My Twitter Feed

June 23, 2018

Pope Francis decries ‘spiral of violence’ in Middle East

  Expressing his sorrow for those who have lost their lives, Pope Francis Wednesday called for peace and dialogue in the Middle East, which has faced increased violence during the transfer of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.   “I am very worried and distressed by the escalation of tensions in the Holy Land and in the Middle East, and by the spiral of violence that is increasingly moving away from the path of peace, dialogue and negotiations,” the pope said May 16.   Speaking at the end of the general audience, Francis expressed his sorrow for the…

Israel to give up parts of Jerusalem in peace deal

Israel to give up parts of Jerusalem in peace deal

  Israel set a higher threshold on Tuesday for any future vote on ceding parts of Jerusalem to the Palestinians. Palestinians wanted the eastern part of the city for a future independent state. The amendment passed by the Israeli parliament to existing legislation raised from 61 to 80 the number of votes that would be required in the 120-seat Knesset to approve any proposal to hand over part of the city to “a foreign party”. The amendment, long in the legislative pipeline, comes less than a month after U.S. President Donald Trump angered the Palestinians, Middle East leaders and world…

U.S., North Korea need diplomatic solution – Pope Francis

A diplomatic solution must be found to the escalating tension between North Korea and the United States, Pope Francis told journalists. “The path (to take) is the path of negotiation, the path of a diplomatic solution,” he said when asked about U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to send Navy warships to the region in response to North Korea’s continued missile tests and threats to launch nuclear strikes against South Korea, Japan and the United States. “What do you say to these leaders who hold responsibility for the future of humanity,” the pope was asked, during a Q-and-A with journalists on…

Good Friday Collection to benefit Holy Land Christians

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. “Our sense of communion in the suffering and risen Christ moves us again this year to undertake the important initiative that is the Collection for the Holy Land,” Cardinal Sandri said….

Historic meeting: Pope Francis meets Egyptian grand Imam

Pope Francis held a historic meeting with the grand Imam of Egypt’s highest Islamic authority, signaling a significant step toward healing fractured interfaith relations. Ahmed al-Tayeb, of the Al-Azhar mosque and university centre in Cairo, met with the Pope in Rome. Francis is believed to be looking to heal Vatican relations with the influential centre of Sunni Muslim learning after dialogue was frozen five years ago. Al-Azhar cut contacts with the Vatican in 2011 over what it said were repeated insults toward Islam from Francis’ predecessor, Pope Benedict. The decision came just days after Benedict denounced what he called “a…

Pope denounces terrorism in Easter Mass amid tight Vatican security

VATICAN CITY — Amid the tightest security ever for an outdoor Mass at the Vatican, Pope Francis on Easter Sunday lashed out at the “blind and brutal” terrorism afflicting Europe, Africa, the Middle East and beyond. Five days after Islamic State attacks in Brussels killed 31 people, extraordinary security controls left some faithful waiting in line for hours and forced some to watch the Mass from up to three-quarters of a mile away from St. Peter’s Square. Even so, the ceremony drew as many as 200,000 on a sunny and crisp Easter morning, according to media reports. Speaking from the balcony of St….

Pope Francis canonizes two Palestinian nuns

  Pope Francis May 17 canonized two 19th Century nuns who lived in Ottoman-ruled Palestine, making them the first Palestinian saints in modern times. Marie Alphonsine Ghattas and Mariam Bawardy were canonised along with two other nuns, Saints Jeanne Emilie de Villeneuve from France and Maria Cristina of the Immaculate Conception from Italy. Marie Alphonsine Ghattas – who was born to a Palestinian family in Jerusalem – co-founded the Congregation of the Rosary Sisters, which today runs many kindergartens and schools. Ghattas was born in Jerusalem in 1847to a Palestinian family. Throughout her life, Ghattas opened girls’ schools and was…

Islamic State murders 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya

  Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) have released a video apparently showing the murder of Ethiopian Christians in Libya. The footage bears chilling echoes of an earlier mass murder by the group, in which at least 20 Egyptian Christians were beheaded on Libya’s northern shore. The new video shows two separate mass killings. In one, around 15 men are beheaded on a Libyan shoreline. In the other, a similar number are shot in the head in an area of scrubland. The video said the victims were Christians belonging to “the hostile Ethiopian Church”. Ethiopia…

A quiet threat: Religious freedom dwindling in Europe, US

Religious freedom is at risk in Europe and has been increasingly suppressed in the United States over the course of the past year, according to a new report. The findings were made in the 12th edition of the World Report on Religious Freedom, issued by the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need, released Nov. 4. The report is a snapshot of the state of religious freedom in 196 countries from Oct. 2012 to June 2014, collecting first-hand data and providing help wherever Christians are needing aid. Religious freedom in each country was gauged by the right to conversion,…

Vatican to UN: Middle East minorities need our protection

“The alarming, escalating phenomenon of international terrorism, new in some of its expressions and utterly ruthless in its barbarity” demands “ a deeper and more urgent study on how to re-enforce the international juridical framework of a multilateral application of our common responsibility to protect people from all forms of unjust aggression”. This is according to Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nation’s in New York. Abp. Auza’s comments were part of an address delivered to the 69th Session on the Rule of Law on Monday, Oct. 14. The Archbishop reaffirmed the Holy See’s commitment…

Attack on Damascus Nunciature: British Voices Support to Holy See

The British government has sent a message of support to the Holy See after the apostolic nunciature in Damascus came under attack on Tuesday. Sending the message through diplomatic channels, Britain’s Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East, Hugh Robertson, said he had greeted news of the mortar attack on the nunciature “with great concern” but that he was “pleased to hear that there were no casualties.” He said the nunciature “is carrying out important work, providing a voice for those under attack, on both sides of the conflict, and working towards peace.” Mr. Robertson recalled the prayer vigil for…