Fides News - English Agency NewsenContent on this site is licensed under aAFRICA/EGYPT - The Coptic Orthodox Synod approves the law on the construction of churches. But there are doubts and disagreements - A long-debated draft law concerning the building and restoration of churches was approved in past days. The Cabinet's approval follows a prolonged back and forth between church representatives and the government over the draft. <br />At the same time, within the Egyptian Christian community there continues to be resentment, so much so that Christian youth groups are mobilizing for a petition and ask for the text of the bill to be rejected and reformulated before being passed to Parliament for approval, expected in coming days. What seems to be causing doubts and disagreements are the added amendments to the text during the long and laborious preliminary stage, which end up complicating the legislative framework and leave the door open to the maneuvers of those who were determined to maintain the status quo and make in fact the building of new churches impossible. "The situation is still controversial" refers to Fides Anba Antonios Aziz Mina, Coptic Catholic Bishop of Guizeh. The bill, after more than ten drafts, appears full of gaps, and there are too many technical details, allowing anyone to use again pretexts to prevent the construction of new churches. <br />Many Muslims are criticizing the law, and simply propose that the rules for the construction of mosques are also applied to the construction of Christian places of worship".<br />The new legislation, in the expectations of the Egyptian Christians, should have led to total dismissal of the so-called "10 Rules" added in 1934 to the Ottoman legislation by the Ministry of the Interior, which prohibited, among other things, to build new churches near schools, channels, government buildings, railways and residential areas. In many cases, the strict application of those rules prevented to build churches in cities and villages inhabited by Christians, especially in rural areas of Upper Egypt. <br />Sat, 27 Aug 2016 13:37:58 +0200ASIA/INDIA - Protestant Pastor beaten by Hindu militants Delhi - Sunny Tyagi, who converted to Christianity and became a Protestant Pastor, was beaten by a mob of Hindu radicals who broke into a private house where a prayer meeting in the district of Gonda, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, was being held. This was reported to Fides by Sajan K. George, President of the Global Council of Indian Christians .<br />On August 26, 2016, around 8 am, Pastor Sunny Tyagi of the Church of the Assembly of believers was leading a liturgy in the house of a believer, when suddenly ten Hindu radical militants broke into the house and interrupted the meeting, threatening the faithful and started beating the pastor, accused of proselytizing.<br />"The Pastor - explains Sajan K. George - was not engaged in any criminal activity, and was not doing anything unconstitutional: he was beaten for no reason. It is an act of gratuitous violence and a violation of religious freedom guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. The Global Council of Indian Christians strongly condemned the incident and calls on the national Commission for human rights to investigate and do justice". <br />Sat, 27 Aug 2016 12:02:15 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - Violent raid in a Christian neighborhood in Faisalabad - The Christian area "Khushal Town" in Faisalabad was attacked in past days by a crowd of Muslims who caused injuries to some Christians, including women, four young people and a senior. Christians are locked up at home for fear. Three days after the incident, local Christians filed a complaint to the police and to the municipality.<br />As Fides learns, the reason of the attack was a dispute which arose after a trivial road accident, which occurred on August 19, between a Christian and a Muslim. Hence the fight and desire for revenge. After a few days, the attempt of "collective punishment" on the Christian area, according to a pattern that has been repeated several times in Pakistan and in the past caused serious damage to people and property. The local police has assured protection and so far there have not been further negative consequences in Faisalabad. <br />Sat, 27 Aug 2016 11:59:39 +0200ASIA/JORDAN - Bishop Lahham to Jordanian Christians: in the elections vote who spoke good of the Church - On the occasion of the upcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled for September 20, Christians of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan are called to exercise their right and duty to vote in a conscious way by choosing deputies to be elected for the nine seats reserved for Christians. This is the main content of the message which Bishop Maroun Lahham, Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, has