CAFOD: 'Today we lost a brother, a leader, a legend' Following the sad news of Nelson Mandela's passing, CAFOD's Director Chris Bain has issued the following statement: "Today, we have lost a brother, a leader, and a legend. But more than ever now, we must dedicate ourselves in Nelson Mandela's memory to the fight for freedom, peace and justice. The greatest honour we can pay him - the legacy that he warrants - is that we build the world he wanted to see: a world free from any form of division, whether between black or white, rich or poor, man or woman. Read More ... Posted: Friday, December 6, 2013 1:25 pm
Peru: Open letter on destructive mining in Latin America César Correa, the Justice Peace & Integrity Of Creation Co-ordinator in Chile for the Missionary Society of St Columban recently participated in a meeting on mining in Latin-America, held in Lima, Peru. The gathering involved Catholics concerned about this issue from throughout Latin America. The group produced the following declaration at the end of the meeting, amidst wide-spread concern about destructive mining in the continent. We are religious and lay men and women from Latin America moved by the critical situation of our peoples Read More ... Posted: Friday, December 6, 2013 1:13 pm
Pope Francis pays tribute to Nelson Mandela Pope Francis paid tribute to Nelson Mandela this morning, expressing his hope that the late President's example will inspire generations of South Africans to put justice and common good at the forefront of their political aspirations. The Pope's words came in a telegramme of condolences that he sent to the South African President, Jacob Zuma. The full text follows: It was with sadness that I learned of the death of former President Nelson Mandela, and I send prayerful condolences to all the Mandela family, to the members of the Government and to all Read More ... Posted: Friday, December 6, 2013 12:21 pm
The world mourns Nelson Mandela Prayaers are being said around the world for Nelson Mandela, following the announcement of his death late last night by the president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma. Mr Zuma said: "Fellow South Africans, our beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the founding president of our democratic nation has departed. He is now resting. He is now at peace. Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father." Archbishop Desmond Tutu said: "How blessed we have been. Read More ... Posted: Friday, December 6, 2013 12:17 am
Pope Francis establishes Commission on child protection Pope Francis is setting up a Commission on the protection of minors. Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, archbishop of Boston and member of the Council of Cardinals, announced on Thursday afternoon, 5 December. The Cardinal read the following statement: “Continuing decisively along the lines undertaken by Pope Benedict XVI, and accepting a proposal presented by the Council of Cardinals, the Holy Father has decided to establish a specific Commission for the protection of minors, Read More ... Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013 11:29 pm
Zimbabwe: Everyone deserves a fair share of country's natural resources The wealth of natural and human resources of Zimbabwe must benefit the poor of the country, not simply its elite, according to the Jesuits in Zimbabwe. Their call for a more just distribution of the country's resources has been echoed by Zimbabwe Bishops' Conference in a pastoral letter issued on 3 December, in which they said that three months after the July elections, 'there are no visible prospects for improvement in the spheres of life in Zimbabwe that cry for restoration to give people hope for a better life.' Read More ... Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013 3:18 pm
Text: Bishops of Zimbabwe pastoral letter In our Pastoral Letter published in March 2013 before the 31 July 2013 national elections, we called upon all Christians and people of goodwill in Zimbabwe to commit themselves to 'promoting peace in Zimbabwe and overcome the culture of intolerance, intimidation and political violence.' Soon after the election results were announced, we congratulated all Zimbabweans for conducting a generally and relatively peaceful poll during which reported incidents of intimidation, intolerance and violence were minimal compared to the last poll in 2008. Read More ... Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013 3:12 pm
CSAN fears total cap on welfare spending will penalise vulnerable families CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network), the social action arm of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, has voiced fears that the Chancellor’s announcement of an overall cap on welfare spending risks penalising poor families. Commenting on the proposal, CSAN’s Head of Policy, Liam Allmark said: “This runs the risk of being extremely inflexible and we fear that setting an arbitrary ceiling for overall welfare spending may fail to take account of growing levels of poverty and rising costs of living. Read More ... Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013 3:03 pm
