Fides News - Englishhttp://www.fides.org/Fides Agency NewsenContent on this site is licensed under aEUROPE/MALTA - Soccer schools "workshops" of missionary animationhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72843-EUROPE_MALTA_Soccer_schools_workshops_of_missionary_animationhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72843-EUROPE_MALTA_Soccer_schools_workshops_of_missionary_animationValletta - Soccer schools for children, the mission and a "sock-ball", a ball created with "socks", that is with the most varied recycled material, are the elements that will give life to the initiative "Socktober" made possible thanks to the collaboration of Missio Malta, the direction of the Maltese Pontifical Mission Societies , the Maltese Football Federation and the Inhobb il-Futbol Foundation.<br />The "Socktober" initiative, begun long ago in Australian schools, reaches Malta, but it does so in the football "quarries" with a view to Missionary October and World Mission Day.<br />"Through Socktober we want to reach children who attend football schools and communicate with them through a means they are familiar with, the ball - explained Robert Farrugia, head of communication and fundraising at Missio Malta -. We want to tell them stories of children of the same age who in many parts of the world create balls using the most diverse materials, with what they have. We want this to be a project that raises awareness among young people while having fun".<br />The aim of "Socktober" is to help children take into account the different social contexts in which many other children their age live, encouraging them to cultivate a look that goes beyond their own horizon and is attentive to the needs of others.<br />The "Socktober" is aimed at all children attending football schools in Malta and Gozo, and is scheduled for October and November. Meanwhile, the quarries will create specially organized workshops in which children will be invited to build their own "sock-ball" with recycled materials, such as paper, cloth and cardboard. <br />Fri, 23 Sep 2022 13:22:00 +0200AFRICA/MOZAMBIQUE - The forgotten conflict in the north is increasingly at the center of the interests of African and non-African powershttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72841-AFRICA_MOZAMBIQUE_The_forgotten_conflict_in_the_north_is_increasingly_at_the_center_of_the_interests_of_African_and_non_African_powershttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72841-AFRICA_MOZAMBIQUE_The_forgotten_conflict_in_the_north_is_increasingly_at_the_center_of_the_interests_of_African_and_non_African_powersMaputo - Northern Mozambique where the Comboni missionary Sister Maria De Coppi, among others, was killed on September 6 during the attack on the Chipene mission , is increasingly at the center of the interest of various States.<br />The provinces of Cabo Delgado and Nampula are threatened by the <br />insurrection of jihadists affiliated with the Islamic State's Central Africa Province . The conflict has so far displaced more than 800,000 people, according to the latest figures from the International Organization for Migration, and killed 4,000 people.<br />On September 21, Tanzania and Mozambique signed an agreement for the joint fight against jihadists, who also <br />hit some Tanzanian border towns. An intervention force of the SADC called SAMIM and a Rwandan military contingent are already deployed in northern Mozambique.<br />African forces deployed in Mozambique receive financial assistance from non-African powers. This is the case of the European Union which, through the President of the Committee on Security and Defense of the European Parliament, the Frenchwoman Nathalie Loiseau, declared that she was considering supplying "lethal weapons" to SANIM, which already receives 89 million euros in "non-lethal aid" and 15 million euros in financial aid from the EU, as part of the European Union's military training mission . The EU is also preparing to finance the operations of the Rwandan contingent in Mozambique with 20 million euros .<br />One of the biggest contributors to SANIM is South Africa, whose president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has asked the United States for support to counter the insurgency in Mozambique. South Africa fears an extension of Mozambican instability to other countries in the region, but above all wants to protect its investments in the country, particularly in the energy sector.<br />The US government announced in April that Mozambique had been selected as a “priority country for the national conflict prevention strategy”. <br />US military have been training their Mozambican counterparts for some time now.<br />The large oil and gas reserves concentrated in the north of the country are considered increasingly strategic in the European policy of seeking alternatives to Russian gas. It is no coincidence that the companies involved in their exploitation include French and Italian oil multinationals. <br />Fri, 23 Sep 2022 13:12:53 +0200ASIA/MYANMAR - Bishops, priests, religious: always and in all cases at the side of the people, with a strength that "only God can give"http://www.fides.org/en/news/72839-ASIA_MYANMAR_Bishops_priests_religious_always_and_in_all_cases_at_the_side_of_the_people_with_a_strength_that_only_God_can_givehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72839-ASIA_MYANMAR_Bishops_priests_religious_always_and_in_all_cases_at_the_side_of_the_people_with_a_strength_that_only_God_can_giveMandalay - "A year and a half after the coup of February 1, 2021, when violence is raging especially in certain areas, it is difficult to see a way out of this conflicting situation. But we believers, we have the Lord God on our side, we trust in Him and we encourage the faithful not to lose hope and trust", says in an interview with Agenzia Fides the Archbishop of Mandalay, Marco Tin Win , still afflicted, like the whole local community, by the massacre of Sagaing, a town in his diocese where, on September 16, at least 11 children died following an airstrike by the regular army on an area populated by civilians.<br />The Archbishop notes that "the conflict continues: on the one hand, the army has strategic capabilities and heavy weapons, on the other hand, there is strong resistance from the population expressed in the People's Defense Forces. I can say that half of the territory of the Archdiocese of Mandalay is affected by the fighting. The people are suffering. There are many internally displaced people, Christians and Buddhists, and we have set up five centers for displaced persons in five Catholic parishes; we are doing what we can to help alleviate the suffering".<br />On the fact that the bombings also affect pagodas, churches and schools, the Archbishop explains: "Churches, monasteries, schools continue to welcome destitute and desperate people. Sometimes the military hit places of worship due to the suspicion that the resistance forces hide there".<br />Msgr. Tin Win notes the discouragement that also permeates the population of the baptized and declares: "It is difficult to see a light in this darkness, in the precariousness, in the fatigue of living on a daily basis. For more than 50 years, the war was experienced and felt only by the people of the ethnic groups in the outlying areas, who fought the army. Today, we all feel it and experience it on our skin, even in the cities. That is why a greater unity has grown among the people of Myanmar, even among people from different ethnic groups. People today understand and share the suffering of others, which generates empathy and solidarity".<br />For the baptized, moreover, "faith in particular is a source of grace and strength. Faith tells us that there is a grace that God gives us even in this suffering. The churches, despite the danger, are full. People go to church and pray intensely, feeling a deep spiritual comfort that only God can give. The faithful gather to pray the Rosary every day, and are busy serving others, especially the sick, the wounded or the most vulnerable. This strength comes from the Lord. Priests and religious accompany families and communities in their precarious condition, they walk with them, they are like Jesus with the disciples of Emmaus. We are at your sides," they tell refugee families. This self-sacrifice is also observed by Buddhists. This closeness is for us a means of evangelization in a very difficult time". <br />Fri, 23 Sep 2022 12:47:53 +0200AMERICA/PERU - Bicentennial of the Congress: "Do not abruptly dismiss, without hope, the possibility of building a future together"http://www.fides.org/en/news/72840-AMERICA_PERU_Bicentennial_of_the_Congress_Do_not_abruptly_dismiss_without_hope_the_possibility_of_building_a_future_togetherhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72840-AMERICA_PERU_Bicentennial_of_the_Congress_Do_not_abruptly_dismiss_without_hope_the_possibility_of_building_a_future_togetherLima - “A few days ago, also from this pulpit, we dedicated a special reflection on the ability to generously build the Homeland. And it is a task that all of us who have a position of responsibility, are expected to live intensely as a service, especially in these times when we see enormous institutional disloyalty, a tendency to use institutions for particular interests and not in favor of the general interest which is the common good of the country". These are the words pronounced by Monsignor Carlos Castillo, Archbishop of Lima and Primate of Peru, during the solemn Mass which he presided over for the Bicentennial of the Congress of the Republic, on September 20, which was attended by the Vice President of the Republic, Dina Boluarte, the President of the Congress of the Republic, José Williams Zapata, ministers, parliamentarians, civil, political and police authorities.