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Wednesday, January 28, 2015                                                                            ICN Latest News feed updates              

Smartphones, coffee, and hot showers considered life’s necessities in UK | Traidcraft,  Fair Necessities Appeal, Smartphones, Fair Trade
Smartphones, coffee, and hot showers considered life’s necessities in UK

Six out of ten people in the UK say they could not go a day without access to the internet, while the majority could not survive without their smartphones, according to a survey by the country’s leading fair trade organisation Traidcraft. The nationwide survey found that: • More than a third need a morning coffee to get them through the day • More than two thirds of 16-24 year olds listed their smartphone as their top necessity. Half of all Londoners quizzed listed their smartphone as their top necessity

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Burma: State government orders removal of cross; elders prosecuted | Burma, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, CSW,  Hakha, Chin Human Rights Organisation, CHRO Tial Cem,
Burma: State government orders removal of cross; elders prosecuted

An ethnic Chin elder is due to appear in court today on trumped-up charges which Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) believes are connected with his involvement in the planting of a cross on a hill in Hakha town, Chin State, in April last year. The Chin State government has ordered the 54 foot-high cross, which it argues has been erected illegally to be removed on 30 January. The Chin Human Rights Organisation (CHRO) reports that the elder, Tial Cem, has been accused of cutting down pine trees without official permission,

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 Faith leaders call on Cameron to take in more refugees from Syria | Edie Freedman, Jewish Council for Racial Equality, Amnesty International, Kate Allen , Refugee Council, Maurice Wren, Bishop Declan Lang, Bishop Barry Morgan, Jewish Reform Movement Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Muslim Council of Britain and Co-Chair of the Christian Muslim Forum, CAFOD, Solidarity Campaign,
Faith leaders call on Cameron to take in more refugees from Syria

Bishop Declan Lang and other senior faith leaders are calling for David Cameron to increase the number of Syrian refugees resettled in the UK in response to ‘one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes of our time’. In an open letter to the Prime Minister, Bishop Declan Lang, Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Department of International Affairs, joined the Anglican Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan, Head of the Jewish Reform Movement, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, and Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain 

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Scottish MSP pledges support to persecuted Christians | MSP Clare Adamson, Scottish National Party,  Aid to the Church in Need, ISIS, Solidarity Campaign , Baron Johannes Heereman, Lorraine McMahon
Scottish MSP pledges support to persecuted Christians

MSP Clare Adamson has given her backing to a campaign of solidarity with persecuted Christians spearheaded by a leading Catholic charity in Scotland. The Scottish National Party member for Central Scotland stated her support for Aid to the Church in Need’s Solidarity Campaign – which at a time of increased Christian persecution is calling on Scots to stand up for religious freedom. In a statement to ACN, Clare Adamson MSP said:  “The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 18 

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 American Sniper 'lionizes the most despicable aspects of US society' | Chris Hedges,  Truthdig.com, American Sniper. Common Dreams
American Sniper 'lionizes the most despicable aspects of US society'

American journalist Chris Hedges writes in Common Dreams: “American Sniper” lionizes the most despicable aspects of US society—the gun culture, the blind adoration of the military, the belief that we have an innate right as a “Christian” nation to exterminate the “lesser breeds” of the earth, a grotesque hypermasculinity that banishes compassion and pity, a denial of inconvenient facts and historical truth, and a belittling of critical thinking and artistic expression. Many Americans, especially white Americans 

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Catholic Women of the Year 2015 - Call for nominations | Catholic Women of the Year 2015, unsung heroines, Joanna Bogle,
Catholic Women of the Year 2015 - Call for nominations

Nominations have opened for the Catholic Women of the Year 2015. Any Catholic woman can be nominated. It only requires a letter listing the reasons why she should be put forward for this honour. The Committee is looking for the 'unsung heroines' - women who care for the frail and elderly, teach children the Catholic faith, visit prisons, raise funds for charity, or are involved in community projects... women who are good neighbours, who defend and uphold Christian values, care for the common good...women who are married or single, religious

