Firstly, historically speaking, [Christians] are part of the Middle East, and recently in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine and Syria, they contributed to the creation and liberation movement. Thus, they are a basic component of these countries, and so inflicting the slightest harm on them would mean causing tension and riots, and destabilizing the situation. Most dangerous of all is that this would trigger religious wars in a region already suffering from religious extremism, which undermines the citizenship concept, something that will be a real threat to all countries of the region....
Iraqi Christians are not part of the armed conflict; they have never formed militias and never resorted to any foreign states. Unfortunately, this is the reason for their weakness today. It is also the reason why observers of the situation in Iraq sympathize with them and demand their protection. It is so tragic that Iraqi Christians managed to live in peace during Saddam Hussein dictatorship but can't live in peace today in an Iraqi state which is supposed to be democratic. The Iraqi government stood against them in constitutional issues relating to minority laws and did not provide them with sufficient security protection despite the torture they are being exposed to. Threats against them have persisted ever since the toppling of the autocratic Saddam Hussein regime.
Around 5:20 p.m., as the Christian worshipers stood and recited "Upon this rock I will build my church," the gunfire started on the street outside. Father Thar advised everyone to stay seated and to keep praying, but Madeline Mikhal and others rushed from their pews....
Father Rafael, who shielded Mikhal from the shrapnel, was badly wounded. "He protected me," she said. The priest, despite injuries that later required major surgery, remained standing. "He was encouraging us," Selim said. "He told us to please pray. He never sat down."
A current New York art exhibition of works by Mexican painter and printer, Nicolás De Jesús, depicts grinning, active skeletons partaking in daily life. The exhibit, which coincides with Dia de los Muertos, not only portrays the Mexican holiday, but in an indirect way, our life as Catholics.
How easily we forget that to encounter one another we must also encounter generations, cultures, life and eventually death.
The beauty of Catholicism is that it knows no boundaries — it is not defined by centuries, continents or current events.
Possibly even more beautiful? Our faith allows us to formulate a worldview that seeks to find the humanism, see the whole and in turn, search for Christ in everything.
Read the article, "Smiling Skeletons, With Lives to Lead and Issues to Raise," HERE
Team AVSI is like granite, no vacillation, we are all staying. Only Laura is leaving: she would have to leave at the end of the month anyway and it is not worth risking getting stuck here.
I close the office after eight. The day was long and hard and I know that it is only the beginning. I feel like a city besieged that waits for the enemy. Yet people continue to live everyday life oblivious in the frenetic trip home in the first hours of dark. I look at the swarming multitude and I ask myself how we will do it. I am not so hopeful. I get home, and prepare a flask of water for tomorrow, backpack, shoes, the map of the sanitary sites, the list of emergency numbers.
I do not take my rubber gloves and mask, out of superstition. We hope it won’t happen to us so soon… tomorrow is the day of truth, we will know if the health cordon worked or if the infection is in the city. I go to bed weighed down, but calm. It’s our job, the people are waiting for us, we will do what we can.
Fiammetta Cappellini, "Haiti: After the earthquake, now it’s cholera"
In May, Raúl Castro, who has headed the Cuban government since 2008, met with Cardinal Ortega and Archbishop Dionisio Garcia Ibanez, president of the Cuban bishops’ conference. Castro agreed to stop harassing the Ladies. He also agreed to move 12 political prisoners to prisons closer to their homes so as to make it easier for their families to visit them. (The government typically holds its political enemies in prisons as far away from their families as possible.)
Ortega and Castro met three more times over the next few weeks for talks that Ortega later described as “unprecedented.” With help from the Vatican and the Spanish government, on July 7 Ortega negotiated the release of the remaining 52 Black Spring prisoners, most of whom had been sentenced to decades-long prison terms. As of mid-October, the government had released 42 prisoners, and was promising to release the remaining prisoners by mid-November.
The Catholic Church has sometimes been criticized for not being outspoken enough about Cuba’s political prisoners. It has historically chosen engagement with the Castro regime over outright repudiation. But the Church’s cautious defiance has permitted it to play the crucial role of mediator in negotiating the current prisoner releases. While the prisoner releases are a result of a specific set of economic and political events and circumstances in Cuba, it is unlikely that they would be happening without the involvement of the Church.
Daniel Allott, "Cautious Defiance"