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Current Issue
March, 2019
Volume 45, Number 1
  
24 May 2019
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis talks with Archbishop Stefan of Skopje, spiritual head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, at the Vatican on 24 May 2019. (photo: CNS/Andrew Medichini, pool via Reuters)



Tags: Macedonia

24 May 2019
Greg Kandra




In this image from 2017, Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, Iraq, celebrates a memorial liturgy for victims of ISIS at the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington. In a speech in London this week, the archbishop said Christians in Iraq are close to extinction.
(photo: CNS/Tyler Orsburn)


Archbishop: Iraq’s Christians close to extinction (BBC) The Archbishop of Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, has accused Britain’s Christian leaders of failing to do enough in defense of the vanishing Christian community in Iraq. In an impassioned address in London, the Archbishop Bashar Warda said Iraq’s Christians now faced extinction after 1,400 years of persecution…

The impossible future of Christians in the Middle East (The Atlantic) The precarious state of Christianity in Iraq is tragic on its own terms. The world may soon witness the permanent displacement of an ancient religion, and an ancient people. Those indigenous to this area share more than faith: They call themselves Suraye and claim a connection to the ancient peoples who inhabited this land long before the birth of Christ. But the fate of Christianity in places like the Nineveh Plain has a geopolitical significance as well…

Pope invites new ambassadors to support most vulnerable (Vatican News) Pope Francis accepted the Credential Letters presented by nine new Ambassadors to the Holy See on Thursday. The nations they represent include Thailand, New Zealand, Guinea, Ethiopia, Norway, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, Luxembourg, and Mozambique. In an address to mark the occasion, Pope Francis recognized the variety of positive contributions these States make to world’s common good. He also said all have “a high responsibility to protect the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters…”

Unease among India’s minorities after Modi’s win (UCANews.com) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept to power for a second five-year term on 23 May in an election fought largely on the plank of Hindu nationalism…



Tags: India Pope Francis Iraqi Christians Persecution

23 May 2019
Greg Kandra




Early reports say India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi is poised to win a landslide victory in the country's elections. (video: BBC/YouTube)

Modi poised for victory in India (CNN) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was poised for a landslide victory in the country’s general elections, early results showed on Thursday, defying expectations of even his own party to win a second term in office. Modi thanked Indians for “the faith placed” in his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), tweeting that it “gives us strength to work even harder to fulfill people’s aspirations…”

Vatican publishes a ’milestone’ for promoting interreligious dialogue (Vatican News) The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) have launched a joint document to encourage Churches and Christian organizations to reflect on the structural roots that have led to the disruption of world peace…

Jerusalem prepares for thousands of Muslim visitors for Ramadan (The Jerusalem Post) The Israel Police have completed preparations for the third Friday of Ramadan in Jerusalem. Tens of thousands are expected for Friday services for the Islamic holy month. “The Israel Police will act decisively against anyone who tries to disrupt the peace,” the police spokesperson’s office announced…

Caste-driven honor killings haunt India (UCANews.com) In the last three years, more than 300 cases have been reported, according to government statistics. The practice has its roots in the caste system followed in Hinduism, the religion of 80 percent of Indian people. The caste system considers those outside the four castes — priests, warriors, traders and farmers — to be outcasts. They are socially excluded because even their presence is considered polluting. The socially and economically poor are considered untouchable because of their menial work such as clearing night soil (human excrement) and removing dead animals…

Ethiopia farmers fight drought with cows (Reuters) After farmer Manza Bulacho’s crops were wiped out in a drought that devastated parts of Ethiopia in 2017, the father of 10 hoped a cow could keep him going. Bulacho, 42, who lives near the city of Arba Minch in southern Ethiopia, joined a program that helped him borrow money to purchase a dairy cow and get it insured…

No Ramadan ceasefire in northern India (UCANews.com) Ramadan 2019 has been deadly in India’s northern state of Jammu and Kashmir compared to last year’s when the government announced a unilateral truce. The conflict-ridden region has witnessed six major encounters during the first 15 days of this year’s Ramadan, killing 12 Islamist militants, two army personnel and a civilian…

Grooms face crushing debt in Gaza (AP) Wedding lenders have filled an important need in Gaza’s conservative society, where young men and women are typically expected to marry in their late teens or early 20s. Facing a nearly 60% unemployment rate, many young Gazan men have been forced to put off their dreams of marriage because they cannot afford it…



Tags: India Ethiopia Interreligious Ramadan

22 May 2019
Greg Kandra




A member of the the Missionaries of Charity arrives to cast her vote at a polling station during the final phase of general elections in Kolkata, India, last week. Election results are due to be announced Thursday. (photo: CNS/Rupak De Chowdhuri, Reuters)



