With all eyes on Brazil this summer for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Catholic development agency CAFOD says the plight of Brazil's indigenous peoples and the Amazon should be centre stage. "Indigenous peoples are being murdered, criminalised, threatened, evicted from their land, and their rights to health and education are systematically violated" said CAFOD's Brazil Programme Officer, Esther Gillingham.
Florists from north-west England came together last week to produce floral displays to raise money to support displaced and refugee families in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. The event, entitled The Work of Your Hands, took place from 25th - 27th June 2016 at Lancaster Cathedral and was organised by Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. Nearly 1,000 people visited from all over north-west England and Wales to see numerous floral arrangements which focused on the history of the charity and its work around the world.
A new law to help curb multinational tax abuse across the world almost won House of Commons approval on Tuesday, after 273 MPs from all the major parties today voted in favour of the change. "This is a stunning result which gives us huge encouragement to keep pushing for a reform that is so urgently needed by people everywhere," said Simon Kirkland, UK Political Adviser at Christian Aid. "We are delighted to have got this far, thanks to the support of MPs across all many different parties, and we will now renew our efforts to change the law
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.
Fr Aelred Burrows OSB, Benedictine monk of Ampleforth Abbey, died peacefully in the monastery infirmary at Ampleforth Abbey on 18 February 2016, at the age of 76. He was born in Warrington in July 1939 and educated at the Xaverian College in Manchester, before joining the monastic community at Ampleforth in September 1965. He was ordained priest on 7 July 1968 and then spent just over twenty-five years in a variety of roles in the school, including teaching History and Religious Studies and Housemaster in St Hugh's House from 1976-1984.
After signing the Joint Declaration with Patriarch Kirill, the Pope departed by air for Mexico. During the trip he spoke briefly with journalists, expressing his joy at the encounter with the Patriarch and the willingness of President Raul Castro to host the meeting. The Pope revealed that he had spoken with the Cuban president at his previous meeting and that the latter had expressed his full availability to facilitate the meeting between the bishop of Rome and the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia in Havana. Francis thanked President Castro for this
A Nigerian priest who was abducted from his home has been freed, local press report. Fr Emmanuel Akingbade, parish priest of St Benedict of Ido-Elkit , was seized from the parish house by three armed men on 8 June. Prayers and special Masses were said throughout the Diocese of Ekiti for his safe return. The Bishop of of Ekiti Diocese, Most Rev Felix Ajakaye, confirmed that Fr Akingbade had been released on Tuesday, 16 June after some negotiations.
More than 10,000 people demanding action over climate change descended on London on Wednesday, for a mass lobby of UK politicians organised by The Climate Coalition. They travelled from all over the country to Westminster to ask their local MPs to take a stand in the global fight against climate change. Hundreds more who couldn't make the rally emailed their MPs with similar requests. The UKs biggest-ever climate change lobby brought together Britons from every walk of life - including anglers, beekeepers, snowboarders, surfers, doctors, wildlife enthusiasts, grandparents, nuns, priests and farmers.
While preparing for our Annual Conference in Rome we received the sad news of the death of Rabbi Elio Toaff, Rome's emeritus Chief Rabbi who passed away on Sunday night eleven days before his hundredth birthday. Rabbi Toaff served as Chief Rabbi of Rome from 1951 till 2002 and played an essential role in rebuilding Jewish life in Italy in the aftermath of the Shoah. On April 13, 1986 he welcomed Pope John Paul II to the Great Synagogue of Rome during the historic first visit of a reigning Pope to a Jewish house of worship.
This year could be an important turning point on this issue. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child will be considering the UK's position on recruiting under 18 year olds into the armed forces. The UK is the only country in the EU to recruit at 16. Also, the Ministry of Defence will be challenged in the courts for forcing recruits under 18 to serve longer than adult recruits. Last week, Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights called again for the issue of children serving in the armed forces to be scrutinised. The Defence Committee has also asked that the Ministry of Defence justify their reliance on 16 and 17 year olds.
Pope Francis left Manila this morning, after his week long visit to Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos lined the streets of Manila to catch a final glimpse of the Holy Father as he went to the airport. More than six million attended his final Mass in Manila’s Luneta Park on Sunday - the largest crowd for a Papal event in history. At a press conference after the Pope’s departure, the Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Tagle said everyone in the Philippines was “overwhelmed right now with thanksgiving and gratitude to God”
At the end of their annual visit to Christians in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, the Holy Land Co-Ordination group of bishops from around the world issued the following statement today: ..We witnessed the tragic consequences of the failure of both local and international politicians to advance peace. Human dignity is given by God and is absolute. The ongoing conflict assaults the dignity of both Palestinians and Israelis, but in a particular way our commitment to the poor calls us to lift up the suffering people in Gaza.'
We thirteen Jesuits (five from JCAP and eight from JCSA) gathered at Nav Jivan Renewal Center, Delhi, from 19 to 21 December 2014 to share our experiences and concerns for the Jesuit mission among Muslims in Asia [JAMIA]. Fr Heru Prakosa SJ, one of the members of the expert committee that helps Fr General on the Society’s relations with diverse religions convened the meeting....On the first day we spent time in sharing with one another our work among Muslims.
In a statement Catholic church leaders in the Holy Land have condemned yesterday's killings in Jerusalem and appealed for peace. They write: On 18 November, in the early morning hours, a synagogue of Jerusalem was the target of an attack during which four Jews were cruelly killed, while praying, and eight others were injured of whom four seriously. The two attackers were killed on the spot. A day before, a Palestinian bus driver was found hanged inside an Israeli bus. Patriarch Fouad Twal, and his Vicar in Jerusalem, Mgr Shomali,
Speaking at a Charity Leaders’ Network lunch (ACEVO) in Birmingham last week, the Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Reverend Bernard Longley said that the “tough commissioning regime” for national and local government service contracts means that the wages of “many carers are depressed”. He said that his own diocesan agency, the Father Hudson Society, is currently “grappling with the issue of how to move carers in residential care for frail elderly and those with dementia up to the Living Wage”.
Dear Muslim Brothers and Sisters, It gives us great joy to offer you our heartfelt congratulations and good wishes on the occasion of 'Id al-Fitr at the conclusion of Ramadan, a month dedicated to fasting, prayer and helping the poor. Last year, the first year of his ministry, Pope Francis personally signed the Message addressed to you on the occasion of ‘Id al-Fitr. On another occasion, he also called you "our brothers and sisters" (Angelus, 11 August 2013).
As the widespread violence and aggression facing Christians and minority groups in Mosul, Iraq, intensifies, it is increasingly evident that the fundamental right and freedom to practice one’s Faith and belief is, and continues to be, grossly violated. We are currently witnessing an unacceptable widespread implementation of extremist religious ideology that threatens the lives of all Iraqi’s who do not fit within its ever-narrowing perspective.
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.
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.
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.
Professor Theo Boer, a former euthanasia supporter has warned of a surge in deaths if Parliament votes in favour of the Assisted Dying Bill, promoted by Lord Falconer. In the Netherlands, where euthanasia has been legal since 2002, deaths have doubled in just six years. The bill, which has its second reading this week, would allow doctors to prescribe poison to terminally ill and mentally alert people who wish to kill themselves. Professor Boer, who is an academic in the field of ethics, had argued seven years ago that a ‘good euthanasia law’ would produce
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,
Heythrop College, London University and St Mary's University, Twickenham are discussing the possibility of forming a 'strategic partnership', it was announced today. Fr Michael Holman SJ, Principal of Heythrop issued the following statement this afternoon. The world of higher education in England is undergoing many changes as the government introduces a more competitive free-market. Heythrop is investigating how it can sustain and develop its important mission in this changing environment by exploring options
Professor Theo Boer, a former euthanasia supporter has warned of a surge in deaths if Parliament votes in favour of the Assisted Dying Bill, promoted by Lord Falconer. In the Netherlands, where euthanasia has been legal since 2002, deaths have doubled in just six years. The bill, which has its second reading this week, would allow doctors to prescribe poison to terminally ill and mentally alert people who wish to kill themselves. Professor Boer, who is an academic in the field of ethics,
The 300th anniversary of the first seminary in Scotland, Eilean Ban, Loch Morar, takes place next month. The event will be marked by a special outdoor Mass on Wednesday 6 August, the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour & St Cumin. A reception will follow at Mallaig & Morar Community Centre. The Scalan, in the Braes of Glenlivet,was one of the few places in Scotland where the Roman Catholic faith was kept alive during the troubled times of the 18th century.
This beautiful series of reflections, produced by Pray-as-you-go, is based on the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Beginning with an introduction on the life of this extraordinary Jesuit poet, each eight-minute session then focusses on an individual work. Poems in the series are: The Caged Skylark, The Wreck of the Deutschland, Pied Beauty, As Kingfishers, Felix Randal,
Attacks by the Israeli military on the civilian population in Gaza, as well as firing of rockets by militants from Gaza to Israel, were strongly condemned by the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit. In a statement issued on 10 July from the WCC headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Tveit said, “We strongly condemn the indiscriminate attacks by Israeli military on the civilian population in Gaza, as we absolutely condemn the absurd and immoral firing of rockets by militants from Gaza to populated areas in Israel”.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has called for an end to the current violence in Gaza and Israel, urging all sides to show restraint and pursue dialogue to end all conflict in the region. The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said today: “I am deeply saddened and distressed by the eruption and escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip and across Israel. As we continue urgently to hold the people of the region in our prayers, we must pray also for all people of goodwill to come together to protect the innocent and promote peace in the land.
Two retired army officers were sentenced to life imprisonment on Friday, for the murder of a Catholic bishop during Argentina's 1976-1983 military dictatorship. Ex-general Luciano Menendez, 87 and retired commodore Luis Estrella, 82, were found guilty by the La Rioja court, of ordering the murder of Enrique Angelelli, bishop of the northwestern province of La Rioja, on 4 August 1976. Documents in the trial included two letters from the Vatican archives provided by Pope Francis.
Sarah Teather MP, theologian Dr Gemma Simmonds CJ, award-winning broadcaster and film maker Mary Colwell and Claire Dixon, head of CAFOD’s Latin America desk, are the keynote speakers at this year’s annual conference of the National Justice and Peace Network of England and Wales. The theme is: 'Called to Life in All Its Fullness: accepting the responsibility of our baptism' and it will be held at the Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick, from 18–20 July 2014. Revd Ruth Gee, President of the Methodist Conference 2013/2014 will chair the conference.
As South Sudan marks its third anniversary of independence on 9 July, CAFOD warns that the country is teetering on the brink of catastrophe as it faces its worst food crisis in 25 years, brought about by the ongoing conflict. CAFOD’s Country Representative, Jane Andanje, said: “This is the rainy season and farmers across the country should be planting, ready to harvest in a few months time. Instead they have been forced to abandon their fields because of the fighting, and are living in squalid conditions in makeshift camps.
A West London riding school for disabled children is aiming to raise £15,000 towards a mechanical horse simulator. It is believed to be the first device of its kind to be installed at any riding school in London and Sister Mary Joy Langdon, Founder of Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre, says it is a tried and tested effective method which will bring multiple benefits to her pupils. As well as accommodating for children with disabilities the simulator will help build confidence for less experienced children as they learn. It is also highly effective for children with disabilities.
The World Council of Churches (WCC) has announced it will hold an Interfaith Summit on Climate Change on September 21-22 in New York City. At the summit, organized together with Religions for Peace, more than 30 religious leaders will take a united stand to encourage international and political leaders to address concretely the causes and consequences of climate change. The interfaith summit is being held immediately before the United Nations (UN) Climate Summit,
The Council of Cardinals, gathered at Casa Santa Marta, conclude its meetings on Friday evening. The next sessions have been scheduled for 15-17 September, 9-11 December and 9-11 February 2015. In addition to discussing the Governorate, the Secretariat of State and the Institute for the Works of Religion, the Council resumed its reflections on the dicasteries of the Curia. The Laity and Family were studied in particular depth, especially in terms of the contributions and roles that should be assumed by laypeople, married couples and women.
The Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria(AIF), the Financial Intelligence Authority of the Holy See and Vatican City State, has signed an agreement to exchange information with the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). This Information Sharing Exchange of Letters is the first bilateral agreement of AIF in its role as Financial Supervisor and Regulator within the Holy See and Vatican City State. It represents a significant strengthening of international cooperation between the Holy See and the USA
Stonyhurst College’s Schola Cantorum has just returned from a very special tour to Rome, where they gave concerts in several splendid churches. Their concert in the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva was attended by Nigel Baker, the British Ambassador to the Holy See, who was highly impressed by their polished and musical performance. The choir also sang in the richly decorated Church of Saint Ignazio, whose generous, spacious and resonant acoustic beautifully
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, ordained three men to the Priesthood in a Mass at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday, 28 June, the feast of St John Southworth. The three newly-ordained Priests, Frs Andrew Chamiec, Derek Hyett and Brian O’Mahony, will serve as Assistant Priests at the parishes in Chiswick, Hemel Hempstead and Westminster Cathedral respectively. In his homily Cardinal Vincent reflected on the ministry and martyrdom of St John Southworth,
A standing ovation followed The Tablet’s annual lecture last Thursday, delivered by Bishop Kevin Dowling of South Africa’s Rustenburg Diocese to a packed audience in Westminster Cathedral Hall. He had been introduced by The Tablet editor Catherine Pepinster as “exactly the kind of pastor Pope Francis wants us to have” and his call for the Church to be evangelised by the poor and vulnerable echoed the plea of Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium for the Church to be concerned with social justice and structural transformations.
Places are still available for Ireland’s 2014 Dalgan Summer School, which this year is called ‘Experiencing God in Creation’. It is organised by the Columban Ecological Institute at Dalgan Park, Navan, in Co Meath and takes place on 14-17 July. Directed by Dr John Feehan, an eminent scientist and theologian, in collaboration with Columban eco-theologian Sean McDonagh, this is a wonderful opportunity to deepen knowledge, love and care for God’s creation.
The news from Australia that a federal parliamentary group is to be launched to promote cross-party support for a private member's Bill to legalise voluntary euthanasia, has prompted the Catholic Archbishop of Perth, Timothy Costelloe, to warn against it. This week he has called on Australian society to reflect carefully, stating that “if our society’s basic prohibition on one person killing another is violated even once, then every other human right is also relativised”.
We should really do more to celebrate this great double feast of the ‘glorious Apostles Peter and Paul’, for both West and East have always celebrated it. There has never been any sense that this is somehow just the feast for the Church of Rome, after all, Peter and Paul started the missionary journey from Jerusalem. Peter was in Antioch before he got to Rome and Paul was converted in Damascus. The faith they were martyred for in Rome started and grew in the area now so torn apart by strife and war, where our sisters and brothers, on a daily basis, see people kidnapped and killed for being Christian, where their churches are defiled and their icons and images destroyed, where faith in Christ is a continuing witness of the martyrs, so linked to this feast of Peter and Paul!
With audible gasps from those in the plenary hall, the 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) on Friday narrowly approved divestment from three United States companies doing business in Israel-Palestine. By a vote of 310-303, the Assembly approved an overture calling for divestment from Caterpillar Inc., Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions, companies that are engaged in “non-peaceful pursuits” in the region. A similar overture failed 333-331 at the 220th Assembly (2012).
This Sunday, 29 June, the Feast of SS Peter and Paul, Christians from Antioch, Iskenderun, Mersin and Adana will be allowed to pray in the ancient cave church of St Peter in Antioch. The church is currently undergoing major restoration work and will not be opening officially until next month. Capuchin Franciscan Father Domenico Bertogli, who is the local Latin Rite Catholic priest, and editor of the magazine Chronicle of Antioch,
Thérèse Vanier, co-founder of L'Arche UK, died peacefully on Monday, 16 June, aged 91. She was the dearly loved daughter of former Canadian Governor General Georges Vanier and his wife Pauline, the sister of Benedict, Bernard, Jean and Michel. A former consultant haematologist at St Thomas's Hospital, Thérèse was the co-founder of L'Arche UK and a palliative care specialist. The Requiem Mass will take place in Canterbury Cathedral (CT1 2EH) on July 10th at 12 noon. Vigils will be held in Kent and London
A walk for peace that will stop at 10 London sites recalling the witness of peacemakers, will take place on Saturday 28 June - that day that marks the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914, one of the triggers for the First World War. Organised by the Justice & Peace Commissions of the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Brentwood, Southwark and Westminster and Pax Christi, the Catholic peace movement, it seeks to remember the peace-making activities of the past 100 years,
The parents of Chiara Badano, beatified in 2010, are guest speakers at this year’s Bright Lights Festival, Aylesford, on Saturday, 28 June and in St George’s Cathedral Amigo Hall, London on Sunday, 29 June. Bright Lights, the annual Youth Festival held in Aylesford, and the Focolare Movement have invited Ruggero and Maria Teresa Badano to England this month. They will share their extraordinary experience of being the parents of a person recognised by the Catholic Church for her holiness of life.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols has affirmed the invaluable contribution that Catholic women make to the life and mission of the Church. In a message sent to mark the 75th Anniversary of the National Board of Catholic Women (NBCW), which was celebrated at the weekend, he wrote: “I wish to thank most sincerely the NBCW for its valuable contribution to the life of life of the Church in England and Wales
In a dual announcement the Bishops of Scotland have nominated a new Rector for the Royal Scots College, Salamanca, Spain and have asked him to do the preparatory work for the re-opening of the College as a Seminary. As a Royal foundation it is the King of Spain who will appoint the new Rector, with the approval of the Holy See, and the Bishops of Scotland propose the candidate. Father Tom Kilbride, currently parish priest of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Glasgow,
Rev David Skillen, a Permanent Deacon from the Diocese of Lancaster is the first Permanent Deacon to be commissioned as a Chaplain in the Royal Air Force. He was commissioned following training at RAF Cranwell as part of a specialist entrants course which included a Salvation Army and Presbyterian Chaplains, doctors and a lawyer. David, a former police officer and teacher has been posted as Catholic Chaplain to Royal Air Force Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. Father James Caulfield, Principal Roman Catholic Chaplain to the RAF
One in three UK families live below the breadline, despite the British economy doubling in size over the same period, a report released this afternoon shows. The largest-ever study into poverty in the UK urges the government to take measures to tackle growing levels of deprivation. The Poverty and Social Exclusion in the United Kingdom (PSE) project, led by the University of Bristol, has revealed the wealth gap between the haves and the have-nots in the UK is continuing to widen. Number living in poverty have more than doubled over the past 30 years.
Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) and the Archdiocese of Southwark is hosting a Social Action Roadshow on 21 June 2014 at St Peter's Catholic Church in Woolwich. Responding to Pope Francis's call to be a Church for the Poor, the Roadshow will showcase the work of Catholic charities, projects and parishes and share ways that will enable more individuals to get involved in social action. Keynote speeches will be delivered by Rt Rev Patrick Lynch, Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark and Helen O'Brien,
During the latter part of May, I was in the Republic of Korea (ROK), as a guest of peace activists living in Gangjeong Village on ROK’s Jeju Island. Gangjeong is one of the ROK’s smallest villages, yet activists here, in their struggle against the construction of a massive naval base, have inspired people around the world. Since 2007, activists have risked arrests, imprisonment, heavy fines and wildly excessive use of police force to resist the desecration caused as mega-corporations like Samsung and Daelim
Alexandra Vangelatos and Xavier Crean have been appointed Head Girl and Head Boy at St Benedict’s School in Ealing, west London, for the academic year 2014/15. Both Alexandra and Xavier are Benny students through and through, joining St Benedict’s at the start – Alexandra in Year 7, the first year that the school went co-educational and Xavier right back in Reception in the Junior School. Next year’s Heads of School are potential scientists
Pope Francis has named three priests of the Archdiocese of New York as auxiliary bishops of the archdiocese. They are: Mgr John Jenik, 70, pastor of Our Lady of Refuge Parish in the Bronx and vicar for Northwest Bronx; Father John O’Hara, 68, archdiocesan vicar for planning; and Father Peter Byrne, 62, pastor of St Elizabeth Church in New York City. The appointments were publicized in Washington, June 14, by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Last summer Brightlights was the amazing celebration for WYD@home for over 500 young adults, now ‘Fully Living’ at Brightlights this summer, we are privileged from 27-29 July to welcome those who are witnesses to the power of Jesus when a young person is in a community of love and shows the fruit of saying yes to Jesus. Over the weekend we will explore the messages of Pope Francis to the young church. Set in the beautiful grounds we camp, eat, pray and stay in the Friary with the Carmelites and share in a chilled out festival style celebration
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby sent this video message yesterday to the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, hosted in London by the UK government from 10 - 13 June. The message was played at a panel discussion on the role of faith leaders in preventing and responding to sexual violence in conflict. The panel, chaired by Nicky Morgan, Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Minister for Women, discussed examples from across the faiths where religious leaders and communities
A video message from Pope Francis has been delivered to the organisers, players and fans participating in the 2014 World Cup tournament in Brazil ahead of today's opening match between Brazil and Croatia. Delivered in Portuguese, the message expresses the Holy Father’s hope that, in addition to a celebration of sport, this World Cup can be transformed into a festival of solidarity between peoples. In the message he said football teaches three lessons that can promote peace and solidarity around the world:
Sudanese Christian woman Mariam Ibrahim, who was sentenced to death for apostasy from Islam, still refuses to abandon her Christian Faith – despite ongoing calls for her to convert. Exactly a month after she was sentenced to death, the Archdiocese of Khartoum, north Sudan, issued a statement describing her current predicament. "There are many people trying to persuade Mariam to renounce Christianity in order to be freed but she is refusing.
The Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference has welcomed the announcement by Government of a Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes: We welcome the announcement today of a statutory Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes in Ireland. The harrowing story which is continuing to emerge of life and death in Mother and Baby homes has shocked the people of Ireland. It is disturbing that the residents of these Homes suffered disproportionately high levels of mortality and malnutrition, disease and destitution.
Two parishioners from St Mary's Church in Hampstead, north London, did their bit to take part in the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings of 6 June 1944 by driving one of the Willys Jeeps used in the famous landings back to the Normandy beach on which it landed. On 3 June Richard and Victoria Nichols set off from a rainy Hampstead to complete the 300 mile journey across the Channel via Portsmouth to take part in the historic occasion which was attended by veterans, many of whom are in their 90s.
The results of the recent European elections, growing Euro-scepticism, the economic crisis, and the attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels a few days ago, the were all high on the agenda of the tenth summit of religious leaders meeting in Brussels this week. Cardinal Reinhard Marx led the Catholic delegation, which comprised Jean-Pierre Grallet, Archbishop of Strasbourg and COMECE member, and Professor Margaret S Archer, head of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
A world meeting to examine and improve the pastoral care of Gypsies and Travellers will take place in the Vatican from 5- 9 June. Organized by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, the meeting gathers Episcopal Promoters and National Directors of the Pastoral Care of Gypsies. The title of the event is 'The Church and Gypsies: to Announce the Gospel in the Peripheries'. Participants include 8 Episcopal Promoters, 16 National Directors and 22 experts (pastoral operators and consultants).
Glasgow’s Archbishop, Philip Tartaglia has written to Pope Francis asking him to consider a day visit to the city to mark the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of St John Ogilvie, who was executed at Glasgow Cross on 10 March 1615. In his letter to Pope Francis asking him to visit the city on the saint’s anniversary and feast day, the Archbishop said: “It would be wonderful if you could come to Glasgow for a day for this unique event. I would envisage your visit as being of a purely religious-pastoral nature, … “I know that this is short notice for the visit of a Pope
The European Commission decided on 28 May not to submit any legislative proposal as a reply to the European Citizens Initiative 'One of Us'. This initiative asked for the ending of the EU financing of activities which presuppose the destruction of human embryos, in particular in the areas of research (projects making use of human embryonic stem cells - hESC) and development cooperation (abortion, either directly or indirectly financed). The One of Us initiative, which gathered the signatures of more than 1.7 million European citizens,
The experimental three-parent embryo technique, 'mitochondrial donation' which the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) announced this week "may be safe for humans", flouts global ethics, says the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC). Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary, commented: "Human gene manipulation is being sold to a gullible public on a promise of reducing suffering, the same old con-trick that the test-tube baby lobby has been using for decades.
Monsignor Andy McFadden, Principal Catholic Chaplain to the Royal Navy has been appointed Principal of the Armed Forces Chaplaincy Centre at Amport House, Andover. Mgr Andy is the first Catholic Forces Chaplain to be appointed to this top post. Several thousand service men and women attend courses at the Centre each year. The Armed Forces Chaplaincy Centre offers a wide variety of residential courses. Besides training and supporting the Service Chaplains, the Centre offers many courses to those who are interested in developing
The leader of Roman Catholics in Egypt has spoken of how Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's victory in the presidential elections is a "cause for hope" both for Christians and Muslims in the country. In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Adel Zaky, Vicar Apostolic of Alexandria and supreme head of Roman (Latin-rite) Catholic Christians in Egypt, welcomed last Thursday's news of success for the former commander-in-chief of the Egyptian armed forces.
A few weeks ago I wrote about Steven Sutton, that inspiring and courageous young man whose funeral took place on Friday ( 30 May). I was struck by the witness he gave us all, of hope in the face of death, that final leave taking which we all face. I certainly hope that we will do something for him besides his own legacy of concern for young cancer suffers, maybe , as I have written to my own MP, the Prime Minister, it is time to create new awards for service rather than the worn out and archaic honours system
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who is currently visiting Anglican leaders in Pakistan, has said the Christians of Pakistan are a people under siege and joined calls for their churches to be protected and for them to be able to worship in safety. “Freedom of worship is a universal human right around the world, and all countries need to pay attention to that,” he said. Meanwhile, condemning the "revolting lynching" of a pregnant Pakistani woman who was stoned to death by her family in front of hundreds of people outside the Lahore high court,
Responding to Save the Children's report on child poverty released today, 28 May, Helen O’Brien, Chief Executive of Caritas Social Action, said: “Child poverty cannot be swept under the carpet any longer – it has become a reality for many households in the UK, a fact made even starker by the figures released today by Save the Children. Our members see families on a daily basis struggling to bridge the gap between household income and essential costs.
The National Shrine of Saint Jude in Faversham, Kent will be holding a special summer event for the first time this Saturday, 31 May. The Order of Carmelites are inviting visitors to come and see the Shrine and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. A number of activities will take place including: an outside Mass; a chance to meet some friars; a guided tour of the Shrine by one of the friars; purchase items from the shop; teas and coffees; an opportunity to light a candle; and finally, an opportunity to leave intentions at the Shrine of Saint Jude.
Pope Francis said goodbye to Israel last night after his historic three-day visit to the Holy Land. A church delegation and military guard of honour lined the red carpet at Ben Gurion airport as he walked to the El Al plane accompanied by President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. After ascending the steps Pope Francis turned around, and waved goodbye. In spite of the grueling schedule his had just undergone, on the flight Pope Francis then held an hour long question and answer session with the journalists who had accompanied him.
Pope Francis and the president of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, met in the Presidential Palace. In what was described as a 'very cordial private meeting' the Holy Father said he would like to invent a new Beatitude, “one I can apply to myself today: 'Blessed is he who enters the house of a wise and good man”. They then left the building for the palace gardens to plant an olive tree together as a symbol of peace. This was followed by the public meeting, held on a specially installed stage, in the presence of around a hundred children of various religions.
" To be as wise as serpents and gentle as doves” in our communication and campaigning for peace and nonviolence was the challenge set out by Symon Hill, guest speaker at Pax Christi's Annual General Meeting in Liverpool on Saturday, 24 May. Symon, an activist and writer (Digital Revolutions Activism in the Internet Age) spoke of the power of creativity and surprise in the nonviolent challenge to power and systems of violence and injustice: from the First World War COs who subverted the military communication system to convey to the world that they were being moved to France for execution to the Israelis and Iranians who used Facebook to tell their governments
After Mass this morning Pope Francis invited Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, and Israeli President, Shimon Peres, to come to the Vatican and join him in praying to God for the gift of peace. “I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer”, said the Pope. “In this, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace I wish to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, together with President Shimon Peres, to join me in heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace. I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer.
Lawyers for Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, the pregnant Christian woman sentenced to death for her faith, lodged an appeal on Friday, against the Public Order Court’s decision on 11 May to sentence her to death for apostasy and 100 lashes for adultery. Mrs Ibrahim was charged and sentenced for adultery and ‘apostasy’ (leaving Islam) under articles 146 and 126 of Sudan’s Penal Code respectively. The Public Order Court in El Haj Yousif Khartoum, Sudan, chaired by Judge Abbas Khalifa, confirmed the sentence on 15 May, after Mrs Ibrahim refused
Pope Benedict XVI designated 24 May each year as a special day of prayer with the Church in China urging the universal Church to join together with a special prayer at the weekend Masses in all our parishes. Perhaps Catholics in Britain could say the special prayer for China to Our Lady of Sheshan written by Pope Benedict as a start. Focused on the image of Mary holding her child above her head at the Chinese Shrine it reads: “Virgin , Most Holy Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother, venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan
Pope Francis has chosen to have lunch with poor Christian families rather than church leaders and politicians during his visit to Bethlehem. In an interview on behalf of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Bishop William Shomali, Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem, said families were chosen by a special committee in order to represent the different Christian groups living in the town. After much deliberation, he said, the following families were chosen: - A family from Ikrit, a village in northern Galilee that was evacuated and razed in 1948 by the Israeli Army.
All Hallows College in Dublin issued the following statement on Friday, 23 May, 2014. It is with huge regret and deep sadness that All Hallows College today announces its intention to wind down the college.The college, which is not in receipt of state grants, has been operating at an increasing deficit over many years, and although in recent times it has embarked on a stringent programme of sustainability – including increasing its activities and embarking on an extensive fund-raising programme – the challenging landscape of today’s third level education arena
Following the launch of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) £100m disarmament strategy, which aims to eradicate 54 militias over the next five years with UN support, the largest rebel group has significantly escalated violence against civilians living in the east of the vast central African state. The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which includes members of the extremist Hutu militia who fled to eastern DRC following the 1994 Rwanda genocide, has committed countless atrocities during their 15-year exile.
The Portuguese ambassador to the United Kingdom is to attend Mass at the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham's central church in Warwick Street, Soho, next month as part of efforts to restore historic links between that church and the Portuguese Embassy. His Excellency João de Vallera, along with other representatives from the Portuguese community in London, will be at the 10.30am. Solemn Mass on Sunday 15 June, which falls at the end of a week of celebrations to mark Portugal's National Day on 10 June.
Sister Hannah Dwyer, Headteacher at Larmenier and Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School in Hammersmith has been announced as a Silver Teaching Award Winner in the category: The Award for Lifetime Achievement Selected from over 20,000 nominations received by the Pearson Teaching Awards in 2014, Sr Hannah’s is one of just 55 celebrations which will took place in schools and colleges across England, Ireland and Wales on Thank a Teacher Day, 16 May 2014, when prestigious Silver Pearson Teaching Awards were presented to outstanding local heroes of education.
A small piece of history was made on the evening of 15 May in Cardiff when the Wales (South East) Group of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham had its first Mass in a chapel which has been provided for the Ordinariate by Archbishop George Stack in the mother church of the Archdiocese, the Metropolitan Cathedral of St David, Cardiff. The Mass was celebrated by Fr Peter Clarke of the Bristol Ordinariate Group, who was assisted by Bernard Sixtus, of the Wales (South East) Ordinariate Group, who also preached.
"Called to Life in All Its Fullness: accepting the responsibility of our baptism" is the theme of this year’s annual conference of the National Justice and Peace Network of England and Wales. It will be held at the Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick, 18 - 20 July 2014. The conference aims to: Empower lay people to accept the responsibility of their baptism; Provide an opportunity to bring our life experiences and relate them to our baptismal call; and Be a celebration of life and a renewal of vision. Speakers will explore how lay people
Suffering has no value in itself, and there are right and wrong ways of living with pain, Pope Francis said on Saturday. “A wrong attitude is to live pain in a passive manner, letting go with inertia and resignation. But even the reaction of rebellion and rejection is not a correct attitude,” he said. “Jesus teaches us to live the pain by accepting the reality of life with trust and hope, bringing the love of God and neighbour, even in suffering: and love transforms everything.”
President Barack Obama’s former Faith Vote Director delivered a guest presentation at a lunch organised by St Mary’s University, Twickenham, on Tuesday, 13 May. Michael Wear, a leading expert and strategist in politics and religion, gave a talk entitled ‘God, Government, The White House and Social Action’ at an event hosted by St Mary’s Vice-Chancellor, Dr Arthur Naylor, in London. Mr Wear had been working at the White House for three and a half years before being appointed the role as Faith Vote Director,
As part of our centenary celebrations this year, St Luke’s Parish in Pinner, northwest London, decided to undertake a pilgrimage along the Camino to Santiago de Compostela. This is one of the oldest pilgrim routes, dating from medieval times and after Rome and Jerusalem was the most popular. We walked the last part of the Camino Frances, there are many other routes but they all converge at Santiago. From Sarria it is 112 km to the Shrine of St James and 37 hardy individuals set out on May Bank Holiday
The highly acclaimed collection of some 50,000 books comprising the Talbot Library in Preston has been given a new lease of life following the announcement today (15 May 2014) by the Bishop of Lancaster, The Rt Rev Michael Campbell, that an agreement had been reached between the Lancaster Diocesan Trustees and Liverpool Hope University, whose Council is chaired by Monsignor John Devine, whereby the Talbot Library will be transferred on permanent loan to the University. The library will be preserved there on permanent loan
CAFOD, Islamic Relief, Muslim Aid and the Muslim Charities Forum undertook a joint week long mission to Central Africa Republic, returning to the UK on Sunday 4 May. We met with a variety of actors including religious leaders, and members of the national government, United Nations, international peacekeeping missions and NGOs. We were humbled by the many brave and courageous people we met who are deeply committed to helping those caught up in the violence. Often at considerable risk to their own safety,
A stained glass window commissioned for LSE's new Faith Centre, depicting a striking desert scene, was formally dedicated by the Bishop of London on Monday 12 May. The Rt Rev Rt Hon Richard Chartes DD KCVO dedicated the window, designed by the President of the Royal Academy, Christopher Le Brun, to reflect the ancient tradition of the desert as a symbol of spiritual significance in the World Religions. 'The Desert' installation was made possible
Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg, South Africa, will pay a visit to Britain in June to publicise the legacy of Archbishop Denis Hurley and to raise funds for the completion of the Denis Hurley Centre in Durban. The Centre presently under construction will be home to about a dozen projects to provide medical care, a soup kitchen, job training, support for people living with HIV/AIDS and in particular will offer assistance to refugees, migrants, who have reached South Africa from afar afield as Somalia, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja has called for 'concrete action' to save the hundreds of girls kidnapped by Boko Haram nearly a month ago. Cardinal Onaiyekan said: "It is still more baffling that our president seems to be impotent. We have to see concrete action. Up until now, we are hearing practically nothing concrete on the issue. I think almost every Nigerian is taken aback. We cannot explain what is happening". Nearly 300 girls, were kidnapped on 14 April from their boarding school in Borno,
On Thursday 15 May, International Conscientious Objectors Day, courageous men who refused to fight in the First World War and other wars will be remembered in a ceremony on the Mound in Edinburgh with recollections from Second World War COs and relatives of First World War COs, reading of the names of 235 Edinburgh area WW1 COs and singing by the Protest in Harmony choir. Local singer songwriter Penny Stone will lead singing. In addition the memory of several men who died in prison or as a result of imprisonment will be honoured. Rev David Mumford,
The Australian Catholic Bishops, led by West Australian Bishop Christopher Saunders of Broome, have released their strongest statement yet on the “faceless”, “nameless”, “cruel”, “de-humanising” attitudes and actions being taken by cross-party politicians in relation to the plight of those seeking asylum in Australia. "The current policy has about it a cruelty that does no honour to our nation" they say. .. The Australian Catholic Bishops have been involved in many ways with asylum seekers. Some of us have detention centres close to home, and we have worked hard
In an inaugural parliamentary lecture tonight, to launch Christian Aid Week, Dr Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, will highlight the role that inequality plays in provoking violence. Dr Williams, who is Chair of Christian Aid, will tell an invited audience at Westminster that redistributing power is crucial if violence, one of the key drivers of global poverty, is to be tackled successfully. His speech reflects the theme of this year’s Christian Aid Week (May 11 to May 17) which focuses on the work done in countries beset by conflict.