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Guidance for Catholics ahead of General Election due in  'next few weeks’ | Guidance for Catholic voters,  General Election,  bishops of England and Wales, The Rt Rev Mark Davies, Bishop of Shrewsbury, justice and peace activists,  Leeds
Guidance for Catholics ahead of General Election due in 'next few weeks’

Guidance for Catholic voters ahead of the forthcoming General Election will published by the bishops of England and Wales within weeks. The Rt Rev Mark Davies, the Bishop of Shrewsbury, told justice and peace activists that work on the document has been under way since the bishops announced its publication after they met in Leeds in November. “The bishops of England and Wales have drafted a statement for the General Election which

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Pope's Message for Lent 2015 warns of 'globalization of indifference'  | Pope Francism  Message for Lent 2015,  'globalization of indifference'
Pope's Message for Lent 2015 warns of 'globalization of indifference'

Pope Francis' Message for Lent 2015 was released by the Vatican today. In his letter the Holy Father invites all believers to open their hearts to God and to overcome a 'globalization of indifference' that, he said, is threatening to spread a feeling of distress and powerlessness and causing individuals and communities to withdraw into themselves, closing “the door through which God comes into the world and the world comes to him.” The full text of Pope Francis’ Message for Lent 2015 follows:

 

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Ireland: Clogher walks with Pope Francis in preparation for Family Synod  | Bishop Liam MacDaid, Bishop of Clogher, Synod on the Family,  'The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World', Pope Francis
Ireland: Clogher walks with Pope Francis in preparation for Family Synod

Bishop Liam MacDaid, Bishop of Clogher, has invited priests and parishioners of his diocese to take part in a diocesan-wide discussion in advance of the Synod on the Family in the Vatican in October on the theme 'The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World'. In a letter to the priests and people of the diocese Bishop MacDaid invites the faithful to walk with Pope Francis saying: “Pope Francis has encouraged us to be honest and frank as we walk with him and he has stated his wish to hear and listen

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Abuse survivors and former offenders work together to shape research | Durham University Centre for Catholic Studies,  clerical sexual abuse, Ushaw, Professor Paul D Murray, Marie Collins, Fr Hans Zollner SJ, Ushaw, Baroness Sheila Hollins, Peter Saunders
Abuse survivors and former offenders work together to shape research

Survivors of clerical sexual abuse and former clergy offenders have worked together for the first time at a ground-breaking meeting in Durham, held last week at Ushaw College. Alongside psychologists and lawyers, seminary rectors and theologians from Europe, North America and Australia, they attended a conference organised by Durham University's Centre for Catholic Studies and its Project for Spirituality, Theology and Health with the support of the UK Jesuits, Heythrop College, the English Benedictines, and the Marist Brothers, with St Patrick's College Maynooth

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Carmelites celebrate first Priestly Ordination in York since Reformation | Father Gerard (Ged) Walsh,  Rt Rev Terence Drainey, Bishop of Middlesbrough,Our Lady’s Church, Acomb, Carmelites,
Carmelites celebrate first Priestly Ordination in York since Reformation

On Sunday, 25 January, York was the location for the first Carmelite friar to be ordained priest in the city since the Reformation. Father Gerard (Ged) Walsh was ordained priest by Rt Rev Terence Drainey, Bishop of Middlesbrough, at Our Lady’s Church in Acomb, during the parish celebration of Mass. This was an historic moment for the Carmelite Order which first came to York in 1250. Until the suppression of Catholic religious orders at the Reformation in 1536, York was the administrative and training centre for the Carmelite Order

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Holocaust Memorial Day: The Ecumenism of Suffering  - Part 2 | Fr Robin Gibbons, Warsaw Ghetto,  Chaim A Kaplan, Glyzelle Palomars , Pope Francis, Holocaust Memorial Day
Holocaust Memorial Day: The Ecumenism of Suffering - Part 2

