Fides News - Englishhttp://fides.org/Fides Agency NewsenContent on this site is licensed under aAFRICA/SOUTH AFRICA - The Bishops: "No to the registration of pastors and ministers of religion"http://fides.org/en/news/62677-AFRICA_SOUTH_AFRICA_The_Bishops_No_to_the_registration_of_pastors_and_ministers_of_religionhttp://fides.org/en/news/62677-AFRICA_SOUTH_AFRICA_The_Bishops_No_to_the_registration_of_pastors_and_ministers_of_religionJohannesburg - "The recommendation that new laws be introduced to enforce registration of pastors and ministers is overkill and a response that one would expect more from a totalitarian state than a constitutional democracy", said His Exc. Mgr. Brislin, Archbishop of Cape Town and President of the Southern Africa Catholic Bishops’ Conference in responding to the proposal submitted by the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities in South Africa on 11 July recommending that all religious practitioners be registered under umbrella organizations that would be recognized by the state and subject to “peer-review committees.<br />"We fully understand and share government’s unhappiness with certain practices done in the name of religion, such as requiring adherents to drink petrol or eat grass. However, we believe that there is sufficient existing legislation that can be evoked to deal with most of these harmful practices", underlined Mgr. Brislin. Other religious confessions have also criticized the proposal to register ministers of religion. <br />Thu, 20 Jul 2017 12:49:19 +0200AMERICA/HONDURAS - Inauguration of a new temple dedicated to the Christ of Esquipulashttp://fides.org/en/news/62675-AMERICA_HONDURAS_Inauguration_of_a_new_temple_dedicated_to_the_Christ_of_Esquipulashttp://fides.org/en/news/62675-AMERICA_HONDURAS_Inauguration_of_a_new_temple_dedicated_to_the_Christ_of_EsquipulasSan Pedro Sula - With a solemn Mass presided by His Exc. Mgr. Ángel Garachana, Bishop of the diocese of San Pedro Sula, a new temple dedicated to the Christ of Esquipulas was inaugurated. The solemn ritual, concelebrated by pastor Don Héctor Mario Salazar, was attended by hundreds of faithful who gathered on July 18 in the new church located in the colonial Buenos Aires neighborhood in San Pedro Sula. The largest group of faithful devotees of the Christ of Esquipulas, belongs to the parish of Santa Cruz.<br />It was a real feast, "after 10 years of activities and events we see this dream come true" said José Luis Reitel Caballero, head of the Basic Ecclesial Communities and one of the leaders of the construction of the temple project. The church's construction began officially in 2010, with the aim of having "The Black Christ" in Honduras, as the note sent by FidesDiarioDigital informs. In this way, the Honduran faithful will no longer have to travel to Guatemala to pray before the image of the Black Christ. The place of worship can accommodate 400 people.<br />The occasion was also a favourable moment to celebrate the Day of the Diocese. On Sunday, July 9, the entire diocese celebrated the 54th anniversary of the foundation. The Diocese of San Pedro Sula, says the note, witnesses the love of God in 35 parishes, through 38 religious congregations, 17 lay associations, movements and 1,850 basic ecclesial communities. <br />Thu, 20 Jul 2017 12:38:23 +0200ASIA/IRAQ - Citizens of the Christian village of Alqosh protest against the mayor's removal from officehttp://fides.org/en/news/62676-ASIA_IRAQ_Citizens_of_the_Christian_village_of_Alqosh_protest_against_the_mayor_s_removal_from_officehttp://fides.org/en/news/62676-ASIA_IRAQ_Citizens_of_the_Christian_village_of_Alqosh_protest_against_the_mayor_s_removal_from_officeAlqosh - Hundreds of citizens in Alqosh, a Christian majority city of the Nineveh Plain, participated in the protest march that this morning Thursday, July 20, crossed the central streets of the town center to show their dissent regarding the sudden removal from office of the local mayor, ordered in recent days by the Council of the Nineveh Province. The demonstration was jointly convened by the militants of the Iraqi Communist Party and the local leader of the Assyrian Democratic Movement . The crowd of demonstrators, as illustrated by photos released by ankawa.com, shouted protest slogans, carrying flags of Iraq and banners with Arabic and English writings. A delegation of demonstrators had a meeting with the chairman of the local council, who reported that the reason of the removal of the mayor and other members of the same council are to do with the accusation of corruption. Some believe that these accusations are instrumental, and many of them interpret this move as a confirmation of the