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Current Issue
July, 2019
Volume 45, Number 2
  
25 June 2019
Greg Kandra




Security personnel investigate the scene of a bomb explosion on 9 April 2017, inside the Orthodox Church of St. George in Tanta, Egypt. The Holy See is calling for tolerance and inclusivity to combat terrorism against religion. (photo: CNS/Khaled Elfiqi, EPA)

Holy See urges tolerance to combat terrorism against religion (Vatican News) The Holy See is urging patience, perseverance, wisdom, courage and leadership in countering terrorism against every religion by fostering tolerance and inclusivity. ”I hope we will all become part of the short- and long-term solution,” Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York, urged on Monday at an event on countering terrorism and other acts of violence against all religious believers by fostering a culture of tolerance and inclusivity…

Iran president calls U.S. sanctions ’outrageous and idiotic’ (USA Today) Iran President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday mocked President Donald Trump’s decision to impose “outrageous and idiotic” new sanctions, saying the effort to target top Iranian authorities reflects confusion at the White House…

Melkite bishops call for peace in Syria during synod (CNS) Melkite Catholic bishops from around the world, gathering in Lebanon for their annual synod, called for reconciliation and peace in Syria. In Syria, the war is almost over, but the horizon is unclear,” the bishops said in a statement following the 17-21 June gathering, which was led by Melkite Catholic Patriarch Joseph Absi…

The biggest displacement crisis that almost no one is talking about (Slate) The world’s largest new population of displaced people results from a conflict that has received shockingly little international attention: More than 1.5 million people were displaced by violence in Ethiopia last year, nearly all of them internally. This increase doubled the total number of displaced people in the country…

Indian cardinal celebrates Corpus Christi in Italy with a special chalice (Vatican News) Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai, celebrated the solemnity of Corpus Christi in the Cathedral of Orvieto, Italy, on Sunday, bringing along with him a precious chalice where it originated over five decades ago. For the occasion, a delegation from Mumbai Archdiocese brought the “Golden Lily” chalice which Pope St. Paul VI had gifted the archdiocese when he visited the western Indian city in December 1964…



Tags: India Ethiopia Holy See Melkite

24 June 2019
Greg Kandra




In this image from 2018, Pope Francis greets Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople outside the Basilica of St. Nicholas in Bari, Italy. Continuing a longstanding custom, the Ecumenical Patriarch will send a delegation to Rome this week to mark the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.
(photo: CNS/Vatican Media)


Ecumenical Patriarch’s delegation to visit Rome (Vatican News) An official delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in Istanbul, Turkey, will be in Rome, 27-29 June, on the occasion of the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, 29 June. St. Peter, the first ?bishop of Rome, ?and St. Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, were both martyred in Rome and are patrons of the Eternal City. Their feast is a holiday both in Rome and in the Vatican. Each year, the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Vatican send delegations for the feasts of their respective patrons. The Vatican sends a delegation to Istanbul on the 30 November feast of St. Andrew, the patron of the Patriarchate…

Tent collapse kills 14 at Hindu event in India (Vatican News) Locals in the Barmer district of India’s northwestern state of Rajasthan were gathered on Sunday for a Hindu religious event that took place during heavy rain and a thunderstorm. Video footage showed the man leading the event, Murlidhar Maharaj, shouting for the assembly to disperse, as wind could be heard rattling the venue. Witnesses said a stampede-like situation followed…

Russian Orthodox Church reconsiders blessing of missiles (The Telegraph) The Russian Orthodox Church is reconsidering the popular practice of priests blessing weapons including nuclear missiles. A document drafted by a commission on church law last week recommended that clergy perform benedictions for soldiers rather than military equipment…

UN warns of humanitarian disaster in Syria’s Idlib (Al Jazeera) In Syria, the devastation of continued air raids on Idlib is being laid bare. Nearly 500 civilians — many of them women and children — have been killed since the Russia-backed Syrian government offensive began nine weeks ago…

Iran faces new U.S. sanctions, threatens to shoot down another drone (CBS News) President Trump planned to unveil new sanctions against Iran on Monday as the U.S. and Iran traded more threats of military action. The tension could reach a new high with the expected sanctions, the latest response from Washington to Iran’s shooting down of a U.S. spy drone. Iran insists the drone and an accompanying U.S. manned military plane violated its airspace, but the Pentagon says the aircraft remained over international waters…

