This morning, Francis met Pary Gul, her children, sons-in-law and grandchildren who were airlifted to Italy in August. She told the pontiff about her husband going missing during days of violence. Thanks to the Meet Human Foundation, they are starting a new life in Italy with the “pope's ring”.
At the general audience, Francis retraces the stages of the trip to Budapest and Slovakia, "a pilgrimage of prayer, a pilgrimage to the roots, a pilgrimage of hope." Roots "not as museum exhibits, not ideologized and instrumentalized for interests of prestige and power, to consolidate a closed identity. No." "Violence against women is an open sore. It’s everywhere."
The revenue department in a local district sent a letter the members of the clergy of the Shalom Mission Church asking them to present personal documents and certify that their conversion did not take place by force. For Auxiliary Bishop Paul Muniya, “conversion takes place in the mind and the heart; we do not force anyone to become a Christian.”
For months, a Sinhala cancer patient cancer was accompanied in prayer by a Tamil friend via an online application. Now the disease has disappeared.
The brother of Shahbaz Bhatti, the Christian minister of Minorities assassinated ten years ago, looks at the repercussions of the situation created in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s priority will be to defend itself from terrorism. The region is unstable and the problems of Christians are likely to take a back seat. Interfaith dialogue can be a way. “We want to involve like-minded Muslims,” he said. “And the majority of Pakistan must support them, not the West.”
Tajikistan gives the green light from the summits of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. For Iran it opens a market with 40% of the world's population and 20% of global GDP. Iranian scholars: the "post-American" era begins. The danger of intepreting it only in an anti-U.S. key.
Catholics have called for an investigation into allegations made by Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero, general secretary of the nationalist Bodu Bala Sena organisation. Catholic Church official has denied the monk’s claim that he warned Cardinal Ranjith about the Easter Sunday attacks.
A ceremony paid tribute to Christian schools that have been offering quality education at affordable prices for over 160 years. The event was attended by teachers, government officials and students. The provincial education minister will visit schools in need of upgrading.
Schools are still closed in many states and access to remote learning is still difficult. In rural areas, only 8 per cent of rural students are attending e-classes. The average level of education is getting worse while the gender gap is getting wider. For experts, schools must be reopened now to avoid a disaster.
‘The Congregation for Religious is examining the religious congregations and associations created in this period.” Among the latter, many have been placed under external control. Positions of governance in lay groups are a “call to serve” that runs up against a hunger for power and disloyalty.
A Muslim man tried to kidnap Arushma Ejaz in order to convert her and force her into marriage. After a number of intimidatory and violent incidents, her mother turned to the Human Rights Focus Pakistan organisation. The police accepted the First Information Report only after 47 days. The second hearing of the case is set for tomorrow.
After four years of legal wrangles, the High Court acquitted Fr George Mangalapilly. Hindu extremists had accused him of forcing residents of a village to convert via Christmas carols sung by a group of seminarians. Certain of his innocence, the priest is relieved of the verdict.
Christians “are weavers of dialogue where hostility is growing; models of fraternal life where society is experiencing tension and hostility; bringers of the sweet fragrance of hospitality and solidarity where personal and collective selfishness too often prevails, protectors and guardians of life where the culture of death reigns.”
“Judgement and prejudice only increase distances. Hostility and sharp words are not helpful. Marginalizing others accomplishes nothing. Segregating ourselves and other people eventually leads to anger. The path to peaceful coexistence is integration,” said Francis. What is more, “Bombarded by virtual messages, we risk losing our real roots,” he added. “To grow disconnected from life, or to fantasize in a void, is not a good thing; it is a temptation from the evil one. God wants us to be firmly grounded, connected to life.”
Oscar Fernandes, who hailed from Karnataka, died yesterday at the age of 80. A leading member of the Indian National Congress, he served as a minister in the Singh government. For Cardinal Gracias, India “lost a true patriot” who ““always upheld Gospel values in public.”