just released with the purpose of offering pastors and the faithful guidance criteria in the selection of candidates regarding the sixty seats in the next Parliamentary Assembly. "With regard to the last point" refers to Agenzia Fides Bishop Lahham "I suggested everyone to carefully study the curriculum of candidates for the nine seats reserved for Christians. And in particular, if those candidates were also part of the previous parliamentary assembly, it would be good to check their political conduct during the previous mandate, and if they spoke and worked for the good of the Church. Obviously, those who did not do it, or spoke against the Church, does not need our vote and cannot ask for support bringing up topics that have to do with the Christian presence in Jordan". <br />Sat, 27 Aug 2016 11:59:01 +0200AFRICA/SOUTH AFRICA - The Jesuits denounce the political use of the police against the Minister of Finance - "The Jesuit Institute South Africa is seriously concerned with, what appears to be, the continued harassment by the HAWKS of the Minister of Finance, Mr. Pravin Gordhan", said a statement sent to Agenzia Fides. The Hawks have an investigative department of the South African Police, specialized in organized crime and financial crimes.<br />Gordhan was summoned by the Hawks for questioning in an investigation into alleged abuse by its intelligence unit of the Ministry of Finance to collect financial information on several politicians, including President Jacob Zuma.<br />The Jesuits, after having recalled that the announcement of the convening of the Minister caused a fall of the South African credit rating , "with devastatimg consequences especially the poorest of the poor", claim "that in the latest developments the HAWKS have reinforced the impression that they are being used as political proxies by President Zuma and/or those connected to the President in their battle for unrestricted access to state funds, particularly in connection to the nuclear procurement deal and South African Airways".<br />The Jesuits also point out that Zuma had fired the former Minister of Finance, Nhlanha Nene , "with heavy consequences on the economy". "Once again President Zuma’s government displays a leadership which is self-serving. It does not care about the common good. To step in now, Mr. President, and end this racket and put the country’s struggling economy first, may be your last opportunity to show that you are concerned about the common good", the statement concluded. <br />Fri, 26 Aug 2016 13:13:02 +0200AFRICA/ZIMBABWE - The police break up a protest march, which was then authorized by the Supreme Court - Police used batons and fired tear gas against demonstrators who were preparing to attend today, August 26, a protest march in Harare, Zimbabwe's capital. The police’s intervention took place before the Supreme Court’s ruling that declared the march legitimate, organized by 18 political parties and social organizations. Among the opposition leaders there is Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change . The demonstration was announced to protest against the Independent Electoral Commission, accused of being conditioned by President Robert Mugabe, and to demand that the 2018 elections are supervised by international observers.<br />The Supreme Court authorized the demonstration that should therefore be held from 12 to 4pm, local time. This is the first public demonstration with the participation of all groups of opposition hitherto rather divided. Divisions that also appear in the presidential field, given the participation in the demonstration of his former Vice President Joice Mujuru, who leads an inner frond to Mugabe's party.<br />The political and social protest in Zimbabwe is increasingly linked to the use of social media to organize street demonstrations and other forms of revolt. The protest movement "virtual" #ThisFlag of Protestant pastor Evan Mawarire, is the best known among those who use social media . About two-thirds of the inhabitants of the Country are young, born after 1980. Young people are accustomed to the use of smartphones and have no memory of the liberation struggle led by ZANU-PF, the party of the 92-year-old Mugabe, remaining largely indifferent to the rhetoric of the "Father of the Nation", whose policy in the last 15 years has caused an economic and social collapse. <br />Fri, 26 Aug 2016 12:44:39 +0200ASIA/MONGOLIA - With the first native priest, "the Catholic Church is no longer foreign" - The Catholic Church in Mongolia is ready to welcome its first native priest: Joseph Enkh will be ordained to priesthood by His Exc. Mgr. Wenceslao Padilla, CICM, Apostolic Prefect of Ulaanbaatar, in the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Ulaanbaatar, at 10,30am on Sunday, August 28. As Fides learns, the new priest has chosen for his ordination