Medical Care is Arranged for Illegal Immigrants in Hamburg -- Celibacy of Priests has Become a Controversial Topic in Poland -- Chinese Chan Continues to Thrive in Taiwan -- Catholic Pilgrims use Modern Means of Transport to Reach Santiago de Compostela

Undocumented immigrants have no civil rights and live in constant fear of deportation. But what happens when they get sick? Being undocumented means they usually have no health insurance, which can be a matter of life or death. The Organization of Medical Counseling of Refugees and Immigrants in Hamburg arranges medical care for undocumented immigrants. They estimate that 50,000 to 100,000 immigrants wihout papers are living in that big northern German port city.

(Report: Jana Pareigis)

Twenty years have passed since the end of communism in Poland and there are signs that the institution that inspired the struggle against the regime, the Catholic Church, is under threat in the democratic consumerist society. Under communism, becoming a priest was a step up the social ladder. But now the number of young men entering seminaries is falling and a recent survey says that more than half of the country’s serving priests want to do away with celibacy to have a wife and family. Twelve percent even admitted they were already living in stable relationships with women.

(Report: Adam Easton)

Chinese Chan is an Orthodox and puristic form of Buddhism with strict rites and abstinence from any beliefs in deities. Self-purification through the practice of meditation and the mission to bring harmony and peace into the world, mark the Mahayana Buddhism as it is practiced today. Although Buddhism was suppressed in China during the Cultural Revolution, it still thrived on the Pacific island of Taiwan, just 200 kilometers off shore the Chinese Mainland. Major centers of Chan Buddhism have been established here, which today spread their influence all over the world.

(Report: Antonia Sachtleben)

The road to Santiago de Compostela is as varied as the pilgrims who travel along it. Ever since the Middle Ages, the cathedral with the relics of St. James has been the goal of religious pilgrims. They came on foot, horse back or by donkey across the mountains to pay their respects to the Saint whose remains are still venerated in the Cathedral of Santiago. But modern pilgrims use modern means to travel the long road to the holy city. Today it is not unusual for pilgrims to use bicycles and some even arrive by train.

(Report: Mariana Schroeder)

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