From the Catholic World (170)

< Egypt’s Christians Still Suffering Attacks > – Rome, February 18: Despite the so-called Arab Spring, Egypt’s Christians are still hoping for safety in their homeland. Recently, St. Georgas Coptic Church in Sarsena was attacked and burned, nearly destroying it. A few parishioners and the pastor were slightly injured, before a local Muslim family helped them to escape the scene. Fr Rafic Greiche of Melkite Church in Egypt told that attacks against Christians in Egypt have become all too frequent – about one per week – since the country’s 2012 revolution.

< Christian Leaders Urge US Government to Remember the Poor > – Washington, February 27: Nearly 100 national Christian leaders released Feb. 25 a letter to US President Barack Obama and the leaders of Congress “affirming the government’s responsibility concerning poor people”, and states that “assuring government’s obligation to advance the common good, ensure fairness, and defend the most vulnerable is good religion and good politics.” The letter was sent on behalf of the ecumenical “Circle of Protection” coalition.

< Syria: two years of conflict threaten children’s education and well-being > 
JRS Dispatches – 15 March: As the conflict in Syria enters its third year, the protection and well-being of Syrian children continue to be gravely compromised. The present situation of the almost total collapse of critical infrastructure is exacerbated by the lack of sufficient funding for humanitarian assistance. In many cases such emergency services have been the only education Syrian children have received in nearly two years; in places where regular schools continue to function, supplemental support provided by JRS also serves as an important psychosocial cushion for those traumatised by the conflict.

< Pope Francis says that all humanity must be custodians of Creation >
The Tablet – March 23: Pope Francis has officially begun his Petrine ministry as Bishop of Rome by telling Catholics and all people of goodwill they have a vocation to tenderly safeguard the “gifts of God” – including the environment, children, the elderly, society’s poorest and weakest members and their very selves. “Let us be ‘custodians’ of Creation, of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another, of the environment; let’s not allow the signs of destruction and death be part of the journey of our world!”, the new pope told in his inauguration Mass at St Peter’s Square (3/19).

< The Archbishop of Seoul, “Graces and blessings on our brothers and sisters in North Korea” >
Fides Agency – Seoul, April 3: The response to threats of war is “abundant graces and blessings for our brothers and sisters, separated from us, in North Korea”: This is what the Archbishop of Seoul, Mgr. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung says in an Easter message, hoping that peace may always prevail in the Korean peninsula. The Archbishop points out the relevance of the Resurrection that “is not just an event that happened in the past.” The message concludes, “God’s love and peace be with all of you and all of Korea.”

< 1.3 billion people worldwide live on less than $ 1.25 a day >
Fides Agency – Washington, April 3: More than 50% of the population living in extreme poverty are concentrated in China, India and Brazil. According to World Bank data, a total of 1.3 billion people live on less than $ 1.25 a day. Since the beginning of the 80’s, 600 million people have been able to overcome poverty, reducing the percentage of the world’s population living in extreme conditions from 42 to 19%. According to experts, this decline was due to the advancement of the main emerging countries, China, India and Brazil, where, however, more than 50% of the poor are concentrated.

< CONGO – Jesuits’ initiative against weapons that fuel the crisis in the Great Lakes Region >
Fides Agency – Kinshasa, April 3: Representatives of Jesuit social organizations in Africa met in Nairobi in March to explore joint advocacy actions to address the conflict in the Great Lakes Region. Only in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo two million people are continuing to suffer from massive displacement and daily human rights violations in the Great Lakes, such as sexual and gender-based violence and recruitment of child soldiers. No significant step forward having been taken in eradicating the root causes of the conflict, the Jesuit Great Lakes Advocacy Initiative was established which will have the task of raising awareness of all stakeholders in the region of the link between conflict and the proliferation of weapons, and to trace the origin of the flow of arms towards the area, conducting in-depth researches in the field.

Fr. Arun De Souza SJ
Hyoe Murayama (Jesuit Scholastic)


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