In his diary written in the Warsaw Ghetto, Chaim A Kaplan wrote this entry for October 2nd 1940: Again: everything is forbidden to us; and yet we do everything! We make our "living" in ways that are forbidden, and not by permission. It is the same with community prayers: secret minyanim in their hundreds all over Warsaw hold prayers together and do not leave out even the most difficult hymns.…Near the main synagogue some side room is chosen with windows facing the courtyard, and there hearts are poured out to the God of Israel 

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Westminster: Iraqi archbishop to address Parliament | Archbishop Bashar Warda, Erbil, ACN, Aid to the Church in Need, David Alton, Lord Alton
Westminster: Iraqi archbishop to address Parliament

An archbishop from Kurdish northern Iraq grappling with the influx of more than 120,000 Christians fleeing ISIS,  is to come to London to plead their cause. Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil is due to give an address in the Houses of Parliament on Monday, 9 February amid increasing concerns about the future of Christians who escaped from Mosul and Nineveh with no more than the clothes they were wearing. At the House of Lords event sponsored by human rights campaigner Lord David Alton of Liverpool,

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Ebola Crisis: More work needs to be done to reach zero new cases | CAFOD, Ebola, Catherine Mahony
Ebola Crisis: More work needs to be done to reach zero new cases

 CAFOD and its partners have intensified their Ebola response work in Sierra Leone, joining the international effort to reach zero new cases of Ebola in the coming months. Thanks to money donated by supporters to their Ebola crisis appeal - which raised over one million pounds - and funding from the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), CAFOD partners are scaling up distributions of food and household items to quarantined families, Outbreak Prevention kits (made up of protective clothing, bleach and cleaning materials) to places of worship,

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London: Vacancy for full time pastoral assistant  | Our Lady & St Thomas of Canterbury,  Harrow–on–the–Hill, pastoral assistant
London: Vacancy for full time pastoral assistant

The Parish of Our Lady and  St Thomas of Canterbury Harrow–on–the–Hill ( five minutes walk from Harrow–on–the– Hill Metropolitan Line Station) Is seeking to appoint an enthusiastic, innovative, creative pastoral assistant who has vision and dedication to work with the parish as they continue to develop their Mission.

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Australia: Church  voices concern over drastic  protests at Manus Island   | Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office, ACMRO, Manus Island, Fr Maurizio Pettena, Peter Dutton.
Australia: Church voices concern over drastic protests at Manus Island

The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) has expressed deep concern over desperate protests taking place on Manus Island - used as a detention centre for asylum seekers - and the government's lack of transparency. The office said in a statement: 'Since Tuesday, 13 January 2013, close to 700 asylum seekers have embarked on a hunger strike with 40 asylum seekers sewing their lips together and others swallowing razor blades. Asylum seekers on the Island resorted to such drastic measures after being told that they would 

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Holocaust Memorial Day Reflection: The Ecumenism of Suffering: part 1 | Holocaust Memorial Day Reflection,  Ecumenism of Suffering,  Fr Robin Gibbons
Holocaust Memorial Day Reflection: The Ecumenism of Suffering: part 1

In their joint declaration of November 30th 2014, Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew mentioned the ecumenism of suffering: ‘…we can say that there is also an ecumenism of suffering. Just as the blood of the martyrs was a seed of strength and fertility for the Church, so too the sharing of daily sufferings can become an effective instrument of unity. The terrible situation of Christians and all those who are suffering in the Middle East calls not only for our constant prayer,

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Bishop Mark Davies: Christians must not give up  quest for ‘full, complete and visible unity’ | Christian Unity. Simon Caldwell,  Bishop of Shrewsbury, Mark Davies ST Mary’s Anglican Church, Nantwich, Cheshire,
Bishop Mark Davies: Christians must not give up quest for ‘full, complete and visible unity’

Christians must continue to pray for the “full, complete and visible unity” desired by Jesus Christ in spite of the appearances of new obstacles within the last half a century, the Bishop of Shrewsbury has said. In recent decades the great goal of the unity of all Christians had been relegated in the minds of many people to a “noble but seemingly hopeless cause”, the Rt Rev Mark Davies said during a homily in St Mary’s Anglican Church, Nantwich, Cheshire, on Sunday.