<br />The Archbishop stressed that this situation occurs "not only in State institutions or in various public institutions, it also exists in the Church, it also exists in private institutions where the possibility of building together a future. For this reason, the Holy Father, Francisco, exhorts us to social friendship, to work for the common good and to lay down those things that can prevent it".<br />Two centuries ago, on September 20, 1822, at 10 am, those elected to form the Congress of the Republic gathered in the Government Palace and from there they went to the Cathedral of Lima to ask for divine assistance through the votive Mass of the Holy Spirit. "That is why we are in a morning of remembrance - the Archbishop underlined -, because remembering is putting a past experience back at the center of our feelings, in the will we exercise and in the orientation that we must live towards the future. That is why, when we also remember those who have left us, especially in this Pandemic, we carry them in our hearts and we want to act in favor of all those who suffer. For this reason, today, we will also sing the Te Deum that was sung that day, September 20, 1822, and the Congress will also meet again to commemorate this event".<br />Among those elected 200 years ago, there was also Francisco Javier de Luna Pizarro, who on three occasions was elected President of the Constituent Congress and later was Archbishop of Lima, one of the greatest intellectual and political figures in the country's history. Monsignor Castillo cited him in his homily, referring to the role of the representatives of the people and the construction of the Republic.<br />"Constituting a republic - according to de Luna Pizarro - is a very difficult job: we have to harmonize the heterogeneous elements that make up the political body; conflicting opinions must be agreed upon; combat interests unworthy of protection, which dare to present themselves in the form of public good ... ".<br />At the end of his homily, the Archbishop of Lima invoked the blessing of the Lord on the congressmen, so that they are united on the fundamental issues, proposing "to think of a common program of fundamental points to be resolved, where we all agree", and all the social and institutional realities, as well as the Church, can collaborate to solve them, especially hunger, which is one of the most serious current realities. "United in elementary things - he concluded -, we can better understand each other in things that have to do directly with the theme and the difficulties of the national leadership".<br />Since 2016, Peru has been experiencing a political crisis due to the constant instability of leaders and power groups, and consequently of national governments, which has been aggravated by the Covid 19 pandemic with its strong health, economic and social consequences. Those who suffer most from this situation are the poorest and most vulnerable. In this climate, popular protests have not been lacking, with strikes, demonstrations and clashes. The Peruvian Bishops have spoken on several occasions on these issues, launching calls for peace and dialogue, appealing to political leaders to consider the situation and the task entrusted to them with greater responsibility, so that they put aside the selfishness and partisan interests, to fight against corruption, to agree on the necessary political reforms and to take radical measures . <br />Fri, 23 Sep 2022 12:32:26 +0200AMERICA/DOMINICAN REP. - The destruction caused by the torrential rains and impetuous winds of Hurricane Fionahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72837-AMERICA_DOMINICAN_REP_The_destruction_caused_by_the_torrential_rains_and_impetuous_winds_of_Hurricane_Fionahttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72837-AMERICA_DOMINICAN_REP_The_destruction_caused_by_the_torrential_rains_and_impetuous_winds_of_Hurricane_FionaSanto Domingo - Hurricane Fiona, which hit the Caribbean with torrential rains and very strong winds, caused catastrophic damage and at least two deaths in Puerto Rico on Sunday, September 18, before hitting the coast of the Dominican Republic two days later, putting out of use the island's power plants. More than a million people were left without electricity and two hundred thousand without water. Landslides, blocked roads, fallen or damaged trees and power lines are part of the destruction. <br />The hurricane, which has hit the entire east and northeast of the Dominican Republic, has so far claimed one life, one person hit by a tree uprooted by strong winds. According to a provisional report of the local Caritas, released by CELAM, 54 homes have been damaged, 798 people have been relocated to safe areas, 38 shelters have been set up to accommodate 723 people, four international airports are closed and the Nagua-Sánchez highway it is blocked by falling trees. The start of the school year in public schools has been postponed and university education has also been suspended. In addition, there is significant damage to the tourism and agricultural sectors, which will be assessed when conditions allow. The level of damage is undoubtedly much higher than what has been reported so far and the recording of information continues.<br />Pope Francis, through the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, has sent a telegram of solidarity to Monsignor Rubén González, president of the Episcopal Conference of Puerto Rico, and to Monsignor Freddy Bretón, president of the Dominican Episcopal Conference, after the passage of the hurricane.<br />"The Holy Father, deeply distressed to learn of the natural inclemencies that have hit the island in recent hours due to Hurricane Fiona, raises his fervent prayer to the most merciful Father", reads the telegram. The Pope is saddened by "the unfortunate loss of human life, as well as by the numerous victims and the material damage" asking "the entire Christian community and people of good will to increase solidarity to help those affected by this calamity".<br />According to the latest Statistical Yearbook of the Church, Puerto Rico has 3,195,000 inhabitants of whom 2,706,000 are Catholics; the Dominican Republic has 10,448,000 inhabitants, of whom 9,941,000 are Catholics. <br />Thu, 22 Sep 2022 12:36:19 +0200AFRICA/CAMEROON - Kidnapped Catholics: "We don't want to create dangerous precedents; we do not pay the requested ransom"http://www.fides.org/en/news/72838-AFRICA_CAMEROON_Kidnapped_Catholics_We_don_t_want_to_create_dangerous_precedents_we_do_not_pay_the_requested_ransomhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72838-AFRICA_CAMEROON_Kidnapped_Catholics_We_don_t_want_to_create_dangerous_precedents_we_do_not_pay_the_requested_ransomYaoundé - "We will not pay a dime" to the kidnappers of the nine worshippers taken from St. Mary’s Catholic Church, in the village of Nchang in the Anglophone area of Cameroon. This was reported by the President of the Episcopal Conference of Cameroon, Msgr. Andrew Nkea Fuanya, Archbishop of Bamenda, stating that paying the ransom requested by the kidnappers "would create a dangerous precedent".<br />Msgr. Nkea reported that the kidnappers, who belong to the Anglophone separatist fighters, initially began by demanding a ransom of US$100,000, then started bringing it down and have now ended up asking for US$50,000.<br />The Archbishop also told reporters that the separatists said they attacked St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Nchang near Mamfe and burned it down because they were angry the Catholic Church does not support their struggle. <br />The kidnapped priests are Fr. Emmanuel, Fr. Barnabas, Fr. Cornelius, Fr. Elias and Fr. Job-Francis. In addition to the 5 priests, Sister Jacinta and 3 lay faithful were kidnapped: Mrs. Kelechukwu, Mr. Nkem Patrick and a young woman, Blanch Bright.<br />Msgr. Aloysius Fondong Abangalo, bishop of Mamfe, who visited the burnt down structure shortly after the incident accused boys from the Nchang village of having joined separatist fighters, popularly known locally as “Amba Boys”.<br />The spokesman of the Cameroon Episcopal Conference, Fr. Humphrey Tatah Mbuy stressed that "there have been kidnappings of religious in the past, but these were isolated cases. A similar attack appears planned, with the church burned down and nine kidnapped. This is an unprecedented case."