Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- China Attacks Pope's Christmas Message
- Jos Survivors Leave Area of Christmas Eve Bomb Attacks
- Christian Kiln Workers in Pakistan Denied Wages
China Attacks Pope's Christmas Message
The UK Telegraph reports that Chinese officials responded to Pope Benedict XVI's critical Christmas message on Monday, warning the Vatican to "face the facts" about China's state-sanctioned version of the Catholic Church. "We hope the Vatican side can face the facts of China's freedom of religion and the development of Catholicism, and create favorable conditions for the improvement of China-Vatican relations through concrete actions," said a foreign ministry spokeswoman. The pontiff called out China by name for its "limitations imposed on their freedom of religion and conscience." In November, China forced several dissenting bishops to attend the non-Vatican-sanctioned ordination of another bishop, deliberately flouting Catholic hierarchy.
Jos Survivors Leave Area of Christmas Eve Bomb Attacks
The city of Jos is still in flames and under a 24-hour curfew, but indigenous missionaries are slowing releasing their stories of the deadly bombings. More than 80 people have died in the Christmas Eve bombings and ensuing fighting. One missionary told Christian Aid Mission Africa Director Rae Burnett that thousands of internally displaced people are on the move following the violence. Burnett released parts of an email report from Gabriel Barau, the executive director of Missionary Crusaders Ministries, who was in Jos for a Christmas field visit when the attacks began. "Right now, my family and I are still trapped on the outskirts of Jos where Muslim fanatics have set the city on fire once again," he wrote Tuesday. The violence began on Christmas Eve when he says seven terrorist bombs were planted in two churches and a market area within Jos City, Plateau State. All exploded successfully, killing many victims.
Christian Kiln Workers in Pakistan Denied Wages
Hundreds of poor Christian brick kiln workers were denied their wages before Christmas in Toba Tek Singh, a district in the Pakistani province of Punjab. As a result, ASSIST News Service reports that the deprived workers were not able to purchase food and warm clothes for their families. Munir Masih Gill, President of the Brick Kiln Workers Union, said there are more than 600 brick making factories in the area, each employing 30 to 40 workers. He says ninety percent of the workers are Christians. "Legally, these factories ...are bound to ensure the rights of workers including the payment of fixed wages," Gill said. "However, since the public institutions are weak and the local legislators are fighting with each other to gain power, the factory owners get the benefit of the situation and exploit the poor workers."