» 10/15/2007, 00.00
Mosul: Syro-Catholic priests still in the hands of their captors
Negotiations are underway to free priests abducted on Saturday. Pope appealed for their release yesterday. Some Iraqi Christians criticise Baghdad’s ‘indifference’ towards the plight of kidnapped Iraqi clergymen.
Ankawa (AsiaNews) – The two Syro-Catholic priests, who were abducted in Mosul on Saturday and whose release Pope Benedict XVI called for in yesterday’s Angelus, are still in the hands of their captors, Christian website www.Ankawa.com reported this morning. On its Arabic page, it criticises the central government which “continues to ignore the problem of Iraqi clergymen” and fails “to investigate and arrest the culprits.”
Sources close to the nunciature told AsiaNews that negotiations are underway and that the Syro-Catholic bishop of Mosul, Mgr Basile George Casmoussa, is working day and night for the release of the two priests. According to some rumours talks are slow because the captors are asking a king’s ransom for letting them go.
Fr Mazen Ishoa, 35, and Fr Pius Afas, 60, were kidnapped by unknown people on their way to celebrate mass at Our Lady of Fatima Parish Church in the al-Faisaliya neighbourhood.
Ultimatum for two priests abducted in Mosul, 72 hours to pay the ransom
Captors reiterate their demand to Syro-Catholic archbishop, who says the two priests are doing well. So far though, no direct contact with Fathers Ishoa and Afas.
Abducted priests in Mosul, bishop slams government indifference
Mgr Casmoussa expresses his views on Ankawa.com, an Arabic-language website. Since the two clergymen went missing, no politician has lifted a finger for them. The prelate appeals for prayer and peace.
Angst over two missing priests in Mosul, captors suspend contacts
Captors have ceased all contacts after the Church said it could not pay the ransom demanded for Fathers Ishoa and Afas. Christians are praying but in Baghdad threats continue. On the border, the Turkish army strikes at a Christian village in Kurdistan.
Two priests kidnapped in Mosul while travelling to say mass
Still no claim of responsibility for the kidnapping of Pius Affas and Mazen Ishoa, for whom Benedict XVI launched an appeal today.
Love for our “Muslim brothers and for Iraq” in Mgr Rahho’s Will
The Will of the Chaldean archbishop slain by Islamic terrorists last month is published. It includes no material bequests but a strong message upon which to build peace and love among religious communities. His notion of death is one of openness, of “giving oneself to a new and infinite God”.
Card. Tong’s article on China-Holy See dialogue, arouses joy and dismay
The Hong Kong bishop’s optimism over a change in the method of appointing bishops and the function of the Patriotic Association. But it is unclear whether it is real change or just nominal, in words. Underground bishops are patriotic and love their country, but the Party is suspicious of them. Freedom in episcopal appointments is “essential", but the bishops are not free to exercise their ministry. Patriotic bishops controlled in their visits with members of the universal Church. The "bugs" (hidden microphones) in a bishop’s office.
Card. Tong: The future of Sino-Vatican dialogue from an ecclesiological point of view
Card. John Tong
The Hong Kong Cardinal outlines the steps that hope to propel dialogue between China and the Holy See. Themes include the Pope's role in the appointment of bishops; A change of vision in the Patriotic Association; the possible integration of the underground bishops in the Episcopal Conference. A new article by card. John Tong, following a previous article published a few months ago on "Communion of the Church in China with the universal Church."
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