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Washington D.C., May 5, 2016 / 03:29 am (CNA).- For Bishop Matthew Kukah, persecution is not just the history of the Church. It’s a reality that he lives every day.In the diocese of Sokoto, located in northern Nigeria, ministry includes not only the normal sacramental and pastoral concerns of any other diocese. It also includes regularly responding to violence and attacks against the small Christian minority living in the majority-Muslim area.Christians living in northern Nigeria today wonder “why have they and their institutions become target practice,” Bishop Kukah told CNA.Christian churches and businesses – as well as the people who frequent them – suffer both targeted violence at the hands of Islamist extremists and destruction stemming from frustrations with the government, economy and social order, he said. And after the attacks, Christian communities face a wall of bureaucratic challenges and lack of government support as they struggle to rebuil...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday evening sent a video message to the 39th National Assembly of the Confederation of Italian Cooperatives.In his remarks, the Holy Father recalled the advice he first gave them during a meeting on February 28, 2015, in the Paul VI Audience Hall.Pope Francis summarized those earlier remarks:“Continue to be the motor that lifts and develops the weakest part of your local community and of civil society, especially by establishing companies to provide jobs; be leaders in creating new welfare solutions, as you are already doing;  Manage the cooperatives truly cooperatively - that is, involving all; Endeavour to support, facilitate and encourage family life. With the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia I indicated a prospective of joy and responsibility, but the people and the families should not be left alone, and must harmonized work and family; Bring good means together with determination in order to accomplish good works. It takes...
(Vatican Radio) The bishops of England and Wales have urged Catholics to support a ‘week of prayer’ initiative being promoted by the Church of England during the week leading up to Pentecost Sunday.The Anglican Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written to every Church of England parish priest across the country, suggesting ways in which they can engage with the initiative entitled ‘Thy Kingdom Come.The week of prayer from May 8th-15th culminates in ‘Beacon events’ to be held in half a dozen cathedrals around the country over Pentecost weekend to pray for the renewal of the Holy Spirit.To find out more about the ecumenical impact of this Anglican initiative, Philippa Hitchen spoke to Fr Christopher Thomas, general secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales….Listen:  Fr Christopher says the Archbishops of Canterbury and York wrote to the bishops’ conference explaining about the initiative as a sort o...
FLINT, Mich. (AP) -- Showing support for the beleaguered residents of Flint, Michigan, President Barack Obama drank filtered city water on Wednesday to show that it is again safe following a lead-contamination crisis....
ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) -- When President Bill Clinton rolled into the small Appalachian town of Ashland, Kentucky, in 1996, cheering crowds lined the streets. Local boy turned country music star Billy Ray Cyrus performed a special version of his hit, "Achy Breaky Heart." And nearly 20,000 supporters attended a riverfront re-election rally, dozens collapsing from heat exhaustion in the August sun....
(Vatican Radio) Leicester City F.C. winning the Premier League title is a “fairy tale,” according to the local Catholic Bishop.Bishop Patrick McKinney of the Diocese of Nottingham (in which the city of Leicester is located) told Vatican Radio he was “delighted” for the football team, the morning after Monday evening’s 2-2 draw between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur ensured Leicester City’s lead was insurmountable.Listen to the interview with Bishop Patrick McKinney:  “It is a wonderful story of a small club with not a lot of money, and players that were rejected and came from lower divisions, moulded together into a fantastic team who have overcome the most powerful and affluent teams in the Premiership,” – Bishop McKinney – “It’s a great story, and I am delighted for the team. I’m delighted particularly for the supporters and all the people within the Nottingham Diocese who are supporters and who fo...
IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Mcerlane, EPABy Michael KellyDUBLIN (CNS) -- Northern Ireland'sCatholic bishops urged Massgoers to support candidates opposed to legalizingabortion in elections to the region's power-sharing assembly May 5.In a wide-ranging pastoralstatement ahead of the polls, the bishops also urged Catholics to lobbylawmakers about issues as diverse as climate change and the right of church-runorganizations to receive government funding.Catholics at Masses April 30-May1 were given pamphlets with a list of 10 questions that the faithful are encouragedto ask candidates, including their parties' policies on abortion and childpoverty."The next assembly termwill see further pressures being brought to bear on politicians to introduceabortion to Northern Ireland," the bishops said."The moral issue here isnot whether what is proposed is abortion 'on demand' or some form of so-called 'limited'abortion. From a moral point of view, there is no such things as 'limited'abortion. Abortion ...
Washington D.C., May 2, 2016 / 04:48 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The right to exercise religion came under sustained assault around the world in 2015, according to a new report from a bipartisan United States commission, affecting Christians, Muslims, Jews, among others.“By any measure, religious freedom abroad has been under serious and sustained assault since the release of our commission's last Annual Report in 2015,” Dr. Robert George, chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, stated Monday.He was speaking at the release of USCIRF’s annual religious freedom report.“At best, in most of the countries we covered,” George noted, the situation of religious freedom “failed to improve” or, worse, “spiraled downward” in 2015.“I fear … that we’re losing the battle of ideas,” he stated in a May 2 press conference introducing the report. “We need the American people’s support on t...
Belfast, Northern Ireland, May 2, 2016 / 01:53 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Northern Ireland’s voters should use their vote to uphold the right to life, not violate it, the Catholic bishops of the region said.“The social and moral teaching of the Church is clear, that it is never morally acceptable to support any policy that undermines the sacred inviolability of the right to life of an innocent person in any circumstances,” they stressed.The bishops released an April 27 pastoral reflection message ahead of Northern Ireland’s May 5 elections.“As Christians, our encounter with the risen Jesus, living and among us, is a decisive event that has consequences for every aspect of our lives. This includes our lives as citizens,” the bishops said.Voting is a moral act, they explained: “Each vote cast, or not cast, potentially influences the values that will shape future law and policy.”The bishops reflected on Catholic social teaching’s role in ...
(Vatican Radio) What do millions of refugees – many of them children, adolescents and young adults - who have fled conflict or persecution need to start a new life in host countries? What do they need to be able to go home one day, form a new life and contribute to their communities and to their country? The answer is simple: quality education. Education provides skills, opens the doors to employment, promotes peace and stability.That was the core concept at a panel discussion in the Vatican entitled “Helping Refugees to Start Over” aiming to raise awareness and seek support for increasing numbers of refugees who are on the move, in camps or seeking integration in host countries today.Not providing education to refugees - it was pointed out - risks making a lost generation sentenced to poverty.The discussion, hosted by Rotary International, included speakers from Rotary itself, from the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), from the United Nations High Commissioner ...
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