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Saturday, October 25, 2014
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Holy Land: US churches protest over latest Israeli land grab
Holy Land: US churches protest over latest Israeli land grab

On 31 August, Israel declared nearly 1,000 acres of Palestinian land south-west of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank as Israeli State Land. This land seizure allows for the establishment of a new settlement around Gva’ot. This land is being expropriated from Palestinians living in Surif, Jaba’a and Wadi Fukin. This land is considered a community inheritance that provides land for natural population growth, agriculture and natural areas. The Mayor of Surif stated that the land was currently planted with olive and forest trees.

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Pope Francis: Every Christian is called to work for church unity
Pope Francis: Every Christian is called to work for church unity

Every Christian is called to work for the unity of the Church, allowing ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit who creates unity in diversity, said Pope Francis at this morning's Mass in the chapel at Casa Santa Marta. Pope Francis based his homily on the First Reading from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, in which the Apostle – a prisoner for the Lord - urges the community to live in a manner worthy of the call they have received, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit. “Building the unity of the Church" said the Pope "is the work of the Church and of every Christian 

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Pope calls for abolition of death penalty;  end to inhuman prison conditions
Pope calls for abolition of death penalty; end to inhuman prison conditions

Pope Francis called on all men and women of good will to fight for the abolition of the death penalty, in “all of its forms” and for the improvement of prison conditions. In an address to members of the International Association of Criminal Law, he also addressed the need to combat human trafficking and of corruption and stressed that the enforcement of legal penalties must always respect human dignity. In a passionate discourse to Jurists assembled in the Vatican for a private audience, Pope Francis said that the life sentence is really 

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Pope Francis:
Pope Francis:"We cannot be Christians without the grace of the Holy Spirit"

Pope Francis reflected on "the limitless language of God’s love" during his Thursday morning homily at Casa Santa Marta.  "We cannot be Christians without the grace of the Holy Spirit" who gives us the strength to love, he said. Pope Francis was reflecting on St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians in which the Apostle describes his experience of Jesus, an experience "that led him to leave everything behind" because "he was in love with Christ." His is an "act of adoration": firstly, he bends his knees before the Father,

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Horsemen from the Camargue riding to Lourdes
Horsemen from the Camargue riding to Lourdes

More than 5,000 Gardians, horsemen from the Camargue in the south of France, are currently riding to Lourdes. The riders many of whom are in traditional dress, will gather at the shrine from 24 to 25 October for their pilgrimage which takes place every two years. The theme of their pilgrimage theme this year is: 'The evangelization of Provence by Mary Salome, Mary Jacobé and Mary Magdalene.' Archbishop Pierre-Marie Carre, Archbishop of Montpellier, will celebrate their Mass in the Grotto and is leading the pilgrimage,

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Jerusalem: Christian, Jewish & Muslim clergy discuss  faith & ecology
Jerusalem: Christian, Jewish & Muslim clergy discuss faith & ecology

Christian, Jewish, and Muslim clergy and seminary students convened around a shared vision of ecological sustainability at the Faith and Ecology Conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday, 22 October. The conference educated more than 100 clergy, seminary students, and others and provided tools and inspiration to expand faith-based environmental teaching and action. Speakers included Jerusalem-area priests, rabbis, imams, and a scientist, such as Bishop William Shomali (Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem), Rabbi Yuval Cherlow 

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Link: 'Archbishop Chaput's Remarkable Challenge to Pope Francis'
Link: 'Archbishop Chaput's Remarkable Challenge to Pope Francis'

Archbishop Charles Chaput aligned himself with Cardinal Raymond Burke on Monday night as a severe critic of the Synod on the Family. According to this news reports from David Gibson at RNS, +Chaput was asked about the synod at a First Things symposium, and replied: “I was very disturbed by what happened” at the synod. “I think confusion is of the devil, and I think the public image that came across was one of confusion.” This will be the line of attack from the Tutiorists of our day,

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Vatican Message to Hindus for Diwali
Vatican Message to Hindus for Diwali

Dear Hindu Friends, The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue joyfully greets all of you on the festive occasion of Deepavali, celebrated on 23 October this year. May the Transcendent Light illumine your hearts, homes and communities, and may all your celebrations deepen the sense of belonging to one another in your families and neighbourhoods, and so further harmony and happiness, peace and prosperity.  We wish to reflect with you this year on the theme "Fostering together a culture of 'inclusion'". 

