Fides News - English Agency NewsenContent on this site is licensed under aAMERICA/GUATEMALA - Stanley Rother, first martyr born in the US - It is official, Pope Francis yesterday, 2 December 2016 recognized the martyrdom of Father Stanley Rother of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City , making him the first martyr who was born in the United States. The recognition of his martyrdom opens the path for his beatification.<br />Stanley Rother known as father Aplas was an American diocesan priest who went on a mission in Guatemala. Rother was pastor of Santiago Atitlan, Solola . He arrived in Guatemala in 1968 as a missionary, and drove his Chevrolet from Oklahoma to Guatemala. He settled in the region and learned Spanish and Tzutuhil. <br />He was a parish priest in Santiago Atitlán for 13 years, and in addition to his pastoral duties, he translated the New Testament in Tzutuhil and started the regular celebration of the Mass in that same language. He left the country because of armed conflict but soon after he returned to give his support to parishioners. He was killed in the rectory of his parish on 28 July 1981. He was one of the 10 priests murdered in Guatemala that year. <br /><br />Sat, 03 Dec 2016 12:05:43 +0100AMERICA/NICARAGUA - Concern about the socio-political reality. Meeting church-OEA - The Church in Nicaragua is concerned about the socio-political reality of the country and is ready to give its contribution to the common good. This is what emerged from the meeting held yesterday, December 2, between Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, and representatives of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua. Almagro ended his visit in Nicaragua, where he arrived in recent days, after the agreements signed on October 15 with the government of Daniel Ortega, to collaborate with the country's institutions. The Secretary held meetings with different social groups: entrepreneurs, diplomats, politicians and social organizations. Yesterday, Friday, December 2, he met with religious leaders.<br />According to the note sent to Fides, the recent political developments in the country were discussed during the meeting which took place in a climate of openness, and in seeking the common good and peace. The Church of Nicaragua was represented by: Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Managua; Mgr. Silvio Baez, Auxiliary Bishop of Managua; Mgr. Pablo Schmitz Simon, OFM Cap, Bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Bluefields; Mgr. René Sándigo, Bishop of the Diocese of Juigalpa. The Bishops expressed their desire to support the people of Nicaragua with any action aimed at democracy, peace and genuine dialogue.<br />For the occasion, the Bishops' Conference delivered a copy of the document prepared by the Bishops in 2014 to Almagro "In search of new horizons for a better Nicaragua". . This document was prepared and delivered to President Ortega on 21 May 2014 and, according to what was said by Cardinal Brenes at the end of the meeting, "the president has not answered yet". <br />Sat, 03 Dec 2016 11:52:18 +0100ASIA/HOLY LAND - Christian cemetery of Kfar Yassif desecrated - The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, in communion with all the Churches of the Holy Land, expressed firm condemnation for the act of vandalism perpetrated against the Christian cemetery of Kfar Yassif, the town in Galilee situated 11 kilometers to the north east of Acre, where on Thursday, December 1 blasphemous and obscene graffiti in Arabic were discovered and written on the walls of the cemetery and the headstones of several graves. In a statement released through its official media, the Latin Patriarchate expresses its closeness and solidarity to the families of the deceased buried in the desecrated cemetery, and calls for the police to investigate as soon as possible in order to identify the authors of these acts of vandalism. <br />Sat, 03 Dec 2016 11:03:36 +0100ASIA - Cardinal Alencherry: help families meet Christ - The Church in Asia has the mission to help families discover Christ: said Cardinal George Alencherry, major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly, in Kerala, president of the Syro-Malabar Bishops' Council, during the plenary assembly of the Federation of the Asian Bishops' Conferences , being held in Colombo from November 28 to December 4.<br />"We all need to find Christ in ourselves, to help others to discover him in the lives of our families and of our peoples: this is evangelization", stressed the Cardinal before the assembly made up of more than 140 Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops from about 40 Asian countries, as well as some representatives as theologians and lay people involved in the Church in Asia.<br />The assembly, which is held every four years, is centered on the theme "The Asian Catholic family: The local Church of the poor in the mission of mercy. The Churches in Asia are wondering how to make Catholic families a tool to announce the Gospel of mercy.