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Thursday, July 24, 2014                                                                            ICN Latest News feed updates              

Iraq: Archbishops call on world to help stop the destruction | Church attack, Confiscation of Church property, Extremism, Middle East, Shari'a law ,Syria, Iraq
Iraq: Archbishops call on world to help stop the destruction

In a dramatic appeal to the international community the Archbishops of Mosul, Iraq have asked for more outside help for minorities in Iraq. Their declaration calls for pressure to be put on the militants to end the destruction of Church buildings – including historic churches. With violence still ongoing in parts of the country, they said: "We, the Archbishops of Mosul, coming from all the denominations gathered in Erbil, Ankawah, headed by His Beatitude Patriarch Raphael Louis I Sako, 

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Jesuit astronomer wins major award | Jesuit astronomer, Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ,  Carl Sagan Medal
Jesuit astronomer wins major award

Jesuit astronomer, Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ, has been awarded the prestigious Carl Sagan Medal for “outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist". The award was made by the American Astronomical Society’s (AAS) Division for Planetary Sciences, which described him as “the voice of the juxtaposition of planetary science and astronomy with Christian belief, a rational spokesperson who can convey exceptionally well how religion and science can co-exist for believers”.

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Vatican envoy address UN on situation in Palestine | TPermanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, UN's Human Rights Council, Occupied Palestinian Territory,  East Jerusalem
Vatican envoy address UN on situation in Palestine

The Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, delivered a statement today, during a special session of the UN's Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem...As the number of people killed, wounded, uprooted from their homes, continues to increase in the conflict between Israel and some Palestinian groups, particularly in the Gaza Strip, the voice of reason seems submerged 

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Lord Alton: The world must respond to the cry of Iraq’s Christians who still pray in Aramic, the language of Jesus | David Alton. last Christian, Mosul
Lord Alton: The world must respond to the cry of Iraq’s Christians who still pray in Aramic, the language of Jesus

The last Christian has now been expelled from Mosul. The light of religious freedom, along with the entire Christian presence, has been extinguished in the Bible’s “great city of Nineveh” — the centre of Christianity in Iraq for two millennia. This follows the uncompromising ultimatum by the jihadists of Isis to convert or die. On Sunday Pope Francis expressed his profound anguish: “Our brothers are persecuted, they are cast out, they are forced to leave their homes without having the chance to take anything with them.”

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Christian Aid welcomes government aim to tackle FGM and child marriage | female genital mutilation, FGM, child marriage, Christian Aid, Girl Summit
Christian Aid welcomes government aim to tackle FGM and child marriage

Long-term solutions to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage are essential to ensure progress towards ending harmful practices, says Christian Aid. Better opportunities for girls and women, supporting survivors and protecting girls at risk were among the key areas to be addressed at the Girl Summit today (Tuesday), hosted by the UK Prime Minister and jointly organised by the Department for International Development (DfID) and UNICEF.

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Pope Francis telephones Iraqi Patriarch | Pope Francis, Patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church,  Ignatius Youssef III Younan, Mosul, Iraq
Pope Francis telephones Iraqi Patriarch

Pope Francis has reassured the Patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church Ignatius Youssef III Younan that he is following news out of Iraq with concern, particularly the dramatic situation of Christians in Mosul who have been threatened with death and seizure of their homes by Islamic militants demanding they leave or convert to their form of Islamic belief. Christians have lived in Iraq’s second largest city for nearly two thousand years; there are few, if any, left now in Mosul. The Patriarch told the Italian Catholic news agency SIR (Religious Information Service), 

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World Student Christian Movement calls for peace in Israel and Gaza | World Student Christian Federation (WSCF), Christian students, Israel and Gaza, hristine Housel, Horacio Mesones,
World Student Christian Movement calls for peace in Israel and Gaza

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

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Pakistan 'gift of friendship' to Vatican cricket team | Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture, Dr Ishrat ul Ebad Khan, Governor of Sindh in Pakistan, Vatican Cricket Club ., Columban Fr Robert McCulloch,  Aamir Bhatti,
Pakistan 'gift of friendship' to Vatican cricket team

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.

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Stand in solidarity outside Parliament for Iraqi Christians says charity head | Neville Kyrke-Smith, Aid to the Church in Need,  UK Iraqi Christians,  Mosul, ISIS
Stand in solidarity outside Parliament for Iraqi Christians says charity head

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),

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Powerless in Bethlehem | Toine van Teeffelen, Gaza, Bethlehem, Israel
Powerless in Bethlehem

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.

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Cardinal Nichols reflects on Lourdes - BBC Radio 2 Pause For Thought | Vincent Nichols. Lourdes, Pause for Thought
Cardinal Nichols reflects on Lourdes - BBC Radio 2 Pause For Thought

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.

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Australian nun among dead on Malaysia airline shot down over Ukraine | Sacred Heart sister, Malaysia Airlines, Sister Philomene Tiernan rscj Kincoppal-Rose Bay school, Edel Mahady
Australian nun among dead on Malaysia airline shot down over Ukraine

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.

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Appeal from an Iraqi Christian in London | Mosul, Iraqi Christian,  ISIS, Syriac
Appeal from an Iraqi Christian in London

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.

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Catholic MP blasts “awful” British immigration policy at J&P Conference | Cardinal Peter Turkson, Gemma Simmonds, Sarah Tearher, Mary Colwell, NJPN conference
Catholic MP blasts “awful” British immigration policy at J&P Conference

“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. 

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Text: Mary Colwell on Reconciling and building bridges with creation | Mary Colwell,  National Justice and Peace Network Conference, Willa Cather.
Text: Mary Colwell on Reconciling and building bridges with creation

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?”

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Archbishop Welby writes to ecumenical partners about women bishops |  Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Women Bishops
Archbishop Welby writes to ecumenical partners about women bishops

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.

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Pope Francis prays for persecuted Christians in Middle East | Pope Francis, Angelus, persecuted Christians, Middle east, Mosul
Pope Francis prays for persecuted Christians in Middle East

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!”

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Nigeria: Seeking peace over land use | Fr Cornelius Ali Nnaemeka, Nigeria, land use, Fulani, Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
Nigeria: Seeking peace over land use

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 

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Pope calls for justice  on anniversary of Buenos Aires Jewish centre attack | Pope Francis, Message to the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, AMIA,  anniversary,  bombing, AMIA centre, Buenos Aires,
Pope calls for justice on anniversary of Buenos Aires Jewish centre attack

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. 

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China revisited | Sr Isobel Loong, Cultural Exchange with China,  Catholic Church in China, Xi’an, Wuhan; Shijiazhuang, Biancun in Hebei Province, Hainan Island
China revisited

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

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Iraq:  Last Christian families flee Mosul | last Christian families leave Mosu, Erbil, Dohuk, Iraqi Kurdistan, Michael Glackin, Chaldean, hristians, Shiites.
Iraq: Last Christian families flee Mosul

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,

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons -  20 July 2014 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons -  20 July 2014
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 20 July 2014

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 

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Pope prays for Malaysia Airlines victims in Ukraine | Pope Francis,Ukraine, Malaysia Airlines
Pope prays for Malaysia Airlines victims in Ukraine

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,

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London: Peace campaigners to protest at invasion of Gaza | Gaza, peace march, Downing Street
London: Peace campaigners to protest at invasion of Gaza

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 

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Peers debate Assisted Dying Bill | House of Lords, Lord Falconer's Assisted Dying Bill, Supreme Court's recent Nicklinson judgment.
Peers debate Assisted Dying Bill

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, ,

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