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Current Issue
June, 2018
Volume 44, Number 2
  
2 May 2018
Greg Kandra




Kindergarteners participate eagerly at Rosa Gatorno Kindergarten not far from Boditi, Ethiopia. Read about their teachers in The Habit of Learning in the March 2018 edition of ONE. (photo: Don Duncan)



Tags: Ethiopia Children Sisters Catholic education

2 May 2018
J.D. Conor Mauro




Residents of the village of Parakar blocking a road to Zvartnots International Airport. Armenian politician, opposition activist Nikol Pashinyan, one of the leaders of the ‘Way Out’ Alliance (Yelk) Party, has called on protesters to block airports and streets. (photo: Artyom Geodakyan\TASS via Getty Images)

Armenia’s opposition, blocked in parliament, raises pressure in the streets (New York Times) Protesters in Armenia, frustrated by Parliament’s refusal to elect the opposition leader as prime minister, heeded his call for widespread civil disobedience on Wednesday, fanning out across the country to close major squares, roads and schools…

The significance of Armenia’s ‘April Revolution’ (The Nation) Analysts outside of Armenia scrambled to make sense of the April Revolution. Was it a “color revolution” or a Ukrainian-style Maidan? Was it a “blow to Putin,” as the pages of The Washington Post suggested? The revolt did have certain elements that were recognizable in “color revolutions” — the street demonstrations, the involvement of youth, etc. However, its orientation was strictly domestic and its long-term causes — jobs, poverty, privatization, inequality, etc. — were entirely endogenous…

Chaldean Patriarchate: Do not use religious symbols for electoral propaganda (Fides) Candidates in the upcoming Iraqi political elections must avoid exploiting symbols and religious references as instruments of electoral propaganda, the Patriarchate of Babylon of the Chaldeans said ahead of the 12 May elections. In order to gather electoral support the candidates must only refer to their professional skills and their personal talents. Christian candidates, in particular, must avoid claiming alleged sponsorships and support from ecclesiastical authorities…

Harassment of Christians continues to escalate in Turkey (AINA) International Christian Concern has learned that overnight on 30 April 2018 at least one Turkish nationalist vandalized the Surp Takavor Armenian Church in Istanbul’s Kadiköy municipality. The nationalist wrote “This homeland is ours” on the wall and dumped a large pile of garbage outside of the church’s door…

Iraq’s Yazidis resume pilgrimages to sacred temple (AINA) Iraqi Yazidis are healing from the pain and hardship they suffered at the hands of the Islamic State, which swept their areas, killing men and forcing women into sexual slavery. In a sign of the return to normal life, the Yazidi New Year was celebrated in a Yazidi temple on 8 April for the first time since the liberation from ISIS…

Ethiopian Jews clamor to move to Israel (BBC) Ethiopian Jews have appealed to the president of Israel to help them migrate there, to be reunited with members of their families…

‘Secret church’ dating back to first Christian centuries survived ISIS (Christian Today) A ‘secret church’ in Syria dating back to the first centuries of Christianity has been discovered by archaeologists in a territory held by ISIS for more than two years. The ancient tunnel system, found in the city of Manbij, is believed to have once served as a refuge for Christians who faced persecution during the Roman Empire…



Tags: Syria Iraq Armenia Yazidi Ethiopian Jews

1 May 2018
Greg Kandra




Religious brothers sit in the library at St. Francis Theological College in India. Learn how India is helping form The New Priests in the current edition of ONE. (photo: Meenakshi Soman)



Tags: India Seminarians

1 May 2018
J.D. Conor Mauro




As part of a pastoral visit to Lebanon, Archbishop John Michael Miller of Vancouver visits Iraqi Christian refugees at a school run by the Syriac Catholic Patriarchate, supported by CNEWA. (photo: Carl Hétu)

Cries for peace in Syria louder than ever (Catholic Register) Catholic aid agencies that help Syrian and Iraqi refugees say a recent escalation of conflict in Syria has increased despair and heightened the call for peace from Christian leaders. “They all told us the same thing,” said Carl Hétu, national director of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) Canada, who made a pastoral visit to Lebanon from 15 to 19 April with Vancouver Archbishop J. Michael Miller to encourage partners who are working with refugees. “The region needs peace. They don’t need more bombs and the refugee crisis cannot be sustained any more in Lebanon…”

Syria announces Yarmouk camp evacuation agreement (Al Jazeera) The Syrian government has reached an evacuation deal with fighters from Hay’et Tahrir al Sham to leave the Yarmouk refugee camp in southern Damascus. The official SANA news agency announced on Monday that the fighters and their families, numbering about 5,000, would be evacuated in two stages, the first of which would see 1,500 people transported to the rebel-controlled Idlib province in northwestern Syria…

Expert: The bogey of Christian infiltration in India is a ‘political hoax’ (AsiaNews) The age-old bogey of Christian infiltration into the heart of India — allegedly intent on undermining the country — has been resurrected. While now a hackneyed political canard, its use as a recurrent theme in of Indian politics is significant…