plans nurtured on the Nineveh Plain and across the Province by the government of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, that has called for a referendum on independence on September 25, with the intent of proclaiming the unilateral secession from Iraq. The independence prospect of Kurdistan is rejected by the central government in Baghdad<br />The Christian inhabitants in Alqosh are still far from their homes and hosted as refugees in Kurdistan and other Middle Eastern areas after being forced to flee in August 2014 in front of the advance of the jihadist militias of the self-proclaimed Islamic State . <br />Thu, 20 Jul 2017 12:30:03 +0200AFRICA/DR CONGO - Postponement of the general elections; the hypothesis of a transition without Kabila or separate elections is being consideredhttp://fides.org/en/news/62674-AFRICA_DR_CONGO_Postponement_of_the_general_elections_the_hypothesis_of_a_transition_without_Kabila_or_separate_elections_is_being_consideredhttp://fides.org/en/news/62674-AFRICA_DR_CONGO_Postponement_of_the_general_elections_the_hypothesis_of_a_transition_without_Kabila_or_separate_elections_is_being_consideredKinshasa - The announcement on July 7 on behalf of the President of the Electoral Commission of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Corneille Nangaa, on the fact that the parameters in his possession do not allow to hold general elections by December 2017, as was envisioned in the December 31, 2016 agreement, "is no surprise", he comments in a note sent to Agenzia Fides by Peace Network for Congo.<br />The note recalls that the December 2017 deadline for "organizing the elections was by no means realistic" as it imposed the Grouping of the Opposition as a means of pressure on the Presidential Majority and, above all, on the President of the Republic, Joseph Kabila, who reached the end of his second and last presidential term on December 20, 2016".<br />The president of the Electoral Commission indicated in particular three obstacles to the election by the end of the year: the inadequacy of certain laws, including the electoral law, which should be amended and updated to allow him to continue the work of preparation of the elections; the failure to establish the National Supervisory Board of the December 31, 2016 Agreement , also in charge of monitoring the electoral process; the situation of insecurity in certain provinces, especially in Kasai where, due to the constant clashes between the army and Kamwina Napu militiamen, the registration process of voters has not yet begun.<br />In the DRC there are also 500 parties, most of which are local and non-national. Therefore, the Electoral Commission highlights the need to create party coalitions to reduce the size of electoral ballots and boxes, and therefore also limit the costs of their distribution on the national territory.<br />Two hypotheses are being considered to overcome the crisis; a brief transition without Kabila and appointing a provisional Head of State to prepare the elections; or to organize separate elections: first the national presidential and legislation elections and then the provincial ones. <br />Thu, 20 Jul 2017 12:10:16 +0200EUROPE/ITALY - "Operation Dove": for 25 years a nonviolent presence in the theaters of warhttp://fides.org/en/news/62673-EUROPE_ITALY_Operation_Dove_for_25_years_a_nonviolent_presence_in_the_theaters_of_warhttp://fides.org/en/news/62673-EUROPE_ITALY_Operation_Dove_for_25_years_a_nonviolent_presence_in_the_theaters_of_warRimini - "Operation Dove", nonviolent peace Corps of the Pope John XXIII COMMUNITY founded by Don Oreste Benzi, celebrates its 25 anniversary. It was established in the summer of 1992, in the wake of the war in ex-Yugoslavia, by the enthusiasm of some young Romanians supported by Don Oreste Benzi, who always believed in the potential of this project. "To bring the presence of non-armed civilian volunteers, alongside the poorest in the heart of wars. From this insight it was discovered that the intervention model works: where our volunteers are present, violence is reduced and dialogue is encouraged", commented Giovanni Paolo Ramonda, President of APG23, in a note sent to Fides.<br />In 25 years, Don Benzi's Community, through Operation Dove, has intervened in 17 situations of war or conflict in the world: from Chechnya to Congo, from East Timor to Chiapas. About 2000 volunteers have left in these years for a nonviolent presence in conflict areas. Today Operation Dove is present in Israel and Palestine, Lebanon, Albania and Colombia.