Updates October 2010

 

 

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  We seek to keep you literally "updated" on movement in terms of truth and justice in the Middle East in general with a particular eye on Palestine.  The links below will take you to various articles and websites that offer the perspective of leaders in the religious, NGO, and human rights communities. Additionally, Al-Bushra, ever vigilant, provides links to regular reporting as well as opinion pieces by journalists. The dates given here indicate when the link was posted; the most recent posting is at the top. Check the article itself for the date of publication.  
     
 

Comments made over the years by Israeli leaders

 
     
 

31 October 2010 14:44:13 -0700

 
     
 
 

Oct. 29, 2010

Zenit | Iraqi Bishop Appeals for Tariq Aziz's Life: Calls for Christians and Muslims to Unite for Cause

MOSUL, Iraq, OCT. 29, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Syrian Catholic Archbishop Georges Casmoussa of Mosul is appealing for the life of Tariq Aziz, a key operative in Saddam Hussein's regime who was sentenced to death on Tuesday.

That same day, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, issued a Vatican statement asking Iraq not to execute the deputy prime minister of former President Hussein's regime.

The Iraqi supreme court convicted the 74-year-old former foreign minister for persecuting religious parties and being involved in illegal executions.

On Wednesday, Archbishop Casmoussa told Aid to the Church in Need that he plans to appeal to the authorities to save the life of the convicted man.

"We have to form an international appeal to the Iraqi government to reverse their decision concerning Tariq Aziz," the prelate said. "I am ready to sign any document asking that the death sentence is not carried out."

Mikhail Yuhanna, known as Tarek Aziz, was baptized as a Chaldean Catholic. He served as deputy prime minister to Saddam Hussein from 1979-2003.

Archbishop Casmoussa described his plan to gather both Christians and Muslims to sign a petition to change the sentence on Aziz.

He noted that this campaign will be similar to one that was launched after former defense minister Sultan Hashim Ahmad was sentenced to death.

"For defense minister Sultan," the archbishop recalled, "the people of Mosul -- Muslims and Christians alike -- signed a petition asking the prime minister and president of Iraq to save his life," and three years later he is still alive.

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Oct. 29, 2010

Zenit | An Experience of Synodal Unity and Communion: Interview With Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Israel

By Gabriela Maria Mihlig

ROME, OCT. 29, 2010 (Zenit.org).- While the synod fathers participating in the special assembly for the Middle East worked to produce several useful and valuable documents, they also managed to create a special spirit of communion and unity, says Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo

Bishop Marcuzzo, an auxiliary bishop of Jerusalem who also serves as the Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Israel, was in Rome for this month's Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which concluded last Sunday.

He said the synod fathers "experienced a sincere and joyful Catholicism and universalism," and that the synodal spirit "filled us with new enthusiasm and gave us the will for a new and fresh start especially in the Christian witness of love, peace and unity."

At the end of the assembly, the synod fathers published a Message to the People of God and a List of Propositions, which Benedict XVI will take into consideration when writing a post-synodal letter on the situation of the Church in the Middle East.

In this interview with ZENIT, Bishop Marcuzzo reflects on the achievements of the synod, the experience of unity and communion experience by the bishops gathered in Rome, and on what affect the gathering may have on the region.

Read more

 

Oct. 29, 2010

Zenit | Cardinal Foley: Catholic Schools Key for Holy Land: Urges Order of the Holy Sepulcher to Continue to Work, Pray

ROME, OCT. 29, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Catholic schools may be the greatest contribution the Church can offer the efforts to build a culture of peace in the Holy Land, according to the grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.

Cardinal John Foley said this Tuesday during his opening remarks at the meeting of the Grand Magisterium, the governing body of the order, held this week in Rome.

The cardinal, who participated in this month's Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops as a member by papal appointment, said it was a "privileged post [for him] to become more familiar not only with the Holy Land, which we are pledged to serve, but also with the Church in the entire Middle East, of which the Holy Land is such an essential part."

He noted that in his remarks at the synod, he underlined the important role of Catholic schools in the region: "During the historic pilgrimage of Pope Benedict XVI to the Holy Land last year, political leaders in the three areas we visited told me how much the Catholic schools in Jordan, Palestine and Israel contributed not only to the educational and cultural level of all three areas, but also to an atmosphere of greater mutual understanding and, we hope, eventual peace -- because all the schools are open not only to Catholics but to all Christians and indeed to Muslims and Jews."

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Oct. 29, 2010

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Holy Land | Bishop Younan Addresses Vatican Synod on the Middle East

On Thursday, October 21, Bishop Munib Younan was invited to address Pope Benedict XVI and the Synod of Bishops at the Special Assembly for the Middle East at the Vatican in Rome. Younan is the leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jerusalem and the Holy Land and president of the Lutheran World Federation.

The Synod of Bishops made a Concluding Statement from the Special Assembly of the Middle East, released Friday, October 22. It also reflected on challenges and aspirations of the church in the Middle East, and issued appeals to Catholic members throughout the world, ecumenical partners, Jewish and Muslim dialogue partners, and local as well as international political and social leaders.

