10 October 2018
Chaldean Archbishop Habib Nafali of Basra, Iraq, speaks to schoolchildren on 5 October at St. Columba's parish in Chester, England, about the persecution of Christians in Iraq.
(photo: CNS/Simon Caldwell)
Iraqi archbishop fears more persecution (CNS) Christianity in Iraq is just one wave of persecution away from extinction, said the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Basra. In an interview with Catholic News Service, Chaldean Archbishop Habib Nafali said there were now so few Christians in his country that the church there would disappear if it was subjected to further persecution. He said the displacements and murders of Christians over the past 15 years constituted genocide…
Lebanon: 100,000 Syrian refugees to return home by year’s end (Xinhua) Lebanese General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim said Tuesday that the number of Syrian refugees returning home by the end of this year will reach 100,000. ”The General Security is offering security and logistic facilities in addition to financial exemptions to Syrian refugees living illegally in Lebanon to accelerate their return back home,” Ibrahim was quoted by Elnashra, an independent online newspaper, as saying…
Russian Orthodox Church warns of protests in Ukraine (AFP) A high-ranking Russian Orthodox cleric on Wednesday warned that protests would erupt in Ukraine if the country’s Orthodox Church is granted independence from Moscow…
Kerala reopens to tourists (The Times of India) The Kerala state tourism department on Tuesday said that the state was back to normalcy after the devastating flood and was ready to open its doors with several new tourism initiatives…
For some Americans, Jerusalem’s newest pilgrimage site is the U.S. embassy (NPR) The new embassy has become a magnet for American visitors, many of them devout Christians who support what it stands for: an about-face in U.S. policy, recognizing Israel’s sovereignty claims to the coveted city…
9 October 2018
Tags: Syria Iraq Lebanon Kerala Chaldean Church
The September edition of our award-winning magazine ONE is on its way to your mailbox, but you can get a first look online right here.
In this edition, follow a young man’s journey to the priesthood in Egypt; learn how the church is continuing her mission to children in India; hear from a mother rebuilding her family’s life in Iraq; and share the hope and promise of at-risk mothers and young children in Georgia. All that, plus important news from the world we serve, along with journalism that was recently hailed for its “breath-taking photography, innovative design and (above all) textbook storytelling.”
The theme of this ONE is proclaimed proudly on the cover: “Sharing Hope.” And in the video below, our president Msgr. John E. Kozar offers a more detailed preview of just what that means.
We’re pleased to be able to share our hope with you — and grateful for all that our readers and donors have made possible. Thank you!
Check out more.
9 October 2018
Tags: CNEWA ONE magazine
Anna Marie, Natalie and Nitsa, three of the seven children currently living at the St. Barbara Mother and Child Care Center in Georgia, have become fast friends. Learn more about how the church is Confronting Abuse of Women in Georgia in the September 2018 edition of ONE. (photo: Molly Corso)
9 October 2018
A Marian icon is seen as Pope Francis leads an audience for laypeople, clergy and religious of the Slovak Catholic Church at the Vatican on 6 October. (photo: CNS /Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)
Pope says families of Eastern Catholic married priests set example (CNS) The families of Eastern-rite Catholic priests give an important witness to what is healthy and wonderful about family life, Pope Francis said. Speaking to laypeople, clergy and religious of the Slovak Catholic Church — a Byzantine-rite church that has maintained its tradition of ordaining both celibate and married men — the pope said, “the families of priests live a unique mission today…”
Syria: rebels withdraw heavy weapons from Idlib (BBC) Syrian rebel fighters are reported to have withdrawn their heavy weapons from the frontlines around Idlib province. Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency said rockets, mortars and missiles had been removed in line with a deal to create a demilitarized buffer zone separating rebel and government forces…
Crowdfunding to be used to Kerala rebuilding (New Indian Express) The meeting to review the flood relief and rehabilitation work held here under the leadership of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has decided to make maximum use of crowdfunding for the purpose. An internet portal has been set up for crowdfunding. Details of the work to be taken up by various departments should be submitted to the portal by the departments concerned urgently, it was decided…
