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Current Issue
Spring, 2017
Volume 43, Number 1
  
24 March 2017
Greg Kandra




Diplomats take part in a round of negotiations with the Syrian government delegation as UN-backed Syria peace talks resumed on 24 March 2017 at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva. (photo: AFP/POOL/Debus Bakubiyse/Getty Images)

Geneva talks resume over Syria (Al Jazeera) A fresh round of UN-brokered talks between rival sides in the Syrian conflict resumed in Geneva on Friday but prospects for a breakthrough remain slim, amid ongoing violence across the country. In Syria, rebels were advancing in Hama Province, as part of their biggest offensive against government forces in months...

Mosul’s east begins to bustle but recovery a long way off (Reuters) Eastern Mosul is coming back to life. In the few weeks since Iraqi forces drove Islamic State from this side of the city, markets have opened and bulldozers have begun to clear the debris left by battle. Stalls spilling onto the street in between collapsed buildings display fruit and vegetables, and vendors play recordings advertising SIM cards and mobile phones — use of which was punishable by death under Islamic State. But everywhere are reminders of the pain the city has endured...

Indian cardinal: Dalit Christians facing more discrimination (Crux) A leading Indian Cardinal says the Catholic Church in country now accepts that Dalit Christians face more discrimination given their status of “untouchability.” Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay (now called Mumbai), made his comments in discussions about their plight and possible solutions during the annual gathering of the National Council of Dalit Christians (NCDC), which took place in Mumbai from 18-91 March 2017...

Churches that once shunned one another come together to sponsor Syrian refugees in Canada (RNS) To Yakielashek, that makes what’s happened in Dauphin — a rural community 200 miles northwest of Winnipeg — all the more remarkable. A year and a half ago, three churches put aside theological differences and came together to sponsor the resettlement of three Syrian refugee families to this town of 8,500...

Designer turns refugee tent into a fashion statement (Jordan Times) Once home to a family of Syrian refugees, a UN tent has found a new life as a dress still bearing the marks and stains of its past. “Dress for Our Time,” the brainchild of fashion designer Helen Storey, has turned a discarded tent from the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan into a hooded dress featured on stage at the Glastonbury Festival and in the conference halls of Dubai...



23 March 2017
Greg Kandra




In this image from 2005, Baltimore Cardinal William H. Keeler, left, places a zucchetto, the purple skull cap worn by bishops, on the head of a new auxiliary bishop named for the archdiocese, Bishop-designate Denis J. Madden, at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore. Bishop-designate Madden was assistant general secretary of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association prior to his episcopal appointment. (photo: CNS Owen Sweeney III, Catholic Review, Copyright Catholic Review Media, www.catholicreview.org. Used with permission.)

We received the news today that an old friend of CNEWA, retired Cardinal William H. Keeler of Baltimore, has entered eternal life. Among his many contributions to the Church, he served as a member of the board of CNEWA and was a prominent voice in Catholic-Jewish relations.

From Catholic Review:

Cardinal William H. Keeler, 14th archbishop of Baltimore, an international leader in Catholic-Jewish relations and the driving force behind the restoration of America’s first cathedral, died 23 March at his residence at St. Martin’s Home for the Aged in Catonsville. He was 86.

Cardinal Keeler served as the spiritual shepherd of the Baltimore archdiocese from 1989 until his retirement in 2007.

Archbishop William E. Lori, one of Cardinal Keeler’s two successors, said one of the great blessings of his life was coming to know Cardinal Keeler, whom he met when the cardinal was bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pa., and Archbishop Lori was priest-secretary to Washington Cardinal James Hickey.

When Cardinal Keeler became archbishop of Baltimore, Archbishop Lori said he learned of “his prowess as a church historian coupled with his deep love and respect for the history and heritage of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.”

Among Cardinal Keeler&ersquo;s many accomplishments in the Baltimore archdiocese, Archbishop Lori highlighted “the wonderful visit of Pope St. John Paul II to Baltimore in 1995, the restoration of the Basilica of the Assumption and the creation of Partners in Excellence which has helped thousands of young people from disadvantaged neighborhoods to receive a sound Catholic education.”