<br />The Anglophone population is the majority in the northwest and southwest of Cameroon, a predominantly Francophone country. Feeling discriminated against by institutions, especially in schools and courts, resentment towards the Cameroonian state has grown over the years in the population of these areas. The protests, initially peaceful, turned into an armed struggle and, in 2017, into the declaration of an independent State, the "Federal Republic of Ambazonia" , which is not recognized by the international community. <br />Thu, 22 Sep 2022 12:26:16 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - The Bishops: the floods have swept away houses, but not faithhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72836-ASIA_PAKISTAN_The_Bishops_the_floods_have_swept_away_houses_but_not_faithhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72836-ASIA_PAKISTAN_The_Bishops_the_floods_have_swept_away_houses_but_not_faithKarachi - The Pakistani Bishops of the three dioceses most affected by the recent floods that have caused extensive damage in the country, say that "the floods have destroyed homes, but not the faith of Catholics, who are suffering in the midst of the crisis". Speaking in recent days at a media forum, followed by Fides, Archbishop Benny Travas of Karachi, Bishop Samson Shukardin of Hyderabad and Bishop Khalid Rehmat OFM Cap of Quetta stated that "people continue to depend on international aid, but show great generosity and solidarity is moving and encourages a lot of hope".<br />The Bishops of Pakistan renew their appeal for greater support from the local and international community for people affected by the floods. The needs indicated are food, medicine, hygiene kits, mosquito nets, blankets, clothes, tents and safe drinking water, all materials for immediate aid.<br />Then when the floodwaters have receded, the second phase of aid will continue, with measures to rehabilitate livelihoods, especially agriculture, with the reconstruction of homes, with the restoration of infrastructures and schools.<br />"Today the scenario is still worrying and painful. However, those affected cling to the survival instinct and also to the inner spiritual strength that always leads man to life, and leads him to hope for the future", says Archbishop Travas, praising the way ordinary people from different walks of life show empathy and generosity towards strangers.<br />Solidarity passes through small gestures: the teachers and all the staff of the Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of Karachi have donated a day's salary for aid organized by the Church, he says. And people from different walks of life are coming forward to donate time and energy as volunteers in humanitarian assistance, he notes. "Looking at the difficulties and the struggle to survive, it may seem that everything is hopeless or that people are experiencing a spiritual aridity. Instead we can say that people, in this crisis, showing a deep faith in God, believe in Providence and find in God the rock to move forward and look to the future", concludes Msgr. Travas.<br />Bishop Shukardin of Hyderabad agrees, reiterating that "despite the challenges that people are facing, spirituality and faith are alive. Catholics are helping everyone, Christians and Muslims alike, helping those who need help during these difficult times", he says, noting the gratitude that is developing in society towards the Catholic Church for the aid put in place which will also touch the next phase. In fact, with 95% of agricultural workers in a state of crisis, farmers will need new seeds and fresh plants to grow after the flood waters have receded and Caritas is organizing intervention programs in this direction as well.<br />In the diocese of Hyderabad, the Bishop said, the people most affected among them are women and children who receive health care in the Catholic hospital of St. Elizabeth, and in various health centers opened by the diocese in the area.<br />In Baluchistan, life was already marked by problems such as poverty, terrorism, political instability, unemployment. Now natural disasters aggravate poverty, but "our people, even if they are poor on a material level, but have a strong faith, which generates courage and hope even in this difficult time", notes Bishop Khalid Rehmat OFM Cap, Apostolic Vicar of Quetta. The Prelate points out that, as winter approaches, the displaced will soon need warm clothes, blankets and tents, since "many sleep in open places and along the streets as their homes are destroyed", he says.<br />With the support and organization of Caritas Pakistan, rescue operations continue in the various dioceses, in which volunteers, priests, nuns, communities and ecclesial associations are doing their utmost.<br />According to an estimate by the United Nations, as of September 20, more than 30 million people have been displaced by the disaster that left 1,500 victims, including 552 children. More than 600,000 people have currently found shelter in the relief camps, set up and cared for by various national and international humanitarian agencies.<br />While the southern province of Sindh still remains flooded - and experts warn it could take six months for the waters to recede - there are fears that diseases and epidemics could spread, even generating a health emergency. <br />Thu, 22 Sep 2022 12:09:24 +0200VATICAN - The China-Holy See Agreement and the treasure of faithhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72835-VATICAN_The_China_Holy_See_Agreement_and_the_treasure_of_faithhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72835-VATICAN_The_China_Holy_See_Agreement_and_the_treasure_of_faithby Gianni Valente<br />Rome - Just four years ago, on September 22, 2018, representatives of the Holy See and the government of the People's Republic of China signed the Provisional Agreement on the appointment of Chinese Catholic bishops in Beijing. The Agreement provided for a period of application ad experimentum of two years. In October 2020, the validity of the agreement was extended for another two years. <br />Today, as the deadline for the first extension nears, public statements by Pope Francis and Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin have hinted at a positive intention on the part of the Holy See to continue the process of negotiation, as well as the request to see the agreement implemented in due time and to discuss the margins of progressive improvement, with the sole aim of entrusting the pastoral office to worthy and suitable bishops.<br />To grasp the reasons of the Pope’s approach, as well as that of his collaborators, it is enough to keep in mind the recent history of Catholicism in China and recognize what has been been compass that has guided the steps of the Holy See during decades dealing with the affairs of Chinese Catholics.<br />Since the signing of the agreement, illegitimate episcopal ordinations have no longer occurred in China, those celebrated without papal consent, which had caused painful lacerations among Chinese Catholics since the late 1950s. <br />In the last four years, six new Catholic episcopal ordinations have taken place in China, with procedures that also involve the issue of the Papal bull of appointment. At the same time, six so-called “clandestine” bishops, consecrated in the past without following the protocols imposed by the Chinese apparatus, also requested and obtained public recognition of their role by the political authorities in Beijing. Small numbers, considering the number of Catholic dioceses in China that are vacant or headed by very elderly bishops. But all the Chinese Catholic bishops in China today are in full and public communion with the bishop of Rome.<br />The one currently in force with the Chinese authorities is not comparable to the models of agreement reached by the Holy See with other governments to ensure legal recognition and spaces of agility to Church institutions and pastoral agents in the different national contexts.<br />The Agreement on the appointment of Chinese bishops touches the deepest fibers of the apostolic nature of the Church and the very dynamism of her sacramental life. The issue addressed in the Agreement concerns the faith of Chinese Catholics, and the suffering caused by the ecclesial lacerations which, in recent decades, have divided clergy and laity, communities and families themselves. The content of the agreement concerns the memory of the martyrs and the validity of the sacraments celebrated in parishes, chapels and homes in the People's Republic of China. Goods that belong to a different order from those that are usually affected by the agreements signed by the Holy See with governments and sovereign entities.<br />The sacramentality and apostolicity of the Church recognized, preserved and lived in the pastoral framework of the ecclesial life of each Chinese parish, and the full communion of all bishops with the Bishop of Rome cannot be described as "disappointing" from the point of view of the Holy See, especially if one bears in mind at least a little of the history from which one comes.