the motto: "Deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow me" . "More than 1,500 people have confirmed that they will participate in the celebration, which will be a very special moment for the Catholic Church in Mongolia and for the whole society", says to Fides Fr. Prosper Mbumba, CICM a Congolese missionary in the Asian country. "The Catholic community in Mongolia, re-founded in 1992 and today has just over a thousand baptized. The ordination of a native priest will stimulate the enthusiasm and sense of belonging among the Mongolians, towards a church that has long been seen as foreign, with a faith brought by missionaries", explains Fr. Mbumba<br />The Apostolic Nuncio in South Korea and Mongolia, Archbishop Osvaldo Padilla, and Mgr. Lazarus You, Bishop of Daejeon, South Korea, diocese in which Joseph Enkh spent his formation and study years at the seminary, are among the guests of honor.<br />Don Joseph Enkh was ordained a deacon on 11 December 2014 in Daejeong , where he received his initial formation, and returned to Mongolia in January. Since then he has been carrying out his pastoral experience, serving in various parishes of Mongolia, where currently there are, altogether about 20 missionaries and 50 nuns from 12 congregations, working in six parishes. On Monday evening, August 29 Joseph Enkh will celebrate his first Mass in the same Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul in Ulaanbaatar. <br />Fri, 26 Aug 2016 12:15:39 +0200OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - Australia agrees to close refugee prison camp: satisfaction of the Church - The refugee detention camp on Manus Island will be shut down, a building managed by the Australian Government, at the center of strong controversy for the inhumane treatment of migrants and illegal immigrants who want to reach the Australian coast, mostly from neighboring Asian countries. The decision, announced by the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O'Neill, and the Australian Minister for Immigration, Peter Dutton, has generated satisfaction in the Australian Catholic Church and in civil society, who several times in the past had criticized the living conditions on the island, a huge detention camp.<br />Fr. Maurizio Pettena, Director of the Office for migrants in the Australian Episcopal Conference, said in a note sent to Fides that "the Church welcomes the decision to close the center, where there are people in detention for over three years". "Many religious groups and Catholic communities in Australia are ready to offer assistance to those who are in refugee conditions. We urge the government to do everything possible to quickly find a settlement for these people. We are concerned because those who have been identified as real refugees may not find a country that will accept them. The Catholic Church is opposed to a detention camp for an indefinite period of time and policy responses that do not respect the dignity of those in need of help". "It is imperative that human dignity always comes first", he continues. "Governments have a responsibility to manage migration flows, but the current Australian government's approach is becoming morally repugnant and should change".<br />"In this Year of Mercy we must live a culture of encounter, hospitality and acceptance, at a personal and community level", writes Bishop Vincent Nguyen Van Long, OFM Conv , in a message for World Day of migrants and refugees, which is celebrated on August 28th. The Bishop, the Bishops' Conference delegate for the pastoral care of migrants and refugees, recalled the example of Pope Francis, who visited the Greek island of Lesbos in April and "brought with him 12 Syrian refugees, Muslims, whose homes were destroyed by the war". "On this day - he said - we are invited to open our hearts to the suffering of others", in the sign of "compassion, which literally means 'to suffer with' and is the hallmark of Christianity", to be rediscovered and "lived in the Jubilee Year of Mercy". <br />Fri, 26 Aug 2016 11:57:33 +0200AFRICA/CHAD - Appointment of the Archbishop of N'Djaména City - On 20 August 2016 the Holy Father appointed His Exc. Mgr. Edmond Djitangar, Bishop of Sarh as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of N'Djamena, in Chad.