Israel to take in approximately 1,000 Ethiopian Christians (Jewish Press) The Cabinet, at its weekly meeting, on Sunday approved the proposal of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (kulanu) to bring to Israel approximately 1,000 members of the Falash Mura community who have children are in Israel. In 1860, Henry Aaron Stern, a Jewish convert to Christianity, traveled to Ethiopia and Eritrea in an attempt to convert the Beta Israel community to Christianity. Today, according to some estimates, there may be as many as 50,000 Christian converts in Ethiopia and Eritrea who maintain some familial relations with Ethiopian Israelis…
Authorities unearth earliest-known inscription bearing the name ’Jerusalem’ (Haaretz) The 2,100-year-old Hebrew inscription on a piece of limestone unearthed in Jerusalem is the earliest-known mention of the full name of the city that is spelled as it is today, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Tuesday. The name was inscribed on part of a Roman structure dating to the 1st century B.C.E., which was discovered during a salvage excavation prior to the paving of a road near the Binyanei Ha’uma convention center, at the entrance to Jerusalem. The artifact was found by IAA archaeologist Danit Levy…
5 October 2018
Tags: Syria Jerusalem Kerala Ethiopian Christianity Byzantine Catholic Church
Ethiopian Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel of Addis Ababa checks out the name badge of Nathanael Lamataki, a youth delegate from the French territory of New Caledonia in the South Pacific, as they leave a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican on 5 October. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
5 October 2018
In the video above from 2016, Nadia Murad speaks to the UN about her experience being kidnapped by ISIS and forced to become a sex slave. Friday, she was named co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to end sexual violence as a weapon of war. (video: The Guardian/YouTube)
Yazidi rape survivor from Iraq named co-winner of Nobel Peace Prize (CNN) The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict. Mukwege, a gynecologist and surgeon, has long worked to treat thousands of women and girls affected by rape and sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Murad is a Yazidi woman from the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar, who was held as a sex slave by ISIS, she told CNN in an interview last year. In 2016, at age 23, she was made a UN goodwill ambassador…
Coptic Metropolitian Bishoy dies (Egypt Independent) Coptic Bishop Metropolitan Bishoy of Damietta, Kafr el-Sheikh and the abbot of the Monastery of Saint Demiana in Barrari, Belqas, died at the age of 67 from a heart attack. Bishoy, who was known as the “church’s iron man”, has been suffering from heart muscle disorder for years. He died after his return from a pastoral tour in Armenia. During his 45 years of ecclesiastical service, Bishop Bishoy became famous, especially during the time of the late Pope Shenouda III, for maintaining the image of the “strong man” and for being a professor of theology, which allowed him to participate in theological conferences against other churches at home and abroad…
Rights commission says Ethiopian government failing to protect people from ethnic violence (Reuters) Ethiopia’s government is failing to protect its citizens amid escalating ethnic violence that has displaced nearly a million people in the last six months, the head of a national human rights body that reports to parliament said on Thursday…
Kerala banks on tourism to revive its economy (LiveMint) Looking at the camera, several men and women in Kerala comprising fish vendors, rickshaw drivers, homemakers and children among others hold out a placard that reads “We Are Open.” This is how a new advertisement by luggage maker Samsonite ends, aimed at exhorting more tourists to visit the flood-ravaged state. It puts across a message that not just hoteliers and other big businesses, but commoners in Kerala too are seeking a revival in tourism.
Syria’s recovered antiquities go on display (The Times of Israel) Syria’s antiquities authority on Wednesday unveiled an exhibition in Damascus of hundreds of artifacts retrieved from around the war-torn country. Dozens of Syria’s archaeological sites have been destroyed, damaged or looted since the start of the seven-year civil war, with all sides blamed for the plundering…
4 October 2018
Tags: Iraq Egypt Kerala Coptic Christians
Byzantine Catholic Archbishop William C. Skurla of Pittsburgh, center, Ukrainian Catholic Bishop Bryan Bayda of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, right, and other prelates arrive for Pope Francis' celebration of the opening Mass of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican on 3 October. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
4 October 2018
Tags: Ukrainian Catholic Church Byzantine Catholic Church
Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro (r), apostolic nuncio of India, speaks at the seminar in New Delhi on 27 September on the theme "Regional Interfaith Dialogue on Child Dignity Online."