<br />In the dominant representations of the relations between China and the Vatican, the factors that pushed the Holy See to follow the path it has taken, and the criteria that have guided it in its choices on questions so vital to the sensus Ecclesiae of Chinese Catholics, are generally suppressed and hidden.<br />Those who qualify the Agreement as an operation with mediocre results, or even an error to be regretted, must not only remove the references to the sacramental dynamics which sustain the Church, but also hide everything that has happened to Chinese Catholicism in the last seventy years.<br />There have been seasons when, in the official media of the Chinese apparatus, the Bishops and the Vatican were generally defined as the "watchdogs" of Western imperialism. Today, even in the phase of growing international tension between the People's Republic and Western geopolitical subjects, no one in China thinks of insulting the Pope and the Catholic Church as agents of hostile forces.<br />As international tensions and power clashes escalate, it is also worthwhile to look with faith at the delicate and providential condition in which the small flock of Chinese Catholics find themselves. It is precisely in this condition, shared with their compatriots, that they can experience the adventure of confession of faith in Christ in today's China as it is, without privileges, without being pointed at and perceived as a foreign body, as exotic guests or representatives of distant cultures.<br />Chinese Catholics, like all Chinese citizens, live within the context of the provisions issued by the Chinese civil authorities. As baptized, they follow the faith of the apostles, of which communion with the bishop of Rome, guarantor of the unity of the Church, is an integral part. Their condition can lead to fatigue, disappointment, suffering. But by remaining immanent in this condition leaves the door open to witnessing, to the possibility of confessing faith in Christ, of walking each day in his company in the China of today, such as it is, performing the ordinary gestures linked to the mission of salvation entrusted by Jesus to His own: proclamation of the Gospel, catechism, administration of the sacraments, works of charity for brothers and sisters in need. Acts and words of this current of Christian experience free from all suspicion, which animates the daily life of so many Chinese Catholic communities, and which is also told by so many pieces of news by Fides.<br />In the happy and troubled events that have marked the last seventy years of Chinese Catholicism, the decisive factor was precisely the faith of the Apostles in which bishops, priests and lay people of that Church were in any case kept. Not out of heroism or stubborn voluntarism, but out of a gift of grace. The last Successors of Peter themselves experienced and attested that their communion with the Catholic Church in China was not to be restored with instruments of juridical supremacy, simply because such communion was already in place, based on the sharing of the same Catholic faith. It is the only treasure to be relied upon, even in the most enigmatic and controversial events of the present time. <br />Thu, 22 Sep 2022 11:23:04 +0200AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - Tigray: the worst offensive in recent times, an emergency for hundreds of thousands of displaced civilianshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72834-AFRICA_ETHIOPIA_Tigray_the_worst_offensive_in_recent_times_an_emergency_for_hundreds_of_thousands_of_displaced_civilianshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72834-AFRICA_ETHIOPIA_Tigray_the_worst_offensive_in_recent_times_an_emergency_for_hundreds_of_thousands_of_displaced_civiliansAddis Ababa - "The Eritrean army is recalling the reservists and recruiting many young people to be sent to the front. They are trying to conquer Axum, Adigrat, Shire and enter Macallè, the situation of the civilian population is dramatic, the worst offensive since the conflict". This is what a source of the local Catholic Church, who remains anonymous for security reasons, told Fides. <br />Since August 24, when the fighting resumed, the humanitarian situation in Tigray has been worsening day by day . The Amhara and Fano special forces are also involved in the offensive against the Tigrinyan guerrillas, while drone attacks by the federal army are reported. The attacks conducted by the Eritrean army are causing victims among civilians. The President of Somalia, Hassan Sheik Mohamud asked Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki to bring the 5,000 soldiers trained in Eritrea back to Somalia, but at the moment there has been no response.<br />"The widespread denial and obstruction of access to basic services, food, health care and humanitarian assistance are having a devastating impact on the civilian population", said the chairman of the commission created by the Human Rights Council of United Nations, Kaari Betty Murungi. "The humanitarian crisis in Tigray is shocking, both in terms of scope and duration", he said.<br />Murungi called on the government to immediately restore basic services and ensure full and unrestricted humanitarian access. The international commission also urged the TPLF forces to "ensure that humanitarian agencies can operate without hindrance".<br />The situation is also dramatic for some 2,800 civilians displaced and recently transferred to a federal police training center. In the Jarre camp where, according to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission , they had been taken and suffered serious human rights violations. The commission denounces the impossibility of visiting the displaced due to the refusal of the security forces. <br />Wed, 21 Sep 2022 12:56:51 +0200ASIA/KAZHAKISTAN - Fr. Leopold Kropfreiter: The Pope's visit has increased interest and benevolence towards the small Catholic communityhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72833-ASIA_KAZHAKISTAN_Fr_Leopold_Kropfreiter_The_Pope_s_visit_has_increased_interest_and_benevolence_towards_the_small_Catholic_communityhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72833-ASIA_KAZHAKISTAN_Fr_Leopold_Kropfreiter_The_Pope_s_visit_has_increased_interest_and_benevolence_towards_the_small_Catholic_communityKorneevka - "It was very enriching to see the enthusiasm with which not only the few Catholics in Kazakhstan have prepared the visit, but also the authorities of the country, which has a 75% Muslim population". Thus, Father Leopold Kropfreiter, director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Kazakhstan, shares with Fides the suggestions and reflections that have marked the local Catholic community during the preparation and then the development of the recent Apostolic Journey of Pope Francis to Kazakhstan . <br />"We have experienced a lot of benevolence and interest. Many Kazakhs have only known the Catholic Church on the occasion of the preparations for this important trip. The media themselves had to first learn who the Catholics are in order to be able to report", continues Father Kropfreiter.<br />"Messengers of peace and unity" was the motto of the Apostolic Journey, whose logo was designed by a young Catholic artist, Marina Mun, who grew up in Karaganda, central Kazakhstan, and who now lives in Almaty, in the South of the country. To compose the logo, the artist used elements typical of Kazakhstan, such as the shanyrak, a cross-shaped emblem that sits on top of the traditional Kazakh dwelling, the yurt. The shanyrak symbolizes prosperity, but also the "common home". And for Christians, it can remind them of the mystery of the cross, a sign of the redeeming love of God who calls us together in his Church: "The cross itself - says Father Leopold - was the center of the homily of the mass that the Pope celebrated on September 14. The huge cross placed behind the papal altar has returned today to my parish of Korneewka, in the north of Kazakhstan. In August, a month before the Pope's visit, our Archbishop Tomasz Peta asked us if we could 'lend' the cross to serve the Pope during his visit. Now, it will forever remind us in our remote parish in northern Kazakhstan of the Pope's visit to our country".<br />The attention on the part of the Kazakh people towards the Pope and his figure grew with each passing hour. As part of the papal trip, a huge icon of Mary "Mother of the Great Steppe" in Kazakh style, made by Dosbol Kasymov, one of the most famous local artists, was blessed.