08/19/2014IRAQ As the liberation of the Nineveh Plains gets underway, Kurdistan bishop waits for Pope Francis For Mgr Rabban Al-Qas, bishop of Amadiyah, bomb disposal experts are needed to clear mines. The terrorists of the Islamic State have laid scores of them, slowing down the push by peshmerga and regular Iraqi troops. The Kurdish government allocates US$ 12 million for Christian refugees. A possible papal visit is raising hope. Erbil (AsiaNews) - The
taking of the Mosul dam is an important first step, which marks
a "change" in the political
and military situation in Iraq and the start of the "liberation"
of the villages in the Nineveh Plains.
However, teams of bomb...
08/19/2014ISRAEL - PALESTINE Gaza war: Truce prolonged for another 24 hours Israel wants guarantees for the demilitarization of the Strip; Hamas wants an end to the blockade and the openings of border crossings. Sense of détente between the two sides. At least 100 thousand Palestinian left homeless by airraids. The death toll: 2016 Palestinians, mostly civilians; 67 Israelis, mostly soldiers.
08/18/2014INDIA - IRAQ Indian bishop invokes Mary Queen of Heaven to bring peace to Iraq by Felix Machado* The President of the Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) reflects on the persecution of Iraqi Christians. ISIS is "destroying the historical and human heritage of the country" and bringing the state "towards the total destruction of its religious history."
08/18/2014KOREA - VATICAN - AYD Pope: Reconciliation and peace in Korea and world need conversion of hearts by Vincenzo Faccioli Pintozzi At the great final Mass of his apostolic visit to South Korea, Francis once again calls on Koreans to "firmly to reject a mindset shaped by suspicion and instead shape a culture formed by the teaching of the Gospel. Trust in the power of the Cross". All Koreans "are brothers and sisters, continue with humanitarian aid." An unscripted prayer Card. Filoni, sent to Iraq, and for all minorities who suffer in that country. Before the Mass the Pope meets with a former "comfort woman", who gifts the Pope a badge of her association which he wore throughout the Mass. Leaders of other religions: "We walk together, in the presence of God".
08/17/2014KOREA - VATICAN - AYD Pope tells Asia's young people to wake up and not to be afraid to bring faith to society At the final Mass of the sixth Asian Youth Day Francis took the opportunity to spur young Asians. "Wake up!" he told them. The martyrs who defeated death speak "to you of a duty, a responsibility" to bring Christ to every reach of Asia. You "are not only a part of the future of the Church; you are also a necessary and beloved part of the Church's present." The next Asian Youth Day is set for 2017 in Indonesia.
08/17/2014KOREA - VATICAN - AYD Pope ready to talk to countries that do not have diplomatic relations with Vatican "I earnestly hope that those countries of your continent with whom the Holy See does not yet enjoy a full relationship, may not hesitate to further a dialogue for the benefit of all," the pope said during a meeting with Asian bishops. The pontiff also mentioned the many nameless martyrs of the faith, who died for the Gospel in Asia and "deserve our love." For Gwangju archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joon, the meeting was "brotherly and friendly". As he "walked about us [. . .] he spoke instead of staying on the stage," spending "a few minutes with each of us." He is a "trailblazer even in the Church."
08/16/2014KOREA - VATICAN - AYD Disabled, men and women religious and lay people in the pope's "ministry of compassion" In Kkottongnae, Francis met the sick, the elderly and the marginalised at the "Village of Flowers". He greeted, kissed and personally blessed all the residents of the facility, sending a very important signal to a society that still does not accept diversity. Later he met with men and women religious, reminding them of the importance of the vows they took, as well as with the laity. Helping the poor "is not enough. I entrust you the task of restoring dignity to those who have lost it for lack of work".
08/15/2014KOREA - VATICAN - AYD Pope tells young people in Asia to pray for Korea's reunification, that God never tires of forgiving At the Solmoe shrine, birthplace of the first Korean priest, Francis met for the first time the young people who came from all over the continent for Asian Youth Day. He offered a long off-the-cuff reflection (partially in English) on the vocation of young people, Korean reunification, confusion and exploitation. The pope offered young people three "rules of life" to be authentic witnesses of the Gospel: "Rely on the strength that Christ gives you, pray every day and be guided by the truth." The warmth of Asian youth "makes us perceive the glory of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit." A young man from Hong Kong asked, "What can we do to show China Christ's love as well?"
08/14/2014IRAQ As the UN declares a refugee emergency in Iraq, world Churches pray for fleeing Christians The United Nations has declared a "Level 3 Emergency," its highest, to facilitate the mobilisation of assets and resources. The situation of minorities displaced by advancing Islamists is getting worse. The archbishop of Singapore and the Italian Bishops' Conference express their solidarity through prayers. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I speaks out against indifference and silence. In Mosul, Islamists "cancel" the street named after Mgr Rahho.
08/14/2014KOREA - VATICAN - AYD Seoul, Francis’ first immersion among crowd. To the bishops: "May we be saved from spiritual worldliness" by Vincenzo Faccioli Pintozzi The Meeting with Korean bishops becomes the first embrace between the Pope and the faithful gathered to greet him. Despite a suffocating security, the Pope got out of his car to embrace and greet those present. To the Bishops: "Guardians of memory and hope, do not be overwhelmed by worldly standards of success. Woe to us if the cross is emptied of its power to judge the wisdom of this world".
08/14/2014KOREA - VATICAN - CHINA - AYD Beijing "recalls" Chinese priests from Seoul and blocks 80 young people from travelling for the AYD AsiaNews sources in Korea confirm: "At least a dozen priests have been contacted by the Chinese government, which warned them of 'problems' in their return home if they had stayed for Francis’ apostolic visit to the peninsula". A delegation of 100 young people present in Daejeon for the Asian Youth Day, but about 80 were stopped before their departure. "At least half" of those are Beijing seminarians, who in recent weeks refused to obey an excommunicated Bishop Su. Not one word from Xinhua about the Pope’s arrival in Korea.
08/13/2014VATICAN-IRAQ-UN The Pope writes to Ban Ki-moon: Stop the humanitarian tragedy in Northern Iraq The Pope asks the UN Secretary General and the international community to intervene to ensure security, peace, aid for refugees and to help them return to their homes. He places Ban Ki-moon before the "the tears, the suffering and the heartfelt cries of despair of Christians and other religious minorities of the beloved land of Iraq."