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Current Issue
September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
  
26 September 2019
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis met with religious congregations battling human trafficking on 26 September.
(photo: Vatican Media)


Pope urges Church to fight human trafficking (Vatican News) Pope Francis on 26 September met participants in the general assembly of Talitha Kum, a worldwide network of religious congregations fighting against trafficking in human persons. He urged more congregations and Church sectors to join in this fight…

Netanyahu chosen to form new government in Israel (Al Jazeera) Israel’s president has tasked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with forming a new government after last week’s deadlocked election, his office announced. The announcement on Wednesday followed a joint meeting between President Reuven Rivlin, Netanyahu and the prime minister’s main challenger, Benny Gantz, who ruled out joining a government led by “a leader against whom stands a severe [corruption] indictment”…

Tribal Christian lynched for reportedly selling beef in India (UCANews.com) A mob has attacked and killed a Christian tribal man and injured two others accused of slaughtering a cow and selling beef in India’s Jharkhand state. A 15-strong cow vigilante group attacked Kalantus Barla, Fagu Kachhapand and Phillip Hahoro on 22 September in the eastern state. Barla died hours after the attack and the other two are in hospital with severe injuries, police officer V. Homkar told media…

Former rebel stronghold in Syria begins to rebuild (AP) Portraits of Syrian President Bashar Assad adorn a few buildings still intact after years of fighting and Russian soldiers hand out food and other supplies to residents of this Syrian town that was recently captured by the Syrian army. Khan Sheikoun, which holds a strategic position in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, fell to Assad’s forces last month following weeks of a massive offensive by Syrian troops backed by Russian military support. On Wednesday, a group of foreign reporters on a trip to Syria organized by the Russian Defense Ministry saw municipal workers clearing the streets of debris, and Russian troops distributing aid…



Tags: Syria India Israel human trafficking

25 September 2019
Greg Kandra




In this image from February, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, talks with journalists in Rome. This week at the UN, he called for solutions to save the world’s forests.
(photo: CNS/Paul Haring)


Cardinal says solutions to save forests needed ’without delay’ (CNS) At a time of increasing urbanization, the “irreplaceable importance” of forests is being “taken for granted and underestimated,” the Vatican’s secretary of state said 23 September at a high-level meeting at the United Nations. ”We all recognize how important forests are for the whole world and indeed for the very future of humanity: They are the world’s most reliable renewable resource and are essential for integral human development,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin said…

Ethiopia: 1200 killed in unrest over the past year (AP) The office of Ethiopia’s attorney general says more than 1,200 people have been killed and more than 1.2 million displaced in clashes in the country over the past year. The clashes, mostly along ethnic lines, have continued to strain the reforms announced by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed after he took office in April 2018…

Israel bars Gaza soccer players from leaving Gaza Strip (Haaretz) The Jerusalem District Court has barred the majority of the soccer players of a Rafah team from leaving the Gaza Strip and traveling to the West Bank for the return final match in the Palestinian soccer cup championship…

Cleaning operation at Western Wall (EuroNews.com) Equipped with long sticks, a team of cleaners on Tuesday (24 September) led by the Rabbi of the Western Wall gouged out written notes that visitors to Judaism’s Western Wall in Jerusalem traditionally cram into its crevices…



Tags: Ethiopia Gaza Strip/West Bank Jerusalem United Nations

24 September 2019
Greg Kandra




In this image from 2018, a migrant empties a bottle of water in a bucket at a makeshift camp next to the Moria camp for refugees and migrants on the Greek island of Lesbos. Interior ministers are demanding a response from the European Union to the growing migrant crisis. (photo: CNS/Giorgos Moutafis, Reuters)

Interior ministers demand EU response to migrant crisis (Vatican News) The Interior Ministers of Italy, Malta, France, and Germany are meeting at a time of concerns about a growing influx of migrants fleeing war, persecution, and poverty. They demand that those rescued at sea will be distributed among other countries and not only be the responsibility of the nations where they land. German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said they want an “emergency mechanism” for the coming months until the incoming EU’s executive European Commission starts working on a permanent arrangement…

Church needs to ’find solutions’ to India’s challenges (UCANews.com) The Church in India needs to have a paradigm shift if it is to emerge from its comfort zone and refocus on its original mission, say priests. The Catholic Priests Conference of India (CPCI) made the call at its 17-19 September annual convention in the central Indian city of Indore, attended by 40 priests from 18 dioceses…

Iraq’s only Anglican priest says secular government would improve life for Christians (Premier.org) Iraq’s first ordained Anglican vicar tells Premier he never doubts that God is good because evil is done “through what our hands do.” There are nearly 20,000 ordained ministers in the Church of England; in Iraq there is just one. That one Anglican vicar is Rev Faez Jirjees, who, age 53, is the parish priest at Saint George’s Church in Baghdad where Canon Andrew White used to work...

