There was standing room only at Westminster Synagogue in Knightsbridge yesterday, at a vibrant interfaith event for participants in the Climate March. After a warm welcome from Rabbi Dr Thomas Salamon, there were moving testimonies from Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Buddhist speakers - united by a shared concern for protection of the earth and all who live on it. "We are tasked to be protectors and custodians of the planet" Sheik Talat from Palmers Green Mosque, quoting from Koranic teaching.
Coronation street actor Ben Price has revealed the worst Christmas present he ever received in a bid to encourage shoppers to buy gifts for people living in poverty overseas, through Catholic aid agency CAFOD. Ben, who plays Nick Tilsley in the ITV soap, disclosed: "Every year I have visions of unwrapping another A4 refill pad, reduced to clear because it only had one hole punched into it - given to me by a very well-meaning and thoughtful relative - which was by far the worst Christmas present I've ever received."
Although the publishing industry is heaving with new titles about World War Two, rarely is proper attention paid to Hitler's motivation, and the racial obsessions that led to the defining event of the Twentieth Century. Timothy Snyder provides a fascinating analysis of Hitler's worldview: the inferiority of every race but the Germans, and the need to possess the black earth of Soviet Ukraine on which to grow food to sustain the master race. Hitler admits he found inspiration in America's decimation of its Native American ethnic groups and the ensuing land grab.
UN Secretary-General issues statement on International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
... Today, 136 countries recognize the State of Palestine and its flag flies at the United Nations next to those of all Member States. However, these advances are not felt by children in Gaza, or by the residents of Nablus, Hebron and East Jerusalem. What they feel instead is a lack of hope that their lives will change for the better and that they will be citizens of a State able to ensure their freedom and well-being through peace with their neighbours.
The Bishops of England and Wales have approved the new translations of the texts to be used for Confirmation and Marriage which have now been given their recognitio by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. These will be published in January 2016 and will be used from Easter 2016.... Although it is a new translation, the Sacrament of Marriage still retains the most familiar texts from the English tradition.
Christopher Pearson has been appointed as the new Chair of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC). He replaces Danny Sullivan who stepped down from the role in July 2015 in order to spend more time with his family. Chris was previously Lay Vice Chair of the NCSC and has been in an Acting Chair position since July 2015. Chris has a background in Local Government. He has 36 years' experience as a qualified Social Worker.
The mood in Paris today was tense on the eve of the UN Climate talks - COP21. The Paris climate march was banned by the French authorities in the wake of the terrorist attacks two weeks ago, but there were lots of whisperings these past few days that somehow all the those climate campaigners who travelled to Paris especially for the 29 November global day of action would somehow have space to voice their plea for climate action. The Columban JPIC group of myself, Fr Charles Rue and Julia Corcoran decided to follow up on a whisper - you couldn't call it a
Priests and religious, catechists and young people joined Pope Francis on Sunday evening for a special Mass in Notre Dame Cathedral, Bangui. During the ceremony, the Pope opened the Holy Door of the Cathedral for the beginning of the Jubilee of Mercy. The Jubilee Year officially begins on 8 December. In his homily at the Mass the Pope spoke of the Christian vocation to love our enemies, saying it protects us "from the temptation to seek revenge and from the spiral of endless retaliation."
Pope Francis met with representatives of various evangelical communities in Africa, as he visited the Bangui Evangelical School of Theology on Sunday. In his address he stressed that "the lack of unity among Christians is a scandal, above all because it is contrary to God's will. It is also a scandal, he said, "when we consider the hatred and violence which are tearing humanity apart." During the day he also visited a refugee camp and made an unscheduled stop at a children's hospital.
Pope Francis arrived in the Central African Republic on Sunday morning. For a long time the organizers of this visit were uncertain whether it would happen, because of security concerns. Over the past two years there have been clashes between Muslim Séléka forces and Christian anti- Balaka forces which have forced tens of thousands of people to flee to neighbouring countries. The United Nations has warned that there is high risk of the country descending into genocide. The Pope's first appointment in the nations' capital Bangui was with the nation's Authorities and
Pope Francis' day in Uganda ended with an encounter with priests, men and women religious, and seminarians in the cathedral of Kampala, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Beforehand the Holy Father met with the bishops of Uganda, around thirty in number, including bishops emeritus, in the archbishop's residence near the cathedral. Upon arrival he was greeted by the bishop responsible for consecrated life, John Baptist Kaggwa, to whom he handed the discourse he had prepared for the occasion, and addressed some off-the-cuff remarks
Huge ecstatic crowds of young people gathered on the Kololo airstrip, a former airport near Kampala, for the arrival of Pope Francis. They had followed the Mass celebrated by Pope Francis a few hours earlier at Namugongo shrine via the maxi screens installed in the area. Among the crowds were 200 young deaf people, refugees, and youth chaplains. On the stage there were another fifty young people, a couple from each diocese in the country and a group of orphans. As usual - the Pope set aside his prepared text (which can be read below)
As Parliament prepares to debate next steps in Syria, Quakers in Britain have made this statement. The attacks in Paris on 13 November were deeply shocking and our hearts continue to go out to those killed, injured, bereaved and traumatised. It is human nature that the closer suffering comes to us, the more acutely we feel the pain and grief. But that experience should sensitise us to the suffering caused repeatedly by acts of war and violent crime in more distant places, including Beirut, Sinai, Bamako and Aleppo. It should strengthen our
May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race as much as we love you. 1 Thessalonians 3:12 Jesus said to his disciples: 'There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamour of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads
A special Mass for World AIDS Day will be celebrated at the Church of the Immaculate Conception on Tuesday. Mgr Keith Barltrop will be presiding. The Beacon Music Group will be singing. There is also a display and dedicated Chapel, which all are welcome to visit for prayer and reflection, sponsored by Catholics for AIDS Prevention and Support, to mark World AIDS Day.
