In the light of Pope Francis' dream of Europe, the Caritas Europa Regional Conference 2016 calls on European leaders to join forces with people, civil society organisations and churches to build an inclusive and outward looking Europe. Europe is increasingly challenged by rising poverty, social injustice, conflicts, xenophobia and nationalism. Caritas Europa urges European governments to strengthen the role of the Council of Europe in ensuring that social rights are respected, including the right to be protected against poverty and social exclusion (art. 30,
Imagine what it must be like to be born in a country that is not your own. To have ended up in a foreign land because of the actions of others and not by your own choice. Imagine that you have lived all your life in a camp known as a "refugee camp" because your own home country, Somalia, has been embroiled in a civil war since 1992. Imagine you are a 24 year old woman, born in this camp, who has fallen in love with your husband and given birth to your first child in the camp.
A bishop in Syria has described desperate efforts to tend to the injured and the dying following multiple Daesh (ISIS) attacks in Tartous and Jableh, which left more than 200 dead and nearly 650 injured. Bishop Antioine Chbeir stressed that Monday's attacks in his diocese were the first of their kind in an area where displaced Syrians had gathered in their hundreds of thousands, believing it to be one of the last remaining safe areas of the country.
During his General Audience today, Pope Francis focussed on the importance of persevering in prayer. He told pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square: "Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our continuing catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy, we now turn to the parable of the unjust judge and the widow. In telling us that even an unscrupulous judge will finally render justice to a poor woman because of her persistence, Jesus encourages us to persevere in prayer to our heavenly Father, who is infinitely just and loving.
Mina Thabet, an Egyptian human rights defender who was arrested on 19 May, has been remanded in custody for an additional period of 15 days of preventative detention. Mr Thabet, who specialises in Coptic and Minority rights, was initially held for four days in preventative detention following his arrest at his home by plain-clothes police officers in the early hours of 19 May.
Pope Francis received the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheik Ahmed Muhammad Al-Tayyib yesterday. Vatican Press Office director, Fr Federico Lombardi said the 30 minute meeting was "very cordial" and that the Grand Imam of Egypt "was accompanied by an important delegation, which included: Dr Abbas Shouman, Undersecretary of Al-Azhar; Dr Mahmaoud Hamdi Zakzouk, member of the Council of Senior Scholars of Al-Azhar University
Father Nguyen Van Ly was granted an early release from prison on 20 May, in what media have reported as a goodwill gesture ahead of US President Barack Obama's three-day visit to the country, which started on 23 May. However, it has been reported that a number of human rights activists were detained this week, in apparent attempts to prevent them from meeting the US delegation. Most have since been released.
Children from Syria's different Christian denominations will be joining together to pray for peace in the country on International Children's Day, 1 June. The plan, which is being backed by Syrian Church leaders, was described in a joint message from the country's Catholic and Orthodox Patriarchs. They wrote: "On this International Day of the Child, Christian children in many of the towns and cities of Syria are going to gather together and pray that peace may come at last."
On Monday, the Prime Minister of France, Mr Manuel Valls, currently visiting in Israel and Palestine, came with his delegation to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, to speak with Patriarch Twal about the French initiative, which would relaunch the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The visit of the Prime Minister takes place as part of an official trip to Israel and Palestine from May 21-24, 2016. The meeting between the Prime Minister and the Patriarch is in preparation for the French initiative on the Middle East peace process, which
Numkala Nuwani is one of a dozen health volunteers who travel around Patariya in Nepal's Kapilvastu district looking for people who have been recently diagnosed with leprosy. If a case is confirmed they refer the patient to a specialist team for treatment and screen people with whom they have been in close contact - family members, neighbours and fellow workers and in the case of children their classmates and teachers - to check if they are displaying any symptoms of the disease.
Three Christians were killed and many more were injured in an attack on Saturday night in 'Miami Street' - in the center of Qamishli, Syria's second largest city in the northeastern province of Hassaké. Abuna Hanna, from the Syriac Catholic Archdiocese of Hassaké-Nisibi said the victims were " three Syriac Christians: Abdulmehis Lahdo, Karam Sacid Samcun and Tuma Yusuf Eliyo." Survivors report that at least three terrorists came into the street shooting and throwing grenades. There may have also been a suicide bomber.