Tunnels below Jerusalem were hiding ’goldmine’ of biblical treasures (The Express) Temple Mount is a hill located in the Holy Land of Jerusalem, which, according to the Bible, was the site of several events in the life of Jesus Christ. The present site is a flat plaza surrounded by retaining walls dominated by three monumental structures from the early Umayyad period, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock and the Dome of the Chain, as well as four minarets. In the 12th century, the temple became the headquarters of the Christian Crusaders known as the Knights Templar and, according to archaeologist Dr. Shimon Gibson, biblical relics were discovered below the temple…



Tags: India Iraq Refugees Migrants Refugee Camps

23 September 2019
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis arrives for an audience with participants of an international meeting of schools, movements and associations of the new evangelization at the Vatican on 21 September 2019. The pope said the church should be more concerned with welcoming those who are far from the church rather than defending its good name. (photo: CNS/Vatican Media)

Pope: Church exists to proclaim Christ, not itself (CNS) The Catholic Church must not become a distant memory for men and women today but must be a welcoming place where everyone feels at home, Pope Francis said. Too often, people judge the church to be either irrelevant in today’s world or perceive it as “too powerful in comparison with the great poverties of the world,” the pope said on 21 September...

Indian priest seeks to help the ’unseen people’ of Tamil Nadu (UCANews.com) Santhi Polur was beaten up for bathing regularly, cleaning her children and doing her hair. The attack didn’t come from her enemies — it came from people of her own lower caste because they believed she was offending their lifestyle. Her community, considered the lowest of the castes in India’s Tamil Nadu state, even serves Dalit people — the former untouchables outside the caste system — as their barbers, cleaners and undertakers. ”That makes their social status the worst,” says the Rev. Arul Valan, who has been working with them in the southern state for the past 17 years. “They are the Dalits of the Dalit people. Until some time back, they were not even allowed to go out and walk in the daylight...”

Ethiopia says Egyptian plan on Nile dam hurts ’sovereignty’ (AP) Ethiopia’s foreign ministry in a sharply worded statement dismisses Egypt’s latest proposal on a massive Nile River dam project as “against the sovereignty of Ethiopia.” The statement issued Friday comes shortly after Egypt said a new round of talks over the soon-to-be-finished $5 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam failed to achieve progress…



Tags: Ethiopia Israel ISIS Evangelization

19 September 2019
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis, meeting participants in the congress of the Society for the Law of the Eastern Churches on Thursday, said the study of Eastern Church law helps ecumenism.
(photo: Vatican Media)


Pope: study of Eastern Church law helps ecumenism (Vatican News) The work of the Society for the Law of the Eastern Churches, which brings together experts from the Eastern Catholic, Orthodox and Oriental Churches, is of fundamental assistance to ecumenical dialogue, Pope Francis said on Thursday. Speaking to some 80 participants in the 24th International Congress of the Society for the Law of the Eastern Churches, taking place in Rome, 16-20 September, he said that they can learn from one another in all areas of ecclesial life, such as theology, the experience of spirituality and liturgy, pastoral activity and canon law…

Netanyahu invites Gantz to create a unity government in Israel (AP) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited his political rival Benny Gantz to join a unity government with him and his religious allies on Thursday, an offer that was greeted coolly amid continued deadlock following this week’s election…

Ethiopia rejects Egypt proposal on Nile dam (Al Jazeera) Ethiopia has said it will not accept a proposal by Egypt on the operation of the hydropower dam Addis Ababa is building on the Nile, calling Cairo’s plan ”inappropriate.” Sileshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s minister for water, irrigation and energy, said on Wednesday Addis Ababa will put forward a different proposal…

Indian diocese strives for people’s spiritual wellbeing (Vatican News) The Indian Diocese of Dharmapuri is planning a pastoral plan and is working for the spiritual and material welfare of the faithful. Bishop Lawrence Pius Dorairaj of Dharmapuri, in southern India’s Tamil Nadu state, spoke about his jurisdiction to Vatican News, while on his “ad limina” visit to Rome…

Humanitarian group receives UN refugee award (Vatican News) Humanitarian Corridors, conceived and implemented by a group of faith-based organizations, have been chosen to receive the UNHCR 2019 Nansen Refugee Award. Established in 1954, the Nansen Refugee Award is presented every year to an individual, group or organization for work that assists, protects and supports refugees, displaced and stateless people…



Tags: Ethiopia Refugees Israel Eastern Churches Eastern Catholic Churches

18 September 2019
Greg Kandra




Election returns in Israel show a tight race between Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gatz, with Netanyahu’s grip on power hanging in the balance. (video: BBC/YouTube)

