ASIA/TURKEY - New problems for Foundations linked to religious minorities

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Ven, 24/05/2019 - 13:14
Ankara - In Turkey the situation of uncertainty which Foundations linked to ethnic, cultural and religious minorities continues. And those in charge of these bodies are unable to find institutional interlocutors willing to seek solutions to unresolved issues together.
The approximately 170 Foundations linked to ethnic and religious minorities present in Turkey - including those animated by Jews and Armenian, Greek, Assyrian, Syrian, Chaldean, Bulgarian and Georgian - operate according to the provisions and regulations defined by the General Directorate of Foundations. The stalemate has continued for at least six years: in 2013 a new regulation was drafted, which in fact never came into force, preventing the renewal of management positions of the individual institutions. Last March, the Foundations Directorate began to make contact with the various communities to begin the process of applying the regulatory text, which has remained on paper so far. But precisely at this juncture - as reported by Agos, the Armenian-Turkish bilingual newspaper based in Istanbul - highlighted that the new regulation does not provide for the free election of the directors of the individual Foundations, but their "appointment" by the Foundations Directorate. Under the new rules, the same Directorate had asked the Greek Orthodox community in March to limit itself to suggesting possible candidates for the renewal of the administrative offices of each single Foundation linked to it. The legal representatives of the Greek Orthodox community - Agos reports - have responded by referring to Article 6 of the law on foundations, which states that "the founders' administrators are elected from among their members, and the election procedures are established through internal regulations of each Foundation".
There are 67 Foundations throughout Turkey that are part of the local Greek Orthodox Christian community. Those linked to the Armenian community are 50, and those linked to the Jewish community are 7. On May 9th, the European Court of Human Rights rejected the appeal presented by the Foundation of the Syrian Orthodox monastery of Mor Gabriel for "lack of documentation" , which asked to regain possession of 18 real estate belonging originally to the Monastery, expropriated in 2008 and still under the control of the Turkish Ministry of Treasury, despite the promises of restitution expressed in the past by the then Turkish premier - today President - Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/MOROCCO - Resignation of the Archbishop of Tanger

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Ven, 24/05/2019 - 12:56
Vatican City - The Holy Father Francis has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Archdiocese of Tanger , presented by His Exc. Mgr. Santiago Agrelo Martínez, O.F.M.

Categorie: From the church

VATICAN - Cardinal Tagle: the family of Caritas Internationalis takes care of humanity

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Ven, 24/05/2019 - 12:48
Rome - "The spirit of sharing and family that we are experiencing today, in this assembly is the primary goal that we have set ourselves as Caritas Internationalis. We are from all over the world, united by the same interest: others, humanity, our universal family": this is what was said by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, who is presiding the 21st General Assembly of Caritas internationalis, in Rome from 23 to 28 May, with 450 delegates from 164 nations, on the topic "One human family, one common home".
"What we live these days is an opportunity to meet, share the different realities, understand how we can always better cooperate with each other. The idea of organizing round tables, was born precisely to indicate that this is not just a conference, but an exchange of experiences, that sees us all together to build a supportive future", Cardinal Tagle explained to Fides.
Four years after the encyclical Laudato Sì the accent will be placed on young people, on women, on the poor and on issues of respect for Creation. For the next four years the organization has outlined a strategic framework with 17 specific objectives.
Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of over 160 members working at grassroots level in almost all countries in the world. An expression of the Catholic Church, Caritas reaches out to the poor, the vulnerable and the excluded, regardless of ethnicity, religion, nationality or culture, to build a world based on justice and fraternal love.

Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/BURKINA FASO - "Remain in Africa to transform it into a prosperous land": Bishops' appeal to young people

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Ven, 24/05/2019 - 12:35
Ouagadougou - Giving concreteness to evangelical hope, watching over young people. This is the commitment undertaken by the Bishops who participated in the third Plenary Assembly of Bishops of West Africa , which ended in Ouagadougou, in Burkina Faso
"In the current situation of our continent, the Church must be a sign of hope" says the final document, sent to Agenzia Fides. "In a special way, we urge to give young people their rightful place in the Church and in society", in particular "raising awareness of the dangers of irregular migration".
"In this context, we cannot remain silent on the phenomenon of migration, especially in Europe. Our hearts as shepherds and fathers suffer in seeing boats overloaded with young people, women and children who sink in the waves of the Mediterranean". Addressing the young people of their countries, the Bishops say they "understand your thirst for happiness and well-being that our countries do not offer you. Unemployment, poverty remain evils that humiliate and upset consciences". "However - the message continues - this situation must not lead you to sacrifice your life along dangerous roads and uncertain destinations. Do not be fooled by false promises that will lead you to slavery and an illusory future! With hard work and perseverance you can succeed in Africa and, more importantly, make this continent a prosperous land".
Addressing politicians, the Bishops exhort "to combat everything that endangers the common good and undermines the dignity of the human person: corruption, mismanagement and human trafficking in all its forms. Furthermore, you must continue your efforts to ensuring the safety of the life and property of your fellow citizens "by referring to the terrorism that threatens the States of the region.

Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/GHANA - Attacks on churches in Ghana and other West African countries

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Ven, 24/05/2019 - 12:07
Accra - "It is time that we stay awake; it is time that we rise to see what we can do to protect innocent people who come to church. They have come to church to worship and it will be sad that it is inside the church that they are going to meet their death", said His Exc. Mgr. John Bonaventure Kwofie, Archbishop of Accra, in the wake of the threat of terrorism that has gripped the country.
"Security has become a big issue today with what happened in Sri Lanka and what is happening in Burkina Faso", the Archbishop said, referring to the massacres in Catholic churches in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday and the recent attacks on the Catholic communities and other Christian denominations in neighboring Burkina Faso .
"Since it is coming closer to us, we are now standing alert to face this security threat that is coming up" said Mgr. Kwofie, who met with the police chief to agree on security measures to protect the faithful participating in the Sunday religious services. The Church of Christ the King, one of the parishes of the Archdiocese of Accra, has already banned backpacks as part of the new security guidelines.
Ghana is strengthening its border controls after the recent attacks by a Salafist group in Burkina Faso.
On February 15, 2019, four burkinabé customs officers were killed at the checkpoint in Nohao, near the border with Ghana. During the attack, Fr. Antonio César Fernández Fernández, a Spanish Salesian missionary was killed .
The security situation in Burkina Faso, Ghana’s neighbour to the north, remains fluid as thousands of Burkinabes throng Ghanaian villages over unrests. The Africa Center for Security and Intelligence Studies has also issued a security alert that the Salafi-Jihadist group has been moving in and out of Ghana through the border with Burkina Faso over the past months, to launch attacks on churches and hotels in neighboring countries, including Ghana, Benin, Ivory Coast and Togo.

Categorie: From the church

ASIA/INDIA - Narendra Modi’s second term: "He will be a better Premier"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Ven, 24/05/2019 - 11:59
New Delhi - "Narendra Modi's second term will make him a better Prime Minister. It is an opportunity for him to correct the previous mistakes. It is necessary to focus on policies in favor of the poor. Even if in the past he was considered a leader who divided the country, I believe that this time he can work to improve relations with communities of religious minorities, especially Muslims and Christians". It is with this hope thay A. C. Michael, lawyer and Christian intellectual, Director of the NGO "Alliance Defending Freedom-India" former member of the Delhi Minority Commission, comments to Agenzia Fides the first results of the vote of the Indian elections.
The outgoing Baratiya Janata Party of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has won the elections, increasing the number of its seats in Parliament and obtaining, while the counting is still to end, over 300 seats out of 542 available. The elections were held in seven phases, from 11 April to 19 May, and involved over 600 million voters . Modi announced the victory of his National Democratic Alliance, the conservative and nationalist coalition led by his party. The alliance of oppositions, led by the Congress Party, according to projections, obtained around 85 seats.
Modi's party had been defeated in the local elections held in three Indian states last December, but the results of the general elections confirm him as the undisputed leader on the Indian political scene, thanks to a consensus gained also thanks to the religious nationalism that characterizes his party.
Fr. Devasagayaraj M. Zackarias, Secretary of the Office for Dalits in the Indian Bishops' Conference , commented to Fides: "We ask Modi to recognize the rights of Christian Dalits, starting with the right to freedom of religion. We ask him not to adopt the hindutva agenda which polarizes the nation on a religious basis: the national government must focus on the development of the nation, on health, education and economic development of the poor. We ask for an inclusive approach, for the common good of the country"

Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Urgent appeal for Venezuelan migrants: the crisis is out of control, the flow is growing and is worrying