In the Synod's appeal to the international community, they urged all "to work to find a peaceful, just and definitive solution in the region, through the application of the [UN] Security Council's resolutions and taking the necessary legal steps to put an end to the occupation of the different Arab territories" (VII.11).

The Synod also spoke out in condemnation of violence and terrorism, saying, "We condemn all forms of racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Christianism and Islamophobia and we call upon the religions to assume their responsibility to promote dialogue between cultures and civilisations in our region and in the entire world."

Read Bishop Younan's statement

 

Oct. 28, 2010

Zenit | Mideast Churches in the International Spotlight

Selected paragraphs:

...important themes, important to the institute's students, were the crisis of Christian emigration from the region, which affects some of the students personally, and what Father McCann says is the "huge contribution" the Eastern Churches can make to building peace in the region. There was also the question of patriarchal jurisdiction over those Eastern Church Catholics who have emigrated -- an issue apparently so complicated it is not even close to being resolved.

The institute's rector welcomes that the synod fathers urged Christian emigrants to retain their property and goods back home, a point mentioned in the final message. "They have never been quite so open about that," he says, adding that it will help the Church carry out a more "organized response" to the emigration crisis.

Read article

 

Oct. 28, 2010

National Catholic Reporter | Thinking straight about Israel, the Jews and the Archbishop

Selected paragraphs:

...Arguably, the most compelling Christian drama in the world today is in the Middle East -- where a flock that’s shrunk from 20 percent of the population a century ago to maybe five percent today is desperately trying to punch above its weight.

Christians in the Middle East know that their future is democracy or death, so they’re trying to figure out how to be change agents in their societies -- pressing Israel to better integrate its Arab minority and the Islamic countries of the region to make their peace with modernity.

If the Christians of the Middle East can pull that off, the whole world will be in their debt. If they disappear, the most natural human firebreak against a “clash of civilizations” will be gone.

Read article

 

Oct. 28, 2010

The Independent| Robert Fisk: Exodus. The changing map of the Middle East - From Israel to Iraq, a Christian flight of Biblical proportions has begun

Concluding paragraphs:

And while Western Christians routinely deplore the falling Christian populations of the Middle East, their visits to the region tend to concentrate on pilgrimages to Biblical sites rather than meetings with their Christian opposite numbers.

Americans, so obsessed by the myths of East-West "clashes of civilisation" since 11 September 2001, often seem to regard Christianity as a "Western" rather than an Eastern religion, neatly separating the Middle East roots of their own religion from the lands of Islam. That in itself is a loss of faith.

Read article

 

Oct. 27, 2010

Zenit | 2,000 Cities Unite in Prayer for Holy Land Peace

Youth Organizations Invite All to Participate

JERUSALEM, OCT. 27, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The faithful worldwide are invited to join the 2,000 cities already planning to participate in a day of prayer for peace in the Holy Land.

The 3rd International Day of Intercession for Peace in the Holy Land, an initiative organized by several Catholic youth associations, will take place Jan. 29-30.

Last year, some 1,103 cities worldwide joined Benedict XVI, Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the custos of the Holy Land, and Archbishop Fouad Twal, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, to participate in the prayer for peace.

It is being supported by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and responds in a special way to the call for prayer from the recent Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops.

The organizers noted that this event "is a way to commit for and to concretely live a day of profound prayer and intercession."

The 24 hours of continuous prayer will begin in conjunction with the 5th Extraordinary Prayer of All Churches for Reconciliation, Unity and Peace Beginning in and Proceeding from Jerusalem as well as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Jerusalem.

Some of the organizing groups are: the National Papaboys Association, the Apostolate Youth For Life Association, the Perpetual Adoration Chapels Association in Italy and in the world, and the groups of Adunanza Eucaristica."

Individuals, communities and groups are invited to join in the prayer for peace. Individuals can join the "We Want Peace in the Holy Land 2" Facebook group.  

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Oct. 27, 2010

Zenit | Catholic Media Center Proposed for Mideast

Plans Announced at Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 26, 2010 (Zenit.org).- A new Catholic media center in the Middle East will house two Catholic television stations, three radio stations, a newspaper and a magazine, the Vatican announced.

During the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which concluded Sunday, the Vatican press office highlighted the project, which is a joint effort of two major Middle Eastern Catholic television networks: Tele Lumiere (TV of Light), and its satellite television counterpart, NourSat.

The future Catholic media center will be the new home of both networks as well as three radio stations, both a newspaper and a magazine, and will be the headquarters for several Internet Web sites.    Read more

 

Oct. 27, 2010

Zenit | Vatican: Death of Tarek Aziz Will Not Help Iraq

Speaks Out Against the Execution of Saddam's Aide

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 26, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican is asking Iraq not to execute Tarek Aziz, the deputy prime minister of former President Saddam Hussein's regime, as the act will not favor reconciliation or the reconstruction of peace in the country.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, issued the Vatican statement today after Iraq's supreme court sentenced Aziz to death by hanging for involvement in the suppression of religious political parties.   Read more

 

Oct. 27, 2010

Zenit | The Jewish Presence at the Synod: Hebrew-Speaking Peoples Play Major Role

By Anita Bourdin

ROME, OCT. 26, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The final message of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops dedicates three paragraphs to "Cooperation and Dialogue with Our Fellow Citizens, the Jews."

