Monday, December 05, 2016

Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland says Déarbhla Clarke story highlights need to examine celibacy issue

THE organisation representing Catholic priests has praised a woman for speaking publicly about her life as the child of a Catholic priest.

The Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland said Déarbhla Clarke's story might "encourage others who may be in similar circumstances".

In an exclusive interview with The Irish News Ms Clarke told the loving relationship she enjoyed with her father, Armagh-born Fr Arty McAnerney and said she believes he benefited from the "love of a child".

The Drogheda woman (33) told her remarkable story in a bid to highlight why priests should be allowed to have children.

"He had what a lot of priests wouldn't be able to have, he had his God that he loved and respected and did all his work but then he also had the love of a child and a lot of priests cannot say that," she said.

"Quite honestly I think the rules in the Church at the moment are extremely archaic - you cannot expect a man to spend 60/70 years on their own, total celibacy, it is extremely cruel."

When joining the Catholic priesthood, clerics take a vow of lifelong celibacy.

But Fr Gerry O'Connor from the Association of Catholic Priests said they believe the issue of celibacy should be examined by the Church.

"I think firstly, we would recognise that there are very good priests, many of whom feel the rules on celibacy should be examined, but also there are very many more who feel that it should be accepted as part of the package of being a priest," he said.

"There are many who give much thought to it, but on the other side there are many who don't.

"You have to recognise that for hundreds of years there was a married priesthood within the Catholic Church, but there were also those who chose to be celibate.

"We, in the association, are interested in the Church addressing the issue and examining views.

"There are many priests who have left the Church to get married and have children and we believe they should be welcomed back. They could offer much support and guidance to parishioners, in particular many young people.

"What we feel is that celebrating the Eucharist is so important, but the way things are going we won't get to celebrate the Eucharist, the crisis is so large with numbers of priests decreasing that we will soon have nobody to celebrate the Eucharist.

"The whole question is that compulsory celibacy should be explored."

Fr O'Connor said he believed it was important that Ms Clarke was able to tell her story.

"From what I have heard, it sounds like a healthy family relationship," he said. "I think this is something that is good for us all to hear and encourage others who may be in similar circumstances.

"Her story shows that they were able to overcome the potential difficult issues, they were able to overcome the rules and still be able to maintain a relationship. For that to not be able to happen, is far less healthy and it is good that Déarbhla has been able to tell her story."

Catholic priest's daughter Déarbhla shares incredible story of love and pride

A woman whose father was a priest has spoken for the first time about their relationship and how growing up she said she 'didn't know any different'. 

Father Arty McAnerney admitted he had a daughter in November 1998 standing on the altar at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Beragh Co Tyrone.

He told how he had a daughter following a relationship with a women when he worked as a curate in Drogeheda.

His parishioners greeted the statement with applause and for the next two decades he continued his work.

Fr McAnerney, who served in parishes across Armagh, passed away last month in hospital.
Speaking for the first time to the Irish News his daughter Déarbhla Clark said: "I've always been proud of my dad and he's always been proud of me.

"I've never had a problem with any of this stuff.

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"Sure my dad was great - he was the only one who stood on the altar and said Mass. My dad was absolutely brilliant, nobody else's dad did that."

Growing up, Déarbhla said she always knew her father was a priest.

"I remember there was a girl on the school bus, I think I was about six to eight, and we had this fight because she could not comprehend that my dad was a Catholic priest," she said.

"I was adamant about it, I was like 'He is, he is, he says Mass and everything'. You know the way kids go on and she was like 'No, no, no'.

"It was only in later years that I started realising that it wasn't the social norm and that's when the problems started where things would have been kept quiet."

When it emerged in the news that Fr McAnerney had a child - Déarbhla said she did not know the details of what was going on.

"When the last media coverage happened, I think I was 15 or 16 and it was requested by my mother's solicitor that my dad stopped seeing me, which he did out of respect."

But she wanted to keep contact with her father and reconnected with him after she found his telephone number.

