Pope Francis reflected on the charisms and their effect on the Church in his catechesis during today's general audience in St Peter's Square, attended by more than 35,000 people. “Ever since the beginning, the Lord has filled his Church with the gifts of His Spirit, making her forever alive ... and among these gifts, we find some that are particularly valuable for the edification and the progress of the Christian community: these are charisms”,
Christian Ecology Link is looking for a new editor (voluntary) to oversee production of ‘Green Christian’, CEL’s magazine - two issues a year (published in May and November). Section editors are already in place for book reviews, internal news from CEL and our local groups -- plus a graphics expert and printing system. Could you be the person with the vision to pull each issue together? Are you passionate about faith and environment?
Bishop Nicholas Hudson celebrated the annual Mass for members of the legal profession at Westminster Cathedral this morning, 1 October 2014. Other celebrants included Canon lawyers and members of the tribunal, including Mgr John Conneely, the Judicial Vicar for the diocese. They were joined on the sanctuary by Anglican guests. In his homily, Bishop Nicholas spoke about the role of compassion in the justice system, which retains the dignity and hope of those they serve:
A new commitment from the Department for Education to restore bursaries for prospective RE teachers has been welcomed by the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC) and the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE). The new bursary is one of a series of inducements brought in by the Government to help attract more graduates to the teaching profession. The number of RE subject specialists has declined in recent years and RE subject experts suggest this is, in part, down to the decline of state-funded training bursaries.
With cardinals who head the world’s major dioceses lining up against Cardinal Walter Kasper’s proposals to provide a path back to the Eucharist for those who have entered new relationships after divorcing, reform is increasingly shifting to the sphere of annulments. Cardinal Vincent Nichols, recently became the latest of a large number of senior figures to suggest that the Kasper proposals could but imply a “radical rethink” in core Catholic understanding of both marriage and the Eucharist. Dr Austen Ivereigh writes for Catholic Voices
Read More ... Austen Ivereigh - Posted: Wednesday, October 1, 2014 10:43 am
Two nuns from Belfast died in a car accident in Northern Ireland yesterday. Sister Frances Forde and Sister Marie Duddy were killed when the car they were travelling in collided with an unmarked police car close to Newry, Co Down. The two Sisters of Mercy were on their way to a retreat when the accident occurred. They died at the scene. Bishop Noel Treanor from the diocese of Down and Connor, said: "This sudden and shocking loss of life leaves an impact not only upon all those who have known the sisters but upon the wider community
“God is good.” With those words, a beaming Meriam Ibrahim, a 27-year-old Sudanese woman who became an international symbol of religious persecution, delivered a speech to 500 people at the Values Voter Summit on Saturday night. Her words were spoken in halting and broken English, but the audience at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in northwest Washington DC heard them. The crowd clapped, whistled, and cheered its approval. To Ibrahim’s left was her wheelchair bound husband, Daniel. Ibrahim described her captivity in a jail cell in Khartoum.
Michael Preisler, a Polish Catholic survivor of Auschwitz, died on 28 September in Richmond Hill, New York, the day before his 95th birthday. His funeral takes place tomorrow. He is survived by his children Eva, and Andrew. In 1939, Michael's entire family was evicted from their home by the Gestapo, in fulfillment of Adolph Hitler's order to his generals before they invaded Poland to “Kill without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of Polish descent or Polish language.”
The Bishop of Tzaneen, Mgr Joao Rodrigues, has asked the faithful to pray for the Congress meeting of theological advisers appointed by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, that on 9 October will have to assess whether the Servant of God Benedict Daswa, can be considered a martyr. Tshimangadzo Samuel Benedict Daswa belonged to the Lemba tribe, whose members are called 'Black Jews' because they follow the Jewish rules. He was born in 1946 in the village of Mbahe, in the Diocese of Tzaneen, in Limpopo Province,
In a message to Muslims, to mark Eid al-Adha, a holiday that commemorates the total submission of man to God, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako repeats his invitation to condemn "violent, sectarian extremism, because it distorts religion". The Patriarch traces a "road map for salvation" that starts from education and respect for "religious, cultural differences" while keeping "our national identity and unity." He also remembers the love of Christians for "everyone",
A Protestant pastor reported to have been killed in a Pakistani prison on Sunday, is alive and well, Fides has learnt. Pastor Zafar Bhatti, who has been in prison in Rawalpindi since 2012 for alleged blasphemy, was not killed or hurt. In the attack perpetrated by a prison guard, who said he had acted out of "divine inspiration", Muhammad Asghar, Scottish citizen, who suffers from mental illness and sentenced to death for blasphemy was seriously injured. The Justice and Peace Commission of the Pakistani Bishops. Cecil Shane Chaudhry,
The conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine demand a revitalized United Nations, where member states put their responsibility to protect persecuted peoples above personal interests and thoroughly apply international law - Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said in his address to the 69th session of the UN General Assembly yesterday/Cardinal Parolin, said the blood of the many Christians and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria, demands the international community assume its responsibility to protect populations under threat.