Today, The Children’s Society in partnership with StepChange launches a national campaign entitled The Debt Trap. The purpose of the campaign is three-fold: to expose the impact problem debt is having on families and children, to understand how and why debt can escalate out of control, and to put pressure on decision-makers to put steps in place to prevent financial difficulty turning into severe debt. The Right Reverend Terence Brain, Chair of Trustees of Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) and Bishop of Salford, joined with leading figures from
More than 2000 Catholic migrants living and working in London attended a special Mass for Migrants, celebrated by Bishop Patrick Lynch of Southwark Archdiocese, at Westminster Cathedral yesterday, 5 May. The Mass for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker, reflected the tremendous diversity of London’s Catholic community, with colourful banners and dress, along with music from around the globe. “It is the highlight of the year for the three London dioceses of Westminster, Southwark, and Brentwood” said Bishop Lynch and he thanked
In a refugee camp where people feel they can't stay permanently, can't go back where they came from and don't see the future, it is easy to give up and lose hope. Dzaleka refugee camp was established 20 years ago on land owned by the Malawian government. To date the average stay of a refugee in the camp is between 10 and 15 years. In this difficult and uncertain environment, a number of graduates from the Jesuit Refugee Service online higher education programme have taken steps to give back to their community and to Malawi.
The first hearing of the appeal process for Asia Bibi, a Catholic woman sentenced to death in Pakistan on charges of blasphemy has been scheduled for 27 May, Fides reports. The case will be discussed in front of a panel of judges of the Lahore High Court, led by Judge Anwar-Ul- Haq. A statement from her defence team says: “While Asia has been languishing in Multan women's prison for over four and a half years - from February 2010 to today - the judiciary of Lahore, has postponed the hearings four times after coming under pressure from radical Islamic
Through the eyes of Mary a prayerful reflection in art, poetry and music will take place at Saint Patrick's Church in Wapping, East London next Sunday, 11 May. The evening will include motets, arias and chamber music by Bach, Bruckner, Schumann, and Poulenc and poetry by Auden, Rilke and Hopkins, performed by friends of St Patrick's Church. The event will be followed by a candlelit Mass at 6.30pm. Entrance is free. There will be a a retiring collection for the Jesuit Refugee Service.
A pupil of Mount St Mary’s College, Spinkhill, is enjoying life in the limelight as one of the stars of the CBBC television drama ‘Rocket’s Island.’ 13-year-old William Hall plays the part of Healey in the popular children’s show which is currently on the CBBC channel. Will originally auditioned for ‘Rocket’s Island’ alongside thousands of young hopefuls in April 2012. After being offered the part of Jonathan Healey, he spent last year’s summer holidays from the Derbyshire school filming in various locations along the north coast of Wales.
More than 2,000 people gathered at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King for the Installation of The Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon as Ninth Archbishop of Liverpool, on Thursday, 1 May - among them three cardinals, five archibishops and 25 bishops. At 11am the Cathedral bells were rung. Soon the Cathedral resonated with the sound of the organ, and 11.30am the Metropolitan Cathedral Chapter of Canons, Consultors, Chancellor and Apostolic Administrator started their procession. At noon,
For the third time in 18 months, the Northern Ireland Assembly rejected a motion calling for the introduction of same-sex marriage on Tuesday. A total of 51 assembly members (MLAs) voted against the Sinn Féin motion, while 43 MLAs voted in favour. Northern Ireland is now the only part of the UK which has not passed a law to introduce same-sex marriage. Before the debate, the Catholic Bishops of Northern Ireland sent the following open letter to all MLAs.
A young seminarian was kidnapped and murdered as he carried out missionary work in a rural area of north western Mexico during Holy Week. Church spokesman, Mgr Constancio Miranda Weckmann, said in a statement: "the Archdiocese of Chihuahua announces with deep regret the death of our brother in Christ, Samuel Gustavo Gómez Veleta... Samuel Gustavo was in the town of Aldama, in the community in which he carried out his missionary service and belonged to St Jerome Parish.
In the last twelve months, when rents in some London boroughs have risen by 20%, members of Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) are seeing their service users finding it even more difficult to leave behind homelessness and into their own housing. On average, 32% of people in over 450 homeless agencies identified themselves as ready to move on from hostels and shelters into rented accommodation yet are unable to do so due to a lack of affordable housing. Soaring rents combined with deposit amounts that often require two months’ worth of rent
Thousands of Chinese Christians have united in the city of Wenzhou to form a 24-hour human shield around the Sanjiang Christian Church, amidst threats from the Communist authorities to demolish the building. The three-story Church is one of ten places of worship to have been listed for demolition in the Zhejiang province, considered China's most Christian region. This is the second time in two weeks the Christians of Zhejiang have flocked to protect their Church from the machinations of the local Communist party.
Pope Francis has sent a video message to the young of Buenos Aires for National Youth Day. The message, in which the Pope speaks off the cuff, was requested by Cardinal Mario Aurelio Poli, archbishop of Buenos Aires. “While making this recording I was thinking of what they would say”, says the Pope in the video. “''That they must not be afraid'- I have already told them'. 'That they are free'- I have already said so. Then some of the young people in the Gospel came to mind. The young people who came across Jesus, or those he spoke about.
The canonisations of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II April 27 will mark a historic moment for the Catholic Church. To explore the meaning of the lives of these modern-day spiritual heroes, the US Bishops media office have published a special feature on their website which includes biographies of the two Popes, links to their writings and encyclicals on the Vatican website, as well as a series of brief reflections from Catholic, Orthodox and Jewish scholars, theologians and journalists. As the portal page editor says: "Each could have written a book".
When a group of children from rival tribes, who attend the same remote school in northern Kenya, near the border with Ethiopia, saw a video of Every Breath you Take, by the Police, they decided to do their own version. After a good practice, led by their own budding Gareth Malone - they made this film... Todonyang School was set up by Fr Steven Ochieng, with support from New Ways, to help reduce cross border clashes between people on the Kenyan and Ethiopian sides of the border. The school is the first to accept students from both communities.
The latest Government plans for a public register of who owns millions of UK companies were welcomed by Christian Aid on Monday, as a significant step towards ending the menace of phantom firms used by criminals. But the charity also called on the Government to go further and ensure the UK’s tax havens - the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies - follow its lead. The tax havens include the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and Jersey.
Leading church leaders in South Sudan have called for greater urgency regarding delayed peace negotiations in Addis Ababa, as faith-based humanitarian agencies warn of an impending food crisis. In just four months, more than one million people have been displaced from their homes and an estimated 4.9 million are currently in need of humanitarian assistance, yet the crisis response plan is still only 36 per cent funded. In their latest pastoral statement, the ecumenical church leaders of South Sudan strongly condemn
In a gesture of humility and service, and in imitation of Christ, Pope Francis put on an apron and knelt down to wash the feet of 12 residents of the Santa Maria della Provvidenza care home for people with disabilities, during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, on Thursday evening. Visibly fatigued and requiring assistance to kneel and stand up again as he came close to the end of the rite, Pope Francis showed tenderness and concern for each person, as he washed their feet. The patients ranged in age from 16 to 86.
One child died and 61 children, parents and teachers were injured when a missile hit the Armenian Catholic school in Damascus on Tuesday morning. The school is in the historic district of Bab Tuma, in the old town, where there are many churches and Christian schools. Father George Bahi, a priest of the Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate of Damascus said: "This morning, around 7.30am, a missile fell on the crowd of children, parents and teachers who were waiting for the school to open.
A new report highlights the huge amount of revenue that one of the poorest countries in Africa loses each year through tax breaks for multinationals. In 2011, Sierra Leone spent more on tax give-aways than on its development priorities, with mining firms the biggest beneficiaries. The following year, the tax exemptions amounted to more than eight times Sierra Leone’s health budget and seven times its education budget.
Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, Patriarch emeritus of Babylon of the Chaldeans died in hospital in San Diego, California on 8 April. He was 87 years old. The news was announced by Chaldean Church sources. The current Chaldean Patriarch, Raphael Louis Sako I, said Cardinal Delly "served the Chaldean Church for more than 60 years with dedication, first as a priest and then as Bishop and as Patriarch. He lived through the crises of his country: the revolution in 1958; the wars in the last decades; the persecution of Christians followed by the invasion of the USA.
In the week that marks the twentieth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, yesterday, 9 April, Quakers in Britain launched an extraordinary book and exhibition of photographs: This Light that Pushes Me. African peacebuilders relate their journey from violence to healing to activism. Ghanaian musician, Ben Badoo, set the scene for professional actors to read some of the stories at the launch of This Light that Pushes Me in London at Friends House (opposite Euston station). The book and exhibition feature more than
In his address to the Second International Conference on Combating Human Trafficking: Church and Law Enforcement in Partnership, organised by the Bishops Conference of England and Wales, which took place at the Vatican from 9-10 April, Pope Francis described human trafficking as "an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ. It is a crime against humanity. He said: "This is an important meeting, a gesture on the part of the Church and people of good will who want to cry out, 'Enough!'
The Holy Father has approved a proposal on the future of the Istituto per le Opere di Religione (IOR), reaffirming the importance of the IOR’s mission for the good of the Catholic Church, the Holy See and the Vatican City State. The proposal has been jointly developed by representatives of the Pontifical Referring Commission to the IOR (CRIOR), the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic- Administrative Structure of the Holy See (COSEA), the IOR’s Commission of Cardinals
As the crisis in Syria continues, the United Nations has officially registered one million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, a country with a normal population of just over four million. With many families unable or unwilling to register, the true figure is likely to be even higher. Although the people of Lebanon are showing enormous compassion towards the Syrians who have crossed the border, the sheer number of refugees is having a devastating impact. Najla Chahda, Director of CAFOD’s partner Caritas Lebanon Migrant Centre,
A Dutch Jesuit priest was abducted and shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the besieged Syrian city of Homs on Monday, Dutch media has reported. Armed men took him from his home in the morning and shot him twice in the head, the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant said, quoting the head of the Jesuit order in the Netherlands. Fr Frans van der Lugt, a 75 year old psychologist, had been living in Syria since 1966. In the 1980s he set up a farming project to help young people with learning difficulties.
At least 19 people have died and 40 are missing due after huge floods hit the Solomon Islands and in particular the capital Honiara. In one of the worst natural disasters ever to hit the archipelago of 550 000 inhabitants, around 49,000 people have been left homeless. More than 5,500 people have taken refuge in three crowded evacuation centres, where aid agencies fear the spread of dengue fever, transmitted by mosquitoes. There has been serious damage to water and electricity supplies, and the sewage system.
If you visited Saint Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe, Manchester, this week you might have thought that Head Teachers were getting younger these days! Well you wouldn’t have been too mistaken as Saint Paul’s had a new Head Teacher but only for the day. Year 9 pupil, Peter Brocklehurst, was selected in a draw organised by the School Parliament as the pupil to be the ‘Head Teacher for the day’. Peter was looking forward to the day and it turned out to be a great experience.
Bishop Donal McKeown, was officially installed as the Catholic Bishop of Derry during Mass in St Eugene's Cathedral on Sunday. Cardinal Seán Brady, and the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown, were among senior clergy taking part. The cross-border diocese spans four counties. It includes most of Derry and parts of Tyrone, Antrim and Donegal. Eariler in the day, Reverend Robert Miller, Rector Church of Ireland Christ Church, which is situated close to Saint Eugene's Cathedral, along with his congregation warmly welcomed Bishop McKeown
Are Christians being persecuted in the Middle East? This is a question examined by the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land .. The Bishops write: Persecution! In many parts of the Western world, this word is people’s lips. It is said that Christians are being persecuted in the Middle East today! ... in the name of truth, we must point out that Christians are not the only victims of this violence and savagery. Secular Muslims, all those defined as “heretic”, “schismatic” or simply “non-conformist” are being attacked and murdered in the prevailing chaos.
More than half of the 40-plus supporters who have gathered in Heilongjiang Province in Northeast China to protest the detention of three human rights lawyers have been beaten or detained. Lawyers Jiang Tianyong, Tang Jitian, Wang Cheng and Zhang Junjie, along with “many other citizens”, were taken away by local police on 21 March 2014. Prior to their arrest, the four lawyers had visited a "legal education centre", believed to be a black jail, at Qinglongshan Farm site in Jiansanjiang,
Missio, the Pope’s official charity for overseas mission, has created a short film about the inspiring work of missionaries serving in Cambodia. The six-minute film tells the story of Sr Eulie, a Filipina Sister who has served as a missionary in Cambodia for 15 years. In 2006 Sr Eulie started a school for the children of factory workers in Phnom Penh after realising that many were being locked in their houses because their parents didn’t have the correct papers to send them to school.
Buckfast Abbey will unveil a huge mural depicting the reconstruction of the Abbey Church on Wednesday. The mural, which has been acclaimed as a 'stupendous work' by the editor of the British Art Journal, measures 26 by 18feet and shows the monks rebuilding the Abbey Church on its original foundation between 1907 and 1939. The painting was commissioned in preparation for the Abbey’s millennium year of 2018 and is situated in the 360-seat Grange Restaurant at the abbey. The work is the creation of Mother Joanna Jamieson,
The shrine of St Augustine of England, Ramsgate, will open to visitors seven days a week from 1 April. This is made possible by volunteers from the Parish and from the Pugin Society, and is in addition to the daily worship that already takes place there. The new opening times are 10am - 4pm every day. Daily Mass is held at 12pm, followed by devotions. The new opening times will open up access to the church for the increasing number of visitors who come from around the world.
A priest from the Archdiocese of Armagh is aiming to run more than 85 miles over four days from 6 to 9 of April to raise awareness of, and funds for, Trócaire's Lenten campaign. Father Gerry Campbell says he was inspired to do something special to help people in Malawi after visiting the southern African country in January. "I was privileged to visit Malawi ahead of the Lenten campaign, which is focusing on the global water crisis, to meet some of the communities Trócaire works with and hear first-hand the problems people are facing there,
The 2014 Pax Christi International Peace Award has been granted to the Jesuit Refugee Service Syria (JRS Syria) for its outstanding dedication in providing emergency relief to Syrians since the war began in 2011. Established in 1988, the Award is funded by the Cardinal Bernardus Alfrink Peace Fund and honours contemporary individuals and organisations who make a stand for peace, justice and non-violence in different parts of the world. JRS Syria belongs to
An Islamist attack on a Coptic Church in Cairo on Friday left four people dead. Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood held demonttrations across the country in reaction against the official candidate in the upcoming presidential election of General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. In the suburb of Ain Sham in Cairo, protesters carried out their violence against the Coptic church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the Archangel Michael. A young woman, Sameh Merry, driving past was shot dead when the mob saw that she had a cross hanging in the front of her car.
A Christian road sweeper from Lahore, Pakistan, has been sentenced to death for blasphemy. Judges passed sentence on Sawan Masih in a hearing held in private on Thursday, due to the 'sensitive nature¹ of the case. They also fined him 200,000 Rupees (about £1,200). Father-of-three Sawan is from Joseph Colony in the Badami Bagh area of Lahore. He was arrested after being accused of blasphemy following a row over property with a Muslim friend in March 2013.
The remains of more than 15,000 aborted or miscarried babies have been incinerated as 'clinical waste' by hospitals in Britain with some used in 'waste to energy' plants which generate power for heat, an investigation has found. Ten NHS trusts have admitted burning foetal remains alongside other rubbish while two others used the bodies in the ‘waste-to-energy’ plants. The practice was exposed in Channel 4’s Dispatches programme on Monday night (now available on the play again facility - Channel 4 Dispatches, Amanda Holden:
At a conference in Birmingham on Saturday 29 March, Christian Ecology Link (CEL) will launch a two-year project which could transform the churches’ witness on economics and the environment. Joy in Enough will challenge the assumption that ‘growth is good’. According to CEL, campaigns on both inequality and ecological degradation will only be effective in the long-term if they also demand a shift to a sustainable economic model. ‘Joy in Enough’ is organised by CEL, in association with A Rocha and student campaign network Speak.
Pax Christi, the international Catholic movement for peace has offered congratulations to its President, Bishop Malcolm McMahon on the news of his appointment to Archbishop of Liverpool. In a statement, Pat Gaffney, General Secretary of Pax Christi said: "We greatly appreciate the engagement that Bishop Malcolm has with us and our work at both national and international levels. In recent years he has helped us champion the cause of Blessed Franz Jagerstatter,
The Vatican Apostolic Library and the Japanese firm NTT DATA signed an agreement on Thursday that will result in the rapid digitalization of 3,000 valuable historical manuscripts over the next four years. This is the first step in the planned digitalization of all the 82,000 manuscripts preserved in the Library. The project was announced at a news conference held in the Holy See’s Press Office that included interventions by Mgr Jean Louis Brugues, Archivist and Librarian, Mgr Cesare Pasini, Prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library and by Toshio Iwamoto,
Dr Gemma Simmonds CJ, will be giving this evening's Faith Matters Lent Lecture, in Vaughan House, Westminster, entitled: The Church is Feminine. Dr Simmonds is a sister of the Congregation of Jesus. She is a Senior Lecturer in Pastoral and Social Studies and Theology at Heythrop College, London University; Director of the Religious Life Institute, Co-ordinator of the Erasmus Exchange Programme and Vice-President of the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain.
The Bishops of England and Wales have fixed the end date of the transitional period for implementing music in the new translation of the Roman Missal which was introduced in 2011. As from Pentecost Sunday, 8 June 2014, only settings of the Ordinary of the Mass using the new translation are permitted to be sung at Mass. Settings using the previous translation or paraphrased texts may no longer be used in parishes, schools and communities.
In the run-up to the third anniversary of the war in Syria (15 March), Catholics around the world held candlelit vigils and prayed for peace as part of a global campaign to end the bloodshed. The #WithSyria campaign saw prominent landmarks around the world lit up in solidarity with the people of Syria. Nelson’s Column and the Eiffel Tower were both illuminated with an image by the artist Banksy entitled 'There is always hope', which featured a young Syrian girl reaching for a red balloon. In London, Cardiff, Paris, Moscow, Melbourne, New York, Jordan
Hundreds of Christian families determined to stay in Syria have moved to Homs, close to where some of the conflict’s worst violence has taken place. Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop Jean Abdon Arbach of Homs said that significant parts of the city and the surrounding area are now “calm” but went on to warn of oppression of Christians in the rebel-held north of the country. In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, which has prioritised emergency help for Syria’s faithful, the archbishop said 20,000 Christians now live in Homs
A Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest was kidnapped in Crimea on Saturday. Sources in Ukraine say Father Mykola Kvych, a pastor and a Ukrainian military chaplain, was abducted by pro-Russian forces after celebrating Mass. Bishop Borys Gudziak, Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Eparchy, expressed his grave concern about the repercussions of the kidnapping. He said: “Every abduction is a terrible event for everybody involved. It’s a gross violation of human rights and God-given human dignity.
Pope Francis has appointed as the new Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, Fr Robert Byrne CO, until now the Bishops’ Conference National Ecumenical Officer. Fr Robert Byrne’s episcopal ordination will take place at 11am on Tuesday 13 May 2014 at the Mother Church of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, St Chad’s Cathedral. He will succeed Bishop Philip Pargeter, who has been Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham since 1990. Fr Robert Byrne said: “I am deeply honoured and humbled that the Holy Father, Pope Francis
Pope Francis has begun the traditional Lenten retreat with the members of the Roman Curia this week. In a departure from the practice of his predecessors, the Holy Father has asked participants to gather at a retreat house run by the Pauline Fathers in the small town of Ariccia, just south of Rome.... “One of the things that is important in Ignatian spirituality, when one makes the annual retreat, is that one goes away.... The point is to go away, and to let everything quieten down.”
More than 500 Catholics have been killed and 20 churches and priests houses destroyed, in the north-east of Nigeria by Boko Haram, since 2009. This assertion was made by the Catholic Bishop of Maiduguri, Most Rev Oliver Dashe Doeme in an interview with Fides this week. Mgr Doeme says that at the root of the actions carried out by Boko Haram, that also kill for religious reasons, there is corruption. "Corruption is the number one problem of the nation" he said, 'the Boko Haram insurgency is a product of corruption.
To coincide with the National Week of Prayer and Awareness of Dementia (12 - 19 March), Catholic charities are calling on Churches to do more to become “dementia friendly communities”. There are currently 800,000 people with dementia in the UK and the number of people affected is estimated to rise to over 1 million by 2021 and 1.7 million by 2050. Kathleen Pitt, Director of Nugent Care, which runs a number of residential homes as well as care in the community projects for people with dementia said:
This International Women’s Day, one Leeds charity is celebrating the amazing impact of the women working to support Leeds residents through help, hope and opportunity. St Vincent’s, on York Road in Leeds, have been providing support for 18 years. For the last 12 years the predominantly female senior management team has been led by Charlotte Walton, an incredible, proactive female leader who has guided the charity through difficult times to success. All of the work undertaken by Charlotte and her team is supported by over 50 volunteers.
Dear Editor .. On Monday, February 23, 2014, the Israeli Knesset enacted a new law that recognizes Muslim and Christian Arab communities as separate identities, giving them their own representation in an employment commission. The law passed by a margin of 31 to 6. The new law passed by the Knesset favoring Christians is, to say the least, a deceitful political stunt
Westminster Justice and Peace Commission held a celebration at Holy Apostles Church in Pimlico, Central London, on Saturday 1 March, to mark Fairtrade Fortnight and its efforts to achieve Fairtrade status for the Diocese. Around 250 people from nearly 30 parishes spent the afternoon catching up on Fairtrade news and statistics as well as taking part in a ‘blind’ tea and coffee tasting exercise organised by Holy Apostles Justice and Peace Group. Fairtrade brands came out slightly better and, contrary to expectations, usually cheaper than
“A constant in Christian history is persecution and the cross which in this world and in these times touches so many of the sons and daughters of the Church. It is the giving of one’s life amidst violence, amidst contempt for values, for the dignity of the human person, amidst attacks against the members, the holy symbols and holy places of our faith, which have, as consequences, not only the abduction, but also the murder and death of bishops, priests, men and women religious”.
Christians and other minorities in Syria are being systematically targeted in the ongoing civil war, Lord Alton said in a debate on Syria and the Middle East in the House of Lords on Thursday, 27 February. He questioned what the British government is doing to stop the flow of arms and fighters to the region. He said: "Forty-seven churches have been closed; two priests and a nun have been murdered; two bishops, three priests and 12 nuns have been abducted.... A new video of the nuns has just appeared with their traditional cross removed from their habit.
The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) has condemned a new law approved on Monday in Uganda, which will allow those convicted of homosexuality to be imprisoned for life. At a public ceremony in Entebbe, President Yoweri Museveni, a devout evangelical Christian, formally approved the anti-homosexuality act, which also outlaws the promotion of homosexuality and requires citizens to denounce to the police anyone suspected of being gay. He said: "No study has shown you can be homosexual by nature.
CAFOD has welcomed a new law aimed at making large EU companies more transparent, but expressed frustration that exemptions mean some unscrupulous companies will still be able to avoid reporting publicly on the impact they have on human rights, corruption and the environment. European Member States agreed a last minute compromise deal today in Brussels, following weeks of negotiation about the draft law, seen by many as a crucial first step towards preventing human rights abuses and environmental problems in production.
Pope Francis has written a letter to families asking them to pray for the next Synod of Bishops, which will be celebrated in the Vatican in October, and the theme of which will be “The pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelisation”. The letter, dated 2 February, Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, is published in full below..“Dear families, With this letter, I wish, as it were, to come into your homes to speak about an event which will take place at the Vatican this coming October.
An interfaith delegation from Indonesia, co-hosted by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK, has begun a week of advocacy in the UK to coincide with this week’s launch of CSW’s new report in Indonesia. The delegation will testify at a hearing to launch the report, Indonesia: Pluralism in Peril – The rise of religious intolerance across the archipelago, on 25 February at the House of Commons. The delegation includes Father Benny Susetyo from the Catholic Bishops Conference; The Reverend Favor Bancin from the Communion of Churches in Indonesia; Dr Ahmad Suaedy, Executive Director of the Abdurrahman Wahid Centre
The Catholic bishops of Katanga, a province in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo, have denounced the 'unspeakable violence' of the Bakata - Katanga armed group. In a Pastoral Letter, published at the conclusion of the recent Episcopal Assembly of Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Lubumbashi, the bishops say: "after the escape of the warlord, Kyungu Mutanda called 'Gedeon', from the prison in Kasapa, Lubumbashi in September 2011, various areas of the Katanga province have returned to a cycle of insecurity and violence
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor celebrated Mass in his titular church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, on the eve of the Consistory which will make his successor as Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, a Cardinal. Hundreds of pilgrims from England attended the special service. In his homily, the Cardinal spoke of the ‘Year of the Two Popes - 2013’ and the ‘Year of the Two Cardinals - 2014’. He said it was ‘the first time that there have been two Cardinals in England since Blessed John Henry Newman and Cardinal Manning
The Archbishop of Canterbury today welcomed four members of the international ecumenical foundation Chemin Neuf to live as a praying community at Lambeth Palace. The community, who have been invited to live at Lambeth Palace by Archbishop Justin, consist of a married Anglican couple, Ione and Alan Morley-Fletcher; a Lutheran training for ministry, Oliver Matri; and a Roman Catholic consecrated sister, Ula Michlowicz. Together they will share in the daily round of prayer that underpins the Archbishop's ministry,
Here in Japan we have the biggest snowfall ever. Nineteen people have died. Roads are closed. Railway lined cease to function. The roofs on old house are collapsing. We are not used to such conditions. Meanwhile in Australia the heatwave has exceeded all imaginings and in the Pacific many beautiful islands are rapidly sinking into the sea. Climate change is starting in earnest and we must all pull together to try to slow it down through our behaviour
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has welcomed the report of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on human rights in North Korea, released today, and the inquiry’s conclusion that the regime in North Korea is committing crimes against humanity. CSW urges the UN Security Council to act on the inquiry’s recommendation to refer the human rights crisis in North Korea to the International Criminal Court. The Commission of Inquiry, established by the UN Human Rights Council in March 2013 and chaired by Australian Justice Michael Kirby,
A petition signed by more than 113,000 people, and a letter from a group of parishioners and religious in Kansas City, Missouri, has been sent to Pope Francis this week urging him to take disciplinary action against Bishop Robert W Finn, who was convicted in 2012 of failing to report a priest who was an active paedophile, the Kansas City Star and New York Times report. Bishop Finn was found guilty on a misdemeanour charge for failing to inform authorities after he learned there were hundreds of pornographic pictures of young girls on a laptop
Members of the National Justice and Peace Network gathered in York on Saturday, along with local justice and peace activists, for the first Open Networking Day of 2014. Several people had travelled from around the country, despite the difficult weather conditions. The keynote speaker for the day was Tricia Griffin who shared her experience of working as volunteer on the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine/Israel. She described the reality of life under occupation for the people of Palestine,
A team of specialists has begun to repair the statue of Christ the Redeemer, overlooking Rio de Janeiro, after it was damaged by a lightening strike last month. The Rio Archdiocese, owner of the statue, has entrusted the work to a group of abseiling eigineers, to avoid the use of scaffolds, and allow visits to continue while repairs are underway. Archbishop Orani Tempesta blessed the workers on Friday. The statue in the Tijuca Forest National Park, is considered to be the largest Art Deco figure in the world.
Extraordinarily severe weather in Britain since Christmas and increasing mention of Climate Change as a security issue highlight the relevance of this new DVD, ‘Conflict and Climate Change’. The 18 minute DVD was produced last Autumn by the Movement for the Abolition of War (MAW)”, in collaboration with Kevin Mayhew Publishing. Several prominent political leaders, scientists and academics voice their concerns on the need to tackle climate change and reduce the risk of conflict and war.
CSW’s new report on Indonesia, which will be launched on 25 February in the UK Parliament, warns that 'Religious intolerance is no longer confined to areas such as West Java and Aceh, known to be particularly conservative, nor is it confined to Christians and Ahmadis. Shi’a Muslims, Sufi Muslims, Confucians, Buddhists, Hindus, Baha’is, Jews, traditional indigenous believers and atheists are all under attack.' The report, Indonesia: Pluralism in Peril – The rise of religious intolerance across the archipelago, draws on
As severe floods and hurricane force winds continue to engulf large parts of the country - forcing more than 6,000 households to evacuate their homes and causing massive damage to businesses, farms, roads and railway lines, Christian campaigners have set up a petition calling on the UK government to abandon renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system - estimated to cost more than 100 billion pounds, and instead use taxpayers' money to help flooded communities rebuild - and to develop flood defences so that this
Five new Mill Hill Missionaries will be ordained for the priesthood on 26 April. In ceremonies across Kenya, Uganda and Cameroon, John Kwa Akain, Noah Monday, Ronald Kajja, Oniz Kihokolho and Andrew Mitema will make their Perpetual Oath and be presented with their own Mill Hill red sash and mission cross. These five men will be sent to countries in Africa and Asia to share their faith and live alongside poor communities. Fr Anthony Chantry MHM, General Superior of Mill Hill, said: " It is very encouraging to see these young people
A Christian human rights campaigner who left Pakistan has described how he received death threats while pursuing justice for his murdered brother. Dr Paul Bhatti gave an impassioned plea on behalf of suffering minority groups in Pakistan in interviews with Aid to the Church in Need, after news broke that he had left his country for Italy. Denying that he had fled the country for his own safety, the former Pakistani minister of national harmony and minority affairs said his visit to Italy was pre-arranged and added that he would soon return to his country
New research indicates that the Turin Shroud, with its mysterious image, may genuinely date from the time of Jesus. An Italian team at the Politecnico di Torino, claims the powerful magnitude 8.2 earthquake, which occurred in Old Jerusalem in the year 33 AD, would have been strong enough to release neutron particles from crushed rock. The flood of neutrons, may have imprinted an X-ray-like image onto the linen burial cloth by reacting with nitrogen nuclei, they say. In addition, the radiation emissions would have increased the level of carbon-14 isotopes
Ampleforth College has appointed its first lay Head. David Lambon joins from St Malachy's College Belfast, and will take over in September 2014. David who is 46, has a proven ability to achieve high standards, improving GCSE results by 10% at St Malachy's and helping St Mary's Grammar School in Magherafelt win the Sunday Times Northern Ireland School of the Year in 2009 during his seven-year tenure. A trained engineer and mathematician, he also has an MBA in School Leadership and Management and worked as an engineer in France and Germany before becoming a teacher.
Archbishop Peter Smith joined Fr Martin Coyle SDB, Provincial of the Salesians in Britain together with Headmaster, Mr Simon Uttley, to put the first spade in the ground at the site of a new Catholic school in London. Saint John Bosco College in Wandsworth, a coeducational secondary school and sixth form, opened just over two years ago in temporary accommodation, achieving a judgement of 'Good' by Ofsted in 18 months. The school will move into the state-of-the-art building in Autumn 2015.
Football legends David Beckham and Pele, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsenal and England Forward, Theo Walcott, film star Thandie Newton and Archbishop Desmond Tutu are giving their support to the Street Child World Cup - due to kick off next month. Ahead of the FIFA World Cup, street children from five continents will be taking part in the Street Child World Cup in Rio. on 28 March. 25 teams from 19 countries will be playing in two football tournaments - one for boys, one for girls.There will also be a unique street child conference
Immigrants coming to Italy face increasing discrimination in many areas, a new report published by Caritas Italy in collaboration with the Migrants office of the Italian Bishops’ Conference shows. Speaking at the presentation of the report, on 30 January, Bishop Giuseppe Merisi, said: “Millions of people migrate, fleeing from persecution and misery towards better prospects or simply to survive. They have expectations but are often hit by misfortunes which harm their human dignity.
Cardinal-elect Archbishop Vincent Nichols, President of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, has written to His Eminence Cardinal Gabriel Zubayr Wako, Archbishop of Khartoum, to echo the call for peace in South Sudan. Clashes in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, erupted just before Christmas. The violence has left thousands dead and displaced hundreds of thousands more. Writing on behalf of the Bishops of England and Wales
Almost a century since the Armenian Genocide – carried out in the territories of Turkey in 1915 - the Armenian Apostolic Church has confirmed its intention to proceed with the canonization for martyrdom of the victims of what the Armenians call the 'Great Evil'. The confirmation came from the meeting of the Committee for the canonization set up ad hoc and held from January 27 to 29 in Antelias, Lebanon, at the Cathedral of the Armenian
The Year of the Horse, which began on Sunday, is being celebrated in China with an exhibition of paintings by Giuseppe Castiglione, a Jesuit lay brother and painter who worked at the court of Emperor Qianlong for 51 years, and a film about his life. Br Castiglione who was born in Milan in 1688 and died in Beijing in 1766 painted pictures of emperors, concubines and especially horses. His work is treasured in the museums of the Imperial Palace in Taipei and Beijing.
Following a hugely successful launch of her single True Harmony in the Pacific on 20 January, Vanessa Quai, the 'new Pacific superstar' is to visit UK. Her mission is to spread the inspiring message of peace, love and unity that the lyric carries. On Thursday, 13 February, Vanessa will visit Maria Fidelis Catholic Convent Schooll, Camden in London, and perform True Harmony in an assembly, meet their award-winning choir and lead a conversation about how she came to recording the song and how its words express
A Muslim cleric from Kaduna State, his wife and child, and 11 Christians in Adamawa State, were murdered in separate attacks last weekend by members of the Islamist terror group Boko Haram. Thousands of people attended the funeral of prominent Salafi cleric Sheikh Mohammed Awwal Adam, known locally as Sheikh Albani, on 2 February in Zaria, Kaduna State. On 1 February, gunmen in cars and on motorcycles are reported to have intercepted and opened fire on a vehicle driven by Sheikh Albani with students and members of his family inside.
St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society has been successful in its appeal to keep its charitable status. In a unanimous ruling, the Scottish Charity Appeal Panel has decided in favour of the adoption agency, and overturned a ruling by OSCR (the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator), that St Margaret’s must lose its charitable status. A spokesman for St Margaret’s said: “We are delighted and relieved that the threat hanging over us has been lifted.
Fr Shaun Richards was ordained a Priest by the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, at Our Lady of Victories Church, Kensington on Saturday, 25 January. Fr Shaun has been serving as a deacon for the last six months at St George’s parish in Sudbury, where he will continue to serve as assistant priest. In his homily Archbishop Nichols spoke of the ‘very heart’ of the Priesthood as being the call to Missionary Discipleship, filled with the joy of knowing Jesus and wishing to share that joy with others.
As Bishops of the Holy Land Co-ordination, we call for justice to be upheld in the Cremisan Valley, near Bethlehem. Israel’s plans to build a security wall on the land of 58 Christian families should be abandoned. We met with many families from Beit Jala during our recent visit to the Holy Land. We heard of their pain and anguish. They are faced with the threatened loss of their land and livelihood as the planned security wall will destroy vineyards, groves and orchards and separate them from their land.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby welcomed a high-level delegation of religious leaders from the Central African Republic to Lambeth Palace yesterday to hear about the current crisis in their country, in which one million people have fled their homes. Archbishop Justin received the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bangui, Dieudonné Nzapalainga and Imam Omar Kabine Layama, who along with the Revd Nicolas Guérékoyamé Gbangou, President of the Alliance of Evangelicals of Central African Republic (CAR)
Pope Francis concluded Week of Prayer for Christian Unity with the celebration of Vespers in the Basilica of St Paul's-Outside-the-Walls, with representatives from many different churches. The Orthodox Archbishop Gennadios Zervos, Metropolitan of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople to Italy and Malta and Exarch of Southern Europe, and David Moxon, the Archbishop of Canterbury's representative to the Holy See, and Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome were among the participants.