For the first time, the documents of the synod are available in Hebrew on the site of Vatican Radio. One speech reflected the situation of the Hebrew-speaking Christians.

A rabbi spoke and met Pope Benedict XVI. Three documents of the synod condemned anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism.

..."We condemn all forms of racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Christianism and Islamophobia and we call upon the religions to assume their responsibility to promote dialogue between cultures and civilizations in our region and in the entire world."

Read more

 

Oct. 27, 2010

Zenit | Christians and the Holy Land (Part 2)

Interview With Custos Father Pizzaballa

By Robert Cheaib

 

ROME, OCT. 26, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The uproar of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict makes the life of the Christian community in the Holy Land and its problems pass in silence, yet the Christian presence in those Holy Places is a duty to the past, the present and the future, says the Custos of the Holy Land.

Franciscan Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who was in Rome in October to participate in the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which concluded Sunday, spoke with ZENIT about the complex reality that Christians face in the region.

In Part 2 of this interview, the Custos speaks of the importance of a Christian presence in the region.

Part 1 of this interview appeared Monday.

ZENIT: In the second press conference you said: "The times of the synod are not the times of journalists." But shouldn't the synod be a "walking together" toward planned objectives?

Father Pizzaballa: It's true that the times of the Church should be faster. But they are not the times of social life, because in society there are much more rapid changes which the Church labors to direct. That there are problems also within the dynamics of the life of the Church, there is no doubt. That there is also a certain distance between the territory and the authority of the Church, is also true. However, we must not all throw ourselves too far down, have too critical a view or even be too withdrawn into ourselves.

Despite our problems, we must also look at the good that the Church succeeds in doing through her institutions, through the schools, through so many works, but above all through the many pastors, so many lay people who commit themselves, getting to work without waiting for indications from I don't know whom, but with passion, with love, dedicate themselves to the territory and to the people who are in the territory. These persons don't make noise, but they are those who make the Church.   Read more

 

Oct. 26, 2010

Zenit | Christians and the Holy Land (Part 1)

Interview With Custos Father Pizzaballa

By Robert Cheaib

ROME, OCT. 25, 2010 (Zenit.org).- When speaking of the situation of Christians in the Holy Land, a very careful distinction must be made between Christians living in Israel, and Christians living in the Palestinian Territories, says the Custos of the Holy Land.

Franciscan Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who was in Rome in October to participate in the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which concluded Sunday, spoke with ZENIT about the complex reality that Christians face in the region.

In Part 1 of this interview, the Custos gives a panoramic view of the real conditions of Christians who live in Israel, and those who live in the Palestinian Territories.

Part 2 of this interview will appear Tuesday.

ZENIT: The conditions of Christians in countries of Muslim majority have been presented in more than one venue, but their situation in Israel is little known. What can you tell us of the situation of Christians there, especially with regard to religious liberty, freedom of conscience and political rights?

Father Pizzaballa: When one speaks of the Holy Land there is always some confusion. There are in the Holy Land two political entities: Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which are in conflict, an aspect which makes things even more complicated. Hence the situation of Christians in Israel -- where there is a Jewish majority, followed by a Muslim minority, and then by a Christina minority -- is one thing, but the situation of Christians within the Palestinian Territories, where there is an enormous Muslim majority, has another dynamic. Hence it would be necessary to distinguish very well between these two environments.

In Israel, a Christian has serious identity problems. It isn't an economic or social problem; they are problems that can be found in all countries, but let's say that from the point of view of the economic and social life Christians don't meet with great problems. The real problem for a Christian is that of being an Israeli citizen but non-Jewish, of being Arab but not Muslim, hence a minority within a minority.   Read more

 

Oct. 26, 2010

Zenit | Vatican Aide: "Voice" of Synod Is Final Message: Responds to Critics That Say Assembly Was Anti-Israel

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 25, 2010 (Zenit.org).- To understand the Mideast synod, it is necessary to read the final message its entirety, instead of focusing in on one or two voices, a Vatican spokesman affirmed in response to critiques coming from the Israeli government that the assembly was a forum for anti-Israeli sentiment.

In an interview on Vatican Radio today, the director of the Vatican press office, Father Federico Lombardi, affirmed that the Message to the People of God of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which was published Saturday, is the only "synthetic expression of the positions of the synod at this time," and that it's the "only text written together and approved by the synod."

"There was a great richness and variety of the contributions of the synod fathers," he explained, "but as such, one cannot consider each one as the 'voice' of the synod as a whole."