Conflict between Christians, Muslims in Ethiopia over planned mosque (BBC) For Ethiopia’s Orthodox Christians, the ancient city of Aksum is a sacred place, home to the Biblical Queen of Sheba and Ark of the Covenant. The ark is believed to contain the 10 commandments handed down to Moses by God, and is said to be under the guard of monks in the city. Some Muslim groups are campaigning to build a mosque in the city — a suggestion rejected by Christian leaders, saying they would rather die…



Tags: Syria India Ethiopia Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I

17 June 2019
Greg Kandra




Surrounded by buildings braced to prevent them from falling, Pope Francis celebrates Mass on 16 June 2019, in the square outside the cathedral in Camerino, Italy. The cathedral is still closed to the public almost three years after it suffered heavy damage from an earthquake. After Mass, the pope voiced concern over tensions in the Middle East. (photo: CNS/Vatican Media)

Pope calls attention to Middle East after Sunday Mass (Vatican News) Before reciting the Angelus after Mass, Pope Francis voiced his concern over “increasing tensions in the Persian Gulf.” ”I call on everyone”, he said, “to use the instruments of diplomacy to resolve the complex problems of the conflicts in the Middle East. I also renew to the international community my heartfelt appeal for every possible effort to be made to promote dialogue and peace…”

Tensions continue to rise in Gulf (Vatican News) Tensions continued to rise in the region, with Saudi Arabia joining the United States in pointing the finger of blame at Iran for the recent attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Iran has described accusations as unfounded. Both ships were struck at dawn last Thursday by what U.S. military officials believe were mines. On Sunday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said his country would not hesitate to tackle any threats…

Indian poverty linked to religion and caste (UCANews.com) A new report by Oxfam, a confederation of 20 developmental organizations, points to a strong correlation between poverty and social identity. The report released this month, titled “Mind the Gap: The State of Employment in India 2019,” stresses that India’s poor are most likely to be Dalits, other so-called lower castes, tribal people and Muslims. A central finding is that the poor are still discriminated against on the basis of their religion or caste…

Interreligious group meets with pope (Vatican News) The leaders of six religions in Hong Kong are in Rome this week to mark the 40th anniversary of an organization dedicated to improving inter religious ties…

Russian Orthodox Church backs down in church dispute (Radio Free Europe) The Russian Orthodox Church says it has rejected “the right” to build a cathedral at a disputed site in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg. In a statement released on 16 June, Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye said that in an “atmosphere of total lies and deceit” building the church on the site would still be potential cause for discord. Metropolitan Kirill said he does not want to “give the devil that opportunity...”



Tags: India Middle East Russian Orthodox

14 June 2019
Greg Kandra




The United States is insisting that Thursday's attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman was carried out by Iran. (video: CBS News/YouTube)

Trump insists Iran is behind tanker attack (The Washington Post) President Trump rejected Iran’s denials Friday that it attacked two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, insisting in a television interview that “Iran did do it” and pointing to a video released by the U.S. Central Command purporting to show Iranian vessels retrieving an unexploded mine from one of the damaged ships. Iran called the U.S. allegations against it “alarming…”

‘Russians are getting sick of church’ (Foreign Policy) A recent opinion poll recorded that 79 percent of Russians think of themselves as Orthodox Christians. But the church does not command obedience. The Yekaterinburg protests were much angrier, the views of the protesters much more passionately held, than the other big recent social protest in Russia’s regions against a planned landfill site in the northern city of Arkhangelsk…

Ration challenge: thousands of Americans plan to live on same diet as Syrian refugees (Newsweek) Starting this Sunday, more than 14,000 people across the country will get a small taste of what it’s like to live as a refugee, with thousands planning to take part in the “Ration Challenge”—a global fundraising effort that asks participants to live on the same rations provided to Syrian refugees in Jordan for the duration of World Refugee Week…

Dome of the Rock missing from Temple Mount drawing (Haaretz) The Jerusalem municipality removed the Dome of the Rock from a drawing of the Temple Mount displayed at a an event attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon on Thursday. The Al-Aqsa Mosque, the gates of the Temple Mount and the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer are prominently placed in the image, however the dome is conspicuously absent. Despite the dome being one of the most recognizable elements of the Jerusalem skyline, the designers depicted only the building’s base…



Tags: Refugees Jerusalem Russia Iran

13 June 2019
Greg Kandra




Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, holds the Spanish version of Pope Francis' message for the 17 November World Day of the Poor, during its release at the Vatican. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Ignoring the poor falsifies the Gospel, pope says in message (CNS) Christians must not underestimate the importance of embracing and assisting the poor, oppressed and outcast, Pope Francis said. Not only did Jesus entrust his disciples with the task of continuing his ministry on earth by giving hope to the poor, but “the credibility of our proclamation and the witness of Christians depends on it,” the pope said in a message for the World Day of the Poor…