<br />In the wake of the Jubilee Year which has just concluded, "we are exploring what could be the mission of mercy of the Catholic family in Asia. It seems to me that our path is the same as that of the Apostles: to help every man encounter Christ in his life and help our families to discover the presence of Christ within and outside the family unit". "This is the common mission of the Church, it is the mission of Bishops, priests, consecrated, families", he added.<br />The Cardinal explained: "Families in Asia, who live in a multi-religious context are influenced by family models of other religious beliefs. Religions in Asia are a way of searching God. For us Christians, Christ is at the center of our testimony of faith. It is this uniqueness of Christ, the gift of Christ to the world that saves and marks our life. God is mercy and Jesus Christ manifests the face of God’s mercy for us".<br />In the past, added the Cardinal, Pastors appeared to have forgotten him, pointing out only the observance of the law, forgetting God's mercy.<br />"Christians are called to grasp the presence and action of Christ in man and in all creation, as St. Francis of Assisi did", he recalled.<br />"Having seen, heard and touched Christ, we must not give up the blessings that come from following Christ. Our families meet Jesus in their lives and receive his blessing. Let all this turn into good for the Church and for the Asian societies", he concluded. <br /><br />Sat, 03 Dec 2016 10:51:03 +0100AFRICA/DR CONGO - Sister Clara killed: she dedicated her life to improving the conditions of girls - A Congolese religious of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Christ the King School, Sister Clara Agano Kahambu has been killed. The incident occurred in the early afternoon of 29 November, at the Mater Dei parish in Bukavu, capital of South Kivu in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.<br />According to what local sources of the Archdiocese told Fides, Sister Clara was in her office with a student, when a man went up to the guardian saying he had to enroll his daughter at the religious school. Once the man entered he threw himself against the nun killing her with a knife in her neck. The man was captured but the religious died before reaching hospital.<br />"This true advocate of women's rights has died at the age of 40 ... She is added to the long list of human rights defenders who have died in our province", said a statement sent to Agenzia Fides by the "Justice and Peace" Diocesan Commission.<br />The statement denounces the deterioration of security in Bukavu on the eve of national elections; the resurgence of violence and attacks against the population in a city full of soldiers and policemen; circulation of dangerous and armed individuals, some of them mentally ill, attacking passers-by under the "smiling eyes of law enforcement". "Justice and Peace" reminds us that "even the Archbishop was attacked in his home in his sleep".<br />Sister Clara Agano was born on July 3, 1976 in Luofu parish, Diocese of Butembo-Beni, daughter of Jean-Pierre and Anastasia Kahindo fifth in a family with ten children.<br />On 16 November 2000 in Bukavu she became part of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Christ the King School, based in Spalato; postulant from August 5, 2001, she began her novitiate on August 25, 2002 and professed her perpetual vows on August 2, 2010.<br />She taught psychology, pedagogy and catechesis. She was Headmaster of "Marie Madeleine" School in Bukavu and of the "Mater Dei" pastoral center where she taught poor girls to read and write. <br />Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:35:56 +0100VATICAN - Heroic virtues of Cardinal Guglielmo Massaja, among the greatest missionaries of the nineteenth century City - Yesterday, 1 December, the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and authorized the Congregation to promulgate several decrees, including one regarding the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Guglielmo Massaja, of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, Cardinal, born on June 8, 1809 and died on August 6, 1889.<br />Cardinal Guglielmo Massaja is considered among the greatest missionaries of the nineteenth century: he was the first to evangelize the tribal people of the Galla, in southern Ethiopia, to study its culture and to promote a series of social works. Born on June 8, 1809 in Piovà d'Asti , he took the Capuchin habit at 17 and was ordained a priest in 1832. Since his ordination he proved to be a strong supporter of the Society of the Propagation of the Faith, which supported Catholic missions. On April 26, 1846 Pope Gregory XVI created the Apostolic Vicariate of the Galla and just days after was entrusted to Massaja.