The World Student Christian Federation (WSCF), a global movement of Christian students, has called for an end to the cycle of violence in Israel and Gaza, decrying the loss of innocent lives in the name of revenge. In a statement released by WSCF General Secretary Christine Housel and chairperson Horacio Mesones, students urged “a cessation of violence by the Israeli government and commitment to join all peace-loving people seeking true peace
The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture has thanked Dr Ishrat ul Ebad Khan, Governor of Sindh in Pakistan, for his support of the Vatican Cricket Club which is about to tour England. And the Governor has presented a cheque, along with six Test-quality, made-in-Pakistan, cricket bats, as “a gift to the Vatican as a token of friendship.” Governor Ishrat ul Ebad made the presentation to Columban Fr Robert McCulloch, from Australia, and Aamir Bhatti, a Pakistani seminarian who has been selected for the touring Vatican cricket team.
Neville Kyrke-Smith, National Director of Aid to the Church in Need, issued an appeal for people to join UK Iraqi Christians in an act of solidarity at Parliament on Saturday (26 July) at 12 noon. The event, organised by Eastern-rite Church leaders in London, follows reports that over the past few days more than 1,500 people have fled Mosul city, northern Iraq. Their sudden departure comes after the Islamic state, formerly called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS),
Read More ... John Pontifex - Posted: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 5:02 am
The family is glued to the TV showing horrifying images of the shellings in Gaza. A guest clicks with her tongue, expressing anger. We all look with an overwhelming sense of powerlessness. In the Shujaya quarter in Gaza city dozens are hit or crushed. We watch the head of a boy torn apart from the rest of the body. I am distressed by the BBC, which clinically speaks about Israel’s “intensified operation” in Gaza, and which wants to “cover both sides of the conflict,” as if there is symmetry.
Read More ... Toine van Teeffelen - Posted: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 4:42 am
On Thursday I'm off to the south of France! Not on holiday - that comes later - but to Lourdes, the pilgrim shrine in the Pyrenees. This small town, with its high castle and sweeping river is visited by millions of people every year. We go at the invitation of Mary, the mother of Jesus, who appeared there to Bernadette , a poor sickly child, one of the outcasts of the town. She taught Bernadette how to pray and how to place her trust in God. We go to learn the same lessons.
A Sacred Heart sister who taught at a school in Sydney, Australia, and an Irish mother who worked as a bursar at a Perth Catholic college, were among those killed in the Malaysia Airlines flight that was shot down over Ukraine on Friday. Sister Philomene Tiernan rscj who was returning from a retreat in France, was remembered as a much-loved friend and teacher at Kincoppal-Rose Bay school. Edel Mahady was described as a 'tiger mother' by her family.
Read More ... Claire Bergin - Posted: Monday, July 21, 2014 6:29 pm
Recent events in Mosul and the threat of annihilation of the Iraqi Christians by ISIS can only be described as horrific and the likes of which has not been seen since the 7th century AD. An 1800 year-old Syriac Catholic Church is desecrated and burnt to the ground. Meanwhile, the outside world looks on as if this is but a mere local event. The Iraqi Christian community in London across its various denominations is trying to bring this tragedy to the forefront of people's minds.
“Many asylum seekers in Britain are at near destitute levels because the government doesn’t want to be seen to be soft on asylum seekers,” Sarah Teather MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees, told the annual gathering of the National Justice and Peace Network on Sunday. The ban on asylum seekers working is just one of the government measures she says has forced many into severe poverty. The Lib Dem MP for Brent Central also described as “awful” Britain’s block on refugees from Syria being given sanctuary here.
Read More ... Ellen Teague - Posted: Monday, July 21, 2014 11:54 am
The following talk was given by Mary Colwell at the National Justice and Peace Network Conference 18-20 July 2014. She is the producer of Radio 4’s ‘Shared Planet’ and a Catholic in Clifton Diocese. The conference theme was 'Called to Life in All Its Fullness: accepting the responsibility of our baptism'. A year or so ago a friend gave me a book to read – “Death Comes for the Archbishop” by Willa Cather. In it she wrote, “From an atheist to a believer, tell me why I love this book?”
Read More ... Mary Colwell - Posted: Monday, July 21, 2014 2:59 am
Archbishop Justin Welby has written to ecumenical partners about the General Synod's decision to allow women to become bishops, emphasising that churches "need each other". The text of the letter, which is being posted to partner churches, is printed below: This comes to you with warm Christian greetings and the wish to communicate personally to you the decision of the General Synod of the Church of England to admit women to the episcopate. This is an occasion of deep rejoicing for many, especially for many of the women clergy in the Church of England.
Pope Francis once again expressed his concern for the plight of Christian communities in the Iraqi town of Mosul and in other parts of the Middle East. Addressing pilgrims after the Angelus in St Peter’s Square, the Pope spoke about the Christians who are now suffering persecution in the lands they have lived since the beginning of Christianity. The Pope said: “Today our brothers are persecuted they are banished from their homes and forced to flee without even being able to take their belongings!”
The conflict between Fulani herdsmen and Tiv farmers over use of a grazing land reserve is a major concern for the local community in Benue State. The Tiv people depend on agriculture, while the Fulani are herdsmen. Unfortunately the tension over land between Fulani herdsmen and Tiv farmers has resulted in conflict that has led to loss of lives, families internally displaced and properties destroyed. This is a story of the Nigerian people but it is affecting the Missionary Oblates
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the tragedy at the AMIA, I would like to express my solidarity with the Jewish community of Argentina and with all the family members of the victims, be they Jews or Christians. It is now 20 years since this tragedy, since this lunacy happened. Terrorism is lunacy. Terrorism’s only purpose is to kill. It does not build anything, it only destroys.For this reason, I stand side-by-side with all those who have seen lives cut short, hopes destroyed, and ruin.
