IS/Daish militants in Libya yesterday released a 29 minute video which appears to show groups of about 30 captive Ethiopian Christians, being shot or beheaded. The film begins with images of churches, Christian graves and icons being destroyed. Then a masked man brandishing a gun delivers a long speech saying Christians must convert or pay a special tax prescribed by the Q'uran. An Ethiopian government spokesman said they were still trying to verify the authenticity of the film.
The Catholic Church in the United States spent a total of $150,747,387 in costs related to child protection efforts and to allegations of clergy sexual abuse of minors in dioceses and religious orders between July 2013 and June 2014, according to an annual survey conducted by Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) included in the annual audit report on the response of the Catholic Church in the United States to clergy sexual abuse. The Church spent a total of $31, 667,740 on safe environment training programs, background checks, and other
One of the generals who has been charged in what the US Department of Justice has called the "terrorist murders" of six Jesuit priests in El Salvador, along with their housekeeper and her young daughter in November 1989, has been deported by the United States Government. The LA Times said the deportation to El Salvador of General Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova for his participation in war crimes was one of 'two landmark cases' because they set new precedents. It opens the path for his extradition to Spain where he is charged with murder, terrorism and crimes against humanity.
The MA Irish Studies Programme at St Mary's University, Twickenham, is hosting an evening of free public seminars on the 30th April, featuring three guest speakers. The seminars will be taking place concurrently with the University's postgraduate open evening and Irish Studies staff will be on hand to answer any questions about studying at St Mary's. The evening will welcome Irish Studies alumni John Macdonagh and Frances Harkin and St Mary's Research Fellow Dr Keith Hopper, to speak on a variety of topics.
The upcoming Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy will commence this coming December 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and conclude on November 20, 2016, with the Solemnity of Christ the King. At the beginning of his Bull of Indiction, the Holy Father writes: "Jesus Christ is the face of the Father's mercy. These words might well sum up the mystery of the Christian faith. Mercy has become living and visible in Jesus of Nazareth, reaching its culmination in him.... We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on
Pope Francis has appealed to the international community to take swift and decisive action to avoid more tragedies of migrants fleeing war and persecution. His heartfelt cry to the world came following news of the sinking of yet another boat carrying migrants in the Mediterranean Sea in which it is feared up to 700 men, women and children have drowned. The Pope was speaking this morning after the Angelus in St Peter's Square, where he told tens of thousands of pilgrims. "They are men and women like us,
Viewpoint: Can Pope Francis mobilise a community of over a billion Catholics to take action on climate change?
Next week Pope Francis is hosting a conference at the Vatican that will directly address the threats faced by humanity from a hotter planet. Devastating extreme weather events such as flooding and droughts are becoming increasingly more intense and will cause much hardship going forward. The major food producing regions of the world are now under growing pressure from water shortages, increases in pest outbreaks and other symptoms of a hotter world.
After just a few short hours of rain, dozens of Palestinian shopkeepers in Hebron have spent the past week salvaging their stores' goods and exhausting their modest bank accounts to return places of business into working order. To a simple passer-by, the flooding would have looked like the rare product of circumstances: poor infrastructure and the Old City's location at a point in Hebron lower than the surrounding hills. But that isn't the whole story. More than 100 roadblocks, checkpoints, and barricaded alleyways restrict and control the movement of Palestinians in Hebron.
Vandals have smashed gravestones at a Maronite Christian cemetery in a village near Israel's northern border with Lebanon, Israeli police said on Wednesday. Police opened an investigation after receiving a report about damage to a number of graves at the Christian cemetery in Kufr Birim, spokeswoman Luba Samri said, indicating that the tombstones were broken and displaced. Kufr Birim is a derelict Palestinian village whose inhabitants were evicted by Israeli forces 1948 six months after Israel was established and never allowed to return.
Do you sometimes wonder if we don't make faith a bit too difficult for ourselves? I do! It's amazing how often I seem to get caught up in making detailed explanations of the scriptures or some slightly complicated aspect of church teaching. I know that doctrine is important, don't get me wrong, As a theologian I am very aware of the many years I have spent studying and learning the things of God in order to help both students and my parishioners get a grip on their faith. What we need are theologians of deep practical faith who can talk about these things as Jesus did, in simple ways that carry the weight of great knowledge.
More than 70 people from churches, homeless charities, and others working with people at risk of homelessness met yesterday in Manchester at the Housing Justice Roadshow. The event, Your Church and the Housing Crisis, was held at Salford Cathedral Centre, in partnership with CARITAS Salford and The Booth Centre. In his welcoming remarks, Bishop John Arnold said: "The gulf between the richest and poorest of our communities becomes ever more evident. This speaks loudly and clearly of a fundamental injustice which
Damian Howard SJ, lecturer in Interreligious relations at Heythrop College, University of London reviews Jonathan AC Brown's Misquoting Muhammad. The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet's Legacy on Thinking Faith today. Fr Damian writes: 'The Islamic world is in turmoil, no-one can doubt that. But does it really need a Martin Luther-figure to move the situation forward? Not if you consider that a Reformation of sorts is well under way.
