Pope Francis has said he is praying for the success of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham's forthcoming 'Called To Be One' exploration day, which it has planned with the aim of increasing understanding of the Ordinariate's purpose and reaching out to those who may feel called to join it. The endorsement was delivered in a letter from the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, to Monsignor Keith Newton, the Ordinary of the Ordinariate.
The Iraqi Christian community in the United Kingdom and their churches are organising a vigil for the victimised Iraqi Christians in London on Saturday 26-July-2014 with the support of many Eastern and Western Churches and various Christian organisations and charities in the United Kingdom. The assembly will start at 11.30am near Parliament Square. The demonstrators will then move from the assembly point to stand in solidarity outside the Parliament building for a period of silence and prayer
Kairos Britain - a network of individuals, organisations and faith communities seeking a just and lasting peace in Israel and Palestine has issued the following statement today: End the suffering in Gaza NOW. Now is the time for Christians to take action to end the suffering in Gaza and promote a just, lasting, and sustainable peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The situation in Gaza is desperate. Over 600 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began military operation over two weeks ago. The UN says the majority of these are civilians, a third of them children.
What is happening to the Christian communities in the Middle East is nothing less than martyrdom and destruction of their heritage and our ancient origins. The news in Iraq is more than grim, it is catastrophic, and yet, where is the voice of the Western Christian community? The Anglican Church voted for Women Bishops last week and good for it, but in all their rejoicing did anybody in General Synod raise a voice to speak out for the daily martyrdom and destruction of a faith that has remained rooted in a country and culture for 2000 years? They may have, but all those bottles of champagne
Read More ... Fr Robin Gibbons - Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014 11:14 pm
Meriam Ibrahim and her family have arrived safely in Italy after criminal charges against her and her husband were dismissed and they were permitted to leave the Sudan. On 24 June, Mrs Ibrahim and her husband Daniel Wani were detained as they attempted to leave Sudan, and were later charged with forgery and provision of false information under article 123 and 97 of the 1991 Criminal Code, due to alleged irregularities with her travel documents.
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,
Read More ... Reinhard Backes - Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014 2:46 am
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”.
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
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.”
Read More ... David Alton - Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014 1:55 am
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.
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),
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