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Current Issue
September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
  
4 November 2019
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis celebrates Mass in the Catacombs of Priscilla in Rome on 2 November 2019, the feast of All Souls. (photo: CNS/Vatican Media)

Celebrating Mass in catacombs, Pope recalls persecuted Christians (CNS) In what he said was his first visit to the catacombs, Pope Francis celebrated Mass for the feast of All Souls with special words of remembrance for Catholics who still today must worship in secret…

Pope prays for persecuted Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia (CNS) Pope Francis Sunday asked for prayer for persecuted Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia, who have been targeted in ongoing ethnic clashes that have left 78 people dead. ”I am saddened by the violence of which Christians of the Tewahedo Orthodox Church of Ethiopia are victims,” Pope Francis said in his Angelus address on 3 November. ”I express my closeness to this beloved church and her patriarch, dear brother Abune Mathias, and I ask you to pray for all the victims of violence in that land,” he said…

Russian Orthodox churches from Western Europe officially return to Moscow (RT) The Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox churches in Western Europe has officially returned to the Moscow Patriarchate’s domain after defying an order from its rival Constantinople to dissolve. Russia’s Patriarch Kirill presented the unity charter to Archbishop John (Renneteau) during a ceremony at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the Moscow’s Patriarchate’s largest church. John, who shall remain in charge of the Western European parishes, was previously given the title ‘Archbishop of Dubna’…

Holy See backs global convention on crimes against humanity (Vatican News) The Holy See is backing the creation of a global convention on crimes against humanity saying that international and domestic instruments are needed to fight the plague. ”It is a matter of great concern for us all that the world continues to be scarred by political, religious and ethnic violence,” Archbishop Bernadito Auza said on Thursday…

Protestors killed outside Iranian consulate in Iraq (Vatican News) Dozens of Iraqi protesters gathered in the Shi’ite holy city of Karbala on Sunday night. They set tires ablaze and attacked Iran’s local consulate. Demonstrators chanted slogans like “Iran out, Kerbala remains free.” Some threw firebombs over the walls, others scaled the concrete barriers, and an attempt was made to take down the Iranian flag flying on the property…

What India looks like when the air turns to poison (The New York Times) Air pollution in India’s capital climbed to poisonous extremes over the weekend and into Monday, blanketing streets in an opaque haze, delaying flights and prompting fights between politicians over who was to blame…



Tags: India Pope Francis Ethiopia Persecution

31 October 2019
Greg Kandra




Demonstrators form a human chain during anti-government protests in Tripoli, Lebanon on 27 October 2019. The 29 October resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri followed 13 days of massive country-wide demonstrations. (photo: CNS/Omar Ibrahim, Reuters)

Lebanon’s Maronite bishops call for unity (CNS) Lebanon’s Maronite bishops, commending the unity of the Lebanese people amid a peaceful mass uprising demanding a new government, called for a “constructive spirit” following the resignation of the country’s prime minister. ”The Lord is leading the ship of the homeland and we hope that this step will be the beginning of the solution,” Cardinal Bechara Rai, Maronite patriarch, said in response to the resignation of Saad Hariri…

Russia and Hungary to discuss persecuted Christians (Vatican News) Hungary’s state secretary, for the aid of persecuted Christians, Tristan Azbej, is worried. He told Vatican News that Christians are now the most persecuted people in the world. That’s why, he says, Hungary wants to set up an international alliance to help Christian believers and other faith minorities during an upcoming conference next month…

Ethiopia mourns dead after ethnic violence breaks out (VOA) Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed says his country remains united after a week of violent clashes left at least 67 people dead and several religious sites destroyed. Now, he is trying to restore calm…

Cyclone brings heavy rains to Kerala (The Weather Channel) Heavy downpour in Kerala and Lakshadweep is set to continue in full swing on Thursday 31 October, as the depression over the Arabian Sea intensified into a cyclonic storm on Wednesday. The cyclone has been named ‘Maha’…



Tags: India Lebanon Ethiopia

30 October 2019
Greg Kandra




Protests have continued in Lebanon, following the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri. The video above explores what happens next. (video: Al Jazeera/YouTube)

Lebanon: Army begins clearing roads after prime minister’s resignation (Al Jazeera) Security forces in Lebanon began clearing roads hours after the Lebanese army issued a directive urging protesters to vacate major thoroughfares to allow life to return to normal. The army’s statement came on Wednesday, a day after Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation and hours before a scheduled speech by President Michel Aoun…

Pope calls for dialogue, reconciliation over problems in Iraq (CNS) In the wake of deadly protests in Iraq, Pope Francis called on the people and their leaders to take the path of dialogue to find answers to their nation’s problems. At the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square on 30 October, the pope said his thoughts were with “beloved Iraq, where protest demonstrations going on this month have caused numerous deaths and injuries…”