Fr McAnerney was also a "doting" grandfather and would often bring out photographs of his family from his wallet and they would all often go on holidays.

When her father passed away last month Déarbhla said she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support she received as she addressed the congregation.

"I'm delighted some people did pick up on the words I said in the Mass that Dad would not want us to be sad, he'd be raging if he knew that we were making a fuss of him.

"I said to his congregation bring the laughter, bring the colour, and there were some reds, there were some oranges, some yellows, some pinks and it was absolutely brilliant to see that it wasn't just black."

She said she believes her experience is an example of why priests should be allowed to have children - and Déarbhla believes there may be others out there in a similar situation.

"He had what a lot of priests wouldn't be able to have, he had his God that he loved and respected and did all his work but then he also had the love of a child and a lot of priests cannot say that.

"Quite honestly I think the rules in the Church at the moment are extremely archaic - you cannot expect a man to spend 60/70 years on their own, total celibacy, it is extremely cruel."

"I'm sure there a few others out there - I'm really not the only one and it's not a big deal. Everybody deserves a mother and father, everybody deserves the love of both parents. If there are any others out there, I have absolutely no problem in talking to them and seeing what their story is. I've been there, done that - I have a lot of experience behind me between volunteer work and suicide hotlines and stuff like that, I know how to talk to people. There's no scandal, there's no big deal."

Déarbhla said that she has "broken nearly every rule in the book" when it comes to social norms.

"I should be a bitter, horrible, twisted person, but I'm not - I follow him. I can sit and I can smile and when my world shatters around me, I can find the positive and the positive was everyone he was involved with.

Priest's daughter hits out at Catholic Church's 'cruel' celibacy rule

Father Arty McAnerneyA woman whose father was a priest has spoken for the first time about their relationship and how growing up she said she "didn't know any different". 

Father Arty McAnerney admitted to parishioners at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Beragh, Co Tyrone he had a daughter in November 1998.

He told how he had a daughter following a relationship with a women when he worked as a curate in Drogheda.

His parishioners greeted the statement with applause and for the next two decades he continued his work. Fr McAnerney, who served in parishes across Armagh, passed away last month in hospital.

Speaking for the first time to the Irish News, his daughter Dearbhla Clark said: "I've always been proud of my dad and he's always been proud of me. I've never had a problem with any of this stuff.

"Sure my dad was great - he was the only one who stood on the altar and said Mass. My dad was absolutely brilliant, nobody else's dad did that."

Growing up, Dearbhla said she always knew her father was a priest.

"I remember there was a girl on the school bus, I think I was about six to eight, and we had this fight because she could not comprehend that my dad was a Catholic priest," she said.

"I was adamant about it, I was like, 'He is, he is, he says Mass and everything'. You know the way kids go on and she was like, 'No, no, no'.

"It was only in later years that I started realising that it wasn't the social norm and that's when the problems started where things would have been kept quiet."

When it emerged in the news that Fr McAnerney had a child, Dearbhla said she did not know the details of what was going on.

"When the last media coverage happened, I think I was 15 or 16 and it was requested by my mother's solicitor that my dad stopped seeing me, which he did out of respect."

But she reconnected with him after she found his telephone number.

When her father passed away Dearbhla said she was overwhelmed by the support she received as she addressed the congregation.

She said she believes her experience is an example of why priests should be allowed to have children - and Dearbhla believes there may be others out there in a similar situation.

She said: "Quite honestly I think the rules in the Church at the moment are extremely archaic - you cannot expect a man to spend 60/70 years on their own, total celibacy, it is extremely cruel."

Womenpriests Serve In Hope Catholic Church Will Open Door To Leadership Roles

There are more than 140 Roman Catholic womenpriests worldwide.

But the Catholic Church doesn’t recognize them because of a longstanding policy that forbids the ordination of women.