Indian government accused of ignoring religious violence (UCAN India) The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has accused the Indian government of doing little to prevent violence against religious minorities and socially poor Dalit people. The commission’s latest report, released 25 April, said the government run by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party has not addressed the problem of sectarian violence despite government statistics showing that sectarian violence has increased sharply over the past two years…

Greek-Turkish border under refugee pressure again (Al Monitor) Their clothes caked with mud, a small group of refugees from Syria trudge past a Greek farmer tilling his field on a tractor. He barely pauses to look at them. In the villages near the Evros River, the natural boundary with Turkey in northeastern Greece, such arrivals are now common…

Christians in Jerusalem’s Old City under threat from ‘hostile radical settlers’ (Christian Today) Christians in Jerusalem say their presence in the Old City is under threat from intimidation, with priests being spat at and abused, alongside aggressive property acquisition by hardline and ’hostile’ Jewish settlers, the Guardian has reported. The churches say they are facing onslaught on three fronts, according to the paper’s report from Jerusalem: a war of attrition waged by hardline settlers; unprecedented tax demands by Jerusalem city council; and a proposal to allow the expropriation of church land put up for sale…



Tags: Syria India Lebanon Jerusalem Greece

30 April 2018
Greg Kandra




Sister Frehiwot oversees students filing into the school after morning assembly in the school yard at Rosa Gatorno Kindergarten, located about nine miles outside the town of Boditi, Ethiopia. Discover how Sister Frehiwot and other young sisters are helping youngsters get in The Habit of Learning in the current edition of ONE. (photo: Don Duncan)



Tags: Ethiopia Children Sisters Catholic education

30 April 2018
J.D. Conor Mauro




A relative of Palestinian Mohammed al Maqid, 21, who was killed by Israeli security forces during the protests at the Israel-Gaza border, mourns during his funeral in Gaza city on 28 April. (photo: Momen Faiz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Israel’s use of live fire in Gaza protests faces legal test (Chicago Tribune) Israel’s Supreme Court on Monday heard the first legal challenge of the military’s open-fire rules, after 39 Palestinians were killed and more than 1,700 wounded by Israeli fire during mass protests on the Gaza border over the past month…

He walked along an Israeli beach as far as Gaza. Then he vanished. (Washington Post) It is among the most heavily guarded borders in the world, yet on 7 September 2014, a slender Israeli man managed to squeeze through rolls of thick barbed wire and cross from Israel into the Gaza Strip. He has not been heard from since. The last confirmed sighting of Avera Mengistu, who was 26 at the time, was on Israeli army security cameras that followed his lonely silhouette marching steadfastly along the beach toward a fate unknown. Mengistu comes from a family of immigrants, Ethiopian Jews who arrived in 1991…

In Mumbai, a gathering in support of women and children victims of violence (AsiaNews) A “gathering for peace” to support women and girls who are victims of injustice, abuse and violence, organized by the archdiocese of Mumbai, will take place on 1 May…

Military bases in Syria’s Aleppo, Hama targeted by missiles (PressTV) Syria has announced that several of its military bases located in the provinces of Hama and Aleppo have come under missile fire. According to Syria’s state news agency on Sunday, “a new aggression with hostile missiles” happened at 10:30 p.m. local time, in which military positions in the Hama and Aleppo villages were targeted. The origins of the attacks are still unclear, but come several weeks after Russia and Syria said Israeli warplanes struck an air base in the Syrian province of Homs…



Tags: Syria India Gaza Strip/West Bank Palestine Israel

27 April 2018
Greg Kandra




In the March 2018 edition of ONE, we feature a poignant Letter From Iraq by Sister Clara Nacy, superior general of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena.

Last year, CNS’s gifted photojournalist Paul Jeffrey offered this glimpse at some of the sisters who are ministering to displaced Iraqis — and this account helped give more context and background to the struggles so many Iraqi Christians have been facing.



Tags: Iraq Iraqi Christians Sisters

27 April 2018
Greg Kandra




Georgian children study English at a Caritas youth center. Read about the work of Caritas in A Letter From Georgia in the Winter 2016 edition of ONE. (photo: Antonio di Vico)



Tags: Georgia Caritas

27 April 2018
J.D. Conor Mauro




Palestinian emergency services carry a demonstrator on a stretcher suffering from tear gas exposure near the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis during mass demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel border on 27 April. (photo: Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel must address excessive use of force and deaths in Gaza protests: U.N. rights chief (U.N. News) With more than 40 Palestinians killed and 5,500 injured during protests in Gaza over the past month — many by live ammunition — the top United Nations human rights official on Friday called on Israel to ensure that its security forces do not resort to use of excessive force amid the ongoing demonstrations…

Turkey’s Alevi minority threatened by dam-building plans (Christian Science Monitor) Turkey is ramping up its dam construction despite opposition from locals. Some dams are being built on sacred Alevi ground, jeopardizing their cultural heritage and damaging the natural environment. Making up about 15-20 percent of Turkey’s 79 million people, Alevis draw from Shiite, Sufi, and Anatolian folk traditions, practicing distinct rituals which can put them at odds with their Sunni Muslim counterparts, many of whom accuse them of heresy. “The government is trying to assimilate us into Sunni Islam. There’s a project to kill our culture and heritage,” said Baris Yildirim, an Alevi lawyer and activist…