Humiliation for its own sake is masochism, but when it is suffered and endured in the name of the Gospel it makes us like Jesus. That was what Pope Francis said in his homily at morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today. Reflecting on the day's reading from the Acts, when the Apostles were called before the Sanhedrin, accused of preaching the Gospel that the doctors of the law did not want to hear. Is it possible for people to react to difficult situations in the way God does, Pope Francis asked. Yes, it is, he said, but it is all a question of time - time to allow ourselves to be
In a Pastoral Letter to be read in all the churches of the Diocese on the weekend of 25/26 April, the Rt Rev Mark O'Toole, Bishop of Plymouth, challenges all in the Diocese to promote priestly vocations. Bishop Mark writes: "Is God calling fewer people? I think not. God is still calling; but many are not able to discern His call. When a vocation goes unanswered it is not only a sadness for the one who does not respond, but also a sadness for the entire Church which has just lost another priest. God, in His loving Providence, gives to the Church all the gifts she needs.
Holy Apostles in Pimlico has become the nineteenth parish in England and Wales, and the third in Westminster Diocese, to be awarded the LiveSimply parish award for its commitment to live more simply and sustainably and in solidarity with the world's poor. The LiveSimply Award, a national prize for Catholic parishes putting their faith into action, requires three substantial actions, then, at least six other initiatives. In addition, they must show that the programme is sustainable, with the setting of targets and good engagement with the whole congregation. Assessors Ellen Teague (Columban JPIC) and Jon Stricklin-Coutinho (CAFOD Diocesan Manager for Westminster) visited on 15 April
The Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople, will soon commemorate the 100th anniversary of the systematic massacres of the Armenian people which began on 24 April, 1915 with the roundup and killing of hundreds of Armenian intellectuals, living in Istanbul. A Mass presided over by the Patriarchal Vicar Aram Ateshian, will be celebrated in the church of the patriarchal Seat to commemorate the victims of mass murder, which on this occasion will be commemorated as saints. The Turkish press emphasizes that the celebrant will not use the word 'genocide' to remember
Pope Francis met with the Bishops from Kenya on Thursday morning. The bishops are in Rome on their ad Limina visit. In his prepared remarks the Holy Father said "the Church in Kenya must always be true to her mission as an instrument of reconciliation, justice and peace."..The many seminarians studying in this City, like the numerous seminarians in your own country, are an eloquent sign of God's goodness to the universal Church and to your Dioceses. They remind us of the great resource you have in the many youth of your local Churches, as well as your paternal care in helping young men answer the call to the priesthood.
Pope Francis offered Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning, for Benedict XVI on his 88th birthday and nviting the faithful present to join him in praying "that the Lord sustain him and grant him much joy and happiness". In his homily, the Holy Father spoke of obedience, a prominent theme in the day's liturgy. He began by quoting words from the end of the passage from the Gospel according to John (3:31-35): "he who does not obey the Son shall not see life". Then, referring to the First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles (5:27-33), the Pontiff also recalled what "the Apostles said to the high priests:
The Annuarium Pontificium 2015 and Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae 2013 were issued this morning. Since 2005, the number of Catholics worldwide has increased from 1,115 million to 1,254 million, an increase of 139 million faithful. During the last two years, the presence of baptised Catholics in the world has increased from 17.3% to 17.7%. There has been a 34% increase in Catholics in Africa, which has experienced a population increase of 1.9% between 2005 and 2013. The increase of Catholics in Asia (3.2% in 2013, compared to 2.9% in 2005) has been higher than that of population growth in Asia. In America Catholics continue to represent 63% of a growing population. In Europe, where the population is stagnant, there has been a slight increase
A group of 14 pilgrims from various Christian congregations in Britain, including five from Farm Street Jesuit Church in London, have just returned from a Living Stones Pilgrimage to Jordan. The pilgrimage provided the opportunity to show solidarity with the Christian churches of the Middle East through meeting and worshipping with the Christian communities in Jordan as they celebrated Holy Week and Easter together. In Jordan Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter on the same date as a way of showing the unity of the Christian population at this extremely
Officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Archbishop Peter Sartain and officers of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) met today, April 16. Archbishop Sartain and LCWR officers presented a joint report on the implementation of the CDF Doctrinal Assessment and Mandate of April 2012. The joint report outlines the manner in which the implementation of the Mandate has been accomplished. The Congregation accepted the joint report, marking the conclusion of the Doctrinal Assessment of LCWR.
The adoption of a framework for Iran's nuclear program is a step "important in advancing a peaceful resolution of the serious questions that have been raised regarding Iran's nuclear program," said the bishop who chairs the Committee on International Justice and Peace Committee of the US bishops in letters to Secretary of State John Kerry and Congress. "The alternative to an agreement leads toward armed conflict, an outcome of profound concern to the Church," wrote Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Pope Francis says there is still much to be done in order to give due recognition to women, both in society and in the Church. Addressing pilgrims during the General Audience in St Peter's Square yesterday, the Pope said that not only must the voice of women be listened to, but that it must also be given weight and authority. Continuing in his Catechesis on the family, Pope Francis recalled first of all that the Book of Genesis insists that both man and woman are the image and semblance of God. "Not only man as such, not only woman as such, but rather man and woman, as a couple, are the image of God.
At the General Audience in St Peter's Square yesterday, Pope Francis gave a special greeting to Asia Bibi's husband and daughter. Asia has been in a Pakistani prison since 2010 when she was was convicted of blasphemy against the prophet Mohammed and sentenced to hanging by a district court. The conviction must still be upheld by Pakistan's Supreme Court before the sentence can be carried out.
Premier Radio is working together with Christian leaders and churches of all denominations to focus on a special Novena - nine days of prayer in the run-up to Pentecost Sunday 2015. Commencing on Ascension Day, Friday, May 15th, each of the nine days through to May 23rd will focus on a different prayer theme including prayers for the elderly, for the marginalised, and for those suffering from mental issues. There will also be dedicated prayers for men, women, children, singles, young people and party leaders.