Too often, people speak about refugees as a unified, undifferentiated group. CPT places great emphasis on undoing oppressions, an important part of which is recognising and addressing white privilege. One aspect of white privilege is that people who are white are seen as individuals, while people who are not white are seen as representative of their race, or grouping. While here, I have spoken to as many refugees as I can, and listened to their individual stories. Here are just a few of them.
RHR has been assisting in handling the situation in Duma - the site of the horrific arson attack on Friday which killed a toddler and critically injured his family - since our Palestinian field worker, Zakaria Sadah, was one of the first on the scene, and helped coordinate the helicopter evacuation of the family to Israeli hospitals. Yesterday, Rabbi Ascherman and other RHR rabbis visited the site and later Soroka hospital, where the injured father is being treated. Please find his writings on the day below:
The 26th International Youth Festival is currently taking place at Medjugorje. While the Church continues to ponder on the status of the Medjugorje phenomenon, more than 50,000 young people are expected to gather from around the world for a week of: prayer, catechesis, testimonies, adoration and fellowship. This year's theme is 'Peace Be With You'. The first testimonies of this year's Festival were from Calum and Mary Anne MacFarlane-Barrow who shared the story of Craig Lodge in Scotland. Inspired by Medjugorje they turned their guest house into a retreat centre
This week marks the 70th anniversary of the first use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 & 9 August. In 1945 the death toll in Hiroshima was estimated at between 100,000 - 180,000 and in Nagasaki between 50,000 and 100,000. 70 years on - nine countries, including the UK, possess more than 17,000 nuclear weapons. Trident, the UK weapons programme, is eight times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Pat Gaffney, General Secretary of Pax Christi,said: "This is an ideal time to engage people in thinking about the reality of nuclear weapons today.
Seventy years ago, on August 6, 1945, the single most destructive weapon ever unleashed upon human beings and the environment - the atomic bomb - was dropped by an American B-29 bomber on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing approximately 80,000 people. Three days later a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, killing an estimated 40,000 people. "Blessing" the crews and its two missions, was the Catholic chaplain to the 509th Composite Group - the atomic bomb group - Father George Zabelka.
In his address to the huge crowd gathered for the Angelus in St Peter's Square today, Pope Francis urged them to look beyond material needs and turn to Jesus who is the bread of life. Reflecting on the Gospel reading of the day which describes the crowd that went looking for Jesus, not because they saw the signs but because they had eaten the loaves of bread and were filled. The Pope said those people gave more value to the bread than to the person who had given it to them. He explained that before this spiritual blindness,
The month of August promises to be a busy one for Pope Francis who is scheduled to be involved in a series of public events. Archbishop George Gaenswein, Prefect of the Pontifical Household, told Vatican Radio that the Pope will meet publically with the faithful in numerous occasions during the summer month and that preparations are underway to organize an extra General Audience each month (possibly on a Saturday) during the upcoming Jubilee Year of Mercy.
US Catholic leaders have called on Congress to ensure that the federal minimum wage is raised to "improve the financial security of millions of American families". In a letter, dated 28 July, Bishop Thomas Wenski, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Sr Donna Markham, President of Catholic Charities USA, note that a full-time worker, currently earning the federal minimum wage, "does not make enough to raise a child free from poverty". As pastors and service providers, they say they see how each year "it becomes
Cardinal Seán O'Malley, OFM Cap., archbishop of Boston and chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), responded, July 29, to recent videos showing leaders from Planned Parenthood discussing the provision of foetal organs, tissues, and body parts from their abortion clinics....Pope Francis has called abortion the product of a "widespread mentality of profit, the throwaway culture, which has today enslaved the hearts and minds of so many."
Pope Francis has sent his condolences after more than 27 people were killed in the town of Mazapil in Mexico, when a truck with defective brakes hit a religious procession, killing 27 people, and injuring hundreds of others on Wednesday. They were celebrating their patronal feast day of Jesus of Nazareth. In a telegram to the Bishop of Zacatecas, Sigifredo Noriega Barceló, the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said Pope Francis was "greatly saddened" when he learned the news of the tragic accident, and "offers prayers for the eternal repose of those who died."
Jihadist camps made up of nearly 1,500 children as young as nine have been uncovered in central Africa, according to reports received by a leading Catholic charity at work in the region. Sources close to Aid to the Church in Need - who cannot be named for security reasons - stated that poverty-stricken youngsters are being lured off the streets of the Democratic Republic of Congo and taken to remote camps where they are being brutalised and indoctrinated by Islamist militia.
Help from the West for so-called moderate opposition groups in Syria is ending up in the hands of Daesh (ISIS) and other extremists, according to a Catholic Patriarch from Damascus, who says the crisis in the country is deepening. In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III, head of the largest Catholic community in Syria, said money and weapons given to moderate groups were being repeatedly used by ISIS in the struggle against President Bashar al-Assad.