Tags: India

22 May 2019
Greg Kandra




In this image from 2017, Pope Francis and Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II attend an ecumenical prayer service in Cairo. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Tawadros: ‘Egypt’s church is not a political party’ (Middle East Monitor) Egypt’s churches distinguish between their national and political roles, the country’s Coptic pope, Tawadros II, said.”Politicians have their own speciality, which I didn’t study,” Tawadros told ME Sat. “All Copts are Egyptians, including myself. Our [Christian] role is to participate in our homeland’s prosperity, practice our rights as Egyptians,” the pope pointed out, adding that politics were being participated through “legal political parties.” “Egypt’s church is not a political party,” he stressed…

U.S. says Assad may be using chemical weapons in Syria again (The New York Times) The State Department said on Tuesday that the Syrian government might be renewing its use of chemical weapons, citing a suspected chlorine attack in northwest Syria, and maintaining that any use of such weapons would lead the United States and its allies to “respond quickly and appropriately…”

How a religious controversy may be shaping India’s election (The New York Times) Our correspondent, Jeffrey Gettleman, traveled to the south Indian state of Kerala, to see how Modi’s party, the B.J.P., is expanding its reach. Kerala is a progressive state, with large communities of Christians and Muslims, and the highest literacy rate in India. It’s one of the least likely places for Hindu nationalist politics to succeed. In fact, Modi’s party has never won a single seat in Parliament from Kerala. Now, that may be changing…

India’s disappearing Jewish community (UCANews.com) Jews arrived in the ancient port town of Kochi some 800 years ago. With just three Jews left in Mattancherry — all of whom are aged more than 80 — Jewish life in Synagogue Lane is destined to disappear…

Foreign spouses of West Bank residents in state of limbo (CNS) What was meant to be one of the happiest of occasions for the Zoughbi family became a nightmare because of Israeli policy on family reunification for foreign spouses of Palestinians…



Tags: Syria India Egypt Kerala

21 May 2019
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis was enrolled as an honorary member of the Foreign Press Association on 18 May 2019 and given a press identification card, which he signed. (photo: CNS/Vatican Media)



Tags: Pope Francis

21 May 2019
Greg Kandra




An Israeli border policeman stands guard not far from Ramallah, West Bank, on 17 May 2019, as Palestinians make their way to attend Friday prayer at al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem's Old City. (photo: CNS/Raneen Sawafta, Reuters)

Former Jerusalem patriarch: time to move away from war (CNS) Appealing to Israel and the United States, Archbishop Michel Sabbah, retired Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, said it was time to move away from war. ”It is time to look for more peace in the region and in Israel and Palestine,” he said. Seemingly addressing U.S. President Donald Trump, Sabbah said since the president says he believes in the Bible, he should read it and pay attention to what is written there about peace…

Ukraine’s new president dissolves parliament, calls election (The New York Times) Minutes after taking office on Monday, Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, announced a snap parliamentary election that he hopes will consolidate his power and help him deliver on campaign promises to end endemic corruption and a prolonged separatist conflict…

Eight months after floods, Kerala is reeling from a water crisis (Scroll.in) The crisis in Karivellur Peralam is particularly severe, but all 14 of Kerala’s districts, save for Wayanad and Pathanamthitta, are facing acute drinking water shortage, just eight months after the state witnessed the worst floods in a century last August…

Indian bishops’ quiz ’an invigorating experience’ for young (UCANews.com) The Indian bishops’ office for education and culture has for the first time conducted a nationwide quiz involving about 30,000 Catholic school students. The event marked the 10th anniversary of the All India Catholic Education Policy. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India’s ‘Education Mastermind’ quiz culminated in the capital, New Delhi, on 15 May following a series of state and regional rounds that began in December…

U.S. parish awaits Russian bells (The Tribune-Review) Five Russian Orthodox bells are on their way from Voronezh, Russia, to St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in McKees Rocks. The bronze bells, ranging in size from 9 pounds to 42 pounds, were shipped last week and are expected to arrive in about two months…



Tags: India Ukraine Jerusalem Kerala Russian Orthodox Church

20 May 2019
Greg Kandra




Children wave Indian flags as they receive informal education at the Snehalaya Social Center run by the Sisters of the Holy Cross of Chavanod at a slum in New Delhi. (photo: Rita Joseph/ucanews.com)

