26 July 2016
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    25/07/2016 - ISRAEL – SAUDI ARABIA

    After a year, Israel and Saudi Arabia make public their talks on Mideast "challenges". Opposed to last year’s Iranian nuclear deal, the two talk about the stalled 2002 Arab peace imitative based on diplomatic relations in exchange for peace and the creation of a Palestinian state.


    by Joshua Lapide

    25/07/2016 - ISRAEL – PALESTINE

    Restoration on Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem reveals new findings and splendid mosaics (photos)


    Work on transepts reveals mosaics hidden for centuries: Ascension of Christ with Mary, the apostles and angels, the incredulity of Saint Thomas, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, and fragments of the transfiguration scene. Artist’s name appears on a 12th century mosaic.


    24/07/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: Appeals and prayer for Munich and Kabul massacres. The prayer of Our Father


    At the Angelus, Pope Francis makes the pilgrims pray for the victims of terrorist attacks in Germany and Afghanistan, against the "dark security and peace prospects." "The word 'Father' is the 'secret' of the prayer of Jesus, is the key that He gives to us so we too can enter into that confidential relationship of dialogue with the Father who accompanied and supported all his life”. The Pope’s upcoming trip for World Youth Day in Krakow, from 27 July.


    23/07/2016 - POLAND - VATICAN - WYD

    Krakow, young people from all over the world and high alert for WYD


    A few days before the opening of the 13th World Youth Day security levels have been raised at Wawel, in the Market Square and the rest of the historic center. But the "peaceful" invasion of the young people is filling the  streets with colour. The first vocational stands and “street confessionals” are appearing, ready for the events led by the pontiff. A Taiwanese delegation travels 42 hours to reach the cultural capital of Poland: "exhausting but beautiful".


    22/07/2016 - ASIA – WYD

    Card Gracias: young Asians bring Asian values to World Youth Day in Krakow

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    "Our Asian pilgrims not only bring the grandeur, the vitality and beauty of Asia, but also the multi-cultural diversity, pluralism as well as Asian values of hospitality and family and, of course, the Church of the young.” Asia youth come to discover Krakow and the charisma of John Paul II, founder of the WYD.


    22/07/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: the Church and the world are still in need of contemplative religious


    Apostolic Constitution "Dei Vultum quaerere – Seeking the Face of God" indicates 12 "themes of reflection and discernment" on women’s contemplative life in general. Yes to social media, but not  as a means of "wasting time or escaping from the demands of fraternal life in community". No to "recruiting" sisters to avoid closing monasteries. Prayer “must enlarge your heart to embrace all humanity, especially those who suffer” and not close monastic life in on itself.


    20/07/2016 - VATICAN - POLAND

    Pope: Estimated 2 million waiting in Krakow for WYD


    Francis will arrive by tram, along with a group of disabled people. He will visit Auschwitz, in silence, and Father Kolbe’s cell. "There are no particular concerns regarding security" and "no groups have withdrawn over security concerns".


    19/07/2016 - CHINA – VATICAN

    Chinese youth and priests prevented from attending World Youth Day

    by Bernardo Cervellera

    Some 2,000 young people from mainland China are expected in Krakow. However, many would-be participants have no money or sponsors. The authorities have banned official and underground priests from going because they are too friendly with the pope. Police have stopped young people at airports minutes before embarkation. Some fear that once home participants will be subjected to interrogation.


    17/07/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: More important than serving are listening and welcoming guests


    Francis spoke today about Jesus’s visit to two sisters, Martha and Mary, one of whom was “busy” and the other was “contemplative”. The right attitude belongs to those who "value the most important thing, i.e. the presence of the guest, Jesus." After the Marian prayer, the pope turned his thoughts to the Nice massacre. “May God, the good Father, welcome all the victims into his peace, support the wounded and comfort the families. May he dissolve every project of terror and death, so that no one dares to spill his brother's blood.” He also greeted “the great Chinese brothers and sisters” in the square.


    15/07/2016 - VATICAN - FRANCE

    Pope condemns "blind violence" of Nice attack


    Solidarity with the French people hit "again" and with the victims' families. The pain of the Asian churches in a statement by Cardinal Gracias.


    14/07/2016 - ISRAEL - PALESTINE

    Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza reopened after 10 years


    The Israeli government declares that "the decision was made to facilitate the work of Palestinian importers and thus help the economy of the Gaza Strip".