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Sarah Teather MP  to join Jesuit Refugee Service  |  Jesuit Refugee Service, JRS,   Sarah Teather MP
Sarah Teather MP to join Jesuit Refugee Service

The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) announced today that former education minister, Sarah Teather MP, will join the International Advocacy team on 1 June 2015. As advocacy adviser, Ms Teather will focus on the provision of education for refugee children the Middle East and South Sudan. Ms Teather will stand down from the British Parliament in May 2015, after 13 years in elected politics. For nearly 12 of these years she represented the London constituency of Brent Central, the most ethnically diverse in the United Kingdom.

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Cuba: Report shows religious violations increased in 2014  | Christian Solidarity Worldwide , CSW, Franciscan monastery,  Guanabacoa
Cuba: Report shows religious violations increased in 2014

Violations of religious freedom in Cuba continued to rise in 2014, according to a new report by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) detailing 220 separate violations over the course of the year. Religious leaders and groups from all denominations on the island reported problems ranging from harassment and fines to confiscation and destruction of church property....  In 2014 the historic Franciscan monastery in Guanabacoa shut its doors after waiting years for government permission 

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Pope Francis on role of women in transmitting Faith | Pope Francis, Casa Santa Marta
Pope Francis on role of women in transmitting Faith

The primary and indispensable role of women in transmitting the faith to new generations was the focus of Pope Francis’ reflections on the readings at Mass this morning in the chapel at Santa Marta. On the day when the Church celebrates Saints Timothy and Titus – bishops and disciples of St Paul the Apostle, Pope Francis commented in particular on the second letter of Paul to Timothy. Paul reminds Timothy of where his “sincere faith” comes from: his faith comes from the Holy Spirit, “through his mother and grandmother.”

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SVP raise funds for Vinnie Packs at Marylebone Station | SVP, Vinnie Packs, Marylebone Station, Siobhan Garibaldi,
SVP raise funds for Vinnie Packs at Marylebone Station

Temperatures have plummeted across the country over the last few weeks. For homeless people spending most of their time on the streets this icy weather can be life-threatening. A group of SVP volunteers held a day-long collection at Marylebone Station, (owned by Chiltern Railways) on 16 January, to fund cold weather essentials for the homeless. They raised over £2400.  The Vinnie Packs, containing a thermal hat, thermal gloves and thermal socks, emergency foil blanket, toothbrush, toothpaste, pen and information sheet, are put together by

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Church charities launch mental health resource for Blue Monday | Blue Monday, mental health resource
Church charities launch mental health resource for Blue Monday

Today, 26 January, is Blue Monday, said to be the most depressing day of the year. Two Christian charities have joined forces to produce a new resource to help churches better understand and support people with mental health needs in their congregations. The pack includes information on common mental health conditions; pastoral tips for working with people with mental illnesses; and theological perspectives on mental health. Katharine Welby-Roberts, an associate at Livability and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s daughter 

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India: CSW urges Obama to raise concerns of religious minorities with Prime Minister Modi | Christian Solidarity Worldwide, CSW, President Obama,  India,  religious minorities, Prime Minister Modi
India: CSW urges Obama to raise concerns of religious minorities with Prime Minister Modi

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has called on President Obama to raise the concerns of India’s religious minorities in his bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Modi during his visit to India from 25-27 January. President Obama’s visit to India is a crucial step forward in US-India relations in recent years, and follows the lifting of a visa ban on Prime Minister Modi ahead of his official visit to the US in September 2014. President Obama will be the chief guest at the Republic Day function on Monday 26 January.

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US Cardinal welcomes progress of ‘No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act’ | Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2015,US Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, March for Life, funding, abortion, Congress
US Cardinal welcomes progress of ‘No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act’

Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, welcomed passage of the 'No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2015' (HR 7) by the US House of Representatives. “By passing this legislation, the House has taken a decisive step toward respect for unborn human life, reflecting the will of the American people,” he said. Co-sponsored by Reps Chris Smith and Dan Lipinski, the pro-life bill passed with bipartisan support by a vote of 242-179 

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