<br />Consecrated Bishop in Rome, he left Italy on the night of June 2, 1846 to face a journey that lasted six years before reaching the Galla people. From 1852 to 1879 Massaja founded several missions, established the first Ethiopian Catholic monasticism, wrote the first catechism in Galla language, consecrated three Bishops, confronted the clergy and with the Ethiopian Muslim presence, favored scientific explorations, spread prophylaxis among the population against smallpox and carried out surgeries thanks to the practical experience gained in his youth. <br />Exiled in 1879 by Theodore II, he returned to Italy and settled in the convent of Frascati, where at the invitation of Pope Leo XIII wrote his autobiography in 12 volumes. On August 6, 1889 he died in San Giorgio a Cremano . The process of canonization was initiated in 1914 and came to a stop for about 70 years. <br />Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:16:18 +0100ASIA/SYRIA - Bishop Abou Khazen: five "representatives" of east Aleppo chosen to negotiate an agreement with the army - "In the neighborhoods of Aleppo, still in rebel hands and jihadist groups, five representatives have been appointed who should negotiate a kind of agreement with the Syrian army. We hope and pray that this path leads to a solution that will save from further suffering and destruction for all". This is what Bishop Georges Abou Khazen OFM, Apostolic Vicar of Aleppo for the Catholics of the Latin rite, refers to Agenzia Fides regarding the latest developments of the military operations taking place in the battered Syrian city, where the army is gradually regaining the neighborhoods that for years were controlled by paramilitary rebels, including jihadi militias such as the Jabhat al Nusra Front.<br />Regarding the situation in Aleppo, the Franciscan Bishop refers to Fides information that is hard to find in the reports of the international mainstream media. <br />"At least 20 thousand people have fled from areas controlled by rebels and were welcomed by the Syrian army and by aid organizations. Other 70 thousand remained in areas recently reconquered by the armed forces of the government, who distributed food and facilitated the strengthening of health relief. <br />In areas still in the hands of rebels, those of the al Nusra Front do not want the civilian population to leave. In some cases they prevented this by using weapons. We know that in some cases there have been popular demonstrations calling on the opposition militias to withdraw. Now we hope in a negotiation to reach an agreement, and if possible even in a reconciliation, through negotiators who obviously have been chosen with the consent of the armed groups". <br />Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:54:22 +0100AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Risk of an ethnic massacre: "in Yei people live in fear", says the Bishop - "Over a hundred thousand people live in fear and uncertainty and are unable to leave the city", denounces to Radio Easter His Exc. Mgr. Erkolano Lodu Tombe, Bishop of Yei, Equatoria city in South Sudan, hit by a wave of murders and massacres attributed to mixed military-civilian armed groups that target suspected supporters of former Vice President Riek Machar .<br />"There is no shooting in Yei at the moment, but the population lives in constant fear of a new wave of violence and murders" says Mgr. Lodu. The Bishop added that the population of the surrounding villages cannot travel to Yei, except for those who come by air from other counties and other States. Farmers cannot go and take care of their crops and the population will have to continue to use humanitarian assistance to feed themselves until 2017.<br />The civil war between the faction of President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar has taken an ethnic dimension, opposing the Dinka to the Nuer. Other ethnic groups and tribes have allied to one of the two contenders, hoping to gain advantages in their local conflicts.<br />The US representative at the Council of the UN Human Rights in Geneva denounced that the South Sudanese government is preparing to support large-scale attacks against the population in Central Equatoria region. <br />Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:24:52 +0100ASIA/INDIA - Christians to Prime Minister Modi: "work for inclusive growth" Delhi – May the Indian government take action to ensure inclusive economic growth, which does not cut off the broad masses of socially excluded populations. This is the appeal launched to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by Sajan K. George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians . The open letter to the Prime Minister, sent to Agenzia Fides, recalls that the nation is "split in two", marked by the serious issue of corruption, economic and social inequalities, by the problematic relationship with religious minorities.<br />The letter touches the effects of the recent decision of "demonetization" which wanted to be "a step towards India's transformation into an economy without cash". But, according to government estimates, "40 percent of Indians do not use formal banking services", notes the letter, and it is the poorest segments of the population and institutions working in the social service to be heavily penalized.