The Holy See has confirmed that Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, first successor of St Josemaría at the head of Opus Dei, will be beatified in Madrid on 27 September 2014. This follows the approval of a miracle by Pope Francis in July 2013. The cure accepted as a miracle through del Portillo’s intercession involved a Chilean newborn baby boy, Jose Ignacio Ureta Wilson, who recovered after being in cardiac arrest for 30 minutes and suffering a massive hemorrhage. Ten years on, he is now a perfectly normal and healthy child.
'Communication at the service of an authentic culture of encounter' is the title of Pope Francis' message for the 48th World Day of Social Communications, the only world day established by Vatican Council II (Inter Mirifica, 1963), which is celebrated on the Sunday before the feast of Pentecost (which falls on 1 June 2014). The message is dated 24 January, memorial of St Francis of Sales, patron saint of communicators. The full text of the message is published below:
The new President of the Central African Republic, Catherine Samba-Panza, was sworn in today, 23 January in a country ravaged by fighting between former Seleka rebels and anti-Balaka militia. While the situation has often been described as a conflict between religions, Christian and Muslim leaders in the country say the crisis came about because of the collapse of state institutions. The Archbishop of Bangui, Mgr Dieudonné Nzapalainga and the Imam, Oumar Kobine Layama, President of the Central African Islamic community,
Christian Aid today urged the UK Government not to neglect the victims of climate change in the Philippines and elsewhere after the European Commission recommended weak emissions targets for 2030. The lack of ambitious reduction targets in today’s White Paper will fail to push European countries far enough in tackling the emissions which cause climate change, endangering the commitment of keeping the global temperature rise under two degrees.
As I'm sure you are aware, Lent begins in early March this year. For many Christians this is a time of fasting and abstinence that traditionally included not eating meat. Coincidentally, March is also National Veggie Month and this year Animal Aid is urging people to take part in the Big Veg Pledge, a project where people promise to go meat-free for the whole of March whilst receiving all the help, support and information they need to do so.
The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) has welcomed the decision by the Federal Government to close four immigration detention facilities in Australia. “It is not a crime to seek asylum yet sadly these detention centres have been a source of immense pain and misery for thousands of our brothers and sisters who have come to us in search of refuge”, said Fr Maurizio Pettenà, National Director of the ACMRO.
Two major child abuse stories broke last week. The exposé of the deviant criminal behavior of paedophiles in the UK, America, and Australia and the Philippines who are sexually exploiting Filipino children through the internet, has been revealed in a BBC report which staff of the Preda Foundation in Olongapo city help them make. In Lucena City, an orphanage, Sankey Samaritan Mission for poor children and youth was raided by the NBI and an American, Tom Randall and orphanage manager Toto Luchavez and his son, Jake Luchavez, were arrested
God’s love is good beyond comprehension: it repairs the damage caused by our sins and errors; it makes whole our personal stories after they have been broken by sin; it heals all of history. This was the focus of Pope Francis in his homily at Mass on Monday morning in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta. The Holy Father concentrated his comments on the Gospel reading of the day, which was taken from the Gospel according to St Mark (1:14-20), and which tells of Christ’s calling of the disciples, Andrew, Simon (who would be called Peter), James and John to follow him.
The designer of the Kalashnikov rifle became a Christian and regretted his invention in his final years. Mikhail Kalashnikov, who died last month aged 94, was one of Russia's national heros and won many awards for designing and perfecting assault rifles. More than 100 million of the weapons have been sold worldwide. For many years Kalashnikov denied feeling any sense of responsibility for the deaths it caused.However, in his letter to Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, which was published by Izvestya
The Archbishop of Los Angeles, Mgr Jose Gomez, has spoken about the need to continue to urge for a review of immigration policy in the United States. This is simply to ask for a more humane approach towards immigrants, he said: "They are always, first and foremost, human beings". The occasion was a conference on immigration held in the Rotary Club conference centre in Los Angeles, organized to conclude the National Migration Week ... The main goal of the conference was to promote greater awareness of the difficult situation in which immigrants live,
To mark the 110th anniversary of the motorcycle brand, Pope Francis was presented with the 1,585cc Harley-Davidson Dyna Super Glide in June 2013. Now, in what is a rare and exceptional opportunity, the machine is to be auctioned for charity by Bonhams at the Grand Palais on 6 February 2014. The sale, which is taking place as part of Rétromobile Week, will see the motorcycle raise funds for Caritas Roma, which works on behalf of the Catholic church to support those in need around the world.
Egypt's Coptic Christians had reason to be of good cheer this Christmas after early reports showed that their festive celebrations passed off without incident – unlike in previous years. Government security was tight at St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, in Alexandria and other high-profile churches during the liturgies marking Christmas, which in the Coptic rite fell on Tuesday (7 January). Turnout was higher than normal at the liturgies which went ahead as normal in contrast to previous years,
His Holiness Pope Francis, announced that the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, Archbishop Nichols will be made a Cardinal at the next consistory on 22 February 2014. The announcement came during Pope Francis’ Angelus in St Peters Square this morning, 12 January, in which he created 15 more elector cardinals and three non-elector cardinals. Archbishop Vincent issued the following statement: “Today, I am deeply moved by the honour conferred upon the Catholic Church in England and Wales and on the Diocese of Westminster in my appointment as Cardinal
Seafarers’ charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) has stepped in to support crew of a cargo ship currently detained at Tilbury in London. The distressed Filipino crew of the mv Isis have not been paid their wages over the last few months after the ship’s Greek owner fell into financial problems. AoS port chaplain Deacon Paul Glock has been visiting the crew and providing them with practical and pastoral support, along with Deacon Joern Hille, the German Seamen’s Chaplain.
A large demonstration, organised by the Catholic Church, was held in the City of Cali in Colombia on Tuesday evening, to show solidarity with Fabiola Ruiz and her family: a domestic worker who was killed on 31 December, 2013 in her home, in Upper Jordan, by two assassins. The Archbishop of Cali, Mgr Dario de Jesus Monsalve, gathered the faithful to march and pray together, carrying candles and rosaries, from the parish of the area to the place where the murder was committed.
Thai Children’s Trust need an experienced Trust Fundraiser to start work as soon as possible, London based. We are also seeking a Sponsorship / Administration Coordinator.
Pope Francis has abolished the conferral of the Pontifical Honour of ‘Monsignor’ for secular priests under the age of 65. In a communique to Apostolic Nuncios around the world the office of the Vatican Secretary of State asked Apostolic Nuncios to inform all bishops in their respective countries of this decision. On 2 January, the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, wrote to all bishops in Great Britain with the news. He confirmed that “the privileges in this regard” that have already been granted by the Roman Pontiff to
On 1 January , the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, the convent of the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Maryvale, Old Oscott Hill, Birmingham, was filled with priests and lay members of the Ordinariate, local parishioners and friends, for the Mass at which the community of 10 sisters was formally established as The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham’s first autonomous monastery. The monastery will be of Benedictine spirituality. The sisters, formerly members of an Anglican Community in Wantage, Oxfordshire
This morning, 3 January, Pope Francis celebrated the Mass of the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus in the Church of Jesus, to give thanks for the new Jesuit saint Pierre Favre. Concelebrating with the Holy Father were Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of His Holiness for the diocese of Rome; Bishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, SJ, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;
Christian and Muslim leaders in Banjul, capital of the Central African Republic have issued a joint statement calling for a UN peacekeeping force to prevent all-out war in their country. Despite the intervention of French and African troops, the situation in the country remains precarious. "The Central African Republic remains on the verge of a war with religious aspects" warned Mgr Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Archbishop of Bangui, and Omar Kobine Layama, Imam of the Central African capital, in a joint appeal published by the French newspaper Le Monde.
Christians speak out and act on poverty and social justice because they have received the love of God and want to share it with others, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said in his first annual New Year Message broadcast on BBC One today. The Bible makes clear that God urges us to demonstrate our love for Him by loving our neighbour, Archbishop Justin said - “And if you love your neighbour you’re going to be deeply concerned in the things that trouble them,
A weekend devoted to solidarity with the poor in the UK - examining how this is a result of government austerity measures - will take place from 28 February - 2 March (Friday - Sunday) at Boar's Hill Carmelite Priory in Oxfordshire. The event has been organised by Catholic People's Week (CPW) in collaboration with the National Board of Catholic Women's poverty project, which has run events around the country, highlighting the effects of current policies on women and families.
Pope Francis sent a message yesterday offering consolation and hope to families of the victims of the 2004 Cromañón nightclub fire that claimed the lives of 194 young people in Buenos Aires. The Pope’s message, addressed to Bishop Jorge Lozano, President of the Argentinian Bishops’ Commission for Social Pastoral activities, was read out at the Cathedral of Buenos Aires on Monday, during a special liturgy presided by the Archbishop of the Argentinian capital, Msgr Mario Poli, marking the ninth anniversary of that tragic event 30 December.
We, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, share with you the joy of this Christmas season of the Incarnation. Our physical closeness to the town of Bethlehem where this took place is a constant reminder to us of its wonderful reality. We praise God for the Word made flesh in the person of Jesus Christ from the pure blood of the Blessed Virgin Mary and for her willingness to co-operate with his divine plan. We praise God for the Shepherds in the fields below Bethlehem – ordinary people of no rank or status who were chosen to be the first to hear the Good News
Pierre Favre, one of the original Companions of Ignatius Loyola and Francis Xavier, has been made a saint by Pope Francis. The canonisation of Favre - also known as Peter Faber - holds a special meaning because he is a model of spirituality and priestly life for today's Pope and at the same time an important reference to understand his style of government. Favre lived on the crest of an era when the unity of the Church was undermined and he remained essentially alien to doctrinal dispute, directing his apostolate to Church reform and becoming a pioneer of ecumenism.
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales visited The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre in the United Kingdom yesterday, 17 December after expressing concern about the current challenges facing Christians in some Middle Eastern nations, and to meet members of those communities resident in the United Kingdom. His Royal Highness was accompanied by His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan. During this historic visit, Prince Charles and Prince Ghazi were received at the Centre
A passionate appeal for the release of 12 religious Sisters kidnapped in Syria has been made by a bishop from a country torn apart by violence and persecution. Syria's Bishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh of Homs and Hama said that he was "very sad" about the abduction of the Sisters from the Convent of St Tekla in Maalaoula, a largely Christian town north of Damascus. Speaking in an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, Syriac Orthodox Bishop Alnemeh said that he had not heard from the Sisters since their disappearance 10 days ago
Delivering the "Time For Reflection” in the Scottish Parliament today, 10 December) Archbishop Leo Cushley, the Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, welcomed the opportunity to address the Parliament and told MSP’s that Scots law has been heavily influenced by Christian belief and "reflected our relationship with God and our relationship with our fellow human beings” The Archbishop added, "If our human laws failed in either of these two dimensions, the argument went, they would fail to promote the common good that all law must surely strive to uphold."
The Holy See Press Office on Monday released a communique concerning a report by the MONEYVAL organization that evaluates the progress made by the Holy See/Vatican City State in combatting money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The communique notes that “MONEYVAL welcomes clarifications and improvements to the anti-money laundering and combatting financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) legal structure of the Holy See and the Vatican City State and confirms that significant progress has been made.”
At morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Monday, Pope Francis appealed for an end to division and hatred in the Holy Land and the Middle East. The Holy Father concelebrated the Mass with the Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria, Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, on the occasion of the public manifestation of “ecclesiastical communion” between the Patriarch and the Successor of Peter. The Pope spoke about his closeness to Egyptian Christians who are experiencing insecurity and violence, then renewed his appeal for religious liberty throughout the whole of the Middle East
The annual Pax Christi Advent Service takes place at 7.30 this Monday evening, 9 December at St Aloysius Church, Phoenix Road, London NW1. There will be readings, prayers and carols for peace, with music led by Julie McCann. After the service there will be a Christmas Market with goods from Palestine, the Philippines, Africa Peru, as well as Christmas cards, books - and mulled wine and mince pies! If you would like to join the choir, there will be a rehearsal at 6.30pm.
"'Let us now sing the praises of famous men, great men in their generations... They ruled their governments wisely, were known for their valour. Their counsel displayed wisdom, they saw things from afar' (Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3).' With these words we, the Catholic Church in Southern Africa, express our gratitude to uTata Mandela for the sacrifice he made for all peoples of South Africa and for the leadership and inspiration he gave in leading us on the path of reconciliation" - writes Mgr Stephen Brislin, Archbishop of Cape Town and President
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.
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,
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.
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,
Marist Sister Catherine Gilligan, described her work as Roman Catholic Chaplain to Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, in the folliowing talk wihich she gave at the launch of 'My Hospital Prayer Activities Book' at Vaughan House, Westminster on 19 November. The names of the two children described have been changed. In 1852 Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) opened with just 10 beds, and was the first hospital in the UK to offer dedicated inpatient care to children. It was founded for poor children in chest conditions.
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.
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.
Pope Francis has sent a message expressing his "closeness" to the people of Glasgow following the Clutha helicopter tragedy. The message was conveyed to Archbishop Philip Tartaglia by the Papal Nuncio Archbishop Antonio Mennini... Having learned the sad news of the tragic accident which occurred in Glasgow when a police helicopter crashed into Clutha Vaults pub, close to the Cathedral, causing the death of several people and numerous injured, I would like hereby to convey to you, as Archbishop of Glasgow, the closeness of the Holy Father
.... "Our life is a path which we must follow to arrive at the encounter with Jesus. The most important thing that can happen to a person is to encounter Jesus, who loves us, who has saved us, who gave his life for us", the Pope said, addressing the newly confirmed children. "We might wonder: but when will I meet Jesus? Only at the end? No! All our lives are an encounter with Jesus, when we pray, when we go to Mass and when we do good works; when we visit the sick and when we help the poor; when we think of others, when we are not selfish, when
After a decade which has seen a dramatic increase in floods across the country from Boscastle in Devon, to Tewkesbury Abbey and the Lake District, destroying or badly damaging homes, businesses, churches, community centres, farmland and roads, the Bishops Conference is planning to look at a pastoral response to the issue. The Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, Bishop Seamus Cunningham, who speaks on Rural Issues, said: "Over the last ten years flooding has been a problem in many parishes.
The Amos Trust Advent Carol Service takes place next Tuesday 3 December at St James’ Church, Piccadilly, right in the heart of London. The evening begins with Cry Palestine, a new choral piece, created and performed by Palestinian musician Reem Kelani Harvey Brough, and writer/ director Justin Butcher and choir. There will be traditional carols from OperaFour. Filmmaker Leila Sansour founder of the Open Bethlehem campaign will show extracts her her film 'Road to Bethlehem',
A senior churchman from the Central African Republic today called on the international community to help end the brutal violence gripping his country. The Archbishop of Bangui, the Most Reverend Dieudonne Nzapailanga asked the United Nations to send an effective intervention force, with a mandate to use force where necessary to protect the people of Central African Republic (CAR): “We urgently need a well equipped, well trained force under a clear command structure,
Friar Alessandro and some very distinguished guests - among them mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins, soprano Pumeza Matshikiza, actress Catherine Tate, classical guitarist Craig Ogden and angelic choirboy Jack Topping, performed on Tuesday night in charity evening for Great Ormond Street Hospital at St James' Church, Spanish Place, central London. The evening was the brainchild of Hassan Choudhury, senior vice president of international marketing at Universal music. In a heartfelt introduction, Hassan said that he had spent many hours there while his son Louis was having surgery
...Usually, Ecumenical Encounters of the Focolare Movement are held at Castel Gandolfo Mariapolis Centre, near the Pope’s summer residence. But for 2013, the Movement’s leaders did something new and chose to hold several regional encounters in the Middle East, for two reasons. Firstly, they want to get closer to Christians coming from conflict-stricken areas. Secondly, to enable bishops of five continents, unable to travel to Italy, to explore these encounters and to take part in them.
Britain’s Overseas Territories, such as the Virgin Islands, Bermuda and the Caymans, should use a joint ministerial summit, starting in London today, as a golden opportunity to commit to exposing the true owners of more than half a million shell companies set up on their shores, some of which are providing cover for tax dodgers trying to disguise their profits, as well as money launderers and even people financing terrorism. That's the view of Christian Aid, Oxfam and War on Want. The campaigners say
Islamic militants have invaded the town of Deir Atieh, north of Damascus, spreading terror, death and destruction. The attack took place on 22 November. The militants entered the municipal hospital and took hostage the sick. The museum of Deir Atieh that had precious archaeological finds was devastated. Mosques and churches were hit and damaged. Numerous homes were looted and civilians captured and used as human shields. The situation is particularly worrying for Christians. The population, about 25 thousand people, have begun to flee.
At the Annual Civic Mass, celebrated on the Feast of Christ the King and the closing Sunday of the Year of Faith, the Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Reverend Bernard Longley said that 50 years on from the Second Vatican Council, “We still need to look at the world not as an enemy that is indifferent or even hostile to the message of the Gospel but as the place where God’s salvation has already reached into people’ lives through the love of his Son Jesus Christ.” The Archbishop said that it was important to find “ever fresh ways to show the love of God for the world,”
In what has been hailed as 'an ecumenical step of some significance' The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has announced that members of an international ecumenical community are to reside at Lambeth Palace. From January 2014, four Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran members of Chemin Neuf will live at Lambeth Palace to share in the daily round of prayer that underpins the Archbishop's ministry, and to further the ecumenical and international dimensions of his work.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols, offered a Requiem Mass on 20 November at Westminster Cathedral for the deceased clergy of Westminster Archdiocese, concelebrated by over 100 other priests and bishops. The Archbishop began Mass naming ten diocesan priests and deacons who had died in the previous year. The homily was given by Monsignor John Wilson, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Leeds. In his homily he spoke of the service given by deceased clergy during their ministry:
This Friday, 22 November, marks two weeks since the devastating Super-Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. Campaigners around the world will be holding vigils of prayer and solidarity with those who have been affected. In London a vigil will take place outside the Philippines UK Embassy. This Friday also coincides with the end of this week's UN climate talks COP19 in Warsaw, where Yeb Sano, the Climate Commissioner for the Philippines, made an impassioned plea for action.
Pope Francis today appealed for universal respect of the basic right to religious freedom, especially in countries where Christian communities are struggling minorities. The call came in the second of two addresses to the Patriarchs and Major Archbishops of Eastern Churches, who are visiting Rome this week for the Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for Eastern Churches.... He said: “The Bishop of Rome will not rest so long as there are men and women, of any religion, affected in their dignity, deprived of life’s basic necessities, robbed of a future,
Today's (19 November) Court of Appeal decision to uphold a ban on an advertisement which asked Christians to report their experiences of marginalisation in the workplace has been described as an attack on freedom of speech, by Britain’s largest Christian broadcaster. “But this is not only a bad day for freedom of speech for Christians, it is also a bad day for democracy in general, and a very bad day at the office for the Master of the Rolls,” said Peter Kerridge, CEO of Premier Christian Radio.
Members of the Disaster Emergencies Committee (DEC) are warning governments meeting at the UN climate talks in Warsaw that the devastating super typhoon that struck the Philippines is a glimpse of the future if urgent action is not taken. Their call was joined by actor David Harewood MBE, who has campaigned on climate change for several years. He said: “More and more, extreme weather and its effects are being seen in every country around the world. When these events happen more frequently and with greater force, they form a pattern that
Archbishop Joseph E Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, was elected president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) during the bishops' annual fall General Assembly on 12 November, in Baltimore. Archbishop Kurtz has served as vice president of USCCB since 2010. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston was elected USCCB vice president. Archbishop Kurtz and Cardinal DiNardo are elected to three-year terms and succeed Cardinal Timothy . Dolan of New York and Archbishop Kurtz, respectively. The new president and vice president's terms begin
A blog, created and written by a Benedictine nun in Herefordshire, was one of 15 winners in this year’s annual Christian New Media Awards, presented in London last weekend by the Premier group’s New Media Centre of Excellence. Sister Catherine Wybourne from Holy Trinity Monastery at Howton Grove Priory, who was nominated by a third party, received the ‘Best Blogger of the Year’ award of a new iPad air for her work on the www.ibenedictines.org website.
The Catholic church of St Augustine of England, Ramsgate in Kent, has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an £800,000 project to house The Pugin and St Augustine education, research and visitor centre. The project aims increase knowledge and accessibility for people of all ages around two themes: the Victorian architect, Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, and St Augustine of England, founder of the Christian church in Southern England.
Representatives from dioceses covering every region, as well as the Ordinariate and the Bishopric of the Forces, gathered on 4 – 5 November at Hothorpe Hall in Leicestershire to showcase and share their evangelization initiatives. Projects currently being offered and developed in dioceses include: a new formation and mission centre in Cardiff; new resources to support family-focused evangelisation in Liverpool; a new 'what good news"'website in Brentwood; a four-year project studying the teaching of Vatican II
In the same week that US Secretary of State John Kerry has been visiting the Holy Land in an effort to broker peace talks beween Israel and Palestine, bulldozers of the Jerusalem Municipality, accompanied by Israeli Security forces, demolished a house belonging to the Patriarch of Jerusalem Mgr Fouad Twai. The residential property on the Jerusalem-Hebron road, near the northern checkpoint number 300 was home to a family of 14 people. The Patriarch inspected the demolished home yesterday, in the company of Bishop William Shomali,
Last night, the Alliance of Pro-Life Students hosted their first member's event in Parliament, where pro-life politicians, students and recent graduates from across Britain had the chance to connect. In conjunction with APS’ mission and vision this was an opportunity for students to support each other and exchange ideas about how best to promote a positive pro-life ethic on campus. In a statement, they said: "The university age bracket has one of the
In his homily, How to keep your faith at university - given at Newman House, Gower Street, on 6 October 2013, Fr Stephen Wang, Catholic Chaplain to University of London, reflects on the day's readings in which St Paul, in his Letter to Timothy speaks of the gift of our Catholic faith. He goes on to talk about how students can keep their faith and develop and deepen it throughout their time at university. Listen to the homily here on Jericho Tree:
To coincide with Living Wage Week, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales together with three of its leading Catholic Agencies: the Catholic Education Service, CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network) and CAFOD, have reiterated the Church’s teaching on just wages and its support for the Living Wage and its importance for the support of workers’ families.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the Catholic Education Service have produced a Living Wage Resource encouraging Catholic organisations, schools and charities
In 'Mary in the Mystery' theologian Thomas J Norris beautifully articulates the nature of Mary Mother of God as "the woman in whom divinity and humanity rhyme". Norris brings Mary to life as a woman deeply steeped in awareness of the Old Testament. He expresses her as the meeting point between Salvation history (the story of Abraham and the God of Israel) and the Christian Mystery born through Christ.In a simple yet richly developed structure of three parts, Norris places Christ, and by extension Mary, within mankind's search for answers to the human heart and mind.
A mortar round hit the Vatican embassy in Damascus on Tuesday morning, damaging the building but causing no casualties. The round struck the rooftop of the Nunciature on Tuesday morning at about 6.30am Damascus Time, causing some damage to the structure, though no one was killed or injured in the incident. The Apostolic Nuncio to Syria, Archbishop Mario Zenari, told Vatican Radio that mortar rounds frequently hit central areas of the capital city.
The Catholic community of Colon, in Panama, is in shock after the body of Fr Anibal Gomez, was found at 1pm on Saturday, at the entrance of the home of retired Bishop Carlos María Ariz Bolea, CMF. He had been stabbed to death. Local sources believe he was the victim of a robbery. The criminal incident occurred in the Davis area in Colon, a city considered particularly violent because of rampant crime. Father Anibal Gomez, 67, originally from Spain, was parish priest a
Spontaneous applause resounded around a packed Westminster Cathedral on Saturday evening after a Franciscan Friar accompanying relics of St Anthony of Padua on a tour of Ireland and the UK spoke about them bringing “a message of hope and love”. Before that, Fr Mario Conte’s refrain, based on St Anthony’s preaching, of ‘God loves you and God cares for you’ was repeated softly by the huge congregation. The editor of the International Edition of the Messenger of St Anthony magazine, who is based in Padua,
The Presentation Sisters around the world and all those involved with them are today celebrating the official announcement of the declaration of the Order’s founder, Nano Nagle, as Venerable. This announcement brings the Canonisation of Nano Nagle one step closer as it is the second of four stages in the Canonisation Process. Speaking today, Head of the Congregation Leadership Team for the Presentation Sisters, Mary Deane, said: “We are delighted with the news. By proclaiming Nano Nagle as venerable, the Universal Church has recognised Nano as a woman of faith, hope and
A Spanish Jesuit living in Guatemala is to visit London to talk about what life is really like in a developing country where food is scarce and caring for the environment is paramount for a sustainable future. Fr Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Blasco SJ is in the UK with CAFOD, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development. He is helping to promote its Hungry for Change campaign, which aims to tackle the hunger that afflicts one in eight of the world’s population. The campaign is currently focusing on the impact of climate change
The Catholic Association of Performing Arts will be hosting an evening of readings of work by Blessed John Paul II, at the Club for Acts & Actors in Covent Garden, central London, on Tuesday, 29 October. The evening will include excerpts from one of his plays: 'The Jewellers Shop', in remembrance of actor Michael Murray, who staged the work during Pope John Paul II's visit to London. The evening takes place at 8.15pm on 29 October, at the Club for Acts & Actors, 20 Bedford Street, London WC2.
On Saturday, 26 October, Liverpool Hope University welcomed a 400-strong gathering to mark the 50th anniversary of the Focolare Movement’s arrival in Britain in November 1963. Liverpool was the Focolare’s first centre and from there spread to other parts of the country. It was a very different ecumenical context that welcomed the first group to a city which had known its share of sectarian differences. Three local Anglican clergy were instrumental in the Focolare’s arrival alongside Canon Bernard Pawley, the Anglican Observer at the Second Vatican Council.
The Rt Rev David Charlesworth, abbot of Buckfast Abbey, has been recognised with an honorary Doctor of Education degree from Newman University. He received the award during the university’s annual graduation ceremony. The honorary degree was awarded in recognition of his commitment to providing valuable educational opportunities for school children.The ceremony also saw over 1,000 students become the first students to graduate from Newman since it received full university status. English playwright Edward Bond,
More than 1,400 people slept in community night shelters in London alone last winter. Without them, "some may not have survived to see the spring" - that was the verdict of Paul Reily, when he presented the Community Night Shelter Report at the first-ever Night Shelters Conference last Wednesday hosted by Housing Justice, the national Christian housing and homelessness campaigning charity. The charity launched the forum for country-wide church and community winter shelters in 2003
On Tuesday 22 October Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor gave the final ‘You Believe’ lecture for young people in the Diocese of Westminster at the Centre for Youth Ministry, Somers Town. In his talk, entitled ‘A Journey of Renewal’, Cardinal Cormac reflected on what we have learnt during the Year of Faith and how Pope Francis has given us guidance to put this into practice in our daily lives: “One of the things we should take away from this Year of Faith is that the small things are important.
Archbishop Leo Cushley has called for prayers for all those affected by the closure threatened Grangemouth plant, situated in his Archdiocese and has urged those “in a position to influence” to work towards “fair outcomes” for all those involved. The oil refinery and petrochemical plant in Grangemouth is in the St Mungo’s & St Ninian’s deanery of the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh. It has two Catholic parishes served by Canon Leo Glancy, with a total Catholic population of about 2,000.
Pro-life campaigners have welcomed a new work in the Qatari capital Doha, by the controversial artist Damien Hirst, entitied: 'The Miraculous Journey' , which depict the development of a human being from the fertilisation of an egg to a fully-formed baby. The 14 huge bronze statues were unveiled for a day on 8 October, outside the Sidra Medical and Research Centre, still under construction, on the outskirts of the city. They were covered again until 14 January, to "protect them while work is ongoing" in the area, the Qatar Museums Authority explained.
Four people, including an eight-year old girl, died after masked gunmen opened fire on a wedding in Giza on Sunday evening, 20 October. As wedding guests were leaving the Coptic Orthodox Church of the Virgin Mary in Warraq al-Hadar, Giza, a car and a motorcycle pulled up, and a masked gunman on the motorcycle opened fire with an automatic weapon. At least 15 bullets were fired indiscriminately before the attackers drove away. Two guests were killed during the attack, with two more dying later from gunshot wounds.
South African Bishop Kevin Dowling, head of the Tapologo project in Rustenburg, will be one of the key speakers along with Bishop Pat Lynch, Chair of the Office for Migration Policy, Bruce Kent, Vice-President of Pax Christi and Sisters from the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary at the Salvation Army headquarters in Oxford Street on Saturday 19 October. The event, organised by the Justice and Peace Assembly, takes place a day before World Mission Sunday, the one day in the Church calendar when
This morning the Holy Father received in audience Mahmoud Abbas, president of the State of Palestine, who subsequently went on to meet with Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States. During the cordial discussions, reference was made to the situation in the Middle East, and in particular to the reinstatement of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. The Parties expressed their hope that this process may bear fruit and enable a just and lasting solution to be found to the conflict,
SOAS, University of London marks the bicentenary of the birth of the missionary and explorer, Dr David Livingstone, with an exhibition at the Brunei Gallery. The show will bring together, for the first time, rarely seen letters, photographs, maps and artefacts, including a set of surgical instruments thought to have belonged to this iconic figure. Lionised for decades after his death, Livingstone's reputation has come to be viewed more critically in recent times. But he remains one of the best known British explorers and humanitarian campaigners of the 19th century,
Yesterday, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem met the Tourism Minister of Israel for the first time, to discuss enhanced cooperation on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Dr Landau said: “This meeting heralds the beginning of enhanced and prolonged cooperation between the ministry and the Catholic Church. Pilgrimage serves as a bridge for peace, bringing together peoples and cultures from around the world.” The Patriarch spoke of a “spirit of authentic cooperation and strong communication. We share a mutual interest in providing hospitality and services for pilgrims
This morning in the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis visited the staff of the Secretariat of State on the occasion of the end of the mandate of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone SDB as secretary of State, a role in which he will be succeeded by Archbishop Pietro Parolin, formerly apostolic nuncio to Venezuela. Archbishop Parolin will assume his role within a few weeks as he has had to undergo an operation that prevented him from being present today. “At this moment”, the Pope said, “I wish to share with you all my feelings of gratitude”.
The 2013 Archbishop Romero Memorial Lecture will be given by Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP, former Prior General of the Dominican Order. His title is: A Disturbing Truth - The Church, the Poor and Oscar Romero'. The lecture will take place in London, Manchester and Edinburgh as follows:- London: Westminster Abbey, London SW1P 3PA on Tuesday 29 October at 6.30pm. Tickets available free - from
History was made last night when a new text for the Catholic Mass which integrates centuries old Anglican prayers into the Roman Rite was officially introduced in a London church. The historic new liturgy, known as the Ordinariate Use, has been devised for the personal ordinariates – the structures set up by Benedict XVI to allow Anglicans to enter into full communion with the Pope, whilst preserving elements of their distinctive Anglican liturgical and pastoral traditions.
The £12bn Church Investors Group, made up of 46 members connected with churches predominantly located in Britain and Ireland, is pleased to report positive progress on its initiative encouraging UK companies to take action to disclose and manage their carbon emissions. The Carbon Disclosure Project's (CDP) FTSE350 Climate Change Report revealed that 72% of the 53 companies contacted by the CIG because they were considered to be laggards, have improved their CDP score.
In a meeting today with the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, COMECE President, expressed his deep concern for the situation of refugees and asylum seekers, especially after the tragedy off Lampedusa, where an estimated 280 people died whilst attempting to reach the shores of Europe. In the light of this tragedy, Cardinal Marx has urged the Europeans to act: “The EU is not an abstract international body. It is a union of peoples, of women and men who believe in a set of principles,
Anglican Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali warned that Britain risks becoming actively 'anti-Christian' at a book launch in London last night, 7 October. Bishop Nazir-Ali made the comments during a speech at the launch of Wilberforce Publications, a new Christian publishing house seeking to equip Christians to “face the challenges of the secular world”. Drawing on his own experience of persecution, both personally and as President of OXTRAD, Bishop Nazir-Ali said that persecution "always begins with marginalisation and discrimination in the workplace and in public life".
"The great warmth and kindness of the welcome we received in Rome speaks eloquently of the state of the relationship between the Catholic Church and their ecumenical partners", commented David Cornick, General Secretary of Churches Together in England. He was speaking after a visit to Rome by the National Ecumenical Officers of the Church of England, the Methodist Church, the Salvation Army, and the Baptist Union of Great Britain between 30 September and 3 October 2013.
The Slovak Catholic Mission in London (SCM) organised a multicultural event entitled ‘The Mission’ at Westminster Cathedral Hall on Saturday 5 October. Its aim was to explore what the meaning of the word ‘mission’ is and how each of us can become a missionary in the world of today. During the day SCM introduced Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius, the missionaries to the Slavs, and their legacy to the members of Catholic Ethnic Chaplaincies in London. More than 150 participants had an opportunity to listen to the inspiring
Pax Christi International Co-Presidents Marie Dennis and Bishop Kevin Dowling, delivered the following goodwill message at the Pacem in Terris 50th anniversary conference which took place in Rome, from 2-4 October. The aim of this celebration, as explained by Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, during a recent press conference, is to “verify the translation [of the encyclical] in practice of its fundamental teachings in the field of human rights,
Durham University’s Centre for Catholic Studies has announced the first set of speakers this academic year in its highly successful series of Ushaw Lectures. Those giving the lectures include the authors of two acclaimed biographies: one on Pope Francis and the other on the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy. Sr Mary Sullivan, professor and dean emerita of the Rochester Institute of Technology opens the series on 17 October with a talk about Catherine McAuley, the nineteenth century foundress of the pioneering Sisters of Mercy.
The Holy Father began his pastoral visit to Assisi this morning, to celebrate the feast of St Francis, patron of Italy. The Pope's helicopter landed a quarter of an hour ahead of schedule - at 7.30am - in the sports field of the Seraphic Institute of Assisi, where he greeted a group of sick and disabled children. Pope Francis was accompanied by the eight members of the Council of Cardinals, who concluded their first meeting in the Vatican yesterday afternoon. Upon his arrival, the Pope was received by Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino,
The Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Communion will join the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom in praying for Egypt, Syria and the wider Middle East during a special service in Guildford on Saturday 5 October 2013 at 7pm.
After a long postponement, the International Anglican-Oriental Commission is meeting 3-6 October to discuss matters of Christology and the Holy Spirit. On Saturday, the Commission will meet with the local Coptic Orthodox community in the United Kingdom to pray for Egypt, Syria and the wider Middle East
The 'International Day of Older Persons' was celebrated on 1 October. To mark the day, Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (for Health Pastoral Care) published a message from its president, Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, entitled 'The value of the life of the elderly'. “This day constitutes an important occasion, destined to assume ever greater relevance, considering that there estimated to be over 600 million older people in the world, and that the progressive ageing of the world population could, within a decade, bring this figure to over a billion elderly people.