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Ven, 24/05/2019 - 11:47
Cucuta - Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo, called on Wednesday 22 May for greater economic cooperation by the international community to help Venezuelans who emigrated because of the crisis in their country. "We appreciate international cooperation, but the migration crisis continues to grow and the near future is worrying", said Holmes Trujillo at a press conference, the text of which was sent to Fides.
According to the Colombian official, 1.3 million Venezuelans arrived in Colombia, but the flow continues to grow and more than 63,000 Venezuelans cross the border daily, of whom 2,500 remain in the country. Citing the estimates of the IMF , the minister said that Colombia needs 1.5 billion dollars to assist migrants and refugees. This appeal is "urgent", underlined Holmes Trujillo, because Venezuelan migration is "out of control".
The confirmation of this "massive flight" also comes from the President of the Episcopal Conference of Venezuela, Mgr. José Luis Azuaje Ayala OCD, Bishop of the Diocese of Trujillo, who in a recent interview with the press said: "We Bishops are often accused by the government of being opponents. What is certain is that if being on the side of the poor means being in opposition, then yes: we are in opposition". Mgr. Azuaje added that "A channel for humanitarian aid must be opened urgently. There are millions who flee".
Janeth Marquez, director of Caritas Venezuela, pointed out: "we have almost 4 million Venezuelans who have left the country with a huge social cost: broken families, children and elderly left alone. Caritas Venezuela is doing everything possible, but we have limited means. "We call for the urgent opening of a channel for humanitarian aid. This crisis is destroying the lives of all Venezuelans. The majority of children born in the last five years are growing up in a condition of chronic malnutrition".
The Colombian Church, almost the only institution that actually welcomes Venezuelans, denounces that its structures for migrants are at the limit of its capacity. The Diocese of Cucuta, near the border, in coordination with the Venezuelan diocese of San Cristobal, is perhaps the only one that manages to give migrants something to eat in Colombian territory and, on special occasions such as Holy Week, also to send help to Venezuelan Churches. In 2019 Cucuta sent one million hosts and about 50 liters of wine for mass to the Venezuelan communities.
The situation at the border has unfortunately worsened, because the need to feed the migrants has been compounded by the insecurity caused by certain paramilitary groups that occasionally collide with each other or with members of the Colombian law enforcement. Thus migrant groups become more vulnerable and cases of xenophobia against Venezuelans begin to appear among the population.
"This is the largest and most serious migration of the continent in its history", said Mauricio García Durán, director of the Jesuit Refugee Service for Latin America. "The most difficult situations that have been recorded concern health needs - he stresses - women and children are the main victims, which is why the demand for health services has risen dramatically - there is a crisis in the health system on the border, for example, in the University Hospital of Cúcuta, on the border with Venezuela , 70% of women who give birth are Venezuelan".

Categorie: From the church

VATICAN - General Assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies begins May 27

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Ven, 24/05/2019 - 11:02
Rome - The National Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies from all continents, together with the President and the General Secretaries of the four PMS will gather in Sacrofano for their Annual General Assembly, from Monday 27 May to Saturday 1 June. The PMS constitute a worldwide network at the Pope's service to support the mission and the young Churches with prayer and charity.
The works, which takes place at the Fraterna Domus, will begin with a welcoming address to the National Directors and the report of Archbishop Giampietro Dal Toso, Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and President of the PMS. The first conference will then follow, on the theme "Life as a mission", which will be held by Prof. Fabrice Hadjadj, of the Philanthropos Institute of Friborg . In the afternoon, after group work discussion, the report of Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
On Tuesday 28 May Fr. Eloy Bueno, from the University of Burgos will talk about the theme "The Theology of Mission", followed by group work discussion. In the afternoon the report on the PMS Continental Meetings and the American Missionary Congress will be presented, followed by speeches and debates.
On Wednesday, May 29, the members of the Assembly will attend the general audience of Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square, and will then visit the Historical Archive of Propaganda Fide at Gianicolo. In the afternoon the Eucharistic concelebration presided over by Cardinal Filoni in St. Peter's Basilica is scheduled.
On Thursday, May 30 the General Secretaries of the four Pontifical Mission Societies will present the report of the past year, the forecast of the budget and subsidies requested for projects received: Fr. Tadeusz Nowak, OMI, General Secretary of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of Faith; Fr. Guy Bognon, General Secretary of the Pontifical Society of St. Peter the Apostle, PSS; Sr. Roberta Tremarelli, General Secretary of the Pontifical Society of Missionary Childhood; Fr. Fabrizio Meroni, PIME, General Secretary of the Pontifical Missionary Union and Director of CIAM and FIDES. The Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019 will also be discussed. Each report will be followed by a debate and a deepening of the reports.
On Friday 31 May, Fr. Hans Zollner, SJ, President of the "Center for Child Protection" of the Pontifical Gregorian University, will speak on the theme "The protection of minors" followed by a work session.
In the afternoon a report will be held by Mgr. Carlo Soldateschi, in charge of the Administration, and that of the Council of Finance.
On Saturday, June 1, the concluding speech of the President of the PMS, Archbishop Giampietro Dal Toso will close the works.

Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/MEXICO - Bishop Castro: violence in the State of Morelos undermines the future of young people

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 23/05/2019 - 13:27
Mexico City - In the ranking of 2019, among the 10 most violent cities in the world, Acapulco and Tijuana are at the top of the list. In that of the 50 most violent cities Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Irapuato, Guanajuato are added.
In an interview with Agenzia Fides, Mgr. Ramón Castro Castro, Bishop of the Mexican diocese of Cuernavaca, speaks of the violence present in the State of Morelos: "In the statistics of high-impact crimes for every one hundred thousand inhabitants, our small State is one of the main and has always been among the top ten for abductions, crimes and for production and drug dealing".
Bishop Castro states that among the elements that characterize violence within the State there is impunity and corruption. "Criminal gangs have divided the territory by obliging almost 75% of the businesses and companies in Morelos to pay flat-rate taxes. Furthermore, corruption in the last six years of government has allowed criminal gangs to operate freely".
"Among these gangs, the "Colombians"- continues the Bishop - are a group that settled from the eastern state of Morelos carrying out money laundering. They lend money to the poor and needy with high interest rates and when people do not pay their debts, they are beaten or killed".
"In microcrime projects, the recruitment of young people looking for work is also included. Most often the unemployed are involved.
The Church tries to put itself at the service of the victims and the families of the victims through the Pastoral Care of the Consolation and Listening Centers, where they are assisted and followed by specialized professionals who help them to face their sufferings and tragedies", says Castro .
"Organized crime - he continues - is becoming a real cancer throughout the State, explains the Bishop. Two weeks ago, in the main square of the city, known as Zócalo, two businessmen were murdered among the people, in the light of day, and two other people were injured. Three people were killed outside our Seminary, two hairdressers were killed in Paloma de la Paz, nearby. Most of these murders occurred due to non-payment".
"With regard to pastoral activities, even this year we organized the march for peace; every day at noon we pray the Angelus invoking peace in the hearts of families, work and real peace building in the State of Morelos and the whole Church. The next march will be on Saturday 1 June".
The State of Morelos is one of the most affected by the earthquake of 19 September 2017. Of the 320 damaged places of worship, 189 have been rebuilt, about 50%. Bishop Castro exhorts the whole Church "not to remain indifferent to the situations of sorrow of the brothers, since all Catholics are one body. Let us entrust ourselves to prayer to achieve the peace and justice we need"

Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/BOLIVIA - Continuity of missionary work: the Vicariate of Camiri celebrates 100 years with the ordination of its new Priest

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 23/05/2019 - 13:08
Camiri - The Apostolic Vicariate of Camiri celebrates a hundred years since its birth. The date of May 22 of a century ago in fact marked the beginning of the fixed presence of groups of missionaries who, crossing the Andes, managed to start an organized evangelization of the local population.
The Bishop’s Conference of Bolivia has sent to Fides a note and multimedia material of the anniversary, emphasizing that the entire Bishop’s Conference participates and accompanies the celebration of the Centenary, whose motto is "Memory and prophecy, let us live the Gospel with joy" .
To emphasize the jubilee anniversary, on the birth date of the Vicariate of Camiri, 22 May, the episcopal ordination of its new Priest, Mgr. Jesus Galeote Torno, OFM was celebrated. He was appointed last February 22 .
On the evening of 21 May there was a celebration on the eve of the episcopal ordination. The President of the CEB, Mgr. Ricardo Centellas, who led the prayer, said: "The new priest will have to serve this community by imitating the figure of Jesus, to bring people to communion and union, so as to bear witness to the continuity of the missionary work, the foundation of the Church".
The solemn Eucharist of the episcopal consecration was celebrated on May 22nd in the Cathedral of the Vicariate, St. Francis of Assisi, and was presided over by Archbishop Angelo Accattino, apostolic Nuncio in Bolivia, who in his homily told the new Bishop: "You will be the shepherd! You will have to invite the people to follow Jesus on the path of life!"
The Apostolic Vicariate was erected on May 22, 1919 with the name of Chaco, entrusted to the Franciscans . According to the Guide to Catholic Missions, it has a population of 152,600 inhabitants of whom 126,700 are Catholics. There are 26 parishes, 11 diocesan priests and 12 religious, 15 religious men and 39 religious women, 5 major seminarians.

