The Church's Synod for Peace and Justice in the Middle East

17/06/2013
Hopes for a new era in Iran as moderate Rohani wins presidential elections
The new president won with over 50% of the vote. The turnout was 72%. Outcome welcomed by the United States, European Union and Gulf monarchies. The hope is that Rohani will put a definite stop to the nuclear ambitions pursued by his predecessor Ahmadinejad. Israeli government skeptical: "The international community must not indulge in dreams."
14/06/2013
Holy See seeks permanent nuncio in Hanoi, Vietnam wants Catholics "active" in government programmes
The 4th round of the Vietnam-Holy See Joint Working Group ended today. Vatican statement does not mention the problems the Church faces in Vietnam. Hanoi expresses "respect" for religious freedom and "encouragement" of different religions that take part in "national construction".
08/05/2013
Silence still shrouds kidnapped Orthodox prelates. Bishop of Aleppo: We’re groping in the dark
For Msgr. Jeanbart the act is inexplicable. The only certain thing is that no one knows where Msgr. Yohanna Ibrahim and Msgr. Boulos Yaziji are. Money, food, school, and spiritual comfort for the people of Aleppo plagued by war, famine and despair. Moscow and Washington seek a path of dialogue between rebels and regime.
06/05/2013
Elections in Malaysia: (narrow) government victory. Opposition cries fraud
The National Front retains power winning 133 seats out of 222. It is his worst result since independence. Prime Minister Najib promotes "national reconciliation". Anwar Ibrahim, who obtained 89 seats, denounces widespread irregularities. 80% voter turnout. Stock markets and local currency rebound.
02/05/2013
War widows go on an interfaith pilgrimage to Anuradhapura
Fr Nandana Manatunge, of the diocese of Kandy, took 45 Buddhist war widows on a trip to their religion's sacred city, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After almost a quarter of a century, their husbands, sons and relatives are still missing. Most of the pilgrims had never been to Anuradhapura.
23/04/2013
Nepal promises China to crack down on Tibetan refugees
On a visit to Beijing, the leader of the Maoist party in Nepal Prachanda promises Xi Jinping to repress any anti-Chinese protests. "The national stability and integrity of both countries will not be compromised in the name of religious freedom and human rights."
23/04/2013
On the Day for vocations, hundreds of young people meet in Taipei to "make Jesus known to everyone"
The archbishop of the capital celebrates Mass for young people. "The Church continues in its mission, talking about Christ to the world." A special lecture on Catholicism is presented to schools, with audio and video messages and stories by priests and religious.
22/04/2013
Lumbini, the Buddha's lamp in Seoul for peace between the two Koreas
The 'perpetual lamp' was handed over to 80 South Korean monks last Friday. It should reach Korea on 1 May to mark the birthday of Siddhartha Gautama. Christians, Muslims and Buddhists are praying to stop the winds of war blowing over the peninsula.
22/04/2013
Lumbini, the Buddha's lamp in Seoul for peace between the two Koreas
The 'perpetual lamp' was handed over to 80 South Korean monks last Friday. It should reach Korea on 1 May to mark the birthday of Siddhartha Gautama. Christians, Muslims and Buddhists are praying to stop the winds of war blowing over the peninsula.
15/04/2013
A series of attacks ravage Iraq just days before the election
The latest attacks struck north of the capital this morning, killing 19 people. Yesterday car bombs exploded in the cities of Mosul and Fallujah, causing over 10 deaths including a candidate in the elections, the thirteenth since the beginning of the election campaign. Voting will take place on April 20 in 12 of the 18 provinces of the country.
04/04/2013
Lahore: kidnapped and tortured by Muslims, the Easter passion of a 38 year-old Christian
Siddique Masih was seized by his former employer, Shahid Khan, a criminal and murderer with "influential protection" in the area. He managed to escape and denounce the band. The violent beatings he was subjected to caused fractures and serious damage to his kidneys. He confesses to AsiaNews: "I will fight for justice until my last breath."
22/03/2013
Christians and Buddhists un favour of UN resolution on Sri Lanka war crimes
The United Nation Human Rights Council calls on Sri Lankan authorities to help war victims and conduct "independent and credible" investigations. The government rejects the accusations, ordinary citizens complain that the government is investing money earmarked for refugee housing in tourist projects instead.
07/03/2013
Sabah: Malaysia’s Prime Minister rejects Filipino "sultan’s" ceasefire offer
From Manila, Jamalul Kiram III calls for a truce and promises that the militia "will not take any initiative." Najib Razak responds: no agreement without the "unconditional surrender." UN Secretary-General’s appeal for an end to violence. To date, at least 40 dead, fears for the safety of civilians.
06/03/2013
Colombo Theologian: Benedict XVI, spiritual humility, theological depth and supernatural wisdom
Anton Meemana, Catholic Professor describes Benedict XVI’s pontificate "a stupendous work of God." The Pope emeritus has promoted and expanded the scope of the evangelizing mission because of his historical decision which makes history. The ability to resign is a sign of true faith in God
06/03/2013
UN sanctions "toughest ever imposed on Pyongyang"
Overnight United Nations Security Council agreement on a draft text that tries to block regime’s military provocations by force. Beijing: "We agree, enough’s enough." Pyongyang threatens to break armistice if the US-South Korea do not stop joint exercises and hands out hundreds of decorations to the "Heroes of the Revolution."
05/03/2013
Xi Jinping: pendulum politics towards the Church and the Vatican
The new secretary general of the Party – due to be confirmed as president in the coming days- has raised many hopes, but his policies thus far are one step forward, one step back: the laojiao have not been closed down; corruption is on the rise; the much touted reforms are slow in arriving; bishops and priests remain in prison. One positive sign, the Global Times article about the pope and an interview with Fr. Lombardi. But religion is the last place in the concerns of leadership.