On Monday, the Vatican announced the establishment of a new Council of Cardinals, represent the Church on the different continents, from Africa and Asia, Europe and Australia, North, Central and South America, with Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Governing body of Vatican City State. Together with the Italian bishop of Albano serving as secretary and Pope Francis himself, this small group will be working from today (Tuesday) to Thursday, behind the closed doors of the library inside the Apostolic Palace where most previous popes have lived
Daniel O’Connor, a Columban priest from New Zealand working in the Diocese of Hyderabad in Pakistan, reports on the aftermath of the Peshawar church bombing two weeks ago. The prayerful and peaceful atmosphere created by the 600-strong congregation in All Saints Anglican Church, Peshawar, was shattered on 22 September when two suicide bombers exploded their bombs and killed 85 people, plus injuring and maiming many more. Militants linked to Pakistani Taliban have said they carried out the bombing in the city,
Bishop William Kenney led the opening words at a service held in the Garden at Friends House in London today to mark the World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel . The week, called for by the World Council of Churches invites members churches and faith communities to come together for a week of prayer, education and advocacy for an end to the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine and a just end to the conflict. Before the service began Bishop Kenney and Rev Paul Dean representing the United Reform Church joined others in playing the life-size 'Occupation: a game of life',
Archbishop Leo Cushley, who was installed last week as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, has signalled his intention to take a different approach to that of his predecessor Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Instead of focussing on issues of sex and morality he says he intends to re-open an office dedicated to charitable work with the poor and marginalised. In an interview with The Herald, he said: "There is something else we can do more of, that we're very good at but that we've forgotten the importance of,
The Bilateral Commission of the Holy See and the State of Palestine, which is working on a Global Agreement following the Basic Agreement, signed on 15 February 2000, met on Thursday in a Plenary Session in the Vatican to acknowledge the work carried out at an informal level by the joint technical group following the last official meeting held in Ramallah at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine on 30 January 2013, and to plan future progress, with the aim of accelerating the concluding of the Agreement.
Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for the Holy See's Relations with States, participated in a high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on nuclear disarmament, held in New York on 26 September. The archbishop made public his concerns regarding the proliferation of nuclear weapons into other countries, and commented that the matter cannot be fully addressed as long as nuclear states hold on to their arsenals. "Under the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, states are enjoined to make 'good faith' efforts to negotiate the elimination of nuclear weapons. Can we say there is 'good faith'
An Ecumenical service and gathering will take place this Saturday, 28 September 2013 from 2-3pm in The Garden, Friends Meeting House, Euston as part of the World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel.
The service will be lead by Bishop William Kenny, from the RC Diocese of Birmingham, Reverend Paul Dean, United Reform Church, Kent and Rev Torbjorn Holt, Chair, Council of Lutheran Churches in the UK. There will be time for tea and meeting after the service.
A Brazilian man has been convicted of murdering American nun Sister Dorothy Stang in 2005. Vitalmiro Bastos Moura has been sent to prison for 30 years. he was originally given a 38 year sentence at his first trial in 2007. He was acquitted after a retrial in the the following year, but when it was discovered that he had bribed a witness, the court decided to keep him in prison. Sister Dorothy, who belonged to the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur,
Governments have made several major breakthroughs in talks about what should replace the Millennium Development Goals in 2016 – although there are still challenges ahead, says Christian Aid. "It is extremely encouraging that governments have agreed that the new goals should include some absolutely crucial ingredients for a better future," said Helen Dennis, Christian Aid’s Senior Advisor on Poverty & Inequality. The major breakthroughs include the recognition that all countries,
Bishop Tom Burns of seafarers’ charity, the Apostleship of the Sea has underlined the role the charity has of speaking out for seafarers who have been ill treated. On the eve of the feast of Our Lady Star of the Sea, Bishop Burns hailed the important work of the charity at a Mass in Westminster Cathedral on Wednesday, 25 October. Bishop Burns noted that abuse, when it occurs in the shipping industry has its roots in a spiritual crisis, "It’s not that God has moved away from us.
Jesus is always by our side, accompanying us in the good and the bad times. That’s what Pope Francis told those gathered for Mass at Casa Santa Marta early Tuesday morning. Drawing from the morning’s reading from the passage in Psalms: “We will go with joy to the House of the Lord,” saying the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is not a “magic rite” but an encounter with Jesus, our companion in life. Throughout the history of the People of God, there have been “beautiful moments which bring joy” but also ugly moments “of pain, martyrdom and sin.”
Christian Aid is urging governments to heed the warnings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which publishes its new report on the state of the world’s climate on Friday, 27 September. The report, only the fifth since the body was formed in 1988 and the first since 2007, is expected to say that scientists are now 95% certain that human activity is driving climate change, up from 90% six years ago. Christian Aid’s Senior Climate Change Advisor, Dr Alison Doig, warns that people in developing countries are already facing the grim reality of a changing
Two suicide bombers attacked a 130-year-old church in the north of Pakistan, killing more than 80 people. A few hours after the explosion Pakistan's Catholic bishops issued a statement condemning the murders which took place at All Saints Anglican Church yesterday (22 September). In the statement Archbishop Joseph Coutts of Karachi, president of Pakistan Catholic Bishops' Conference, said: "The attacking of innocent men, women and children while praying in the church is a shameful act of cowardice."
The Annual Reunion of the Friends of the Venerabile took place last Sunday at the Church of St Mary Moorfields, in the City of London, attended by some 60 members. The reunion started with Mass celebrated by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, President of the Friends. During the meeting which followed, the Cardinal unveiled a portrait of Monsignor Nicholas Hudson, Rector of the Venerable English College from 2004 to 2013. The portrait was painted by celebrated artist Michael Noakes,
A Catholic parish in Tottenham, north London, has become the first in Westminster Archdiocese to receive the Livesimply Award. The Livesimply group at St John Vianney, West Green, was presented with the award after the 11am Mass on Sunday 22 September by two Livesimply assessors: Ellen Teague, journalist and member of the Columban Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Team, and Simon Brown of Eco-Congregation and A Rocha UK, who was cheered for arriving on his bike!
Archbishop Peter Smith presided at an Ecumenical Service of Prayer with the blessing and dedication of the Romero Cross and Memorial at Saint George's Cathedral in Southwark, on Thursday evening. The Cross was commissioned by The Archbishop Romero Trust in conjunction with the Cathedral and CAFOD. It contains two relics of Archbishop Romero, who was martyred while celebrating Mass on 24 March 1980 in the chapel of The Divine Providence cancer hospital in San Salvador. The relics are a piece of the blood-stained alb he was wearing at the time and his skull-cap.
The Episcopal Ordination of Archbishop Leo Cushley took place in a crowded service at St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh on Saturday, 21 September. Archbishop Cushley was appointed new Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh by Pope Francis on 24 July. He replaces Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who stood down in February, and is the eighth Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh since the restoration of the Catholic Hierarchy in 1878.
Archbishop Chushley, 52, was consecrated by Cardinal James Harvey, the principal
On Saturday, Pope Francis told participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, that their task was to "understand how to enter into dialogue with men and women today, in order to appreciate their desires, their doubts and their hopes.” “The challenge is to rediscover, through the means of social communication as well as by personal contact, the beauty that is at the heart of our existence and our journey, the beauty of faith and of the encounter with Christ,” he said.
A Melkite Catholic nun, who has lived and worked in Syria for 20 years has complied a comprehensive report on some recent films and images of the civil war which are being circulated by the media. Mother Agnes Mariam el-Salib, Mother Superior of St James' Monastery in Qara, questions the validity of the photographs and video footage which are being circulated as proof that the Syrian President used sarin gas on his own people. No one doubts that a lot of children died, but Mother Agnes has examined the pictures and asked
The official opening of St Richard Reynolds School took place on 19 September with an outdoor Mass celebrated by The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, with The Most Revd Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark, The Most Revd George Stack, Archbishop of Cardiff, Bishop Richard Moth, Bishop of the Armed Forces, Bishop John Sherrington, Chairman of the Diocese of Westminster Education Commission with Parish Priests from the Catholic parishes in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and beyond.
More than a million people have now signed the pan-European petition: 'One of Us' petition - calling for the EU to stop funding activities which result in the destruction of human embryos. This means that ‘One of Us’ leaders will now be given an official public hearing in the European Parliament to outline the need for legislation to protect the human embryo. Archbishop Peter Smith said: "Sunday, 22 September has been set aside as the ‘One of Us Click and Sign’. The petition officially closes on 1 November
The Diocese of Northamption has fraken the first steps to opening the Cause of GK Chesterton. In a statement this morning it says: 'Since the Right Reverend Peter Doyle was appointed Bishop of Northampton in June 2005, there have been a number of approaches from people in the UK and, in particular, in the USA enquiring about the possibility of opening the Cause of GK Chesterton. 'In response to these approaches, the Bishop has appointed Canon John Udris,
Two of the world’s best known snooker players visited the Father Ray Children’s Home in Pattaya, Thailand last week, where they played several games of pool with the children. Snooker legend Jimmy 'the Whirlwind' White and former world champion Ken Doherty, who were in the country for the Six-Red Snooker Tournament in Bangkok, took time out of their busy schedule to visit the home which looks after children who have been orphaned, abused or abandoned on the streets of Pattaya.
A Catholic layman from the diocese of Brentwood and former provincial secretary for the Knights of St Columba, has been appointed as an ambassador to support work in Nepal rescuing and caring for trafficked children. Geoff Pugh will be available to talk to churches and groups and invite their financial support. He will be part of a team working to reunite 67 children, currently in the protection of a safe house, with their families. Some will go home for the first time in over eight years.
It may seem a long journey from being a Greenham Common protester to becoming a nun, but former member of the Greenham women’s camp Naomi Hamilton saw no contradiction as she made her first profession of vows on Saturday as a sister of the Congregation of Jesus in York’s historic Bar Convent. An international crowd of friends, family and sisters from as far as Chile, Korea and Slovakia as well as England and Germany gathered to witness Sister Naomi make vows of poverty, chastity and obedience into the hands of Sister Jane Livesey, the first British general superior of the congregation in over two hundred years.
The Italian daily Il Messagero has reported that shortly after his election, the Pope instructed the Secretariat of State to stop approving requests for priests to be given the rank of monsignor. The Pope said that the moratorium on granting the title should continue at least until October; it is not clear whether he will continue the new policy beyond that time. The moratorium does not apply to members of the Vatican diplomatic corps who are given the title 'monsignor' in connection with their assignments as representatives of the Holy See.
To mark the beginning of the new school year, CAFOD is launching two new primary school resources designed to encourage children to explore the similarities and differences between their lives and the lives of children growing up in Bangladesh. A Day with Musa, a big book aimed at Early Years and Key Stage 1, follows a typical day in the life of Bangladeshi schoolboy Musa. With colourful images, the story looks at the beauty and vibrancy of life in Bangladesh. The book encourages an understanding of the wider world, and supports learning across
The Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom celebrated the Feast of Nayrouz, marking the new Coptic Year in St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey on 10 September 2013, with messages from Her Majesty the Queen and His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, and addresses by members of both Houses of Parliament. The evening service of Coptic chants, prayers, readings and a homily was attended by members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons as well as heads and representatives of numerous
The Feast of Nayrouz is a Feast of new beginnings in which, as with the beginning of the calendar year, we assess our lives and we try to start again. New beginnings are always wonderful, whether it be that new page in your book that looks so crisp, or that New Year’s resolution of going to the gym right at the beginning of the year. Either way, we like fresh starts. Newness must not be a patchwork, but rather a complete start; something that it is begun in a way that gives it the ability to grow;
Almost 3,000 tickets have been bought for Ten Ten Theatre’s new production of David Gooderson’s powerful play “Kolbe’s Gift” at The Leicester Square Theatre in October. The play tells the story of Polish Franciscan priest Maximilian Kolbe who sacrificed his own life to save another man condemned to death in the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1941. Whilst Kolbe was later canonised, the play explores what happened to the man whose life was saved, Franek Gajowniczek.
Decisions on a new global plan for ending poverty and protecting the environment must be informed by the voices of poor people, Christian Aid Chair Rowan Williams says in a new report today. Urging governments to step up their commitment to both the existing Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the new goals that will follow them, he says: "We are looking at the kind of world we can envisage in 10 or 20 years’ time. Do we actively want widening gaps between rich and poor, with all the instability that entails,
The 2013 National Gathering of The Friends of the Holy Land met on Saturday (7 September) to plan next year’s work among the poorest Christian people in the Holy Land, and to look back over a busy and successful year. Eighty Friends and their supporters came to the National Gathering from Catholic and Anglican parishes across the country. The charity’s projects help needy Christian children, families and the elderly in the West Bank and Gaza, and has now extended that to Syrian Christians fleeing to Jordan.
Research into religious discrimination in England and Wales since the first law barring it - the 2003 Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations - has been published. The report - Religion and Belief, Discrimination and Equality in England and Wales: A Decade of Continuity and Change - was led by Paul Weller, Professor of Inter-Religious Relations at the University of Derby, working with Oxford and Manchester universities. It builds on Professor Weller's research for the Home Office
A silent vigil, for peace in Syria, took place in Coventry on Saturday. Organised by Pax Christi and CAFOD, participants from Coventry, Kenilworth and Stratford were joined by Bishop of Coventry, Rt Rev Christopher Cocksworth and Cllr Ram Lakha, former Mayor. Sitting on the steps of the old Cathedral, the ruins were reflected in the West Window of the new Cathedral with its etchings of angels and saints, reminding us of the tragedy of war and importance of reconciliation. Behind us, the cross on the altar in the ruins bears the inscription, ‘Father Forgive’.
There has been widespread condemnation by church leaders and aid organisations after more than 52 Iranian refugees were killed on Sunday at Camp Ashraf in Iraq. The Mujahideen-e Khalq group accuse the Iraqi army of attacking the camp, but officials deny that any soldiers had gone there. The UN mission in Iraq has called on Iraqi officials to ensure security for residents at the camp and urged an end to the violence so medical help could reach the wounded.
On Friday 4 October, the feast of St Francis, Pope Francis will spend the day in Assisi, where the saint was born was born. On his arrival by helicopter at the sports field of the Seraphic Institute of Assisi, he will meet with disabled and sick children. From there he will make a private visit to the Shrine of St Damiano to pray, before proceeding to the archbishop's residence, where he will meet with people assisted by Caritas. He will then be driven to the Superior Basilica of St Francis where he will be received by the friars and pray in the crypt where the saint is buried.
Caritas Internationalis says that the ongoing civil war in Syria can only be resolved through inclusive peace talks. In a statement the international Catholic agency says: 'The alleged use of chemical weapons in Damascus has highlighted how catastrophic the humanitarian situation has become for millions of people in Syria. The use of chemical weapons is an horrific crime. 'Caritas condemns all attacks against civilians. The combatants have a duty under international law to protect civilian lives.
The Requiem Mass for Ireland's Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney was held today in the Church of the Sacred Heart, in Donnybrook, County Dublin. Later he was laid to rest in his native Bellaghy in County Londonderry. Mourners at the Mass were led by his widow, Marie, and their three children, Christopher, Michael and Catherine Ann. The poet's brother, Pat Heaney, niece Sarah Heaney and his brother-in-law Barry Devlin, from the band Horslips, were among family members who took part, together with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny,
Bishops in the Lebanon say the country can only avoid the many pitfalls that threaten its stability if it remains out of the wars raging on its borders and maintain its "neutrality before the on-going conflicts at a regional and international level". The Council of Maronite Bishops gathered for their monthly meeting yesterday, Wednesday, 7 August at Dimane, the patriarchal summer seat. The bishops, under the presidency of Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai,
Fr Robert Matau is the only diocesan Romanian priest working in England. Based at the parish of St Sebastian & St Pancras Church in Kingsbury, north London, he has been chaplain to the Romanian community in the UK since 2007, after his country joined the EU. “Most Romanians live in northwest London, and my work is based here” he explained, “but I do try to get to see Romanians around the country.” When Fr Robert arrived, he stayed at Allen Hall seminary, and says that from the beginning, the diocese has been very supportive.
In a nationally televised Mass, attended by more than 200 thousand faithful gathered at the Shrine of La Grita, the Bishop of the Diocese of San Cristobal de Venezuela, Mgr Mario del Valle Moronta Rodriguez, celebrated the feast of the Santo Cristo de La Grita, the patron of Venezuela, yesterday. During his homily, Bishop Moronta harshly criticized "the shamelessness" with which many are dedicated to the smuggling of food and gasoline, especially in this border area. Grita is a Venezuelan city very close to the border with Colombia.
The Jesuits of the Middle East have issued a statement expressing their deep worry over the fate of two priests working in northern Syria. Provincial Fr Victor Assouad SJ, said that Italian Fr Paolo Dall'Oglio has been missing in northern Syria for a week, and has possibly been kidnapped by jihadist groups operating in the area. He said that another confere, Father Frans van der Lugt, and the people he is living with, are trapped in the Jesuit residence in Boustan Diwan, in the centre of the city of Homs,
‘All is vanity’ says the Preacher. Those words have figured in so many old sermons and prayer books about the spiritual life . ’Look for the things in heaven' says St Paul in his letter to the Colossians, ‘not on the things of earth!’. Frankly I disagree with that perception, because they start with a negative premise, that somehow this earth isn’t the ‘real thing’. Well maybe earth isn’t the New Jerusalem or the Heavenly City, but as Jesus says so often, the Kingdom of God is to be found in and on it!
More than 20,000 people took part in the annual Croagh Patrick (St Patrick's Mountain) pilgrimage over the weekend. They were led by Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam who was accompanied by Archbishop Charles J. Brown, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland and Bishop Brendan Kelly, Bishop of Achonry. Archbishop Neary delivered this homily on Sunday 28 July on the summit of Croagh Patrick during the 10.30am Mass... 'Far from standing in the way of human development faith inspires personal development, and initiatives; it gives a sense of
The Apostleship of Prayer has announced the Holy Father’s prayer intentions for August.
GENERAL INTENTION: That parents and teachers may help the new generation to grow in upright conscience and life.
MISSION INTENTION: That the local Church in Africa, faithfully proclaiming the Gospel, may promote peace and justice.
The following pastoral comment was released by the Apostleship of Prayer on the General Intention. The primary vocation and mission of parents and educators is to be living witnesses of faith,
Ireland will be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on August 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The consecration will take place at Knock Shrine, during the annual Novena to Our Lady of Knock. Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland will lead the Act of Consecration. Archbishop Eamon Martin, Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh will be the principal celebrant and preacher at the Mass on that day.
Christians active against the Replacement of Trident, the UK’s nuclear weapons system, which will be assembled at Aldermaston Atomic Weapons establishment cross the Channel to join forces with the French peace movement in Dijon. They go to make common cause with the French Peace Activists there who protest against the Centre de Recherche Nucleaire at Valduc, (just north of Dijon), just as they themselves protest against the Replacement of Trident, the UK Nuclear weapons system, that will be built at Aldermaston AWE.(just west of London).
While welcoming the resumption of peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinian Authority, brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry, the path forward is fraught with many major obstacles, in particular the settlements which the Israelis are continuing to build in the Palestinian Territories, and the Separation Wall, Fr Raed Abusahliah, director of Caritas Jerusalem said yesterday. "The only way to solve problems is to negotiate" he said, but Fr Raed added that he did not have "too many" expectations."
Israeli forces raided the Cremisan Monastery in Bethlehem late on Sunday, 28 July 28. Witnesses told the Palestinian News and Info Agency (WAFA) that Israeli soldiers broke into the monastery, held the people who were inside, and inspected their personal documents. The raid has been condemned as a violation of the sanctity of places of worship, and a violation of international law. Under Human Rights Law, Israel must “ensure that religious places, sites, shrines and symbols are fully respected and protected”,
Thirty eight pilgrims were killed on Sunday when a coach carrying pilgrims from the birthplace of Padre Pio plunged over a viaduct on the road between Naples and Canosa. At least ten people are seriously injured. The coach was carrying 50 passengers including several children. A message has been sent on behalf of Pope Francis to Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, archbishop of Naples and president of the Episcopal Conference for the region of Campania, expressing condolences for the victims of the crash and their families.
Nine weeks of walking finished for a group of pilgrims when they arrived in London from Iona last week. They had been carrying a message that the £100 billion the Government are proposing to spend on renewing Trident nuclear weapons would be far better spent meeting essential human needs. Once in London the Pilgrims visited Downing Street; met with MPS, including Guy Opermann (Hexham, Conservative) at Westminster; and held a large public event in Trafalgar Square.
One of the biggest surprises of this year’s London Film Festival has to be Haifaa al Mansour’s wonderful debut film, Wadjda. It is the first-ever feature film to be made in Saudi Arabia, where cinema and film are banned. It is directed by a highly talented and gifted woman who sets out to confront our perceptions of her homeland whilst telling a story with universal themes of hope and perseverance. It is a real gem and when it goes on general release, be sure to see it. It will lift your spirits and put a spring into your understanding of Arab culture and identity
Father Ray Browne was ordained on Sunday as Bishop of Kerry in Saint Mary's Cathedral, Killarney. The ordination was attended by over 1,200 guests. The principal ordaining bishop was Archbishop Dermot Clifford, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, assisted by His Excellency the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles J Brown and Bishop William Murphy, Bishop of Kerry. The ordination was concelebrated by His Eminence Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.
Pax Christi is looking for a coordinator for distribution and promotion of publications and support for members around the country The person appointed will be a good team worker and highly motivated to work under own initiative. The person will be responsible for both the managing, promotion and dispatch of Pax Christi publications and support for Pax Christi members and partners in their promotion of Pax Christi’s work in England and Wales.
Churches in the United States are welcoming the news that Secretary John Kerry may have succeeded in his efforts to resume direct Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) report that this evening (Friday 19 July 2013) during his sixth visit to the region in four months, Kerry told reporters in Jordan: "We have reached an agreement that establishes a basis for resuming direct final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis… The agreement is still in the process of being formalized."
Sunday, 14 July 2013, marked the 34th anniversary of the death of a British born Jesuit of the Guyana Region, Father Bernard Darke SJ, murdered as he took photos of a demonstration in Georgetown, Guyana. A gang of supporters of the then Government had attacked demonstrators from the Working People's Alliance and then turned on bystanders. Among them was the assistant editor of the Catholic Standard, Mike James, and Fr Darke, who was one of the newspaper's photographers.
The Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Norwich resounded with song and applause today (Tuesday 16 July) when Bishop Alan Hopes was installed as the fourth bishop of the Diocese of East Anglia. More than 2000 people from across the Diocese gathered to welcome him, with members of his family and many of his friends from his former Archdiocese of Westminster, where he served for ten years as an auxiliary bishop. The Apostolic Nuncio, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, almost all the Catholic bishops of England and Wales,
Christian Aid has welcomed a new UK aid funded programme to tackle the exploitation of domestic workers in South Asia and the Middle East, but it says the UK government should back its commitment by supporting an international convention aimed at tackling that exploitation. A new ‘Work in Freedom’ programme to fight the trafficking of women and girls from South Asia is launched today by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Today, Burma’s President General Thein Sein held talks with David Cameron and William Hague in London. This week marks the anniversary of the assassination of Burma’s charismatic founding-father General Aung San on July 19, 1947 in downtown Yangon. London band Ooberfuse are set to release their new single Glass Splinters on 19 July 2013 over 60 years after the assassination of Burma’s founding-Father. The song begins with words from General Aung San’s daughter, Burma’s democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi,
Prayers have been said across Canada for victims of the train derailment which caused catastrophic explosions in the small Quebec town of Lac-Megantic. The bodies of 33 people had been found by Saturday night. Another 17 people are missing and presumed dead. On Friday evening, a candlelight vigil was held at Lac-Megantic's Saint Agnes church, near the site of the crash. At midday on Saturday, people gathered on the huge steps of the church, while the bells were tolled 50 times, once for each person who died.
Today, 11 July, is two years since the death of Michael Evans, Bishop of East Anglia. To coincide with the anniversary it has been announced that a huge Romero Cross and Reliquary will be erected in the Metropolitan Cathedral of St George Southwark, in honour of the martyred Archbishop Romero, and dedicated to Bishop Michael Evans. The three-dimensional painted Salvadoran Cross (four metres high), containing a fragment of Archbishop Romero’s blood-stained alb and his zucchetto, will be installed in September.
Journalists in the Holy See Press Office busy getting to grips with Pope Francis’ first encyclical the Light of Faith, were somewhat surprised on Friday lunchtime when Director Fr Federico Lombardi SJ called them back for a second announcement: Pope Francis had approved the cause for canonization of two of his venerable and much loved predecessors Blessed John XXIII and Blessed Pope John Paul II. Meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints, on Friday morning, Pope Francis
CAFOD welcomes Pope Francis’ first Encyclical Lumen Fidei, reminding us all that our faith is an amazing gift from God and a powerful force for good that can transform people’s lives. This encyclical on faith is the third in a series on faith, hope and love, following on from ‘Deus Caritas Est’ in 2005, and ‘Spe Salvi’ in 2007. The Pope’s words invite us to respond to the gift of faith which transforms us so that we see and hear the world in a different way, and we see
A press conference was held this morning at the Vatican to present Pope Francis' first encyclical, 'Lumen Fidei'. The conference was presented by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, PSS, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and Archbishops Gerhard Ludwig Muller and Rino Fisichella, respectively prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and president of the Pontifical Council for New Evangelization. Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller began the presentations, explaining that “'Lumen Fidei' is divided into four parts, which can be seen as four aspects of one whole”.
Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, will lead the annual Festival of Saint Oliver Plunkett in Drogheda, Co Louth, this Sunday, 7 July. The 2013 procession, culminating in the celebration of the festival Mass, will commemorate the 93rd anniversary of the beatification of Saint Oliver by Pope Benedict XV on 23 May 1920, and the 38th anniversary of his canonisation by Pope Paul VI on 12 October 1975. His Excellency the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Charles J Brown, will be this year's homilist
The Jesuits of East London are offering a day of spiritual relaxation and refreshment this month in the form of an Urban Retreat. Geared specifically for people with busy working lives, the day will be held at the Hurtado Jesuit Centre in Wapping on Saturday 27 July and will be rooted in Ignatian Spirituality. "Our life and work in this part of London can be energising, vibrant and meaningful," says Brian Purfield, who will be one of those guiding the day. "But it can also be busy, tiring and stressful. This peaceful urban retreat day is an
Study, meditation and mortification are not enough to bring us to encounter the living Christ. Like St Thomas, our life will only be changed when we touch Christ’s wounds present in the poor, sick and needy. This was the lesson drawn by Pope Francis during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today, the Feast of St Thomas. Jesus after the Resurrection, appears to the apostles, but Thomas is not there: "He wanted him to wait a week - said Pope Frances - The Lord knows why he does such things.
Bracing wind, rain and stormy conditions in the Peak District, a priest undertook a 100-mile bicycle ride to raise funds to send youngsters from a poverty stricken part of Brazil to World Youth Day. Fr James Shekelton – accompanied by his brother John and Albert Font, a young parishioner from St Marie's Cathedral, Sheffield – completed the cycle ride from Sheffield to Manchester city centre and back last Friday (28 June). All the money raised will help Fr James' other brother, Fr Peter Shekelton, take 30 deprived young people from Barcelos, Brazil
The resignations of the director and deputy director of the Vatican Bank were announced yesterday. Director Paolo Cipriani and Deputy Director Massimo Tulli have offered their resignations from their current positions. In a statement the Vatican Press Office said that after many years of service both had decided that this decision would be in the best interest of the Institute and the Holy See. The Oversight Council and the Commission of Cardinals have accepted their resignations and asked President Ernst von Freyberg to assume the functions
Those who work with schools and youth groups will be interested to see Justice and Peace resources produced by the Commission for the Promotion of Justice, Peace and Social Responsibility in Shrewsbury Diocese. Many of the materials have been written by Anne O’Connor of the Commission. Despite the controversial decision of the diocese to dispense with its Justice and Peace Fieldworker in May 2012 – after 22 years of service – the Commission is continuing its mission. Its members say: “Everyone has agreed it is vital to maintain a strong J&P presence
A new research project at Oxford will examine whether animals benefit or suffer thanks to religion. Inspired by Baptist Preacher Charles Surgeon's claim that a person cannot be a true Christian if his dog or cat is not the better off for it, the Centre will explore whether religious traditions are animal-friendly. The questions to be addressed include whether religious people and religious institutions benefit animals? Are they more or less likely to be respectful to animals – either those kept as companions or those used for other human purposes?
The level of destruction caused by Seleka rebels in Central Africa has reached unprecedented levels, Mgr Dieudonne Nzapalainga, Archbishop of Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, told the 'Journal de Bangui' shortly before leaving for Rome to receive receive the pallium from Pope Francis yesterday. Besides destroying private property, the rebels and mercenaries have also smashed up administrative government offices. "What drives these people to annihilate the memory by burning administrative documents and other archives?"
The UK looks set to become the first country to allow the creation of babies using DNA from three people, after the government backed the IVF technique. Professor Dame Sally Davies, the government's chief medical officer announced today that the government intends to bring forth draft regulations to allow the abnormal creation of human embryos in order to address mitochondrial diseases. In a statement, Dame Sally described the research as "life-saving treatment". The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) said:
A senior Italian cleric has been arrested today in connection with an inquiry into the Institute for the Works of Religion, know as the Vatican Bank,. Monsignor Nunzio Scarano works in the Vatican's financial administration. A secret service agent and a financial broker have also been arrested. They are suspected of trying to move 20m euros (£17m) illegally into Italy. The arrests come just two days after Pope Francis established a commission to review the bank.
Members of the Catholic Association for Performing Arts, (formerly the Catholic Stage Guild), met for their annual summer gathering in Covent Garden on Wednesday evening. Mass at Corpus Christi's in Maiden Lane, was celebrated by Fr Alan Robinson, with soloist Breda McKinney accompanied by David Hoyland. Afterwards, there was a reception at the Club for Acts and Actors. Michael Slater and Dutch actress Martha Van Der Bly read two scenes from the play 'And Then They Came for Me - Remembering the World of Ann Frank and Eva Schloss',
There are people who "masquerade as Christians," and sin by being excessively superficial or overly rigid, forgetting that a true Christian is a person of joy who rests their faith on the rock of Christ. Some think they can be Christian without Christ; others think being Christian means being in a perpetual state of mourning. This was the focus of Pope Francis’ homily at morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday. Rigid and sad. Or happy but with no idea of Christian joy. These are two - in a sense opposite - "houses",
Catholic actress Martha Van der Bly gave a talk about her time in South Africa, when she toured with the play 'and then they came for me - Remembering the World of Ann Frank and Eva Schloss' on Wednesday evening at the annual reception for the Catholic Association for Performing Arts in Covent Garden at the Club for Acts and Actors. The talk followed the association's Annual Mass at Corpus Christi Church in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden which was celebrated by Fr Alan Robinson. Breda McKinney was the soloist.
A group of pilgrims have now walked more than 400 miles to present a declaration to Parliament calling on the UK Government to abandon the renewal of the £100 billion Trident Nuclear Missile System. They are calling for education, the NHS and other hard-pressed public services to be prioritised. Even though they are still four weeks (and over 350 miles) from London, the walkers have already attracted a lot of media attention with two appearances on BBC Radio, a mention in the Guardian and wide local media coverage in their wake.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has welcomed today’s decision by European Union (EU) Foreign Ministers in Brussels to adopt Guidelines on Freedom of Religion or Belief, fulfilling a commitment that was made in the EU Human Rights Strategy one year ago. As the tenth set of EU human rights Guidelines, the document outlines priority areas and operational tools for the promotion of religious freedom, with the aim of equipping the EU to support individuals and communities who face infringements to this right,
This morning (Monday) Pope Francis received in audience Mr Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, a human rights campaigner and Nobel Peace Laureate, his wife Amanda Asijak, and Mr Félix Díaz, an indigenous Argentinian from the ethnic Qom people, who live in the 'Spring' community in Formosa, Argentina. They were accompanied by Rev Francisco Nazar, Episcopal Vicar for the indigenous populations of the Diocese of Formosa. Díaz expressed his gratitude to the Holy Father for the audience and as an expression of his interest and support.
A dissertation submitted to the University of Hong Kong has found that children in China are more likely to face serious health complications, including death, if their mothers have had multiple induced abortions. The study concluded that having more than one abortion increases the risk of low birth weight in subsequent pregnancies. Indeed, women who have had three or more induced abortions are at five times the risk of preterm birth in a subsequent pregnancy. The study, conducted by Cui Limin, explained that nearly two thirds of neonatal deaths
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, visited England from 12 to 16 June, to further the dialogue with the Jain, Sikh and Hindu communities. The meetings focused on the theme of peace, and the contribution that religions can make to it. The Cardinal also attended an event entitled “Together in Prayer for Peace”. During this event, representatives from the nine main religions in England took turns to offer a prayer for peace in their own tradition.
Heavy floods in southwest France have forced the closure of the shrine at Lourdes and the evacuation of hundreds of pilgrims. A 70 year old woman is reported to have died in the flash floods. Many roads in the region have been closed as the Gave de Pau river burst its banks. Lourdes Mayor Jean-Pierre Artiganave told BFM television that shrine will not reopen until safety can be assured. Diocese spokesman Mathias Terrier said that wasn't likely before the end of the week.
About 450 children of different nationalities, with their teachers, family members and volunteers, are preparing to set off on a special journey through Italy, organised by the Italian Railway System and the Vatican. Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and Mr Mauro Moretti, delegate administrator of the Italian Railway System explained that their 'Journey Through Beauty' will start from Milan on 23 June and make two stops, in Bologna and Florence, before
On Friday, 14 June, Rev Patrick Daly, from Our Lady Immaculate Parish, Chelmsford, was Ordained Deacon at St Paul outside the Walls, Rome. Patrick was ordained as one of twelve, including students from Malta, Ireland and Australia, as well as several Dioceses from England and Wales. Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, Emeritus Archbishop of Westminster, Presided at the Ordinations, (pictured right) and preached about the need for the Deacons to be men of acceptance, forgiveness, and love, modelled on the service and example of Jesus Christ.
The President of the Holy See's Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, and the Bishops' Conference Chair of the Office for Interreligious Relations, the Most Rev Kevin McDonald, joined representatives from many of the world's major religions in London on Thursday, to offer prayers for peace and to bear witness to their longing for a more just and peaceful world. The gathering, 'Together in Prayer for Peace', held in Westminster Cathedral Hall, took its inspiration from the 1986 Day of Prayer for Peace convened by Pope John Paul II in Assisi, Italy.
The Church of England has announced that it will no longer fight the same sex 'marriage' Bill. In a statement, the Anglican Bishop of Leicester, who is the Convenor of the Lords Spiritual, said: “Both Houses of Parliament have now expressed a clear view by large majorities on the principle that there should be legislation to enable same-sex marriages to take place in England and Wales. “It is now the duty and responsibility of the Bishops who sit in the House of Lords to recognise the implications of this decision
Catholic martyrs – both ancient and new – were at the forefront of people's thoughts and prayers during Aid to the Church in Need's pilgrimage to Scotland's shrine to Our Lady in Carfin. The Day of Witness and Faith at Carfin Lourdes Grotto included a Way of the Cross procession with meditations on historic figures including St Thomas Becket and St Joan of Arc as well as Christians killed since 2005 including Fr Ragheed Ganni from Iraq and Shahbaz Bhatti from Pakistan.
The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity has announced that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will be in Rome to visit Pope Francis on Friday, 14 June. “This brief visit”, reads the release, “is of particular interest since it is the first meeting of the Archbishop and the Pope since their inaugurations, which took place at about the same time, just over two months ago.” “This visit is an opportunity for the Archbishop and Pope Francis to review the present state of relations between the Roman Catholic Church and Anglican Communion.
The inter-diocesan seminary 'Jisu Dhyana Niloy' in the Diocese of Dinajpur, in the north of Bangladesh, was attacked on Thursday afternoon by a group of local Muslims. The Bishop of Dinajpur, Mgr Sebastian Tudu, said he was "shocked" because "there is no reason for the gesture." The militants, members of a local Islamic group, forced the door, smashed up the furniture and started beating some of the 25 seminarians who suffered minor injuries. The police were alerted and the Bishop will file a complaint.
This morning in the Paul VI Audience Hall, Pope Francis received students from Jesuit-run schools in Italy and Albania accompanied by their teachers and family members. Seeing the crowd of young people, the Holy Father decided to drop his speech and hold a question and answer session instead. He said: “I've prepared a text but it's five pages and that's a little long. Let's do this: I'll give it to the Provincial Father and Fr Federico Lombardi so that you all can have it written and then some of you will ask me questions and I'll answer them. That way we can talk.”