Indianapolis Congregation Embraces Inclusive Church  
 
At first glance, the Sunday mass at Indiana’s Interchurch Center in Indianapolis may not appear much different than those you’d see in traditional Catholic churches. 

There’s singing, praying and the offering of communion. 


But there’s a woman presiding over the mass. 

Today, it’s Bishop Nancy Meyer.

“It became real clear to me that I was called to ministry when I was 11 years old,” Meyer says. “It was very clear to me it was a priest call.”
 
Meyer is one of several women who leads services for the St. Mary of Magdala Catholic Community. 

But what’s happening here isn’t sanctioned by the Catholic Church. That’s why the community gathers at the Interchurch Center or at their homes.

“I’m able to do almost everything that I want to do,” Meyer says. “I’m just not able at this point, in this country, to do it within the church building or with the blessing of the church officials — the archbishop of the church.”

Pope Francis is examining whether women can serve in the Catholic Church as deacons through a newly-formed commission.

Pastor Maria McClain says she’s heard this before.

“I know what the Pope has said about women and leadership and he’s not for it,” McClain says. “This could be just a way of trying to keep people happy.”

The Arguments For And Against Female Ordination
 
Whether women can be ordained in the Catholic Church has been hotly debated. In the ’90s, Pope John Paul II wrote that the church doesn’t have the authority to ordain women as priests.

“The idea is that in the office of the priesthood the priest is acting as Christ,” says Constance Furey, associate professor of religious studies at Indiana University. 

“And the traditional line that forbids the ordination of women says that because Christ was male and all of Christ’s followers must be male, the priesthood must be male.”

But Furey says there is evidence in the New Testament that women served as deacons. And there’s a growing movement that supports welcoming women priests into the Catholic Church.

“People who argue for the ordination of women think there’s another point that’s really important, and that is the question of, ‘Is this just affirming the patriarchy of the church? Or is this about something that was essential in the early church?’” Furey says.

The women with St. Mary of Magdala say there’s no reason they shouldn’t be allowed to serve in leadership roles within the Catholic Church.

Meyer says she commends Pope Francis for exploring the possibility of female deacons. She doesn’t expect an immediate change, but she hopes the Pope will listen.

“We really need our voices to be heard because we look at things, we do things differently than men,” Meyer says.

For now Meyer says she’ll continue serving as a womanpriest with the hope that someday she will be able to do so within the walls of a Catholic Church.

Can the Catholic Church Save Congo?

Kabila and Pope Francis
When Pope Francis received Congolese president Joseph Kabila at the Vatican on September 26, the meeting did not take place in the reception room where the pontiff usually meets visiting heads of state.

Instead, the pope greeted Kabila in his library before holding a brief 20-minute meeting conducted through interpreters, in which he raised concerns about the killing of scores of protesters in Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, who were demonstrating against expected delays to elections originally slated for November.

Francis, unsurprisingly, did not indicate that the breach of protocol was intentional. 

But according to DRC expert Phil Clark, the choice of venue echoed the Catholic Church’s position in opposing Kabila’s apparent attempts to delay elections and stay in power beyond his term in Congo, one of Africa’s most promising yet fragile countries.

“I don’t think the pope does those things without there being some symbolic message,” says Clark, a reader in international politics at SOAS University of London. “I interpreted the pope’s subtle snub as a message to Kabila that the Catholic Church doesn’t see him as the legitimate president of Congo any longer.”

Pope Francis (R) walks with Democratic Republic of Congo's President Joseph Kabila during a private audience in the pontiff's studio, at the Vatican, on September 26. 

The Catholic Church in Congo has called upon Kabila to honor the constitution and step down at the end of his second term, which concludes in December.  
 
According to observers, Congo is on the brink of falling back into conflict. 

There have been signs of political unrest since January 2015, when scores of protesters were killed in Kinshasa clashes with security forces. 

The protests were called after a bill was put forward that would allow Kabila to remain in power while a national census was conducted, thereby potentially delaying presidential and parliamentary elections and keeping Kabila in power.