Sr Isobel Loong was a member of the Cultural Exchange with China executive. She has now retired to her home in Singapore but still connects with China and send us the report below on her recent visit. I have been visiting the Catholic Church in China since 1998. At the beginning, my involvement was with religious Sisters in Xi’an; Wuhan; Shijiazhuang and Biancun in Hebei Province - Hainan Island was a later edition. What has happened over the years is nothing short of a miracle
Read More ... Sr Isobel Loong - Posted: Saturday, July 19, 2014 6:07 pm
The last Christian families still present in Mosul are leaving the city and are heading towards Erbil, Dohuk and other areas of Iraqi Kurdistan which are considered safer, Fides has been told by sources in the local Chaldean community. The new exodus has accelerated in the past two days, after Sunni insurgents and militants of the Islamic Caliphate (ISIS) began to mark all the homes of Christians and Shiites with a crescent symbol and letters,
The terrible news of the airline disaster in Ukraine with 298 dead, 80 of them children and the largest group from the Netherlands, with ten British people. This brutal and violent act brings up a tremendous sense of grief, loss, outrage and anger not least for those who have lost loved ones. The pictures themselves are horrible, images of violent and sudden death, it is a tragedy, like all other tragedies of loss, injustice, of cruelty of sin. This alas is the work of what Jesus describes as the weeds in the field, those children of the evil one! It is at times like this
Pope Francis is praying for the victims of the deadly incident in Ukraine involving a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane. Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. The plane crashed on Thursday, killing all 298 people on board, after it was hit by a missile. The Boeing 777 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. It fell between Krasni Luch in Luhansk region and Shakhtarsk in the neighbouring region of Donetsk. Latest figures released by Malaysia Airlines show the plane was carrying 189 Dutch nationals, 27 Australians,
A huge peace demonstration is scheduled to take place in London later today. Representatives of all faiths will be joining secular peace campaigners to express their concern at the brutal bombing of Gaza which has killed more than 200 people, mostly women and children, and injured thousands more. The death toll is now spiralling as Israel has followed the aerial attack with a land invasion - sending in 8,000 soldiers. Campaigners are demanding that David Cameron calls for an immediate end to Israel's latest military campaign
Many hundreds of campaigners, disabled people in wheelchairs, and their supporters gathered outside Parliament all day Friday while the House of Lords debated Lord Falconer's Assisted Dying Bill. There was no vote, but the Bill now moves to Committee Stage. The bill's opponents focused on the bill's many dangers and problems. Those who favoured the bill pointed to the ultimatum in the Supreme Court's recent Nicklinson judgment. The Supreme Court threatened that if Parliament did not debate assisted suicide, ,
Read More ... Claire Bergin - Posted: Saturday, July 19, 2014 6:55 am
Last Sunday, the 13th of July, Nadine Gordimer the Nobel winning South African novelist died. This week I have been thinking about the huge impact that her writing has had in shaping the person I am. I have read again some of her novels and been reminded of her visceral, poignant style of writing. It was in reading Nadine Gordimer as a young person 25 years ago that I came to see clearly the incredible destructive force of Apartheid. Her books are about a nation that destroys the lives of many, and yet their real genius is that they are intimate and particular.
Read More ... Frances Correia - Posted: Saturday, July 19, 2014 6:20 am
The Vatican has announced that: 'Following last Sunday’s heartfelt appeal for continued prayer for peace in the Holy Land, this morning (Friday) the Holy Father Francis personally telephoned President Shimon Peres of Israel and President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine to share his very serious concerns regarding the current situation of conflict involving in particular the Gaza Strip which, in a climate of growing hostility, hatred and suffering for the two populations, is claiming many victims and giving rise to a serious humanitarian emergency.
Pope Francis has written a personal message to the parish priest of Gaza, Father Jorge Hermandez, a fellow Argentinian, saying he is keeping the territory’s Christian community in his prayers. In his message the Pope offered words of comfort and assured them he was praying for them all. Father Mario Cornioli, the parish priest of Beit Jala in the West Bank, had earlier informed the Pope of the extremely challenging situation facing the tiny Christian community in Gaza and all the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip
In the middle of the rubble and dirt of the aftermath of the most devastating typhoon to hit the Philippines last November 8, 2013, we found children still able to smile, standing as they did with ragged torn T-shirts and dirty faces and legs in the mud. They were covered in the filth and dirt of the typhoon debris where they were poking about looking for something to salvage and sell. That's the resilience and courage of the Filipino child when all has been taken away. Everywhere I went assessing the terrible damage, I saw hundreds of families
Rabbi Michael Lerner writes: According to Ha’aretz correspondent Amira Hass, the IDF has been conducting mass arrests in the West Bank, between 10 and 30 every day. 24 of the arrested are members of the Palestinian parliament from Hamas’ Change and Reform party. The number of those arrested since the kidnapping and murder of the Israeli teens has already exceeded 1,000. The Palestinians are convinced that most of those detained have nothing to do with the kidnapping and that these are mainly political arrests for purposes of intimidation and revenge.
Erik Kerr is a truly inspirational young man. Erik, a sixth form student at John F Kennedy Catholic School, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, is an active volunteer who has been working over the past year to bridge the gap between teenagers and the elderly. ‘Bridging the Gap’ is a programme run by YOPEY (Young Person of the Year) whereby Sixth Form volunteers are trained and then use their skills to befriend elderly people in retirement homes, particularly those suffering from dementia.