“When I would visit the cardinal at the Little Sisters of the Poor (in Cardinal Keeler’s retirement), I gave him a report on my stewardship and told him many times that we were striving to build upon his legacy — a legacy that greatly strengthened the Church and the wider community,” Archbishop Lori said in a written statement...

...Cardinal Keeler was himself a champion of interfaith and ecumenical understanding, regarded as one of the world’s leading figures in the field.

When Jewish conductor Maestro Gilbert Levine, the “pope’s conductor,” visited Baltimore in 2000 to conduct a special performance of Haydn’s “Creation” for an international interfaith musical pilgrimage, he asserted that Cardinal Keeler’s “very body is in the rhythm of interfaith.”

Cardinal Keeler was named a member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in 1994. He also served as episcopal moderator of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs from 1984 to 1987. While leading that group, Cardinal Keeler arranged for St. John Paul II to meet with Jewish leaders and Protestant representatives in South Carolina, and attend an interfaith ceremony in Los Angeles during the pope’s 1987 visit to the United States.

After Catholics and Lutherans agreed to a Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification in 1999, Cardinal Keeler and Bishop George Paul Mocko, then bishop of the Delaware-Maryland Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, nailed a copy of the document to the doors of the Baltimore Basilica and also Christ Lutheran Church in Fells Point.

“He knew how to listen,” said Rabbi Joel Zaiman, rabbi emeritus of Chizuk Amuno Congregation, Baltimore. “He heard. He understood, and he responded genuinely and generously. He was always available when I called — wherever he was — oftentimes, Rome.”

It was important to the Jewish community that the cardinal had the ear of the pope, Rabbi Zaiman said.

Rabbi Abie Ingber of Xavier University, Cincinnati, and Dr. William Madges, of Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, curators of a national exhibition highlighting St. John Paul II’s relationship with Jews, honored Cardinal Keeler in 2010 for his work promoting Catholic-Jewish understanding by presenting him with a bronze medallion. The cardinal had worked to promote the exhibit, which was featured at Baltimore’s Jewish Museum of Maryland.

Rabbi Ingber noted that one of the titles for the pope is “pontifex maximus,” which means “master bridge builder.” Recognizing Cardinal Keeler’s contributions as a bridge builder, the rabbi joked that if there was such a title as “pontifex almost maximus,” the cardinal should have it.

Read more.

Our prayers today are with Cardinal Keeler and all those who love him. May his memory be eternal.



23 March 2017
Greg Kandra




This 2014 image shows the Church of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Mosul before and after it was seized by ISIS. Reports today indicate the church has been liberated. (photo: Irish Catholic)

Iconic Chaldean church in Mosul liberated (Irish Catholic) A Chaldean Catholic church whose image announced the fall of Mosul in 2014 has been liberated. When so-called Islamic State (ISIS) swept through Iraq in June 2014, a ‘before-and-after’ picture of the Church of Our Mother of Perpetual help in Mosul emerged showing the crucifix topping the building replaced by the black banner of the terror group. Reports at the time detailed how the Christian community desperately fled the city as ISIS rapidly imposed its rule there...

U.S. supports raid in Syria against ISIS (USA Today) The U.S.-led coalition flew a contingent of Syrian opposition forces behind enemy lines in a daring raid to cut off the Islamic State’s remaining supply line to the militants’ de facto capital of Raqqa, U.S. officials said Wednesday. The operation to seize Tabqah dam was backed by some of the most extensive coalition support yet for the U.S.-backed local forces battling the Islamic State in Syria...

Archbishop urges Syrian Christians to return to Aleppo (SIR) “Aleppo awaits you”: this is the appeal that Jean-Clement Jeanbart, Greek Catholic Archbishop of the Syrian city, made to all the faithful, to encourage them to return to the homes they were forced to flee to escape the horrors of a war which had split the city in two in July 2012 — Western Aleppo, controlled by the government, and Eastern Aleppo, controlled by the rebels — before it was completely recaptured by President Assad’s forces in December 2016...

Baltimore’s Cardinal Keeler dies (CNS) Cardinal William H. Keeler, the retired archbishop of Baltimore who was known for his vital role in ecumenical and interreligious relations, died early 23 March at St. Martin’s Home for the Aged in the Baltimore suburb of Catonsville. He was 86...