<br />His Exc. Mgr. Edmond Djitangar was born on November 2, 1952 in Bekoro . After attending the St. Pierre minor Seminary in Sarh, he completed his studies in Philosophy and Theology at the major Seminary in Nkolbison and Koumi . He was ordained a priest on 30 December 1978. He holds a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute . He returned to Chad in 1985, in addition to his pastoral service in parishes, he was Professor of Sacred Scripture, Director of the Diocesan Centre of Formation for Catechists, Vicar General of Sarh. He was elected Bishop of the Diocese of Sarh on 11 October 1991, and received episcopal consecration on February 2 1992. In October 2009 he was Special Secretary in the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. <br />Fri, 26 Aug 2016 11:34:15 +0200AMERICA/COLOMBIA - The Bishops: illustrate the agreements, build a Colombia reconciled and at peaceà - "We welcome with hope the opportunities that should lead to putting an end to the armed conflict that has marked the history of the country for more than fifty years": is what the Bishops of Colombia expressed in the statement signed by the President of the Episcopal Conference, His Exc. Mgr. Luis Castro Quiroga, Archbishop of Tunja, on the occasion of the conclusion of the peace talks held in Cuba.<br />In the message, sent to Fides, the Bishops stress the need to illustrate the content of the peace agreements, so that everyone is prepared for the referendum on 2 October. Political leaders, community organizations, media makers and the Colombian people in general, are invited to promote "a serene reflection, in a climate of dialogue and respect, animated at all times by the commitment to peace-building, always thinking of the good of the country, beyond sectoral or special interests".<br />Renewing the call already at the end of their 101 General Assembly, to participate in the referendum expressing a "responsible, informed and conscience" vote, the Bishops call on all Catholics to "intensify prayers for peace in our Country and to discern, in the light of God's Word, the path that leads us to be peacemakers". Finally they invite "all brothers and sisters of good will" to overcome "all forms of violence and to work together in building a Colombia reconciled and at peace". <br />Fri, 26 Aug 2016 11:28:00 +0200AFRICA/UGANDA - The Archbishop of Tororo: "Domestic violence is the main challenge for families" - "We have all forms of domestic violence, and no one is spared: a child, a student, a mother, a father", denounces His Exc. Emmanuel Obbo, Archbishop of Tororo in Uganda, in an interview with CANAA .<br />According to Mgr. Obbo domestic violence is the main challenge for families in the Archdiocese led by him.<br />There are various forms of domestic violence: husbands who beat their wives, but in some cases the opposite happens; violence against children, including incest, while "girls- says Mgr. Obbo- are not free to live in society".<br />Family violence is so widespread that, according to the Archbishop, it has become "a way of life". "The people - explains Mgr. Obbo - are not satisfied with how they live and want to look for further improvement but are not able and therefore become frustrated".<br />The Archdiocese has launched a campaign against domestic violence, which is attended by families who have come out of this situation, and now, with their testimony and their service, help other families to overcome their divisions. <br />Thu, 25 Aug 2016 13:03:44 +0200AFRICA/GHANA - "Land grabbing; threat or possibility of development?" forum in Accra organized by Caritas Ghana - "Unmasking land grabbing in Ghana; restoring livelihoods; paving the way for Sustainable Development Goals". Is the title of the forum which is being organized by Caritas Ghana under the auspices of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference which opened on August 23 in Accra.<br />During the sessions the results of a-six-month research prepared by Caritas Ghana in collaboration with the Centre for Indigenous Knowledge on Development and the Africa Faith and Justice Network will be discussed. <br />In his report to the forum don Aniedi Okure, Executive Director of Africa Faith and Justice Network points out that Africa is the continent targeted most for large-scale land acquisitions. "Over 10 million hectares, centered mostly in East and West African countries, have been acquired by investors from the Middle East who are looking for food and fodder production; UK and Asia searching for biofuel production – for clean energy; private companies for the production of sugar, rice, rubber, oil palm and jatropha as well as livestock activities".<br />Land deals have consequences for the life styles of communities, because the lands bought by foreign investors were very often community land used for crops destined for local consumption. In addition, these lands are located mostly along major rivers and natural water sources and are among the most fertile and the population around provide cheap labor for investors, and most of the crops planted in grabbed land are not for consumption by the local communities but cash crop.<br />As a result, local people lose their self-sufficiency by becoming employees and receive a salary offered by foreign investors who, says Don Okure have in mind their interests and not those of the local population, despite promising to bring "development" and to work for the good of the local communities.