The prosecution drops appeal against bail, which was denied outright to 31 defendants. A number of conditions have been imposed, plus bail money.
Francis celebrated Mass in Baghdad’s Chaldean cathedral, “where wisdom arose in ancient times, so many witnesses have arisen in our own time, often overlooked by the news, yet precious in God’s eyes. Witnesses who, by living the Beatitudes, are helping God to fulfil his promises of peace.”
Today was dedicated to dialogue between faiths. It began with a visit to the leader of Iraqi Shias, Al-Sistani, and continued with the interfaith meeting in Ur of the Chaldeans, a blessed place that “brings us back” to “the birth of our religions”. “Hostility, extremism and violence are not born of a religious heart: they are betrayals of religion.”
Francis met with bishops, priests, religious, seminarians and catechists in the Syriac Catholic Cathedral of "Our Lady of Salvation" where a terror attack killed 48 people. “Their deaths are a powerful reminder that inciting war, hateful attitudes, violence or the shedding of blood are incompatible with authentic religious teachings,” said the Pope.
During his first hours in Iraq, Francis met with Iraq’s president, political leaders and diplomats. “May God grant that we journey together as brothers and sisters in ‘the firm conviction that authentic teachings of religions invite us to remain rooted in the values of peace… mutual understanding, human fraternity and harmonious coexistence’.” The pontiff will travel in a bullet-proof car and wear a mask.
Francis leaves for Baghdad tomorrow to meet a “martyred Church” and visit places devastated by the Islamic State. The trip includes a visit to Ur of the Chaldeans and a meeting with Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, leader of the Shia community, which is the majority religion in Iraq and in neighbouring Iran. Before his departure, Francis released a video message.
At the general audience, Francis asks to pray for the journey that begins on Friday. In Myanmar, "aspirations for peace must not be stifled by violence". Before knowing Jesus, he said, "we really did not know how to pray: what words, what feelings and what languages were appropriate for God."
The accused were arrested in January for organising and taking part in a primary held in July 2020 designed to win the upcoming election. Card Joseph Zen and Lee Cheuk-yan were present in the courthouse where the accused were arraigned. For US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, “Political participation and freedom of expression should not be crimes.” Beijing wants to severely punish Jimmy Lai, Benni Tai and Joshua Wong.
A Christian's mission, Francis said at the Angelus, is "ignite little lights in people's hearts; be little lamps of the Gospel that bring a little love and hope ". In Lent a "fast" from gossip. A prayer for children suffering from rare diseases.
Commentary on the Gospel of the 2nd Sunday of Lent B (Mark 9, 2-10).
The theme from Ps 103: 3: "He forgives all your sins". A guide "to offer some suggestions to allow parishes and Christian communities to prepare themselves to live the initiative 24 hours for the Lord.”
They were arrested in January for organizing and taking part in the July primary. A repeat of the Jimmy Lai case is feared. The group includes Benny Tai, strategist of the electoral campaign. Accused of "wanting to win the election". Chinese university students’ union banned.
The Court motivation for the rejection of latest bail request by the democracy tycoon. His commitment not to use the internet and to limit contact overlooked. The legal foundations of the city have been subverted. Links between Lai and the “Stand with Hong Kong” pressure group rejected.
Chinese authorities: The city must be run by "patriots". The risk of disqualification before and after the vote. Carrie Lam: The central government intervened to avoid political chaos. District councillors already targeted. The postponement of the elections is a ploy to prevent the Democrats from winning.