The fears of the protesters who took to the streets of the capital were not misplaced. 

After months of protests against the possible delays—including a mass demonstration in Kinshasa on September 20, in which around 50 people were killed in clashes with security forces, according to opposition groups, and which the government called an uprising—the Congolese electoral commission announced in October that the proposed vote would likely be delayed by up to two years. 

Kabila explained that this was in order to stop millions of unregistered voters being “locked out” of the election, but opposition groups have interpreted it as evidence of glissement —a French term meaning “slippage” that has been used by anti-Kabila protesters to describe what they see as attempts to stay in power.


Before the Kinshasa protests, the Catholic Church was playing an important role in seeking to resolve Congo’s crisis. 

The church had been acting as a mediator in a so-called national dialogue to help construct a peaceful course towards the elections. 

(The dialogue involved Kabila’s government and several minor opposition parties, but not major opposition figures such as former prime minister Étienne Tshisekedi or fellow presidential candidate Moïse Katumbi.)

After the killings, the Church temporarily suspended its role and then, in early October, it completely pulled out. “Only an inclusive dialogue which respects the constitutional order will provide a framework for resolving our crisis,” said Archbishop Utembi Tapa, the president of the Congolese bishops’ conference, upon announcing the withdrawal. The Church has since, at Kabila’s request, opened talks with opposition groups not included in the national dialogue, but the consultations has not yet borne any concrete resolutions.

The church’s withdrawal from the national dialogue has damaged the credibility of the entire process, says Ben Shepherd, associate fellow at London-based think tank Chatham House. 

 Around half of the country’s 80 million-plus population are Roman Catholic and the church has a vast infrastructure of schools, hospitals and even private businesses across the country. “The Catholic Church is one of the few institutions in Congo with genuine popular trust and links to the population at all levels,” says Shepherd.


Following the announced delay to elections, the situation in Congo remains tense and confusing. Opposition political parties—the most prominent of which have coalesced around a shared platform known as Rassemblement (“Rally”)—are continuing to call for protests, while Kabila has begun reforming his government to include opposition figures who participated in the national dialogue.

As December 19—the last day of Kabila’s second, and final, presidential term—approaches, further demonstrations look likely. Opposition figures believe that, in the interim period between now and the elections, Kabila may try to change the country’s constitution and lift or extend presidential term limits. (A government spokesman, Lambert Mende, previously told The Guardian that such allegations were “gross lies.”)

Should the church throw its weight behind such protests, it would likely prove a more difficult foe to the president than opposition parties, says Shepherd. “They would have a much more serious ability to call demonstrations, strikes, public action,” he says. “If the church were to tell the people that this is illegitimate and should not stand, Kabila would have to take that very seriously indeed.”

The church has positioned itself as a defender of the people in Congo, and the people appear to be turning against Kabila: a recent survey of 7,500 Congolese found that three in four respondents thought the president should leave power by the end of 2016, and four in five rejected any potential constitutional change that could keep Kabila in power.

In a country that has been synonymous with conflict for many years—the Second Congo War, which lasted from 1998 to 2003, was considered the world’s deadliest conflict since World War II—the church’s primary intention is to avoid further strife. 

As Father Léonard Santedi, a priest in the archdiocese of Kinshasa, put it recently in a letter to The Guardian: “Our deepest hope is that the current unrest won’t descend into civil war: our country has seen enough bloodshed.”

Mumbai protest against edict to remove wayside crosses

Protest against removalCatholics in the western Indian city of Mumbai have protested against efforts by local authorities to remove or demolish wayside crosses, according to Ucanews.
 
The protest last week was in response to a notice issued by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation that seeks to remove or demolish all wayside crosses built in the past 50 years.

Christians say that half of the city's 100 wayside crosses were erected in the past five decades.

Godfrey Pimenta, from the Watchdog Foundation, said the government decision to remove the crosses from public spaces is "about harassing" the city's minority Christian community.