Netanyahu faces uncertain future as he trails election (CNN) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s grip on power was hanging in the balance Wednesday after local TV channels projected him trailing his centrist rival Benny Gantz by just one seat, following a re-run general election…

Iran’s president may skip U.N. meeting (The New York Times) Iran’s president and other officials might not attend a United Nations gathering in New York next week because of obstacles raised by the United States, an Iranian state news outlet reported on Wednesday. Tehran and Washington have been locked in a tense standoff over an attack on Saudi Arabia this past weekend for which American officials have blamed Iran…

Pope has lunch with Patriarch Bartholomew (Vatican News) The meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch was held in “a fraternal atmosphere,” according to a communiqué from the Holy See Press Office…

Turkey’s president: up to three million refugees could return to Syria (BBC) Turkey’s president has said that up to three million Syrian refugees could return to their country to live in a “safe zone” in the north. Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the zone, which is already being set up in co-operation with the US, needed to be extended for the goal to be met…

In Ethiopia, religious extremism fans flames of ethnic division (The Africa Report) Ethiopian Christians took to the streets after morning mass on Sunday to protest multiple attacks on Ethiopian Orthodox churches in the country. The protests were mainly centered in the Amhara region and parts of Addis Ababa, and follow a year-long spate of attacks on both Orthodox and Protestant churches in the country…

Move to make Hindi official language upsets minorities in India (UCANews.com) A move by India’s ruling pro-Hindu party to promote Hindi as the prime language in the country, purportedly for national integration, has upset linguistic minorities…



Tags: India Ethiopia Israel Iran

17 September 2019
Greg Kandra




The cause for the canonization of two missionary priests who were martyred in India in the 19th century, Nicolas Michael Krick and Augustin-Etienne Bourry, has moved forward with the start of a formal inquiry. (photo: Vatican Media)

Sainthood cause for missionary martyrs in India moves forward (Vatican News) The cause of the beatification and canonization of two French missionaries, martyred in the mid-19th century in a remote village in north-east India, took a step forward on Saturday, 14 September, with the inauguration of the Diocesan Board of Inquiry at St. Peter’s Church, Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh…

Priest released from Indian jail; catechist still held (UCANews.com) A court in Jharkhand state, eastern India, has granted bail to a Catholic priest, as some 3,000 mostly tribal people staged a protest demanding the arrest of vandals who attacked a church-run college. The Rev. V.J. Binoy and catechist Munna Hansda of Bhagalpur Diocese were arrested 7 September, in their Rajadah mission area of Godda district, accused of land-grabbing and engaging in forced religious conversions…

Israelis head to polls (NPR) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party are facing voters for the second time in just five months in an unprecedented contest that has the potential to end Netanyahu’s decade-long grip on power…

Iran rules out meeting with Trump (The New York Times) Iran has dismissed the possibility of a meeting between the country’s president, Hassan Rouhani, and President Trump on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly next week, the country’s state-run news media reported on Monday…

Church burnings on the rise in Ethiopia (Global Post) Churches belonging to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) are being burned to the ground throughout Ethiopia — one of the world’s most religious countries, where about 98 percent of Ethiopians claim a religious affiliation. Church members have also reportedly been killed while trying to protect their churches…



Tags: India Ethiopia Israel Iran

16 September 2019
Greg Kandra




Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople prays before a reliquary containing bone shards believed to belong to St. Peter the Apostle, in Istanbul, Turkey, on 30 June 2019.
(photo: CNS/courtesy Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople)


Bartholomew: gift of relics is a crucial step (Vatican News) The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Orthodox Archbishop of Constantinople, has described Pope Francis’ gift of a portion of the relics of Saint Peter as “a new milestone” and a “crucial step” in the journey towards Christian unity…

U.S. says photos implicate Iran in Saudi oil attack; Trump hints at military action (The New York Times) The Trump administration intensified its focus on Iran Sunday as the likely culprit behind attacks on important Saudi Arabian oil facilities over the weekend, with officials citing intelligence assessments to support the accusation and President Trump warning that he was prepared to take military action…

Israel’s Ethiopian community denounces racism (Al Jazeera) More than two months after 19-year-old Solomon Teka was shot dead by an off-duty policeman, members of the Ethiopian-Israeli community continue to hold protests across Israel demanding racial equality. ”Justice for Solomon and all those killed,” chanted a dozen protesters in the northern city of Netanya on Saturday night, as they lit candles and waved colourful posters…

An Indian journalist’s struggle for a free media (UCANews.com) n the age of instant information via social media, an Indian journalist has been working to create a “space for ethical journalism” in the so-called mainstream media. For his “people-centered reporting,” Ravish Kumar of India’s New Delhi Television Network has been named one of this year’s recipients of the Ramon Magsaysay Award, “Asia’s Nobel Prize…”