What I learned as a doctor in Ethiopia (TIME) I found myself in a packed labor and delivery ward. When a woman gave birth to an unexpected twin who was not breathing, we had no choice. With virtually no protective gear, two nurses I’d brought with me jumped in and saved the baby. We had no way to clean up, because this massive, overcrowded hospital in Ethiopia hadn’t had water in six weeks. We left covered with blood. The operating room, as well as the labor and delivery room, were cleaned with a single cup of water from one of the containers that had to be trucked in. We returned to our hotel and used the trickle coming from the shower to clean up, and we felt lucky to have it...

Palestinian women try to bring baseball to Gaza (AP) The young Palestinian women don baseball caps on top of their Islamic headscarves and field tennis balls with fabric gloves, giving a decidedly local feel to the great American pastime. They are trying to bring baseball to the Gaza Strip, an effort that is still in its early innings...



22 March 2017
Greg Kandra




In this image from 2014, a refugees mother stands with her children in an informal tented settlement near Deir el Ahmar in the northern Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. The U.S. bishops today released a pastoral reflection calling on Catholics to “accompany migrants and refugees who seek a better life in the United States.” (photo: CNS/Sam Tarling, CRS)

Bishops call on U.S. Catholics to ‘accompany’ migrants, refugees (CNS) The U.S. bishops in a pastoral reflection released 22 March called all Catholics to do what each of them can “to accompany migrants and refugees who seek a better life in the United States.” Titled “Living as a People of God in Unsettled Times,” the reflection was issued “in solidarity with those who have been forced to flee their homes due to violence, conflict or fear in their native lands,” said a news release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops...

Eritrean Catholic bishop visits diaspora in the U.S. (CNS) Two weeks before arriving in Ohio on a nationwide pastoral visit, Bishop Fikremariam Hagos Tsalim of the Eparchy of Segheneity, Eritrea, got word that eight young people from his eparchy died trying to make their way to Europe in search of a better life. It’s an all-too-common story, Bishop Tsalim told Horizons, newspaper of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma, Ohio, 7 March. Bishop Tsalim, 46, was at St. John Chrysostom Parish in Columbus, Ohio, in early March visiting the Eritrean Catholic diaspora who have been worshiping with the Byzantine Catholic community since 2014. He is the first bishop of the Segheneity Eparchy, which was established in 2012...

U.S. airstrike in Syria said to have killed dozens of civilians (The New York Times) At least 30 civilians have been killed in an airstrike by the United States-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in a rural area of Raqqa Province in northern Syria, according to residents, activists and Syrian state television...

ISIS shells recaptured areas of Mosul (Reuters) Islamic State militants shelled areas recaptured by Iraqi forces in western Mosul, hitting civilians fleeing the fighting early on Wednesday as troops edged their way through the narrow, dangerous streets of the Old City...

Anti-Christian politician wins leadership of India’s biggest state (Premier.org) An Indian politician who’s previously accused Mother Teresa of “a conspiracy to Christianise India” has become leader of the country’s most populous state. Yogi Adityanath, who represents the Hindu nationalist BJP, won comprehensively in recent elections in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP won 325 of the 403 seats available and Adityanath was crowned chief minister of the state...

Good Friday collection will benefit Holy Land Christians (CNS) As Christians in the Middle East continue to suffer innumerable hardships this Lenten season, the Vatican has announced that this year’s Good Friday Collection will benefit Christian communities in the Holy Land. “Once again, from every part of the Church, expressions of solidarity come together effectively in the Good Friday Collection,” stated Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, in a recent press release...



20 March 2017
Greg Kandra




In the video above, a Syrian couple visits the Vatican and describes the toll the war has taken on their country. (video: Rome Reports)

Pope to visit Egypt (Vatican Radio) In response to the invitation from the President of the Republic, the Bishops of the Catholic Church, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II and the Grand Imam of the Mosque of Al Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayyib, His Holiness Pope Francis will make an Apostolic trip to the Arab Republic of Egypt from 28 to 29 April 2017, visiting the city of Cairo...

Israel reportedly launches strike on Syria (The Los Angeles Times) An Israeli aircraft reportedly launched a strike into Syria on Sunday that left one person dead, in what appeared to be the second cross-border attack in three days as tensions between the neighbors escalated over the weekend...