U.S. Says ‘highly likely’ Iran behind attack on tankers in Gulf of Oman (CBS News) Two tankers were attacked Thursday near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, leaving one ablaze and adrift as sailors were evacuated from both. It was the second time in a month that tankers have been seriously damaged in the region, and again U.S. officials were quick to point the finger of blame at Iran…

Five years later, calls for accountability over fall of Mosul (Al-Monitor) With much of it still in ruins amid struggles to restore its basic infrastructure, Mosul is marking the fifth anniversary of its dramatic fall to the Islamic State. On 11 June, Ayad Allawi, the head of Wataniya Alliance, called for a full investigation of the June 2014 fall of Mosul...

Indian police raid Jesuit’s residence, charge him with sedition for defending tribal peoples (UCANews.com) Police in India have for the second time in less than a year raided an octogenarian Jesuit charged over allegedly seditious links to Maoist rebels. A police team, including officers from Maharashtra state in western India, raided the residence of 83-year-old Rev. Stanislaus Lourdusamy on the outskirts of Ranchi, capital of eastern Jharkhand state…



Tags: India Iraq Pope Francis Iran

12 June 2019
Greg Kandra




Pilgrims from northern Kerala visit the St. Thomas Pontifical Shrine in Azhikode. Read more about this historically important corner of India in Kerala’s Spice Coast in the May 2012 edition of ONE. (photo: Peter Lemieux)



Tags: India Thomas Christians

12 June 2019
Greg Kandra




Syria says it shot down a number of Israeli missiles that were launched toward an area overlooking the Golan Heights. (video: i24News/YouTube)

Syria says it thwarted Israeli missile attack (Al Jazeera) Syrian Air Defenses thwarted an Israeli attack on Tal al-Hara in southern Syria and shot down a number of them, Syrian state news agency SANA said early on Wednesday. Located in Deraa Governorate, Tal al-Hara is considered a strategic hill overlooking the occupied Golan Heights…

Religion blamed for India’s poor grade on gender equality (UCANews.com) A global study of gender equality has placed India nearly at the bottom, with some research and rights groups accusing religion of playing a major role in Indians discriminating against women. The Sustainable Development Goals Gender Index ranked India 95th out of 129 countries. The index measures how well nations are progressing toward achieving gender equality by 2030, which is part of the 17 sustainable development goals set by the United Nations. Research done by Reshma Elizabeth Thomas of the University of Madras this year claims that religion is the main cause of depriving women of equality. For most Indians, the ideal concept of women comes from Hindu mythology as 80 percent of Indians are Hindus. …

Syrian refugees in Lebanon forced to destroy homes (AFP) Abu Mohamed lost his house in Syria early in the civil war. Six years on, it’s happening again -- only this time in Lebanon and he has to destroy it himself. His family and thousands of others crammed in this remote mountainous region of northeastern Lebanon have been ordered to demolish hard shelters, which the authorities consider illegal construction…

Report: dam in Ethiopia has wiped out indigenous livelihoods (Mongabay.com) A dam in southern Ethiopia built to supply electricity to cities and control the flow of water for irrigating industrial agriculture has led to the displacement and loss of livelihoods of indigenous groups, the Oakland Institute has found…



Tags: Syria India Israel Hinduism

11 June 2019
Greg Kandra




Deadly attacks in northern Syria have displaced thousands of civilians and sparked fears that millions of residents could be at risk. (video: TRT World/YouTube.)

Russian jets bomb Idlib (Al Jazeera) At least 25 people have been killed in aerial bombardment carried out by Russian jet fighters in Idlib region. The rebel stronghold of northwestern Syria has come under deadly regime bombardment in recent weeks, sparking fears for its roughly three million residents…

Body of Indian bishop exhumed after suspicions raised surrounding his death (UCANews.com) Police in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh have exhumed the body of a Catholic bishop after suspicions were raised that his death in a car accident six months ago could have been the result of foul play. Bishop Thomas Thennatt of Gwalior’s corpse was exhumed on 10 June after a court ordered police to investigate the prelate’s death on 14 December last year...