As nations meet at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey today, to discuss how to improve the global humanitarian system, Christian Aid is urging countries to put more power into the hands of local organisations often on the front line of any emergency response. An unprecedented number of global humanitarian disasters, from the Syrian conflict and European refugee crisis and the Ebola epidemic, has left the humanitarian system creaking, spurring UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to call
Bishop Felix Ajakaye, of Ekiti Catholic Diocese in western Nigeria has appealed for the release of a priest, two nuns and their driver who have been kidnapped in two separate incidents. The Bishop said in a statement that Father John Adeyi, Vicar-General of the Diocese of Otukpo, has been missing since Sunday, April 24. He said Fr Felix, who is Parish Priest of St Bernard Catholic Church, Okpoka, was kidnapped on a highway. "He was returning from an outstation of the parish, where he had gone to celebrate the Holy Eucharist . He is the
Israel-based Rabbis for Human Rights have announced that a new anti-'price tag' attack inter-party campaign will be launched in the Knesset this week. Tag Meir is a coalition of organisations committed to fighting hate-crimes in Israel and showing solidarity with their victims. 'Price Tag' attacks are hate crimes directed at Palestinians by extremist right-wing Israeli Jews... These crimes almost always go unpunished. The words 'price tag' have been found on many Christian buildings - including the Church of the Loaves and Fishe
Sister Veronica Rackova, a Slovak member of the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Spirit, who was shot and seriously wounded in South Sudan, has died. Sr Veronica was allegedly shot by the Sudan People Liberation Army soldiers on Monday 16 May. Sister Veronica died on 20 May at the Nairobi Hospital in Kenya, where she had been flown on Monday morning for specialised emergency treatment. Around midnight on the day of the attack, Sr Veronica received an emergency call from a woman who had complications giving birth,
Exactly one year after the vote of the European Parliament on conflict minerals, CIDSE, the international family of Catholic social justice organisations, including Progressio, publishes a video interview of Abbot Léonard Santedi, the Secretary General of the Congolese Bishops Conference. In the video, Abbot Santedi explains why a voluntary regulation would not be enough to improve the situation of populations living near mine areas: "A mandatory regulation could lead to the end of abuses, but at
Israel is stepping up its efforts to seize control of Palestinian heritage sites and antiquities in the occupied territories in violation of international law, Palestinian and Israeli archaeologists warned this week - Jonathan Cook writes from Nazareth. The experts echoed criticisms levelled against Israel in a recent resolution passed by the United Nations' cultural agency, UNESCO, that accused Israel of interfering with major holy sites in occupied areas. A diplomatic storm over the resolution escalated at the weekend,
Father Eamonn O'Brien from Cultural Exchange with China, writes: "May 24th is the date designated by Pope Benedict XVI for us to pray together with the Church in China. Please share this prayer with your friends. Perhaps you could involve your local church communities vy asking your Parish Priest to include this prayer in the Prayer of the Faithful on Sunday May 22nd or May 29th..... Prayer for China to Our Lady of Sheshan
The Vatican Bishop charged with the pastoral care of seafarers celebrated Mass for and visited crew of the P&O Cruises ship MV Oceana on Tuesday 17th May, when it docked in Civitavecchia, near Rome.
At the beginning of his visit MV Oceana on Tuesday 17th May, when it docked in Civitavecchia, near Rome.
At the beginning of his visit Bishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, from the Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) or Stella Maris, presented Captain Christopher Bourne, from the Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) or Stella Maris, presented Captain
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has welcomed the creation of the Interfaith Partnership for the Consolidation of Peace (CIPP) in Central African Republic.The interfaith partnership brings together the vital grassroots work of the National Interfaith Peace Platform, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Aegis Trust, the Catholic Relief Services, Islamic Relief Worldwide and World Vision. It aims to strengthen the capacity of the Central African Republic's (CAR) institutions to become promoters of social cohesion
I really like to see, amidst the populist appeals of many politicians to the lowest - the very lowest - common denominator in humanity, that a public figure has the courage to talk sense about religion. The figure is (I am tempted to say again) Pope Francis. The occasion: his interview with the French newspaper La Croix. And the religion is Islam, with a thoroughly appropriate dig at the excesses within Christian tradition and modern secularism as well. It is really a pleasure, at a time when rabble-rousers try to trump reason (pun intended),
To ignore the poor is to despise God, Pope Francis told pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square for the General Audience today. The Lord's mercy for us is tightly connected to our own mercy for others, the Pope said, decrying the inequality and contradictions in the world today as he reflected on the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. He noted that the lives of these two people seem to run on parallel tracks; their living conditions are opposite and totally non-communicating: the rich man's front door is always closed to
On Monday the US Supreme Court issued a 'per curiam' opinion in the case of Zubik v Burwell, in which Catholic and other religious organizations are challenging the HHS mandate requiring them to facilitate health insurance coverage of sterilization, contraception, and drugs and devices that may cause abortions. The Court unanimously vacated the decisions before it, remanding the cases to the lower courts with instructions to afford the parties the opportunity to work out an alternative approach to the mandate.
Tran Thi Hong, a Vietnamese activist and wife of imprisoned pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh, says her family was harassed by the authorities and her son arrested between 11 and 13 May. Mrs Hong is a member of the civil society organisation Vietnamese Women for Human Rights (VNWHR) and the wife of imprisoned religious freedom activist and pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh, currently serving an eleven year prison sentence. Mrs Hong has said that official harassment of her family is becoming "intolerable".
CAFOD, the Catholic overseas aid agency in England and Wales, will be at the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul next week [23 and 24 May]. Governments, UN agencies, and nearly all the big international aid bodies will be represented, but CAFOD wants to speak up for the unsung NGOs in the countries where most humanitarian aid money is spent. "In any natural disaster or emergency, it is these local partners who are first on the scene," said Anne Street, CAFOD's Head of CAFOD's Head of Humanitarian Policy.