How the new Syria took shape (The New York Times) In just a few weeks, the American withdrawal from northern Syria dramatically reordered power in the country after eight years of civil war…

U.S. House passes resolution recognizing Armenia genocide (The New York Times) The House voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to formally recognize the Armenian genocide and denounce it as a matter of American foreign policy, a symbolic vindication for the Armenian diaspora made possible by a new torrent of bipartisan furor at Turkey…

How they discovered the ancient site of a miracle (The Express) The Pool of Siloam was a rock-cut pool on the southern slope located just outside the walls of the Old City to the southwest. Located less than 2,000 feet from Temple Mount, the pool was fed by the waters of the Gihon Spring and was used by pilgrims more than 2,000 years ago.The pool remained in use during the time of Jesus Christ and, according to the Gospel of John, the Messiah led “a man blind from birth” to the pool in order to complete his healing...



Tags: Iraq Lebanon Jerusalem Armenia

29 October 2019
Greg Kandra




Metropolitan-Archbishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia speaks at Georgetown University in Washington on 25 October 2019. The archbishop spoke about the church's role of support during Ukraine's Soviet occupation and its ministry now of helping people find healing and keeping the faith alive while numbers are dwindling.
(photo: CNS/Georgetown University)


Gudziak: Ukrainian Church faces new struggles (CNS) Addressing an audience at Georgetown University on 25 October, the leader of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the United States said the world news in Washington is as “Ukrainian as it ever has been.” But although he made reference to the current political interest in Ukraine, he also said “no one in Washington would give (the country) the time of day had there not been a July phone conversation,” referring to President Donald Trump’s conversation, now under congressional investigation, with Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukraine’s president…

Vatican pushes to eliminate nuclear weapons (CNS) Expressing concern that arms control treaties are “abrogated and flouted,” the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations called on global leaders to work to rid the world of nuclear weapons. In a series of addresses to two U.N. committees, Archbishop Bernardito Auza said nations must step up to prevent a new nuclear arms race from emerging and work to reduce growing threats to peace…

U.S. military envisions broad defense of Syria’s oilfields (Al Jazeera) The United States will repel any attempt to take Syria’s oilfields away with “overwhelming force” whether the challenger is Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) or forces backed by Russia or Syria, the Pentagon has warned…

Why global warming has left Kerala vulnerable (India Today) The state had never bothered about global warming induced climatic changes, but the consecutive floods in August 2018 and 2019 have prompted a rethink. The 2018 August floods, the worst in about a century, destroyed infrastructure and livelihoods and killed 453 persons. This year too, floods caused by the southwest monsoon have played havoc in the state…



Tags: Syria India Vatican Ukrainian Catholic Church

25 October 2019
Greg Kandra




In this image from March 2018, a Catholic church destroyed by Islamic State militants in Karamdes, Iraq, is examined by a priest. (photo: CNS/courtesy Archdiocese of Erbil)

Panel examines ways to protect holy sites worldwide (CNS) In light of continued attacks on houses of worship and holy sites around the world, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom held hearing on 23 October at the Capitol to learn ways to deter such attacks. Easy and immediate solutions, though, were elusive…

Turkish and Syria forces reportedly clash in Syria (The New York Times) Turkish forces and Turkish-backed militias appeared to have clashed with the Kurdish-led militia and its new allies, the Syrian government, in northeastern Syria on Thursday, raising the temperature in an already volatile area where multiple players are maneuvering for position after the abrupt pullout of American troops…

Report: Parts of Asia now hotbed of persecution (CNA) While Christians in Iraq and Syria suffer in the aftermath of Islamic State genocide, a new “hot spot” of persecution has emerged in South and East Asia, a recent report finds…

Ethiopian activist calls for calm after 16 killed in clashes (Reuters) Prominent Ethiopian activist Jawar Mohammed called for calm on Thursday amid protests that have killed 16 people and are challenging Nobel Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in his political heartland…

Pompeo vows support for new Ukraine church (France24) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has vowed US support for Ukraine’s new independent Orthodox church following its split with Russia in a meeting with its leader, officials said Thursday. Pompeo on Wednesday held a closed-door meeting with Metropolitan Yepifaniy, who was enthroned in February after the Ukrainian Orthodox Church broke its three-century relationship with Moscow…



Tags: Syria Iraq Ethiopia Persecution

24 October 2019
Greg Kandra




Turkey has halted his military offensive against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria after reaching a deal with Russia. (video: CBS News/YouTube)

Trump declares victory in Syria as Russian troops move in (The Washington Post) President Trump said Wednesday that a “permanent” cease-fire had been established in northeastern Syria, declaring a major diplomatic victory for his administration even as Russian forces began moving into territory once controlled by the United States and its Syrian Kurdish allies…