Additionally, he noted that reaction to the synod has been to a great extent favorable: "The evaluation of the synod in its entirety and of its working sessions, in the words of the Holy Father and in the common opinion of the participants and observers, appears largely positive."    Read more

 

Oct. 25, 2010

Yahoo News | Restoration planned for Bethlehem Nativity Church

BETHLEHEM, West Bank – The Palestinian government announced Monday it is planning an ambitious restoration project for the ancient church that marks the traditional birthplace of Jesus, an important Christian site that draws millions of visitors.

The renovation of Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity is expected to take several years and millions of dollars, according to Ziad Bandak, an official overseeing the restoration.

Bandak said this is the first comprehensive restoration project on the church since it was completed in the fourth century. He said the roof, pillars and mosaics in the church all need work.

"Rain leaking in has caused great damage to all of those, which led us to move quickly to repair the damage," Bandak said, adding that the project would also aim to fix general wear and tear on the centuries-old church.

The fortress-like church, built in the classic style with a long central area under a basilica lined with columns on both sides, is dark and damp. The main Christmas event, the Midnight Mass, is celebrated in the 19th century St. Catherine's Church next door to the Church of the Nativity.
Read more

 

Oct. 25, 2010

Zenit | Pontiff to Mideast Christians: You Are Not Alone

Says They Are Always Accompanied by the Church

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 24, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI assured Catholics of the Middle East that they are not alone, and that they are always accompanied by the Holy See and the entire Church.

The Pope said this today in his homily at the solemn closing of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which took place in St. Peter's. The two-week synod, which gathered together some 170 synod fathers to discuss the situation of the Church in the region, reflected on the theme: "The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness."

"May the experience of these days assure you that you are never alone," the Holy Father said at the end of his homily, in which he recalled that the Church was "born in Jerusalem, spread through the Middle East and then the rest of the world."

The Pontiff expressed a "deep gratitude toward God who has afforded us this truly extraordinary experience, not just for us, but for the good of the Church, for the People of God who live in the lands between the Mediterranean and Mesopotamia."

"We have shared a powerful moment of ecclesial communion," he continued. "We now leave each other so that each may return to his own mission, but we know that we remain united, we remain in his love."

Benedict XVI also expressed the hope that the experience of ecclesial communion would also favor progress in ecumenical dialogue.

Read more

 

Oct. 25, 2010

Zenit | Pontiff to Mideast Christians: You Are Not Alone

Says They Are Always Accompanied by the Church

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 24, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI assured Catholics of the Middle East that they are not alone, and that they are always accompanied by the Holy See and the entire Church.

The Pope said this today in his homily at the solemn closing of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which took place in St. Peter's. The two-week synod, which gathered together some 170 synod fathers to discuss the situation of the Church in the region, reflected on the theme: "The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness."

"May the experience of these days assure you that you are never alone," the Holy Father said at the end of his homily, in which he recalled that the Church was "born in Jerusalem, spread through the Middle East and then the rest of the world."

The Pontiff expressed a "deep gratitude toward God who has afforded us this truly extraordinary experience, not just for us, but for the good of the Church, for the People of God who live in the lands between the Mediterranean and Mesopotamia."

"We have shared a powerful moment of ecclesial communion," he continued. "We now leave each other so that each may return to his own mission, but we know that we remain united, we remain in his love."

Benedict XVI also expressed the hope that the experience of ecclesial communion would also favor progress in ecumenical dialogue.

Read more

 

Oct. 25, 2010

Zenit | Mideast Synod's Concluding Statement: "An Appeal to Safeguard the Faith"

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 24, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is the Vatican translation of the Message to the People of God that the synod fathers of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops approved Friday. The original text was written in Arabic, French, Italian and English. The two-week synod ended today in Rome.

* * *

"Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul" (Acts 4:32)

To our brother priests, deacons, monks, nuns, consecrated persons, our dear lay faithful and all people of good will.

Introduction

1. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you.

The Synod of Bishops for the Middle East was for us a new Pentecost. “Pentecost is the original event but also a permanent dynamism, and the Synod of Bishops is a privileged moment in which the grace of Pentecost may be renewed in the Church’s journey” (Pope Benedict XVI, Homily at the Opening Liturgy, 10 October 2010).

We have come to Rome, We the Patriarchs and Bishops of the Catholic Churches in the Middle East with all our spiritual, liturgical, cultural and canonical patrimonies, carrying in our hearts the concerns of our people.

For the very first time, we have come together in a Synod, gathered around His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, with both cardinals and archbishops, who are heads of the various offices in the Roman Curia, presidents of episcopal conferences around the world, who are concerned with the issues of the Middle East, representatives from the Orthodox Churches and ecclesial communities and Jewish and Muslim guests.

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Oct. 24, 2010

Archdiocese of San Francisco | Unity in Holy Land essential [CNS]

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Division among the different Catholic churches in Jerusalem is a serious problem that must be overcome to ensure the survival of Christianity there, three church leaders from Jerusalem said.

Two bishops and a Jesuit priest, participants in the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, said they believed that two weeks of talks at the Vatican have helped establish a better spirit of dialogue, which will continue.

