Pope Francis has sent his good wishes to United States President Donald Trump on the day of his inauguration. "At a time when our human family is beset by grave humanitarian crises demanding far-sighted and united political responses, I pray that your decisions will be guided by the rich spiritual and ethical values that have shaped the history of the American people and your nation's commitment to the advancement of human dignity and freedom worldwide" ... "Under your leadership, may America's stature continue to be measured above all by its concern for the poor, the outcast and those in need
Pope Francis met with the Irish bishops on Friday, during their ad limina visit to Rome. Less than half of the bishops had been on an ad limina visit before, and they were all impressed by the level of openness and dialogue they discovered in all the offices of the Roman Curia and particularly in their closed door, informal and unscripted conversation with the Pope. Archbishop Eamon Martin, president of the Irish bishops conference, said: "He (Pope Francis) said at the beginning, 'I'll throw in the ball and let's see what happens',
We live in difficult times: shaky economy, corrupt politics, social disorder, the widening gap between rich and poor, rampant violence in many forms, the list can go on. There is a temptation to think in 'end of the world' terms. One sees a strong strand of fundamentalism re-emerging in religion and populism in politics, both using a language of the enemy outside (the threat) and fundamentalist formulas proclaiming certainties to combat them (the solution). Whether of the Left or Right, fundamentalism and populism create an 'Us/Good vs. Them/Evil' dualism to explain and solve the world's
Pope Francis has called on Christians to overcome the self-centered mindset of the doctors of the law who know only how to condemn. Reflecting on the day's reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, during morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta, the Pope said the new covenant which God makes with us in Jesus Christ renews our heart. God renews all things "from the roots, not only in appearance," he said. "This new covenant has its own characteristics." First, he said, "the law of the Lord is not an external way of acting" rather, it enters the heart and "changes our mindset", as well as
Aid to the Church in Need has received reports that extremist Islamists are carrying out daily atrocities against Christians - including kidnapping and murder. A source, who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons said: "There are many extremists Muslims who commit horrific acts every day - every day we hear about another Christian being murdered... Every day we hear about a fight, a revenge... Al Saed is full of these extremists." Al Saed is a region in southern Egypt, covering the south of Cairo, the Suez Canal area and the Sinai Peninsula.
The Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, His Excellency Monsignor Antonio Mennini, is being transferred from his current responsibilities, at the request of Pope Francis, to serve directly in the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, assisting in its work in relation to States. In this capacity, Archbishop Mennini will serve the Holy Father with particular reference to the State of Italy. In a statement Cardinal Vincent Nichols said today: "Archbishop Mennini has served as Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain for nearly six years,
The intention of Martin Luther five hundred years ago "was to renew the Church, not divide her", Pope Francis said on Thursday, when he met an Ecumenical Delegation from Finland, in the Vatican to take part in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The Pope recalled his visit to Sweden last October and said that the "gathering there gave us the courage and strength, in our Lord Jesus Christ, to look ahead to the ecumenical journey that we are called to walk together." The Pope ended his speech with off-the-cuff remarks thanking the bishop leading the delegation for having brought his
Thousands have signed a petition objecting to Washington's Episcopalian National Cathedral, hosting the traditional interfaith prayer service on Saturday morning, as part of the presidential inauguration for Donald Trump and Mike Pence. The service will feature prayers, readings and musical performances. Fr Gary Hall, who served as dean of the Cathedral from 2012 to 2015, said: "I think the faith community should be a centre of resistance against Donald Trump's vision in America." He said that he felt that the service "legitimizes Trump." But the current Dean,
The history of Christianity in Europe is marked by sorrowful periods of division, mutual condemnation, and even violence. As a number of churches prepare to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation, we are reminded anew of our difficult past. Recalling these events and confronting our history is a precious opportunity to renew our commitment to the healing of wounds and overcoming divisions. We turn to Christ, who reconciles all people and all creation to God, to guide us in this work. In humble gratitude for this gift,
Pax Christi International is looking for Young Peace Journalists to give a voice to people seeking refuge. Pax Christi International is building up a young peace journalist team from all over the world to report about the lives of refugees, migrants, asylum seekers, and displaced persons. As part of the team you will organise an interview with a person from these groups in your hometown or area. Full online training will be given. The international team of peace journalists will use their work for awareness raising, influencing policy makers,
A series of celebratory events from May to November 2017 is planned to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the consecration of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King in 1967. The Cathedral is one of the country's most iconic symbols of faith, worship and community, hosting over thirty services a week. It is the mother church of the Archdiocese of Liverpool and also one of Liverpool's major civic buildings and a world-class visitor attraction, welcoming over 350,000 visitors a year.
Many events are being planned throughout this year in Poland to celebrate the Jubilee of the crowning of the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa. Last month (15 December) the Polish Parliament adopted a resolution declaring 2017 a Jubilee year. Pope Clement XI canonically crowned the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa on September 8, 1717. The Jubilee began with a special Mass at Jasna Góra monastery, where the Icon is kept, celebrated by Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki on 8 September 2016. On December 8, a plenary indulgence was granted by Pope Francis which can be
A court in Reading is preparing to try five peace campaigners for taking nonviolent direct action, despite several recent cases in which peace activists have been acquitted after being arrested at similar protests. The campaigners, who are all in their thirties, will be tried by a District Judge at Reading Magistrates' Court on Monday 23rd, Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th January. They blocked an entrance to the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Berkshire last June and are charged with 'wilful obstruction of the highway'.