Who would have thought a solemn event handing over a faiths petition to a representative of the UN Climate talks would end with dancing in the aisles and on the stage! Well it happened today. The faith-based pilgrimages arrived in Paris yesterday and this morning the walkers and cyclists gathered in the Salle de la Légion d'honneur de Saint-Denis, opposite the Basilica of Saint-Denis, to see the various faith petitions handed over to political leaders meeting at COP21
Campaigners gathered in 30 major rallies in towns and cities across the UK on Saturday urging the government not to bomb Syria. Thousands of people, including families with children in pushchairs, church groups, nuns and clergy, and a group of pensioners, assembled in Whitehall outside Downing Street. Earlier, 23 musicians, politicians, writers and union chiefs wrote the following open letter to David Cameron
A story has been going around the British media this past week, springing from some new archaeological research which has been conducted at Glastonbury Abbey - A Clerk of Oxford writes in her latest blog. This research, a four-year project based at the University of Reading, sounds very interesting: it has explored the early history of a site which has long held a unique place in popular culture in this country, associated as it is with Arthurian legend and with an early, mythical origin for the
Thank you for your warm welcome. I wanted very much to visit this House of Charity, which Cardinal Nsubuga founded here in Nalukolongo. This is a place which has always been associated with the Church's outreach to the poor, the handicapped, the sick. Here, in early times, slave children were ransomed and women received religious instruction. I greet the Good Samaritan Sisters who carry on this fine tradition, and I thank them for their years of quiet and joyful
Pope Francis arrived in Uganda on Friday on the second leg of his six-day pastoral visit to Africa. After the official welcome ceremonies, the Holy Father was taken to the State House of Entebbe where he addressed diplomats and leading figures from Uganda society and encouraged them to "ensure good and transparent governance, integral human development and a wide and just distribution" of Africa's goods. Referring to Uganda's famous martyrs, the Pope said
For his last official appointment before flying to Uganda, Pope Francis went to the Church of St Joseph the Worker, in one of the poorest quarters of the city of Kangemi. "I feel very much at home sharing these moments with brothers and sisters who, and I am not ashamed to say this, have a special place in my life and my decisions", said the Pope. "I am here because I want you to know that your joys and hopes, your troubles and your sorrows, are not indifferent to me.
Many thousands of people are expected to march through London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Belfast, Cardiff and many other cities and towns tomorrow, Sunday 29 November to show solidarity with those suffering the effects of climate change. On the eve of the UN climate talks, where world leaders, including Prime Minister David Cameron, will negotiate a global agreement to curb carbon emissions and tackle climate change, thousands of people across the globe will be
Fear and anxiety are two of the most crippling emotions we can have. If we let them take hold of our lives things can become quite unbearable. In themselves they are not bad, a little bit of honest fear and a certain amount of reasonable anxiety is necessary at times. Often that slight edge to our anticipation of future events gives us the push to 'go for it' as does a healthy fear of things that need to be treated with caution. But the heavy destructive force of dark anxiety and the presence of
Today, the various international pilgrimages to Paris to lobby the UN Climate talks, converged on the city centre. The first I encountered was the 17 Westminster Laudato Si' cyclists. There they were in their yellow outfits, helmets and bicycles posing for photos outside Notre Dame Cathedral. It was early evening and a sharp wind blew around the piazza but, despite showing signs of feeling the cold, they were clearly uplifted by the experience of spending three days cycling from
Why do divisions, wars and deaths occur? Fanatism, and divisions among young people? Why is there that desire to destroy? In the first page of the Bible, after all those wonderful things that the Lord had done, a brother kills another brother. The spirit of evil takes us to destruction and the spirit of evil takes us to a lack of unity, it takes us to tribalism, corruption and drugs. It takes us to a destruction out of fanaticism.