The special problems facing Catholics in city that is holy for Christians, Jews and Muslims were discussed at a press briefing Oct. 22 by Latin-rite Auxiliary Bishop William H. Shomali of Jerusalem; Auxiliary Bishop Salim Sayegh of Jerusalem, patriarchal vicar for Latin-rite Catholics in Jordan; and Jesuit Father David Neuhaus, vicar for Hebrew- and Russian-speaking Catholics for the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

Father Neuhaus said the divisions were principally among the leaders of the different churches, including the Latin patriarchate and the smaller Eastern Catholic communities: the Melkite, Maronite, Chaldean, Syrian, Armenian and Coptic churches.

"When you look at the bishops, you see the divisions, but the more you get to the grass roots, the more those divisions disappear," he said. "When you walk through the streets of Jerusalem, Bethlehem (West Bank) or Nazareth, and you ask which group they belong to, the answer from Christians is 'I am a Christian,' not 'I am Roman Catholic or Greek Catholic or Maronite.'"

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Oct. 24, 2010

BBC News | Pope Benedict urges Mid-East sides to reach peace

Pope Benedict XVI has urged Israelis and Palestinians to push for peace in the Middle East and not to give up hope of a settlement.

He spoke at the Vatican at the end of a two-week meeting of Catholic bishops from around the world.

Peace would be the best way to stem the emigration of Christians from the Middle East, the Pope said.

Separately, Israel's prime minister has called on Palestinians not pursue independence without peace talks.

Frustrated that direct talks with Israel have stalled over the issue of Jewish settlement construction, Palestinians have suggested they could ask the United Nations to recognise an independent state beyond the Green Line - territories occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war.

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Oct. 23, 2010

San Francisco Chronicle | Vatican meeting demands Israel end occupation by Nicole Winfield, AP

Bishops from the Middle East who were summoned to Rome by the pope demanded Saturday that Israel accept U.N. resolutions calling for an end to its "occupation" of Arab lands.

In a final joint communique, the bishops also told Israel it shouldn't use the Bible to justify "injustices" against the Palestinians.

Read more

 

Oct. 23, 2010

America Magazine, the Catholic Weekly | Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem marked a milestone

Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem marked a milestone on Oct. 18 with the birth of its 50,000th baby since 1990, born to a young Muslim couple from a West Bank village.

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Oct. 23, 2010

America Magazine, the Catholic Weekly | Interfaith Efforts Build Bridges for Peace

While Eastern Catholic bishops gathered for the synod for the Middle East in Rome, an interfaith meeting titled “Building Bridges of Hope: Success Stories and Strategies for Interfaith Action” brought together Christians, Jews and Muslims at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University on Oct. 12. “We believe that interfaith strategies can help solve many of the world’s biggest problems,” Miguel H. Diaz, U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, told participants. The event was hosted by the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican. Read more

 

Oct. 23, 2010

Zenit, the World Viewed from Rome
 

Oct. 22, 2010

Zenit, the World Viewed from Rome
 

Oct. 21, 2010

Zenit, the World Viewed from Rome
 

Oct. 20, 2010

Zenit, the World Viewed from Rome
 

Oct. 20, 2010

Corner Store Documentary

The true story of Yousef Elhaj--beloved shop owner, Palestinian immigrant, and long-distance father is spreading to new audiences across the country, starting in Denver.

Share the news with your networks and come to one of the three scheduled screenings if you are in the area.

Friday, November 5, 4pm

Saturday-November 6, 7:30pm

Sunday-November 7, 2pm

Starz FilmCenter--900 Auraria Parkway, Denver, CO

Join the Mailing List to keep updated on other festival dates and the circuit tour, and consider contributing to our Festival Fundraiser to help us keep the momentum going.

 

Oct. 16, 2010

Zenit, the World Viewed from Rome
 

Oct. 15, 2010

America Magazine, the Catholic Weekly | The Talking Cure by Kerry Weber

The subject line of the e-mail message read: “Why Muslims can’t be good Americans.” Audrey Allas, 22, had received the chain message from a member of the church in which she grew up but no longer attended. She knew the content of the message was full of lies, yet she chose to respond—kindly, respectfully—with the truth. As Allas typed her reply, she drew on her experience working at the Interfaith Youth Core. As an intern with the organization, she collaborated with Muslims daily, befriended Muslims and participated in dialogue and service projects with them. She clicked “Send” and hoped for the best.

The response that came from the church’s members was not as kind, however. Many were angered by what Allas had written and told her so, even going so far as to accuse her of being a “secret Muslim.” Her parents, who had responded as well, also received angry, accusatory e-mail messages. They are now searching for a new church.