<br />"When he received the request to make this icon", recalls Father Leopold, "the artist initially had doubts and asked his family what to do. He is muslim. His relatives reassured him and convinced him that it was correct to make this icon. The title of "Mother of the Great Steppe" refers to our shared culture: the steppe as a habitat where many different nations coexist. While the icon was being painted, the artist stated that he realized that this work of art was not created extemporaneously at the time. He had the impression that this image had always been present in his work. The icon has become for him the summary of a lifetime of searching". <br />Wed, 21 Sep 2022 12:28:16 +0200AMERICA/HAITI - Poverty, desperation and lack of adequate policies fuel violence even against the Churchhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72832-AMERICA_HAITI_Poverty_desperation_and_lack_of_adequate_policies_fuel_violence_even_against_the_Churchhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72832-AMERICA_HAITI_Poverty_desperation_and_lack_of_adequate_policies_fuel_violence_even_against_the_ChurchPort-au-Prince - "Solidarity and full communion in this moment of uncertainty and great pain" to the Jesuit brothers of the Jesuit Migrant Service for the attack on one of its homes for migrants, located in Ounaminteh, in the north of Haiti, was expressed by Red Clamor, the ecclesial network engaged in the field of emigration, refugees, trafficking and displaced persons. The structure was looted and destroyed in recent days by a group of people, "in the climate of general chaos that does not end in this suffering country".<br />"We know the great service you render to the Haitian people, especially to people in forced mobility, victims of growing impoverishment, violence and catastrophes linked to the climate crisis", is written in the message, which highlights: "We are witnesses of the love they feel and of the high appreciation of the overwhelming majority of Haitians for the work you do, these isolated events are the result of despair and the lack of public policies to guide all Haitians along the paths of integral human development, without anyone being excluded from their right to live with dignity".<br />Red Clamor joins the prayer so that violence may end and the SJM can continue its work in Haiti in full safety of people's property and life. Furthermore, it prays so that the Lord touches the hearts of the perpetrators of violence, who are "victims of the prevailing system in Haiti, which degrades human beings and generates violence".<br />Once again, in recent days, the Haitian Bishops have launched a cry of alarm on the seriousness of the situation, on behalf of the whole Church present in the Caribbean country: "The situation of poverty and insecurity that is rampant everywhere clearly shows that our state authorities do not have the ability to bring the country back to normal, as it should be done". "The situation is serious, as well as misery. The people need to live and have every right to live with respect and dignity", is written in the document of the Episcopal Conference of Haiti.<br />The Bishops also denounce some radio hosts, who want to involve the Catholic Church in arms trafficking, threatening to carry out violent acts against church buildings, priests, nuns and collaborators of Catholic institutions. They reiterate that the Catholic Church "is not involved in the arms trade", and ask to "stop sowing confusion among the population. Defamation and slander are serious sins". Once again they specify that the mission of the Catholic Church in Haiti "is to serve all the people in the four corners of the country, in cities and in remote areas. We are engaged not only in the work of announcing the Good News and evangelizing people, but also in the fields of education, health, the promotion of dignity and human rights, social development and all kinds of charitable works, to help the Haitian people not to allow their hope to be stolen, in the midst of a situation of despair and disorder".<br />For a long time now the Bishops of Haiti have been launching appeals and reminders on the difficult crisis at all levels that the country is going through. Violence and corruption are rampant, the population is in poverty, the natural disasters that frequently hit the island and the Covid-19 pandemic have aggravated the situation, such as political instability, which saw the assassination of the President of the Republic Jovenel Moïse a year ago . The Church shares the institutional, economic and social chaos that has been affecting the country for years now, and the pain of those who are victims of kidnapping, rape and violence. Priests, nuns and pastoral workers who continue their mission are exposed to violence of all kinds, such as kidnappings , robberies and assaults. The last missionary to be killed was Sister Luisa Dell’Orto, Little Sister of the Gospel of Charles de Foucauld, killed on June 25 in Port-au-Prince . Sister Luisa had lived there for twenty years, dedicated above all to the service of street children. <br />Wed, 21 Sep 2022 12:16:56 +0200ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Catholic universities commemorate 50 years of martial law and warn against post-truthhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72831-ASIA_PHILIPPINES_Catholic_universities_commemorate_50_years_of_martial_law_and_warn_against_post_truthhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72831-ASIA_PHILIPPINES_Catholic_universities_commemorate_50_years_of_martial_law_and_warn_against_post_truthManila - Remembering the dark passages of national history to illuminate the present: with this intention, several schools, Catholic universities and communities in the Philippines today celebrated the 50th anniversary of the declaration of martial law, which General Ferdinando Marcos promulgated on September 21, 1972 and which lasted until 1981. Marcos was then deposed in the peaceful revolution called "People Power" or "Revolution of the Rosaries", in 1986.<br />At that time, notes Amnesty International, more than 70,000 people were imprisoned, 34,000 tortured and 3,240 killed, while there are no traces of the many political prisoners and "desaparecidos".<br />Today Catholic institutions exhort students "not to forget, but rather to learn from those painful experiences" that the generation of the "millennials" did not experience directly on their own skin and risks being misinterpreted.<br />De La Salle University, a Catholic institution based in Manila, organized a meeting in which martial law survivors shared their experiences: "In a time of historical polarization and distortion, the Lasallian community is committed to justice by remembering those who were victims of oppressive regimes. We remain firm in our commitment to protecting democracy, human dignity, the value of life, human rights", said Jose W. Diokno, one of the organizers. <br />Christine Santiago Rodriguez, a secular leader, said: "Today we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the declaration of martial law in the Philippines. This was a dark day in history, but today is an opportunity to shine the light of truth".<br />The Sociopolitical Apostolate of the Society of Jesus in the Philippines, together with the "Loyola House of Studies" and other academic bodies related to the religious, held a series of commemorative meetings of the 50th anniversary of martial law, also organizing a photographic exhibition titled "# NeverAgain: The stories of Martial law survivors".<br />In a statement sent to Fides, the Sociopolitical Apostolate of the Society of Jesus states: "Recalling 13 years of authoritarian government, marked by serious abuses of power, the commemoration of martial law becomes an invitation for us to remain steadfast in our commitment for truth and justice. Our recent experience tells us that we have much to learn and unlearn to do justice to the sacrifices made by our freedom-loving fellow citizens".<br />Saying that they are in "solidarity with those who have experienced the atrocities of martial law and have become victims of violence and unnecessary suffering", the Jesuits remember "the Filipinos who bravely fought against the authoritarian regime in search of democracy, justice, peace and better life for all". The religious therefore urge "not to be deceived by post-truth narratives that rob our people and not to allow the truth to be buried under lies". Historical revisionism - the note states - must be rejected, impunity and deceit must not triumph.<br />The appeal ends with a prayer "so that the Filipino people, pushed by the Holy Spirit, may find justice for the perpetrators of the atrocities and take concrete steps towards the healing and reconciliation of the country".