At last Tuesday’s UN Climate Summit Christian Aid praised the new political atmosphere in which heads of state committed to specific actions to tackle climate change. Responding to the record breaking People’s Climate March through New York, world leaders started the process of putting the world on a safe and secure footing. Christian Aid’s Senior Climate Change Advisor Mohamed Adow, who has seen the impact of global warming on the pastoralist community in his home country of Kenya,
In moments of darkness, our lament can become a prayer, but we must guard against overdramatizing our problems and remember there are people experiencing "great tragedies” with good reason to lament, like the Christians driven from their homes for the faith, Pope Francis said, during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today. Reflecting on the First Reading, in which Job curses the day he was born, the Pope noted that his prayer at first appears to us like a curse. Pope Francis recalled how Job was “put to the test”, how he “lost his entire family,
Local authorities in Savannakhet province, Laos, arrested seven Protestant Christians after they held a religious meeting yesterday, 29 September. According to the non-profit advocacy organisation Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF), Pastor Sompong Supatto of Bouham village, Atsaphathong district and six Christians from villages in Palansai district met together for worship at Pastor Sompong’s home on the morning of 29 September.
Pope Francis has appointed Bishop John Arnold, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Westminster, as Bishop of Salford. He will be the eleventh Bishop of Salford, succeeding Bishop Terence Brain who was appointed in 1997. Bishop John Arnold was ordained Priest in July 1983 and after completing further studies in Rome he was appointed to Westminster Cathedral as a chaplain with responsibilities for the Westminster Hospital in 1985. In 1989 he was appointed as Sub-administrator of Westminster Cathedral.
The Columban JPIC worker in Peru, Laura Vargas, attended the historic New York Climate March on Sunday 21 September. In Lima, she is involved in meetings and a series of Inter-faith Climate fasts in the lead-up to Lima hosting a major conference on Climate Change in December. That meeting of nearly 200 governments is another staging point towards a crunch summit in Paris in 2015, when it is hoped world leaders will agree a new global deal on cutting greenhouse gas emissions that includes all countries. Laura Vargas writes:
Read More ... Laura Vargas - Posted: Monday, September 29, 2014 11:42 pm
In his speech today to the Conservative Party Conference, Chancellor George Osborne announced new plans to remove housing benefit for 18-21 year-olds, freeze benefits for two years, and reduce the benefit cap to £23,000 per year. Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) warns that these cuts will have a detrimental impact on children and families in London with a real potential for driving more families into poverty. Commenting on the announcement, CSAN Chief Executive Helen O’Brien said:
The Extraordinary Synod on the Family, to be held in Rome on 5-18 October, will be a key test for Pope Francis’s reforms: a means of bolstering marriage and family in the face of major pressures in contemporary western society, while at the same time reaching out pastorally to those who feel excluded from the Church. Unlike previous synods, which have been usually dismissed by the media as internal talking-shops, Francis’s reformed synod is taking up a host of hot-button issues where the Church is sharply at odds with contemporary mores
When Augustine Tamba Fallah was considering whether to drive to Kenema, one of the hottest Ebola hot zones in Sierra Leone, his family members told him not to go. “They were afraid,” says the Caritas Freetown case worker. But Fallah decided to make the trip. He wasn’t delivering an experimental serum or high-tech equipment to fight Ebola. He was simply delivering food. As Ebola spreads through West Africa, even healthy people are suffering from the disease’s economic fallout. Markets are sometimes closed and travel is restricted.
Read More ... Laura Sheahen - Posted: Monday, September 29, 2014 4:53 pm
Pope Francis focussed on the feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael during his homily this morning at Casa Santa Marta. The angels battle Satan for the destiny of mankind and they win. They defend and protect the greatest mystery of the Church, God-made-Man. Today’s readings present us with very strong images: the vision of the glory of God described by the prophet Daniel with the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, before the Father: the archangel Michael and his angels fighting against
As fighting between Kurdish forces and the group known as Islamic State intensifies, CAFOD is providing aid to thousands of refugees who have fled into Turkey. The United Nations estimates that a staggering 140,000 people – more than 15,000 per day – have crossed from Syria into Turkey since 19 September. As fighting continues around the town of Kobane, they warn that a total of 400,000 people could seek refuge in Turkey over the coming days.
SanKTus is a well-established charity in Kentish Town, north London, (Zone 2) working with homeless and vulnerably housed people, the elderly and those with support needs. We have a vacancy for a part-time Volunteer Coordinator to recruit and support volunteers to help us provide our free food and welfare services four afternoons a week and to help us to run social activities for elderly people. Experience is needed of motivating volunteers to meet the needs of vulnerable people.
A Protestant pastor, Rev Zafar Bhatti, was found shot dead in his cell on 25 September, in a prison in Rawalpindi, Pakistan after being accused of blasphemy. Professor Shahid Mobeen, Pakistani professor of Islamic mysticism at the Pontifical Lateran University, who is involved with the association of Pakistani Christians, said Pastor Zafar was an innocent man and is a 'new martyr.' "According to the principles of the rule of law, the accused are innocent until proven guilty.
There was a standing ovation last Wednesday, at the end of a preview screening of Leila Sansour's new documentary film: Open Bethlehem, at the Royal Geographical Society. Broadcaster Melvyn Bragg introduced the film and led a Q&A afterwards. While many Christians will have been to the 'Holy Land', and spent days visiting places with such evocative names - the Sea of Galilee, Cana, Nazareth and Jerusalem - very often Bethlehem, the town where Jesus was born, is left out altogether - or tacked on to pilgrimage itineraries as a one-hour stop
Read More ... Jo Siedlecka - Posted: Sunday, September 28, 2014 11:18 pm