“Interfaith Youth Core gave me that motivation to stand up,” Allas told America. “If I hadn’t been involved in the movement, I might have been silent in that issue. I’ve met Muslim people, and I care about them.”   Read more

 

Oct. 15, 2010

America Magazine, the Catholic Weekly | Eastern Church Leaders Seek More Autonomy

Eastern bishops at the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, assembled at the Vatican from Oct. 10 to Oct. 24, began their extraordinary meeting with expressions of concern for the future viability of the Christian presence in the region and a call for religious freedom in the Middle East. “We must emerge from a logic in defense of the rights of Christians only and engage in the defense of the rights of all,” said the introduction to the synod prepared and read by the Coptic patriarch Antonios Naguib of Alexandria, Egypt, the synod’s recording secretary.

But freedom to practice their faith within different Middle Eastern societies was not the only church freedom the bishops sought. Within the Catholic Church itself, the Eastern bishops demanded greater respect for Eastern authority and tradition. Many bishops protested the lack of autonomy their churches experience and suggested that structural reforms would be required to preserve the identity, authority and heritage of the 22 Eastern churches.    Read more

 

Oct. 14, 2010

Zenit | Egyptian Bishop: Take Dialogue to the Streets

Egyptian Bishop: Take Dialogue to the Streets

Interview With Catholic Coptic Bishop of Luxor, Egypt

By Tony Assaf

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 14, 2010 (Zenit.org).- While interreligious dialogue between leaders is advancing, it's time to take it to the streets, where the people are "good and peaceful," says the Coptic Catholic bishop of Luxor, Egypt.

Bishop Yoannes Zacharia is in Rome to participate in the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, and he spoke with ZENIT about the situation of Christians in his country, as well as what he thinks needs to be done to further advance interreligious dialogue.

ZENIT: How will the decisions of the synod be applied to the general public?

Bishop Zachari: Of course we will wait for the crystallization of the synod's recommendations and for the apostolic exhortation, and I hope that these recommendations do not only apply to the bishops or priests, but also the general public, and that they serve to promote the Christian faith.

What matters for our people are not the words or the theological synonyms, but the simplifying of Christian life to make it accessible to all parishes.    Read more

 

Oct. 14, 2010

Zenit | Leading a 1.2M Square-Mile Diocese

Interview With Vicar Apostolic of Arabia

By Carmen Elena Villa

ROME, OCT. 14, 2010 (Zenit.org).- When Bishop Paul Hinder looks at a map of his territory to plan pastoral visits, the view he contemplates is unparalleled in the rest of the Church.

The 68-year-old bishop, a native of Switzerland, is the vicar apostolic of Arabia, meaning his "diocese" covers five nations and some 3 million square kilometers (1.6 million square miles).

His 1.3 million-member flock is comprised entirely of immigrants who daily interact in coexistence with the Islamic world. They represent as many as 90 nationalities, with particularly strong concentrations from the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Europe and the United States.

The headquarters of his vicariate are in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, where there are seven parishes. But he also oversees the four parishes in Oman, another four in Yemen, and one each in Qatar and Bahrain.

The churches of the vicariate are generally lacking any external images: no bells or crosses. And the faithful often gather to worship in private homes.    Read more

 

Oct. 12, 2010

World Council of Churches | Joint Working Group between Roman Catholic Church and World Council of Churches

This year's annual plenary meeting of the Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches (JWG) was graciously hosted by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East in the St. Christophoros Patriarchal Monastery in Saidnaya, Syria, from 26 September to 20 October 2010.

Encountering the churches in Syria has been a decisive mark of this meeting. The close ecumenical relationship among the churches and between their leaders was demonstrated by the presence of ten Heads and representatives of Churches and the Apostolic Nuncio in the opening session of the meeting. There was a powerful moment of witness to ecumenism during this session when His Beatitude Ignatius IV, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, joined hands with the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch, His Holiness Zakka I Iwas, and with the Greek-Catholic Patriarch, His Beatitude Gregorios III.   Read more

 

Oct. 14, 2010

Zenit, the World Viewed from Rome
 

Oct. 12, 2010

Zenit | Prelate: Jerusalem Can't Belong to Just One State

...In the case of the Holy Land, Mirabelli reflected, the presence of the three monotheistic religions is significant. Their common presence, he said, "is not translated into a loss of identity, but into mutual respect and tolerance, guaranteeing to each one that he can not only live in the Holy Land, but that he can live there as a believer."  Read more

 

Oct. 11, 2010

BBC News | Rome 'crisis' talks on Middle East Christians by David Willey

Catholic bishops from the Middle East begin talks in Rome on how to maintain a Christian presence in the lands where Jesus Christ lived and died.

A century ago, 20% of the population in the region was Christian. Today Christians account for only about 5% and their numbers are still dwindling.

This is a matter of great concern to Pope Benedict who has called the talks.

For the first time Jewish rabbis and an Iranian ayatollah will attend the two-week discussions as special guests.    Read more

 

Oct. 10, 2010

Zenit, the World Viewed from Rome
 

Oct. 9, 2010

Zenit, the World Viewed from Rome | Christian Arab TV Station Launches Internationally

Leaders Will Address Upcoming Synod of Bishops

BEIRUT, Lebanon, OCT. 8, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The largest Arabic-speaking Christian television network launched its first multilingual satellite program, aimed to reach a worldwide audience.