<br />On 22 and 23 July, a few kilometers from Rimini, there will be a meeting of volunteers of Operation Dove, where meetings, debates and testimonies, as well as music and convivial moments will take place. <br />Thu, 20 Jul 2017 11:33:00 +0200AMERICA/BOLIVIA - Mgr. Gualberti after the gunfight: "These deaths must shake our conscience"http://fides.org/en/news/62672-AMERICA_BOLIVIA_Mgr_Gualberti_after_the_gunfight_These_deaths_must_shake_our_consciencehttp://fides.org/en/news/62672-AMERICA_BOLIVIA_Mgr_Gualberti_after_the_gunfight_These_deaths_must_shake_our_conscienceSanta Cruz - "First and foremost, it is urgent to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation to eliminate any possible doubt on what happened. We must also take preventive measures, such as having well-prepared police force members to protect human life above all and prevent similar cases from ending in a blood bath", said His Exc. Mgr. Sergio Gualberti, Archbishop of Santa Cruz de la Sierra in his homily on Sunday July 16, commenting on the episode of armed violence in the center of this city a few days before, causing five deaths and seven serious injuries.<br />"Let us pray to the God of life for the dead brothers and let us express our closeness and Christian solidarity to the wounded and to all relatives in pain", said Mgr. Gualberti on the feast of the Madonna del Carmine, patron of Bolivia and the armed forces. "These dead confirm the serious problem of insecurity and uncontrolled violence that dominates the streets of our city and is in the heart of so many people, these dead must shake our conscience and push the authorities to take the necessary measures", stressed the Archbishop.<br />On Thursday, July 13, a gang of 7 delinquents with big firearms robbed a jewelry shop in the center of the city. At the time of leaving with three employees as hostages, the police who had arrived in the meantime started shooting, and there was a violent clash: one employee, a policeman, and three criminals were killed. Seven people were injured. <br />Thu, 20 Jul 2017 11:03:34 +0200ASIA/HOLY LAND - The Churches in Jerusalem on the tensions around al-Aqsa-Mosque/Haram esh-Sharif: no to measures that alter the Status Quohttp://fides.org/en/news/62671-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_The_Churches_in_Jerusalem_on_the_tensions_around_al_Aqsa_Mosque_Haram_esh_Sharif_no_to_measures_that_alter_the_Status_Quohttp://fides.org/en/news/62671-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_The_Churches_in_Jerusalem_on_the_tensions_around_al_Aqsa_Mosque_Haram_esh_Sharif_no_to_measures_that_alter_the_Status_QuoJerusalem - Leaders and representatives of all Churches and Christian communities in Jerusalem express "serious concern" regarding the new spiral of tension and violence around Haram ash-Sharif. With a document signed by high representatives of 13 Churches, the Christian leaders of Jerusalem condemn any act of violence and also express fears for "any change in the Status Quo", set of codified rules governing the management of the Holy Places in that area and throughout the Old City of Jerusalem, which guarantee the freedom of access and worship of the faithful of various religious communities. "Every threat to the continuity of the Status Quo", underline the leaders of the Churches and Christian communities, "can lead to serious and unpredictable consequences, which should be the least desirable in the present climate of religious tension". The Christian leaders also show appreciation for the "permanent custody of the Mosque of al Aqsa and the holy places of Jerusalem and the Holy Land on behalf of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which guarantees all Muslims the right to freely access the Mosque of al Aqsa, according to the current Status Quo". A system, that of the Status Quo, which, according to the Heads of the Churches of Jerusalem, is to be "fully respected, for the benefit of peace and reconciliation for the whole community".<br />The list of the signatories, opened by Teophilos III, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, also includes Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and Father Francesco Patton, Custodian of the Holy Land. <br />Thu, 20 Jul 2017 10:39:47 +0200ASIA/CHINA - Summer camp, school of faith and life for childrenhttp://fides.org/en/news/62670-ASIA_CHINA_Summer_camp_school_of_faith_and_life_for_childrenhttp://fides.org/en/news/62670-ASIA_CHINA_Summer_camp_school_of_faith_and_life_for_childrenBeijing – Some recited the rosary for the first time and learned how to use the crown, some participated in the Mass for the first time from beginning to end, and there are those who are more disciplined and judicious after a few days of community life in the summer camp organized every year by the continental Chinese Catholic community: these are the testimonies of parents to the nuns and priests who led the 2017 summer camp. Children thus "experienced the school of faith and life" emphasizes a priest.