One of the great hallmarks of early Christianity, was the way people lived their faith, it certainly made them distinctive. If you read the list of things an early writer, Hippolytus of Rome, tells us the Catechumens must give up before baptism its easy to see that great sacrifices were made and a radical change to their patterns of life took place. Paul reminds the Ephesians that they must not live like the pagans but 'put on the new self', who has been reborn in Christ through the sacraments of Initiation. It wasn't all about giving up, they also discovered new ways of doing things as
In the past two weeks, Christian Peacemaker Teams have witnessed a significant increase in the targeting of Palestinian children by Israeli occupying forces. From soldiers confiscating their bicycles to chasing them down in the street, the Israeli occupying forces are stripping children of their fundamental right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities. These are the stories that CPT has documented in Hebron's Old City, but many more stories of boys and girls remain invisible.
Seeking Sanctuary - a charity organising basic humanitarian aid for the 3,000 migrants mostly sleeping rough outside Calais is becoming increasingly concerned, as are other organisations, about migrants in Calais being 'demonised' as a result of the traffic chaos and delays in Kent. They write in a statement today. FACT: The numbers reported to be entering the Eurotunnel site are likely to be greatly exaggerated - and diminishing as new security measures come into place.
Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal viral disease that mainly affects children under the age of five. There is no cure for polio, but there are safe and effective vaccines. Until the 1950's polio crippled thousands of people a year attacking the nervous system and causing irreversible paralysis within hours of the infection. Thanks to rigorous vaccination programmes the disease has been reduced by more than 99%. (down from 350,000 cases in 1998 to 130 cases of Wild polio virus in 2014).
An 18 month-old baby became the latest victim of the ongoing attacks by Jewish settlers on Palestinian family homes, early this morning (Friday 31 July). His four year-old brother and parents were severely burned. Their home has been destroyed. The attack took place at about 2.30am, in the village of Douma, in the northern part of the West Bank near the city of Nablus. The home of another family has also been damaged. The child was named Ali Saad Dawabsha. His father and mother, Sa'ad and Reham, and his brother Ahmad, are fighting for life in hospital.
The Rt Rev Mark Davies, the Bishop of Shrewsbury, today warned pilgrims in Lourdes of the dire consequences of Parliament approving an assisted dying Bill. He said that the Private Member's Bill, due to be introduced by Labour MP Rob Marris on September 11, will lead Britain on the path to euthanasia and bring pressure to bear on some of the most vulnerable members of society. The Bishop declared that "we have good reason to fear that the right to die will quickly become the duty to die".
On July 17-19, 2015 the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (PCJP), in collaboration with the Latin American network Churches and Mining, organized a meeting in Rome with representatives of communities affected by mining activities titled 'In union with God, we hear a cry'. There were participants from 18 countries: Chile, Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Mexico, United States, Canada, Switzerland, Italy, Mozambique, Ghana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India and the Philippines.
One year ago today, the United Nations established the annual World Day against Trafficking in Persons. In an official statement to commemorate this occasion, UN Women wrote: "To prevent trafficking, we must address its root causes and the factors that increase individual's vulnerability to trafficking, including poverty, unemployment, poor access to education and continued gender inequality." Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, stated: "Glaringly absent from this list of the 'root causes' of human trafficking is China's One Child Policy.
Pax Christi's Icon of Peace will be on display in St Patrick's Chapel, Westminster Cathedral, London between 3 - 17 August. People are invited to visit the Icon and spend time in prayer and reflection for peace. The Icon, made in the Monastery of St John in the Desert, near Jerusalem, was given to Pax Christi International in 1999. The people and stories depicted on the Icon, from Eastern and Western Christian traditions and from scripture, open our eyes to forgiveness and reconciliation as part of making peace.
While all are horrified at the sufferings of the refugees and migrants in Calais, most in the UK are paralysed from action because of the huge issues raised. If we 'open the gates', will this act as a magnet for thousands more refugees to come knocking on the UK door? This could mean further competition for scarce housing and resources in the poor boroughs which are already coping with huge shortages. If we continue to pour in extra security money, and simply make Calais a more effective barrier, we risk prolonging the distressing scenes in camp and Eurotunnel in Calais
Newman University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with three Chilean universities that will see the institutions working together for the benefit of students, staff and the local communities they serve. The three Chilean universities - Universidad Católica de la Santísima Conception, Universidad Católica del Maule and Universidad Católica de Temuco - are all members of the Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities (CRUCH), a group of 25 higher education institutions that receive at least some funding from the State.
Catholic and Protestant church leaders, lay Christians and human rights lawyers have spoken out publicly about the ongoing government campaign to demolish churches and forcibly remove crosses from buildings in China's Zhejiang Province. In early 2015, a vice-chair of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, a state-sanctioned religious association, claimed that the government had ordered an end to the spate of cross removals and church demolitions in Zhejiang. However, although the pace of such events has slowed since its peak from April to July 2014, authorities in the
The death toll among refugees attempting to reach the UK from Calais has risen dramatically in recent days. Medical staff in France say they are struggling to cope with the number of seriously injured migrants who are taking ever greater risks to get into the Channel Tunnel. More than 3,000 men, women and children who have fled war and persecution in Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, Sudan Ethiopia and Afghanistan are now crowded into a makeshift camp in Calais. Many of the migrants are sharing food and medicines... Christian migrants are now building a small chapel.