Today's (Tuesday 4 June) vote by MPs against setting a decarbonisation target in the Energy Bill is ‘deeply disappointing and a missed opportunity’ said Christian Aid. The defeat of a cross-party amendment undermines the growing low carbon energy sector and hampers efforts to tackle climate change which hits the world’s poorest hardest, campaigners said. The amendment to include a decarbonisation target could have put the UK on course for a near carbon free power sector by 2030.
It has been an incredible start to the year here at Good Counsel Network. We have already seen more girls in five months than we have seen in some previous years. Running the intern programme, the ultrasound service, two 40 Days For Life vigils and two permanent daily vigils is all extremely fruitful but at the same time burdensome. In some previous years we would only see a small handful of turnarounds from the Abortion centres, but this year we know of over 60 in London alone.
After two Honduran immigrant women were killed in Chiapas, southern Mexico, on Friday, the Bishop of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Mgr Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, appealed for the government to do more to protect undocumented migrant workers trying to get to the United States from criminal gangs preying on them. Bishop Esquival said the women had been killed on a train after they went to police to report a gang who had tried to extort money from them. On Sunday, Mgr Arizmendi said the fact that Mexico "does not provide protection to those traveling"
The Dormition Abbey, one of the major sites for Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land, was vandalised on Friday. Graffiti and anti-Christian insults in Hebrew were sprayed on a wall. Two cars were also smeared with offensive words and all tyres were slashed. The Abbey is located on Mount Zion in Jerusalem and cared for by German Benedictine monks. One of the gates of the nearby Greek Orthodox cemetery was also marked with graffiti. The offensive words compared Christians to monkeys and called for revenge against Jesus.
The Anglican Archbishop of York has confirmed he is receiving treatment for an advanced form of prostate cancer. Dr John Sentamu, 63, said he had undergone surgery at St James' Hospital in Leeds earlier. In a statement issued on Thursday night Archbishop Sentamu said: "I am thankful and grateful for Mr Bill Cross, and his surgical team at St James’ Hospital Leeds, who today operated on me for a locally advanced cancer of the prostate. I am also grateful to the nursing staff who are caring from me.
I'm so glad you published information about the case of Fr Gordon MacRae recently profiled in the Wall Street Journal. You might wish to know that he writes from prison for a unique blog at www.TheseStoneWalls.com.
An initial conversation took place between the Church Leaders of the Black Pentecostal Churches and the Catholic Church in England and Wales on Tuesday 21 May 2013 at the offices of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales in London. The eleven Bishops and Senior Pastors of the Black Pentecostal Churches were led by Bishop Joe Aldred and the seven representatives of the Catholic Church by Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.
News that both the EU and Russia are now officially supplying weapons to both sides in Syria, has been met with great concern by church leaders, peace campaigners and humanitarian organisations working in the region. Yesterday the European Union agreed to lift its voluntary arms embargo for Syrian rebels. Today Russia confirmed that it is looking into giving the Syrian government more high-powered missiles. This development raises the prospect of a new foreign-fed arms race in the Middle East, which could spill into neighbouring countries.
CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network), has expressed its strong concerns that proposed changes to the legal aid system could see victims of trafficking and domestic violence left without any support or recourse to justice in an open letter to the Secretary of State for Justice, Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP. The letter has been signed by Helen O’Brien, Chief Executive of CSAN; Sr Lynda Dearlove, founder and Director of Women@the Well; Louise Zanre, Director of the Jesuit Refugee Service UK (JRS UK) and Rt Rev Patrick Lynch,
Members of the 'Centesimus Annus - Pro Pontefice' Foundation, which was established 20 years ago by Blessed John Paul II, were received on Friday afternoon by Pope Francis during their annual international conference. This year's theme is 'Rethinking Solidarity for Work: Challenges of the 21st Century'. In his address to them, Pope Francis, noted that the foundation bears the same name as an encyclical published by John Paul II on the centenary anniversary of 'Rerum Novarum' and has, therefore, the Church's social doctrine
Delegates at a Vatican conference this week heard that forced labour in the maritime world is still commonplace. Contrary to the popular view, it is not restricted to developing countries but also occurring in countries such as New Zealand, Russia, Turkey, South Korea, Ireland and Scotland. Fr Giacomo Martino, consultor to the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant Workers, highlighted industrial fishing vessels as a particular area of concern. "Crew on fishing vessels permanently based on the high seas are unlikely to report abuse,
The Most Rev George Stack, Archbishop of Cardiff, has begun a new evangelisation initiative to support the sharing of the Catholic Faith in Cardiff and to the whole of the Archdiocese. The ‘Come and See’ project is located at the Archdiocese’s new city-centre venue, the Cornerstone at St David’s, and aims to provide events and a warm welcome to those interested in finding out more about Catholicism. Archbishop Stack said: “It’s hoped that the Cornerstone at St David’s will offer a support and focal point for those who’d like to find out more about
Around 2,000 Chinese pilgrims gathered at China’s largest Catholic shrine this morning to observe the feast of Our Lady of Sheshan and the World Prayer Day for the Church in China. The event at the Sheshan Marian shrine in Shanghai was the first since Pope Francis took office, and the first since the barring of Auxiliary Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin, who has not been allowed to enter his Episcopal ministry since July 2011. Those who gathered today also marked the death last month of Coadjutor Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian, who heads the 'open' community of the Shanghai diocese.
Caritas Lebanon reports that there is a shortage of shelter to house the influx of Syrian refugees, that diseases are spreading due to the unhygienic situation of the makeshift camps and that Lebanon’s delicate political balance is at risk. Caritas providing food, clothing, hygiene items and medical help. The agency has been responding to the needs of Syrians since the first days of the crisis in March 2011, supporting both those inside the country and refugees throughout the region. Caritas has helped more than 100,000 people in need,
Southwark Bishop Patrick Lynch met with Father Michael Branch, parish priest of Saint Peter the Apostle, Woolwich, today, Thursday, 23 May. In the wake of yesterday's tragic killing of a soldier from Woolwich Barracks, they issued this joint request for prayer: 'We encourage people to pray for the young man who died so tragically and for his family and colleagues at Woolwich Barracks who must be devastated by recent events. We would also ask people of the diocese to unite themselves in prayer with the people of Woolwich at this difficult time.
Representatives from nine faith groups issued a statement last night, following the attack in Woolwich in which a young soldier was savagely killed in the street by two men. They said: "We, as representatives of many of London's faith communities, deplore the terrible attack that has taken place today in Woolwich. All of our religions exalt the sanctity of human life and no grievance could justify such a barbaric assault that has cost a young man his life. Terrorism has no place on our streets.
The internationally acclaimed Sheffield Doc Festival has nominated Big River Rising, an interactive documentary produced by Christian Aid, for a Green Award, its category to honour documentaries addressing major environmental challenges. The web-documentary, which will screen at the festival from 12- 16 June 2013, was shot in the Philippines during the dramatic August 2012 monsoon deluge, and demonstrates the importance of science in helping slum dwellers in Manila cope with flooding that claims innocent lives every year.
In an open letter to The Tablet, the international Catholic weekly newspaper, CSAN’s Chief Executive, Helen O’Brien and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales’ Prison Adviser, Mgr Malachy Keegan have expressed their strong concern that the Ministry of Justice’s plans to ‘toughen-up’ prison regimes will “do little to end the cycle of re-offending” in the UK’s penal system. Under proposed changes to the Incentives and Earned Privileges (IEP) System,
Churches and mission stations are being looted, destroyed and pillaged by militia soldiers directly under the Central African Republic's new government. Sources in the country told Aid to the Church in Need that a number of Christians have been killed or wounded in attacks by Islamist rebel group Séléka which seized control of the country in March. Attacks include the pillaging of the Holy Ghost Fathers' motherhouse by armed gunmen on the night of 25 March and the abduction of Fr Dieu-Béni Banga, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Bangui, and Fr Francis
A new resource has been launched by the Bishops’ Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis to promote a deeper appreciation of the place of the Bible in the Catholic community in England and Wales, and to support the new evangelisation. ‘The Word of the Lord: Discovering Verbum Domini’ has been written to help people study the Apostolic Exhortation, Verbum Domini, which followed the 2008 Synod on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church. It is thought to be the only the Study Guide introducing the Apostolic Exhortation,
Jose Efrain Rios Montt stood accused of ordering the killing of 1700 Mayan Ixil women, men and children between 1982 and 1983. He has been convicted by a Guatemalan court, of genocide and crimes against humanity, receiving two sentences of 50 and 30 years respectively, making it the first time that a Latin American President has been convicted of genocide. Clare Dixon, CAFOD's Head of Latin America and the Caribbean, has given this response to the verdict: “This conviction sends a clear message that those who commit such crimes will face justice.
Pax Christi's bi-annual Peace Award was given to four local peace activists on Saturday: Susan Clarkson from Oxford, Alison Williams from Wimbledon and Ann and Stewart Hemsley from Cambridge. It was presented during Pax Christi's AGM, by Jose Henrique, the new General Secretary from Pax Christi International. The award is a beautiful medal reflects the work of Neve Shalom-Wahat al Salaam village in Israel for Israeli’s and Arabs to live together, established by the late Fr Bruno Hassar.
Justice and Peace work nationally was celebrated on Saturday at the joint AGMs of the National Justice and Peace Network (NJPN) and Pax Christi, amidst worries that this mission is not more central to Catholic leaders in England and Wales. The day, at Holy Apostles parish hall in London’s Pimlico, was attended by more than 100 people from across England and Wales. NJPN administrator Ann Kelly, expressed “a lot of concern about the loss of J&P fieldworkers in dioceses” over the past year. “J&P is not being given any priority at diocesan level
“As you renew your commitment to serve the People of God as deacons, this Mass offers an annual opportunity to reflect on the Sacrament of Orders that you have received… Christ continues to serve the People of God as he nourishes their souls through your preaching and as you offer the sacraments in your parish communities.” These words of encouragement were given by Archbishop Bernard Longley to the Permanent Deacons of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, during his homily at the annual Mass of Renewal for Deacons,
An Ascension Day concert for Syria uplifted people's faith as well as helping refugees fleeing persecution and conflict. Up to 200 people attended the Marilla Ness concert at St Francis Xavier's Church, Carfin which raised more than £700 for Aid to the Church in Need's Syria campaign. Neville Kyrke-Smith, National Director of Aid to the Church (UK), said: "On Ascension Day in Scotland, our faith was buoyed up by Marilla Ness, who helped us raise our hearts to the Lord." He added: "She has a really lovely voice, and her singing is very meditative
An elderly Catholic nun and two peace activists have been convicted for damage they caused while breaking into a US nuclear defence site UCAN reported last night. Sister Megan Rice, 83, a member of the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus, Michael Walli, 64, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 56, admitted to cutting fences and entering the Y-12 site in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, which processes and stores uranium. The incident in July 2012 prompted security changes. Sister Megan said she regretted only having waited 70 years to take action.
The 2013 National Justice & Peace Network conference will take place Friday 19 – Sunday 21 July. The theme is ‘Breaking Open the Word – a call to faith in action’. The venue is The Hayes Centre, Swanwick, Derbyshire and it is expected to attract around 350-400 participants. Keynote speaker is Megan McKenna, an internationally known author, theologian, storyteller and dynamic lecturer. A native of New York City, she works with indigenous groups, in base Christian Communities
The Diocese of Ossory, in the south east of Ireland, is gathering for a Faith Fest this weekend: 10, 11 and 12 May 2013. Led by Bishop Séamus Freeman SAC, Faith Fest 2013 is a special event which is being organised by the diocese as a response to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s invitation to all Catholics to mark this year as a Year of Faith. Faith Fest 2013 will see the people of Ossory celebrating and reflecting on their faith and looking forward to the future in hope. Much of the weekend’s activities,
US bishops support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and oppose policies that undermine a just resolution, such as Israel's decision to re-route the separation wall through the Cremisan Valley, said the chairman of the bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry. Bishop Pates said the proposal would harm the livelihood of 58 Christian families. He added: "The route will separate a Salesian monastery from a Salesian convent, and separate both from their lands.
Attacks on Christian communities in the Central African Republic have increased dramatically since the coming to power of the rebel leader Michel Djotodia, who proclaimed himself President of the Republic on 24 March, church leaders warned this week. The message from the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, says that since Djotodia took power after the rebel coalition Seleka conquered the capital, Bangui, violence and looting against civilians and Christian communities have multiplied,
Ahead of today’s Queens Speech, in which immigration policy is anticipated to feature prominently, Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) has called for legislation to focus on the positive contribution made by people coming to this country. The Government is today expected to announce a new Immigration Bill, which aims at tightening immigration law, enhancing enforcement powers and regulating access to the NHS. In addition, the Queen’s Speech is expected to include details about plans to limit access to certain benefits;
The Salesian Province of the Middle East strongly deplores the verdict given by the Israeli Commission for Objections on 24 April 2013 regarding the dividing wall in the Cremisan area. The above mentioned commission has approved the route indicated for the wall in the plans drawn up by the Israeli Authorities, rejecting the position of the said Salesian Province and of the families of the town of Beit Jala. The Salesians of the Middle East continue to support the position of the families of the town of Beit Jala,
At 7.30 this morning a group of Christians, acting as part of the ActionAWE campaign, blocked the gate of the AWE Burghfield nuclear bomb factory near Reading, causing disruption to the production of weapons of mass destruction with the power to kill millions. Bound together with superglue eight activists knelt in the road, sang, said prayers, and remembered those who have lost their lives to nuclear arms. In using their bodies to directly obstruct the business of warfare, the worshippers were following the command of Christ to be peacemakers while not raising a hand in anger.
In recognition of his lifetime contribution to furthering peace and justice globally through his various high offices of Vatican City and the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, the Corporation of the City of London granted the Freedom of the City of London to Constantinian Order's Grand Prior, Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino. The award ceremony was held at the historic Armourers’ Hall in London was attended by over 100 guests including city officials, Cardinal Cormac, Murphy-O'Connor, Ambassadors and Charge d’affaires
The Diocese of Middlesbrough, Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) and CAFOD will be inviting Catholics to ‘intensify the witness of charity’ during the ‘Year of Faith’ in a Catholic Social Action Roadshow taking place this Saturday. The focus of the event will be on domestic social action in the Diocese. More than a hundred Catholics and over 40 local charities are to gather in York for this landmark event, which is aimed at energising and expanding Catholic Social Action in Middlesbrough.
Artist Gerry Judah has been commissioned by international development agency Christian Aid to produce a series of works for Tipping Point, a new exhibition about climate change in association with Wolverhampton Art Gallery, which runs from 11 May – 6 July 2013. Entitled Bengal, and consisting of five sculptures, Gerry’s new work was inspired by a trip to West Bengal and Jharkhand in India to see how poor communities affected by changes in the climate are adapting to unpredictable weather patterns and rising sea levels.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is not a 'laundromat' that removes sins, or a 'torture session' where beatings are inflicted, Pope Francis said, during his homily at morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sancta Martha. Confession is a meeting with Jesus when we can feel his tenderness, he said. We must approach the sacrament without tricks or half-truths, but with mildness and cheerfulness, trusting and armed with 'blessed shame', the 'virtue of humility', which allows us to recognize ourselves as sinners.
Human rights and pro-life campaigners have launched an urgent appeal to find the money to bring blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng to London in May, to meet senior Parliamentarians and Government Ministers. Intimidated, beaten, arrested and imprisoned, Chen Guangcheng, although blind from birth, is a self-taught lawyer and human rights activist who has challenged the brutal practices of forced abortion and compulsory sterilisation of women in China. He escaped house arrest, fled to the American Embassy in Bejing
The Council of Bishops' Conferences of Europe (CCEE) will be meeting in London from 1-3 May to discuss Christian-Muslim relations. Chaired by Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, Archbishop of Bordeaux, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue will be a keynote speaker. Archbishop Vincent Nichols, President of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales will be in attendance and will celebrate Mass for the delegates at Westminster Cathedral on the second day of the conference.
An Israeli court has approved the construction of the Separation Wall that will surround a convent and primary school on three sides, and confiscate most of their land. A small gate will be built to allow nuns and monks to access the Salesian Monastery on the other side of the wall, in order to "guarantee their right of freedom of religion". The gate will also allow farmers and landowners to access their lands on the other side of the wall, although they will need permits to reach them. The Israeli Special Appeals Committee for land seizure under emergency law,
An interview with the Pope's Astronomer, Brother Guy Consolmagno, SJ; (who has an asteroid named after him!) the work of CS Lewis on the 50th anniversary of his death, an interview with a Franciscan Friar living in the heart of London and Catholic Alpha are just some of the audio features on this month's Heart to Heart - Premier Radio's podcast for Catholic listeners. There's also a report from the Word of the Lord Scripture Conference. Renowned speakers, Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP and Fr Henry Wansbrough OSB, share
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) today urged the European Union to ensure that continuing grave violations of human rights, including religious freedom, in Burma, remain a priority, despite the decision yesterday to lift all EU sanctions on Burma apart from the arms embargo. The EU suspended sanctions on Burma a year ago, setting out four specific benchmarks for progress, which would provide the conditions for complete lifting of sanctions. In the Council of the European Union conclusions on Myanmar/Burma, 23 April 2012, announcing the suspension last year,
A small hermitage with a chapel, built on land belonging to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, near the town of Taybeh, was the scene last week of a brief occupation by some Jewish settlers, probably from the nearby illegal settlement of Ofra. The incident occurred on Friday, 19 April. The settlers moved into the hermitage and hoisted the flag of Israel on the roof. The hermitage and chapel, which was built by a Greek-Catholic monk, had been empty for the past year. After the local Christian and Muslim community protested about the occupation,
On 23 April, the St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP) celebrates the bicentenary of the birth of its founder, Blessed Frédéric Ozanam. The words and actions of Frédéric have come to be seen as contributing to the development of Catholic social teaching, dear to the heart of our new Pope who said the role of the Holy Father is to open his arms and protect all of humanity, but “especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew lists in the final judgment on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison.” Members of the SVP
These reflections on religion and society take as their starting point the insights of Augustine of Hippo (356-430), whose own end of times were not unlike our own. As it says in the Preface, ‘Augustine is a strikingly appropriate figure for the times that we live in. We seem to be at the “end of” everything: “the end of modernity”, “the end of history”, “the end of philosophy”, “the end of capitalism”, perhaps even the end of a particular way of living the Christian life, especially in countries where Christianity was the norm
Six-year old Felix from Nottingham has stunned the aid charity CAFOD by presenting them with £160 collected in the bitter cold. On Good Friday, 29 March, Felix dressed up as local legend Robin Hood to launch his fundraising drive. Inspired by a recent school project, he stood next to the statue of the famous friend of the poor on Castle Road and collected over £160 for the Catholic charity. He was joined by his younger sister, Anastastia, who also got into character and dressed as Maid Marion.
Fr Federico Lombardi SJ, Director of the Holy See Press Office, has been named Communicator of the Year, by the German multinational financial services company Allianz Group. The prize was awarded on Thursday morning during a meeting of the company's communications directors, who meet once a year in a European capital to analyse themes and strategies tied to the world of communications with the assistance of experts in the field.
People of all faiths and none ran together in the Boston Marathon, to raise funds for a range of good causes. But instead of victory celebrations, now prayers are being said around the world for the victims of the two bombs - for those who were killed, those who were injured, and their families and friends. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops commented: "The tragic end to the Boston Marathon April 15 reminds us all that evil exists and that life is fragile.
The majority of the crew of a ship that went unpaid and lacking in the most basic human requirements for more than six months, finally flew home over the weekend, the Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) report. For the last few months nine Pakistani crew onboard a reefer, the MV Belita, have been stranded in Port Victoria in the Seychelles. The crew have told how they have had no drinking water, food or fuel, meaning that the crew had to sleep on deck due to the lack of light and fresh air,
A Day of Reflection for the Year of Faith, led by Fr Robin Gibbons, will take place next Sunday, 21 April, with the Assumption Sisters in Kensington Square, London. All are welcome. Fr Robin is an Eastern Rite Chaplain for the Melkite Greek Catholics in Britain. Recently he has also been writing the Sunday Reflection for Independent Catholic News. The Day of Reflection will begin with 10am Mass in Maria Assumpta Chapel and continue in Milleret House,
Pope Francis has appointed a group of cardinals to advise him on Church government and a revision plan of the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia. In a statement the Vatican said on Saturday: “The Holy Father Francis, taking up a suggestion that emerged during the General Congregations preceding the Conclave, has established a group of cardinals to advise him in the government of the universal Church and to study a plan for revising the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, 'Pastor Bonus'.
From Friday, 12 April, until Saturday, 20 April 2013, all the bishops of England and Wales will be staying at the Palazzola, the Venerable English College's Summer residence 18 miles south of Rome, for their retreat and biannual meeting. Following two days of meetings they will remain at Palazzola for a six-day retreat. They will take this opportunity to meet with students training for the priesthood at the Venerable English College, who will visit Palazzola on Sunday, 14 April. The bishops also hope to meet Pope Francis at his General Audience
“Love for the people of Africa has inspired the Africa-Europe Faith and Justice Network”, reflected Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald at Saturday’s Jubilee Mass in London to celebrate the Network’s 25th anniversary. The Missionary of Africa and former head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, with experience of working in Egypt, Uganda and Sudan, complimented the missionary congregations who formed the Network in 1988, saying they were inspired by seeing Africans suffering because of unfair trade, debt and the activity of
The subject of human trafficking, was one of the main issues Pope Francis discussed with Mr Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the United Nations during his audience yesterday. A statement released afterwards, said: "During the course of the cordial conversations, issues of mutual interest were discussed, in particular: situations of conflict and serious humanitarian emergency, especially in Syria and
Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald will be chief celebrant at a special Mass for Africa in Westminster Cathedral Hall this Saturday to mark the 25th anniversary of the Africa Europe Faith & Justice Network (AEFJN). Throughout the afternoon, there will be speakers from leading NGOs, an exhibition and performances of African song and dance, highlighting Africa’s 'raw deal' in its relations with the West.. As the riches of the continent of Africa become known, a global scramble for her raw materials is taking place. Land grabbing is striking fear in the hearts
Manchester University St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP MUSCC) has hosted an Easter Charity Formal Dinner at the Catholic Chaplaincy to help raise funds for the Manchester Central Food Bank. SVP MUSCC is a voluntary student organisation serving Manchester; the event helped to raise money that will go towards the estimated cost of £8,000 to start-up the Central Food Bank. Research as recent as February 2013 has shown that Manchester has the highest child poverty in the UK,
Sexual abuse in the Church was a major concern at a meeting between Pope Francis and Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, held yesterday (Friday). A statement following the meeting, reads that, during the course of the audience, various issues pertaining to the Congregation were discussed. In particular, the Holy Father recommended that the Congregation, continuing along the lines set by Benedict XVI - act decisively with regard to cases of sexual abuse, first of all by promoting measures
Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, SDB, sent a telegram today on behalf of Pope Francis, to Archbishop Mario Aurelio Poli of Buenos Aires, Argentina expressing the Pope's deep concern for those suffering from the severe weather and heavy rains that have devastated that country's capital, killing 56 persons to date and wreaking enormous damage. The full text of the message follows: Pope Francis, deeply upset by the news of the serious damage caused by the torrential rainfall of the past days,
The Resurrection, the heart of the Christian message, and the two ways it is announced— through profession of faith and narration—were the themes with which Pope Francis returned to the catechesis for the Year of Faith in this morning's general audience. As is becoming his custom, the Holy Father travelled around St Peter's Square in the white, open-top Jeep to greet the dozens of thousands of people who want to meet him, many of whom put their babies forward so he could take them in his arms.
Archbishop Bernard Longley accompanied by Bishop David Urquhart, Anglican Bishop of Birmingham, led the annual Good Friday Walk of Witness through Birmingham city centre. More than 200 people from different Christian traditions joined them on the cold but sunny morning. In St Michael's Catholic Church, Moor Street, Archbishop Longley read an extract of the Passion from the Gospel according to St Mark, and prayed that: "The Good News of Jesus may be proclaimed to the ends of the earth."
After the catechesis of this morning's General Audience, the Holy Father called for an immediate end to the violence in the Central African Republic. “I am attentively following what has been happening in these hours in the Central African Republic and I wish to ensure all those who are suffering—especially the relatives of the victims, the wounded, and those who have lost their homes and been forced to flee—of my prayers," Pope Francis said.
Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, has issued a statement calling for the adoption of a treaty banning the transfer of arms when violations of humanitarian or human rights are taking place. The statement was read during the Final Conference of the UN's Arms Trade Treaty, which is taking place in New York until 28 March. In his message, the archbishop urged “delegations to work together in a consensual manner in order to achieve a historic treaty to control the international trade in arms.”
The Mass of the Lord's Supper that Pope Francis will celebrate on Holy Thursday in the chapel of the Casal del Marmo Penitential Institute for Minors (IPM) will be, by his express desire, very simple. Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi, SJ said the Concelebrants will be Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of the Diocese of Rome, and Fr Gaetano Greco, chaplain of the Institute. Around 10 girls and 40 boys will take part in the Mass. The Pope will wash the feet of 12 of them, who will be chosen from different nationalities and religions.
Pope Francis has decided to live in two rooms in the Domus Santa Marta residence, next to St Peter's, instead of the grand papal apartment on the top floor of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, Vatican spokesman Fr Frederico Lombardi confirmed yesterday. For more than a hundred years every pope has occupied the palatial penthouse which has more than a dozen rooms, staff quarters, a terrace and extensive views over the city of Rome.
Around 250 people braved blizzard conditions in London on Saturday morning to attend this year’s ecumenical service to commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador. Held at St Martin in the Field's Church in Trafalgar Square, it was organised by the Archbishop Romero Trust and Pax Christi. The keynote speaker described Romero as “a great saint of our times”. The speaker was Marie Dennis, co-president of Pax Christi International, the global Catholic peace movement, and a Pax Christi USA
Pope Francis celebrated Mass this morning in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, with the gardeners and cleaning staff of Vatican City. In his homily based on the day's readings, he focused on the Gospel passage of John which recounts the episode of the Jews who wanted to stone Jesus. He told them: "When we have a heart of stone, it's as if we've picked up real stones and stoned Jesus Christ - in the person of our brothers and sisters, especially the weakest of them.
Jesus Christ calls us to step outside the comfort of our traditions and places 'and go into the waves', the Archbishop of Canterbury said today in his inauguration cermony at Canterbury Cathedral. Preaching to 2,000 people inside the cathedral and millions more watching and listening around the world, Archbishop Justin said that fear imprisons us and stops us from being fully human. Drawing on the story of Christ beckoning the disciples to leave the boat and walk across the waters,
A year-long ecumenical initiative backed by leading figures from the Catholic, Anglican and Free churches has been launched, to explore how faiths can work better together for social justice amidst unprecedented economic crisis and inequality. The Anglican Bishop of Wakefield, the Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham and the President Designate of the Methodist Conference are among leading figures backing the Together for the Common Good initiative designed to reinvigorate the social mission of faith communities in the UK.
A few minutes ago, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, was elected to be the 265th successor of Saint Peter. He has chosen the name Pope Francis. When the white smoke appeared from the chimney over the Sistine Chapel, hundreds of people standing in the rain in St Peter's Square began to run through the streets to tell family and friends. Within minutes a huge crowd of more than 100,000 had gathered in the Square and the adjoining streets to hear Cardinal Tauran say the words 'Habemus Papem."
Archbishop Peter Smith, Vice President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference has joined with the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, in condemning government proposals that will make a significant real-term cut to the value of child-related benefits. Archbishop Smith stated: “Protecting vulnerable members of our society is a key precept of Catholic Social Teaching and our witness to the human dignity of each and every individual. It is unjustifiable that the poorest children, who often have no other safety net,
A candlelit vigil to Remember Fukushima, and say no to Nuclear Power and for victims of earthquake and tsunami, takes place outside the Japanese embassy, Piccadilly, on Monday 11 March, from 5.30-6.30pm. In the evening there will be a public meeting in the House of Commons to discuss the unfolding disaster and implications for the UK's nuclear programme. 7.30-9.30pm, Committee Room 8. The meeting will be chaired byJeremy Corbyn MP, vice-chair, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Today, International Women’s Day, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has issued a statement commending the courage of the Ladies in White, the Cuban women’s non-violent protest movement. The Damas de Blanco (Spanish), or Ladies in White, is an opposition movement in Cuba comprising the wives and other female relatives of jailed dissidents. Every Sunday the women attend Mass dressed in white, to symbolize peace, and then walk silently through the streets of their town or city.
A new state-of-the-art cinema screen was recently launched at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham during a celebratory evening with more than 100 staff, alumni and guests. Named after the late actor and former St Mary’s student, Pete Postlethwaite, the cinema screen has been installed at the University College’s Strawberry Hill campus as a way of enhancing the student learning experience, as well as offering an additional facility to the local community.
Representatives from schools and colleges from all over Leeds will be meeting Hilary Benn MP this Friday at Leeds Civic Hall to address the issues of poverty in the area and how their students can get involved in the Hour Leeds campaign to help change lives. Championing the cause alongside Hilary Benn is guest speaker and former headmistress of Wakefield Girls’ High School, Pat Langham CBE, who is passionate about inspiring young people to make a difference.
Our Lady of Dolours Church, in Fulham, west London, was packed on Monday night for a joyful Mass and reception to mark the opening of Catholic Charismatic Renewal Centre. The main celebrant was Archbishop Kevin McDonald, Emeritus Archbishop of Southwark, link bishop between the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. At the end of the Mass, Archbishop McDonald blessed the new centre, which is housed in the crypt of the church.
The Young Christian Workers of England and Wales announce the launch of a national campaign which will get to the heart of the reality of the employment practices that young people in the UK face. The campaign will also focus on the effects of youth unemployment as the latest statistics show that one in five 16-25 year olds are currently unemployed. The campaign will last for two years during which time the movement will engage with over 1000 young people across the country to study, reflect and campaign on the importance of access to good work for young people.
A new app from Shrinking the Footprint, the national environmental campaign of the Church of England, offers smartphone users the opportunity to measure and reduce their carbon footprint. Shrinking the Footprint is an official supporter of Climate Week, which starts tomorrow (4-10 March). It has 3,000 events showcasing projects combating climate change. The free Shrinking the Footprint app focuses on energy used at home, in the office and on travel
Pax Christi has sent birthday greetings and messages of solidarity to Franziska Jaegerstaetter, the widow of Franz Jaegerstaetter to mark her 100th birthday on 4 March. Franz was executed in Berlin in 1943 for his conscientious objection to serving in Hitler's army. Franziska gave him unstinting support for his decision. In 2007 Franz was recognised as a martyr and beatified by the Catholic Church. In a letter sent to be read at a Mass in Linz Cathedral, Austria, on 3 March, Pax Christi said:
The Catholic Charismatic Renewal is celebrating the opening of its new centre in London on Monday, 4 March 2013 with a Mass at 6.30pm at Our Lady of Dolours Church, 264 Fulham Road, London SW10 9EL. The main celebrant will be Archbishop Kevin McDonald, the Emeritus Archbishop of Southwark, who is the link bishop between the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. The new centre is housed in the crypt of Our Lady of Dolours Church. The parish was the location for the first
This afternoon, shortly after 5pm, (6pm GMT) Benedict XVI left the Vatican for the last time as Supreme Pontiff. A few moments earlier, in the San Damaso Courtyard of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, SDB, secretary of State of His Holiness, and other members of that dicastery bid him farewell. In full military regalia, the Swiss Guard troops paid him homage. Also present were Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of Rome, and Cardinal Angelo Comastri, vicar general of His Holiness for Vatican City.
Nearly 100 national Christian leaders have signed a letter to President Obama and leaders of Congress "affirming the government's responsibility concerning poor people." The letter stated "Assuring government's obligation to advance the common good, ensure fairness, and defend the most vulnerable is good religion and good politics."The letter was sent on behalf of the ecumenical 'Circle of Protection' coalition. "We appreciate President Obama has kept his promise to the Circle of Protection to protect the poor, and that Republicans and Democrats
Christians in Egypt have protested over plans by President Morsi's government to hold elections during the Coptic Easter the Coptic Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Alexandria of Coptic Bishop Botros Fahim Awad Hanna has said. Bishop Anba Fahim Hanna said the elections would coincide with the national holiday of Sham al-Nasseem, a festivity of pharaonic origin which celebrates Spring and falls on Easter Monday. The first date of political elections has been set for 27 April, the Saturday before Palm Sunday.
I'm not saying it was the best film of the year, but Ben Affleck's Argo was way, way better than Lincoln, Life of Pi, and even Zero Dark Thirty - see my earlier post here. I haven't seen Amour, so I can't say whether Affleck deserved to triumph over Haneke; but he is certainly a worthy winner, Fr Stephen Wang writes in his blog Bridges and Tangents today. And yes, Jennifer Lawrence was much more interesting in Silver Linings Playbook than Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty, even though I would still have given Chastain the Oscar for
The Church of England national investing bodies have announced that they will actively use their position as investors to encourage a precautionary approach to genetic modification (GM), having adopted an updated and more detailed ethical investment policy on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The policy, on the advice of the Church's Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG), allows for investment in companies developing and marketing GMOs where there is satisfactory assurance on,
As tiny snowflakes fluttered gently to the ground on Saturday, 80 Religious Sisters, undaunted by the inclement weather and distance, made their way to St Peter’s Vauxhall for a Lenten Day of Reflection which had been organised by Fr Jim Hurley, the Vicar for Religious, and his Vicariate Team of Southwark Archdiocese - Sisters Sheila Molony DMJ, Marion Short VS, and Ann Hoskison FMA. On the previous day, 30 Sisters had attended a similar Day of Reflection at The Franciscan Study Centre in Canterbury.
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, who is leading this year's Lenten Spiritual Exercises at the Vatican, said that priests share the lives of the people they serve. The retreat leader focused his first morning meditation, held in the Redemptoris mater chapel of the Apostolic Palace on Psalms 16 and 73, with particular attention to the Psalms’ insights into the priestly character and vocation. “The priest,” he said, “is a fragile person with his sins and miseries. ” Like others, he is, “in need of the forgiveness of God
A new report from the UK Government's Public Accounts Committee released this week shows that around £5bn is lost every year due to tax avoidance. It advised Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to get "more robust in its approach". Commenting before the publication of the report on Tuesday, Alex Prats, Christian Aid’s Principal Adviser on Economic Justice, said: "Tax avoidance is a major problem across the world and it’s especially devastating for developing countries, which lose billions every year as a result of tax avoidance by multinationals.
Franciscan Fr Nithiya Sagayam, OFM Cap, executive Secretary of the Office for Human Development of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences (FABC), said people in Asia hope the next Pope will 'rejuvenate' the world, launch new hope, and raise a voice 'prophetic and merciful'..... "This appeal comes from the Gaudium et Spes: 'The cry of the Pope should be the cry of the world' - very often the Church is seen as a body which concentrates on contraception, same sex marriage, the ordination of women, Mass in Latin.
While the political crisis in Egypt has been widely reported around the world, the social and economic impact of these changes on poor families and children has received less publicity. Father Ibrahim Faltas, a Franciscan from the Custody of the Holy Land, describes the harsh reality he witnessed on a recent visit to Egypt: “Some areas in Cairo and Alexandria have turned into a big open-air market," he said. "On every corner, along the streets, on the pavement… women, children and men become sellers of fruit,
A Catholic priest was murdered in Zanzibar yesterday. Fr Evarist Mushi, 55, was shot in his car at close range at 7am shortly before he was due to celebrate Mass at Zanzibar's Catholic Cathedral. "We have no idea why Fr Evarist was killed, we are waiting to hear the results of the police enquiry", Bishop Augustine Shao, Catholic Bishop of Zanzibar, told Fides. "Fr Evarist was killed at 7am yesterday morning. He had just arrived at Zanzibar’s Catholic Cathedral, St Joseph’s, to celebrate Sunday Mass.
