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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The last Christian families still present in Mosul are leaving the city and are heading towards Erbil, Dohuk and other areas of Iraqi Kurdistan which are considered safer, Fides has been told by sources in the local Chaldean community. The new exodus has accelerated in the past two days, after Sunni insurgents and militants of the Islamic Caliphate (ISIS) began to mark all the homes of Christians and Shiites with a crescent symbol and letters,
Pope Francis is praying for the victims of the deadly incident in Ukraine involving a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane. Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. The plane crashed on Thursday, killing all 298 people on board, after it was hit by a missile. The Boeing 777 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. It fell between Krasni Luch in Luhansk region and Shakhtarsk in the neighbouring region of Donetsk. Latest figures released by Malaysia Airlines show the plane was carrying 189 Dutch nationals, 27 Australians,
The Vatican has announced that: 'Following last Sunday’s heartfelt appeal for continued prayer for peace in the Holy Land, this morning (Friday) the Holy Father Francis personally telephoned President Shimon Peres of Israel and President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine to share his very serious concerns regarding the current situation of conflict involving in particular the Gaza Strip which, in a climate of growing hostility, hatred and suffering for the two populations, is claiming many victims and giving rise to a serious humanitarian emergency.
Pope Francis has written a personal message to the parish priest of Gaza, Father Jorge Hermandez, a fellow Argentinian, saying he is keeping the territory’s Christian community in his prayers. In his message the Pope offered words of comfort and assured them he was praying for them all. Father Mario Cornioli, the parish priest of Beit Jala in the West Bank, had earlier informed the Pope of the extremely challenging situation facing the tiny Christian community in Gaza and all the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip
In the middle of the rubble and dirt of the aftermath of the most devastating typhoon to hit the Philippines last November 8, 2013, we found children still able to smile, standing as they did with ragged torn T-shirts and dirty faces and legs in the mud. They were covered in the filth and dirt of the typhoon debris where they were poking about looking for something to salvage and sell. That's the resilience and courage of the Filipino child when all has been taken away. Everywhere I went assessing the terrible damage, I saw hundreds of families
Rabbi Michael Lerner writes: According to Ha’aretz correspondent Amira Hass, the IDF has been conducting mass arrests in the West Bank, between 10 and 30 every day. 24 of the arrested are members of the Palestinian parliament from Hamas’ Change and Reform party. The number of those arrested since the kidnapping and murder of the Israeli teens has already exceeded 1,000. The Palestinians are convinced that most of those detained have nothing to do with the kidnapping and that these are mainly political arrests for purposes of intimidation and revenge.
Christians Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has learned that Meriam Ibrahim’s alleged family has lodged an appeal to the Sudanese Supreme Court, challenging the Court of Appeal decision to quash her death sentence for apostasy and 100 lashes for adultery. Although the appeal has been lodged, the Supreme Court has yet to determine whether it will be accepted. Sudanese criminal procedures state that an appeal of a decision of the Appeal Court can be made by an interested party, but it is up to the Supreme Court to determine
On Wednesday, 41 church and secular health organisations issued this joint statement. Since it was published, there have been may more deaths and injuries and hospitals have been damaged. They wrote: Continued military operations are compounding a health care crisis in Gaza, with hospitals ill-prepared to meet the critical needs arising from a wide-scale emergency right now. The signatory organizations are calling for an immediate ceasefire, noting that all parties must respect international humanitarian law and abide
Pope Francis sent his good wishes and prayers to athletes and theologians gathering at a conference in Glasgow on the eve of the Commonwealth Games. The "Celebrating the Gift in Sport" conference took place today, Thursday 17 July at Blessed John Duns Scotus church hall in the Gorbals, Glasgow. Hosted by the Archdiocese of Glasgow, Celebrating the Gift in Sport explored how sport and faith can combine to champion the gifts of each person - especially people with disabilities - while promoting values of solidarity and respect.
Gaza's Catholic parish church was dangerously close to an Israeli missile strike yesterday. Brazilian Sister Laudis said: "Yesterday afternoon, after five pm three missiles destroyed a house very close to the parish." She explained that for several days the Sisters of Mother Teresa, together with 28 disabled children and nine elderly women that they care for, moved to the parish because they felt it was a safer place. All of them will remain in Gaza, along with the parish priest Fr Jorge Hernandez, she said.
Youth groups around the world will be united in prayer this evening with young people from Rome who are gathering in the Basilica of St Anastasia al Palatino, for 12 hours of continuous prayer, asking the Lord for the gift of peace in the Holy Land.The prayer vigil will begin at 6pm, with a Eucharistic celebration presided by the Rector of the Basilica, Father Alberto Pacini, and will continue hour after hour, until 6 in the morning. On Sunday, July 13, Pope Francis gave "a heartfelt appeal to continue to pray for peace in the Holy Land,
The head of the Catholic Church in Iraq has warned EU leaders that Christians – present in the country for almost 2,000 years – could all but disappear unless the violence is halted. Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, head of the Chaldean Catholic Church – Iraq's largest Christian community – told EU representatives that unless a peaceful resolution is found, "Christians will be left with just a symbolic presence in Iraq. If they leave, their history is finished." Amid worsening political turmoil in Iraq,
Pope Francis sent a message to the organisers, speakers and participants in the 'Mexico/Holy See Colloquium on Migration and Development', which was read during the inaugural session of the event by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin. In the text, the Pontiff urges the international community to promote the adoption of new forms of legal and safe migration and called for protection and a suitable reception for the many children who migrate cross the border with the United States unaccompanied.
A "brutal" attack on nuns in Bangladesh – said to be the first of its kind in the country – has been condemned by the bishop of the diocese. Following reports that Sisters from the Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions were violently assaulted, Bishop Sebastian Tudu of Dinajpur spoke to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need about the incident. The bishop reported that up to 60 armed men targeted the Catholic mission in Boldipukur on 7 July at 2am, attacking the presbytery, the convent and the hospital.
The Sudanese Minister for Guidance and Religious Endowments, Shalil Abdullah, reaffirmed on 12 July that the government will not issue permits for the building of new churches in Sudan. The Minister, whose department oversees religious affairs in the country, stated that since South Sudan’s secession, the existing Churches remaining in Sudan are sufficient for Sudan’s Christian population. This is the second time that the Ministry for Guidance and Religious Endowments has confirmed the policy.
Two nuns and three orphans in their care, who were abducted in Mosul on 28 June by Islamic militants. have been released today, Monday 14 July. According to the Chaldean Patriarch, no ransom was paid for their release, all are in good physical health and they were treated well during their abduction. The two nuns disappeared on 28 June close to the Chaldean Monastery of Maskenta in Mosul. The sisters live and work in an orphanage attached to the monastery.