The Supreme Court had earlier divided the wayside crosses into three categories.

The court said that category A crosses, erected prior to 1964, cannot be moved; category B crosses, erected from 1964-2009, can be relocated; and category C crosses, erected after 2009, can be demolished.

City council officials say they do not have legal documents proving ages of the crosses and have issued demolition notices asking Catholics to show reason why the crosses cannot be demolished.

New rules in Texas mean aborted fetuses must be buried

Aborted fetuses in Texas that would normally be treated as medical waste will have to be buried or cremated starting next month. 

The new rules, initially proposed by Republican Governor Greg Abbott, will require all health care facilities in the State to bury or incinerate the fetuses immediately after an abortion has taken place. 

Incinerated remains must then be scattered or buried.

Previously, health care facilities could dispose of fetuses in sanitary landfills, as is the common practice for disposal of medical waste across the country.

“Since abortion clinics have been open and operating in the United States, there have been protocols in place for how to deal with the products of conception, or the fetus,” according to Elizabeth Nash, senior State issues manager with the Guttmacher Institute, a policy and research organisation that focuses on reproductive rights.

“Typically, what has been required is that the products of conception be treated as any other tissue from the body. So, as medical waste.”

In a fundraising email sent by Mr Abbott in July, he argued that he wanted to pass the new measures to “reflect our respect for the sanctity of life” and “turn the tides against the soulless abortion industry in Texas.”

His fundraising letter came shortly after Texas suffered a bruising loss in a Supreme Court case that declared a different set of abortion-related regulations unconstitutional.

The proposal set off a firestorm of debate, with more than 35,000 comments submitted to health officials before the ruling, according to The Washington Post.

TJH Council calls for law to protect the confessional

Submission to commissionThe Truth, Justice and Healing Council has called for new national laws making it a crime to not report information about child sex abuse — unless it is obtained by a priest ­during the confession.

In a formal submission to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the TJHC has argued that this exemption would reflect Victorian legislation granting a similar “occasion of privilege” to that protecting commun­ic­ations between lawyers and their clients.

Under questioning at the commission, TJHC CEO Francis Sullivan said “parliaments will need to make their own decisions and then … priests will, like everybody else, have to obey the law or disobey the law.”

A series of child abuse scandals in recent decades has revealed “a shameful history, a rather confronting history within the Catholic Church of how sexual offenders were handled,” Mr Sullivan said.

This included the cover-up of known child sex offenders, and the moving of paedophile priests ­between parishes or dioceses, ­allowing them to offend again.

“We’re talking about culture. We’re talking about self-preservation. We’re talking about how the powers that be at a given time are more concerned about public scandal and reputation damage … than they were about the specific interests of a child,” he said.

The issue is expected to provoke controversy when the commission holds a three-week hearing into the Church in February, having ­recently flagged it will consider “the protection of the confessional.”

The commission has the power to recommend changes to laws in some States allowing priests who hear admissions of criminal ­activity during confession to not report this to police.

Vatican and Israel criticise UNESCO: no one can deny biblical history

http://www.asianews.it/files/img/jeru3_500.jpgThe Vatican has joined the critics of the UNESCO decision to use only the name Arabic name of holy places in East Jerusalem, leaving out their Hebrew version.
 
The Joint Commission of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel's Delegation for Relations with the Catholic Church and the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews issued a joint statement noting that the UNESCO decision’s denies on political and polemical grounds the relationship between Jews and Temple Mount and the biblical story.

The communiqué states that it is necessary now more than ever to promote peace at a time when violence is perpetrated in the name of religion. In view of today’s challenges and human tragedies, it goes on to emphasise the importance of religious leaders setting an example for tolerance and respect.

The parties also promised that they would try to persuade more effectively their respective authorities to act in the most tolerant and humane ways towards “others” and the weak.

