Writing from Ukraine, David Nazar SJ gives a first-hand account of the recent events in the country. The media coverage has been littered with misunderstandings, he says, particularly in the reporting of the influence of the oligarchs and the role played by Russia. What is really going on in this ‘apocalyptic’ confrontation between the people and the government?
News in Activities
As part of a recent interview given to an Italian news agency, Pope Francis discussed hot-button issues in the Church today, giving clarity to topics which have often been misinterpreted since his election. During the interview, published on March 5 in the Italian daily “Corriere della Sera,” the Pope was asked to speak on several issues which have been a source of heavy debate within the Church, particularly in the pontiff's short tenure.
Two prominent Sri Lankan Human Rights Defenders who were detained and questioned at Kilinochchi by officials of the Police Terrorism Investigation Division(TID) on Sunday March 16th night. The two human rights activists, one a Sinhalese Catholic layman and the other a Tamil catholic clergyman are Mr. Ruki Fernando and Rev.Fr Praveen Mahesan.
A group of Greek Orthodox nuns held for three months by rebels in Syria after being taken from their convent in Maaloula have arrived back in Damascus. The nuns were brought to the Lebanese border town of Arsal early on Monday where they were handed over to Lebanese officials and then driven to Syria.
Filipinos, Indians, Sri Lankans, Pakistanis, Koreans, and members of other nationalities are becoming the new working poor in some of the world’s wealthiest societies.The result is a Catholic population on the peninsula estimated at around 2.5 million. Kuwait and Qatar are home to between 350,000 and 400,000 Catholics, Bahrain has about 140,000, and Saudi Arabia itself has 1.5 million.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, announced that a week of ecumenical prayer for social action would take place at the end of Lent, from Passion Sunday on 6 April to Palm Sunday on 13 April.
Signs of affection were as common as signs of the cross in St. Peter's Square on Friday as couples from around the world attended a special Valentine's Day gathering with Pope Francis. Some 25,000 people engaged to be married were invited to the unprecedented event. But as news of the gathering spread, couples of all ages, including many elderly who have been married for decades, flocked to the square.
The Girl Guide movement last night offered an olive-branch to Christians over the decision to drop references to God from its traditional pledge after pressure from the Church of England over the issue. Members of the movement will be now be able to add a line to the start of the new promise specifically mentioning God.
“There was this young woman out there on the Olympic ice and all these cameras are constantly on her,” Pham said. “She was not scared. She just wanted to pray: she didn't care who was watching.” “What an inspiration,” he said of this simple act of public prayer.
The growth in the number of food banks in the UK in recent years has been something of a divisive issue. ‘A food bank is, and always should be, a short term response to a particular crisis,’ says Paul Chitnis – so what is the long term solution, and how should Christians be addressing this crisis?
On the one year anniversary of Benedict XVI’s announcement of his decision to resign from the Petrine ministry, Pope Francis has sent a tweet, asking the world to join him in prayer for the retired pontiff.
A trove of ancient documents unearthed at the Vatican could shed light on the brutal crackdown on Christianity in isolationist Japan under its samurai rulers, scholars say. The hoard contains about 10,000 pieces of paper, collected by an Italian priest who lived in Japan last century, mostly dating from the "Edo" period (1603-1867), when the country shut itself off from the outside world and declared Western religion illegal.
The call of Pope Francis to take the Gospel to the streets also includes the digital ones. The first message of Pope Francis for World Communications Day is consistent with the Holy Father’s concern for reaching individuals where they are. Today that often means the virtual confines of the digital environment.
Giving Voice, a peer-led organization of women religious, is using regular retreats and networking to improve peer support among young discerners. The latest retreat, held Jan. 17-19 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery in west Phoenix, was aimed at women in their 20s and 30s. The retreat drew 23 women, all at various stages of discernment, who are living vowed religious life with 12 different communities.
The decision to drop references to God from the movement’s traditional pledge of allegiance and expel anyone who refuses to adopt the new version, amounts to “rank discrimination” against Christians, Muslims and followers of other faiths – often taking place inside church halls, according to opponents.
Secretary of State John Kerry, whose political career has at times put him publicly at odds with Catholic Church leadership, traveled to the Vatican in a visit that demonstrated a reinvigorated relationship between the world’s most powerful country and one of its most powerful institutions. The meeting – which the former altar boy deemed “a thrill” – marks a new, deeper alignment between Washington and the Vatican.
Bringing refugees from Syria to the West is not the answer to the crisis, according to the leader of Catholics in the disaster-stricken country, who says more can be done to help displaced people both there and elsewhere in the Middle East.
Some 50 new Catholic churches have been built in the Czech Republic since the 1989 collapse of the communist regime, mainly in Moravian regions with a higher share of believers, and another ten are being planned or under construction, daily Lidové Noviny (LN) writes today.