The Lebanese network, Tele Lumiere, launched an international program in various languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian.

It noted the aim to make this station "an international free platform for peace and dialogue, communicating from Lebanon to the world the true face of humanity."   Read more

 

Oct. 7, 2010

World Council of Churches | Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom God favours

(Luke 2: 14)

Sermon by the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, World Council of Churches general secretary, at the closing day of the United Nations Advocacy Week, 27 September - 1 October 2010, Geneva, Switzerland

Peace is not needed in heaven. Peace is needed on earth.

"Among those whom God favours." Who are they? Where are they?

These beautiful words are a song in celebration of the birth of the Son of God as a human being. God became a human being, so that all human beings could experience God’s favour. God’s favour is unconditional grace, given according to God’s will. God’s grace is given to us so that the circles of evil and sin may be broken, so that the earth can experience peace. Not war. Not fear of losing your home, or fear of military attacks on your home with all kinds of weapons. Not poverty. Not injustice. Not lack of freedom to move, to speak, to think.

The earth and its people need peace, and the people need their daily bread. That means food and drink, but also education, health services, family and living with those you love and to whom you belong, to be in harmony with your neighbour. We all need peace with the earth, to be nurtured and inspired by the earth we are living on, which bears our weight and our footprints.

When these beautiful words concerning the birth of Jesus Christ are read and celebrated at Christmastime, we often hear songs about a tranquil Bethlehem that include the sweet words of the carol: "Sleep in heavenly peace."

However, one of the greatest paradoxes in our time is that Bethlehem still does not have peace. It is not only a paradox, it is a scandal for humanity.

Bethlehem has become a prison, and the fields of the shepherds are fields full of injustice as more and more of them are annexed through the power of occupation. They feed the sheep no more. This situation is among the past century’s worst failures on the part of the democratic (and what has been represented as the so-called "Christian") West. As a consequence of a number of political decisions, lack of political responsibility and political disasters, Bethlehem still does not have peace. The fields of the shepherds, and the city of Bethlehem where our Lord Jesus Christ was born, still have no peace. The whole world, all continents and all people of good will must now take the responsibility of bringing justice and peace to these places in and around Bethlehem. Those who can promote positive movement in this process know what they have to do. They need our encouragement and prayers.   Read more

 

Oct. 7, 2010

Church representatives examine investment in context of Middle East by Manoj K. Das

Ending Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories with boycott and divestment would be like “snails confronting a tsunami,” David Wildman, executive secretary for Human Rights and Racial Justice, general board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church in the United States, said last week during the United Nations Advocacy Week organized by the World Council of Churches in Geneva.

Wildman made the comment while speaking in an Advocacy Week session on Israel-Palestine dealing with “Strategies for ending Israeli occupation”.

“Justice work means praying with our feet and raising our voices in public confrontation with unjust authorities,” he said, citing how the Presbyterian Church (USA) took on Caterpillar, Citigroup, ITTI Industries, Motorola and United Technologies concerning investment in Israel in June 2004.

Some member churches of the WCC have adopted divestment policies regarding firms that profit from the illegal occupation of Palestine. The council has encouraged churches to use their investments "responsibly in support of peaceful solutions to the conflict" and to consider taking "economic measures that are equitable, transparent and nonviolent". The WCC has no policy on boycotting the state of Israel.

The statistics Wildman presented in his case for divestment were enormously challenging to the audience.

Ninety-nine percent of children killed in the Israel and Palestine conflict are Palestinians. They fell to US-supplied weapons, he said. “We, US tax payers, have invested in them.”   Read more

 

Oct. 7, 2010

Zenit, the World Seen from Rome | Capuchins Open Spirituality Center in Jerusalem

Prelate Urges Christians to Be Light in the World

JERUSALEM, OCT. 6, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Order of Capuchin Friars Minor opened a center for spirituality and formation for religious and laypeople who want to attend courses and retreats in that region.

The center, which is inspired by the motto, "I am the light of the world," was inaugurated Sept. 28.

At the inauguration ceremony, Archbishop Fouad Twal, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, noted that this light is the witness that believers make to those around them. He added that this idea "is a topic of our next synod," which will take place in Rome, beginning Sunday, and will focus on the Middle East.

"In Jerusalem, we can count on hundreds of religious congregations, 14 of which are contemplative communities," the prelate said. "They are the strength and richness of the Latin Catholic Church."  Read more

 

Oct. 5, 2010

Zenit, the World Seen from Rome | Founder: Mideast Reconciliation Is Sign of New Era

Israeli, Palestinian Politicians Continue Dialogue

BARCELONA, Spain, OCT. 5, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The founder of the Community of Sant'Egidio is affirming that although reconciliation in the Middle East is difficult, once accomplished it will be a sign of a new era.

Andrea Riccardi stated this at the 25th International Meeting of Prayer for Peace, an annual gathering held as a continuation of the first interreligious and intercultural meeting called in 1986 in Assisi by Pope John Paul II

The three-day meeting, promoted by the Sant'Egidio Community, ended today in Barcelona. This year's event focused in a particular way on the situation in the Middle East, with the theme "Coexistence in a Time of Crisis: Family of Peoples, Family of God."