Ancient Byzantine church found near Jerusalem (Asharq Al-Awsat) Archaeologists have unearthed a 1,500-year-old Byzantine church in West Jerusalem. The church with stunning mosaics and glass windows was discovered ahead of building a new neighborhood in the town of Beit Shemesh…

Ruthenian women’s community established as monastery in Ohio (CNA) The Ruthenian Bishop of Parma last month erected Christ the Bridegroom Monastery as a female monastery sui iuris of eparchial right. The decision was made “in light of the present circumstances and the spiritual needs of the nuns of Christ the Bridegroom, and for the good of the people of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma for the Ruthenians.” Bishop Milan Lach’s decree was given on 27 September. As a sui iuris monastery of eparchial right, the community does not depend on another monastery, it is governed by its own typicon (rule of life), and it was erected by its bishop…

Lebanon protests unite sects in demanding new government (The New York Times) Drawing as much as a quarter of the country’s four million people to the streets, Lebanon’s seven-day-old antigovernment revolt has outlasted government pushback, the beginnings of a sectarian backlash and bad weather. The largest and most diverse protests since the country’s independence, they are also the most ambitious: Fueled at first by fury over economic conditions and corruption, the crowds now demand nothing less than a new political system…

Protests in Ethiopia threaten to mar image of Nobel-winning leader (The New York Times) Protests against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia erupted on Wednesday, threatening to taint the aura around his newly won Nobel Peace Prize, after a prominent critic accused the police of attempting to orchestrate an attack on him…

Kerala building homes that are flood-resistant (Ecowatch.com) he southern India state of Kerala, having lost almost a million homes in two disastrous floods in 2018 and 2019, is trying to adapt to climate change by building homes for the poor that are flood-resistant. In two years, one-sixth of the state’s 35 million population was affected by the floods, and 1.4 million of those had to abandon their homes. Many flimsy houses were destroyed and are being rebuilt from scratch…



Tags: Syria Ethiopia Jerusalem Ruthenians

23 October 2019
Greg Kandra




Displaced Kurds stuck at a border near Derik, Syria, wait to try to cross into Iraq on 21 October 2019. (photo: CNS/Muhammad Hamed, Reuters)

Syrians fleeing to Iraq (CNS) Humanitarians expressed concern over the situation of Syrian civilians displaced by the Turkish invasion of northeastern Syria. They say that as the cease-fire there is about to expire, they are seeing increasing numbers of refugees fleeing into Iraq while others are trapped inside the country. ”In the last 24 hours alone, 1,736 Syrians crossed into Iraq, the highest number to cross in one day since the beginning of Turkey’s military operation,” said Karl Schembri of the Norwegian Refugee Council, in a statement made available to Catholic News Service…

Msgr. Peter Vaccari tapped to lead CNEWA (CNEWA) Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, Chair and Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of Catholic Near East Welfare Association/Pontifical Mission for Palestine, has announced the Holy See has approved the nomination and election of Msgr. Peter Vaccari to succeed Msgr. John E. Kozar as president of CNEWA/PMP. Msgr. Vaccari will initiate the process of transition as vice president on 1 January 2020. At a date yet to be determined, but in the near future, Msgr. Kozar will retire and concurrently Msgr. Vaccari will assume his responsibilities as president of CNEWA/PMP…

Ethiopia protestors burn Nobel winner Abiy Ahmed’s book (BBC) Protesters in eastern Ethiopia have burnt copies of a new book by prime minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner Abiy Ahmed in a show of solidarity with an opposition media activist. Jawar Mohammed had said the government was removing security from his home in the capital, which officials denied. This triggered protests outside his compound and elsewhere in the country…

Russian Orthodox TV plans reality show set at monastery (Radio Free Europe) A TV channel affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church is putting out a call for applications for a reality show with a spiritual twist: its setting will be an island monastery on a lake halfway between Moscow and St. Petersburg...



Tags: Syria Ethiopia CNEWA

22 October 2019
Greg Kandra




Buses transport displaced Syrian families, who fled violence after the Turkish offensive against Syria, to camps in Iraq on 17 October 2019. After a five day pause, Turkey's offensive may resume as early as today. (photo: CNS/Ari Jalal, Reuters)

Turkey’s Erdogan says Syria offensive could resume (Reuters) Hundreds of Kurdish fighters remain near to Syria’s northeast border despite a U.S.-brokered truce demanding their withdrawal and Turkey could resume its offensive in the area when the ceasefire expires, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said…

ISIS reaps gains from U.S. pullout from Syria (The New York Times) When President Trump announced this month that he would pull American troops out of northern Syria and make way for a Turkish attack on the Kurds, Washington’s onetime allies, many warned that he was removing the spearhead of the campaign to defeat the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Now, analysts say that Mr. Trump’s pullout has handed the Islamic State its biggest win in more than four years and greatly improved its prospects…

