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Volume 44, Number 1
  
4 December 2012
Greg Kandra




A refugee child from Syria stands outside a makeshift shelter in the village of Jeb Jennine, in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. No one is sure how many refugees from Syria have already arrived in Lebanon. (photo: CNS/Paul Jeffrey)

Church in England, Wales launches day of prayer for Middle East (Vatican Radio) The bishops of England and Wales have invited the faithful in the United Kingdom to set aside Tuesday, 4 December 2012, as a day of prayer in solidarity with all those suffering injustice in the Middle East and North Africa. The bishops made the announcement after their November plenary assembly in which they reflected on the tragedy unfolding in Syria and Gaza…

U.S. Warns Syria against use of chemical weapons (Vatican Radio) Intelligence sources in the United States government are saying they have evidence Syrian government engineers have mixed the precursor chemicals to make Sarin gas. The gas could be delivered against targets — including civilian populations — by airplane…

Patriarch: Christians are inspired by ‘Arab renaissance’ of 19th century (Fides) In the great upheavals that are shaking the Middle East, the historical precedent in which even Christians can find inspiration is Nahda, the cultural and political renaissance experienced by the Arab peoples in the 19th century. Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter referenced this in his speech during the opening session of the Assembly of Patriarchs and Catholic Bishops of the Middle East, which began yesterday afternoon, 3 December…

Pope calls for world authority as ‘moral force’ (Catholic News Service) The world authority envisioned by two popes as a way to ensure global peace and justice would not be a superpower, but primarily a moral force with limited jurisdiction, Pope Benedict XVI said. The pope made his remarks 3 December to a plenary session of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which was scheduled to meet for three days to discuss the theme of “political authority and global governance.” In his address, Pope Benedict recalled that Blessed John XXIII had called for the “construction of a world community, with a corresponding authority,” to serve the “common good of the human family”…

Church beatifies first lay martyr in India (Business Standard of India) Devasahayam Pillai, the 18th century martyr who sacrificed his life for the faith in the erstwhile princely state of Travancore, was beatified by the Catholic Church on 2 December. Pillai is the first layperson to be elevated to the rank of the “Blessed” in India, one step away from sainthood under Canon Law. Apart from representatives of the Vatican, Indian cardinals, senior bishops, priests, religious and a large congregation of lay devotees attended the function at the Carmer Higher Secondary School operated under the Kottar Diocese…



Tags: Syrian Civil War Middle East Pope Benedict XVI Indian Christians Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter

3 December 2012
Greg Kandra




Pope Benedict XVI, who is known for his love of cats, greets one on Saturday, petting a lion cub during an audience with circus performers in Paul VI hall at the Vatican.
(photo: CNS photo/Paul Haring)




Tags: Pope Benedict XVI

3 December 2012
Greg Kandra




A statue stands outside a destroyed Jesuit church in Homs, Syria, on 30 November. Activists said the church had been bombed by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar Assad.
(photo: CNS/Yazan Homsy, Reuters)


Syrian violence reaches Turkey, Lebanon (Associated Press) Syrian warplanes on Monday bombed a security building that had been taken over by rebels along the Turkish border, killing at least one person, wounding 20 more and sending dozens of civilians fleeing across the frontier, a Turkish official said. The conflict also spilled into Syria’s eastern neighbor, Lebanon, after Lebanese troops exchanged fire with rebels across the border late Sunday. Violence from Syria’s 20-month-old uprising has on several occasions touched neighboring countries, fueling concerns that the Arab Spring’s longest and deadliest revolt could touch off a regional war...

Syrian democracy a dream (Catholic Register) The Armenian Orthodox Primate of Damascus sees little hope the Syrian civil war will end with a democratic regime in power and questions Western support for rebel groups. The bishop is touring Armenian expatriate communities in North America asking for donations through Church channels. One of the most effective Church agencies working with internally displaced Syrians has been the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, known as the Pontifical Mission Society in the Middle East, said Nalbandian...

Pope to begin tweeting next week (Reuters) The secret’s out. Pope Benedict’s new handle on Twitter will be @pontifex, beating out other contenders that had been considered to showcase the thoughts of one of the world’s most visible leaders. Benedict already has 1.2 billion “followers” in the standard sense of the word but next week he will have another type when he enters what for any 85-year old is the brave new world of Twitter. The Vatican said on Monday that the pope will start tweeting on 12 December. “The handle is a good one. It means ‘pope’ and it also means ‘bridge builder’,” said Greg Burke, senior media advisor to the Vatican...

Russia may soften religion law (Reuters) Russian lawmakers are reworking a draft law introducing prison terms for religious offences after signs that Vladimir Putin is concerned it could undermine the delicate balance between the country’s many religions...

Date set for primate to be enthroned (OCA.org) His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, will be enthroned as the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America at Saint Nicholas Cathedral, Washington, DC on Sunday, 27 January 2013. The announcement was issued by the Holy Synod of Bishops on Friday, November 30, 2012. Metropolitan Tikhon was elected at the 17th All-American Council in Parma, OH 13 November...

Patriarch Gregorios III releases statement on Palestinian recognition (byzcath.org) Patriarch Gregorios III greatly appreciated the UN resolution granting observer status to the Palestinian state. He said: “Thank God, who waits but never forgets.” He also thanked the countries that voted for the resolution, whilst censuring countries voting against it, some of which seek to be in the defending vanguard of nations’ freedom and dignity...

VIDEO: Cardinal Thottunkal: We have to laugh more and spread joy (Rome Reports) He is now the youngest member of the College of Cardinals, his name, Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, from India. He admits it is a great responsibility, but above all, a chance for his Church to work hand in hand with the Pope to spread a message of joy...



Tags: Syria Lebanon Palestine Pope Benedict XVI Turkey





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