Throughout Lent, St Paul the Apostle Church, Wood Green, in north London will be hosting a series of talks exploring the lives of leading Catholics. The talks will be given by experts in their field, including Bishop Alan Hopes, speaking about Blessed John Paul II, Julian Filochowski, discussing Archbishop Oscar Romero, and Fr Stephen Wang speaking on Dorothy Day. The talks are free and all are invited, they take place on Wednesday evenings, at 7.30pm beginning tomorrow, 20 February, with Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor speaking on the life of Blessed John XXIII.
The Rt Rev Mark Davies, Bishop of Shrewsbury, repeated the call of the Second Vatican Council for the Catholic laity to “consecrate the world itself to God” through the faithful observance of the demands of the Gospel in their own daily lives. In a pastoral letter to read out in all churches of the Diocese of Shrewsbury over the weekend of February 16-17, Bishop Davies said that mounting threats to human life from conception to natural death, and of the decision of the House of Commons
The theft of metal from church roofs across the UK has cost parishes millions of pounds and done great damage to historic buildings. This week the House of Lords voted in favour of the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill, which now goes forward for Royal Assent. The Chair of the Church of England's Cathedral and Church Buildings Council, Mrs Anne Sloman, OBE, said: "This has been a long battle. We are absolutely delighted that this two year campaign, led by the CofE's Cathedrals and Church Buildings Council,
Fr Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, has spoken about Pope Benedict's resignation. In a programme on Vatican Radio, he said: "Among the reasons for the Pope's resignation, as he noted in his own words, are the circumstances of today's world that, in relation to the past, are particularly difficult, both because of the speed as well as the number of events and problems that arise that, therefore, need a vigour, perhaps stronger than in the past. It is a vigour that the Pope says he has felt diminish in him in recent months."
The British Jesuit Provincial is encouraging all members of the Province and their co-workers to pray for Pope Benedict, for those who will elect his successor and for the man who will take over as Pope within the next few weeks. Fr Dermot Preston SJ echoed the sentiments of the Jesuit Superior General, Fr Adolfo Nicolás SJ, who wrote today of the 'respect and admiration' felt by the Society of Jesus for the Pope, following his announcement yesterday that he intends to resign on 28 February.
The House of Commons voted in favour of same-sex marriage in England and Wales last night, despite the opposition of almost half the Conservative Members of Parliament. MPs voted for the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, by 400 to 175, a majority of 225, at the end of a seven hour debate. Prime Minister David Cameron described the move as "an important step forward" that strengthens society. The Bill will now progress to Committee and the House of Lords, and is likely to become law later this year.
The tiny church of St Michael’s, Discoed, in Powys will be marking Lent again this year with art and music events to raise fund for St Michael's Hospice in Hereford. The opening concert 'The Joy of Lent', will take place on Friday 8 February at 7.30pm. The programme includes Bach Chorale Preludes and Vocal Arias with oboe obbligato. Elisabeth Priday (soprano), Graham Trew (baritone), Ruth Watson (oboes) and David Ponsford (organ). An exhibition around the walls of the church entitled: 'The Last Supper,
Former Watford and England footballer Luther Blissett has called for more leadership from managers in the struggle to kick racism out of the game. Addressing the Annual General Meeting of the Catholic Association for Racial Justice, the former England international, who now works for Show Racism the Red Card (SRRC), suggested that many managers are in denial. “They just don’t think racism exists,” said Mr Blissett, responding to a CARJ member, whose grandson had incurred some racial harassment at a Premiership football club.
During the Second World War Mass was celebrated every Sunday in Hut 12 at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire (historic site of secret British codebreaking activities and birthplace of the modern computer), for members of GCHQ and the services. By the time GCHQ left Bletchley Park in 1946 this practice had stopped. However, on 25 January 2013 Mass was once again celebrated at GCHQ. Some members of the GCHQ Catholic Community who attend Cheltenham's three Catholic parishes of St Gregory the Great, St Thomas More Centre
At a ceremony in Speaker's House, at the House of Commons, on Wednesday 31 January, Ann Widdecombe was created a Dame of the Order of St Gregory. The papal honour was conferred on her by Pope Benedict XVI for her services to politics and public life. Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, Emeritus Archbishop of Westminster, particularly paid tribute to Ann's work for the unborn and for the sanctity of human life. The former Prime Minister, John Major, attended the ceremony and expressed his delight at the award and said
A series of pencil drawings by a former pupil of St Ignatius College in Enfield has been amazing art critics. Kelvin Okafor, from Tottenham, has scooped a number of national awards and exhibited at galleries across the country. Drawings by the 27-year-old graduate who attended the Jesuit school in North London before Middlesex University are often mistaken for photographs.
Okafor's portraits now command as much as £10,000 each. His subjects have included Amy Winehouse, Tinie Tempah and Mother Teresa.
The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel has held another round of talks as part of negotiations for the Fundamental Agreement between both parties. The Commission met in Jerusalem on Tuesday and issued the following statement: Joint Communiqué ... The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel met today..... The negotiations took place in a thoughtful and constructive atmosphere.
On Saturday, 26 January, the Most Reverend Richard Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), and the Most Reverend Lionel Gendron, PSS, Bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, will represent the Bishops of Canada at the US National Mass of Thanksgiving for the canonization of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha. The Mass will be celebrated in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. The celebration is being organized by the US Black and Indian
The Most Reverend Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham, has today, Tuesday, 22 January 2013, announced the appointment of Father David Oakley, at present Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Assumption, Maryvale, as the new Rector of St Mary’s College, Oscott, the diocesan seminary. Fr David Oakley, aged 57, a former Procurator and Pastoral Director at Oscott College, will take up his appointment as Rector on 24 February.
The difficulties facing Christians in Israel and Palestine have helped bind them together and break down divisions between the Churches – according to the new ambassador representing the Pope. Speaking at the start of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18 – 25 January), Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, the Apostolic Nuncio in Israel and Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine, described marked improvements in ecumenical relations over the past 30 years.
The Catholic Church in Jordan is offering prayers for all candidates taking part in the country's election on 23 January, but it is not supporting any one in particular. Archbishop Maroun Laham, Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, said: "The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, has already sent an official message to the Christians, inviting them to vote. Obviously I am going to vote too. In past days several candidates have come to visit us, including Muslims. We promised all of them our prayers and blessings.
The Coptic Catholic Church has a new Patriarch: Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, 57, Bishop of the Eparchy of Minya. The Synod of the Coptic Catholic Bishops, who gathered in Cairo from January 12 to 16, received a letter of resignation for health reasons by Patriarch Cardinal Antonios Naguib, and after a day of spiritual retreat, proceeded to the election of his successor, who then received the Ecclesiastical Communio granted by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak was born on 19 August, 1955
Cardinal Seán Brady announced this morning that Pope Benedict has appointed Mgr Eamon Martin, the Diocesan Administrator of Derry, as Coadjutor Bishop of the Archdiocese. Mgr Martin will assist the Cardinal in his work and should succeed Cardinal Brady as Archbishop on his retirement. Speaking at St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh, the Cardinal congratulated Monsignor Martin and thanked Pope Benedict for his appointment. “Today, in choosing Mgr Eamon Martin for the office of bishop, he has chosen a man of great gifts and great generosity
The Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, His Excellency Archbishop Antonio Mennini, has released the following statement: “The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has elevated the Ukrainian Apostolic Exarchate in Great Britain to the rank of Eparchy, with the title of the Holy Family (Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of the Holy Family of London), and has appointed as its first Eparchial Bishop, His Excellency Bishop Hlib Borys Sviatoslav Lonchyna, until now Apostolic Exarch of the same circumscription.”
A Colombian parish priest was stabbed to death yesterday. Diocesan priest Don Jose Francisco Velez Echeverri, 55, was found dead with stab wounds in the courtyard of his house in the neighborhood El Albergue, in the south of Buga, about 250 kilometres from the capital Bogota. Neighbours reported seeing a person on a bicycle leaving from the priest's house a few hours before the discovery of his lifeless body.
The president of Caritas Mali, Archbishop Jean Zerbo of Bamako, has asked for a humanitarian corridor to be opened in his war-torn country. He also appealed to the global Caritas network and the international community to help those affected by the conflict currently being fought. French and African troops are trying to prevent Islamic rebels who have taken control of northern Mali from advancing further.
A warning against self-centredness and a call to renew compassion for people who suffer has come from a senior Cardinal marking an important anniversary for a leading Catholic charity. In a letter to the benefactors of Aid to the Church in Need, which helps persecuted and other suffering Christians, the organisation’s president, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, praises Fr Werenfried van Straaten, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday this coming Thursday (17 January).
History was made today (Tuesday) when the European Court of Human Rights ruled that British Airways employee was entitled to wear a cross at work. In a landmark judgment defining the limits of religious freedom, Nadia Eweida, a practising Coptic Christian, was awarded £1,600 in compensation by the court in Strasbourg after it ruled against the United Kingdom. In a majority judgment, the ECHR said: "The domestic authorities failed sufficiently to protect the first applicant's right to manifest her religion,
Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi is gripped by fear after a wave of killings by the Taliban, the Archbishop of Karachi, Mgr Joseph Coutts said in an interview with Fides. Archbishop Coutts said that ways and strategies to stop the violence are urgently required. He said: "I am very sad and worried because every day we have a record of 10-12 people killed by violence in the city. I have visited many families affected by this senseless violence, I blessed them, ensuring the support of the Church."
About a thousand Christians, both Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic are trapped in the small village of Yaakoubieh in the north of Aleppo a Franciscan Friar reports. Fr Francois Kouseiffi OFM Cap, Parish Priest of the church of San Francesco in Hamra, Beirut, in Lebanon, said: "They are completely worn out, with no food, no electricity, lack of basic necessities, and find themselves in the midst of heavy fighting between loyalist forces and opposition groups.
For a second day large numbers of pilgrims of all ages, flowed from all parts of the Archdiocese of Birmingham and from further afield to venerate the Relics of Don Bosco, St John Bosco (1815-1888), the great saint for Italian youth, at the Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica of St Chad, Birmingham, today. The casket bearing the life-size effigy of Don Bosco which contains the right hand of the saint was sealed in Turin before beginning its six-year journey throughout the world.
Pope Benedict XVI has appointed as Bishop of Limerick, Reverend Brendan Leahy, priest of the Archdiocese of Dublin and Professor of Systematic Theology at Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth. Fr Brendan Leahy is a priest of the Archdiocese of Dublin and was ordained in 1986. He is currently professor of systematic theology at Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth. For many years he has been a member of the Focolare Movement and is living in the Focolare Centre, Prosperous, County Kildare.
This graphic film by Spanish director Juan Antonion Bayona tells the harrowing story of one family who were caught up in the 2004 tsunami that left more than 250,000 people dead and caused immense destruction across the coastlands of the Indian Ocean. The story opens during a bumpy flight as Maria, (Naomi Watts) Henry (Ewan McGregor) and their three slightly fractious young sons start their winter vacation in Thailand, looking forward to a few days in tropical paradise.
The Festival in honour of Glasgow's Patron begins this week, culminating in his feast on Sunday 13 January, and the programme offers something for everyone. The Feast of St Mungo falls on Sunday, 13 January. The 12 noon Mass will be celebrated in St Mungo’s Church in Parson Street, Townhead, by Archbishop Philip Tartaglia. And at 6.30pm, the Archbishop will preach at the ecumenical service in Glasgow Cathedral to mark the Feast. Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, will launch the festival on Thursday,
Egypt's new constitution “prepares the way for an Islamic caliphate”, according to the acting leader of Coptic Catholics, who is among three bishops to condemn the document as a fundamental attack on human rights. Expressing their profound disappointment with the constitution signed into law on 26 December, the bishops said only extremist Muslims’ rights were guaranteed by the new document and that at particular risk were women, young people and religious minorities.
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the United States (USCCB) has begun National Migration Week with a campaign that calls for comprehensive immigration reform in order to be able to legalize 11 million undocumented immigrants. "The National Migration Week is an opportunity for the Church to remember and reflect on the obligations related to Migration" said the Archbishop of Los Angeles, Archbishop Jose Gomez, President of the USCCB Committee on Migration. This year we celebrate the tenth anniversary
Fire broke out on Sunday at 0627hrs in the Franciscan Monastery in Füssen, Bavaria in southern Germany. The 10 brothers and priests were rescued by the emergency services and flown to various hospitals in the region. One of the Fathers has life threatening injuries and a firefighter and policeman also suffered injuries. All Masses for the Feast of the Ephiphany were cancelled in the St Stephan Church whilst firefighters fought to rescue the inhabitants of the monastery.
Lesley-Anne Knight, has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Elders. In this new role she will manage the London-based staff and foundation that supports the work of the Elders, the independent group of senior global leaders who work together for peace and human rights. She succeed Mabel van Oranje as Chief Executive Officer from this month. Desmond Tutu, Chair of The Elders, said: “I am thrilled with Lesley-Anne’s appointment and warmly welcome her to The Elders’ family.
Following the news that the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham are to be based at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Warwick Street, currently used by London's gay community for a fortnightly Mass and pastoral activities, the 'Soho Masses Pastoral Council have issued the following statement: Response to Archbishop Vincent Nichol’s invitation to the Soho Masses to move to the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Farm Street, London W1K 3AH
Ooberfuse are debuting their new single, Go, inspired by the theme of 2013 World Youth Day, upping the ante for the largest youth rally on the planet hosted later this year in Rio, Brazil. Their song is the first English song released for World Youth Day 2013. Join London's ooberfuse for their opening concert of the New Year - 10 January, 8pm at the AAA in Kensington, London. Ooberfuse's latest musical offering includes for different versions of their song 'Go'. Hal says: "We want to get the message out there in as many ways we creatively could.
The Archbishop of Westminster, Most Rev Vincent Nichols has announced today (2 January) that a fortnightly Mass for the gay community which has been held at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory in Warwick Street, in central London for the past six years, is to end during Lent this year. In future, pastoral care will be provided for the community on Sunday evenings at Farm Street Jesuit Church in Mayfair after the 6.15 parish Mass. The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham will be moving into the Church at Warwick Street.
Holy Family Sunday. The concept of happy families is one which permeates our romantic notions of culture, I’m not sure what it really means, is there ever a perfect family? I doubt it and even the Holy Family doesn’t give us quite the model we expect, for a start the description is certainly of an oddly matched couple, Joseph who is described as being a just man, but very troubled about Mary’s pregnancy, having to be prompted into careful action by the messengers of God, the angels coming in dreams.
We, the Heads of the Churches of Jerusalem, bring you greetings of joy, peace, hope and love from the Land of the Nativity: the Joy and the peace of God that were announced by the heavenly host of Angels in the sky of Bethlehem, the Hope of salvation made possible through the Incarnation of the Word, His Love that was fully embodied, revealed and incarnated through the Babe of Bethlehem. This was the essence of the message of the incarnation,
"Bold steps" are necessary to counter the "unfortunate and continually rising tide of aggressive posturing" between the United States and Iran, said the chairman of the US bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace in a letter to National Security Advisor Thomas E Donilon. Such steps would include negotiations, inspections by the international community and allowing Iran to enrich uranium "convincingly short of weapons-grade potential as confirmed by verifiable inspections" and"in compliance with international norms."
On Monday morning, Pope Benedict XVI received in audience Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority. Mr Abbas then met with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone SDB, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States. In a press statement, the Holy See’s Press Office said: “the cordial discussions made reference to the recent Resolution approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations by which Palestine was recognised as a Non-member Observer State
Do you have any free time on Tuesday? Supporters of the Khanyeni Trust, a charity which supports rural schools in South Africa, will be singing and playing Christmas carols at Piccadilly Circus tube station on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 from 2.30 - 7.30pm. People are needed especially for the early session from 2.30-3.30pm or late, from 5.30-7.30pm. If you would like to join them as a collector, singer, musician or to help hand out information. People are needed especially for the early session
The Inter-religious Conference on Nuclear Issues held in Aizu-Wakamatsu and Iwaki, Fukushima, from December 4 to 7, 2012, gathered 87 participants from Japan, Okinawa, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Switzerland, Canada and the USA. They concluded by issuing the following statement: We, as people of faith, saw and heard about the effects of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima Number 1 Nuclear Power Plant incident upon the people and environment in Fukushima and other areas.
Mr Paul Barber, currently Director of Education for the Diocese of Westminster has been appointed as the new Director of the Catholic Education Service. Mr Barber will take over after Easter 2013 from Monsignor Marcus Stock who has been the Acting‐Director of the Catholic Education Service since November 2011. Commenting on the appointment, Bishop Malcolm McMahon, Chairman of the Bishops’ Conference Department for Education and Formation, and the Chair of the Catholic Education Service, said:
Rt Rev Mark Davies, Bishop of Shrewsbury, has spoken of the moment when he joyfully realised that God was truly present in the Eucharist. In the third recording released as part of a video series of bishop testimonies for the Year of Faith, Bishop Davies said: “What my faith means to me is an appreciation of the greatest gift that has been given to me in this life… As life has gone on I’ve appreciated more and more the gift that has been given to me in faith, in the gift of faith, and most especially in the gift of faith in the Holy Eucharist.”
Responding to the Scottish Government’s consultation on a draft Bill to allow same sex marriage in Scotland, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, has urged that the widest possible protection should be given to civil liberties. Archbishop Tartaglia said: “Writing to Cardinal Keith O’Brien in August, the First Minister said that he was ‘determined to protect the important principles of freedom of speech, conscience and declaration of faith.’ A leading human rights QC has subsequently pointed out that the Government’s proposals
Bishop Thomas McMahon, Bishop of Brentwood, celebrated a farewell diocesan Mass last week, in anticipation of his long-awaited retirement. Representatives from parishes, schools, diocesan commissions and religious orders came together with numerous priests from the diocese to offer thanks for his 32 years at the helm. Faith leaders from Churches Together in Essex and East London were also present, in testament to the Bishop’s ecumenical zeal.
In his homily, Bishop Thomas referred to the beginning of Advent but also dwelt on the influences of the Second Vatican Council on his episcopate,
Only lasting peace will stop the exodus of Christians from the land where Jesus was born, according to a bishop in the region. Speaking to Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop William Shomali, Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem, described how peace was needed to stop the haemorrhaging of Christians from Israel and the Palestinian territories. Bishop Shomali said: “Peace creates a very positive atmosphere. Without it, there is insecurity and the economic situation becomes precarious. Then, work must be created.”
Caritas Philippines and Catholic Relief Services have sent joint teams to the Philippines following Typhoon Bopha (local name 'Pablo') which forced the evacuation of 160,000 people and left hundreds dead. The category 5 super typhoon hit south eastern Mindanao last Tuesday with 160 mph winds, causing major flooding and damage to homes, businesses and farms.
Fr Edwin Gariguez, Director of Caritas Philippines, is with one of the teams in Suriago del Sur where he says damage has been substantial. “Most of the coastal area has been affected,” he said.
The Catholic-Oriental Orthodox Regional Forum (COORF) held a Solemn Vespers of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Thursday, 6 December to celebrate 40 years of Common Statements between The Catholic Church and The Oriental Orthodox Churches and to pray for unity. In his sermon at St James Church, Spanish Place, COORF Catholic Co-Chair His Grace Archbishop Kevin McDonald spoke of the historical connections between the member Churches, followed by Oriental Orthodox Co-Chair HG Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop
Prayers were said at St Vincent and St Teresa’s Catholic Church, in Southmead, Bristol yesterday, for Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse from King Edward VII Hospital in London, who reportedly took her own life on Friday after passing on a hoax call from an Australian radio station, purporting to be the Queen asking to speak with the Duchess of Cambridge. Jacintha, 46, leaves her husband Benedict and two teenaged children. Jacinta trained at the Father Muller’s School of Nursing in Mangalore, south west India, where she was a model student.
A six hour long film on the life of Jesus, in the Hindi language, has been released in India this week for the Year of Faith. Titled 'Christayan' ('The Way of Christ'), the film is the work of Fr Geo George SVD, an Indian missionary who used 200 non-professional actors, about 80% non-Christians, and seven years of work to produce the film. Playing the role of Jesus, is the young Hindu actor Ankit Sharma. Fr Dominic D'Abreo, spokesman of the Indian Bishops Conference,
An Apostleship of the Sea port chaplain has spoken of meeting the crew of the cargo ship that sank in the North Sea on Wednesday, leaving five crew members dead and six missing. The Baltic Ace cargo ship sank off the coast of Belgium and the Netherlands after colliding with a container ship. The coastguard say there is little chance of the six seafarers still being alive in the freezing waters. Paul Atkinson, chaplain to the ports of Tyne and Blyth, heard the news when he was on board the sister ship, The Nordic, in Tyne Dock.
A bronze statue of Blessed Cardinal Newman, created by the great nephew of legendary Birmingham author JRR Tolkien, has been erected at Newman University College in Birmngham. The life-size statue was blessed by the Pope during his visit to Cofton Park in 2010 and is now on permanent loan to Newman where it has been erected in the quad. Professor Peter Lutzeier, principal and chief executive of Newman, said: “We’re delighted to be home to the statue, which is a truly inspirational piece of work in every sense.
The Mount of Olives, home to the Garden of Gethsemane, and the place of Jesus' Ascension, is in danger of being destroyed, if Israeli plans to build a military academy there go ahead. Plans involve the construction of an eight-story structure, five stories of which will be built into the ridge, with 41,480 square metres of built up space. The Ministry of Interior has stated that the site is adjacent to the settler inspired Tsurim National Park on the slopes of the Mount of Olives and a press release asserted that “...the construction of the IDF College in Jerusalem is a central pillar in strengthening Jerusalem
Devasahayam Pillai, a Hindu man who converted to Christianity in 18th century India and was later martyed for his faith, was beautified and declared a martyr on Sunday, 2 Decembe. The ceremony in Nagercoil, in the Roman Catholic diocese of Kottar in Southern India was presided by Angelo Cardinal Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, acting as papal delegate. Other dignitaries present were: Salvatore Pennacchio, Apostolic Nuciature, India, four Cardinals, more than forty Archbishops and Bishops,
6 December is the feast day of St Nichols - patron saint of children and the real 'Santa Claus'. The three day long Big Give also starts on this day, at 10am. From that time, every pound you donate will be doubled. This year the Thai Children's Trust hope to raise £50,000 through the Big Give, to provide life-changing treatment for children from Burma. Burma Children's Medical Fund (BCMF) has been operating in Mae Tao Clinic, Thailand, since 2006. During this time they have helped over 500 patients to get the treatment they desperately need.
The Archbishop of Glasgow has told youngsters from schools in Scotland about the importance of standing up for religious freedom, saying that around the world Christians suffer the most persecution. Speaking last Monday at a memorial Mass for Aid to the Church in Need's founder, Father Werenfried van Straaten, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia also paid tribute to the charity’s work for oppressed Christians. Taking part in the service at St Bride’s Catholic Church in Cambuslang, near Glasgow,
Saturday’s day of prayer and action on Climate Change saw Christian campaigners pray for the success of the current United Nations climate conference in Qatar and help construct a replica of the ‘keystone’ pipeline between the US Embassy and Canadian High Commission in Grosvenor Square. First, an ecumenical prayer service, hosted by Christian Ecology Link (CEL) and Operation Noah at the Grosvenor Chapel in Mayfair, was led by Rev Chris Polhill. In her talk during the service, Catholic journalist Ellen Teague stressed that Climate Change is
Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, Professor George Weigel, American biographer of the late Pope John Paul II and the papal Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Archbishop Antonio Mennini are due to speak at an international Conference in Glasgow tomorrow, 1 December 2012 to mark the Church’s ‘Year of Faith’. The ‘St Andrew’s Conference’ which will be attended by over 300 delegates will provide a platform for guest speakers from around the world to address Pope Benedict XVI’s call for a new evangelisation. The Conference will be hosted by
“The area covered by Kasungu parish in Malawi has a population of around 200,000 people, including 35,000 Catholics. Kasungu has one of the highest [HIV/AIDS] prevalence rates in Malawi at 30-40 per cent, compared to the national rate of 14.1 per cent (UNAIDS, 2006). The parish has six HBC [Home-based care] centres with about 130 caregivers. Support for school fees, uniforms and food is provided for 680 orphans, and seeds and fertilisers are offered to their families, with the aim of ensuring food security. There are some 20,000 orphans in Kasungu – ten per cent of the population – but the parish
“The strong support of many of our Churches and faith communities for the traditional understanding of marriage cannot be overlooked. This message from the faith communities is a reminder that the Government needs to listen carefully to the voices of ordinary people. “It cannot be presumed that everyone is in favour of same-sex marriage because a vocal minority has captured the attention of the media,” stressed the Most Reverend Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham, during the Annual Civic Mass,
Catholics living with HIV, those working in HIV prevention and care in local agencies, and volunteers, will celebrate the annual Mass to mark World AIDS Day on Sunday, 2 December 2012, 5pm, at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption & St Gregory, Warwick Street, Soho, London W1B 5NB. The Mass will be celebrated by Fr John Creagh, a priest member of the Mill Hill Missionaries, a religious community working predominantly in African countries. Fr Creagh worked in Kenya for some time and is now an NHS mental health chaplain, also offering pastoral support at London's Mildmay Hospital, in Shoreditch.
Eritrean Asfeha Fesehaya has lived in the presbytery of St Catherine’s parish in Birmingham for the past seven months. Here, the parish priest of St Catherine’s, Columban Jim Fleming, presents the case for him to be granted asylum in Britain. Asfeha is an Eritrean national who is currently seeking asylum in the UK due to the current dire situation in his own country. According to Amnesty International and other human rights organisations, Eritrea’s record is very poor. The youth are drafted into the military under the pretext of national service but
An act of vandalism, then an apology and reconciliation, happened this week in Qara, in the diocese of Homs, Western Syria. On Monday, 19 November the ancient, 6th century church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, was desecrated by vandals who forced open the door. They stole more than 20 icons, ancient manuscripts and vestments, desecrated the altar and tried to steal a famous 12th century fresco, the 'Madonna del Latte'. While they were trying to remove it, the fresco was badly damaged with two cuts to the figure of the Virgin. As soon as the news spread
During Prisons Week (18-24 November), the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Antonio Mennini visited Feltham Young Offenders Institution. He celebrated Mass for the young inmates today, Wednesday 21 November 2012. In his homily, Archbishop Mennini invited the young people to waste a little time each day with God. Sharing a personal story from his youth, he said: “When I was young, I remember how often my mother used to watch from the window of our apartment,
A priest has told Apostleship of the Sea’s 23rd international congress in the Vatican that more action is needed to help Costa Rican fishermen living in poverty. Speaking on World Fisheries Day, Father Gustavo Meneses, who works in the Diocese of Puntarenas, said Costa Rica’s fishing communities have been abandoned by government institutions. “Today these historic communities are experiencing firsthand the violation of their fundamental human rights,
'L'infanzia di Gesu' ('The Infancy Narratives'), the third volume of Benedict XVI's trilogy dedicated to Jesus of Nazareth, will be available in Italian bookshops tomorrow, 21 November. The book, published in Italy by Rizzoli and the Vatican Publishing House, will be released simultaneously in several languages (Italian, German, Croatian, French, English, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish) and in 50 countries; the worldwide print run of the first edition will be more than a million copies. In the coming months, the book will be translated into 20 languages for publication in 72 countries.
Aid to the Church in Need is launching an appeal for prayer for peace in the Holy Land and across the Middle East amid reports of escalating violence. Just back from a trip to the Holy Land, Neville Kyrke-Smith, UK director of the charity, described the situation as “tense” and reported on how Christians and their leaders in the region had highlighted their increasing concern about the growing conflict. Mr Kyrke-Smith was leading a pilgrimage in the Holy Land on Wednesday (14 November) when the top military commander in Gaza was killed,
New Evangelization is at the heart of reflections at the XXIII World Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea that began in the Vatican’s Synod Hall on Monday. The November 19-23 congress is the first to be held in Rome in 30 years; the last one to be held here was in 1982. This year’s Congress is also taking place 90 years after Pius XI signed the first Constitutions of the Apostleship of the Sea on August 17, 1922. In extending its invitation to workers in this pastoral ministry for seafarers and their families, the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People
The Institute for Christian Formation (ICF) in Cincinnati, Ohio, has created an online Advent/Christmas Calendar for each day of the Advent and Christmas Seasons for the 2013 Liturgical Year: December 2, 2012-January 13, 2013. This calendar is a go-to source for information and resources about Seasons and Saints, Scripture, Church Teaching, Prayer, Traditional Activities and Recipes, and much more! Geared to a wide-based audience, there is something for everyone: families, parishes, individuals, children, teens, adults, catechists and school teachers, colleges and youth ministry.
The Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols has welcomed the appointment of the Bishop Justin Welby as the new Archbishop of Canterbury. Archbishop Nichols, who is currently leading a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, said: “On behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, I warmly welcome the news of the appointment of the current Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Justin Welby as the next Archbishop of Canterbury.
The EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network has become the first Catholic broadcaster to be added to iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s industry-leading digital radio service. Under this agreement, EWTN, the live, interactive, family-friendly Catholic radio network, will now be available on the iHeartRadio platform wherever it is offered including web, mobile devices, tablets and automobiles. iHeartRadio delivers everything listeners want in one free, fully-integrated service; instant access to more than 1,000 of the nation’s most popular broadcast
The Anscombe Bioethics Centre is calling on all concerned people, Christian or non-Christian, to respond to an ongoing government consultation on genetically modified babies. The closing date for submissions to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) consultation on mitochondrial replacement is Friday 7 December. Dr Helen Watt, the Centre’s Senior Research Fellow, made the following comment on the HFEA consultation: “Mitochondrial replacement has been called ‘3-parent IVF’,
Egypt’s new Coptic Orthodox Pope should break with the past, take a lower political profile and allow the Coptic faithful to speak up for themselves in defence of their rights... Praising Pope-designate Tawadros II’s early statements favouring a spiritually-focused pontificate over a political one, Coptic Catholic Bishop Kyrillos William stressed the need for the new leader to “leave the lay people to represent themselves”.
On Sunday, 4 November, Archbishop Vincent Nichols celebrated Mass at St Charles Borromeo parish church in Ogle Street, in London's West End, to mark both the 150th anniversary of the parish church and to bless the new Catechetical Hall in the ongoing excavation of the crypt underneath the church. The Mass was concelebrated by Fr Bryan Jones, parish priest of St Charles Borromeo; Fr Gary Walsh, chaplain to the Albanian community; Fr Peter Harries, who acts as chaplain at University College Hospital and Fr John O’Leary,
The 118th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa on the holy Apostolic See of Saint Mark was announced on 4 November 2012. Bishop Tawadrous, 60, was chosen in an altar ballot, concluding the Papal Selection Process for the Coptic Orthodox Church. Bishop Tawadrous succeeds the late Pope Shenouda III, who died at the age of 88 on 17 March 2012. In a process that has taken nine months, the new Pope was selected in an altar ballot during a Liturgical service at The Grand Cathedral of St Mark in Cairo
What is more important – life? Or how you live it? Dr Korczak was a Polish Jewish doctor and writer, who passionately championed every child’s right to freedom, respect and love.
He ran homes for Christian and Jewish children and encouraged all young people to reach their full potential. This new play, Dr Korczak’s Example, by David Greig directed by Ria Parry, at London's Unicorn Theatre, is set in the final days of an orphanage in the Jewish ghetto of Warsaw, where food is scarce, tempers rise and everyone wants to survive.
Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, the former Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain died on Wednesday, 31 October, after a long illness. Mgr Marcus Stock, the General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said the Bishops Conference was very saddened to hear the news. Mgr Stock said: "The Bishops remember Archbishop Faustino with great affection and admiration. His ministry as the personal representative of the Holy Father was exercised with untiring devotion and great attentiveness to the needs of our countries.
The leader of the Catholic Church in Nigeria has described how clergy and people alike are at a point of “near desperation” after Sunday Massgoers in the north became the latest victims of extremist violence. Official Church reports sent to Aid to the Church in Need confirm that during Mass last Sunday (28 October) at St Rita’s Catholic Church, Kaduna, eight people including the suicide bomber died and 134 were injured, 75 of them critically. Referring to how the attack was the latest in a series of blasts targeting centres including churches, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama,
Lord Alton and Baroness Howe hosted the launch of a harrowing new film at the House of Lords on Tuesday evening: 'Its a Girl' - which exposes the scandal of the millions of forced abortions and killings of newborn girls taking place in India and China.
As many as 200 million female babies have been killed in the past 30 years. In India, traditionally, daughters are seen as a liability. While a son will bring money into the family, a girl must be provided with a dowry. In poorer communities girls babies are killed after birth by smothering, poisoning or other means. Richer Indian families
Students from 17 European countries gathered in Velletri, Italy on Saturday for the start of a five-day conference to discuss racism, xenophobia and the impact of migration in Europe. 'Who is my neighbour? ' Who is excluded from our society?' ' What does it mean to love your neighbours?' 'Do we know who they are?' 'Are we willing to take risks to be in solidarity with migrants and minorities'? 'How does our faith build bridges and draw borders?' These are the questions which the participants are going to approach through lectures, docu-drama, panel discussions, workshops and
Over the the weekend, a church in Syria was badly damaged by a car bomb, and a second Orthodox priest from a town near Damascus, who had been abducted about eight days earlier, was found murdered. The car bomb exploded on Saturday in front of the only Syrian Orthodox Church in the town of Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria, damaging it severely. According to local sources, the victims of the attack are five people who were in a restaurant near the church.
Participants in a World Council of Churches (WCC) human rights training event in Bangkok, Thailand have affirmed that defending the "rights and dignity of the voiceless, persecuted, socially marginalized and alienated" is the responsibility of all the Churches. The training focused on ecumenical advocacy for human rights, which took place from 21 - 25 October 2012 in Bangkok, Thailand. Organized by the WCC’s Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) and the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA),
Reverend Dr Vincent Twomey SVD, Acting Provincial Superior of the Divine Word Missionaries, paid the following tribute to the late Reverend Brother Paul Hurley SVD, former editor of The Word, the magazine of the Divine Word Missionaries (SVD). Brother Hurley died yesterday at the age of 91 years and see also funeral arrangements below: “I am deeply saddened by the passing of my great friend and colleague Brother Paul Hurley. Brother Paul founded and edited the monthly magazine The Word for forty years.
A short film celebrating a scheme that challenges parishes to change the way they live has gone ‘live’ on the CAFOD website. The film – lasting just under four minutes – celebrates the success of the LiveSimply parish scheme, which was launched 18 months ago. The scheme asks parishes to make a commitment to living simply, sustainably and in solidarity with the poor, and the film features interviews with members of one of the four parishes to receive the LiveSimply award so far, as well as two that have just signed up to the scheme.
Pope Benedict XVI has announced a consistory for the creation of six new Cardinals - all non European. Addressing cheering pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square for the weekly audience with the Holy Father yesterday, he made his announcement at the end of his catechesis. The new cardinals come from three continents: America, Africa and Asia, and they are: American Archbishop James Michael Harvey, Prefect of the Pontifical House, who will be appointed Archpriest of the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls; His Beatitude Bechara Boutros Raï,
In a joyful, colourful and memorable ceremony Pope Benedict XVI canonized seven new saints during a special Mass attended by more than 80,000 pilgrims in St Peter’s Square, on World Mission Sunday, 21 October. After the Holy Father had said the Formula of Canonization, loud applause rang out throughout St Peter’s Square as the choir began the great Te Deum – “God we praise you; Lord we proclaim you! The magnificent tapestry of each of the seven new saints, who come from countries throughout the world, looked down on the Holy Father,
Christians of all denominations were among tens of thousands who joined in peaceful marches organised by the TUC in London, Glasgow and Belfast on Saturday, to protest at government cuts. In London, more than 150,000 people marched from the Embankment to a rally in Hyde Park. Catholic general secretary designate of the TUC Frances O’Grady, called for the creation of “a new economy that works for working people.” She said this means addressing the causes of the financial crisis that brought the present situation about.