<br />"Orphanages and homes for poor people, charity institutes can no longer handle the situation, given that India does not have a social safety net to sustain their needs", it says, entrusted only to the good heart of private donors. One has to take into consideration the condition of "more than two million women entrepreneurs and small farmers who are facing an uncertain future and hunger" notes the text. "Wages, businesses, agriculture: all realities which have been affected. These small economic realities now earn 30 percent of what they earned before the demonetization" remarked S. George.<br />The letter explains that "in rural areas the economy is based mainly on cash but it is not a black economy, it does not evade taxes. In rural areas, people save cash, pay cash, the agricultural economy works in cash".<br />Millions of citizens and small businesses "need the help of the government to resume their small businesses" so that the negative effects of demonetization mitigates. The letter ends with an appeal and a wish to "a new year of prosperity" for all Indian citizens, for a truly inclusive and non-selective well-being. <br />Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:13:16 +0100AMERICA/PARAGUAY - Mgr. Cabello on the lack of decisions to combat criminals: "Something is wrong"é - After the Mass for the novena in preparation for the feast of Our Lady of Caacupé, celebrated yesterday in front of hundreds of young people from across the country, His Exc. Mgr. Miguel Ángel Cabello Almada, Bishop of Concepción, met young people and the community present at the Sanctuary.<br />According to information sent to Fides, Mgr. Cabello Almada paused to talk about the reality that people live in his diocese where the "Joint Action Force" is ordered not to face the criminal group that calls itself "the Paraguayan People Army" . "We have talked with the FTC members several times and they tell us very clearly that there is a lack of decisions, they do not receive orders and are always exposed", said Mgr. Cabello. Then he added, "there is something wrong", because many times FTC members reach certain places and they are ordered not to intervene, and end up being attacked, as happened with the eight soldiers killed in Arroyito, Concepción, last August . <br />The Bishop explained that the local Church is aware of the situation, because it is part of community life and the task of evangelization is also to share the concerns of the daily life of the population and the military to whom security is entrusted.<br />Mgr. Cabello also commented that if all resources used for the FTC had been intended for the benefit of the area, now there would be a more well-equipped hospital, schools completely set up and paved roads throughout the area, which are the basic needs. He highlighted with regret that the fight against poverty is just a simple expression.<br />According to data from the local press the FTC cost more than $ 107 million over the past three years, but the actions of criminals of the Paraguayan People Army are becoming more frequent. There are still four people kidnapped in the north of the country. <br />Fri, 02 Dec 2016 11:38:05 +0100EUROPE/ITALY - International Day of Disability: solidarity initiatives for children and adults who are blind - On the occasion of the International Day of disability which is celebrated on December 3 each year, CBM Italy, an NGO engaged in the fight against preventable blindness and disability in developing countries of the world, launches the third edition of Occhiolino, the first newspaper of the NGO dedicated to children . This issue will be on Christmas, with the story of the CBM project in Colombia for infants at risk of blindness, games and Christmas recipes, the illustrated story of the history of Saint Lucia. Attached to the magazine there is also a small crib as a gift. Also in this occasion, CBM will promote its laboratories, completely free of charge, at 'Casa dei diritti' in Milan. The goal is to allow children and adults explore the world of the five senses, with particular attention to sight, and raise public awareness about the living conditions of people with disabilities living in the poor countries of the world. A sensory journey of one hour which includes a series of activities to be carried out together. <br />Fri, 02 Dec 2016 11:24:16 +0100AMERICA/UNITED STATES - The fires devastate the tourist areas of the Great Smoky Mountains - There are many residents of the diocese of Knoxville who have lost their homes and their jobs or even business, in the fires that devastated the tourist areas of the Great Smoky Mountains region on November 29, said the Bishop of Knoxville His Exc. Mgr. Richard F. Stika in a statement sent to Fides. According to news agencies, there have been at least seven deaths and 45 people seriously injured. The next day, on November 30, two other people died when a tornado swept Tennessee. At least 300 structures were damaged or destroyed in Gatlinburg, another 700 in the Sevier County area.