Categorie: From the church

ASIA/HOLY LAND - An anti-child abuse "policy" for the schools of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 23/05/2019 - 12:47
Ramallah - On Wednesday, March 22, 2019, Fr. Iyad Twal, Director of the Latin Patriarchate Schools in Palestine and Israel, in partnership with World Vision, an independent humanitarian organization of Christian inspiration, founded in 1950 by US Baptist missionary Robert Pierce, launched an agreement entitled “Child Protection Policy” to be implemented in the Latin Patriarchate Schools, in Ahliya College in Ramallah. This policy aims to develop Latin Patriarchate Schools under the vision of quality in and for education.
World Vision will hold training and workshops for school directors, administrative and educational bodies, social workers and parents in the near future, in order to implement this policy by the beginning of the next academic school year.
Father Iyad, in his speech, expressed his pride in this new step, as the Latin Patriarchate schools are the first to adhere to such policy in the region.
This policy aims to raise awareness about violence against children and provide a safe school environment based on equality, respect, and non-discrimination. The agreement comes as a preventive step to protect students and employees and raise awareness among parents.

Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Appointment of the Bishop of Malakal

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 23/05/2019 - 12:33
Vatican City - The Holy Father Francis has appointed the rev. Stephen Nyodho Ador Majwok, of the clergy of Malakal, currently Vicar General of the same diocese as the Bishop of the diocese of Malakal .
The rev. Stephen Nyodho Ador Majwok was born on 1 January 1973 in the village of Andong . He attended primary schools in Adong and Thawrat Malakal , and later the St. Lwanga Institute . He studied Philosophy at St. Paul National Major Seminary in Khartoum, from 1997 to 2000, and then Theology, from 2000 to 2005. On 15 May 2005 he was ordained a priest for the diocese of Malakal. Since his ordination he has held the following roles and carried out the following studies: 2005-2008: Parish Vicar of the Christ the King Cathedral, Malakal; 2008-2009: Interim parish priest of the Christ the King Cathedral, Director of the Diocesan Center for Pastoral Care; 2009-2013: Priest of the Cathedral, Diocesan Coordinator for pastoral courses, Youth Chaplain, Member of the College of Diocesan Consultors, Member of the diocesan investment group; 2013-2016: Studies in Rome at the Pontifical Urbaniana University for a Licentiate in Moral Theology; 2016-2018: Studies in Rome at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas for a Doctorate in Moral Theology; since 2019 Vicar General of the Diocese of Malakal.

Categorie: From the church

ASIA/PHILIPPINES - The Church in the Philippines: "No" to reinstating the death penalty

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 23/05/2019 - 12:27
Manila - The Catholic Church in the Philippines is opposed to reinstating the death penalty in the legal system of the country. This was stated in an interview with Agenzia Fides by Catholic lay leader Rodolfo Diamante, a member of the Episcopal Commission for prison pastoral care, noting that "legislators should not approve laws just to please president Rodrigo Duterte". The debate on the possible reintroduction of the death penalty returned in vogue after President Duterte won the recent mid-term elections: the allied candidates with incumbent president obtained 9 of the 12 seats . "The senators are elected by the people and must work for the well-being of the entire nation, not for the president. We urge them to study the situation carefully in order to face the challenges that our country is experiencing", says Diamante.
The president of the Philippine Senate, Vicente Sotto III, said that the reintroduction of the death penalty for some serious crimes is a real possibility", given that "several allied men of Duterte are preparing to enter the Senate". With the arrival of nine Senators in favor of Duterte, now the assembly, composed entirely of 24 senators, is firmly under Duterte’s control.
One of the president's most controversial proposals is to reintroduce the death penalty. The Philippines declared the death penalty illegal in 1987, reintroduced it six years later and then abolished it again in 2006. Two new members elected by the Senate have already publicly expressed support for the death penalty. One of these is the parliamentarian, Ramon Revilla, the other is the new senator Ronald de la Rosa, a former police officer, who said he was in favor of reintroducing the death penalty for drug-related crimes.
According to Diamante "the death penalty has never been and will never be a solution or a deterrent to crime. Furthermore, it is a measure against life, against the poor, who do not have adequate means to defend themselves in court, and will do nothing but to sharpen the culture of violence that now prevails in our country". "The Filipino population deserves something better", concludes Diamante.

Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - "The arrival of thousands of Peuls with millions of cattle destabilizes the south-east" says Mgr. Aguirre

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 23/05/2019 - 11:44
Bangui - "The local warlords are facilitating the progression of the Peuls herders in our area, creating alarm among the population", says His Exc. Mgr. Juan José Aguirre Muños to Agenzia Fides.
"Throughout the Sahel the transfer of the Peuls with millions of cattle is destabilizing entire areas of Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad and now the Central African Republic, due to the conflicts they stir up", explains Mgr. Aguirre.
"The cause of this displacement is the desertification that forces the Peuls to go on searching for new pastures and water sources. Unfortunately the Peuls, who are well armed, leave a trail of blood during their journey that gets longer every day", says the Bishop. "They have created a corridor that descends from Chad and arrives in Central Africa in the area of N'Délé, in the north. From here they descend down towards Bangassou in the south-east through the missions of Zémio, Boqui and Obo. There are thousands of men, women and children with their herds heading to our area".
Mgr. Aguirre does not hide his concern because "if the flows were to continue at this rate, within a few years, Peuls could reach two million in the south-east of Central Africa. Local people are alarmed about their future. What is certain is that everything is being done to open corridors through which the Peuls pass in search of water and pastures. The warlords have called for the transformation of a part of the Obo mission area into a natural park in order to drive out farmers and allow the settlement of the Peuls with millions of cattle". "This is a part of the war we are experiencing in Central Africa he adds. "One of the warlords linked to the Peuls is Ali Darassa, a Nigerian Fulani , and is the main organizer of these corridors"
"We understand the drama of the Puels, victims of desertification, but no one has asked permission from the Central African populations who already live in very harsh conditions. Furthermore, the Peuls are Muslims and the local populations are Christian, accentuating the inter-religious tensions already present in Central Africa, adds Mgr. Aguirre, who has welcomed two thousand Muslims in Bangassou Cathedral for two years, threatened with death by the local anti-Balaka gangs .
The Peuls displacement risks involving other Countries. "In February - says the Bishop - several Peuls with their herds crossed the Bomu river, settling in the forest of Garamba, in the north of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where there are abundant pastures. However, the Congolese army strongly rejected them in Central Africa".

Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/BRAZIL - Meeting of border dioceses: the family continues to be the fundamental institution of society

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Gio, 23/05/2019 - 11:12
Pelotas - "We live in a social context of strong changes in the social dynamics that have in particular affected our families and young people. It is possible to note in all these aspects, lights and shadows, but above all we underline that the family continues to be very appreciated as a space of intimacy, affection and reciprocity between the generations". This is what the final statement of the 34th meeting of the border dioceses, held in Pelotas, Brazil, from 20 to 22 May underlines.
Bishops, priests, deacons, religious women and laity of the border dioceses of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, analyzed "the ideological scenarios that have an impact on the family and young people, in order to promote the culture of life of our peoples".
The statement sent to Fides informs that during the meeting "several contradictory scenarios reaffirm the importance that the family continues to have as a fundamental institution in our societies". Furthermore, some work experiences carried out in different countries were shared, in defense of the lives of the most defenseless and vulnerable.
The participants condemn all situations that threaten integral human development and responsible freedom as the basis for life projects. "Particularly negative - they continue - are the tendencies towards individualism, unbridled competitiveness, the culture of consumerism or the relativization of truth and ethics".
Convinced that "love lived in families is a constant force for the life of the Church", the participants at the meeting encourage to promote "spaces and experiences that give a critical look to provisional and ephemeral culture". "A vision that helps to promote the culture of life and the dignity of people in order to strengthen families where equality, affection, responsibility, hospitality, mutual dedication and care for the weakest are lived. A look that allows families to access work, home, health and complete education for their children".
The meeting was attended: for Argentina: Diocese of Concordia, Corrientes, Formosa and Santo Tomé. Brazil: Diocese of Bagé, Chapecó, Pelotas, Santo Ângelo and Uruguaiana. Paraguay: Diocese of Encarnación. Uruguay: Diocese of Melo, Salto and Tacuarembó.