Call for halt to Philippines eight billion dollar debt payments (+ petition) A month on from the Philippines being hit by Typhoon Haiyan, Jubilee Debt Campaign (UK) and Christian Aid have joined with the Freedom from Debt Coalition and Jubilee South to call for the Philippines debt to be cancelled. Over $20 million a day - $8 billion a year - leaves the Philippines as debt payments to international lenders. Since Typhoon Haiyan struck on 8 November, over $550 million (£335 million) has been spent on debt payments. Because of interest payments, over the last 40 years, the Philippines has been lent $115 billion, Read More ... Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013 12:39 pm
Pope Francis reflects on 'when eternity begins' Yesterday morning, Pope Francis continued his reflection on the Creed with pilgrims in St Petere's Square, focusing on what the resurrection of the body means. He also asked the faithful to pray with him for “Orthodox nuns of St Tecla in Maaloula, Syria, who were taken by force two days by armed men”..."and for all people who have been sequestered because of this ongoing conflict.” .. Today I wish to return to the affirmation “I believe in the resurrection of the body”. This is not a simple truth and it is anything but obvious; Read More ... Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013 12:24 pm
UK's 'economic recovery' is not helping millions in dire poverty warns Catholic Church Responding to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement today, Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) the social action arm of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, has warned that despite some signs of economic recovery, “the poor are being left behind” as poverty levels continue to soar and inequality is growing each month - with 350,000 people relying on foodbanks and 5,500 in hospital with malnutrition.....“Catholic charities are witnessing increased demand for their services, with more and more families struggling to meet even the basic costs of living.” Read More ... Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013 10:26 am
Pope asks to meet reformed Indian killer Eighteen years after Samunder Singh stabbed and murdered a Catholic nun in northern India, the former prisoner has been invited to meet Pope Francis at the Vatican. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for Family, invited Singh after the pope expressed his desire to meet him. Accompanying him will be a Catholic priest and a nun, the younger sister of the slain Rani Maria. “I am excited after getting the news," said Singh, who with the guidance of the Catholic priest became a Christian while serving a 12-year jail term, Read More ... Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 9:26 pm
Hope still standing in the Philippines A cross stands high over the city of Palo, a little askew and battered by the wind but holding on strong – a symbol of hope.
Much has been written about Super Typhoon Haiyan and the destruction it left in its wake. The destruction is as bad as I’ve seen, and I’ve been to many disasters round the world. The devastation wreaked by the wind, and the storm surge that followed, is difficult to put into words. Barely a house has survived intact in Palo. Read More ... Mark Mitchell, Caritas Emergency Team Leader - Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 9:03 pm
Vatican: Council of Cardinals: Day Three Today (Wednesday) Pope Francis met for the third time with the eight-member Council of Cardinals to discuss proposed reforms of the Roman Curia. The meeting will last until Thursday. The first meeting took place in October. In a press briefing, the head of the Holy See Press Office Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, stated that the Cardinals have continued in the discussions as planned, with a meeting on Tuesday afternoon in the presence of the Holy Father, and one on Wednesday morning that the Pope did not attend because he was holding the General Audience. Read More ... Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 8:49 pm
UK: MPs urge government to take persecution of Christians seriously Backbenchers reacted with anger, as a foreign office minister tried to play down the persecution of Christians during an "impassioned debate" on the subject in the House of Commons. During a debate in parliament yesterday (Tuesday 3 December) calling on the UK government "to do more both in its foreign policy and through its aid work to defend and support people of Christian faith", MPs accused front benchers of trying to widen it to a general discussion of human rights. Read More ... John Newton - Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 8:39 pm
Heythrop College awards Honorary Doctorates Heythrop College, awarded four honorary doctorates at its graduation ceremony on Monday 2 December 2013. Principal, Rev Michael Holman SJ, said: “In its 400th year, the College is delighted to honour these distinguished individuals in recognition of their engagement with faith in scholarship, in public life and in the Church’s service of the poor and marginalised.” The degree of Doctor of Divinity of the University of London, honoris causa, was awarded to: Ms Cathy Corcoran OBE, Chief Executive of the Cardinal Hume Centre, Read More ... Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 8:07 pm
Second session of Council of Cardinals meetings On Tuesday morning, 3 December, Pope Francis met with the Council of Cardinals, the group of eight cardinals assisting in the governance of the universal Church and examining a revision of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus on the Roman Curia.