Pope Francis’s recent remarks to representatives of various religions are particularly appropriate. "May we reject the aimless paths of disagreement and closed-mindedness. May it never happen again that the religions, because of the conduct of some of their followers, convey a distorted message, out of tune with that of mercy. Sadly, not a day passes that we do not hear of acts of violence, conflict, kidnapping, terrorist attacks, killings and destruction. It is horrible that at times, to justify such barbarism, the name of a religion or the name of God himself is invoked. May there be clear condemnation of these iniquitous attitudes that profane the name of God and sully the religious quest of mankind. May there instead be fostered everywhere the peaceful encounter of believers and genuine religious freedom." 

(Address of His Holiness Pope Francis to representatives of different religions, Vatican, 3 November 2016).

After more than half a century of Jewish-Catholic reconciliation and fruitful dialogue, Christians and Jews are called to work together to help create peace for the whole human family, fulfilling the words of the psalmist: "Love and truth will meet; justice and peace will kiss” (Psalm 85:11).

The parties also stressed the importance of educating the new generations to promote peace and mutual respect.

Papal envoy to the Asian Bishops: The tribal families authentic Gospel schools

http://www.asianews.it/files/img/SRI_LANKA_-_ASIA_-_1202_-_Card._Toppo_1.JPG"Families are the authentic schools of the Gospel where the members learn to communicate the joy of the Gospel with one another and in genuine love form the most beautiful community of mercy, said Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo, Papal envoy to the ongoing eleventh Federation of the Asian Bishops' Conference (FABC) plenary assembly, Colombo, Sri Lanka. 

To the Bishops from throughout Asia he said: "The faith soil of the family nurtures the members to be true followers of Jesus despite the difficulties, problems and challenges of life”.
 
The Papal envoy addressed the more than 140 cardinals, archbishops and bishops from nearly 40 countries. 

Attendees include bishops, priests, lay people and representatives from Funding Partners who are engaged in helping the Asian Church in its Apostolate are meeting in Negombo for a week to seek ways to make Catholic families an instrument of the Church's mission of mercy.

Card. Toppo said “Catholic families in Asia living amidst people professing different faiths have to keep constantly their focus on the family of Nazareth to be splendid communities of love and life, to be the domestic Church of the poor on the mission mercy, which is the theme of the FABC conference".

The church in Asia believes in the faith potential of the Catholic families of Asia as they have nurtured their faith down the centuries with the love of God and His ceaseless mercy in spite of various persecutions and division, Cardinal Toppo said.

"The Church of Asia hopes for the green shoot from the stump of Jesse that will bear much fruit and make everything fruitful. Ignited by this burning hope the Church of Asia looks at the Asian Catholic Family, Domestic Church of the poor to be the best channel of God's mercy and compassion," he said.

Another point, the papal envoy stressed that family bond can be termed as the soul of tribal life. An internal mechanism of spontaneous affection and transparent simplicity binds them together and holds them as one of the life journey. Generally, the tribal families, which are present in most parts of Asia are a well-knit unit with a traditional outlook towards life.

He further said that children born to the family are given the name of the great grandfather, or grandmother to keep alive the family lineage. Hardly, any discrimination is found among them in dealing with or relating to male and female children through such is not the case with many other dominant communities. 

Equality is ensured and opportunities are provided for the growth of all the children within the economical scope of each family, the cardinal said.

"Sharing is the way of tribal community life. Thus, we feeling found among the tribal village communities across Asia is the emerging force in every family. They are nature Christians living the Gospel values in their daily life. Christianity, therefore, was not entirely a new soil for them. Living within their own social, cultural and traditional milieu they could easily radiate the new life received in faith”.

Burundian Anglicans campaign for “society without gender-based violence”

The Archbishop of Burundi, Martin Nyaboho, has taken part in a Mothers’ Union-organised campaign against gender violence. 

The Archbishop joined hundreds of men and women in a procession and rally as part of the Anglican Church of Burundi’s contribution to the international 16 Days of Activism to end Gender Based Violence.
 
