Subject: AsiaNews: News that an East Timor pastor is facing execution is
2 November, 2005
News that an East Timor pastor is facing execution is false
Rome (AsiaNews) Rev Ferdinando Flores is not going to die. The story that he was soon going to be executed is false, according to Assist News Agency and Rev Flores’s own web <http://www.fbc-misawa.org/missionaries/Flores.htm>page. The story, that included calls for prayers, was spread by hundreds of mobile text messages and e-mails in the United States, the Philippines, the UK, and even in Italy.
The message asked people to pray for Pastor Flores who was going to be executed by being beaten to death in East Timor.
In the British town of Leicester 300 Christians gathered in a vigil prayer for the unfortunate pastor who was waiting to die.
In fact, as Rev Flores’s own web page says, the “information you have received [about the imminent execution] is not correct.” Instead, he talks about quarrels he had with a few fanatics from Laclo, near Manatuto, in Timor Est.
For some months the pastor had been preaching in the area and had “converted” and re-baptised ten Catholics. This led some local catechists to protest against his proselytising. At one point, the whole village came out and surrounded the clergyman’s house where they engaged in an animated discussion over his methods of evangelisation.
According to Rev Flores, the tensions caused his collaborator to have a nervous breakdown.
After the publicity his case received as a result of the many and e-mails, one of his collaborators said that “Ferdie experienced quite a bit of persecution recently instigated by the Roman Catholic Church . . . but there has not been any physical harm done”.
The story, blown out of proportion by the chain of SMS and e-mails, seems to be just a local matter, so much so that the Superior of the Jesuits in the East Timorese capital of Dili, which is just a few dozens kilometres from the village, told AsiaNews he never heard about it until now.
(Photo: Reverend Flores and his family)