<br />The priest says that land grabbing is already causing conflicts among local communities who see their spaces restricted. <br />Don Okure cites the case in an area in Sierra Leone where there is conflict between communities because of land grabbing. In one community for example, their common land was given out to investors. The communities no longer have a space to bury their dead. An attempt to get a piece of land in the neighboring town for burial plot has resulted in serious conflict. <br />Thu, 25 Aug 2016 12:56:01 +0200ASIA/INDIA - Justice for Christians massacred in Orissa Delhi - Eight years after the anti-Christian massacres that shook the Indian state of Orissa, on August 25, 2008, the victims have not yet obtained justice: as John Dayal, an Indian Catholic intellectual, former national president of the "All India Catholic Union" noted to Fides, "the recent death of Emeritus Archbishop Raphael Cheenath, pastor in Orissa, coincides with the days when we remember the biggest martyrdom of a group of Christians in India". The Indian Catholic Church, on its behalf, already last year celebrated on August 30 the "Day of Martyrs" and intends to initiate the cause of beatification to recognize the martyrdom of the victims.<br />"In a wave of targeted violence against Dalits and tribal communities in Kandhamal district, Hindu fundamentalist militants penetrated inland, killing indiscriminately. They took advantage of the impunity guaranteed by the State and the possible complicity of the police and other governement apparatus. The late Archbishop fought for justice during his lifetime, but many crimes still require investigation. The search for justice continues", recalls Dayal. <br />On August 25 of 2008, the violence against the Christian community in Kandhamal led to the death of about 100 Christians, although the government officially speaks of 38 victims. An estimated 5,600 homes were looted and burned, while about 300 churches and other places of worship were destroyed. Over 50 thousand faithful fled into the woods and began a life as refugees to survive ethnic cleansing.<br />Many of the survivors of violence have yet to receive justice. On August 2, the Supreme Court of India ordered the government of Orissa State to review 315 cases of violence, all cases reported to the police but not adequately investigated.<br />The NGO Christian Solidarity Worldwide, in a note sent to Fides, said: "The decision of the Supreme Court to reopen 315 cases is a first step: we ask the state and federal government to ensure that the perpetrators of those crimes are arrested and pay for their actions. What happened in Kandhamal must not be forgotten; we will have to persist in asking to face injustice". <br />Thu, 25 Aug 2016 12:15:17 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - The initiatives of Caritas: Do not forget the victims of the Easter massacre - The families affected by the "Easter massacre" are still in difficulty: this is why Caritas in Lahore is doing its best to help them face daily life and to recover a form of daily sustenance to guarantee economic independence and dignity. As reported to Fides by Caritas in Lahore, among the recent initiatives, Caritas has distributed four "rickshaw" to the families of those involved in the massacre, while it continues to provide financial support for the medical assistance to injured people and those still in need of care.<br />It was the Archbishop of Lahore Sebastian Francis Shaw who personally delivered the small means of transport that will allow families to start a basic economic activity. "With this small gesture, we want to show that the Catholic Church is close to the victims in this difficult period. We also express our gratitude to the federal and provincial governments, to civil society organizations, the Department of Health, that are continuing to help those still in hospital", said the Bishop. "Every citizen of this wonderful land has to contribute in promoting fraternity and peace", he concluded. Amjad Gulzar and Rojar Noor Alam , have extended their gratitude to all participants of during the delivery ceremony of the "rickshaw", encouraging them "to stay united in every difficult situation and to always trust in God's Providence". <br />Thu, 25 Aug 2016 10:51:43 +0200AFRICA/NIGERIA - Eight people die during an assault in the home of a man who had saved a student accused of blasphemy - A mob has killed eight people by burning down the house of a Muslim man who intervened in the attempted lynching of a Christian student accused of blasphemy in the city of Zamfara, in northern Nigeria.<br />The student, a Muslim who converted to Christianity, is accused of insulting the Islamic religion, and was severely beaten by some of his classmates, who believed him dead. <br />A passerby, stepped in and drove the victim to hospital. When his attackers found out that he had been taken to hospital they tried to attack him again. Another person, however, had brought the student to a safe place.