporting:

Havana (AP) – Cuba has honored an appeal by Pope Benedict XVI and declared next week’s Good Friday a holiday for the first time since the early days following the island’s 1959 Revolution, though a decision on whether the move will be permanent will have to wait.

The Communist government said in a communique Saturday that the decision was made in light of the success of Benedict’s “transcendental visit” to the country, which wrapped up Wednesday. It said the Council of Ministers, Cuba’s supreme governing body, will decide later whether to make the holiday permanent.

Benedict’s appeal was reminiscent of his predecessor John Paul II’s 1998 request that Christmas be restored as a holiday. Religious holidays were abolished in the 1960s after brothers Fidel and Raul Castro came to power, ushering in a Marxist government.

Good Friday is the day Catholics commemorate the death of Christ, but it is not a holiday in the United States, most of Europe or even Mexico, the most Catholic of the world’s Spanish-speaking countries.

Cuba removed references to atheism from its constitution in the 1990s, and relations have warmed with the church. Still, less than 10% of islanders are practicing Catholics.

Benedict was met by large, but not overwhelming, crowds during his three-day tour. He dismissed Marxism as outmoded even before he arrived, then sprinkled his homilies and speeches with calls for more freedom and tolerance, often as senior members of the government watched from front-row seats. The pope also spoke out against the 50-year U.S. economic embargo, which the Vatican has long opposed.

The Vatican welcomed the decision, saying it hoped it would lead to greater participation in Easter celebrations.

“The fact that the Cuban authorities quickly welcomed the Holy Father’s request to President Raul Castro, declaring next Good Friday a non-work day, is certainly a very positive sign,” said the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi.

“The Holy See hopes that this will encourage participation in the religious celebrations and joyous Easter festivities, and that following the visit of the Holy Father will continue to bring the desired fruits for the good of the church and all Cubans.”

Cubans said they were thrilled, if slightly incredulous, to hear of the day off…


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

March 31, 2012 at 22:10

Fidel Castro to be Received Back into the Catholic Church?

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Fidel Castro will be received back into the communion of the Roman Catholic Church during Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the island in March, the Italian press is reporting.

If true, this is a remarkable story — and one that has yet to catch the attention of editors this side of the Atlantic.

On 1 Feb 2012, La Republicca — [Italy’s second largest circulation daily newspaper, La Republicca follows a center-left political line and is strongly anti-clerical; not anti-Catholic per se but a critic of the institutional church] — reported that as death approaches, the octogenarian communist has turned to God for solace.

ABC’s Global Note news blog is the only U.S. general interest publication I have found that has reported this story.  It referenced the La Republicca story…



Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

February 10, 2012 at 08:48

North Koreans Punished for Insufficient Grief

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Oh my

Authorities in North Korea are reportedly punishing citizens – six months of hard labour – who didn’t mourn hard enough over the death of “eternal leader” Kim Jong-il.

Anyone who didn’t attend the histrionic mass gatherings in Kim’s honour, or who did attend “but didn’t cry and didn’t seem genuine,” could be subjected to six months in a labour camp, reports the South Korea-based Daily NK newspaper.

The paper cited an unnamed source who also said anyone who attempted to leave the country during the extended mourning period for Kim or was discovered using a cellphone to make calls out will face a public trial.

The punishment is less severe for North Koreans who merely criticize the dynastic system that parachuted Kim’s son Kim Jong Un into power. According to the report, they will be sent to re-education camps or be banished with their families to remote rural areas.

How evil! Wicked dictators at work.



Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

January 12, 2012 at 22:30

Kim Jong Il is Dead

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The much-feared North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il is dead. So reports the Sydney Morning Herald:

Kim Jong-il, the second-generation North Korean dictator who defied global  condemnation to build nuclear weapons while his people starved, has died at the  age of 69, Yonhap News reported.

The South Korean military has been put on emergency alert with their  communist neighbour now set to follow Kim Jong-il’s son Kim Jong-un, believed to  be 27.

The news of the death of  “Dear Leader” was delivered by a weeping  announcer in a broadcast at noon local time, Yonhap reported, citing North  Korea’s official media.

The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the leader ”passed away  from a great mental and physical strain” at 8.30am on Saturday (1030 AEDT  Saturday), while on a train for one of his ”field guidance” tours.