(photo: Bijay Kumar Minj/ucanews.com)
Syria’s Assad reaches ‘understanding’ with Arab states (VOA) President Bashar al-Assad told a little-known Kuwaiti newspaper that Syria had reached a “major understanding’’ with Arab states after years of hostility over the country’s civil war. The interview in the Al-Shahed newspaper, published Wednesday, was Assad’s first with a Gulf newspaper since the war began in 2011…
Changes in fishing habits, loss of livelihoods after Kerala flooding (The Indian Express) Eight teams of scientists and researchers were constituted who spread across Kerala to visit major flood-affected areas and make detailed assessments. The key parameters to estimate losses were determined as damage to crafts and gears, livelihood and ecology. ”Many of the fishing gear and accessories were washed away from the stacking sites. The fishing crafts were washed away and damaged by hitting against obstacles,” a CIFT release stated…
When violence flares, Ethiopia turns off the internet (VOA) When dozens of people died in ethnic clashes last month on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, protesters took to the streets. The government, meanwhile, turned off the internet. Mobile internet service stayed off for about 40 hours. It was the second time this year the internet has gone down in Ethiopia during times of unrest, in addition to a months-long outage that began last year during protests that led to the resignation of former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn..
India deports Rohingya Muslims (The Washington Post) India deported seven Rohingya Muslims that had fled their native Myanmar back to their country on Thursday, sparking concerns that the move could endanger their lives and violate international laws that protect refugees…
A ’miracle in the Middle East’ (The Washington Post) Imagine 125 million refugees flooding into the United States (population: 328 million). That is what Lebanon has experienced on a per capita basis. Since 2011, this nation of 4 million people has seen an influx of some 1.5 million refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war next door. “I find it a miracle this country hasn’t exploded,” a Western diplomat told me last week. “Most countries would never have allowed this to happen.” This is the dog that didn’t bark — perhaps the most surprising good-news story in the Middle East…
Protecting Indian kids when they go online (UCANews.com) Indian Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh leaders are exploring ways to safeguard youngsters utilizing the Internet. Some 50 leaders from these faiths, along with international experts, formulated plans at the ‘Regional Interfaith Dialogue on Child Dignity Online’ held in the capital, New Delhi…
3 October 2018
Tags: Syria India Ethiopia Kerala
Diana Babish poses with a puppy outside her animal shelter in Beit Sahour, West Bank.
(photo: CNS/Debbie Hill)
God gives everyone a mission, Diana George Babish said as she fielded a phone call about a dog who had been shot in Hebron. The mission God gave her is to take care of the abused and abandoned animals in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, she said.
“God is pushing me to do this work. I believe it is something sacred,” said Babish, who uses an image of St. Francis surrounded by animals for her online profile.
Babish, a Catholic, admitted that it is not an easy mission in a place where, traditionally, society gives little importance to treating animals with compassion and routinely considers government-approved shooting and poisoning of stray animals as the best solution to population control.
“It is very difficult for me with the culture here; it is a very closed mentality,” she said. She spoke to Catholic News Service as she was trying to coordinate the injured dog’s transportation to her animal shelter in Beit Sahour, a village adjacent to Bethlehem.
“They continue to poison and shoot dogs because they don’t consider their lives to be of value.”
Her day began with the rescue of a 3-week-old puppy who was being kicked around like a ball by a group of schoolboys.
A few years ago, she traveled to Assisi, Italy, and she said she continues to draw strength for her work from the pilgrimage.
“Until now the pigeons still stay on his statue,” she said. “If God did not want anyone to take care of animals, he would not have given that mission to St. Francis.”
