IN A 1,700-PAGE document which took 10 years to put together, the Japanese Church plans to ask the Vatican to beatify Fr Peter Kasui and 187 others killed in the 17th century for their faith. Christianity was outlawed in Japan in 1613, and scholars estimate that tens of thousands died for their faith.
COMMUNIST LEADERS in southern India's Kerala state have welcomed the Indian bishops' conference's call on voters to support candidates who stand for the rights of low castes and the poor, protect the environment and preserve Indian multiculturalism.
A GROUP OF 16 US Christian leaders, including four Catholics, last week asked the Republican Party to keep its pro-life plank at its 1996 convention. The letter was addressed to six Republican presidential hopefuls including Catholic Pat Buchanan and asked "Need we be reminded that Presidents Reagan and Bush won three
overwhelming electoral victories with that sanctity-of-life plank in their party's platforms?"
THE FRENCH President has asked the Chinese Prime minister, Li Peng, for greater religious freedom for Chinese Catholics. Jacques Chirac's request was made during an hour-long private meeting with Li Peng in Bangkok, Thailand, at the end of last month. The Chinese leader expressed hopes that both sides offer mutual concessions so as to arrive at an understanding.
• Zimbabwe Aids
CATHOLIC AND other Church leaders in Zimbabwe have criticised the government's Aids campaign, which promotes condom use, as morally, superficial and misleading. Their joint statement said that using condoms is not a guaranteed protections against HIV infection, and that abstinence outside marriage, and fidelity within, were the solution to the Aids crisis. An estimated 170,000 of Zimbabwe's 11.5 million population have died of Aids.