Social Teaching/International Issues
- Pope to Canonize Francisco and Jacinta Marto in Fatima [Portugal] on May 13 (Zenit, 4/20/17)
- Official Opening of the Cause of Beatification of Father Jacques Hamel [of France] (Zenit, 4/20/17)
"Nyalian’s family is at the centre of the bloody civil war in South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, born six years ago in a torrent of hope and exuberance over liberation from its northern neighbour.Now South Sudan can add another six-year first: the only full-blown famine to be declared anywhere in the world this year and one entirely of human making" (Times of London, 4/18/17)
"The recent Palm Sunday bombings at two Egyptian churches that killed 44 worshippers and wounded more than 100 others are the latest in a spate of deadly attacks targeting the world’s Christians.
"The study also found that as many as 600 million Christians were prevented from practicing their faith in 2016.
"'There are many places on Earth where being a Christian is the most dangerous thing you can be,' Robert Nicholson of the Philos Project told Fox News in January.
"The violence against Christians has been on the rise over the past two years, with assailants growing more ferocious with each attack.
"In October 2016, more than 40 Christians were killed in the village of GodoGodo, Nigeria, by Muslim Fulani Herdsman. The mostly Christian town was burned to the ground and crops and grazing land was destroyed by the herdsmen, who shot and slashed dozens of the fleeing villagers. In addition, more than 300 were left severely injured.
"In the war-torn Central African Republic, more than a dozen Christian refugees were hacked by machete-wielding militia fighters, also in October 2016. Fighters from the republic’s largely Muslim Sleeka militia attacked refugees living in the village of Kaga Bandoro. More than 50 people were injured and another 13 were killed before U.N. peacekeepers from a nearby camp stopped the bloodshed.
(photo/link added by blogger)
"The tape showed the victims -- who were migrant workers kidnapped in the city of Sirte -- kneeling in orange jumpsuits on a beach along the southern Mediterranean coast before they were beheaded.
"'Oh people, recently you've seen us on the hills of Al-Sham [Greater Syria] and on Dabiq's Plain, chopping off the heads that had been carrying the cross delusion for a long time, filled with spite against Islam and Muslims, and today we… are sending another message,' said one of their captives in English before the decapitations.
"While the video, experts say, was doctored to make ISIS soldiers appear larger than life, no one holds out hope the victims, mostly poor fishermen who had gone to Libya for work, are alive. The following day, after the clip went viral, Egyptian warplanes launched airstrikes on a port city near Tripoli, where the video appeared to have been filmed.
"The Coptic Christian community has become what is seemingly a top target for ISIS. Worshippers on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and the northern part of the country have been under siege.
"The Sinai Peninsula -- where northeastern Egypt shares its borders with Gaza and Israel -- has been the center of an ongoing conflict between Islamists and Egyptian forces for years, but in recent times the Islamic State and their local affiliates, known as the 'Sinai Province,' have been attempting to drive the Coptic population out of the northern Mediterranean city of Al Arish.
"While the Christian population of the city has had to flee from threats before, their plight has taken a dark turn in 2017. With a recent call from ISIS for the Copts on the peninsula to be killed, more than 100 families had to flee amid attacks – including the executions of their loved ones.
"In the Palm Sunday attacks in Egypt, at least 44 people were killed and more than 100 were injured in the bombings -- which ISIS claimed responsibility for.
"The first blast occurred at St. George Church in the Nile Delta town of Tanta, where at least 27 people were killed and 78 others wounded, officials said.
"Television footage showed the inside of the church, where a large number of people gathered around what appeared to be lifeless, bloody bodies covered with papers.
The second explosion – which Egypt’s Interior Ministry says was caused by a suicide bomber who tried to storm St. Mark's Cathedral in the coastal city of Alexandria -- left at least 17 dead, and 48 injured.
"The attack came just after Pope Tawadros II -- leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria -- finished services. He reportedly was unhurt.
"The blasts came at the start of Holy Week leading up to Easter, the most solemn time for Christians and just weeks before Pope Francis is due to visit Egypt. The attacks led Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to call for a three-month long state of emergency.
Christians continue to live in fear of practicing their faith, and there are no signs the slaughter soon will be coming to an end" (Fox News, 4/17/17).
- Stopping short of Pascha: The New York Times did cover the quiet courage of the Copts [in Egypt] (Terry Mattingly, 4/16/17)
- Death toll from Aleppo [Syria] bus convoy bomb attack at least 126: Observatory (Reuters, 4/16/17)
- New film on Armenian genocide took two years to make, longer to realize (CNS, 4/14/17)
- International pilgrims prepare for 2017 Uganda Martyrs Day (Vatican Radio, 4/12/17)
- Global Restrictions on Religion Rise Modestly in 2015, Reversing Downward Trend (Pew Research Center, 4/11/17)
- Head of UN Population Fund Denies U.S. Epidemic of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (C-Fam, 4/7/17)
- The Left Seeks to Silence Pro-Life/Pro-Family Voices (C-Fam, 4/7/17)
- Christian leaders question Pakistan-Afghanistan border wall (CWN, 4/5/17)
- U.S. withdraws funding for U.N. Population Fund (Reuters, 4/3/17)
- "Most believers of any faith and people of all persuasions are shocked, indeed scandalized, when they discover that trafficking occurs in every country and that it represents a most prosperous business on the planet. It is a form of slavery, a crime against humanity, a grave violation of human rights, an atrocious scourge, and it is all the more to be condemned when it takes place against children" (Pope Francis, 4/3/17)
- "I thank you for your presence here tonight, on the eve of the sixtieth anniversary of the signing of the Treaties instituting the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community....As Saint John Paul II affirmed: 'Today too, the soul of Europe remains united, because, in addition to its common origins, those same Christian and human values are still alive. Respect for the dignity of the human person, a profound sense of justice, freedom, industriousness, the spirit of initiative, love of family, respect for life, tolerance, the desire for cooperation and peace: all these are its distinctive marks'." (Pope Francis, 3/24/17).
- "This Conference intends to negotiate a Treaty inspired by ethical and moral arguments. It is an exercise in hope and it is my wish that it may also constitute a decisive step along the road towards a world without nuclear weapons" (Pope Francis, 3/23/17).
- "Today is World Water Day....I am happy that this meeting is taking place, for it represents yet another stage in the joint commitment of various institutions to raising consciousness about the need to protect water as a treasure belonging to everyone, mindful too of its cultural and religious significance" (Pope Francis, 3/22/17).
- "Although Christians endured various forms of harassment in 2016, the fundamental revisions to religious policy foreshadow more intense persecution. A harrowing winter has arrived; however, as the chilling seasons always yield to warmer climates, spring will someday spread across China. China Aid believes that God will protect and preserve Christians and churches because we believe that 'The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever' (Psalm 29:10)"(2016 Annual Report: Chinese Government Persecution of Churches and Christians in Mainland China (China Aid, 2/1/17)).
- Interview From Aleppo [Syria]: ‘A Dark City’(Zenit, 9/8/16)
- "But others said, 'The Christ will not come from Galilee, will He? Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David's family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?'" (4/1/17)