- Monday, 01 November 2010 06:34
Catholics in Our
Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad were held hostage and some killed and
wounded by a group of Al Qaeda militants. The siege tragically ended in death
when Iraqi security forces raided the church in order to free the faithful
being held inside.
During his All Saints Angelus address today in Rome, Pope
Benedict said, “Last night, in a very serious attack on the Syrian Catholic
Cathedral in Baghdad, dozens of people were killed and wounded, including two
priests and a group of faithful gathered for Sunday Mass.”
Benedict continued, “I
pray for the victims of this senseless violence, all the more ferocious as it
affected defenseless civilians, this closeness to the martyred Christian
community, targeted yet again by terrorists, and encouraged all pastors and
faithful to be strong and firm in hope.”
“Faced with the brutal violence that
continues to tear the peoples of the Middle East apart,” Pope Benedict ended the Angelus talk by saying: “I renew
my appeal for peace: it is God’s gift, but it is also the result of the efforts
of men of good will, national and international institutions. We must all join
forces to ensure an end to all violence!”
- Sunday, 31 October 2010 21:20
The Church in Baghdad has faced another crisis with the murder of 7 and wounding of many more during the Divine Liturgy in Baghdad today. Reports seem to conflict: as many as 47 are reported dead including 2 priests.
- Tuesday, 26 October 2010 11:35
The bishops at the Synod of Bishops for the Middle
East have given the Holy Father the following propositions for his
consideration and perhaps for him to act on when he issues a post-synodal
document. The Synod is now closed and the bishops are on their way home and now it’s time for the Pope and his consultors to do some heavy lifting. The publication of the propositions was approved by the Pope, though they remain unofficial. Some of the propositions are formal, pro-forma and many are so boring
that watching the grass grow is fun.
There’s a lot boiler
plate or what I take to be normal, e.g., financial transparency, providing
information in Arabic, being hospitable to immigrants, listening to youth, etc.
Also, what’ve given here you can get a sense of what the churches face in their
situation. What’s evident to a Westerner is that our context in North America is a bit
more advanced, dare I say, than the situation many Middle Eastern Christians face. We already have experience of good
education, dialogue, fruitful collaboration with other faiths, developed
canonical processes. The propositions do raise the point of concern for our sisters and brothers who are Christians in the Middle East.
What is missing is the
consideration for a common date for Easter and a better awareness of the role
of the sacred Liturgy in the life of the churches.
- Thursday, 21 October 2010 07:36
The Fraternity of Communion and Liberation sponsored a forum in which the Patriarchs of the Eastern Churches attended and spoke about matter pertaining to peace-building in the Middle East. Notable in attendance were the Mayor of Rome and Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. Patriarch Gregory of the Melkites, one of the most out-spoken Catholic patriarchs, said that if the international community could create the State of Israel it should also work for peace there. The conflicts in Israel and Palestine are destroying the fabric of peace, culture and family. Freedoms are of religion and conscience are not universally respected in all the countries of the Middle East. It was noted that Saudi Arabia gives no freedom of worship and conscience to their inhabitants.
Pray for peace!
- Thursday, 30 September 2010 13:14
On 22 September 2010, a giant in the world of
ecumenism and Eastern Christianity died after living with illness. No one can
doubt the sentiment expressed by the Pope saying that Monsignor Fortino had a “generous
commitment with intelligence and passion at the service of unity.” The Pope
last saw Monsignor Fortino on June 28 with the delegation of the Ecumenical
Patriarch Bartholomew I. A telegram was sent through his secretary of state,
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, honoring the life of the undersecretary (third in
charge) of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who focused
particularly on relations with the Orthodox Churches.
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