<br />In the Philippines, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Romualdez Marcos Jr, who is the son of the dictator Ferdinando Marcos, was elected President of the Republic in the elections last May and officially took office on June 30, 2022. There is currently a lively debate on the manipulation of the past and on a current of historical revisionism that would like to re-evaluate the era of martial law, covering the violations of human rights that took place in that period. <br />Wed, 21 Sep 2022 11:35:17 +0200AFRICA/NIGERIA - Bishop of Orlu: "The military assault on the market of Eke Ututu risks alienating the support of the State from the population"http://www.fides.org/en/news/72830-AFRICA_NIGERIA_Bishop_of_Orlu_The_military_assault_on_the_market_of_Eke_Ututu_risks_alienating_the_support_of_the_State_from_the_populationhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72830-AFRICA_NIGERIA_Bishop_of_Orlu_The_military_assault_on_the_market_of_Eke_Ututu_risks_alienating_the_support_of_the_State_from_the_populationAbuja - "Stop further killing of innocent people and destruction of livelihoods". This is the appeal launched by Msgr. Augustine Tochukwu Ukwuoma, Bishop of Orlu, in Imo State, in southern Nigeria, to the security forces accused of extrajudicial killings and of having devastated the market of a local town.<br />"On Saturday September 17, 2022, armed men alleged to be government security agencies invaded Orsuihiteukwa community in Orsu Local Government Area of Imo State, causing the death of some people and the burning down of Eke Ututu market which is the economic mainstay of the people of Orsu Local Government Area and other surrounding communities", writes Msgr. Ukwuoma.<br />"I have already condemned the past violence", recalls the Bishop. "I still maintain the view, that human life is sacred and should be respected. Violence begets violence and the circle continues. Genuine dialogue remains the answer. My sincere condolences go to all families who lost loved ones during this painful incident. May the souls of these our brethren rest in peace".<br />Msgr. Ukwuoma underlines how the action of the military, who are damaging the livelihoods of local populations, risks definitively aligning their support to the State. "The burning down of Eke Ututu market has added another sad dimension to our existing bad situation. The inhabitants of this area are petty traders and subsistent farmers who live basically from hand to mouth. They go to the market to sell their produce and buy food for the day to feed their families".<br />"Did the perpetrators of this mayhem think of how many indigent people who depend on this market for their main source of livelihood? Did they think of the number of children who will have nothing to eat because their parents have lost their sources of income?<br />"Did they think of the resources burnt especially during this economic hardship? Did they think of the psychological trauma these local inhabitants will go through due to the violent act?"<br />Msgr. Ukwuoma concludes by appealing to "government authorities to investigate this incident and take necessary steps to prevent reoccurrence. Finally, I appeal to all to remain steadfast in our prayer for peace in our region".<br />In the State of Imo there is the Indigenous People of Biafra separatist movement, which aims to rebuild the Republic of Biafra, the ephemeral state born from the attempted secession of southern Nigeria, which caused a bloody civil war. The IPOB accused the governor of Imo State of ordering the assault on the Orsu-Ihiteukwa community. Accusation rejected by the governor's spokesman. "Governor Uzodinma has never, can never and will never give instructions to security agents or anybody for that matter to kill innocent people" said the spokesman, who however recalled that there are "operational rules of engagement" for "security agencies, with their different hierarchies who take responsibility for their actions". Let us remember that Nigeria is a federation with several state and federal security bodies. <br />Wed, 21 Sep 2022 11:22:12 +0200ASIA/BANGLADESH - Sport for the promotion of women and dialogue: the nation greets the football championshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72829-ASIA_BANGLADESH_Sport_for_the_promotion_of_women_and_dialogue_the_nation_greets_the_football_championshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72829-ASIA_BANGLADESH_Sport_for_the_promotion_of_women_and_dialogue_the_nation_greets_the_football_championsDhaka - The Bangladesh women's national football team has won a historic victory, obtaining the first title of the "South Asian Football Federation Women's Cup, the continental cup of South Asia, with a 3-1 victory over Nepal, achieved in the final in Kathmandu on September 19. In an unstoppable journey, which saw them prevail over the national teams of Bhutan, India, Pakistan and Maldives, and triumph undefeated, the girls of Bangladesh have given prestige to their nation and today, September 21, on their return from Nepal, parade through the streets of the capital Dhaka to show the cup and receive the cheers of their fans.<br />This victory, the observers underline, goes far beyond the sporting result and becomes an opportunity to bring out issues of a social and cultural nature such as the condition of women and interreligious dialogue in society.<br />In the national team of a Muslim country, where footballers, and women who play sports in general, find obstacles and hostility from men and face social barriers, the result obtained therefore has much wider meanings than the purely sporting fact.<br />Many of the players come from extremely poor marginalized communities and play in the national team with willpower and perseverance.<br />In the team there is also a Christian girl of Garo ethnicity, the 18-year-old Maria Manda, midfielder, who is the vice-captain of the national team. Her teammates, in particular the captain of the national team, Sabina Khatun, praise her and the amalgamation of the team that overcomes religious, cultural and ethnic barriers is a symbol and a powerful appeal for the entire nation.<br />Manda says to Fides: "As a midfielder, I have given my contribution. All the girls of our team have adequately carried out their responsibilities on the pitch, it is the team spirit that contributed to this success. We love each other, we are united, we love sport and we work together to achieve good results, as Bangladeshi citizens".<br />Maria Manda's success did not happen in a day, but is the result of a long commitment. As a child, she one day asked her mother to buy her a pair of football boots. Maria's mother sold the rice of the day to buy them, she remembers the young woman with emotion. To pursue her dream she had to overcome prejudices, hostility and bad words from many men.<br />Other players have also suffered, as well as coach Golam Rabbani Chhotan, who now observes: "This is not only my success, we achieved it thanks to everyone's collaboration. I was even laughed at for accepting this position. Now let's give prestige to the country and we are an example for everyone, thanks to the self-denial of these girls, who are a very united group, who believe in the ideals and values of sport, in equality, in solidarity".<br />"The victory will be a source of inspiration for many other girls in Bangladesh, to overcome cultural barriers and social challenges", Anthony Rozario, teacher of a Catholic school, comments to Fides, recalling that "the condition of women in Bangladesh is among the worst in the world, and is the result of a patriarchal culture and conditions of extreme poverty and social and gender inequality".<br />Violence and abuse against women are often considered normal episodes even within the home. In a country where discrimination against women is present in every sphere of social and working life, there is also the highest rate of child marriages in the world .<br />In recent decades, Bangladeshi women have struggled to assert their rights within the family, society, the world of work and the State. The Catholic Church in Bangladesh promotes the condition of women and the dignity of women above all through a careful and precious work of education, in schools of all levels. <br />Wed, 21 Sep 2022 11:02:56 +0200ASIA/IRAQ - Unity between Chaldeans and Assyrians: "See nothing opposed to a united Church of the East"http://www.fides.org/en/news/72828-ASIA_IRAQ_Unity_between_Chaldeans_and_Assyrians_See_nothing_opposed_to_a_united_Church_of_the_Easthttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72828-ASIA_IRAQ_Unity_between_Chaldeans_and_Assyrians_See_nothing_opposed_to_a_united_Church_of_the_EastBaghdad - "I have studied our Eastern heritage and the writings of the Fathers of the Church and I see nothing to prevent the union of the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Church of the East under the name Church of the East", says the Chaldean Patriarch and Iraqi Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako, who wishes to initiate a common and fraternal reflection on the possible restoration of full sacramental communion between the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Church of the East. He does so in a long and dense speech entitled "The unity and plurality of the Church", in which, among other things, he adds that "the same thing is true for the Syriac Catholic Church and the Syriac Orthodox Church", which according to Patriarch Sako could unite under the name of the "Syrian Church of Antioch", as they share the same roots and the same liturgical, historical, linguistic and spiritual heritage.