The suspension of the Head of Theology Department at St Mary's University College Twickenham, and absence of several other staff members, including the college chaplain, has meant that some students have missed a number of classes. Several students have also voiced concerns over the lack of pastoral care and daily Mass on campus. "Some third year students taking two courses: Eastern Christianity and Christian Worship, will have missed seven classes", programme rep
During yesterday afternoon's session of the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone announced that the Holy Father will shortly be sending a delegation to Damascus, Syria, to express, in the name of the Pope and the entire Church, "fraternal solidarity with the entire population, with a personal offering from the Synod Fathers as well as from the Holy See".
The delegation will also express "spiritual closeness to our Christian brothers and sisters" and encourage "all those involved in seeking an agreement respectful of the rights and duties of all,
On Friday afternoon, after Muslim prayers, a 600 strong mob attacked and damaged a church in the old city area of Karachi. Earlier the same pillagers set fire to the belongings of Ryan Bryan a teenager now accused of blasphemy in the same town, Shamim Maish from the British Pakistani Christian Association, who is in the area, has reported on his blog. On Saturday a large number of civil society activists and members of the Christian community held a demonstration, urging the authorities to protect them from the extremists who attacked and damaged a church and threatened
The Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology in Cambridge, has named its library, the ‘Lash Library’, in recognition of all the generous support it has received from Cambridge based married couple, Professor Nicholas Lash and his wife Janet Lash since the college’s inception in 1993 and onwards. At the official re-opening of the library at the start of Michaelmas term on 4 October, amidst a packed gathering of staff and students, past and present, Sr Bridget Tighe, former principal of the college, spoke warmly of how influential the couple
On Friday, 23 students training as ministers in the Church of England and the Methodist Church gathered at the UAV Engines, Lynn Lane,Shenstone plant, in order to witness against the manufacture and use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) and their military applications. Their vigil included acts of Christian worship and prayer, including a Litany of Resistance, hymns, Bible readings and periods of silent prayer, as well as protest chants directed towards the factory, which manufactures engines for use in drones used directly in miltary attacks and also in reconnaisance
More than 200 people attended a landmark gathering at Holy Cross Sixth Form College in Bury last weekend to celebrate and energise Catholic Social Action throughout the Diocese of Salford. Faith in People was jointly organised by CSAN, Caritas Diocese of Salford and St Antony's Centre for Church and Industry “to shape a new mission for the local Church and to address social justice." The event was opened by Bishop Terence Brain who set out the challenges facing the Diocese, which encompasses Bury, Manchester and much of North West England. He was followed by Helen O’Brien, C
Australian Fr Geoffrey Schneider SJ, has been declared the world's oldest working teacher, by Guinness World Records. Father Geoffrey Schneider, who has been teacher and chaplain at Sydney’s St Aloysius’ College's Junior School for 47 years, said he has no intention of retiring, as he approaches his 100th birthday in December.said he has no intention of retiring, as he approaches his 100th birthday in December. The secret of his success, he said, is “a mountain of patience”. “If things are going wrong, don’t start shouting. Just proceed quietly and things will settle down eventually.
Members of the Union of Catholic Mothers in Marylebone, central London, with some of their children, spent the day bag-packing in Sainsbury’s, Pimlico, to collect money for projects working with some of the world's poorest people in the Turkana desert region of north west Kenya. ‘NewWays’ is a UK registered charity founded in 1994 by Fr Albert Salvans, a Catholic priest working in London, with the aim of supporting development work in Africa, particularly basic nutrition, healthcare, agriculture, water infrastructure and education.
Josephine Siedlecka, the founder and editor of Independent Catholic News, is one of three women honoured as ‘Catholic Women of the Year’ for 2012. They attended an award ceremony and luncheon on Monday 8 October in Central London, along with around 260 women, largely representing women’s organisations such as the Union of Catholic Mothers, Catholic Women’s League, and the Association of Catholic Women. The other two ‘Catholic Women of the Year’ are Bron Soane, who founded the charity Aid to the Children of El Salvador, and Maureen Meacher,
CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network), the social action arm of the Catholic Church in England and Wales has labelled the announcement of a further £10 billion cut to the welfare budget as "far too much, far too soon." Speaking from the Conservative Party Conference shortly after George Osborne and William Hague laid out the plans, Helen O'Brien Chief Executive of CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network) stated: "the provisions of the Welfare Reform Act have not even been fully implemented, but already the government is announcing a deeper
John E Stoer, Headmaster of St Aloysius' College, Glasgow, has announced that he is to stand down from his position at the end of the current academic year. The news comes almost ten years since Mr Stoer took up the post as the College's first lay Head since it was founded by the Jesuits 153 years ago. Educated at the Benedictine school at Douai in Berkshire, Mr Stoer graduated from Bristol University where he studied theology and sociology and was certified as a teacher at St Mary's College, Strawberry Hill,
A church worker from Colombia has asked supporters in England and Wales to pray for the success of new peace talks for the troubled country. Gerardina Cardozo, Programme Coordinator of FUNVIPAS (Vicariate Foundation for Social Ministry) – a CAFOD partner in the Vicariate of San Vicente del Caguán, one of the areas most affected by Colombia’s conflict of more than 50 years – is visiting England and Wales to thank schools and parishes for their support at a time when peace talks bring new hope to her region.
Coptic families are reported to be fleeing the northern city of Rafah after suspected Islamist militants opened fire on a Coptic-owned shop on Wednesday 26 September. In the run-up to the attack militants had distributed leaflets warning Christians to leave the city within 48 hours or face violence. According to reports, two armed men riding a motorcycle opened fire on the Coptic-owned shop, damaging the walls. The shop owner, Mamdouh Nasef, escaped injury and reopened his store over the weekend.
The Red Mass - the annual Mass for the legal profession, was celebrated at Westminster Cathedral by Bishop John Sherrington, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, on Monday, 1 October, to mark the start of the new legal year. Judges, lawyers, solicitors and other court staff, dressed in their official wigs and robes - gathered for the service, and attended a reception afterward. During his homily, Bishop Sherrington urged those present to be guided by the cardinal virtues of justice, prudence, temperance and fortitude in serving society.
Pope Benedict appealed for peace in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday. Speaking to pilgrims and tourists gathered to pray the Angelus with him at the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father deplored the violence that flared again recently in the DRC between a rebel group and irregular militia forces. This latest round of fighting has driven thousands of people from their homes since the middle of September. Pope Benedict said: "With affection and concern, I follow the developments in the east of
Sixteen members of the Crown Nominations Commission are meeting on the 26th and 27th September to consider the appointment of the new Archbishop of Canterbury. The Church's Director of Communications, the Revd Arun Arora, said: "We know there are lots of people who will be praying for the CNC at the moment. Over the next two days the CNC will need the gifts of guidance and wisdom as they together come to a decision. Just as we pray for those we love and those in need, so we also pray for those who shoulder responsibility
Hundreds of people gathered on Sunday for the funeral of Fr Teodoro Mariscal Rivas, (Padre Toto) who was found murdered in his own home in the area of Santa Fe. The priest, 45, was born in Tala, Jalisco, and had the pastoral care of the church of Santa Cecilia, which is within the territory of the parish of Santo Nino de la Salud, in the district of Mochicahui, towards the central part of the Gulf of California, Mexico. After the funeral, the priest was buried in Jalisco, his hometown. Initial police reports indicated
Only a strong Christian presence in the Middle East can restore peace in the region, according to a priest from Lebanon speaking in Scotland. This was the message Maronite Fr Samer Nassif gave to the more than 180 people who gathered in the hall of St Mirin’s Cathedral, Paisley on the evening of Thursday 20 September. His message was echoed by Liz Leydon, editor of the Scottish Catholic Observer, and Aid to the Church in Need’s national director, Neville Kyrke-Smith, who were also speaking at the event organised by Catholic charity.
A new exhibition: Churches in the Modern World’ has opened at The Lighthouse, Glasgow, running to 16 October. It is also at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, until 7 October and will be at St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham, from 9 October to 5 November. This exhibition, designed by Collective Architecture and curated by Ambrose Gillick and Robert Proctor, presents nine significant case study buildings using photography, drawings, original architects’ sketches and quotations, alongside quotations from documents including Vatican II.The case studies are selected to illustrate
Every Catholic school in England and Wales has been invited to begin the forthcoming Year of Faith by having a week of prayer and service inspired by a young saint. The joint initiative of the Bishops’ Department for Education and Formation, and also Evangelisation and Catechesis, is called ‘Little Way Week’ and is being run from 6 - 12 October. It aims to encourage everyone in the school community to pray and to serve one another and their local communities doing at least one activity, every day for a week. The initiative is inspired by the example and spiritual teaching of of St Thérèse of Lisieux,
More than a hundred Catholics are set to gather in Bury for a landmark event to energise and expand Church associated social action in the North West. Caritas Faith in People is being organised by CSAN, Caritas Diocese of Salford and St Antony’s Centre for Church and Industry on 13 October. It will bring together professional charities, local projects, clergy and parishioners to celebrate social action, tackle current local needs and share their experiences. The Right Rev Terence Brain, Bishop of Salford, will give an overview of the current challenges
The Arab Spring is a 'complex phenomenon' that must be analyzed and understood outside trivializing stereotypes, and Europeans should 'respect the right of other nations to define democracy in accordance with their traditions and religious beliefs. These are some of the opinions of the Conference of European Justice and Peace Commissions which met in Malta last week. Representatives of the 30 national Justice and Peace commissions related to the respective European Bishops' Conferences came together in Rabat, Malta,
Nearly 40 Sisters of St Joseph of Peace (CSJP) and associates have gathered in London this week from the United States, Haiti, El Salvador and Britain to explore their mission of Peace and Care for Creation. On Saturday, their meeting - at St Katherine’s Centre, Limehouse - was facilitated by Edward and Barbara Echlin of Christian Ecology Link and Ellen Teague of the Columban Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation Team and Chair of the National Justice and Peace Network Environment Group.
‘Peace and God’s Earth’ was the title of a talk given by
Since the appointment of Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller of Regensburg, Germany, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, there has been renewed interest in a speech Bishop Müller gave in Spanish about his experiences with liberation theology in 2008, upon receiving an honorary doctorate from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. A translation of his 'Mis experiencias con la Teología de la Liberación' follows in English. For me, liberation theology is linked to the face of Gustavo Gutierrez. In 1988,
Since the appointment of Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller of Regensburg, Germany, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, there has been renewed interest in a speech Bishop Müller gave in Spanish about his experiences with liberation theology in 2008, upon receiving an honorary doctorate from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. A translation of his 'Mis experiencias con la Teología de la Liberación' follows in English. For me, liberation theology is linked to the face of Gustavo Gutierrez. In 1988,
Seventeen students have joined Allen Hall Seminary to train as priests this year - eleven of them will be hoping to serve in the Diocese of Westminster. The new academic term started on 11 September 2012. The men, who come from backgrounds as diverse as A&E nursing, social work, IT consultancy and stockbroking are to embark on a new journey led by their faith in Christ. The new year group includes members of religious orders and other dioceses across England. In total there are now 56 men training at Allen Hall.
Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, new head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), says he sees the polarization between traditionalists and progressives as the most important challenge faced by the Church. In an interview with Vatican Radio’s Fr Bernd Hagenkord SJ on Tuesday, Archbishop Müller said: "I do not believe I was summoned by the Holy Father to fill a bureaucratic post and carry out – so to speak – a bureaucratic task, but as a theologian. So above all, I asked myself; what ails the life of the Church?
A bishop from Syria and the leader of the Catholic Church in Nigeria are to give first-hand testimonies at Aid to the Church in Need's annual Westminster Mass and Event on Saturday 20th October. Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo in Syria and Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, have accepted invitations to be keynote speakers at the event. The bishops’ visit to the UK will go ahead subject to security considerations. The day begins at 10.30am with
On the first day of his high profile visit to Lebanon yesterday, Pope Benedict appealed to Christians, Jews and Muslims to 'root out' religious fundamentalism, as deadly unrest swept across the Middle East and violent protests took place in Lebanon. Formally approving a series of recommendations emerging from a synod of bishops that examined the future of the Middle East's Christian minority, and its relations with Islam and Judaism, the Pope signed the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, during a service in Lebanon's basilica of St Paul in Harissa,
Pope Benedict XVI will call on the world’s governments to stop arming belligerents in the Syrian crisis when he visits Lebanon, the country’s Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rai said today (Thursday). Speaking in Beirut, the head of Lebanon's Maronite Church, the country’s largest Christian group which is communion with the Roman Catholic Church and loyal to the Pope, said Benedict will "definitely call for an end to the spiral of violence and to hatred, which are pointless, and for those who finance and arm both sides in the conflict to stop doing so."
To mark the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, the US Catholic Bishops Conference have published a series of remembrances, prayers and reflections on their website. We've republished one here by Fr Joseph Bayne, OFM Conv, chief chaplain of the Erie County Emergency Services, chaplain of the Buffalo Fire Department and executive director of the Franciscan Center, a runaway homeless youth shelter, in Buffalo, New York. Fr Joseph writes: As a follower of Francis of Assisi, I'm challenged to bring joy to a broken and sorrow-filled world.
Pope Benedict XVI has made a plea for dialogue and reconciliation in the Middle East on the eve of his trip to Lebanon, amid continuing violence in neighbouring Syria. The Pope will arrive in Lebanon on Friday for a three-day visit which will culminate with the celebration of an open air Mass at Beirut's City Centre Waterfront on Sunday. Delivering the Angelus blessing from his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo on the outskirts of Rome on Sunday, the Pope said: "My apostolic trip to Lebanon, and by extension to the whole of the Middle East, is taking place under the sign of peace.
Yousef Nadarkhani, the Church of Iran pastor sentenced to death for apostasy, has been released from prison and is at home with his family. According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, during court proceedings that took place today, Pastor Nadarkhani was acquitted of apostasy, but found guilty of evangelizing Muslims. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment for the latter charge, but released because he had already served this time.
Catholics in England and Wales are being invited to pause for a moment of prayer every first Friday of the month as an act of faith and public witness. The invitation has been made by Rt Rev Kieran Conry, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton and Chair of the Bishops’ Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis. Speaking ahead of Home Mission Sunday, which falls on 16 September 2012, he said: "On Home Mission Sunday we reflect on our role in the mission of the Church. A simple way that we can contribute to this and grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ,
The Inaugural Mass at which Bishop Philip Tartaglia formally takes over as Archbishop of Glasgow, will take place at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Clyde St, Glasgow on Saturday, 8 September at 11.30am. The ceremony begins with the new Archbishop being greeted at the door of the Cathedral where he will reverence a crucifix and then bless the congregation with holy water. He will then process to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of the Cathedral for a period of quiet prayer.
Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party has been in prison since 1999. He is still the most important leader of the Kurdish campaign for peace, justice and a key player in bringing about an end to the on-going conflict between Turkey and Kurdistan. Fr Joe Ryan writes: As a Catholic priest and Chair of the Westminster Justice and Peace Commission, I would wish to add my support and solidarity to this campaign.. We are asking for the release of Abdullah Ocalan from solitary confinement on the prison island of Imrali.
Chair of Westminster Justice & Peace Commission, Fr Joe Ryan, this week is attending a press conference in Brussels, Belgium, which launches the international campaign 'Freedom for Abdullah Ocalan.' Ocalan is a founding member of the Kurdistan Workers' party, which has been insisting for an independent Kurdish state since the 1980s. He has been imprisoned since 1999. Despite a 2005 European Court of Human Rights ruling that Turkey had violated the European Convention of Human Rights by its treatment of Ocalan,
Following the killing of 34 striking platinum miners in Marikana by police on 16 August, a South African bishop has expressed his concern that a court has indicted 270 of their comrades over the deaths but not charged the police officers who fired on the crowds. Mgr Kevin Dowling, Bishop of Rustenburg, said: "It is very strange that miners are incriminated in the deaths on 16 August and not the police officers who fired real bullets against demonstrators." The local prosecutor has indicted 270 workers from the Marikana mine, who are still in prison, including those who were unarmed or
The Redemptorists have decided to sell Hawkstone Hall in Shropshire. The grade one listed mansion house in Marchamley, near Wem, currently being used as a retreat centre, is being sold with 88 acres of land and a pair of semi-detached cottages at an asking price of £5million. The centre Rector, Fr Maurice O'Mahony, said the hall was being sold as part of "restructuring plans" by the Redemptorists. He told the BBC: "I think many religious congregations, especially in Europe, are experiencing a downturn in the numbers of people coming in to the ministry so that's
Cardinal Timothy Dolan has written a forthright defence of his invitation to President Obama to attend the Al Smith dinner in October. This following a barrage of angry protests from individuals from individuals urging the Cardinal to withdraw his invitation, because of provisions for birth control and abortion that may be included in the US government's proposed healthcare scheme. Writing in his personal blog, the Cardinal referred to a recent dinner he had attended in which the speaker, had announced a "promising initiative of the Knights of Columbus to foster civility in politics.
Up to 2.4 million people have fled their homes and at least 60 people are reported to have died in floods that have devastated much of Manila and neighboring provinces this week. Today, 10 August, the social action arm of the Philippines Catholic bishops’ conference today launched an emergency appeal. Father Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the National Secretariat for Social Action-Caritas,
It has been reported this week that scientists at the Large Hadron Collider have increased their levels of certainty that they have found the Higgs boson. Where does this mysterious particle fit into our picture of the universe? In Thinking Faith, Former particle physicist, Fr Andrew Pinsent, explains the science behind the discovery of the Higgs and introduces us to some of the most crucial figures in the centuries of research upon which its prediction was based. After nearly fifty years of work, the construction of the most complex research machines in history
‘Thank you for keeping me alive’ says Jesus Rodriguez to a sell out auditorium of fans he never knew existed in this entrancing and uplifting documentary by Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul. In the early 1970s Sixto Diaz Rodriguez, a Mexican folk-singer songwriter in Detroit, was dropped by his record label, Sussex, after two critically acclaimed albums of songs of inner city poverty, hope and struggle that didn’t sell. His label boss wondered if the record sales had been a total of six! Yet the producers cite Rodriguez as one of the greatest talents they had ever worked with.
More than 200,000 people from 47 Congolese dioceses took part in a March of Hope in protest at the so-called 'balkanization' of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), by a new armed rebellion in North Kivu. In the capital, Kinshasa, the march started from different parishes around 6.30am, after morning Mass, converging toward the 14 deaneries of the Archdiocese. Each parish delegation bore a banner with the same message: "No to the balkanization of the DRC, no to the plundering of our resources."
A Royal Gala Dinner celebrating 'Faith in Sport' was held at the historic Stationers’ Hall, close to St Paul's Cathedral in the City of London on 28 July. The event was hosted by the Order's Delegate for Great Britain and Ireland, HE Mr Anthony Bailey, and held in the presence of the Grand Master of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George, HRH Prince Carlo of Bourbon Two Sicilies, Duke of Castro, and his wife, HRH Princess Camilla of Bourbon Two Sicilies, Duchess of Castro. The Guest Speaker was Archbishop Vincent Nichols
Several hundred young people have gathered in St Bonaventure’s Catholic High School in one of the most deprived parts of East London, a mile away from the Olympic Park, to begin the 12- day Joshua Camp run and hosted by the Sion Community for Evangelization. Bishop Thomas McMahon, Bishop of Brentwood Diocese, celebrated Mass on the first day of the camp, welcoming participants from every continent of the world with 21 countries represented.
The Buddhist mother of a jailed Catholic activist died on Monday after setting herself on fire in front of a government office in the southern city of Bac Lieu in protest at her daughter's detention. Dang Thi Kim Lieng died on the way to the hospital in Ho Chi Minh City,” said Redemptorist Father Dinh Huu Thoai, a priest close to the family. Her daughter, Marie Ta Phong Tan, 43, who being held at a jail in the city is one of three bloggers arrested last year. All are due to go on trial next week.
Rio Tinto has been awarded a gold medal for being the worst company linked to the London Olympics at London’s Trafalgar Square last week. Three people pretending to be corporate representatives from Rio Tinto, BP, and Dow received medals for being the most inappropriate corporate sponsors of the Games, before having small quantities of green custard poured over their heads. The Greenwash Gold Ceremony was the culmination of a three month campaign in which members of the public were invited
Dozens of grandparents - many accompanied by their children and grandchildren - gathered for the annual Grandparents' Pilgrimage at The Friars, Aylesford in Kent, on 14 July. They were joined by Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton and Bishop John Hine. The Pilgrimage celebrated Saints Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus, whose Feast Day is 26 July. In the opening prayer service, Fr Graham Preston, Southwark's Episcopal Vicar for Marriage and Family Life, spoke of the day as being one of ‘Faith and Fun’.
I was blown away by Friday Night's Opening Ceremony. It was beautiful, absorbing and emotional at times. More than once it struck me as transcending mere ceremony to having a liturgical quality to it. Whether it was the children’s choir hymn singing at the start, or the moving memorial to the 7/7 victims in the middle – with its reflective change of pace, beautiful rendition of Abide with Me, or the powerful and symbolic lighting of the Olympic Flame at the end – ‘Easter Vigilesque’ followed by the angel/bird like cyclist rising towards heaven.
Jesuit parishes, schools and communities around the world will be celebrating the anniversary of their founder St Ignatius Loyola on Tuesday, 31 July. In England, the southern Alumni Mass will be held at the Jesuit Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, London W1 - followed by a party in adjacent Mount Street Gardens. This occasion will also be an opportunity for the parish to bid farewell to its outgoing parish priest, Fr William Pearsall SJ, who will be leaving Mayfair next month for a sabbatical.
Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Bishop Philip Tartaglia (until now Bishop of Paisley) as Archbishop of Glasgow. The new Archbishop will succeed Most Rev Mario Joseph Conti, who has been Archbishop since 22 February 2002. Archbishop Conti will assume the title Archbishop Emeritus. Commenting on the appointment, the new Archbishop-Elect said: “I am conscious of the historic place of the Archdiocese of Glasgow in the history of Christianity in Scotland
Israeli settlers yesterday destroyed trees and vines and opened an unpaved road in private Palestinian land in al-Khader, an ancient town south of Bethlehem, according to a local reporter. Ahmad Salah, coordinator of the popular committee against settlements in al-Khader, said Palestinian farmers arrived on their land on Monday morning to find that Israeli settlers had opened an unpaved road and dug a 30-metre escarpment, destroying trees and around 50 grape vines in the properties.
A poignant moment during the NJPN conference on China was a skype call with Sr Mary Niu, sitting 5,000 miles away in a contemplative Chinese monastery, the first constructed since 1949. It was the early hours of the morning in China and Sr Mary and another sister appeared as silhouettes on two big screens. The 300 people present couldn’t make out their faces but could hear their greeting, and a cheer went up when the call finished. It seemed they were speaking to the conference in secret, not daring to turn many lights on.
Pope Benedict's butler, Paolo Gabriele was released from custody at the Vatican on Saturday, after 60 days imprisonment. Fr Federico Lombardi SJ head of the Vatican press office told reporters: "Judge Piero Antonio Bonnet, Examining Magistrate of the Tribunal of Vatican City State, in the wake of today's interrogation of Paolo Gabriele, has decided it is no longer necessary to keep him in custody. He has therefore granted Mr Gabriele parole, meaning that, having provided the necessary guarantees, he will remain under house arrest.
Refugees from the conflict come daily for help to the Shrine of Tabbaleh, dedicated to the Conversion of St Paul in Damascus. The Franciscan friars of the Custody of the Holy Land and the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who run the Church, have welcomed eight families permanently and provide maintenance to 45 other families both Christians and Muslims. These families have fled from from Damascus. They are the civilian victims of the clashes between the regular army forces and revolutionary groups
The Council of European Episcopal Conferences have issued a statement on Syria in which they urge an end to the violence. The document, signed by Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary; Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, Italy, and Archbishop Jozef Michalik of Przemysl of the Latins, Poland, respectively president and vice presidents of the CCEE said: "For many months now the Church and the entire international community have been looking with great apprehension and profound sadness
“There is only one Church in China” a Chinese Catholic bishop once told Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, “and we are all members of that church”. The Cardinal repeated the conversation on Saturday at the annual conference of the National Justice and Peace Network Conference in Derbyshire, where the theme was ‘A New World Order? China today and our response’. He suggested that Chinese Catholics, who number around 12 million, are overwhelmingly loyal to the Pope, but also “loyal to their country
Many of the Catholic parishes in the Highlands of Scotland were also ‘crofts’ – which allowed the priest to support himself and the parish by living off the land. A croft is a small free-hold of land which allows sustainable living. As communities have got wealthier, the need for the parish to sustain a croft has diminished. However in many places the vestiges continue. I have had the joy the last few years to go to the Outer Hebridean island of South Uist for a few weeks supply in the summer at this parish. The priest still has his own flock of sheep, real not metaphorical, and last summer
A Gala Concert to mark the distinguished contribution of Lee Ward, Director of Schola and Director of Music, in the presence of HRH Princess Michael of Kent, Patron of the Schola in Cadogan Hall. ...The Schola is a world-renowned boys’ choir which has performed in churches and concert halls in the USA and Europe, and with many of London’s leading orchestras. It is joined by former members of the choir and former music scholars of the school in a concert which will include the London premiere of Roxanna Panufnik’s Love Abide,
“Yes!,” said the late Pope! In 1997 Blessed John Paul II met with a Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for America: North, Central and South. This was in preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. Two years later in 1999, the Pope summarized the discussions in what is now known as The Church in America. It is his Apostolic Exhortation to the Catholics in America (and elsewhere). He calls us: "not to a re-Evangelization but a New Evangelization - new in ardour, method and expression."
A new chapter began in Angola on Sunday with the reinauguration of the Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Ladyo in Lwena. The celebration, which last several hours, was presided by the Apostolic Nuncio of Saotomo and Principe, Mgr Novatus Rugambwa, along with Angolan Bishops. The inauguration of the Cathedral is being seen as a sign of rebirth and peace. During the 34 years of war in Angola (from 1968, the beginning of armed struggle for independence, to 2002, signing of the peace) social structures at all levels including
As the government releases proposals for reform of the care system, CSAN the official social action agency of the Catholic Church has expressed disappointment at the lack of detail on implementing key recommendations from the Dilnot Commission. In the progress report accompanying the Care and Support White Paper, the government agreed in principle to the Commission’s recommendation of capping care costs to the individual and extending the means testing threshold.
The Syrian Forum of Families has joined the interfaith movement Mussalaha (Reconciliation), which is working to find a way of dialogue between the different parties in the current civil conflict. Mussalaha members want to show that there is a third way possible, an alternative to war and weapons, that of civil society. Salman Al Assaf Rails, founder of the Forum, that brings together influential figures in the Syrian society, clans and different communities around the principle cores and values of family, stressed the urgency of "reconciliation,
Schola Affectus writes: 'Now I am not turning this into a celebrity tittle-tattle blog but I have to admit to having carefully read some of the reporting about Tom Cruise’s divorce, particularly the insights into Scientology and how it operates. What has struck me is that Katie Holmes, like Cruise’s previous wife Nicole Kidman, has decided to return to her Catholic faith after leaving Cruise and the clutches of Scientology. In fact very few people know that Cruise himself was brought up a Catholic,
Pope Benedict XVI has today appointed a senior Cheshire priest as the eighth Bishop of Portsmouth. Monsignor Philip Egan, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Shrewsbury, will succeed the Rt Rev Crispian Hollis, who is stepping down having reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 years in November 2010. Bishop-elect Egan, 56, who was born in Altrincham, will be ordained Bishop of Portsmouth at a ceremony in the Cathedral Church of St John the Evangelist in Portsmouth on 24 September 2012.
St John’s Cathedral in Portsmouth is preparing to celebrate the visit of the Olympic torch to Portsmouth with a special Olympic Mass at 17:30 hrs on 15 July. Representatives of all the Catholic schools in the locality are due to attend the special ‘Olympic style’ service celebrating the Olympic themes of Excellence, Respect and Friendship. Commenting on the Olympic themes and the torch coming to Portsmouth, Canon David Hopgood, Cathedral Dean, said:
The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Barenboim will give a special private concert for Pope Benedict XVI this Wednesday, 11 July, St Benedict's Day, at the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo. Founded in 1999 by Barenboim and Edward Said, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, is a group of young musicians from Israel, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey and Spain. Every year they come together for summer workshops and tours.
The relic of the Heart of St John Vianney was placed in the front of the altar in the chapel at St Mary’s College, Oscott, just a short distance from the pulpit where Blessed John Henry Newman preached his famous sermon 'The Second Spring', on 13 July 1852. When he was created a Cardinal by Pope Leo XIII in May 1879, Cardinal Newman took as his motto: 'Heart Speaks unto to Heart'. St John Vianney - is Patron Saint of Parish Priests throughout the world.
Archbishop Bernard Longley presided and preached at Solemn Vespers in the chapel of St Mary’s College, Oscott, at the start of Invocation 2012, the Third Youth International Discernment Festival, yesterday evening, Friday, 6 July. During his thought-provoking homily, on the theme “Be still and know that I am God, supreme among the nations , supreme on the earth, the Archbishop of Birmingham said: “We have just prayed those words of Scripture in the second psalm of our evening prayer.”
The Council of Cardinals for the Study of the Organisational and Economic Problems of the Holy See met in the Vatican on Tuesday and Wednesday, under the presidency of Cardinal Bertone SDB. Cardinal Versaldi, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, presented the consolidated financial statements, then those of the Governorate of Vatican City State. The consolidated financial statements of the Holy See for 2011 closed with a deficit of EUR 14,890,034.
Young people from the dioceses of Clogher, Raphoe, Kilmore, Elphin, Achonry and Tuam have decided to do a relay walk to this year's Knock Summer Youth Festival carrying a penal cross and a flame. The walk is to show that the young people of Ireland are carrying on the faith and are fanning the flame of faith in their lives and to their peers. Groups accompanied by Bishop Donal McKeown, Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor, will take part in the walk which will begin in Lough Derg on 23 July and which will end in Knock
Given below is the text of a letter written by the Holy Father to Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, and dated 2 July - sent out from the Vatican Information Service today. "On the eve of my departure to spend the summer months at Castelgandolfo, I wish to express my profound appreciation for your discreet presence and wise counsel, which I have found particularly helpful over recent months. Having noted with sorrow the unjust criticisms that have been directed against your person,
This year's Archbishop Romero Memorial Lecture will be given by Jan Graffius, the Curator at Stonyhurst College, who has been working on the conservation and display of the relics and personal possessions of Monseñor Romero and of the six Jesuit theologians of the University of Central America (UCA) for the past five years. Entitled 'Blood and Sweat: the Witness of Romero's Relics', the lecture will be delivered in Edinuburgh, York and London on 24, 25 and 27 September.
Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller of Regensburg, Germany has been appointed by Pope Benedict as the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Bishop Muller, whom the Pope elevated to archbishop, will also head the Pontifical Biblical Commission, the International Theological Commission and the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which oversees Catholics who celebrate the traditional Latin Mass. He will succeed Cardinal William Levada,
On Sunday, 1 July Monsignor John Broadhurst received The Reverend Geoffrey Kirk, former Secretary of Forward in Faith, into full communion with the Catholic Church through the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham at the Church of the Most Precious Blood, London. Fr Kirk was an Anglican Priest for 40 years and Vicar of St Stephen’s, Lewisham for 30 years. As Secretary of FiF, Fr Kirk worked closely with its Chairman, Fr Broadhurst,
Respect for religious liberty and minorities - the hallmarks of a civilised society was the title of a speech delivered by Lord Alton yesterday at the Washington Conference on the Plight of Egypt's Copts held in the Capitol building of the American Congress on 28 June.... At the beginning of 2011, just after the carnage after Midnight Mass at the Coptic Church of the Two Saints in Alexandria, Amira Nowaira, a Muslim writing in The Guardian newspaper,
A packed congregation filled St Monica's church, Bootle, on Friday evening, 22 June, the Feast of St John Fisher and St Thomas More, for the Ordination to the Priesthood of Gerard Callacher by the Archbishop of Liverpool, the Most Reverend Patrick Kelly.
Gerard, who had been an altar server at St Monica's, was born in Bootle in 1975. From an early age music played an important part in his life. He began learning the piano and organ, and was appointed organist
The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has appointed the Right Reverend Arthur Roche, Bishop of Leeds, as Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, raising him to the dignity of Archbishop at the same time.
The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments promotes liturgical pastoral activity, especially regarding the celebration of the Eucharist. It gives support to the diocesan bishops
The Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, an academic institution in Cambridge, has become the newest Fairtrade status college in the UK. Dr Oonagh O'Brien, principal of the college, said: "We have taken an important step to ensure that our college becomes more ethical. We see the promotion of Fairtrade within the Institute as consistent with our principles and practice as a Catholic Higher Education institution.
Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) the official social action agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales has said it is ‘extremely concerned’ over proposed further government cuts to child and housing benefits. In his speech this morning, David Cameron announced plans to remove Housing Benefit for those under 25, and to limit child benefit payments to families with three children or under. In a statement today CSAN said:
This morning, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone SDB delivered the opening address at the eighth International AIDS Conference, being held at the San Gallicano Institute in Rome under the title: "Long live mothers and children". In his remarks the cardinal noted that maternal mortality in Africa is, to a large extent, associated with AIDS. "We can no longer tolerate the death of so many mothers", he said.
The star-studded red-carpet premiere of Chariots of Fire will take place in central London on 10 July. The digitally remastered film will go on general release in cinemas across the UK on 13 July. Damaris is working in partnership with More Than Gold, to promote resources to enable church communities to make the most of this inspiring film, which celebrates universal values of passion, dedication and trust
A PhD student at Cambridge studying British policy towards Chile has come across a document in the National Archives, which reveals that the British government had a somewhat duplicitous attitude towards Chile days after the assassination of President Allende and military coup which brought in the Pinochet dictatorship. It advised that a Catholic organisation holding a memorial service for Allende was 'left-wing but not Communist front'.
Twenty years after the first 'Earth Summit' in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the Heads of State and Government meet in June 2012 again in Rio for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD). In a world where millions of people lack access to adequate food, clean water, energy, health care and education and which is threatened by climate change through global warming, these steps are more necessary and urgent than ever.
On the eve of the United Nations Rio+20 Conference (June 20-22) church leaders are calling for action on sustainable development now to protect future generations. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has recorded a video message in advance of the conference on Sustainable Development and asks “What kind of world do we want to leave to our children?”
Calls for religious freedom and action to stamp out mob violence in Pakistan have been made by an inter-faith delegation meeting at the country’s embassy in London. Incident reports and analysis showing worsening intolerance towards religious minorities in Pakistan were outlined during the 30-minute discussion involving Nazim Khan Ghauri MBE of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association,
Bishop George Jonathan Dodo, Bishop of Zaria, in Kaduna State, northern Nigeria, was in the Cathedral of Christ the King, when it was attacked by a car bomb yesterday. Security service managed to stop the car before it got too close to the church. The bishop told Fides: "I was preaching during the second morning Mass, when around 9am, we heard a loud explosion. The car bomb created a crater two feet deep. All around there was broken glass, rubble and
Following the latest abortion statistics for England and Wales, demonstrating a disturbing trend in multiple abortions, Lord Alton, Chairman of the British Parliament's Cross-Party Working Group on Human Dignity, has called on the UK government to instigate an independent inquiry into the workings of the Abortion Act. The recently released 2011 statistics show that 36 per cent of women undergoing abortions in 2011 had already been through at least
Sister Rosalie Bertell, GNSH, PhD, an internationally recognized environmental epidemiologist, cancer researcher and public health advocate, died 14 June, 2012, at age 83 in Saint Mary Medical Center, Langhorne, PA, in the 54th year of her religious life. She was the daughter of the late Paul G Bertell and Helen Twohey Bertell of Buffalo, NY. Dr Bertell entered the field of cancer research at Roswell Park Memorial Institute, Buffalo in the 1970s.