<br />According to information by Agenzia Fides, not only priests, nuns and seminarians are involved in the summer camp activities, but in some dioceses also the Bishop in person, to prepare, organize and guide catechism. Mgr. Giuseppe Han Ying Jin of the diocese of San Yuan, in Shaan Xi province, who with 136 children formed the largest campsite this year.<br />There were 9 seminarians, 2 nuns and several volunteers from 9 to 16 July for catechism, testimonies, teaching, guiding the Way of the Cross, setting up a biblical theme, organizing the pilgrimage. During the pilgrimage in three parishes, the children were greeted with great warmth and generosity by the parishioners, thus becoming a living testimony of fraternity and sharing, above all of altruism and service.<br />Satisfaction wins fatigue, as Don Dou says: "It is tiring and hot, but when I see the children with the rosary in their hands, and they pray with great devotion, tiredness disappears".<br />About seventy children of the diocese of Na Chong, in the province of Si Chuan, astonished their parents after a week with nuns and priests from 7 to 14 July. One of them commented: "My son has become so good, I cannot believe it, now he can recite the rosary, and is self-disciplined".<br />In the Inner Mongolia campsite 24 children of Bao Tou studied the Bible. During 5 days of camping, from July 8 to 13, 30 children from the parish of Yang Ge Zhuang, Qian An District in Tang Shan City, He bei Province, learned the meaning of the Ten Commandments and the Seven Sacraments . <br />Thu, 20 Jul 2017 09:55:36 +0200AFRICA/EGYPT - Denial regarding the recent reports on Patriarch Tawadros' health conditionshttp://fides.org/en/news/62669-AFRICA_EGYPT_Denial_regarding_the_recent_reports_on_Patriarch_Tawadros_health_conditionshttp://fides.org/en/news/62669-AFRICA_EGYPT_Denial_regarding_the_recent_reports_on_Patriarch_Tawadros_health_conditionsCairo - An official statement of the Orthodox Catholic Patriarchate of Alexandria denied the allegations that social media had spread regarding a sudden deterioration of the health conditions of Patriarch Tawadros II. Social networks referred to the Patriarch's admission to hospital to undergo surgical intervention. In reality - said the official statement of the Patriarchate, Pope Tawadros is on a spiritual retreat at the monastery of Anba Bishoy. The Patriarch - clarified the text released by the Patriarchate - will have to undergo a long-planned surgical intervention next October to cure a slipped disc, but already has a scheduled trip in the month of October to Japan and a visit to Germany. <br />Wed, 19 Jul 2017 12:44:11 +0200AFRICA/GHANA - Give powers to traditional leaders to manage development projectshttp://fides.org/en/news/62668-AFRICA_GHANA_Give_powers_to_traditional_leaders_to_manage_development_projectshttp://fides.org/en/news/62668-AFRICA_GHANA_Give_powers_to_traditional_leaders_to_manage_development_projectsAccra - Africans have been called to change their mindset in order to develop the African continent. If traditional leaders joined parliament members, development projects could be managed more quickly and efficiently, said Rev. Professor Emmanuel Nash at the Ghana Peace Awards, which will be awarded on October 28.<br />"Traditional leaders are the true custodians of people living in their areas and in traditional communities across the country", he said.<br />According to Nash, this will allow governments to reduce some forms of corruption, overcome project delays and avoid the construction of poor works. <br />This is because traditional leaders will take advantage of these works and answer directly to the people they administer, who will act as auditors for the proper performance of the works.<br />Any form of corruption and misappropriation of money by the leader will lead to his removal, encouraging him to behave correctly. <br />Wed, 19 Jul 2017 11:55:41 +0200ASIA/IRAQ - Christian Mayor of Alqosh dismissed. The Nineveh Plain is increasingly a "controversial area" in the eyes of Kurdish secessionistshttp://fides.org/en/news/62667-ASIA_IRAQ_Christian_Mayor_of_Alqosh_dismissed_The_Nineveh_Plain_is_increasingly_a_controversial_area_in_the_eyes_of_Kurdish_secessionistshttp://fides.org/en/news/62667-ASIA_IRAQ_Christian_Mayor_of_Alqosh_dismissed_The_Nineveh_Plain_is_increasingly_a_controversial_area_in_the_eyes_of_Kurdish_secessionistsAlqosh - With an unusual emergency procedure, the Council of the Iraqi Province of Nineveh dismissed the