    12/07/2016 - ISRAEL - PALESTINE

    Israel approves controversial law on foreign funding of NGOs


    With 57 votes in favor and 48 against, parliament passes the norm that regulates the activity of NGOs that receive foreign funding. Prime Minister Netanyahu says it will block the activity of those "meddling in internal Israeli affairs". Opposition denounces  "seeds of fascism". Arab politicians: "An norm that is intimidating for those working for equal rights".

     


    11/07/2016 - ISLAM – EUROPE

    Political Islam, failure in educating young people, ambiguity towards the West

    by Hocine Drouiche*

    Qur‘anic schools in the West teach political Islam centred on jihad and hatred towards the enemies. Imams and scholars are blocking any reform and every question from students. Islamist groups want to destroy Muslim regimes and the imperialist West. An Islam of dialogue that does not proselytise is still possible. Europe must control Jihadi groups. This will save Islam as a religious experience, and even world peace. Imam Drouiche, vice-president of the Conference of Imams of France-Paris, gives his reflections.


    11/07/2016 - ISRAEL - PALESTINE

    Israel allocates $ 13 million for West Bank settlements


    The government approved the distribution, within three years,$ 12.8 million for the settlements of Kiryat Arba and Hebron. They will be used to for social, educational and security projects. Yesterday hundreds of settlers marched to denounce Palestinian attacks.

     


    10/07/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: May good works grow within us, for we will be judged by our mercy


    Francis comments on the parable of the Good Samaritan: "Let us ask ourselves: Is our faith fruitful? Does it produce good works? Or is it rather sterile, and therefore more dead than alive? Do I stop to help others or simply pass by?". After the Angelus prayer he recalls Sea Sunday: "May Mary, Star of the Sea, watch over you."


    09/07/2016 - ISRAEL - PALESTINE

    Without electricity, Gaza invests in solar panels


    The goal is to install solar panels on the roofs of 10 thousand homes in the Gaza Strip. Initial investment of about 5 thousand euro per person, but guaranteed long term benefits. After years of Israeli restrictions, it is now possible to import panels. And the prices have dropped.

     


    07/07/2016 - ISRAEL – PALESTINE

    Two years since the Gaza war, activists and NGOs complain of failed reconstruction


    AIDA, an NGO, releases a report complaining that reconstruction is “painfully slow”.  It took the UN over a year to start rebuilding the first bombed out homes. Those accused of war crimes have not yet been prosecuted. Israel’s blockade against Gaza remains an obstacle.


    06/07/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope calls on a group of poor to pray for those who are rich and those who have no compassion


    The “Church, who loves and prefers the ones whom Jesus loved and preferred, cannot stay quiet until it has reached all those who experience rejection, exclusion, and do not matter to anyone.”


    06/07/2016 - ISRAEL - PALESTINE

    Activists and international community against 800 new Israeli settlements homes


    Israeli plans to build hundreds of new homes in existing settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. US State department: "latest step... in a systematic process of land seizures”. Peace Now: Settlement construction is endangering both the possibility for peace; it will not prevent the next victims but rather strengthen the extremists on both sides.

     


    06/07/2016 - ISLAM

    We Muslims hypocrites: Daesh, it is us

    by Kamel Abderrahmani

    Sharia "invented" by Ulemas and taught in Islamic schools is the same law practiced by the Islamic State militants. The "religious jurisprudence, founded more than 10 centuries ago," has “chained and rusted our brain and that of our children." It is urgent to modernize the Muslim religion and free it from the ambiguities linked to the past. The courageous appeal of a young Algerian Muslim student.


    05/07/2016 - BANGLADESH – ISLAM

    Dhaka massacre and the half understood Regensburg lecture

    by Bernardo Cervellera

    After years of the good life, “derailed youth” converted to radical Islam. Moderate Islam must condemn fundamentalist Islam. Muslims blame uncultured imams who sow hatred and contempt. The West should read again Benedict XVI’s lecture and rethink its marginalisation of religion as irrational. Fundamentalist Islam and the godless West mirror each other.