Last year Babish, who is in her late 40s, quit her day job as a bank manager to dedicate herself full time to running the first animal shelter in the West Bank, the Animal and Environment Association—Bethlehem Palestine, which she established in 2013.
In addition to $13,700 she received in donations, Babish used $20,000 of her own money to build the shelter. Currently it is run solely on donations and other forms of assistance, some of which also come from Israeli animal rescue organizations and individuals. Many of the dogs and cats she has rescued have been adopted or are being fostered by Israelis. By early October, she had rescued more than 400 dogs and more than 100 cats from the streets of West Bank cities. Recently she sent 15 dogs for adoption to Canada.
Babish has many critics within Palestinian society, including members of her own family, who complain that she is working with Israelis and spending her efforts on animals rather than people. Some charge her with profiting from the donations she receives, she said.
Still, Babish brushes off the insults and accusations thrown at her.
“If we had vets here in Palestine who had the proper equipment and treatments to care for the animals, or people who would adopt the dogs, I would leave them here. But Palestinians don’t want street dogs, most only want pure-bred dogs,” she said. “We in the rescue community put aside politics for the well-being of the animals. I tell (my critics) God gives each one of us our mission, and there are a lot of organizations taking care of people. My mission is to take care of the animals, the most vulnerable beings in the world.”
It was close to 9:30 p.m. and she had not yet eaten her dinner. She was working out the logistics of how to take three puppies and one adult dog to their foster homes in central Israel, then take other animals to a veterinary clinic to be treated and neutered. She also was preparing travel papers for a cat who was to be flown to her new home in Sweden.
Babish has 11 board members, 13 general members and two workers who help her in the day-to-day work at the shelter. Slowly she is making inroads into changing societal views about animals and rescue, she said.
The reality of life as a Palestinian is never far, though, and Babish must have an Israeli travel permit to go into Israel. She and a driver make rounds in Israel several times a week.
“A lot of (Palestinians) start to see that animals are very important. I am raising awareness through Facebook, fighting animal abuse,” she said. Some of her posts have received 14,000 views, she said. “Step-by-step I am creating more soldiers to fight for the sake of animals.”
3 October 2018
Tags: Gaza Strip/West Bank Palestine Saints
Kerala is still struggling to clean up after the devastating flooding, and some villages are starting to limp back to life. (video: CNBC/YouTube)
Turkey and Russia work to avoid a bloodbath in Syria (The Los Angeles Times) The best hope for averting a bloodbath in the northwest Syrian province of Idlib — home to 2.6 million people and the last major bastion of rebels fighting the government — depends on cajoling tens of thousands of militants there to lay down their weapons. That job falls to neighboring Turkey, which in an eleventh-hour deal last month brokered with Russia put on hold a Syrian government offensive to take back the province and end the long insurgency…
Kerala flood aftermath: battling snakes and sewage to clean a city (BBC) In the wake of devastating floods in the southern Indian state of Kerala, local volunteers played an integral part clearing the mud and debris. BBC Tamil’s Pramila Krishnan spoke to one woman who spent weeks helping clean up her city…
Russian Orthodox leader urges local churches to discuss ’Ukrainian issue’ (RT) Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill has reportedly sent letters to the heads of all Orthodox Churches, urging them to start discussing the church situation in Ukraine. The Patriarch was quoted as saying that the activities of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople could lead to extremely serious consequences for the unity of world Orthodoxy…
Orthodox leader expresses concern for Greece (Vatican News) In one of his rare public statements, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Hieronymos II, told a meeting of the Holy Synod here in Athens that he feared the Greek state was rudderless after nearly a decade of wrenching economic crisis, a rising crime rate, crippled health and justice systems, inadequate welfare and what he called a lack of direction in foreign policy…
Syrian refugee challenges stigma of therapy (Reuters) Hana al-Ali broke a stigma when she opened up to a therapist about the strains she faced as a Syrian refugee in Lebanon. Now, she is encouraging other refugees to talk through their problems…
Tags: Syria India Russian Orthodox Church Greece