Muslim family donates $15 million to Notre Dame for religious studies institute (The New York Times) The Ansaris announced a $15 million gift to the University of Notre Dame, one of the top Catholic universities, to create the Rafat and Zoreen Ansari Institute for Global Engagement With Religion. The institute will aim to deepen knowledge of religion and look to explain how the traditions and practice of various religions influence world events...

European Union gives $178 million to battle Ethiopian drought (Bloomberg) The European Union said it’s giving an extra 165 million euros ($178 million) to battle humanitarian crises in East Africa, including a famine in South Sudan and drought in Somalia. From the total, 100 million euros will be allocated to help responses to the crisis in South Sudan and an influx of its refugees to neighboring countries, the EU said Monday in an emailed statement. Humanitarian assistance for droughts in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya will be targeted with 65 million euros...

Hindu, Muslim and Christian actors portraying the Passion of Jesus in Kerala (Herald Malaysia) Artists from various Indian states are staging the Passion of Christ until 22 March in 14 parishes in Kerala. Most of the performers are Hindu and belong to the Pretna Kala Manch (Art Forum for Inspiration) Theatre Company. Speaking to AsiaNews, the Rev. Anand Mathew IMS, author, director and coordinator of the Vishwa Jyoti Communications (Indian Missionary Society Information Centre), said that the most dramatic scenes, like the one in which Christ is nailed to the cross, “provoked such strong emotions that many spectators burst into tears...”



16 March 2017
Greg Kandra




A man cries as he carries his daughter while walking from an ISIS-controlled part of Mosul toward Iraqi special forces soldiers during a 4 March battle in Mosul.
(photo: CNS/Goran Tomasevic, Reuters)


100,000 flee as Iraqi forces advance in Mosul (Al Jazeera) Iraqi government forces battling ISIL for Mosul took control of a main bridge over the River Tigris on Wednesday and advanced towards the mosque where the group’s leader declared a caliphate in 2014...

Calls for world leaders to act on conflict in Syria (Vatican Radio) It is now been six years since the start of a brutal civil war that has engulfed Syria. The ongoing conflict has forced thousands of people to flee and has left countless others who have remained trapped in besieged areas throughout the country...

Holy See calls on U.N. to end conflict, human trafficking (Vatican Radio) “The Holy See urges the Security Council to take a greater role in the fight against the scourge of trafficking in persons.” That is the message of the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, who was invited this week to address the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on Trafficking in persons in conflict situations: forced labour, slavery and other similar practices, at UN Headquarters in New York...

A message from Turkey, a nation under pressure (The New York Times) The country is battling two separate terrorism campaigns (one led by secular Kurds, the other by Islamic State extremists) and two land wars (in southeast Turkey and northern Syria). It is hosting more displaced Syrians — around 2.75 million of them — than any other country except Syria itself. It is caught between growing tensions over Syria between its NATO allies on one side and its neighbor, Russia, on the other. And it is torn by its own internal debates over the role of Islam in society...

Christian growth in India brings new concerns (The Irish Catholic) Can good news for a community be, simultaneously, bad news for that same community? It seems that this is possible if one is living within the Christian population of India...

Heroic nun is saving children (UCANIndia.in) Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal, based in the capital of Madhya Pradesh, considers Sister Animuttil a “rare person who put her own life at risk for others. [She is] a great example of both the struggles of women and what women can do with conviction and faith,” he said...



15 March 2017
Greg Kandra




The Rev Androwas Bahus leads an early morning service at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in the city of Shefa-Amr, Israel. Learn more about A Day in the Life of an Israeli Priest in the Winter 2015 edition of ONE. (photo: Ilene Perlman)



15 March 2017
Greg Kandra




The damaged entrance of St. Mary’s Church is seen in 2016 in Damascus, Syria. Wednesday 15 March marks the sixth anniversary of the conflict in Syria. (photo: CNS/Mohammed Badra, EPA)

After six years, the war in Syria drags on (Fides) Wednesday, 15 March marks the sixth anniversary of the conflict in Syria. And contrary to what is reported by international media, Syria “continues to suffer.” This is the key message that the Jesuit Refugee Service wanted to publish through a dossier that contains a lot of data related to the situation...