This morning two Trident Ploughshares activists sat in the road at the North Gate of Faslane Trident Submarine base, stopping any traffic from entering the base for 15 minutes as part of the Faslane Peace Camps call for 30 Days of Action. Joy Mitchell, 79, from Berwick on Tweed and Joan Meredith, 82, from Malpas, Cheshire have taken action against nuclear weapons many times before. Joy said: "I have to come and do my small part
A meeting took place today at the Vatican between the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Vatican afterwards said in a statement: "Today the superiors of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith met with the president and executive director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in the United States of America.
Bishop Declan Lang, Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Department of International Affairs has issued a statement on behalf of the Catholic community in England and Wales, welcoming Aung San Suu Kyi forthcoming historic visit to the UK. Bishop Lang said: "Ms Suu Kyi’s tireless commitment to justice, human dignity and the alleviation of poverty has marked her out as an inspirational figure, not only within Burma,
Celebrating the value and central role of Communion in marriage and family life in the Church was the central theme of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC2012) today, Tuesday 12 June. Commencing morning prayer, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland, prayed with hundreds of pilgrims in the Congress Prayer Space at 9am.
On Something Understood (BBC Radio 4) this week, Mark Tully is intrigued by life in a Roman Catholic seminary. How are young men trained for the priesthood. At Allen Hall Seminary in the busy heart of London, Dean of Studies and Formation Advisor Father Stephen Wang explains the need for his students to train for their pastoral role within the Catholic community
Up to 5,000 Burmese children living on the Thai border face severe malnourishment, as the international donor community withdraws funds and shifts its attention back to Burma. As many as 2,000 children are experiencing stunted growth and nearly 1,000 are acutely malnourished, said Andrew Scadding, director of the Thai Children’s Trust, during an interview with Hanna Hindstrom from the Democratic Voice of Burma.
Benedict XVI has sent a message to Archbishop Jozef Michalik, president of the Polish Episcopal Conference, for the European Football Championships, which will be held over coming weeks in Poland and Ukraine. "This sporting event involves not only the organisers, the athletes and the fans but, in various ways, the whole of society", the Pope writes.
The international Catholic Coalition on Climate Change and its partners have always tried to encourage Catholics to beware of 'green-wash' where people and organizations may do some of the right things for the environment - such as recycling and energy conservation - but have not integrated those efforts to what it means to live our faith fully including an embrace of the social teachings
Church leaders in Nigeria have expressed their shock and sadness after what they describe as 'Black Sunday' - a day in which a plane crash in Lagos killed 153 people. This was followed a series of bomb attacks on churches which killed at least 18 people and injured a further 32. Mgr Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos and President of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria, said he had been
A Senior Russian Orthodox bishop has identified ways that the Orthodox and Catholic Churches can work together to respond to the challenges of materialism and consumerism. Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations, made the remarks at a meeting in Moscow with Johannes von Heereman,
The Chairman of Right to Life, Ken Hargreaves, has been awarded a Knighthood of St Gregory by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in recognition of his lifetime commitment to the pro-life cause and his service to his local community. Ken served as the Conservative MP for Hyndburn, Lancashire, from 1983 to 1992 and whilst in the House was an active member and officer of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-life Group.
Ahead of this June Bank Holiday weekend in the Republic and Northern Ireland, Bishop Liam MacDaid, Bishop of Clogher, calls on all road users: motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, to take special care of themselves and their loved ones. Bishop MacDaid said: "Up to yesterday, 31 May, the recorded 2012 road fatality figures stood at 69 for the Republic and 16 for the North.
This Sunday, 3 June, Christian peace activists across the UK will take part in the 15th Annual Arms Trade Day of Prayer. The Day of Prayer is organised by Campaign Against Arms Trade's (CAAT) Christian Network, a non-denominational group of Christians opposed to the arms trade. This year's Day of Prayer falls on the eve of the International Day for Children as Victims of War,
Where else would you find Brazilians, Catholics, Buddhists, Pentecostals and others praying through the night for peace? At St Martin-in-the-Fields Anglican Church on Trafalgar Square of course! To mark the opening of the 100 Days of Peace for the 2012 Games, Westminster Justice and Peace, together with St Martin in the Fields and the London Church Leaders’ Group,
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has welcomed yesterday's confirmation by the UN of the withdrawal of Sudanese troops from Abyei, and calls on the international community to facilitate a referendum on the future of the region, as stipulated by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). In the interests of a viable and sustained peace,
The "Osservatore Romano" newspaper yesterday published an interview with Archbishop Angelo Becciu, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, concerning the question of stolen papal documents. Archbishop Becciu says that he has seen the Holy Father "suffering because, on the basis of what has thus far emerged, someone very close to him would seem to have acted in
The Catholic Church has called upon leading electro-pop band, ooberfuse, to write the soundtrack for its new nationwide vocations framework. Father Christopher Jamison OSB commissioned the band following the global success of Heart’s Cry, the Church’s Youth Anthem for the visit of Pope Benedict XVIth to the UK in September 2010. The song: 'Call My Name' is released on
Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald MAfr, Apostolic Nuncio in Egypt, gave the following homily at Our Lady Queen of Apostles, Bishops Waltham, in Hampshire, at a Mass of Thanksgiving for 100 years of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) in Great Britain. The Mass, on the Vigil of Pentecost, marked the beginning of a weekend of celebrations.
Campaigners will be gathering outside the Globe Theatre in London on Monday and Tuesday evenings from 6-8pm, to protest against an invitation to Israeli theatre company Habima, to take part in a Shakespeare festival, when they have regularly performed in illegal Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land. All are welcome to join the event, and any bits of Shakespearian
Four Catholic students were tried by a court in Hanoi today, for a crime that the Vietnamese Criminal Code punishes with prison sentences between three and 20 years. Duong Van Dau, Tran Huu Duc, Chu Manh Son and Hoang Phong, all between 23 and 25, come from the small Catholic community in the province of Nghe An and were arrested last year
This week, a Franciscan Friar from the original friary founded by Saint Francis of Assisi: the Porziuncola, was signed up by a major recording company. Today, his Facebook page, Twitter account and website went live. Friar Alessandro Brustenghi has the job of welcoming visitors to the Porziuncola and is a carpenter.
During his weekly general audience in St Peter's Square today, Pope Benedict focused his catechesis on two passages from the Letters of St Paul, where the Apostle speaks of the power of the Holy Spirit which enables us to call God 'Abba', our Father. "God is our Father because He is our Creator. Each one of us, each man and each woman,
Following the successful street parties that took place to mark the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton last year, hundreds of local communities – ten times more than in 2011 in fact – are reported to be planning similar parties during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations this coming week. More Than Gold, the churches’ joint 2012 charity, has partnered with the ecumenical agency
A priest who has devoted his life to helping migrant workers in Mexico, Father Alejandro Solalinde, has been forced to leave the country temporarily after receiving death threats. Fr Solalinde, founder of the Hermanos en el Camino Migrant Shelter in Ixtepec, Oaxaca, received six death threats in the past two months because of his work in defense
An appeal to churches to help distribute a million free drinks of water during this summer’s Olympics has been launched by More Than Gold, the agency helping churches make the most of the 2012 Games "At every recent Olympics the distribution of free water has been a way for Christians to show God’s love," says David Willson, CEO of More Than Gold.
Pax Christi has reported great interest from schools in Westminster, Southwark and Brentwood dioceses in the ‘100 days of Peace’ initiative which is building a peace legacy based on the ancient idea of an Olympic Games’ peace truce. Speaking at its AGM in Bristol on Saturday, Pax Christi’s General Secretary Pat Gaffney, announced that a vigil of prayer
The Feast of the Ascension strikes many Christians as the poor relative of the two rather bigger celebrations which top and tail the long and joyful season of Eastertide: Easter itself, and Pentecost. But Damian Howard SJ, writing in Thinking Faith, ascribes to this feast the utmost significance. What are we to make of the story of Jesus being taken up
A 70-day prayer relay, that mirrors the journey of the Olympic Torch through over 1,000 communities, is to be launched with a blessing ceremony in Cornwall tomorrow. With the arrival of the Olympic Torch at Lands End on Friday, 18 May, the Anglican Bishop of Truro the Right Rev Tim Thornton and Rev Steve Wild,
In the Bishop Dunn Memorial Lecture: 'Faith Finding a Voice' - given on Tuesday 15 May, at Ushaw College, Durham, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, called on all Catholics to think about how best to express their faith in their lives today. Archbishop invited all people of faith to find the good in the other,
The national Christian disability charity Livability has warned that unless more investment and new innovative employment schemes are developed, disabled people will continue to be excluded from the workplace. As 34 Remploy factories are being closed and more than 1,500 disabled people are due to lose their jobs, the charity believes that a new strategy
Catholic disability groups from across Britain are making history as they prepare for two important events ahead of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Faith and Light, HCPT the Pilgrimage Trust, the Kairos Forum, and disability agencies from the Archdioceses of Southwark and Westminster, along with the Diocese of Brentwood,
Nestor Libaton, a 40-year-old Catholic journalist working for the 'DXHM Radio' Catholic station in the town of Mati, near Davao, on the island of Mindanao, was killed last Tuesday, 8 May by three armed gunmen. Libaton is the third journalist killed in the Philippines in the past 15 days. 55 media workers have been killed
'I have reached this conclusion slowly and painfully. I am aware that many of our Jewish brothers and sisters who were so instrumental in the fight against South African apartheid are not yet ready to reckon with the apartheid nature of Israel and its current government. And I am enormously concerned that raising this issue will cause heartache
Jesuit life can seem a bit mysterious to people; many myths surround who Jesuits are and what they do. So an Open Afternoon at the Hurtado Jesuit Centre in Wapping, East London, might help to de-mystify the Society of Jesus and explain what makes a man consider becoming a Jesuit. Fr Jim Conway SJ, the Director of the Hurtado Centre,
...'Over 1000 people, representative of a broad range of opinions in the Catholic Church, gathered today at a meeting called by the Association of Catholic Priests. The meeting agreed on the need to recapture as a matter of urgency the reforming vision of the Second Vatican Council. The meeting called for a organised dialogue in the Irish Church,
A few months ago, Fr Christopher Jamison wrote an article for the Catholic Herald urging young British Catholics not to be afraid of going to Rio. It was a persuasive and well-written piece and I really hope that it hits home. World Youth Day, after all, is an incredibly powerful event, and given its clear impact on vocations to the priesthood and religious life,
The CDF has published an eight page document giving its reasons for ordering a root and branch reform of the US Leadership Conference of Women Religious.... The context in which the current doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in the United States of America is best situated is articulated
Archbishop Vincent Nichols spoke of the pain, and sense of loss experienced by friends, family, and the person themselves, when they lose their faith, in his address to around 200 people at a conference in London on Saturday. Speaking at the ‘Crossing the Threshold Resource Day: Ministry and Outreach to Non Churchgoing Catholics,’
With under a month to go before polling begins in Egypt's presidential election, there are worrying indications that instead of this election heralding a first step towards a genuine pluralist democracy, Egypt could be poised to elect an Islamist government committed to the harshest implication of Shariah Law. For the Christian Copts amounting to 10% of the
Sean Martin, a Columban priest based in the Midsalip area of Mindanao in the Philippines, participated in an Earth Day rally and celebration there on 23 April. It involved around 500 people, many of them Catholics from the parishes of the area who have been active in trying to stop large-scale destructive mining in the region. The following letter was
A well-respected American television programme: '60 Minutes' on CBS, attracted massive viewing figures when it broadcast a short documentary on Christians in the Holy Land last Sunday, exploding the 'myth' that Christians leave because of Muslims. The Israeli Ambassador to the US also protested to CBS about the show, before
A group of west London teenagers preparing for their Confirmation, walked ten kilometres through wind and rain, from the doors of a homeless centre in Acton, to Westminster Cathedral on Saturday, as part of their service project. Each year, Confirmation candidates from Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Acton, take on a
The blind legal activist and campaigner against forced abortions, Chen Guangcheng, has reportedly escaped house arrest. Chen is said to have slipped away from his captors in Dongshigu village, Shandong province, on Sunday 22 April. China Aid say he is now safe in Beijing. News agencies report that in a video addressed to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao,
Several well-placed sources at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in Doha, Qatar, have revealed that the UK is blocking discussion of principles on how governments can lend and borrow responsibly. This is part of attempts by the UK and others to marginalise the role of the UN in global economic reform. Tim Jones, Policy Officer
In an address to 50 Headteachers from schools and academies of all denominations across the North of England, Archbishop John Sentamu, Archbishop of York spoke of the importance of Religious Education in schools. Speaking at Bishopthorpe Palace, the Archbishop also spoke of the work his Youth Trust is doing educating and empowering young leaders
The Sistine Chapel Choir, the Cappella Musicale Pontificia ‘Sistina’, directed by Mgr Massimo Palombella, will performs its first ever concert in Britain at Westminster Cathedral next week. The concert will include music historically used in the Papal Celebrations, and will take the audience on a journey through the Liturgical Year. Gregorian Chant will feature along with music by
CSAN, the Catholic Church’s social action arm, last night welcomed late government changes to the LASPO bill, which will protect legal aid for domestic abuse victims. The Secretary of State for Justice Ken Clarke expanded the list of evidence that domestic abuse victims could provide to prove eligibility for legal aid. Statements from GPs, women’s refuges and the police
Church sources in South Sudan have expressed grave concern that a new war will break out in the region soon unless the UN intervene. Tension between Sudan and South Sudan is rising after the occupation of Heglig, oil area claimed by both States, by the troops of South Sudan, and Khartoum's air force raids on some parts of South Sudan. Another dispute is over Abyei,
In response to the real shortage of military chaplains in all three Armed Services, the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Forces, Bishop Richard Moth, has asked service men and women and serving chaplains to fervently pray that more priests come forward to serve as chaplains. Prayer cards have been disseminated to churches across the Bishopric of the Forces
A stained glass window in a small Essex church, commemorates a heroic young priest who refused to leave passengers on the Titanic. Fr Thomas Byles, rector of St Helen's Church in Chipping Ongar, was travelling to New York to officiate at his brother's wedding. His parish had organised a special collection to fund the trip. Eyewitness reports say Father Byles had
Catholic aid agency CAFOD has told the Government and the United Nations today, Good Friday, that urgent action is required to agree a new global plan to tackle poverty. Good Friday marks exactly 1,000 days until the start of 2015, when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agreed a decade ago are due to expire.
Premier Christian Radio reaches out to people from all denominations as well as those who don't belong to any church. They have now launched 'Heart to Heart' a free, monthly media-rich e-magazine (with audio, text and images) aimed especially at Catholic audiences. With features and interviews, Heart to Heart is currently working with
Church leaders and Christian organisations have welcomed the results of yesterday’s parliamentary by-elections in Burma, as reports indicated that Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy, have won as many as 43 of the 45 parliamentary seats. However, they warn
A sixth Anglican bishop was ordained as a Catholic priest at a ceremony in Portsmouth on Monday. Fr Robert Mercer, who served as the Anglican bishop of Matabeleland and as a bishop within the Traditional Anglican Communion, was ordained to the Priesthood by the Right Reverend Alan Hopes in St John’s Cathedral in Portsmouth. Fr Mercer will serve in the Personal
Students and staff at St Columba’s College, St Albans, broke the Guinness World Record for the most football passes on Wednesday 14 March, setting a new record of 640 consecutive passes between different players. They were supported earlier in the day by Arsenal football stars Marouane Chamakh and Ju Young Park, and former World Boxing
The 30-strong Wombles Running Team is in training for its 17th London Marathon, to raise money for Jesuit Missions, based in Wimbledon. Runners will be raising funds for Jesuit-run projects around the world, as well as for the Jesuit Refugee Service in the UK. This year’s target for the team is £75,000. Wombles’ author, the late Elizabeth Beresford,
After Pope Benedict XVI left Cuba yesterday, hundreds of dissidents across the country were released from prison or house arrest. Caridad Caballero, a Catholic dissident from Holguin, was arrested along with another woman, Isabel Peña Torrez, on their way to Mass last Sunday morning.
Bishop Alan Hopes and Diocesan Youth Chaplain, Fr David Reilly will be joining the 40 Days for Life Prayer Vigil at BPAS London Central, 26 -27 Bedford Square, London WC1B at 7pm this evening. (Nearest tubes: Tottenham Court Rd/Goodge Street). The organisers have issued the following advice/guidelines to all participants.
Thirty-eight participants took part in the European Conference of the Holy Childhood Association (CEME, Conference Europeene de l’Enfance Mission) which was held 18-21 March 2012 in Luxembourg. Holy Childhood is one of the Pontifical Mission Societies and works to help children pray for and share in world mission. The meeting, which takes place
Yesterday morning the Holy Father visited the Shrine of 'Nuestra Senora de la Caridad del Cobre', patron of Cuba, where he was greeted by the archbishop of Santiago de Cuba, and by the shrine's rector. The Holy Father paused in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament then before the image of the Virgin. He lit a candle and recited the prayer of the Virgin of Charity,
After his visit to the Shrine of Nuestra Senora de la Caridad del Cobre, the Holy Father flew to Havana last night, where he was welcomed by Raul Castro, president of Cuba. The President had not been scheduled to be present. Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, archbishop of San Cristobal de La Habana, was present, together with hundreds of children
‘If they arrest me again, they will take my life.’ With these words Lutheran Bishop Medardo Gomez addressed me in El Salvador during a visit I made in 1988. A few months later he was arrested. An appeal from his supporters reached me and many others pleading for help. My contribution was a letter to the Independent calling for his release and to protest at the violence
One of CAFOD’s most prominent supporters will make a unique contribution to the Olympic torch relay this summer as he runs his mile with the Olympic torch barefoot. John McBride, 48, a Newcastle Council worker from Consett in Durham, has been selected to carry the torch on 20 June in Barnard Castle, County Durham.
The UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, has learnt that there are child solders in the ranks of the Free Syrian Army rebels, fighting President Bashar al-Assad. Speaking from Damascus, Fr Paul Dall'Oglio, said: "The news, unfortunately, does not surprise me:
Rosemary Read died unexpectedly and peacefully at her home in Derby on Sunday evening 18 March. What a very dear friend and loyal colleague in the mission of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation we have lost. Serving President of the National Council for Lay Associations and a serving member of the Executive of the National Justice & Peace Network
Witness to Radical Compassion - An ecumenical service to mark the 32nd anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero will take place at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London at 11am today, 24 March. The Officiant will be The Revd Clare Herbert. The Rt Revd Peter Price, Bishop of Bath and Wells will be preaching.
The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre in the UK will holds a Memorial Service on Saturday 24 March from 3pm for HH Pope Shenouda III who died on 17 March 2012. Heads of churches, as well as Ecumenical, inter-religious and Civil representatives have been invited by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church Centre in the United Kingdom to
As young football star Fabrice Muamba fights for his life in hospital, after suffering a cardiac arrest during a match on Saturday, Mgr Vladimir Felzmann, Catholic Chaplain for Sport for the Diocese of Westminster, has sent us this brief reflection:
Labbaika Allahomma Labbaik. “Here I am at thy service, O Lord, Here I am” So begins the Talbiyah, the pilgrim’s prayer to God, announcing his arrival in service to and for the glory of God. It is with the sound of this incantation that the visitor is greeted in the latest of the British Museum’s series on spiritual
The New York Times is being accused of double standards after it published an advert calling on Catholics to leave their church, but refused to run an ad making the same plea to Muslims. On 9 March, the newspaper published a $39,000, full page advert with the headline: 'It's Time To Quit The Catholic Church'.
Following the news of the death of His Holiness Pope Shenuda III, Head of the Coptic Orthodox Church on 17 March 2012, the Catholic Bishops Conference issued the following message. On behalf of Archbishop Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and Archbishop Bernard Longley, Chairman
Pope Benedict XVI is offering a Papal Blessing with Plenary Indulgence for all who attend the opening of a Shrine Church in the Wirral, which will be a centre for Daily Adoration and celebration of Mass and other sacraments in the Latin Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The parish church in New Brighton, Wirral, was closed
Across Ireland, cathedral and church bells will ring out at 12pm and 6pm on St Patrick's Day as part of 'Ring for Renewal', a special event in preparation for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 (IEC2012). During Mass celebrations for St Patrick's Day in Armagh, His Eminence, Cardinal Seán Brady,
Older people are considerably more likely than younger people to think the elderly and the disabled would feel their lives would be “less valued” if a law was passed to legalise assisted suicide on the National Health Service, a new opinion poll has found. The Assisted Suicide Survey, conducted by ComRes on behalf of ALERT,
Pope Benedict XVI received the International Eucharistic Congress Bell in Rome on Wednesday and joined a quarter of a million Irish pilgrims who have already rung the bell as part of preparations for the upcoming 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012. The Bell was presented by a delegation headed by the
A Catholic priest’s dream to open a free clinic for the needy in Mandalay, Myanmar has been realized thanks to the efforts of a Buddhist monk. Father John Aye Kyaw, parish priest of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Mandalay said it all came about after he told a Mandalay inter-faith group what he wanted to do. Venerable Seinnita, a Buddhist monk involved
Witness to Radical Compassion - An ecumenical service to mark the 32nd anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero will take place at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London at 11am on 24 March. The Officiant will be The Revd Clare Herbert. The Rt Revd Peter Price, Bishop of Bath and Wells will be preaching.
Burmese families at the Umpiem Mai refugee camp are piecing their lives together in the aftermath of the huge fire which devastated their temporary shelters on 25 February. The Thai Children's Trust, which supports projects in the camps, say: "the destruction was terrible... Over one third of the camp was consumed by the blaze, with a least 1,000 houses, three mosques and
A suicide attack on a Catholic church in Saint Finber, in a suburb of Jos, killed at least 12 people and left many more injured during Sunday Mass. Mgr John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, said: "Those who commit these attacks do not think in a rational way, and it is therefore difficult to find a logic. To expect to transform Nigeria into an Islamic State with violence is a
The winner of this year's Sir Alec Guinness award, sponsored by the Catholic Association of Performing Arts, is Beth Cunninghame Graham, a final year drama student at Arts Educational. The award was presented to Beth by actress Dame Eileen Atkins, at the Drama Centre in Covent Garden on 29 February. Dame Eileen was a life-long friend of Sir Alec.
...I was totally surprised when my name appeared in the list for ministry for domestic working girls. It would not be out of place for me to mention that this ministry was nowhere in my list of priorities. In fact I did not want to work with the 'Domestic Working Girls', because I had heard a lot of stories about them and I was prejudiced about them...
A vacancy for an environment policy and advocacy officer has arisen at Progressio, the Catholic aid, advocacy and development agency. The salary is £29,479 gross per annum, Grade D The post offers a permanent contract, full-time, 35 hours per week. Closing date: Sunday, 18 March 2012
A senior Member of the European Parliament has called on the UK government to carry out a monthly audit of all abortions that receive funding from the British taxpayer, after a newspaper exposed terminations being illegally carried out on the basis of gender. Nirj Deva MEP, President of the International Committee on Human Dignity, said such an audit would ensure that the
Scotland's top Catholic prelate has paid a moving tribute to murdered Pakistan politician and human rights campaigner Shahbaz Bhatti – calling on people to take up his cause in defence of religious freedom. Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, made the comments in a message which will be read out at a peace concert and rally in
Rabbi Lerner writes: Would you please help us put an ad in the NY Times, Washington Post and maybe also Ha'aretz and Yediot in Israel, and other media, depending on how much money we can raise) to put public pressure on President Obama to NOT agree to overtly or covertly o.k. an Israeli preemptive strike on sites where Iran is developing its nuclear capacities)?
The director of the Jesuit Refugee Service, Louise Zanre, has claimed there is an over use of immigration detention in the UK. Mrs Zanre said the use of detention was often unnecessary with huge financial and human costs. “It is an iniquitous system, the cost of which ruins many people’s lives,” she said.
Richard Dawkins, described by many as the world's 'most famous atheist', told an interviewer last week he is not 100 percent sure that God doesn't exist, a story in the National Catholic Reporter reveals. In an Oxford University debate last week with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Professor Dawkins surprised his online and theatre audiences
Follow the link below for Young Catholic Worker’s Adjuvo Lenten Calendar, giving you simple steps each day to make the most of the Lenten season. The calendar gives small suggestions of how to give more time to see, to judge and to act on your own lives and the lives of those around the world.
Leaders representing the UK's mainstream churches will make an Ash Wednesday call for repentance over the prevailing 'shrug-culture' towards climate change Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury; Rt Rev Richard Chartres, Bishop of London; Most Rev Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales; Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Archbishop of
‘Treasure in the field - Spiritual capital and sustainable living’ is the title of Christian Ecology Link’s 30th anniversary conference in Bristol on Saturday 10 March. Keynote speaker in the morning will be Jonathon Porritt, Founder of Forum for the Future, Christian Ecology Link Patron, and author of a number of books on the environment. He was co-director of the Prince of Wales’
The following is the text of the letter sent by Bishop Edward Braxton of Belleville, Illinois, to parishioners of St Mary Parish in Mount Carmel regarding their parish priest Fr Bill Rowe...It is not my practice to make public comment about private conversations between me and one of my priests. This is especially true when the conversations concern sensitive matters such as
A special Mass was held at Sekiguchi Cathedral in Tokyo yesterday ahead of next month’s first anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster. The Mass, celebrated by 17 bishops and attended by around 400 people, was dedicated to the memory of the disaster victims and prayers for recovery. Although the actual anniversary is on March 11, the bishops
Thousands of people in India are mourning the death of a Spanish nun, popularly known as the 'Mother Teresa' of Meghalaya, who revolutionized healthcare in the rural northeastern state. Sister Amalia Pereda Ortiz de Zarate “spent her entire life working for poor and illiterate villagers,” said Salesian Father Francis Cheeramban, who knew the nun for decades.
Catholic Church leaders in Georgia have appealed for clemency for one prisoner, due to be executed tonight, and protested over the large increase in the number of executions in the State recently - about one every three months. The Archbishop of Miami, Mgr Thomas Wenski and five Bishops of Florida, have sent a letter to Governor Rick Scott,
Mother Mary Edmund Campion went to the Lord at 5.45am on 31 January 2012 at Tyburn Convent, London. She was in the 94th year of her age and the 63rd of her religious profession. Born Avarina Mary Bodger in Wanstead, Essex, on 10 September 1918 Mother Edmund was raised an Anglican but converted to the Catholic faith in the mid-1940s.
The Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Rev Peter Smith, and the Abbot of Farnborough Abbey, the Rt Rev Dom Cuthbert Brogan OSB, have announced that through a private treaty sale, a number of key historic items from the former Benedictine Abbey at Ramsgate in Kent are to remain in Catholic hands. The majority will return to the church of St Augustine in Ramsgate,
The care of God’s creation is the focus of a new leaflet about the environment which has been produced for the Diocese of Westminster’s 214 parishes in London and Hertfordshire. The leaflet, ‘Our Environmental Mission’ provides suggestions on how Catholics can learn more about the Catholic faith and its message for creation. It also includes a range of practical ideas on caring for
The High Court has ruled that Bideford Town Council in Devon acted unlawfully by allowing prayers to be said before meetings. The National Secular Society (NSS) brought an action against Bideford Town Council after an atheist councillor, Mr Clive Bone, complained. The NSS, said prayers had no place in "a secular environment concerned with civic
Sir Sigmund Sternberg, KC*SG, awarded the 2012 Sternberg Foundation Interfaith Gold Medallion to HE Mr Anthony Bailey, OBE, GCSS, at a ceremony held at his London home yesterday evening in the presence of several Ambassadors to the Court of St James’s, friends, family and colleagues. This high distinction was granted following the unanimous
Christians in Syria have not been taking part in the fighting, but they are very afraid of the future. A Christian priest told MISNA: “Most Christians have left Homs because they are afraid of the bombs and rocket fire." He added that western media has given the impression that "suddenly the Syrian government has gone crazy and started to attack its people simply
In a debate on assisted dying at the Church of England Synod on Monday, the Archbishop of Canterbury warned that changes to the law to allow assisted suicide would spell 'disaster' and a shift in society's attitude to the sanctity of life. The Independent Commission on Assisted Dying, headed by former lord chancellor Lord Falconer,
A special installment of Middle East Analysis today with not one but two studio guests. The first needs no introduction to regular listeners - it's Dr Harry Hagopian, the Bishops' Consultant on the MENA region. The second guest is the Bishop of Clifton, the Rt Rev Declan Lang, Chair of the Bishops' Conference Department of International Affairs.
There was a Candlemass liturgy to mark the fourth anniversary of Carmel-in-the-City’s foundation at St Joseph's, Bunhill Row on Saturday. Fr Wilfrid McGreal O.Carm, Carmelite Prior Provincial, came from Faversham in Kent, to celebrate the Mass.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols is to discuss Jewish - Christian Relations at a lecture hosted by the Woolf Institute, Cambridge on Wednesday, 8 February 2012. The lecture is expected to tackle issues of social responsibility and how faith communities can individually and jointly work towards a more humane, just and compassionate society.
The Great East End Walk for St Joseph's Hospice, is a great family fundraising event, which will have you walking an exciting 10 mile route past some of the East End's hidden treasures, as well as more familiar sights such as the now-famous Olympic Stadium. See it before the crowds descend! This year's event will take place on Sunday 20 May and the
An Italian television programme has claimed that a former top Vatican City official was moved to another post, against his will, after he complained about the way contracts were being awarded. The programme: 'The Untouchables' broadcast by the La 7 channel on Wednesday night, showed several letters sent last year by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano,
The Church of England has welcomed the UK government's decision to outlaw the sale of scrap metal for cash. Home Secretary Theresa May announced the ruling today in a written statement to MPs. She also told them that fines would be 'significantly increased' to tackle the growing problem of metal theft. Anne Sloman, Chair of the Church of England's
On Monday, 23 January, Peers will consider two amendments to the Welfare Reform Bill which are vital to the mental wellbeing of the poorest citizens of the UK because they provide safeguards against the damage done to mental health when debts are enforced against poverty incomes. The Royal College of Psychiatrists, Mind, the major Christian Churches, CAB and
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2012 was celebrated on Friday at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Farm Street, Mayfair on Friday with a special Taize Prayer around the Cross service. Participants came from many London churches. Parish priest Fr William Pearsall is pictured with Rev Canon Joanna Udal, the Archbishop of Canterbury's
A new campaigning network including faith groups and trade unions was launched in Ireland today, calling on the Irish government to stop paying the debts of the former Anglo Irish Bank / Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS). The new network, Debt Justice Action, argues that the debts of this now state-owned institution are not the responsibility of ordinary people in Ireland.
Catholic bishops in the Democratic Republic of Congo have denounced the elections in November which re-elected President Joseph Kabila. A statement from 35 bishops, read out by secretary-general Abbot Leonard Santedi at Notre Dame Cathedral in Kinshasa, complains of "treachery, lies and terror" and calls on the election commission to correct "serious errors".
A popular Catholic priest known for his devotion to his parish and work with the homeless, was sentenced to three years and one month in prison on Friday, after he used parish funds for gambling. Monsignor Kevin McAuliffe, 59, who was parish priest at St Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, was convicted of taking $650,000 (£424,000) to support his gambling
The president of Burma, (Myanmar), Thein Sein, has today issued a measure of amnesty, ordering the release of 650 political prisoners. Among those released are important prisoners such as former Prime Minister Khin Nyunt; the Buddhist monk Ashin Gambira, one of the promoters of the 'Saffron Revolution' launched by monks in September 2007, sentenced to 63 years in prison;
“Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all the spiritual blessings of heaven in Christ” (Ep 1:3-6) To those words I will surely return. But let me begin with a bit of historical context on this jubilee night. I was ordained priest in 1965, the year the Second Vatican Council ended. Just one day before that Council closed on this
In his 2012 message to the Vatican’s diplomatic corps, the Holy Father said that environmental protection and the connection between fighting poverty and fighting climate change are important areas for the promotion of integral human development. He noted that: 'education, correctly understood, cannot fail to foster respect for creation.
A special Mass will take place in London next Monday, 16 January, to mark the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Chapultepec Peace Accords that in 1992 brought an end to El Salvador’s decade-long civil war. The Catholic Church and the United Nations were mediators to the Peace Treaty. The Mass, organised by the Archbishop Romero Trust, is at 6.30pm and will be celebrated
More than 100 young people working in Youth Ministry Teams from Catholic Retreat Centres and on Outreach Projects in England and Wales gathered on New Year's Day with their Directors and other staff for the annual three day Volunteers Conference in Derbyshire. The theme of 'Finish the Race', based on St Paul's Second Letter to Timothy, connected with the
Religious in India are urging the federal government to introduce a new law which would protect domestic workers and guarantee them basic employment rights. Around 1,000 domestic workers, who gathered in the city of Indore on 9 January to observe the International Domestic Workers Day, pledged to intensify their movement for decent work
The 'Commission on Assisted Dying' is a self-appointed group that excluded from its membership anyone with a known objection to assisted suicide. In contrast, the majority of commissioners, appointed personally by Lord Falconer, were already in favour of changing the law to legitimise assisted suicide. Lord Falconer has, himself, been a leading proponent for legitimising assisted suicide, for some years.
While world attention focuses on the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, Caritas urges the international community not to neglect millions of hungry people in the isolated Asian nation. Floods, a harsh winter, poor farming infrastructure in North Korea and rising global food prices have left two-thirds of the 24.5 million population
The Catholic community in Glasgow has been served by several Nigerian priests in recent years. In his New Year message, Archbishop Mario Conti expressed his support and concern for Christians in Nigeria that suffered violent attacks over Christmas. Archbishop Conti wrote: "As we rejoiced at Christmas celebrating the Birthday of our Saviour at church and in our homes,
When David Hockney produces images of Yorkshire is he described as 'too pro-British' ? Was Manet 'too French'? A Palestinian artist shortlisted for a major prize has been thrown out of a competition because a sponsor says she is "too pro-Palestinian". Larissa Sansour from Bethlehem was among eight artists shortlisted for the prestigious €25,000 Lacoste Elysée
The Holy Father on Monday signed decrees acknowledging miracles attributed to the intervention of seven blesseds (four women and three men) who will shortly be canonised. One of the new blesseds is Kateri Tekakwitha, the first native North American to be raised to the glory of the altars. Kateri was born in 1656 in Ossernenon (present-day Auriesville, USA).
Two Christians were killed in Mosul yesterday, the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, Mgr Amel Shamon Nona, reported to Fides. Expressing his "closeness and prayer for the family" Mgr Nona said the killers have not been identified. Mgr Giorgio Lingua, Apostolic Nuncio in Iraq, commented: "I do not yet know the reasons of the crime. We must be careful not to link
There is no safe nuclear power despite a government’s assurance of safe nuclear energy, a visiting Japanese nuclear expert said in a lecture at the Catholic Center in Tokyo yesterday. Tetsuji Imanaka, assistant professor at the Research Reactor Institute of Kyoto University in Japan, spoke before some 100 priests, nuns and lay people including Bishop Matthias Ri
In 1534 there were more than 100 churches and about 30 monastic houses and convents within the walls of the City of London. The religious provided charitable hospitals - St Bartholomews, St Mary's at Bishopsgate, The Savoy, St Bethlehem, St Johns and more. Others specialised in teaching and learning, care for lepers, the insane and elderly poor.
Young British soldiers serving in Afghanistan are finding out more about their Catholic faith – with a little help from Aid to the Church in Need. In response to a request from British Army chaplain Father David Smith, Aid to the Church in Need provided books about the Catholic faith and prayer cards to help with the pastoral care of 400 service personnel.
Catholics across China are mourning the deaths of a priest and six seminarians who died in a road accident in the north of the country on Sunday, UCAN news reports. Another seminarian was seriously injured in the crash involving a minivan. Father Shi Liming, 39, was driving along the Jinzhou section of Hebei