mayor of Alqosh, a town of the Nineveh Plain historically inhabited by Christians, and replaced him with a local political leader close to the Democratic Kurdistan Party . The removal was decided by Bashar al Kiki, at the head of the Provincial Council of Ninive, also a member of the PDK. The news has raised concerns and negative reactions among native Christian communities and among Christian inhabitants of Alqosh, largely still far from their homes and hosted as refugees in Kurdistan and other Middle Eastern areas after being forced to flee in August 2014 in front of the advance of the jihadist militias of the self-proclaimed Islamic State . The not many Christians who have already returned to Alqosh have publicly protested against a decision that several observers interpret as a confirmation of the plans nurtured on the Nineveh Plain and across the Province by the government of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, that has called for a referendum on independence on September 25, with the intent of proclaiming the unilateral secession from Iraq. Iraqi Christian politicians, such as parliamentarian Yonadam Kanna, Secretary General of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, in recent interviews denounced pressures and political actions by regional forces on local minorities - including Christians - to also push populations of the Nineveh Plain to support the future Independence of Iraqi Kurdistan. The independence prospect of Kurdistan is rejected by the central government in Baghdad, but meanwhile, Falah Mustafa Bakir, head of the Foreign Relations Department of the Regional Government of Kurdistan, went to Washington to explain to his US counterparts that "a Independent Kurdistan is a solution, not a problem". <br /><br />Wed, 19 Jul 2017 11:50:33 +0200AMERICA/UNITED STATES - Bishop Seitz's Pastoral Letter: it is important to welcome migrants according to the Gospelhttp://fides.org/en/news/62666-AMERICA_UNITED_STATES_Bishop_Seitz_s_Pastoral_Letter_it_is_important_to_welcome_migrants_according_to_the_Gospelhttp://fides.org/en/news/62666-AMERICA_UNITED_STATES_Bishop_Seitz_s_Pastoral_Letter_it_is_important_to_welcome_migrants_according_to_the_GospelEl Paso – The Bishop of the Diocese of El Paso, Texas, His Exc. Mgr. Mark J. Seitz, condemned the demonization of immigrants, the militarization of the border and the immigration system that divides families in a long pastoral letter published yesterday, July 18. In the letter titled "Sorrow and Mourning Flee Away", Bishop Seitz, whose diocese is on the south-eastern border of Texas, argues that the country's security cannot be used as a "pretext for building walls and closing the door to migrants and refugees". The Bishop asks Catholics to listen to the teachings of the Church in order to welcome immigrants: "God has created a world where there is place for everyone at the banquet of life".<br />"I do not want to substitute politics with the teachings of the Church, but as a Pastor, my duty is that of the Gospel of Jesus Christ", and the Gospel is clear: "The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born". Bishop Seitz also criticized the system that "allows some to stop human beings for profit reasons", while destroying "the country's historic commitment to refugees and asylum seekers".<br />The pastoral letter, sent to Fides, contains several testimonies of the Bishop himself regarding migrants, in order to allow us to reflect on the situation of border communities and the people of Central America in the "journey of hope". He also mentions the Holy Father's visit to that border four years ago, but since then things have not changed.<br />Mgr. Seitz says that although the immigration system is out of use, it has not been solved largely because "the elected leaders have not yet found the moral courage to implement a permanent and complete immigration reform" and migrants should not be the ones who pay the price.<br />The letter concludes with a call to unity: "Every year, the faithful of Ciudad Juarez, Las Cruces and El Paso come together to celebrate Mass at the border. We are divided by a wall or river, by an economy of exclusion and unjust migration policies, but despite all that divides us, this celebration is a joyful memory that the Eucharist of Christ builds New Humanity, bringing us together in the new Jerusalem". <br />Wed, 19 Jul 2017 11:29:47 +0200AMERICA/COLOMBIA - November 19 - Day Against Child Abuse in Medellinhttp://fides.org/en/news/62664-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_November_19_Day_Against_Child_Abuse_in_Medellinhttp://fides.org/en/news/62664-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_November_19_Day_Against_Child_Abuse_in_MedellinMedellín - The establishment of the "Day against child abuse", which will be celebrated on November 19, has just been approved in Medellín. The goal is to continue working to protect the rights of children as a form of social mobilization, said the leaders of the initiative in the note sent to Fides. It is necessary to identify all forms of abuse that children suffer: sexual, physical and psychological, as well as lack of attention. Medellín exceeds the national average as far as child abuse is concerned. The city has an index of violence that affects 52% of children from 0 to 5 years of age. <br />Wed, 19 Jul 2017 10:43:18 +0200AFRICA/SUDAN - "Home-to-Home" campaigns to prevent cholerahttp://fides.org/en/news/62663-AFRICA_SUDAN_Home_to_Home_campaigns_to_prevent_cholerahttp://fides.org/en/news/62663-AFRICA_SUDAN_Home_to_Home_campaigns_to_prevent_choleraKhartoum - Presentations on the streets, online videos, posters, bars of soap: are some of the local initiatives that have been done to help people fight against infection and raise awareness about the rapid spread of cholera in Sudan. Without any support from the Sudanese government in Khartoum, a number of local and civil voluntary initiatives have been active in the fight against cholera. The disease has claimed 940 lives since cholera cases emerged in Blue Nile state in August last year, according to the National Epidemiological Corporation. The campaigners are known to provide information to residents about prevention and local treatment services. Doctors joined some of the initiatives and treat affected people in their homes or transfer them to isolation wards, set-up by hospitals or health centres. The groups create leaflets and videos that explain the diagnosis of the disease, and methods to prepare perfusion solutions at home in order to increase prevention methods.<br />In several states the Home-to-Home programme helped to identify the extent of the cholera spread, by campaigners visiting residents at home, and identify ways to deal with it. Soon after, medicines, intravenous fluids and salts were provided to people, as well as soap, disinfectants and detergents in hospitals. The field teams also go to mosques, public meetings, markets, on public transport, to provide information on how to avoid cholera and how to deal with people who are infected. <br />Wed, 19 Jul 2017 10:30:04 +0200AFRICA/TUNISIA - Appointment of the National Director of the PMS, Fr. Claudio Santangelohttp://fides.org/en/news/62662-AFRICA_TUNISIA_Appointment_of_the_National_Director_of_the_PMS_Fr_Claudio_Santangelohttp://fides.org/en/news/62662-AFRICA_TUNISIA_Appointment_of_the_National_Director_of_the_PMS_Fr_Claudio_SantangeloVatican City - On May 11, 2017 Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, appointed Rev. Fr. Claudio Santangelo, of the Congregation of the Mission Lazarists, as National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Tunisia for a five-year term .<br />The new National Director was born in Italy on May 8, 1964 and was ordained a priest on 13 September 1997. He holds a degree in foreign languages and literature and a master in Fine Arts. He was Parish priest in Bologna , Missionary in Istanbul , Secretary General CM , Rector of the leonin ecclesiastical boarding school in Rome , parish priest of the CM mission in Sousse since 2016, national Director of Caritas Tunisia. <br />Wed, 19 Jul 2017 10:29:27 +0200ASIA/LEBANON - Patriarch Rai to President Aoun: People are exhausted, it is necessary to favor the repatriation of Syrian refugeeshttp://fides.org/en/news/62661-ASIA_LEBANON_Patriarch_Rai_to_President_Aoun_People_are_exhausted_it_is_necessary_to_favor_the_repatriation_of_Syrian_refugeeshttp://fides.org/en/news/62661-ASIA_LEBANON_Patriarch_Rai_to_President_Aoun_People_are_exhausted_it_is_necessary_to_favor_the_repatriation_of_Syrian_refugeesAnnaya - "Even with all our solidarity with the refugees, the Lebanese hope that the process to guarantee them a safe return in their Country, by setting aside the different political positions that hinder the solutions desired, will be reconsidered". With these words Maronite Patriarch Béchara Boutros Raï directly addressed Lebanese President Michel Aoun, during the homily on the occasion of the Feast of St. Charbel, celebrated by the Primate of the Maronite Church in Saint Maron Monastery in Annaya, in the presence, among others, of Lebanon's Head of State, his wife Nadia and apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia. Addressed to Aoun, the Patriarch expressed appreciation and encouragement for the "good intentions" pursued by the President, but focused on the worries, the fatigue and the suffering of the Lebanese people that have also been severely aggravated by the presence of "two million refugees and displaced persons on the national territory who deprive the Lebanese people of their means of subsistence, leaving them in poverty and deprivation, and pushing new generations to emigrate".