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Central African Republic: Polish priest kidnapped
Central African Republic: Polish priest kidnapped

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is concerned at the ongoing targeting of clergy for kidnapping in the Central African Republic (CAR), following reports that a Polish Catholic missionary was kidnapped in Baboua, 550km north-west of the capital city of Bangui, on 12 October. Fr Mateusz Dziedzic was kidnapped by eight men from the rebel group Democratic Front of the Central African People (FDPC) and is reportedly being treated well.

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Pope Francis: Wars begin in the heart
Pope Francis: Wars begin in the heart

Divisions, jealousies, misunderstandings and marginalization do not help the Church to grow as the Body of Christ, they shatter it into many pieces, they dismember it. Instead we should remember that we – as the Body of Christ – are called to appreciate the gifts and the quality of others in our communities. This was the main message of Pope Francis' teaching during the general audience this morning, attended by tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists in St Peter’s Square... Referring to Saint Paul’s advice to the quarreling community 

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Schedule of Pope's apostolic visit to Turkey
Schedule of Pope's apostolic visit to Turkey

The Holy See has confirmed that Pope Francis, has accepted invitations from civil authorities, His Holiness Bartolomaios I and bishops, and will make an apostolic trip to Turkey from 28 to 30 November 2014, during which he will visit Ankara and Istanbul. Leaving on the morning of Friday 28 from Rome's Fiumicino Airport. He will first visit the Mausoleum of Ataturk, after which he will transfer to the presidential palace where he will be received by the president of the Republic and the authorities,

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Pope Francis: Without Christ we have no identity
Pope Francis: Without Christ we have no identity

Reflecting on the readings during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today (Tuesday) Pope Francis said: “a Christian is a person who knows how to wait for Jesus cultivates a solid hope in Salvation." In the Gospel of Luke and in St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, the Pope said the people of God are united in Christ, Thanks to Him they have a name that goes beyond every enmity. Quoting from Luke, he said: “blessed are the servants who await their master’s return from a wedding with lighted lamps”.

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Hunger threatens to undermine Ebola quarantine measures, warns charity
Hunger threatens to undermine Ebola quarantine measures, warns charity

The risk of hunger and malnutrition within Ebola-hit communities in West Africa is threatening to undermine the effectiveness of quarantine measures and, with it, the wider Ebola response, warns Christian Aid. As the rate of infection continues to rise, the agency is calling on the international community to address the problem of food insecurity for over a million people in quarantine in Sierra Leone. With hospitals and treatment centres overstretched and at capacity, effective but humane quarantine measures are key to halting 

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Faith groups in benefit for Syrian refugees
Faith groups in benefit for Syrian refugees

Singers and musicians from several Eastern Rite churches, together with friends from mosques and synagogues gathered at Farm Street Church in central London, on Saturday for an evening of music, poetry and prayer, to raise funds for the work of Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) with Syrian refugees.  At a reception afterwards, MP Sarah Teather and Fr Dominic Robinson SJ shared their impressions of their recent trip to the Lebanon where JRS are working with Syrian refugees.

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India:  Archbishop of Birmingham visits Golden Temple, Amritsar
India: Archbishop of Birmingham visits Golden Temple, Amritsar

The Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Reverend Bernard Longley is visiting Amritsar this week (21 -28 October) at the invitation of Bhai Sahib Dr Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia - the spiritual leader of one of the largest Sikh communities in Birmingham. He is travelling together with representatives from the Birmingham Faith Leaders Group – a group which consists of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists created in the wake of 9/11 to discuss issues of common concern to all faiths.

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Pope: We cannot resign ourselves to a Middle East without  Christians
Pope: We cannot resign ourselves to a Middle East without Christians

A Middle East without Christians is unthinkable, Pope Francis said on Monday morning at the opening of the Ordinary Public Consistory for the canonisation of Blessed Joseph Vaz, a Oratorian priest who served in Goa, and Maria Cristina of the Immaculate Conception, foundress .... “We are witnessing a phenomenon of terrorism on an unimaginable scale”, he commented. “Many of our brothers and sisters are brutally persecuted and driven from their homes. It seems that an awareness of the value of human life has been lost; 

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Iran: Three Christians face six-year sentences in remote prisons
Iran: Three Christians face six-year sentences in remote prisons

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has learned that Pastors Behnam Irani and Matthias Haghnejad, and Deacon Silas Rabbani, who previously had capital charges against them dropped, have been each given six-year sentences by an Iranian court. The verdict, issued by Judge Asef al-Hosseini, ordered Pastor Irani to serve his sentence in a prison in the northern city of Zabol, while Pastor Haghnejad and Deacon Rabbani will be transferred to a prison in Minab, an island in the Persian Gulf. All three are appealing their sentences.