Christians should not be second-class citizens, cardinal tells Saudi Arabia (AINA) French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran’s trip to Saudi Arabia, the first by such a senior Catholic figure, raised hopes of more openness in the kingdom, which is home to Islam’s holiest sites but bans the practice of other faiths. The trip included a meeting with King Salman, his first with a Catholic official. “During my meetings, I insisted very much on this point, that Christians and non-Muslims are spoken of well in schools and that they are never considered second-class citizens,” said the cardinal, who leads the Vatican’s Council for Interreligious Dialogue…

India’s indigenous people rally for religion (UCAN India) Indian church leaders support demand for recognition of the Sarna animist religions as 10,000 march through Jharkhand state. The 24 April rally aimed to put pressure on the eastern state’s government run by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party, which considers indigenous people as Hindus and refuses to give official status to their traditional faith practices…



Tags: India Gaza Strip/West Bank Turkey Arabian Peninsula

26 April 2018
Elias D. Mallon, S.A., Ph.D.




In this 2016 image, an Ethiopian girl fetches water from what remains of a pond during a severe drought in the Afar region of Ethiopia. (photo: Petterik Wiggers)

Every year on 22 April, the world observes Earth Day, a moment intended to focus our attention on the plight of the environment and the future of the planet. There are lectures, gatherings and celebrations all over the world. (One acute observer in New York City noted that the Earth Day observance generates an unusually large amount of trash.) Nevertheless, despite all the contradictions involved in the observance of Earth Day, its purpose is extremely important.

Modern humans are facing — or ignoring — a threat to our very existence — to say nothing of our well-being. The overwhelming consensus of modern science is that the earth is warming and that human agency plays an important though not necessarily sole role in this. Ignoring this science because it is a “theory” is simply to misunderstand science. (As a comparison: Scientists are constantly studying gravity. The most omnipresent force in the cosmos, gravity barely exists at subatomic levels and seems not to exist at all in black holes. Some scientists see gravity as not so much a force as the consequence of the curvature of spacetime. However, even though the nature of gravity is open to several theories, no one in their right mind would walk off a tall building because gravity is “only a theory.”) We dismiss or minimize science at our own peril.

The importance of taking responsibility for our planet and its future (and ours) was the opportunity for an extraordinary exercise in ecumenical cooperation — which speaks, I believe, to part of CNEWA’s mission of encouraging understanding and fostering dialogue. On 24 May 2015, Pope Francis published the encyclical “Laudato Si’ ” (the opening words of the “Canticle of Creation” of St. Francis of Assisi). The opening of the encyclical repeatedly mentions Bartholomew, the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, and the concerns which he and Pope Francis share concerning the health of the planet and its future. A Greek Orthodox theologian was part of the committee that helped Francis write the encyclical. The pope and patriarch have agreed to work together on this issue so that both Catholic and Orthodox can witness to its importance.

Francis lists the different forces which are threatening the planet. He mentions “Pollution, waste and a throwaway culture.” Although not mentioned by Francis, a good though terrifying example of this would be the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (aka Pacific Trash Vortex) which contains trash and plastics in various stages of decomposition. Conservative estimates see the vortex at 270,000 square miles — or roughly the size of Texas. Other measurements see it as large as Russia. This is environmental degradation on a massive scale but one which remains for all practical purposes “invisible” to most people. Francis and Bartholomew wish to change that.

Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew make it very clear that this is not an issue merely for scientists or “tree huggers.” It is a moral challenge facing Christians everywhere. In the sixth chapter of “Laudato Si’ ” Francis develops the theme of “ecological education and spirituality.” He calls for a conversion of heart and action. A conversion from how we think of — or ignore — our environment, a conversion of how we use, consume and dispose of the goods of our world. Again and again in the encyclical Francis calls for an “integral ecology.” By this he means that responsibility for the environment is not something we do now and then, much less something we do only once a year on Earth Day. Rather, who we are as Christians and how we live our day to day lives must reflect our concern for the creation which has been entrusted to us by God.

We at CNEWA are often painfully aware of how people are impacted by the environment. Many of those we serve find their lives devastated by natural disasters and weather. For several years, for example, the monsoons in Ethiopia either never came or carried much less water than usual. The ensuing drought brought suffering, misery and, in some cases, death to those who had to live through it. Pollution and overfishing has threatened the livelihoods of many in south India whose lives depend on fishing. Environmentally-induced sicknesses affect the young and vulnerable in many places of the world where we work.

Earth Day and “Laudato Si’ ” are reminders — or, if necessary, wake up calls — that we as believers have a moral responsibility to remember that greed has never been a virtue, that the unjust hording of wealth and resources has never been moral that we are called by God to take care of our planet.



Tags: Catholic Environment Pollution





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