<br />In the homily, whose text was sent to Agenzia Fides, Patriarch Rai renewed the alarm also with regard to the "rampant corruption in the Country" and the "sectarian race in the cornering of public office", denouncing a policy of facts carried out that "go against the spirit of the Constitution, the National Pact and the mechanism for administrative appointments".<br />The delicate issue of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has become central to national political debate again after the security operations carried out by Lebanese forces in some refugee camps were initiated to neutralize some Syrian militants armed anti-Assad, and also marked by violence and explosions, which caused the death of some civilians. In past days two demonstrations were convened in Beirut for today Tuesday, July 18, one to denounce the violence suffered by Syrian refugees and the other to support the operation of the Lebanese armed forces. The two demonstrations were banned by the Interior Ministry to protect public order and avoid possible clashes in the square. But in the Country of Cedars tension increases, and the voices of those who ask to facilitate the return of Syrian refugees to their own land multiply. <br />Tue, 18 Jul 2017 13:42:41 +0200AMERICA/BOLIVIA - Animation Week in the Archdiocese of Sucre: "I am a Church, I am Mission"http://fides.org/en/news/62660-AMERICA_BOLIVIA_Animation_Week_in_the_Archdiocese_of_Sucre_I_am_a_Church_I_am_Missionhttp://fides.org/en/news/62660-AMERICA_BOLIVIA_Animation_Week_in_the_Archdiocese_of_Sucre_I_am_a_Church_I_am_MissionSucre - The Bolivian Archdiocese of Sucre is experiencing a week of prayer and meetings in view of the Day of the Diocesean Church, with the slogan "I am Church, I am Mission! I count on you!". The Week opened on Sunday, July 16, in all the parish churches and communities of the Archdiocese, under the theme "A missionary Church that goes out". According to information gathered by Fides, each day is dedicated, with prayer and a specific encounter in various places of the archdiocese, to a particular reality, starting with the common theme "Church, Mission and ...". Therefore "Church, Mission and" children, young people, family, communities, suburbs.<br />Saturday, July 22, is dedicated to the theme "Church, Mission and Mary" and a Marian pilgrimage has been programmed. On Sunday 23 July, the Day of the Diocesan Church will be celebrated with a feast of fraternity in all parishes and a special collection for local needs .<br />The goal is "to strengthen our conscience to be members of this particular Church and to feel committed to her", writes the Archbishop of Sucre, His Exc. Mgr. Jesus Juarez Parraga in the invitation to participate in the initiatives, emphasizing the union with the universal Church presided over by the Successor of Peter. In addition, in view of the National Missionary Congress that will be celebrated in Sucre in October, the week "will be of great help to create greater conscience and co-responsibility for the preparation and implementation of the VII National Missionary Congress as an authentic moment of grace to renew our ardent zeal and missionary commitment". <br />Tue, 18 Jul 2017 12:45:01 +0200AFRICA/KENYA - Religious leaders denounce the terrorist attacks and banditism to prevent the people from votinghttp://fides.org/en/news/62659-AFRICA_KENYA_Religious_leaders_denounce_the_terrorist_attacks_and_banditism_to_prevent_the_people_from_votinghttp://fides.org/en/news/62659-AFRICA_KENYA_Religious_leaders_denounce_the_terrorist_attacks_and_banditism_to_prevent_the_people_from_votingNairobi - "We are convinced that these attacks, though masquerading as terrorism or banditry, may actually be orchestrated criminality aimed at displacing populations so that they don’t participate in the 2017 General Elections", denounce the religious leaders of Kenya in a press conference dedicated to the climate lived in the Country on the eve of the August 8th elections.<br />The recent terrorist attacks attributed to Somali Shabaabs in Lamu and bandit attacks in Baringo and Laikipia have increased the tension in the Country. Mindful of the violence that hit Kenya in the contested elections in 2007, local religious leaders call on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to publish the voters register as required by the constitution and noted that the longer the commission takes before publishing the register the more the doubts are cast on its credibility.