<br />"The Catholic community in East Tennessee continues to pray for those who have been affected by the fires in Gatlinburg" informs Bishop Stika, who has asked for concrete aid for the inhabitants of the area. Sister Mary Christine Cremin, director of Catholic Charities of East Tennessee, is coordinating aid to the population of Gatlinburg and Sevier County.<br />The Department of Agriculture has reported that there are still 47 fires under control, which have destroyed 6,000 hectares. The population of Knoxville, more than 180 thousand inhabitants, is on alert. The town of Gatlinburg, 4,100 inhabitants, has been evacuated. <br />Fri, 02 Dec 2016 11:08:54 +0100AFRICA/DJIBOUTI - HIV awareness programs in Catholic schools - "In our Country there is a National Strategic Plan to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria which depends directly on the Prime Minister" refers to Agenzia Fides the Director of the Catholic schools of the Diocese of Djibouti, Simone. "In addition there is also a special strategic plan for AIDS supported by the Global Fund. On its behalf - continues the director - UNICEF in Djibouti supports local NGOs CCAF , AIBC, UNFD as well as having CRIPEN as partners for the implementation of this program for the fight against AIDS".<br />CRIPEN explains, has produced posters, brochures, teaching material, commercials for television and organizes meetings, awareness courses, debates for young people and teenagers in schools. The NGOs aim at reaching young people who do not go to school, community centers and other gathering places. "CCAF is responsible for raising awareness and primary education related to AIDS with the spread of information about the disease, transmission, the dangers, education and guided tours in the different health centers or hospital medical institutions that treat people infected with the virus in the capital and different regions. UNFD deals more in particular with young girls and women in general. Within its programs the Ministry of Women is also involved which, this year, organized the Day of December 1 dedicated to the fight against AIDS".<br />From February 2016 to 2017 the United Nations Development Programme coordinates a committee that deals with the awareness for the fight against AIDS and the health of high-risk people such as the homeless, adults in difficulty, etc... "All hospital centers are supported by the program of the Ministry of Health to combat AIDS which aims at raising awareness and support to HIV-positive people. In Djibouti there is a free screening center. The two state hospitals provide care to people at risk. In the Country there are no recent statistics on HIV. The last, in 2002, recorded 2.9% of the population affected by the virus", concludes the director. <br />Fri, 02 Dec 2016 10:54:53 +0100ASIA/IRAQ - The Iraqi army involves sectarian militias in the protection of areas reclaimed from the jihadists of the Islamic State - The areas in the Nineveh Plain, freed from the control of the jihadists of the Islamic State by the Iraqi National Army, are subjected to a system of security and self-defense that also includes the involvement of organized armed protection Unit on confessional basis, including groups of Syrian and Assyrian Christians. This was confirmed on Wednesday, November 30 by General Riad Jalal Tawfiq, commander of the Iraqi army ground forces engaged in the reconquest of Mosul.<br />During a press conference, the Iraqi general reported that the local security units founded on a sectarian tribal base will have a prominent role in the management of reception and the provision of food and basic necessities to refugees who are returning to their homes, in areas reclaimed from the control of militiamen of Daesh. <br />Thu, 01 Dec 2016 13:12:54 +0100AFRICA/UGANDA - Hundreds of dead in clashes between the army and "royal guards" of Rwenzururu - "The situation was handled in an irresponsible manner by both the Rwenzururu kingdom and by the government", said Fr. Timothy Ssemogerere, Executive Secretary of the Pastoral Liturgical Commission of the Episcopal Conference of Uganda, commenting on the fierce clashes between the police and Ugandan army against the "royal guards" of Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere. The priest invites everyone to dialogue to resolve the situation. Uganda is a presidential republic, but a 2008 law recognized the traditional realm of Rwenzururu as "cultural institution". This means that the king has no political or judiciary power.<br />Between Saturday 26 and Sunday, November 27 police and army stormed the royal palace of Mumbere, after which, according to authorities in Kampala, a military patrol was attacked in the city of Kasese, by a group of royal guards. In the clash in Kasese 16 policemen and 44 civilians lost their lives, mostly members of the royal guard, in the following assault on the royal palace other 46 members of the guard died. At least 149 people were arrested, including king Mumbere himself, accused of welcoming and protecting the rebels in his home town in Kasese.