“We feel so encouraged because people are more and more understanding why we have to fight for a society without GBV,” the Bishop of Buye, Sixbert Macumi, said as he thanked those who took part. He also “expressed his great joy” at the steps already being taken in the fight against GBV, the province said in a statement.

Archbishop Martin Nyaboho reaffirmed the commitment of the Church to stand for equal rights and dignity for all human beings. “Yes, the Anglican Church of Burundi has achieved a lot by way of eradicating gender based violence, but more still has to be done,” he said.

The co-ordinator of the Mothers’ Union in Burundi, Claudette Kigeme, said that she was pleased with the achievements of the Mothers’ Union in all the dioceses. In a train-the-trainer model, the MU are teaching men and women in the dioceses on strategies to end gender-based violence. Those trained then work to train others in the communities.

As a result of the training, conditions for families have improved. At this week’s rally, stories were shared by beneficiaries as to how their lives had been transformed and their families no longer lived with permanent conflict.

Those who had made a particular impact in their communities were given bicycles to acknowledge and encourage their achievements and to help future activities.

Presiding Bishop’s concern over Standing Rock pipe protest policing

Image result for Presiding Bishop Michael CurryThe Presiding Bishop of the US-based Episcopal Church has expressed his concern over the policing of protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline. 

The pipe passes through ground sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and underneath the Missouri River and part of Lake Oahe, leading to concerns about water pollution should the pipe leak. 

The 1,172-mile-long pipe is expected to carry some 470,000 barrels of crude oil a day.
 
The Standing Rock Sioux Nation have been protesting against the construction of the pipeline, and have won the support from both the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. 

Protest camps have sprung up across the route and there have been concerns about the militarised policing response.

Now, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has written to North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple and Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, urging them to “monitor the nature and tone of the policing actions.”

In his letter, Bishop Curry says that he appreciates “the complexity of the conflict” that the two civic leaders are managing, and says: “I want to assure you of my prayers.” But he continues: “The Episcopal Church is grateful to stand with the people of Standing Rock in their efforts to respect and protect the Missouri River and the sacred burial grounds of the Sioux Nation.

“We do so seeking to follow the way of Jesus of Nazareth who taught us that love of God and love of our neighbour is the highest moral law and religious duty (Matthew 22:37-40, Luke 10:25-37).”

He said that hundreds of Episcopal clergy and lay leaders had spent time in Standing Rock “to bear non-violent witness to the water-protection efforts underway near Sacred Stone Camp” and that they had reported “alarming accounts of undue force used by law enforcement against the water protectors.”

He continued: “I urge you to monitor the nature and tone of the policing actions by local and state law enforcement, the National Guard, and private contractors. I also ask that you take action to address and stop the use of water cannons and rubber bullets, as well as the use of military equipment that escalates tensions between the parties.

“I am deeply concerned about the number of protectors who have been injured, and the potential loss of life that could result from the continued use of these tactics.”

He said that a delegation of some 30 chaplains would be deployed to Standing Rock in the coming days to assist people experiencing trauma. 

 “These religious chaplains are called to care for those who are wounded, traumatised, or seeking spiritual support,” the Presiding Bishop said. “They have pledged not to participate in demonstration activities. As they carry out their work, I ask that you safeguard them, ensuring that they meet no harm or violence as they seek to bring healing to all those gathered at Standing Rock.”

He concluded his letter by offering the Church’s assistance “in the creation of a peaceful and just way forward.”

VATICAN - Heroic virtues of Cardinal Guglielmo Massaja, among the greatest missionaries of the nineteenth century

On 1st. December, the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and authorized the Congregation to promulgate several decrees, including one regarding the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Guglielmo Massaja, of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, Cardinal, born on June 8, 1809 and died on August 6, 1889.

Cardinal Guglielmo Massaja is considered among the greatest missionaries of the nineteenth century: he was the first to evangelize the tribal people of the Galla, in southern Ethiopia, to study its culture and to promote a series of social works. 

