Catholic parents whose son was killed by a suicide bomber in the 2016 Easter Sunday attack at Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park, Pakistan have told Lahore's Archbishop that they have forgiven the man that killed their child. Speaking with Aid to the Church in Need, Archbishop Sebastian Shaw said: "After celebrating Holy Mass I went up to a married couple to give them my blessing. "They told me that my homily on mercy and pardon had helped them greatly, since they had lost a son in the attack in the Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park on Easter Sunday and that they had forgiven the suicide bomber who
Pope Francis has called on people of every religious tradition to join in condemning the misuse of God's name to justify acts of violence. Speaking in the Apostolic Palace to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See during the traditional exchange of New Year's greetings, on Monday, Pope Francis said: "One can never kill in God's name," adding that the world is, "dealing with a homicidal madness which misuses God's name in order to disseminate death, in a play for domination and power." The Pope continued: "Fundamentalist terrorism is the fruit of a profound spiritual poverty,
Following on from last year's meeting with refugees in Jordan, the annual visit by the Holy Land Co-ordination (HLC2017) will begin on Saturday 14 January, the eve of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, with a day devoted to the situation of Christian migrants and refugees present in Israel. On the Saturday morning in Jaffa, the group of European, North American and South African bishops, who since the 1990s have been making an annual visit to the Christian communities present in the Holy Land, will participate in the traditional 'Mass of the Peoples'
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is calling on the governments of Sudan and South Sudan to honour their commitments under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), by withdrawing unauthorised security personnel from the area and facilitating a referendum in accordance with agreed international stipulations. According to the CPA that ended the Sudanese civil war, a referendum on the future of the oil-rich region of Abyei should have occurred in tandem with South Sudan's referendum on independence.
A joint delegation from the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the Commission of Bishops' Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) met with the Prime Minister of Malta, Dr Joseph Muscat, and representatives of the government of Malta on Friday, at the start of their six month Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The meeting was convened to discuss common concerns, especially relating to the priorities of the Maltese presidency including migration, neighbourhood policy, and social inclusion.
Archbishop Ignatius A Kaigama, Catholic Archbishop of Jos and President, Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria writes:
At major festive periods in Nigeria, the prices of animals skyrocket because they are slaughtered for social entertainment. Human life is however, sacred and cannot be sacrificed as if it were mere animal life, for pleasure or social celebration. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: "no one can under any circumstances claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being" (cf. CCC 2258).
In his address to pilgrims gathered in a freezing St Peter's Square on Sunday, Pope Francis asked for prayers for all those living and dying on the streets at this time of year. The Pope's words came during his Angelus address after the Mass marking the feast of Jesus' baptism in the River Jordan. As Jesus came to be baptised, the Pope said, John the Baptist tries to stop him, saying he is the one who should be baptised by Jesus. But, the Pope continued, Jesus came down to earth to close the gap between God and man, to fulfill God's will and to show that God remains close to us, his children.
Pope Francis on Sunday baptised 28 babies during Mass in the Sistine chapel, telling their families that Jesus' first sermon was the sound of his crying in the stable at Bethlehem. Amidst the sounds of crying babies, the Holy Father gave a short, off-the-cuff homily on the faith which is given to children in Baptism. Faith, he said, does not just mean reciting the Creed on Sundays, but rather it means believing in the truth, trusting in God and teaching others with the example of our lives.
Less than two weeks before the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, who has pledged to introduce a range of policies to stop many migrants entering the country and to deport those already there, the Catholic Church in the United States celebrates Nation Migration Week, which takes place from 8-14 January. The following is a joint statement from Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, Vice President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops about th Week.
An Indian cardinal has protested after police dropped a case against two men accused of raping a nun. Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, said the acquittal of the suspects in Chhattisgarh state "is a grave injustice, not only for our consecrated, but also for all women who have suffered a similar trauma." Dinesh Dhurv, 19 and 25-year old Jitendra Pathak, were alleged to have drugged, tied up and gang raped the 48-year old sister of the Salesian Missionaries
Hospitality and welcome are part of our African heritage. As we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany, we celebrate the visit of the Magi. They come from the East seeking something they do not really understand. They come looking for the fulfilment of a prophecy. They come seeking hope. They are looking for something more. Their coming provides the impetus for the Holy Family to become refugees - to go into exile in Egypt - fleeing to protect their baby's life. These themes of travel and movement are not unique to our 'global village era'. As the scripture text tells us, people 2000 years ago
Pope Francis addressed a conference organised by the national office for Pastoral Care for Vocations of the Italian Episcopal Conference today. The theme of the conference was: "Arise, go forth, and fear not. Vocations and sanctity: I am on a mission." Setting aside his prepared speech, the Holy Father told the 800-strong priests and religious present: "How many young people, boys and girls, today hear in their heart that 'Arise', and how many - priests, consecrated men and women - close the door? And they wind up frustrated."
A new year message calling for 'rule-based governance' and 'the betterment of human rights in China' has been issued by around 300 Chinese human rights lawyers. The message, posted on ChinaChange.org, highlights multiple cases of human rights abuses in 2016, including the detention of human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong, who went missing on 21 November. Jiang, a Christian, is a leading member of the Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Group and has worked on a variety of rights-related cases, including representing religion or belief communities.