Visiting one of the most important Christian shrines in Egypt (The Arab Weekly) On the western foothill of Mount Qosqam, in the Egyptian governorate of Asyut, the Monastery of Al Muharraq stands as one of the oldest operational monastic complexes in the world. Albeit unknown to many outside the Coptic Church, it is arguably the most important Christian location in the country. The Holy Family tradition states that the complex was built on the spot where Jesus, Mary and Joseph, along with their helper Salome, settled for six Coptic months and a few days during their flight into Egypt some 2,000 years ago…



Tags: India Egypt Pope Francis Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I Iran

13 September 2019
Greg Kandra




Nine shards of bone believed to belong to St. Peter lie inside a reliquary. Pope Francis gave the reliquary to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on 29 June. The Vatican has now released a letter the pope wrote to the patriarch about the relics.
(photo: CNS/courtesy Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople)


Pope writes to Ecumenical Patriarch about relics of St. Peter (Vatican News) Pope Francis has written to the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew, in order, as the Pope says in his letter, “to explain more fully the gift of some fragments of the relics of the Apostle Peter that I presented to Your Holiness.” In the letter to the Orthodox Archbishop of Constantinople, Pope Francis reviews what he calls “the uninterrupted tradition of the Roman Church” which “has always testified that the Apostle Peter, after his martyrdom in the Circus of Nero, was buried in the adjoining necropolis on the Vatican Hill…”

Ethiopia captures suspected ISIS members (VOA) The Ethiopian military has captured an undisclosed number of suspected Islamic State members operating in the country, officials said Wednesday. General Berhanu Jula, deputy chief of staff and director of military operations in the Ethiopian armed forces, confirmed the arrests but did not specify how many extremists were detained or in what part of the country they were apprehended. He said security forces continue to monitor other suspected ISIS sympathizers…

Indian cardinal demands release of priest, catechist (UCANews.com) An Indian cardinal has asked a court to immediately release a priest and catechist who are being detained on charges of conversion and land-grabbing in eastern Jharkhand state. Cardinal George Alencherry, the major archbishop of the eastern rite Syro-Malabar Church, made his appeal on 12 September after a court refused to bail Father V.J. Binoy and catechist Munna Hansda, five days after they were arrested…

600-year-old synagogue collapses in Kerala (India Today) A portion of the over 600-year-old Kadavumbhagam synagogue in Kochi’s Mattancherry collapsed on Tuesday after it was damaged due to rain. The structure had been in a dilapidated condition for the past few years…

Cable cars over Jerusalem spark worries of ’Disneyfication’ of holy city (The New York Times) Trumpeted by right-wing Israeli leaders as a green solution to the challenges of increased tourism and traffic in and around the Old City, the plan [to add cable cars] has provoked howls of protest from horrified Israeli preservationists, environmentalists, planners, architects and others who picture an ancient global heritage site turned into a Jewish-themed Epcot, with thousands of passengers an hour crammed into huge gondolas lofting across the sky. ”A total outrage against a fragile city,” the Israeli architect Moshe Safdie says. “An aesthetic and architectural affront…”



Tags: Ethiopia Kerala ISIS Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople

12 September 2019
Greg Kandra




The video above shows some of the recent devastation in Syria, with a growing number of children suffering casualties. A UN report says Syrian government forces backed by Russian warplanes may have committed war crimes in targeting schools and medical facilities.
(video: Al Jazeera/YouTube)


UN: US-led coalition may have committed war crimes in Syria (Al Jazeera) Syrian government forces backed by Russian warplanes may have committed war crimes while targeting medical facilities, schools, markets and farmland in an ongoing deadly campaign in northwestern Syria, UN investigators say. The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria also said on Wednesday that Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a former al-Qaeda affiliate fighting government forces in the northwestern province of Idlib, fired rockets indiscriminately and killed civilians…

Indian state’s plan to fund Christian pastors sparks row (UCANews.com) Hindu groups have opposed a move by the chief minister of India’s Andhra Pradesh state to implement his election promise of paying a US$70 monthly honorarium to Christian pastors. The pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the southern state began its resistance after the state government on 27 August asked district officials to count the number of pastors in their areas…

‘Long way to go” before Russia and Ukraine repair relations (CNBC) A high-profile prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine is being seen as a boost to the possible resumption of peace talks, but some experts are tempering those hopes…

Shevchuk: marriage doesn’t solve the priest shortage (Crux) Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, has urged those considering allowing priests in the Latin rite to marry in order to help solve a crippling shortage, to proceed with caution, saying marriage has not curbed shortages in his own rite…



Tags: Syria India Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church





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