<br />The mob then turned on the Muslim passerby, setting fire to his house which had eight people in it at the time. According to the police the man who rescued the student and his wife were not among the dead. <br />Wed, 24 Aug 2016 13:03:41 +0200AFRICA/ZAMBIA - Suspended the licences of three private broadcasters of the opposition after the re-election of outgoing President - Zambia's broadcasting regulator suspended the licences of three private broadcasters linked to the opposition, saying they had posed a risk to peace and stability during this month's presidential and parliamentary elections on August 11, narrowly won by outgoing President Edgar Lungu.<br />His opponent Hakainde Hichilema has filed court papers to challenge the result, claiming the vote was rigged.<br />Muvi TV, the nation's largest private television station, Komboni Radio and Radio Itezhi Tezhi had before, during and after the election conducted themselves in an "unprofessional manner, the Independent Broadcasting Authority said in a<br />statement and before the vote Mgr. Evans Chinyama Chinyemba, OMI, Bishop of Mongu had denounced the media controlled by the State for having carried out a campaign in favor of the ruling party .<br />In their pastoral letter on the elections, the local Bishops had urged all citizens of Zambia "to understand that voting is one of their fundamental rights and duties. It is also a Christian duty. We pray that every citizen votes in a spirit of honesty, avoiding bribes and deception. Finally, we pray that all voters and leaders of political party have in their heart, the necessary passion and commitment to build peace and avoid all forms of violence".<br />Zambia, whose main source of income are the exports of copper and manganese, is going through a severe economic crisis due to the fall in commodity prices, which resulted in the closure of mines, a rise in unemployment and in the price of food. <br />Wed, 24 Aug 2016 12:33:17 +0200ASIA/INDIA - Mercy, beyond borders and barriers - To be merciful means going beyond borders and barriers: this is the meaning of the interfaith meeting organized in recent days in Wadala, one of the main areas in Mumbai, in the Indian state of Maharashtra. In the parish of Our Lady of Sorrows, speakers, intellectuals, experts, theologians of different religions gathered to reflect on "the wonderful theme of mercy that embraces the heart of every man and woman without distinction of any kind, religious, ethical, cultural", says to Fides Sr. Teresa Joseph FMA, Secretary of the Office for dialogue and ecumenism within the Bishops' Conference of India.<br />"The meeting started with the theme 'Merciful as the Father', which is the motto of this Holy Year", says Sr. Joseph, and found in Hinduism, as shown by Professor Harsha Badkar of Wilson College, how the faithful of that religion "must seek mercy and extend it to all". Professor Shilpa spoke instead of Jainism, highlighting how it unites "freedom and responsibility": "Everyone is encouraged to act with equanimity", and this is an aspect of mercy. Zuhair Nathani has the task of speaking of mercy in Islam, which "he relates to the love of the mother to a child", said Professor Rustom, speaking of Zoroastrianism, recalling that mercy in that worship "is an attribute of omniscient God. Mercy and justice are two sides of the same coin, remarked those present. "The mercy of God overcomes all boundaries", said Fr. Vivian D'Souza, parish priest at the Church of Sorrow, citing Pope Francis. <br />"The name of God is mercy. Jesus is the incarnation of the Father’s love and mercy. Love and mercy invite all of us to be inclusive and not to break relationships with anyone".<br />"Mercy goes beyond borders", said those present, noting that "the works of mercy are part of the lifestyle of believers of various religions". <br />Wed, 24 Aug 2016 12:06:07 +0200AFRICA/MALAWI - "Malawi is slowly dying of starvation" writes a missionary - "Now it is hard to keep count. It happens in all villages with more and more frequency. Funerals with long vigils in the night and the sad daily processions, the most obvious signs that slowly, Malawi is a Country that is dyimg", said Fr. Piergiorgio Gamba, Monfortan missionary, who sent Agenzia Fides a dramatic testimony on the plight of the Country, hit by the drought that has exacerbated the poor economic conditions due to mainly poor governance.<br />"Among the first to die are the elderly. Grandfathers and grandmothers who survive with difficulty in normal years, but they cannot win endemic diseases like malaria with which they have learned to coexist.<br />The lack of food is the main cause of these funerals.