At this critical moment, as my fellow Church leaders have already done this week, I offer a message to our politicians and all who serve in the civil and political sphere. Consider carefully your responsibility and noble vocation to work for the common good. The premature collapse of our political institutions so soon after the last election is a serious matter for all of us and cannot be taken lightly. The sense I am picking up from people on the ground is that it risks further disillusionment with the political process.
Fifty years of occupation demands action, is the call of the Holy Land Coordination bishops at the end of this year's meeting. Describing the occupation as a scandal that violates the human dignity of both Palestinians and Israelis, the bishops called for an end to the suffering on both sides. While many people in the Holy Land strive for reconciliation, most have now lived their entire lives under occupation, with its polarising social segregation. The bishops implored Christians in their respective countries to recognise their own responsibility for prayer, awareness and action.
For fifty years the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza have languished under occupation. An occupation - reads the final communiqué of the Holy Land Coordination 2017 - that violates the human dignity of both Palestinians and Israelis. As the group of Catholic Bishops who make up the 'Holy Land Coordination' finish this year's pilgrimage in support of those enduring the occupation, it is calling for justice and peace in the Holy Land and reminding the rest of us that "it is a scandal to which we must never become accustomed."
Christian Unity and reconciliation are possible, Pope Francis said, when he greeted an Ecumenical delegation from Germany, during his weekly General Audience with pilgrims in the Paul the VI Hall. Recalling this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the Holy Father said we look to "that which unites us - rather than that which divide," and he invited Christians to pray for this week. The Pope also recalled his visit to Lund in Sweden to commemorate the Reformation, saying: "we continue the journey together to deepen our communion and to give it more and more a 'visible form."
As Congress discusses a repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, the Chair of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Bishop Frank J Dewane of Venice, is urging members of the House and Senate to provide a replacement plan concurrently so that millions of Americans will continue to have access to vital health care. In a letter sent to members of the US House of Representatives and US Senate on January 18, 2017, Bishop Dewane wrote that repealing the ACA should not be undertaken without simultaneous passage of a replacement plan
Ahead of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2017, which starts on Thursday, 19 January, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued a joint statement on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Archbishop Justin Welby and Archbishop Dr John Sentamu said today: "This year, churches around the world will be marking the great significance of the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation in Europe, dated from Martin Luther's 95 Theses protesting against the practice of indulgences, on 31 October 1517 at Wittenberg.
On Friday, 20th January 2017, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America. Dozens of churches, community centres and other public buildings across the UK will be taking part in #BridgesNotWalls events, to send a simple, hopeful and unmistakable message: 'We will build bridges, not walls, to a peaceful and just world rid of oppression and hatred.' At 12.15pm in Coventry Cathedral a banner drop will celebrate Coventry as a City of Peace and Reconciliation,
The Diocese of East Anglia is looking for 'local champions' in areas where it wants to open new Catholic schools. The Diocese's Schools Team is looking for parents, education professionals and parishioners who are keen to support the move by the Diocese to open new Catholic schools in Norwich, Peterborough, Thetford and Cambridgeshire. East Anglia has some of the most severe shortage of places in Catholic schools in the country due to the demographic changes that have taken place in the region over the past decade.
Women of all faiths and none will be gathering in dozens of demonstrations around the world on Saturday, 21 January, to tell the new US administration that 'the politics of fear and division have no place in 2017'. In London, members of Pax Christi, together with representatives from CAFOD and Justice and Peace groups will be assembling at the north east corner of Grosvenor Square, junction of Duke Street & Brook Street, near the American Embassy, under their large feather banner at 11.45am, before processing to Trafalgar Square for the rally.
The life of a Christian ought to be courageous, Pope Francis said during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday. The day's reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, speaks about zeal, the courage to go forward, which should be our approach toward life, like the attitude of those who train for victory in the arena. But the Letter also speaks of the laziness that is the opposite of courage. "Living in the fridge," the Pope summarised, "so that everything stays the same."
Prosecutors in Egypt's central governorate of Minya have suspended investigations into the assault on a 70-year-old Coptic Christian woman, Suan Thabet, who was stripped naked and paraded in the streets by a Muslim mob last May. After the attack, President Abdel Fattah al Sisi promised a speedy investigation, and at least eight people were arrested among 14 suspects of having taken part in sectarian violence. But the woman's lawyer announced that on Saturday, January 14 the prosecutors were dropping the case due to "lack of sufficient evidence".
The Sisters of St Joseph with The Sisters of St Joseph of Orange are launching a prayer resource on the day of the Inauguration of President Donald Trump. It will keep pace with the new administration's first 100 days. The content encourages unity and reconciliation and offers support to people who may be vulnerable to policy changes. They have gathered more than 100 daily prayers that are about 12 words long.