<br />The clashes spread to villages in the area, and the number of victims could be much higher. At least 25 bodies have been found in some villages. Amnesty International denounced extrajudicial killings by the security forces.<br />The region of Rwenzururu lies in the west of Uganda, on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.<br />The government in Kampala accused Mumbere of backing separatists who want to create the "Yiira republic", which should include the Bakonzo population and their relatives living across the border with the DRC. The government accuses separatists of printing their own currency and collecting taxes in certain parts of the area. Mumbere sided against President Yoweri Museveni in the presidential elections this year. <br />Thu, 01 Dec 2016 12:43:45 +0100AMERICA/UNITED STATES - American Catholics have concretely been supporting the Latin American Pastoral care for 50 years - The Subcommittee for the Church in Latin America of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved the granting of subsidies for 204 projects of evangelization and solidarity, for a total of $ 3.8 million. According to the note sent to Fides, the total subsidies given this year is the highest, it exceeds $ 8 million, while the annual collection for the Church in Latin America is celebrating its 50th anniversary.<br />The projects approved will support the pastoral work of the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean, and relate to the formation of lay leaders, seminarians and religious, pastoral and missionary work in prisons and youth ministry. Among the subsidies there is also that for the reconstruction of churches in Ecuador after the earthquake in April 2016.<br />"Teaching and Pastoral Care of the Catholic Church should be accessible to everyone, but for many in Latin America and the Caribbean, geographical or economic conditions lead to difficulties in participating in the life of the Church", said His Exc. Mgr. Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary Bishop of Seattle and Chairman of the Subcommittee.<br />"These subsidies bring faith to those who are far away. The amount of funding granted this year was only possible thanks to the generosity of many committed Catholics in our Country" the Bishop stressed. <br />Thu, 01 Dec 2016 12:14:57 +0100AFRICA - Fight against AIDS: challenge not only against the virus, but integral promotion of human development - "Young people have a tremendous potential which unfortunately they are often not allowed to take advantage of". This is what Fr. Michael Lewis SJ, President of the Jesuit Superiors of Africa and Madagascar said in the message released on the occasion of the World Day to Combat AIDS which is celebrated today, December 1, 2016. "The African Jesuit AIDS Network - continues the Jesuit priest in the text sent to Fides – reiterates his firm conviction that the fight against AIDS is not just about sex, or the simple challenge against the virus. It is rather an integral promotion of human development, not least among young people, to allow them to live life to the full and contribute actively to pursue an AIDS free society".<br />Father Michael continues: "to address the phenomenon of AIDS it is fundamental to urge the potential of young people, to guide them to make the right decisions and act wisely. AJAN is promoting this development through AHAPPY, an innovative program based on Christian values that has already been experienced in Catholic schools and other educational institutions in nine countries in sub-Saharan Africa".<br />The statistics on the spread of the pandemic among young people are alarming, said the priest. The incidence rate of new infections among teenagers is particularly high: an average of 29 adolescents are infected every hour worldwide, the girls of this age group represent 75% new cases in Sub Saharan Africa. On the continent, AIDS is the leading cause of death among teenagers. "AHAPPY aims at encouraging critical thinking and nurture in the young the growth of moral values, so that they are able to make healthy choices in all aspects of their lives", said Fr. Lewis. <br />Thu, 01 Dec 2016 11:58:13 +0100ASIA/INDONESIA - Prayer for peace all over the country on the eve of the protest of extremist groups – To reaffirm peacefully the principles of tolerance, love, unity in diversity, acceptance of others, legality, peace: with this spirit, wearing red and white bands , thousands of citizens around the country, faithful of all religious communities, symbolically shared a large "prayer for unity", yesterday, November 30, 2016, and took to the streets to launch a message of peace. The initiative comes two days before the new demonstration, organized by radical Islamic groups, who are asking the government and the judiciary to arrest the Christian governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, said "Ahok", accused of alleged blasphemy.<br />Activists, religious leaders, artists, musicians, civil servants, students, military leaders and representatives of the Christian community have joined the demonstration. As Fides learns, many religious leaders of the Catholic Church participated.