In an address Sunday, Riccardi noted that "reconciliation in that region, in Israel's security, in the disarming of the violent and terrorists, in a homeland for the Palestinians, is difficult but will be the prophetic sign of a new era for the world."

He added that "a solution must be achieved without concealing the difficulties."  Read more

 

Oct. 4, 2010

America Magazine, the Catholic Weekly | Video Report by Kevin Clarke: Holy Land Detour

Visiting Christians in the Middle East  Permalink

 

Oct. 4, 2010

America Magazine, the Catholic Weekly | Video Report by Kevin Clarke: A Christian Community in Israel

A pastor outside Nazareth talks about the challenges facing Palestinian Christians.  Permalink

 

Oct. 4, 2010

America Magazine, the Catholic Weekly | Middle East Chronicle by Maurice Timothy Reidy

In advance of the bishops' Synod on the Middle East, the October 11 issue of America features three articles examining the intricacies of the pursuit of peace in the Middle East. Here we offer a sampling of our coverage of the Holy Land over the years:

Prayer in Yemin," by David Pinault, December 7, 2009

"Christians in Flight,"  by The Editors, March 24, 2008

"Preparing for Dialogue in the Holy Land," by Daniel Rossing, September 13, 2004

"Blocks in the Road," by Drew Christiansen, S.J., February 16, 2004

"Fellowship in Faith: Jewish, Christian and Muslim by Patrick J. Ryan, S.J., April 21, 2003  Permalink

 

Oct. 4, 2010

America Magazine, the Catholic Weekly | Editorial: Truly Catholic

When they hear the words Catholic Church, most people, Catholics included, think immediately of the Roman Catholic Church. But in fact the Catholic Church is a communion of many particular churches, of which the Western or Latin church, though the largest, is only one. The Annuario Pontificio, the church’s global almanac, lists 22 Eastern churches in communion with Rome. They were once called rites, a term that distinguished them by language, liturgical tradition and theological patrimony. Since the Second Vatican Council, however, they have been recognized as churches sui iuris (“with their own law”) that are “of equal dignity” with the Latin church. Among the oldest are the six historic Catholic churches of the Middle East: the Armenian, Chaldean, Coptic, Maronite, Melkite and Syrian Catholic churches. With them today are joined the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and a Latin vicariate in the Arabian peninsula.   Read more

 

Oct. 1, 2010

America Magazine, the Catholic Weekly | Editorial: Israel's Choice

Hope for a negotiated peace agreement in the Middle East hangs by the thinnest of threads. Israel’s 10-month freeze on the building of new settlements in the West Bank expired at midnight on Sept. 26 despite international pressure to extend the moratorium. Palestinian leaders have not pulled out of talks yet, as they threatened to do, but they may be in a politically untenable position. Even seasoned observers of the Middle East cannot help but feel frustrated by what is beginning to look like yet another missed opportunity.  Read more

 

Oct. 1, 2010

America Magazine, the Catholic Weekly | Christians and Muslims Together by Elias D. Mallon 

Pope Benedict XVI was standing in prayer in the beautiful Blue Mosque in Istanbul. Alongside him stood Ali Bardakoglu, the president of the Religious Affairs Directorate of Turkey. The image of the two men standing side by side in silent prayer on Nov. 30, 3006, presented a stark contrast to the riotous Muslim reaction to Benedict’s lecture 11 weeks earlier in Regensburg, Germany. There the pope’s quotation of a passage from Emperor Manuel II Paleologos to the effect that the only thing that Muhammad had brought was “cruel and inhuman” had unleashed a storm of outrage across the Muslim world. The two events provide a paradigm of Catholic-Muslim relations: On the one side, mutual respect and dialogue, and on the other, misunderstanding, turmoil and resentment.  Permalink

 

Oct. 1, 2010

America Magazine, the Catholic Weekly | Remember the Exiles by Joseph Cornelius Donnelly and Drew Christiansen

Being a refugee should be a temporary condition. Under international law, people who have fled their homes out of fear of persecution should be able to return home once conditions improve or, when they are prevented from doing so, make a new home elsewhere. To be uprooted from one’s home is especially traumatic in the Middle East, where family, home and ancestral ties to the land are essential to one’s identity. People hold on to their house keys years after they have been expelled or taken flight.  Permalink

 

Oct. 1, 2010

America Magazine, the Catholic Weekly | The Christian Stake In Mideast by Willam H. Keeler

The Middle East was once called the cradle of Christianity because the faith first flourished in the lands from Mesopotamia to Anatolia (modern-day Iraq and Turkey) in Syria, Lebanon and the Holy Land. But since the late 19th century, Middle Eastern Christians have been emigrating to flee conflict and to find a better life. In the last several decades, armed conflict and religious persecution have taken an exceptional toll on the Christians of the region.  Permalink

 
 
       

 

 

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