Kim is believed to have suffered a stroke in August 2008 and may have also  had pancreatic cancer, according to South Korean news reports.  KCNA said  Kim died of a ”severe myocardial infarction along with a heart attack”. It  said an autopsy was performed on Sunday.His funeral will be held on December 28 in Pyongyang but no foreign delegations  will be invited, KCNA said. A period of national mourning was declared from  December 17 to 29.

Read more here.

God is certainly taking some interesting people just before Christmas.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

December 19, 2011 at 06:49

Posted in Church

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Resurrection: The Catholic Church’s Comeback in Cuba

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On The Deacon’s Bench:

Cuba’s Catholic Church is enjoying new popularity and influence — and TIME magazine examines why, and some of the challenges the Church is facing:

Last November, it opened a new seminary — the first since Fidel Castro’s communist revolution all but shut down the church 50 years ago. In May, Cuba’s bishops finished brokering the release of 115 political prisoners. Though education is strictly the role of the regime, Catholic dioceses have been able to expand their training of teachers, civic leaders and entrepreneurs — they even offer that iconic capitalist degree, the M.B.A. A statue of Cuba’s Catholic patroness, La Virgen de la Caridad (Our Lady of Charity), is being hailed by large, devoted crowds as it tours the island before her 400th anniversary next year. “It demonstrates a spiritual desire in Cubans,” Cardinal Jaime Ortega, Cuba’s top prelate, told me. It is, he adds, “a return to God.”

But any sense of exultation by church leaders is tempered by a familiar feeling of persecution. Its role in the prisoner releases has been questioned by critics who accuse the church of accepting the regime’s onerous condition that the freed dissidents go into exile. (Most did leave for Spain, but Ortega insists it was by choice and not part of any deal.) Conservative Cuban Americans like U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, have branded Ortega a government “collaborator” because they feel he’s too quiet about human rights. Meanwhile, progovernment militants are harassing dissident groups like the Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White), prisoners’ wives and other relatives outside Catholic churches in the capital, Havana, and cities like Santiago.

The church is discovering that being the first — and only — alternative institution to the Cuban revolution is both a blessing and a curse. As President Raúl Castro, who took over for his ailing older brother Fidel in 2008, tries to engineer politically perilous economic reforms in his severely cash-strapped nation, he seems to have decided the church is the only noncommunist entity he can trust to aid those transitions without seriously challenging his rule. Speaking to the National Assembly in August, Raúl even offered a mea culpa for decades of blacklisting “Cubans with religious beliefs.” Says Ortega: “We’re breathing an atmosphere of change, feeling a moment when there are no more confrontations” between church and state.

But confrontation is exactly what many Castro critics crave. What good is the church’s return to the Cuban center stage, they ask, if it doesn’t spark democratic change, as the Polish church did a generation ago in Eastern Europe?

The clergymen plead for patience. Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski, who has aided the Cuban church’s revival, says his counterparts there are “opening new space for individual initiative and independent thought,” which they believe could help hasten communism’s demise when Fidel, 85, and Raúl, 80, die. But Ortega warns against the church “overreaching,” and Wenski says that it also wants to promote “a sense of reconciliation” among Cubans……

….The Jesuit-educated Fidel declared Cuba an atheist state in the 1960s: he banned Catholic media, expropriated church schools and exiled or hounded out 3,500 priests and nuns. Only 200 clerics remained to minister to millions of Cuban Catholics. The openly faithful, including priests like Ortega, were often sent to labor camps for “re-education.”

The church began to regain its footing in the 1980s, but its fortunes rose with the economy’s collapse in the 1990s, after the fall of Cuba’s benefactor, the Soviet Union. Sensing the usefulness of Catholic aid organizations like Caritas, whose Cuba chapter Ortega founded in 1991, Fidel proclaimed the island merely a “secular” state. Then, in 1998, he welcomed a historic visit by Pope John Paul II. The planning of that event, says Wenski, was a watershed: “It gave Catholics there a new confidence and planted the seeds of civil society.” That was evidenced by new Catholic publications like Vitral magazine, one of the island’s first independent media.

There’s much more.  Read the rest.

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

October 2, 2011 at 18:49


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