Violence with Gaza causing families to leave southern Israel (The Jerusalem Post) At least 10 families living in Gaza border communities have decided to leave the area following the repeated rounds of violence between Israel and terror groups in the Hamas-run coastal enclave, Channel 13 reported on Friday. According to the report, the families arrived in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council last year and have told the council that they will be leaving this summer due to the security situation…

Syria says no to restoring ties with Hamas (The Jerusalem Post) Syria is not interested in restoring their relations with Hamas despite the Palestinian movement’s readiness to bury the hatchet with Damascus. According to recent reports, Iran and its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, have been mediating between Syria and Hamas in a bid to persuade the two sides to restore their relations…



Tags: Syria Gaza Strip/West Bank Indian Bishops

10 June 2019
Greg Kandra




Syriac Catholic Archbishop Yohanna Moshe of Mosul, Iraq, center, concelebrates the liturgy at St. Thomas Syriac Catholic Church in the old city of Mosul in February. Announcing his desire to visit Iraq in 2020, Pope Francis called for a peaceful resolution to crises in the Middle East.
(photo: CNS/Khalid al-Mousily, Reuters)


Pope hopes to visit Iraq in 2020 (Vatican News) Pope Francis said on Monday he “thinks constantly of Iraq”, where he wishes to travel in the coming year. He was addressing representatives of ROACO, the ‘Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches.’ As he listed countries that fall within the Reunion’s reach and where the faithful continue to suffer, — including Syria, Ukraine and the Holy Land — the Pope focused on Iraq…

Pope Francis releases message for World Mission Sunday 2019 (Vatican News) World Mission Sunday in 2019 falls on 20 October. Instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1926, the annual day encourages prayers, cooperation and help for missions as well as reminding Christians about the fundamental missionary character of the Church and of every baptized person. The theme of this year’s observance is “Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World”…

Inside Lebanon’s most dangerous refugees camps (The Independent) The original refugee camp at Bourj al-Barajneh was once a sea of canvas tents. Today it is a concrete labyrinth hiding Lebanon’s social outcasts, more than 20,000 Palestinian refugees, from view…

UN: Up to 2 million Syrians could flee to Turkey (Reuters) Up to two million refugees could flee to Turkey if fighting intensifies in north-western Syria as aid funds run dangerously low, the United Nations said on Monday. Syria’s Russian-backed regime forces have been pressing an assault on opposition and rebels in their last major stronghold with air attacks and ground battles that have already forced tens of thousands to leave their homes…



Tags: Iraq Pope Francis Lebanon Refugees Refugee Camps

7 June 2019
Greg Kandra




In this image from 2015, Pope Francis greets Russian President Vladimir Putin as he arrives for a private meeting at the Vatican. The two will meet again in July, possibly paving the way for a future papal visit to Russia. (photo:CNS/Alexei Nikolsky, RIA Novosti/Kremlin via Reuters)

Putin July trip to Rome could pave way for papal trip to Russia (Reuters) The Vatican said Putin, who will be on a state visit to Italy, will hold talks with the Argentinian-born pope on 4 July. The meeting, their third since Francis was elected in 2013, comes at a time of improving relations between the Vatican and the world’s Orthodox Churches. It also will be their first since Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill met in 2016, a landmark step in healing the 1,000-year-old rift between the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity…

Lebanon imposes curfew on Syria refugees (Middle East Monitor) Lebanon has restricted the movement of Syrian refugees in the Deir El-Ahmar area until Friday after a fire engine was ambushed yesterday. Governor of Baalbek, Bachir Khodr, imposed the severe restrictions on the refugees after a fireman was hopsitalised in the attack. A Syrian man is reported to have been involved in the attack…

Myths put lives of young Indian women at risk (UCANews.com) In large swathes of rural India, as well as some urban pockets, females are considered impure and segregated when menstruating. They are forced to sleep in separate ”menstruation huts,” which are often cowsheds or barns. Poverty and a general lack of awareness of health issues pushes them even closer to death as they are prone to infections while bleeding, or can be bitten by snakes or other wild animals in the huts, experts say…

Visiting the ’Sistine Chapel of Iran’ shows Christian-Muslim coexistence (B.C. Catholic) Located in the ancient Persian capital of Isfahan, this church is also known as Vank Cathedral (“Vank” is the Armenian word for monastery or convent). An Armenian Orthodox church, this gem is hidden behind walls, a living intersection of Perso-Christian-Islamic culture in one of the world’s oldest civilizations. The church is a part of old Christianity not often seen in that part of the world, a living proof of the harmony that has long existed among Muslims and Christians. In fact, it is one of the best places to observe a coexistence of cultures and religions…

Vatican to launch radio news service in Latin (Vatican News) Starting on Saturday, 8 June, a 5-minute weekly news bulletin in Latin will be broadcast to the world on Vatican Radio frequencies through the Italian language audio channels. Of course you will also be able to follow it on our web portal and listen to it on podcast, and it will soon be available on the English-language audio frequencies as well…



Tags: Syria India Lebanon Muslim Iran





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