    05/07/2016 - VATICAN - SYRIA

    For pope, no military solution in Syria is possible, only a national unity government can do


    Francis issues a video message in support of Caritas Internationalis’s ‘Syria, peace is possible’ campaign. “While the people suffer, incredible quantities of money are being spent to supply weapons to fighters. And some of the countries supplying these arms are also among those that talk of peace. How can you believe in someone who caresses you with the right hand and strikes you with the left hand?”


    04/07/2016 - VATICAN

    Vatican calls on governments and bishops to care more for those who live from the sea


    The Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant releases a message for Sea Sunday 2016, which falls next Sunday 10 July, to "remind to all Christian communities and to each individual how important and essential are the seafarer profession and the shipping industry for our daily life”.


    02/07/2016 - ISRAEL – PALESTINE

    Israel strikes at Hamas in Gaza, Quartet warns of “perpetual conflict”


    Rocket hits kindergarten in Sderot. Israeli planes hit targets in Gaza and Beit Lahia. No one was reported killed or wounded. Extremist violence, settlements and Palestinians divisions threaten peace hopes.


    01/07/2016 - ISRAEL - PALESTINE - UN

    Quartet report says Israel must urgently halt settlement expansion in the West Bank


    Ongoing construction one of three "negative trends" that must be quickly reversed, Un diplomat says. Violence, incitement and the Palestinian Authority's lack of control over the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip also "severely undermine hopes for peace.” Quartet findings the basis for reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Israeli girl stabbed to death by Palestinian inside bedroom.


    30/06/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope’s travels in the Caucasus to "encourage hope and paths of peace"


    At today’s jubilee audience, Francis spoke about his recent visit to Armenia, and his coming trip to Georgia and Azerbaijan in September. It is "one thing to talk about mercy, it is another to live mercy" because "the works of mercy are not theoretical issues, but actual deeds. They force us to roll up our sleeves to alleviate suffering. "


    30/06/2016 - CHINA – VATICAN

    Mgr Ma Daqin, the Vatican and the Patriotic Association’s “crooked logic”

    by Gu Feng

    A priest in central China looks at the bishop of Shanghai’s volte-face, comparing him to John the Baptist who was jailed after he accused Herod. Because of their crooked logic, the Patriotic Association and the government seek to eliminate religion from the country. The Vatican is in danger of contradicting itself if it makes compromises with the Patriotic Association. Pope Benedict XVI described the latter as “incompatible” with Catholic doctrine in his Letter to Chinese Catholics, which Pope Francis has never disclaimed, but has instead reiterated.


    29/06/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope speaks about Peter and Paul, lights of the east and west, appeals after Istanbul attack


    At the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis talks about the two apostles who brought the faith to Rome. “They still want to carry Jesus, his merciful love, his consolation, his peace.” The pontiff welcomed the ecumenical delegation from Constantinople, as well as Chinese Catholics. Sharing the sorrow, he prays for the Turkish people after the Istanbul airport attack.


    29/06/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: Prayer as the way out for the community in lieu of looking inward from persecution and fear


    On the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, Pope Francis greeted the delegation sent by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. He expressed hope to see things go from "division to unity". He blessed the pallia for new major archbishops, a sign of communion with the See of Peter. Christian communities must be Churches “going out” through prayer to overcome fear and "Herod's complex", the feeling of persecution that drives inward when faced with dangers and “God’s surprises”.


    28/06/2016 - VATICAN

    Pope: mercy is the “criterion” for Catholic-Orthodox relations


    Francis welcomes a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, presently in Rome for the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul. “For divine mercy frees us of the burden of past conflicts and lets us be open to the future to which the Spirit is guiding us.” Bartholomew mentions the visit to Lesvos Island.






    Editor's choices

    ASIA – WYD
    Card Gracias: young Asians bring Asian values to World Youth Day in Krakow

    Nirmala Carvalho

    "Our Asian pilgrims not only bring the grandeur, the vitality and beauty of Asia, but also the multi-cultural diversity, pluralism as well as Asian values of hospitality and family and, of course, the Church of the young.” Asia youth come to discover Krakow and the charisma of John Paul II, founder of the WYD.


    SYRIA
    Horror in Aleppo: "moderate" rebel group beheads Palestinian child



    The Nour al-Din al-Zenki movement beheads 11-year old Abdallah Issa shouting "Allah Akbar". The child was executed for collaborating with government forces. Before he died he was tortured. The group’s leaders try to back away from the barbaric killing. The group is supported by Turkey, the US, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.


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