<br />"The primary cause of discord after the 2007 General Elections was the delay in the announcement of the results of the presidential poll", recalls a statement of the religious leaders from different faiths in Kenya, signed by His Exc. Mgr.Cornelius Kipng’eno Arap Korir, Bishop of Eldoret and Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Catholic "Justice and Peace" Commission.<br />His Exc. Mgr. Zacchaeus Okoth, Archbishop of Kisumu and His Exc. Mgr., Joseph Obanyi Sagwe, Bishop of Kakamega, and President of the Episcopal Commission for Social Communications were also present at the press conference. <br />Tue, 18 Jul 2017 12:25:21 +0200ASIA/INDIA - Freed from prostitution to become lawyers who pursue exploitershttp://fides.org/en/news/62658-ASIA_INDIA_Freed_from_prostitution_to_become_lawyers_who_pursue_exploitershttp://fides.org/en/news/62658-ASIA_INDIA_Freed_from_prostitution_to_become_lawyers_who_pursue_exploitersNew Delhi - Children systematically mistreated and forced into prostitution with 20 clients per day, without rights, no voice and no one worrying about their inhuman conditions. This is the harsh reality of over a million girls who are victims of child prostitution in India. It is a phenomenon that even the Country's punitive laws are unable to curb. Since April 2014, the Dutch Free a Girl Foundation has proposed to intervene against this hell.<br />Thanks to the School for Justice, 19 young people survived the abuse of exploiters and will be trained so that they can access University and study Law. According to the founder of the project, the goal is not only to redeem these girls from prostitution networks but to transform them into the best lawyers and public prosecutors in the Country, in order to eradicate the impunity enjoyed by exploiters in India.<br />"Society sees us as something alien, almost like an insect that has no right to live or become part of society. My family continues not to accept me", says one of the girls to Fides, who, along with her companions, lives and studies every day until she can access the university thanks to a scholarship. Given the importance of the program, it may also be launched in Brazil where, according to UNICEF, there are 250,000 girls forced into prostitution. <br />Tue, 18 Jul 2017 12:07:20 +0200ASIA/IRAQ - "Rehabilitation Camp" Jihadist families set up in a Christian Village of the Nineveh Plainhttp://fides.org/en/news/62657-ASIA_IRAQ_Rehabilitation_Camp_Jihadist_families_set_up_in_a_Christian_Village_of_the_Nineveh_Plainhttp://fides.org/en/news/62657-ASIA_IRAQ_Rehabilitation_Camp_Jihadist_families_set_up_in_a_Christian_Village_of_the_Nineveh_PlainBartella - After the conquest of Mosul, Iraqi security forces have transferred at least 170 families with members considered to be affiliated to the self-proclaimed Islamic State to a "Rehabilitation Camp". The camp was set up at in the village of Bartella, in the area of Nineveh Plain where the Christian communities were concentrated before being forced to flee from the jihadist offensive in summer 2014.<br />Already on June 19, the district council of Mosul had set up camps where families suspected of being linked to jihadist militiamen had to undergo ideological and psychological rehabilitation programs in order to be reintegrated into the social fabric<br />The camp of Bartella, 14 kilometers east of Mosul, was opened on 9 July. According to Human Rights Watch reports, the thorough search and deportation of family members of suspected jihadists were characterized by abuses and violence, in a kind of collective punishment that makes no distinction between true adherents to Daesh's ideology and those who simply subjected themselves to the "new order" imposed in the territories conquered by the self-proclaimed Islamic State.<br />The camp set up in Bartella can accommodate up to 2800 families. According to the testimony of humanitarian workers who managed to visit the camp, so far it has welcomed almost exclusively women, children, including many teenagers without parents. The structure is equipped with a health center, but at the moment there are no psychological and educational services for minors and their mothers.<br />Bartella, known as a center of traditional settlement of the Syro-Orthodox Christian community, was regained from the control of Daesh in October 216, and also the Protection Units of the Nineveh Plain, a local compound militia composed of many indigenous Christians contributes to the security of the territory. <br />Tue, 18 Jul 2017 11:56:45 +0200