Eritrean refugees continue to flood into Ethiopia (The New Humanitarian) The long-dormant border crossings re-opened with such fanfare between Eritrea and Ethiopia last year as a symbol of warming relations are all now closed — but that isn’t stopping a steady flow of Eritrean refugees from fleeing across the heavily militarized frontier…

Netanyahu fails to form government (BBC) Israel’s long-standing Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has said he cannot form a government, handing the opportunity to his political rival. Mr Netanyahu has been in power for the past decade, but he was unable to build a coalition with a majority after September’s election ended in deadlock. His rival Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party will now be invited to attempt to form a government…

Heavy rains inundate Kerala (The Indian Express) Heavy rains are likely to lash several parts of Kerala and Lakshadweep in the next five days as the North-East monsoon became active over the state, according to the latest forecast by the India Meteorological Department (IMD)…

Vatican: Christians and Hindus must show world peace is possible (CNS) Christians and Hindus must resist pessimism and instead draw from and add to the “a hidden sea of goodness” that convinces many men and women around the world that peace and brotherhood are possible, said a Vatican message for the Hindu feast of Diwali…



Tags: Syria India Ethiopia Turkey Eritrea

21 October 2019
Greg Kandra




In this 2018 photo, Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, speaks during a news conference in Bangalore. The cardinal is taking part in the Amazon Synod at the Vatican. (photo: CNS/Anto Akkara)

At Amazon Synod, Cardinal Gracias sees similarities between Amazon and India (Vatican News) An Indian cardinal participating in the Amazon Synod, currently taking place in the Vatican, says he is moved by the passion of the bishops of the Amazonia region for their poor and suffering people. Cardinal Oswald Gracias, made the remark in an interview to Vatican News…

U.S. troops leave Syria and cross into Iraq (CNN) Hundreds of trucks carrying American troops have crossed into Iraq in a long military convoy Monday, marking the largest withdrawal of US forces from Syria to date. US personnel, who were fighting the terror group alongside the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, will be mostly repositioned in western Iraq, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said, while some will remain temporarily in Syria to protect oil fields from ISIS. It’s an apparent walk back of President Donald Trump’s assertion last week that he would bring all American troops stationed in Syria “back home…”

Coptic Christians in Egypt fear martyrs are being forgotten (Crux) While the video footage of the deaths of the 21 Christians [in Libya in 2015] stunned much of the world, many Coptic Christians have since lamented that the events seem to have been quickly forgotten — though in the rural village of Al Our, the presence of their family members seemed to be a plea for both remembrance and continued attention to the ongoing realities of Christians in the region…

‘Lost’ street built by Pontius Pilate uncovered in Jerusalem (The Independent) A 2,000-year-old “lost” street built in Jerusalem by Pontius Pilate has been uncovered for the first time since the city was sacked by the Romans in 70AD. The ancient walkway most likely used by pilgrims as they made their way to worship at the Temple Mount was first discovered in 1894 by British archaeologists in the “City of David” within the walls of Jerusalem…



Tags: Syria India Jerusalem

18 October 2019
Greg Kandra




While Turkey has agreed to a pause in its offensive, Syrian Kurdish fighters are accusing the Turkish military of violating the terms of a truce. (video: DW News/YouTube)

Kurds accuse Turks of violating truce (The New York Times) The leadership of the Syrian Kurdish fighters accused the Turkish military and its proxies on Friday of violating the terms of a truce in northern Syria that was brokered a day earlier by Vice President Mike Pence, raising questions about the feasibility of the cease-fire and whether the Americans can enforce it…

Armenia backs Christians in northeast Syria (Armenian Weekly) The Armenian government is working to assist ethnic Armenians in danger of being caught in the wake of the Turkish invasion of northeastern Syria, which is now entering its first week. Authorities in Yerevan were quick to formally condemn the Turkish assault, which has been dubbed “Operation Peace Spring” by the Turkish military…

Chennai becomes first in India to get ’intelligent flood warning system’ (The New Indian Express) Tamil Nadu is all set to deploy an ‘intelligent flood warning system’ in Chennai, which will enable officials to get area-wise inundation details during the monsoon. The technology, called CFLOWS, is India’s first integrated coastal flood warning system...

Ethiopia opens its secretive Imperial Palace for the first time (CNN) For more than a century, the secretive imperial palace complex has stood over Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa, closed off to everyone but the country’s leaders and the troops who protected them. Almost hidden from view on a wooded bluff, its forbidding 40-acre compound was unknown even to some of those living beneath it. Behind its walls, plots were hatched, conquests planned and dark deeds executed…



Tags: Syria India Ethiopia Turkey





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