#ShortNews: India’s Franciscans to seek freedom for 1,000 prisoners

India’s Franciscans have agreed to seek the release of at least 1,000 prisoners during the jubilee year of mercy.

Negotiating with civil officials, the Franciscans will focus on those “who languish in jails for years charged with minor crimes such thefts,” according to the online news site MattersIndia.com.


#ShortNews: God cannot be solitary because God is love, Pope tells conference participants

“God does not simply have the desire or capacity to love; God is love,” Pope Francis said in a February 26 address. “Charity is his essence; it is his nature.”

Speaking to participants in a converence marking the 10th anniversary of Deus Caritas Est, the encyclical of Benedict XVI, the Pope remarked that because God is love, He is “not solitary; He cannot be alone: He cannot be closed in on Himself, because He is communion.”

Pope Francis went on to suggest that the current Jubilee Year offers a chance “to return to this beating heart of our life and our witness, to the center of the proclamation of faith.” Calling attention to the importance that Pope Benedict placed on charitable work, as a reflection of God’s love, the Holy Father said: “How I wish that everyone in the Church– every institution, every activity– would show that God loves man!”

The two-day conference on Deus Caritas Est was organized by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the charitable arm of the Holy See.


#ShortNews: Chinese pastor’s sentence: 14 years for resisting removal of cross

A Chinese Protestant pastor has been sentenced to a 14-year prison term after resisting the removal of a cross from his church building, the AsiaNews service reports.

Rev. Bao Guohoa hired a team of lawyers to fight the demolition in June 2015. He was arrested along with several members of the congregation of the Church of Holy Love. Soon after the arrest, government officials charged that he and his wife had misappropriated church funds and were “leading a luxurious life.” A court in Jinhua, in the eastern Zhejiang province, sentenced him for “embezzlement, disturbance of public order, illegal commercial activities, concealment of financial documents and invoices.”