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Brentwood priest appointed to Vatican Bible Commission
Brentwood priest appointed to Vatican Bible Commission

Rev Dr Adrian Graffy, a priest of Brentwood Diocese, has been nominated by Pope Francis to become a member of The Vatican Commission that takes a lead in Bible scholarship, interpretation and promotion for the Catholic Church. Rev Dr Graffy said of his appointment: "It's an honour to be nominated by Pope Francis as a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. I feel privileged and very much look forward to being of service.” He added: “A great deal has been achieved in England and Wales in recent years 

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Vatican envoy tells UN:  Too many children denied fundamental right to life
Vatican envoy tells UN: Too many children denied fundamental right to life

Too many children are denied the most fundamental right to life. Prenatal selection eliminates babies suspected to have disabilities and female children simply because of their sex. Many children lack sufficient food and housing. In many countries they have no access to medicines. They are sold to traffickers, sexually exploited, recruited into irregular armies, uprooted by forced displacements, or compelled into debilitating work,” the Holy See's Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York told a committee on the Rights of the Child at the UN on Friday.

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Five Things the Synod Just Did
Five Things the Synod Just Did

What does the final report of the Synod on the Family mean for the church? Fr James Martin SJ wrote in America Magazine yesterday: Essentially, the “relatio” (or report) published today, at the close of the Synod, will serve as a starting point for future discussion. It was also presented with great transparency, including even sections that did not win the necessary votes for complete approval. Before we look at five things the synod did, it’s important to understand the unique “form” of this unusual final document. Pope Francis asked to have all of the paragraphs

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Dublin: Archbishop  Martin on 'extraordinary' address by Pope Francis
Dublin: Archbishop Martin on 'extraordinary' address by Pope Francis

The Archbishop of Dublin has welcomed the publication of the final text at the closing of the Synod of Bishops in Rome this evening. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the text must be read in the context of Pope Francis’ extraordinary final remarks to the Synod, after which the Pope received a five minute standing ovation from those present. Pope Francis warned Bishops of the temptation to a hostile rigidity that forces people to lock themselves into the letter of the law, he also criticised the temptation to “come down from the cross to please people 

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Iraq: Refugee camps flooded by torrential rain
Iraq: Refugee camps flooded by torrential rain

Thousands of refugees who fled from ISIS in Mosul and the Nineveh Plain to refugee camps in Iraq are now enduring violent storms and floods. Since Wednesday 16 October, torrential rains have hit camps in Erbil and Ankawa, the predominantly Christian suburb of the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. The Chaldean archdiocese together with humanitarian agencies involved in the rescue of refugees, have launched an appeal to the local authorities and the international community to help those in critical conditions. There are at least a thousand tents scattered in Ankawa.

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Text: Homily of Pope Francis at Synod Closing Mass, Beatification of Pope Paul VI
Text: Homily of Pope Francis at Synod Closing Mass, Beatification of Pope Paul VI

Huge crowds gathered in St Peter's Square today for the Closing Mass for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, celebrated by Pope Francis. During the Mass the Holy Father beatified on of his predecessors, Pope Paul VI, whom he described as a “great Pope,” a “courageous Christian” and a “tireless apostle.”  We have just heard one of the most famous phrases in the entire Gospel: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mt 22:21). 

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Pope Francis's final address to Synod
Pope Francis's final address to Synod

At the conclusion of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, Pope Francis addressed the assembled Fathers, thanking them for their efforts and encouraging them to continue to journey.... With a heart full of appreciation and gratitude I want to thank, along with you, the Lord who has accompanied and guided us in the past days, with the light of the Holy Spirit...I can happily say that – with a spirit of collegiality and of synodality – we have truly lived the experience of “Synod,” a path of solidarity, a “journey together.” and like every journey

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Pope's Message for World Mission Sunday
Pope's Message for World Mission Sunday

Today vast numbers of people still do not know Jesus Christ. For this reason, the mission ad gentes continues to be most urgent. All the members of the Church are called to participate in this mission, for the Church is missionary by her very nature: she was born "to go forth". World Mission Day is a privileged moment when the faithful of various continents engage in prayer and concrete gestures of solidarity in support of the young Churches in mission lands. It is a celebration of grace and joy. A celebration of grace, because the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father,

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