<br />"We wear red and white bands and pray for peace in Indonesia", said General Gatot Nurmantyo, one of the organizers of the demonstration, during a procession that passed through the center of Jakarta, precisely in the same places that tomorrow, December 2, will see radical groups. During the demonstration prayers, songs, dances, speeches were held, all centered on the theme of "unity in diversity" and the urgency of building peace in the country.<br />Mgr. Agustinus Tri Budi Utomo, vicar general of the diocese of Surabaya, capital of East Java province, told Fides that "the Catholic Church is concerned for the unity of the nation, and confirms its support to the Constitution and the principles of democracy" . In Surabaya, where about 10 thousand people took to the streets, there were many Christians in the procession. "We must be strong and free of fear, in the face of truth and justice", notes the Vicar.<br />Recognizing the presence of numerous Catholics, Fr. Budi Utomo explained that the experiment of this demonstration, spread widely throughout the national territory, "is interesting to test the consolidation of democracy in Indonesia and the awareness of these values in the life of the Indonesian people. People have confirmed their support to the military and police, to protect the country".<br />In Bandung, capital of West Java province, there were 15 thousand people in the street. The demonstration ended with a prayer led by six religious leaders, representing Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Protestantism, Catholicism and Islam. They all prayed for the unity of the nation. Speaking to Fides, the vicar general of the Diocese of Bandung, Fr. Yustinus Hilman Pudjiatmoko, recalled the words of a song heard during the procession which called for "building the soul and the body of the great Indonesia" <br />Thu, 01 Dec 2016 11:26:35 +0100AMERICA/NICARAGUA - Bishops concerned due to the violence against the rights of citizens - The Bishops of Nicaragua condemn the violent repression of the government against farmers, on 29 and 30 November , who were attacked by anti-riot police forces in New Guinea and in other places along the way that leads to Managua, to prevent them from reaching the capital to participate in the march in defense of their land, threatened with eviction for the construction of the inter-oceanic canal.<br />"Both as Church and as Episcopal Conference we are close to the people and we are coherent in this. We are not close to the powerful, but close to our people", said His Exc. Mgr. Jorge Solórzano, spokesman and secretary general of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua . Speaking with journalists he also expressed the Bishops concern for the wave of violence on behalf of the government against the rights of citizens.<br />"This is not normal. People must be brave, we must always try to defend the rights and we are with them ... We asked on several occasions: dialogue, free elections, but he never listened to us. Now we ask him calmly, not to suppress the people", urged Mgr. Solórzano.<br />According to the note sent to Fides, the Secretary General of CEN said that he is considering the publication of a document on the wave of violence that exists in the country, and that the Bishops were invited to meet Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States , who is visiting the country.<br />After the clashes many farmers were injured, while a large part of them failed to reach the capital due to the violent intervention of the police. Tension remains high also because today, Thursday, December 1, a demonstration against the electoral system organized by opposition political groups and social movements in the country is being planned. <br />Thu, 01 Dec 2016 11:06:13 +0100AMERICA/NICARAGUA - Still protests for the inter-oceanic canal: the police ward off protesters - Police warded off hundreds of peasants with rubber bullets and gas, who from the south of Nicaragua were trying to reach the capital last night to attend a demonstration of the opposition with regards to the construction of the inter-oceanic canal. This is what the leaders of peasant movements reported. "Many were injured", said to journalists without specifying the number, lawyer Monica Lopez, head of the foundation Popol Nah, that supports the struggle of the peasants who would be evicted from their lands for the construction of the canal.<br />Mgr. Silvio Baez, Auxiliary Bishop of Managua, in a message sent to Fides calls on "freedom for the peasants’ demonstration" and also attaches the message of the peasant leader, Francisca Ramirez who recalls Article 54 of the constitution on the right to mobilization.<br />The protesters arrived in a convoy of trucks from New Guinea, about 300 km southeast of Managua. New Guinea is a mountain area in the center of the country, where the 278 km inter-oceanic canal should pass, the construction of which the government has entrusted to the Chinese company HKND. <br /><br />Wed, 30 Nov 2016 13:49:10 +0100