Categorie: From the church

VATICAN - Cardinal Filoni in Sri Lanka, one month after the Easter terrorist attacks

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Mer, 22/05/2019 - 13:05
Vatican City - After the pastoral visit to Thailand for the 350th anniversary of the Apostolic Vicariate of Siam, which marked the beginning of the local Catholic Church, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, is visiting Sri Lanka from today, May 22, for three days. Exactly a month ago, on April 21st, the solemnity of Holy Easter, Sri Lanka was upset by a series of terrorist attacks: eight explosions caused at least 253 victims. The first explosion devastated the sanctuary of St. Antony, then the church of St. Sebastian in Negombo while the third church to be devastated was the evangelical church of Sion in Batticaloa. Even three hotels in the capital were the object of attacks.
This morning Cardinal Filoni presided over the laying of the foundation stone for the reconstruction of the St. Antony sanctuary and talked with the population and those involved in the works. Also today, a visit was paid to the President and a meeting was held with the Bishops, during which the missionary nature of the Church and the most relevant pastoral themes were discussed. Mgr. Norbert Andradi OMI, Bishop Anuradhapura, president of the Commission for the laity of the Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka, commented the meeting to Fides: "Cardinal Filoni expressed all the closeness and solidarity of Pope Francis. It is an important encouragement to us all. He told us about the concern of the Holy Father towards our faithful, affected by the Easter attacks. Today, one month after that tragedy, the faithful are still shocked, there is even fear of going to church. We are trying to restore the devastated churches and, above all, to rebuild hope in our hearts. We thank Cardinal Filoni for his visit: it is for all of us a source of great consolation, which helps us to resume the journey and to overcome, with the grace of God, the trauma suffered by our Church with the Easter terrorist attacks".
Tomorrow, May 23, the Cardinal will go to the church of St. Sebastian in Negombo, for a meeting with the population. Then he will visit the the cemetery in Negombo and preside over the laying of the first stone of the new cemetery chapel. Later he will meet some families affected by the attacks. On Friday 24th there will be a meeting with priests and religious. In these three days the Cardinal will meet civil and religious personalities.

Categorie: From the church

AMERICA/EL SALVADOR - The Archbishop of San Salvador: "No law must cover up crimes against humanity!"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Mer, 22/05/2019 - 12:54
San Salvador - The Catholic Church of El Salvador rejects the National Reconciliation Law recently discussed during the Legislative Assembly, denouncing that it would leave the culprits of crimes against humanity unpunished during the Salvadoran civil war . The Church is opposed to a possible amnesty and supports the victims who await justice .
"We are very worried because they want to quickly approve a law of reconciliation that would be - in practice - another law of an unjust amnesty, a spurious and totally illegitimate law that seeks to protect the perpetrators", said the Archbishop of San Salvador, José Luis Escobar Alas, in a press conference whose text was sent to Fides.
"No law must cover crimes against humanity! One must have justice, out of respect for the victims, otherwise it is a wound that does not heal", concluded Mgr. Escobar Alas.
The Legislative Assembly must prepare a new law of national reconciliation by July that guarantees truth, justice and reparation for the victims. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has also expressed "deep concern" about the bill which, according to the coordinator of the commission, Miguel Montenegro, is trying to get an amnesty approved that supports the interests of the political sectors in "protection of the executioners "both military and ex-guerrillas. The armed conflict, between 1980 and 1992, caused the death of over 75,000 people and 10,000 disappeared. Those responsible must be prosecuted and the law must not be consensual, the victims must be heard, the CIDH reiterated.

Categorie: From the church

AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - "Sister Ines, another woman who gives her life for Jesus at the service of the poor" says Pope Francis

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Mer, 22/05/2019 - 12:43
Bangui - "I have no idea. In our area ritual killings do not take place", says His Exc. Mgr. Juan José Aguirre Muños, Bishop of Bangassou, to whom Agenzia Fides has asked for more details on the murder of Sister Ines Nieves Sancho, the 77-year-old Spanish nun of the local community of the Daughters of Jesus, murdered in the early hours of May 20, in the village of Nola, near Berberati, in the south-west of the Central African Republic, on the border with Cameroon.
"I am a thousand miles from Nola. I phoned the Bishop and the Provincial Superior and they did not tell me much more than what had already been published", said Mgr. Aguirre, to whom we asked if he believed in the news that the murderers took parts of the body to be used in propitiatory rites after beheading the nun. "They tell us that in the areas of the Central African Republic on the border with Cameroon, there are Cameroonians who practice ritual murders to extract organs to be used in propitiatory rites in order to bring luck in the search for diamonds, one of the riches of the area", said Mgr. Aguirre who states "here in Bangassou this does not happen".
Sister Ines Nieves Sancho, despite her age, continued to serve in Nola where she gave the girls sewing lessons. And in one of the rooms of the building she used to teach girls how to sew and learn a trade.
This morning, May 22, during the general audience in St. Peter's Square Pope Francis recalled the missionary killed: "Today I would like to remember Sister Ines, 77, educator of poor girls for decades, barbarously killed in Central Africa in her room where she taught how to sew, an extra woman who gives her life for Jesus at the service of the poor", underlined the Holy Father.