Bennie had a thin, hollow face, the picture of malnutrition at 22 years of age, he had never been to school for more than a few months, could not read or write and he was a one-meal man. He ate once a day. He was dressed in shorts and a dirty t-shirt. His flip-flops were worn thin. They were his only possessions. He pushed a small wooden cart along the back streets of Manila picking up discarded plastic bottles, bits of metal that fell off a jeepney or a truck. He was a discarded piece of humanity himself. On a lucky day in a garbage bin outside the gate of a mansion, he found an old computer keyboard.
A Christian mother and son in Iraq have told their story of survival after two years of terror living under Daesh (ISIS). In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, widow Jandark Behnam Mansour Nassi, 55, and her son, 16-year-old Ismail, describe their experiences at the hands of Daesh extremists. Ismail, who the militants jailed, recounts seeing gun-wielding Jihadi children kill orange-clad Daesh prisoners and how he witnessed a woman bound hand and foot being stoned to death.
The Loreto Sisters (also known as Sisters of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary) celebrate 175 years of missionary presence in South Asia this year. Sister Anita M Braganza, head of the religious Province of South Asia said: "With immense gratitude to God we celebrate the arrival in India of the first sisters, who 175 years ago brought the love of God." Eleven Sisters of Loreto came to Kolkata on 30 December 1841. from Ireland and were the first religious sisters to land in North India.
Millicent Mwololo from the Daily Nation in Nairobi, interviewed Sister Patricia Speight, a Franciscan Missionary Sister for Africa about her life and work as a nurse in Kenya and Zimbabwe. I met Sister Patricia Speight on a bright morning and the first thing she told me about was her doll, Sunshine. She was given the doll by a Catholic nun when she was five years old, she recalled. "That day, my older sister, then six years old, was receiving her First Holy Communion and my mother was sick in hospital.
Another Christian in Pakistan has been arrested by the police for alleged blasphemy. On December 30 a formal complaint was filed to the police against Babu Shahbaz, under Article 295 b of the Penal Code of Pakistan. The complaint came after the Muslim, Haji Nadeem accused the Christian of having torn and thrown pages of the Koran in the street. Shahbaz cannot read or write. Babu Shahbaz, 41, lives in the the village of Kamahan, near Lahore, is married and has three children.
Pope Francis will meet victims of the devastating earthquakes that struck central Italy last year, on Thursday, 5 January, the Vigil of Epiphany. Nearly 300 people were killed in an earthquake that struck near the town of Amatrice on August 24. Just over two months later, a series of quakes struck the same region, including a magnitude 6.6 earthquake on October 30 - the largest quake to strike Italy in over thirty years. Only two people died in the October quakes, although a number of towns, including Norcia, the birthplace of Saints Benedict and Scholastica, suffered serious damage.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas president of the Philippine bishops' conference, spoke out against President Duterte for supporting the proposed revival of the death penalty and for the spate of drug-related killings in Philippines. In his New Year's Eve homily, Archbishop Villegas said: "If the law for the re-imposition of death penalty is approved by Congress, the president of the Philippines will kill people, mostly indigents who cannot afford to pay lawyers in their judicial fight specially those accused in drug pushing and other crimes."
Scholars in Germany have expressed concern for the future of a unique collection of late medieval manuscripts and books, after church authorities announced the closure of the monastery in which they were kept.
Birgittine scholars discovered the unknown library in Altomünster, Bavaria, during a symposium in October 2015. The prioress Sister Apollonia Buchinger gave permission to have the collection assessed and documented by experts, but then in December 2015 the Vatican announced the closure of the historic Birgittine monastery.
The Iona Community has published a Position Statement on Israel/Palestine. This is a response to the call of Palestinian Christians in the 2009 Kairos Palestine document, and timed to mark the upcoming centenary of the Balfour Declaration. The Statement makes clear the Iona Community's challenge to Christian Zionism as 'a distortion of the Christian faith, in its abuse of scripture to oppress Palestinian people'. It commits the Iona Community to the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel as 'an act of nonviolent solidarity, pursuing equality, freedom, and justice'
In the year 2016, 28 Catholic pastoral care workers were killed worldwide. In 2016, 14 priests, nine religious sisters, one seminarian, and four lay people died violently. For the eighth consecutive year, the most dangerous place for pastoral care workers was America, where 12 pastoral care workers were killed (nine priests and three religious sisters). In Africa, eight pastoral care workers were killed (three priests, two nuns, one seminarian and two lay people); in Asia seven pastoral care workers were killed (one priest, four nuns and two lay people); in Europe one priest was killed.
While the rest of the world was busy celebrating the new year, Pakistan's land mafia and Sukkur police were planning an attack on the Christian residents of Mission Compound in Sukkur, Pakistan. According to Mr Munawar Gill a resident and an ex officer of the Hyderabad diocese, the property is owned by the Hyderabad Diocese, Church of Pakistan, but some people got false documentation and claimed a right to this property. Unfortunately acquiring such documents in exchange for some money is not a difficult task in Pakistan.
Pope Francis has written to the Bishops of the world condemning all forms of oppression and exploitation of children. His words come in a letter signed on the Feast of the Holy Innocents, which takes place each year on December 28, during the Octave of Christmas. In his letter, the Holy Father calls the Bishops to foster in hearts of Christians the joy that comes from the proclamation of the birth of Christ. But in moving words, he notes that the Christmas story is also accompanied by tears. "Today, too," the Pope said, we hear this heart-rending cry of pain,