Religious sisters offer women and children a way out of a New Delhi slum (UCANews.com) if the sisters had not taken the initiative to set the center up, many of their young wards would likely end up as child laborers with no chance of ever getting a formal education. The Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod congregation has been running the center since 1981, offering kids an informal education and preparing them for formal schooling, said Sister Lavina Rogers, who joined five years ago…

Pope tells missionaries to evangelize with urgency (Vatican News) The Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, or PIME, was founded in Italy in 1850 as a society of diocesan priests and lay people who dedicate their lives to missionary activities. Pope Francis met Monday with participants in the Institute’s 15th General Assembly, reminding them of the “co-responsibility of all dioceses to spread the Gospel to peoples who do not yet know Jesus Christ…”

Russia announces ceasefire by Syrian forces (Al Jazeera) The Syrian government forces, backed by Russia, have unilaterally ceased firing in the northwestern Idlib province, the last major rebel-held territory, Moscow’s defense ministry said. However, opposition activists said shelling and air attacks continued on Sunday despite the announcement…

Putin intervenes to halt cathedral project after protests (The New York Times) President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia intervened in a bitter dispute in a provincial Russian city that erupted in protests this week, calling on the regional authorities to settle the matter peacefully. Such bursts of public outrage are growing more common in Russia, where stagnating and even declining living standards juxtaposed with expensive foreign adventures, official corruption and environmental degradation are testing people’s patience and driving down Mr. Putin’s popularity ratings…

At bombed shrine in Sri Lanka, a closeness to the universal church (Vatican News) The shrine’s rector said they never gave up their faith and continue to pray and celebrate Mass inside the shrine saying, “Our God is not a god of revenge. He is the God of love…”

Feeling awe at Ethiopia’s reverence for the dead (The Observer) The Kidist Selassie, Amharic for the Holy Trinity Cathedral, is located near Ethiopia’s parliamentary buildings. This cathedral is the second most important place of worship in Ethiopia, specifically to adherents of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Orthodox Christianity has a vast following in Ethiopia, and it is no wonder that one of the Patriarchs (Popes) in the Orthodox Church sits in Addis Ababa.



Tags: Syria India Ethiopia Russian Orthodox

10 May 2019
Greg Kandra




On 9 May 2019, nuns and priests pray at St. Sebastian Church in Negombo, Sri Lanka. It was the first Mass at the church since the Easter bomb attack by militants linked to ISIS.
(photo: CNS/Dinuka Liyanawatte, Reuters)




Tags: ISIS Persecution

10 May 2019
Greg Kandra




The video above explains some of the preparations and practices surrounding Ramadan in Jerusalem. The Vatican has issued a message for Ramadan, urging universal fraternity between Christians and Muslims. (video: 24News/YouTube)

Muslims gather in Jerusalem for Ramadan prayers (AP) Crowds of worshippers have gathered at a Jerusalem holy site the first Friday prayers of Ramadan, Islam’s holiest month. Israeli police said more than 135,000 worshippers prayed at al-Aqsa mosque in the sacred compound, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount…

Vatican message for Ramadan urges universal fraternity (Vatican News) The Vatican is calling on Christians and Muslims worldwide to promote human fraternity and harmonious existence by building bridges of friendship and promoting a culture of dialogue where violence is rejected and the human person is respected. The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) made the invitation in a message to wish Muslims worldwide a peaceful and fruitful celebration of Ramadan…

Lebanon won’t survive with refugees, says Aoun (Middle East Monitor) Lebanon would never survive if half a million Palestinian refugees and 1.6 million Syrian refugees remained in the country, the Lebanese president, Michel Aoun, said yesterday. Aoun remarks came during a meeting held at the presidential palace in the Lebanese capital of Beirut with a delegation from the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), headed by its secretary general Souraya Bechealany. Aoun called on the MECC to help the Lebanese government resolve the Syrians refugees’ issue “by persuading Western countries to accept the refugees return to their countries as soon as possible…”

Sources: only a toddler left after airstrike in Syria (BBC) Dozens of people have reportedly been killed after government and Russian air strikes were stepped up in north-western Syria. Two-year-old Khadija al-Hamdan was pulled out of the rubble in Idlib after one such assault. She was the only member of her immediate family to survive…

Pope sends cardinal to Lesbos as refugees continue to arrive (CNS) Three years after Pope Francis visited Lesbos and took 12 refugees back to Rome with him, Cardinal Krajewski returned to the Greek island on 8 May to check on the situation for the pope, to make contact with government officials and to distribute more than $100,000 to Caritas Hellas and to projects the Greek Catholic charity is supporting…



Tags: Syria Refugees Jerusalem Muslim Ramadan





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