Fr Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office, announced this in a briefing with journalists to explain the second session of the Cardinal's meetings which will be taking place at the Vatican until Thursday, 5 December. Read More ... Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 6:31 pm
Double donations for Thai Children with Special Needs through the Big Give The Thai Children's Trust is gearing up for the Big Give at 10am tomorrow, 5 December, when they hope to raise £60,000 towards the Father Ray Centre for Children with Special Needs. The centre, in Pattaya, Thailand, will offer physical therapy, individual development, education and vocational training for children with a range of special needs, and information and support for more than 300 families. The centre will also provide outreach services to a larger number of children in the area, offering community based rehabilitation and support. Read More ... Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 6:07 pm
Syria: 12 nuns and three young women abducted by rebels Twelve nuns and three young women were taken away from their convent in a village 60 kilometres north of the Syrian capital Damascus by Islamist rebels on Monday, 2 December. There are conflicting accounts on the current plight of the nuns and their three associates. At the end of his General Audience today (Wednesday) Pope Francis called on everyone to pray for the sisters group taken by force from the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Saint Tecla in the ancient Christian town of Maaloula in Syria. Read More ... Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 5:30 pm
London: Crossrail workers seek protection of Saint Barbara Crossrail is said to be the biggest construction project in Europe employing around 14,000 workers. The 118-kilometre (73-mile) railway line will run from Maidenhead to Shenfield and Abbey Wood. A major feature is the construction of 42 km (26 miles) of new tunnels. Seven massive boring machines are slowly moving 50 metres underneath London's streets, in what has also been described as "the largest archaeological site in Britain." .. Workers refused to enter the tunnels until 38 statues of Saint Barbara were installed and blessed. Read More ... Jo Siedlecka - Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 11:28 pm
Bishop John Arnold visits areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan (+ blog) Bishop John Arnold is visiting the devastation wrought by typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines between 1-6 December. He was asked to go on behalf of Archbishop Vincent Nichols, to show solidarity in a time of distress and also represent in some way the 120,000 Filipinos in Britain. He is joined by Matthew Carter, Humanitarian Director at CAFOD and Jim Murphy MP, who was involved in helping to bring the injured out of the pub in Glasgow following the tragedy of the helicopter crash on 30 November. Read More ... Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 8:55 pm
Mountains of Faith? Church takes on large-scale mining Faith and large-scale mining have something in common: they both move mountains. On many occasions, the Church has been an obstacle to industry’s efforts to expand in Latin America. A growing movement links spirituality, environmental struggles, and resistance to large-scale mining. The first message Pope Francis gave minutes after arriving in Brazil some months ago was: "I don’t have silver or gold, but I bring with me the most precious gift: Jesus Christ!" Pope Francis posed for a photograph with a t-shirt that stated, 'Water is more precious than gold.' Read More ... Luis Manuel Claps - Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 6:34 pm
Pope advise Dutch bishops: 'be present in all spheres of humanity' Pope Francis yesterday received in audience a group from the Bishops' Conference of the Netherlands on their 'ad limina”'visit. The Holy Father focused on how to accompany those who suffer from “spiritual emptiness” and who seek the meaning of life. “Listen to them”, he said, “to help them share in the hope, joy, and capacity to carry on that Jesus Christ gives us”.
“The Church”, he continued, “not only proposes immutable moral truths and attitudes which go against the grain, but also proposes them as the key to Read More ... Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 1:09 pm
Pope Francis: a Church without joy is unthinkable: She announces Christ with a smile The Church must always be joyful like Christ. That was the message of Pope Francis at Mass this morning at the Casa Santa Marta. The Pope emphasized that the Church is called to transmit the joy of the Lord to her children - a joy that gives true peace. Peace and joy. Pope Francis’ homily dwelt on these two themes. In the reading from the book of Isaiah, we see the desire for peace that we all have. It is the peace, says Isaiah, that the Messiah brings to us. In the Gospel then, “we are able to see a little into the soul of Jesus, the heart of Jesus: a joyful heart” Read More ... Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 12:28 pm
Pope Francis receives Prime Minister of Israel On Monday, Pope Francis received Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel, in private audience. According to a Vatican Press Office communiqué, Pope Francis and Netanyahu spoke of the complex political and social situation in the Middle East, focusing in particular on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that have recently been re-launched and expressing their hope that a just and long-lasting solution, with respect for the rights of both parties, be reached as soon as possible.
Read More ... Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 12:08 pm