Born on June 8, 1809 in Piovà d'Asti (today Piovà Massaja in memory of its illustrious citizen), he took the Capuchin habit at 17 and was ordained a priest in 1832. 

Since his ordination he proved to be a strong supporter of the Society of the Propagation of the Faith, which supported Catholic missions. 

On April 26, 1846 Pope Gregory XVI created the Apostolic Vicariate of the Galla and just days after was entrusted to Massaja.

Consecrated Bishop in Rome, he left Italy on the night of June 2, 1846 to face a journey that lasted six years before reaching the Galla people. 


From 1852 to 1879 (with only one interval of 2 years in Europe) Massaja founded several missions, established the first Ethiopian Catholic monasticism, wrote the first catechism in Galla language, consecrated three Bishops, confronted the clergy and with the Ethiopian Muslim presence, favored scientific explorations, spread prophylaxis among the population against smallpox and carried out surgeries thanks to the practical experience gained in his youth. 

Exiled in 1879 by Theodore II, he returned to Italy and settled in the convent of Frascati, where at the invitation of Pope Leo XIII (who created him Cardinal) wrote his autobiography in 12 volumes. On August 6, 1889 he died in San Giorgio a Cremano (Naples). 


The process of canonization was initiated in 1914 and came to a stop for about 70 years.

SYRIA - Bishop Abou Khazen: five "representatives" of east Aleppo chosen to negotiate an agreement with the army

"In the neighborhoods of Aleppo, still in rebel hands and jihadist groups, five representatives have been appointed who should negotiate a kind of agreement with the Syrian army. We hope and pray that this path leads to a solution that will save from further suffering and destruction for all". 

This is what Bishop Georges Abou Khazen OFM, Apostolic Vicar of Aleppo for the Catholics of the Latin rite, refers to Agenzia Fides regarding the latest developments of the military operations taking place in the battered Syrian city, where the army is gradually regaining the neighborhoods that for years were controlled by paramilitary rebels, including jihadi militias such as the Jabhat al Nusra Front.

Regarding the situation in Aleppo, the Franciscan Bishop refers to Fides information that is hard to find in the reports of the international mainstream media.
 

"At least 20 thousand people have fled from areas controlled by rebels and were welcomed by the Syrian army and by aid organizations. Other 70 thousand remained in areas recently reconquered by the armed forces of the government, who distributed food and facilitated the strengthening of health relief.
 

In areas still in the hands of rebels, those of the al Nusra Front do not want the civilian population to leave. In some cases they prevented this by using weapons. We know that in some cases there have been popular demonstrations calling on the opposition militias to withdraw. Now we hope in a negotiation to reach an agreement, and if possible even in a reconciliation, through negotiators who obviously have been chosen with the consent of the armed groups".

SOUTH SUDAN - Risk of an ethnic massacre: "in Yei people live in fear", says the Bishop

"Over a hundred thousand people live in fear and uncertainty and are unable to leave the city", denounces to Radio Easter His Exc. Mgr. Erkolano Lodu Tombe, Bishop of Yei, Equatoria city in South Sudan, hit by a wave of murders and massacres attributed to mixed military-civilian armed groups that target suspected supporters of former Vice President Riek Machar (see Fides 30/08/2016).

"There is no shooting in Yei at the moment, but the population lives in constant fear of a new wave of violence and murders" says Mgr. Lodu. 

The Bishop added that the population of the surrounding villages cannot travel to Yei, except for those who come by air from other counties and other States. 

Farmers cannot go and take care of their crops and the population will have to continue to use humanitarian assistance to feed themselves until 2017.

The civil war between the faction of President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar has taken an ethnic dimension, opposing the Dinka to the Nuer. 


Other ethnic groups and tribes have allied to one of the two contenders, hoping to gain advantages in their local conflicts.

The US representative at the Council of the UN Human Rights in Geneva denounced that the South Sudanese government is preparing to support large-scale attacks against the population in Central Equatoria region.