<br />Cardinal Sako, however, in his contribution, disseminated through the official channels of the Chaldean Patriarchate, also presents these proposals as a mere "personal opinion". At the same time, the contribution provides solid arguments which are the doctrinal and theological sources on which the return to full communion is based between some Eastern Catholic Churches and the ancient Churches of the East, which share the same liturgical, theological and spiritual heritage and which, although not in full communion with the Pope, have never had direct dogmatic conflicts with the Church of Rome and her Bishop. <br />"The Churches - argues Patriarch Sako at the beginning of his speech - have developed in different cultural, linguistic and geographical contexts, even if they share the same apostolic faith. Ecclesial unity is not the product of human organizational processes or of a parliamentary attitude, and it does not impose itself as a conformist adherence to a single model imposed from above in order to repress legitimate and fruitful differences that undermine the intensity of ecclesial life and apostolic mission enrich as gifts". "The essential unity between the Catholic Church and the ancient Eastern Churches of apostolic origin", stressed Patriarch Sako, "is also shown objectively in the common Christological declarations which these Churches have signed in the last decades of their ecumenical journey". "This unity of faith," said the Iraqi cardinal, "is real, not fictitious, and everyone recognizes it. It is a prayerful unity that is revealed even more clearly when it is reflected in the plurality of administrative, hierarchical and cultural possibilities is lived and recognized", because "what unites us is much greater than what divides us". "The source of unity between the Catholic Church and the ancient non-Catholic Churches of the East", added Patriarch Sako, lies in the common belonging to the apostolic Tradition. The potential fruitfulness of the ecumenical journey, especially when it is lived on the concrete ground of communion between Christians in their parishes and dioceses".<br />Patriarch Sako added that the urgent need to reflect on a possible "project of unity" within the framework of a bold dialogue stems from the "state of affairs in which so many Christian communities in the Middle East find themselves, characterized by processes of emigration, which have forced our people to disperse today in the 'Diaspora'". In his contribution, the Iraqi cardinal also concludes by highlighting the fact that the Assyrian "sister Church" led by Patriarch Mar Awa III already referred to as "Holy Assyrian Catholic Apostolic Church of the East" in official statements on the occasion of the inauguration of the new Patriarchate on September 12 in Erbil. <br />Tue, 20 Sep 2022 13:03:20 +0200AFRICA/CAMEROON - A ransom has been requested for the 9 people kidnapped from the church of Saint Maryhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72827-AFRICA_CAMEROON_A_ransom_has_been_requested_for_the_9_people_kidnapped_from_the_church_of_Saint_Maryhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72827-AFRICA_CAMEROON_A_ransom_has_been_requested_for_the_9_people_kidnapped_from_the_church_of_Saint_MaryMamfe - The kidnapping of nine people in the attack on the church of Saint Mary, in the village of Nchang has been revealed a kidnapping for ransom. Msgr. Andrew Nkea Fuanya, Archbishop of Bamenda, stated this, affirming that the kidnappers have demanded a ransom. Monsignor Nkea added that there are groups that see the Church as an "easy target to make money". <br />We remember that on the night of Friday, September 16, an armed group attacked and set fire to the church of Saint Mary, kidnapping five priests, a nun and three lay people after the ambush.<br />Since 2016, the northwestern and southwestern regions of Cameroon have been in the grip of a bloody conflict between the English-speaking separatists and the military of the French-speaking majority state.<br />The violence has claimed more than 6,000 lives and displaced about one million people.<br />At the beginning of September, Bishop Nkea, who until May was apostolic administrator of the diocese of Mamfe and president of the Episcopal Conference of Cameroon, called for an intervention by the international community, which "seems having forgotten the English-speaking crisis". "We try to encourage priests, men and women religious to continue to operate in the two English-speaking regions - he reported in an interview with the French section of Vatican News - but we Bishops receive daily messages that threaten our dialogue efforts: if we speak with the government, the secessionists accuse us of being pro-government; if we talk to the secessionists, the government accuses us of being with the secessionists. It is a delicate situation, but the Bishops must continue to mediate between the parties". <br />Tue, 20 Sep 2022 12:38:58 +0200AMERICA/PERU - Migrants: we need complete and fair immigration policies, no to xenophobia and discrimination in societyhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72826-AMERICA_PERU_Migrants_we_need_complete_and_fair_immigration_policies_no_to_xenophobia_and_discrimination_in_societyhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72826-AMERICA_PERU_Migrants_we_need_complete_and_fair_immigration_policies_no_to_xenophobia_and_discrimination_in_societyLima - "We call on the authorities to implement complete and fair immigration policies, which guarantee the human rights of these people on the move, at the same time we urge Peruvian society to put aside any attitude of rejection, xenophobia or discrimination", is the appeal from the Peruvian Bishops, who on the occasion of the 108th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Sunday, September 25, will join Pope Francis who in his message invites us to "build the future with migrants and refugees, placing them at the center of our pastoral action".<br />The Episcopal Conference recalls that the world continues to experience the Covid-19 pandemic, which has increased social and economic differences in Peru. In particular, "migrants, refugees and asylum seekers have seen their quality of life compromised, such as their access to rights to health, food, work, among others". The effects of this pandemic have a particular impact on 284 million migrants, according to the International Organization for Migration and on the 89.3 million forcibly displaced people in the world , according to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees .<br />Citing the message of the Holy Father for Migrant Day 2022, the Peruvian Bishops underline that "the construction of the Kingdom of God requires the presence and participation of all his sons and daughters" and urge "to know how to recognize the contribution that the migrants and refugees bring to our societies". "As Bishops of Peru - they continue - we join in prayer with the more than three million compatriots residing abroad and with the thousands of internally displaced people, encouraging them to continue to preserve and strengthen their faith, integrating, respecting and enriching the communities that generously welcome them".<br />Likewise, the Bishops are in solidarity with all migrants of various nationalities present in Peru, in particular with Venezuelan migrants and refugees. The latest issue of the CEP Human Mobility Pastoral Newsletter, published in September, reports that the Venezuelan exodus represents the largest migration crisis in the continent's recent history, with 6 million citizens forced to leave their land to seek better living conditions in neighboring countries. About 1,286,464 Venezuelans have arrived in Peru and 531,000 requests for recognition of refugee status have been submitted to the Special Commission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Peru ranks second in the world for number of Venezuelans residing and first for refugee recognition requests. About 90% of Venezuelans in Peru devote themselves to informal economic activities to support themselves, which have stalled following the pandemic and have only recently been reactivated.<br />The Episcopal Conference in its message for World Day thanks and highlights the pastoral service and accompaniment carried out by many pastoral workers in the country to people on the move, encouraging them to continue to bring the loving presence of Jesus Christ among them.