Categorie: From the church

ASIA/INDONESIA - Joko Widodo confirmed President, the Bishops: "it is important to accept the result of the vote"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Mer, 22/05/2019 - 12:24
Jakarta - "The recent presidential and legislative elections turned out to be the most challenging elections in the nation, as hundreds of members of the electoral committee died due to their excessive workload. Now we must accept the decision of the Electoral Commission: whoever was chosen by the people and will lead the nation, will certainly do his best for the common interest. We want to invite the elected parliamentarians and elected regional representatives to always protect the common good and social justice": says to Agenzia Fides Archbishop Agustinus Agus, at the head of the archdiocese of Pontianak, in the province of West Kalimantan, following the announcement of the results of the vote in the Indonesian nation.
Yesterday, the Electoral Commission of Indonesia announced that President Joko Widodo is the winner of the elections, officially declaring that Joko Widodo and his deputy Ma'ruf Amin obtained 55.5% of the votes, compared to 44.5% obtained by Prabowo Subianto and his deputy Sandiaga S. Uno. About 85.6 million Indonesians voted in favor of Widodo out of about 154 million voters. President Jokowi, 57, officially begins his second term.
The proclamation of the Commission requires the approval of both candidates. But Aziz Subekti, delegate of the candidate Subianto, refused to validate the official result, saying: "We will not surrender in our struggle against injustice, fraud and abuse". There are fears of riots and disputes all over the country, already organized today in Jakarta by Subianto’s party, which has announced an appeal to the Indonesian Constitutional Court. In the aftermath of the vote, the opposition candidate had already declared himself the winner, claiming 62% of the votes, but without providing any credible "legal proof" to support this claim.
Already in 2014, Subianto, defeated by Jokowi, had launched an appeal to the Indonesian Constitutional Court but had lost his legal battle. Now Subianto has chosen the street protest. Among Subianto's supporters there are also groups that promote the so-called "jihadist protest", calling for a popular uprising. Indonesian security forces are monitoring the situation, also to prevent possible terrorist attacks that could destabilize the nation.
In recent weeks most of the political parties that had supported Subianto during the electoral campaign - such as the Democratic Party chaired by former Indonesian president Yudhoyono, the National Mandate Party , and the Justice and Prosperity Party - have distanced themselves and have not shared this political line, which delegitimizes the result of the vote.

Categorie: From the church

ASIA/HOLY LAND - Catholic Bishops: the "two peoples-two States" formula is now "empty rhetoric"

Fides EN - www.fides.org - Mer, 22/05/2019 - 12:09
Jerusalem - The Catholic Bishops of the Holy Land take note that the proposal for a two-State solution has gone nowhere and is repeated to no avail. In fact, all talk of political solution seems empty rhetoric in the present situation". The relevant admission is contained in the message signed by the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, and shows an objective discontinuity with respect to the formulas and recurring contents in the official pronouncements of Catholic bodies around the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
In recent years, individual members of Churches in the Middle East had prefigured during interviews and media interventions the formula "two peoples - two States" envisaged as a declared objective of the Peace process initiated with the Oslo agreements and the Conference of Madrid: The negotiated creation of two distinct States, which already existed in the partition plan delineated by the UN in 1947. In November 2012, a UN resolution also recognized the State of Palestine. The Holy See recognized the State of Palestine and Pope Francis himself, in his official pronouncements, referred to the formula "two peoples - two States".
Now, the ordinary Catholic bishops of the Holy Land promote a new vision "for Jerusalem and the whole land, called Israel and Palestine, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea". According to this vision - reads their official statement - "everyone in this Holy Land has full equality, the equality befitting all men and women created equal in God’s own image and likeness. We believe that equality, whatever political solutions might be adopted, is a fundamental condition for a just and lasting peace".
Currently the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land is presided over by Moussa al Hage, Maronite Archbishop of Haifa. Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and Father Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land, are part of this ecclesial body.

Categorie: From the church

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