Pastor of Aleppo: ‘Pope’s donation will help young Syrian families’ (Vatican Radio) The pastor of Aleppo in Syria says a recent donation from Pope Francis and the Roman Curia of €100,000 will go to couples and young families in need...

Iraqi forces advance on mosque in battle for Mosul (Reuters) Iraqi government forces battling Islamic State for Mosul took control of a main bridge over the Tigris river on Wednesday and advanced towards the mosque where the group’s leader declared a caliphate in 2014, federal police said. The seizure of the Iron Bridge, linking eastern Mosul with the militant-held Old City on the west side, means the government holds three of the five bridges over the Tigris and bolsters Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s assertion that the battle is reaching its final stages...

French cabinet to vote on taking in 500 refugees from Lebanon (The Daily Star) The French Cabinet is set to vote at ElysÉe Palace for a new protocol to take in 500 Syrian refugees from Lebanon, the state-run National News Agency reported Tuesday...

Displaced Coptic families to receive apartments (Egypt Daily News) Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Waly is expected to start on Saturday evening the delivery of the first batch of residential apartments to the Coptic families that have arrived to Ismailia after escaping the North Sinai city of Al-Arish. This exodus came after Coptic citizens faced unprecedented threats from militants. According to the Copts United news website, there will be an official ceremony to deliver the apartments, which will see the presence of Ismailia’s governor and other high-ranking officials from the Ismailia diocese...

Russian Orthodox Church will mark St. Patrick’s Day (Radio Free Europe) The Russian Orthodox Church has said it will mark St. Patrick’s Day and more than a dozen other days commemorating saints who lived in the west before the Great Schism that divided Christianity into east and west in 1054. The move to recognize the saint days will also likely give renewed spirit to celebrations of the most recognizable of the 16 chosen by the church — St. Patrick. But there is a twist. The Russian Orthodox Church will mark the day for Ireland’s patron saint in line with the Julian calendar on 30 March, rather than the Gregorian calendar’s date of 17 March...



13 March 2017
Greg Kandra




In this image from February, Pope Francis greets an elderly nun during his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican. Monday 13 March marks the four-year anniversary of his election to the papacy. (photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano, handout)



13 March 2017
Greg Kandra




In this image from last December, debris is seen amid pews after an explosion inside St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo. A bomb ripped through the cathedral complex, killing at least 25 people and wounding dozens, mostly women and children. The Vatican confirmed today that Pope Francis is considering a papal visit to Egypt, but no timetable has been set.
(photo: CNS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh, Reuters)


Pope considering a trip to Egypt (Vatican Radio) The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, has clarified that the possibility of a papal visit to Egypt is being studied, but as yet there are no definite plans for such a trip, with regard either to prospective dates or to a possible program...

Coptic bishop: Egypt’s Christians set a standard of forgiveness (CNA) Despite being victims of harassment and violence, Egypt’s Coptic Christians have set a standard of forgiveness that everyone should imitate, the leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the U.K. has said. Egypt’s Christians have been loyal, peaceful, and forgiving amid a recent spate of violence that has driven hundreds from their homes, Bishop Anba Angaelos, general bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the U.K., told CNA in an interview. “I take a huge pride in their witness and in their example,” he said...

Indian bishops support attempt to stop land grabs (Vatican Radio) Tribal people from the eastern Indian Jharkhand state have been campaigning for the governor to reject amendments to laws that they say adversely affect their culture and existence...

Bishops say U.S. must address need of immigrants, show compassion (CNS) While one Catholic archbishop was urging a fix to the country’s immigration laws before a Catholic crowd, another was pleading with the government not to separate mothers from their children while in immigration detention, and yet another, a cardinal, was accompanying a grandfather to an appointment that could have resulted in his deportation. Catholic Church leaders in the U.S. spent the week of 6-10 March trying to allay fears, urging compassion, not just from the government from those who are not seeing “God’s creation” when they malign unauthorized immigrants...

Landslide in Ethiopia garbage dump kills at least 35 (The New York Times) A landslide swept through an enormous garbage dump here on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital late on Saturday, killing at least 35 people and leaving several dozen missing, residents said, as officials vowed to relocate those who called the landfill home. Most of the dead were women and children, and more bodies were expected to be found in the coming hours on Sunday, said Dagmawit Moges, a spokeswoman for the Addis Ababa city government...







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