<br />On the occasion of the 108th World Day of Migrants and Refugees on Sunday, 25 September, the Pastoral Care of Human Mobility of the Peruvian Episcopal Conference has created a pastoral aid, inspired by the Pope's Message, to live this Day and promote liturgical celebrations and cultural encounters in every church, center, community, local institution, to create together the "culture of encounter". <br />Tue, 20 Sep 2022 12:04:21 +0200ASIA/EAST TIMOR - The Document on Human Fraternity will be studied in public schoolshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72825-ASIA_EAST_TIMOR_The_Document_on_Human_Fraternity_will_be_studied_in_public_schoolshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72825-ASIA_EAST_TIMOR_The_Document_on_Human_Fraternity_will_be_studied_in_public_schoolsDili - The Document on Human Fraternity signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad al-Tayyib in Abu Dhabi, in 2019 will be introduced in the curriculum of public schools of all levels in East Timor. Its contents will also be developed and studied within the "Center for the Human Fraternity of East Timor for World Peace", inaugurated yesterday in Dili, capital of East Timor. These are the results of the visit of Msgr. Edgar Peña Parra, Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, in the small state of Southeast Asia with a Catholic majority.<br />"Our small nation of East Timor is the first in the world to incorporate the Document on Human Fraternity into its public order and education. We are delighted. With the visit of Msgr. Edgar Peña Parra, it has become official that the Document will be introduced and studied in educational institutions throughout the nation, recognizing its merits, values and the precious perspective of fraternity", confirms to Fides Father Bento Barros Pereira, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in East Timor.<br />As Fides has learned, during Edgar Peña Parra’s visit, the new building of the Apostolic Nunciature will be inaugurated, in a ceremony that will take place on September 22, and institutional meetings with the local community are planned.<br />Yesterday, September 19, after a meeting with the President of the Republic of East Timor, José Ramos Horta, Msgr. Edgar Peña Parra attended the inauguration of the "Center for Human Fraternity of East Timor for World Peace", inspired by the Document on Human Fraternity signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad al-Tayyib in Abu Dhabi, in 2019. It is a Study Center that will continue to deepen the contents of the Document, applying them in particular to the Asian continent. The day continued with the participation in a conference on human fraternity at the Catholic University of East Timor.<br />As Fides learns, today Msgr. Peña Parra will visit a care center for poor children run by the Canossian Sisters of Balide, the interdiocesan Seminary of San Pedro and São Paulo, the cemetery of Santa Cruz and the Museum and Archive of the Timorese Resistance.<br />On September 22, a meeting with Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak is scheduled, followed by the Eucharistic celebration in the Cathedral of Dili. Also on the agenda is a visit to the monument dedicated to Saint John Paul II in Tasi-Tolu where, on October 12, 1989, the Pontiff celebrated a mass when East Timor was still part of Indonesia.<br />Father Bento concludes to Fides: "This visit is very important for us, it shows us the attention of the Holy See and makes us continue to hope for the coming of Pope Francis. Here in Timor our mission continues, faith is alive in the population and we are in an atmosphere of joy and celebration, after the return home of the first Timorese Cardinal, the Archbishop of Dili, Virgílio do Carmo da Silva. <br />It is a great pride for our small and young nation. The Timorese Church has always been close to the population, even in the difficult times of occupation, and continues to be so, accompanying the People of God to live the life of faith and, on a social and economic level, to promote a dignified life, for the integral development of every human person and a society that cares for the common good".<br />East Timor, Asia's youngest democracy, comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, while the western half is part of Indonesia. It has an area of 15,000 square kilometers, and 97% of the 1.3 million inhabitants profess the Catholic religion. On May 20, the country celebrated the 20th anniversary of East Timor's independence from Indonesia, which occupied it for 24 years. <br />Tue, 20 Sep 2022 11:54:26 +0200AFRICA/CAMEROON - Bishops on the attack on the Catholic Church: among those who attack the churches there are also members of our communitieshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72824-AFRICA_CAMEROON_Bishops_on_the_attack_on_the_Catholic_Church_among_those_who_attack_the_churches_there_are_also_members_of_our_communitieshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72824-AFRICA_CAMEROON_Bishops_on_the_attack_on_the_Catholic_Church_among_those_who_attack_the_churches_there_are_also_members_of_our_communitiesMamfe - The attack on the Catholic church of Saint Mary, in the village of Nchang represents an "atrocious act". The perpetrators and instigators of this crime, in whatever country, must repent and abandon the "evil ways" that have placed them in the position of "fighting against God and not against men. And no one fights against God and wins", said the Bishops of the Provincial Bishops' Conference of Bamenda, in the English-speaking region of Cameroon, to the armed militants who last Friday evening, September 16, attacked and set fire to the Catholic, and kidnapped five priests, a nun and three lay people . Against the background of years of violence in English-speaking Cameroon, the bishops point out in a joint press release that the attacks on the church communities represent "the new game of struggle" directed against "missionaries who give their lives to work for the people". Such attacks - the Bishops said - affect the Catholic Church as well as the Presbyterian and Baptist Churches, and oddly enough, some of those viciously attacking the churches are people who belong to those churches or have benefited from their generosity."<br />After learning of the arson attack and the kidnapping of the priests and pastoral workers, Bishop Aloysius Fondong Abangalo of Mamfe made his way to the burned church to take the cross and consecrated hosts kept in the tabernacle.<br />The Ecclesiastical Province of Bamenda includes the Archdiocese of Bamenda, the Dioceses of Kumbo, Kumba, Mamfe and Buea. "What happened", the Bishop said in a video released after his visit to the burned church "is an abomination. Put simply, God has been made to understand that we do not want him in our country." Bishop Abangalo invited all the people of the Diocese of Mamfe to dedicate the Rosary of Reparation throughout the month of October, "for this act of abomination committed in our country."<br />In the joint communiqué, the bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Bamenda also affirm their prayer "for the forgiveness of the guilty, as did Christ who prayed on the cross: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing". <br />Mon, 19 Sep 2022 13:40:50 +0200AMERICA/PANAMA - The Bishops announce the second phase of the dialogue, a new step in the fight against inequality, social exclusion and corruptionhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72823-AMERICA_PANAMA_The_Bishops_announce_the_second_phase_of_the_dialogue_a_new_step_in_the_fight_against_inequality_social_exclusion_and_corruptionhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/72823-AMERICA_PANAMA_The_Bishops_announce_the_second_phase_of_the_dialogue_a_new_step_in_the_fight_against_inequality_social_exclusion_and_corruptionPanama - Before starting the second phase of the Single Dialogue Table, "which will be decisive in really outlining the path of transformation that our country needs", the Catholic Church team that accepted the role of facilitator in this path reports that "dialogue itself is the main fruit that this first phase of the Single Table leaves us, the beginning of a culture of peace and dialogue to achieve a true transformation of the country".<br />For this, they affirm in their communication of September 18 sent to Fides, mutual trust between all social actors is necessary: although it is difficult to achieve "it is essential for any progress", while suspicion and pessimism do nothing but raise large walls. The Bishops trust in the good will of human beings and reaffirm their commitment: "No matter how small the possibility of helping to overcome the crisis that was affecting us all, the Catholic Church was and always will be willing to serve so that A path of peace and without deception is achieved, with all sectors of the country, without excluding any group in any region of the country". The bishops then announce with great joy the imminent start of the second phase of the dialogue, "open to the participation of all representatives of society", now preceded by a transition period to prepare the second phase in the best possible way.<br />Thanking all the actors who have participated in the dialogue "making this unique experience possible", they reiterate, in conclusion, the commitment of the Catholic Church "to accompany each aspect of this new step in the fight against inequity, social exclusion, and the corruption in which we all, in one way or another, are responsible". <br />Mon, 19 Sep 2022 12:23:59 +0200