<br />The lack of food is however not the only cause of the deterioration of the elderly. Hospitals do not have much to offer and besides being terribly overcrowded they even lack minimal levels of care.<br />The Universities in Malawi are experiencing one of the most difficult periods in their history. School fees have increased, over a thousand euro a year for a population that lives below one dollar a day. <br />High school is now only for the rich. More than 50% of university students no longer attend courses. While the number of students in primary and middle schools is booming, despite the fact that compulsory education does not exist, the lack of textbooks has reached impressive levels and is the major cause of absenteeism and neglect on behalf of students.<br />The lack of electricity has become a serious problem. The countries south of the Sahara consume 181 kWh per person per year, compared to 6,500 Kwh in Europe. The great evil that plagues Malawi, however, remains corruption. The last changes imposed by the government, the army chief, to local leaders, and the police who are becoming more and more violent have been carried out in preparation for the 2019 elections and not for the common good. Often the call of the President himself addressed to religious leaders stresses moral degradation "Why have we become corrupt people? Why are albinos killed? Why do we hate and envy one another?".<br />These questions are appropriate, but it is the lack of leadership on behalf of the State that is leading the Country to becoming a "failed state" a country without present or future". <br />Tue, 23 Aug 2016 14:57:54 +0200AFRICA/SOUTH AFRICA - The Bishops: "In this election, the people have spoken and are tired of corruption, maladministration" - "This peaceful elections auger well for the future stability of our political system", say the South African Bishops in a message in which they rejoice at the successful holding of municipal elections on 3 August .<br />"People of South Africa can take credit for the recent local elections who all agree were free and fair. Democracy itself was the victor", say the Bishops who praise the work of the Independent Electoral Commission and express their gratitude "to the Justice and Peace commission and to the many observers from our church who patriotically served the nation. We give thanks to God for the growing maturity of our democracy and we praise all political parties who have accepted the outcome".<br />"The election result - write the Bishops - may herald in a new phase in the history of our democracy involving coalition government, realistic opposition politics and greater responsibility in the exercise of power".<br />This is why they appeal "to the various political parties to avoid a winner-take-all mentality. Our Country faces huge problems of social trauma; unemployment, inequality, racism, violence, drugs abuse and family breakdown". Politicians are encouraged to take care of these wounds by recalling that "the quality of life of the nation is measured by the care given to the poor, to children of all ages and all the marginalised".<br />"In this election our people have spoken, they demand change; they expect service and are tired of corruption, maladministration and being ignored. God will be with us if we create a future based on respect for human dignity", the Bishops conclude. <br />Tue, 23 Aug 2016 13:56:36 +0200ASIA/MYANMAR - Peace Conference "inclusive of minority ethnic groups", asks Cardinal. Bo - A long series of conflicts between the army and ethnic minority groups living in the country are among the issues to be addressed after half a century of military rule in Myanmar. "It is very important that the new government promotes lasting peace with these groups", says Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, in a statement sent to Fides. "The government is trying to solve the situation, but the building of peace will take time". Authentic peace "is built only by including all stakeholders involved and not by excluding them from the upcoming peace conference in Myanmar", he continued, urging everyone to "reiterate their willingness to work for reconciliation".<br />"Leaders, armed groups, political parties: all have a moral obligation to pursue a path of peace", notes Cardinal Bo, urging to also involve organizations that have not signed the truce in the highly anticipated event of the "Panglong Conference of the XXI century" to be held on 31 August. The Conference will have the theme of peace talks that the government led by the League for Democracy is organizing with the army and all ethnic groups who for years fought for autonomy.<br />It is a historic step, according to the Cardinal, because it is the first of this magnitude since February 12, 1947, the one that gave birth to Myanmar and which was signed by four ethnic groups: Bamar, Chin, Kachin and Shan. <br />Tue, 23 Aug 2016 13:24:02 +0200