Fides News - Englishhttp://www.fides.org/Fides Agency NewsenContent on this site is licensed under aASIA/SYRIA - Children will pray to implore the end of massacres of childrenhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60830-ASIA_SYRIA_Children_will_pray_to_implore_the_end_of_massacres_of_childrenhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60830-ASIA_SYRIA_Children_will_pray_to_implore_the_end_of_massacres_of_childrenAleppo - Hundreds of boys and girls in Aleppo, Christians and Muslims, will meet on October 6, to pray so that the spiral of death unleashed in recent days especially on their defenceless children stops in the battered city they live in, and throughout Syria. This is what Archbishop Boutros Marayati, at the head of Armenian Catholic archieparchy in Aleppo reports to Agenzia Fides. The initiative will primarily involve school children. They will also put their signatures and their fingerprints on an appeal to ask world rulers to put an end to the massacres especially towards children, who in all wars are the most vulnerable. "But above all, they will pray. They will pray for all of their peers. And we trust in the fact that children's prayer is more powerful than ours", added Archbishop Marayati.<br />The bombings and massacres of civilians in Aleppo have expressed, in a devastating manner, the fragile and partial truce declared less than two weeks ago. In this regard, Archbishop Marayati is able to provide first-hand information on what is happening in the Syrian metropolis: "On Wednesday - reports the Armenian Catholic Archbishop - the representatives of the government and the Syrian army convened a meeting to explain that soon an appeal would be spread to the civilian population settled in the neighborhoods under rebel control. The appeal warned that gates would be left open to allow the population to leave those areas, and head for areas considered safe, without fear of incurring in retaliation. In fact, many civilian families left those neighborhoods and were welcomed in areas controlled by the government army, confirming that the appeal had somehow arrived at its destination. For groups arriving, housing facilities were set up for the reception. But it was not a mass evacuation. Perhaps many cannot leave. And the appeal also contained an expiration date, and the ultimatum expires in coming days. New blood will be shed if the powers behind the two warring parties do not decide to really put an end to this dirty war". <br />Sat, 24 Sep 2016 13:12:52 +0200ASIA/JORDAN - Elections, Archbishop Lahham: all Christian candidates in Islamist lists rejectedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60829-ASIA_JORDAN_Elections_Archbishop_Lahham_all_Christian_candidates_in_Islamist_lists_rejectedhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60829-ASIA_JORDAN_Elections_Archbishop_Lahham_all_Christian_candidates_in_Islamist_lists_rejectedAmman - Among the 130 members of the new Jordanian Parliament in the political elections held on September 20, only 9 are of Christian faith, equal to the minimum "guaranteed" to the Christian minority from the electoral quota system. "But among them" – says to Agenzia Fides Archbishop Maroun Lahham, Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem "there is not one of the Christian candidates who had presented themselves with lists of Islamist groups".<br />The quota system - explains Archbishop Maroun to Fides - provides that in each list - including those of Islamic origin, inspired by groups close to the Muslim Brotherhood – there has to be at least one woman among the candidates, a Christian and a member of the Circassian and Chechen minority. This is why some Christian candidates, such as Amman and Madaba, agreed to run for election in Islamist lists. "But then the Islamist orientation voters concentrated their votes on their candidates, leaving out of Parliament all Christians who were candidates in those lists".<br />The election results confirm that the bloc led by the Islamic Action Front, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, is back in Parliament, obtaining 15 seats out of 130, after the Islamist forces had boycotted the legislative elections in 2010 and 2013. This is the most compact and organized political bloc, since the other candidates elected are mostly representatives of clan or tribal groups joined together only by the shared loyalty to the Hashemite monarchy. "In any case", highlighted "Archbishop Lahham "this does not mean that Islamist MPs will arise in a position of frontal opposition towards the current political system in Jordan: the most fanatical elements were not elected, and those among them who entered Parliament represent the most competent political wing, able to deal with other parliamentarians and with the government according to the logic of their political dialectic".<br />In addition to the quota destined to Christians, the Jordanian law reserves 15 seats for women and three to Circassians and Chechens. Only 56 members of the previous Parliament were re-elected. And even among Christian parliamentarians there was a significant change: "Of the 9 baptized elected" confirms to Fides Archbishop Lahham "only three were already part of the previous Parliamentary Assembly. The other six are "freshers". <br />Sat, 24 Sep 2016 11:27:10 +0200AMERICA/COLOMBIA - Archbishop Castro: "For Colombia a date with history"http://www.fides.org/en/news/60828-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_Archbishop_Castro_For_Colombia_a_date_with_historyhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60828-AMERICA_COLOMBIA_Archbishop_Castro_For_Colombia_a_date_with_historyBogotà – Heads of State and high political authorities from world countries will be gathering in Cartagena on September 26 to attend the solemn signing of the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC rebels. It is an official act, as established by the agreements reached after the peace talks in Havana.<br />Archbishop Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga, President of the Colombian Bishops' Conference, commented this important event to the local press: "We are very close to achieving peace", said the Archbishop of Tunja. "Or rather, we are very close to the end of this war. The event is reason for much joy. It is a great blessing. There is one last step to reach the final goal: the referendum of October 2. Colombia has a historic opportunity, a watershed separating the period before and after peace. The Country can finally usher in a new course entailing the resolution to its problems".<br />The document, entitled "Acuerdo Final para la Terminación del Conflicto y la Construcción de una Paz Estable y Duradera", will be signed in front of a large group of diplomatic delegations. Even Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, representing the Holy Father will also be present. <br />Sat, 24 Sep 2016 10:34:46 +0200ASIA/PAKISTAN - In the Year of Education, schools at the center of the diocesan pastoral of Faisalabadhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60827-ASIA_PAKISTAN_In_the_Year_of_Education_schools_at_the_center_of_the_diocesan_pastoral_of_Faisalabadhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60827-ASIA_PAKISTAN_In_the_Year_of_Education_schools_at_the_center_of_the_diocesan_pastoral_of_FaisalabadFaisalabad - In the Pakistani diocese of Faisalabad, in Punjab province, the Year of mercy coincides with a special "Year of Education", proclaimed by Bishop Joseph Arshad. "We urgently need to grow in the awareness that working for education is a work of mercy: education is an important tool which allows to develop the full potentiality of every individual", said to Fides Mgr. Arshad, who is visiting the Catholic schools of the diocese which accommodate many Muslim students.<br />The goal is "to consolidate school institutions in the diocese, to promote quality education, increase students interest in implementing a teaching and learning based on activities", he explains to Fides, but also "to motivate parents and encourage teachers to make education accessible to everyone, helping deserving students to continue their education, as well as increasing the number of Christian students in schools and reduce the number of dropouts".<br />During the Year, schools are organizing targeted educational programs and "there is enthusiasm and thriving participation. This is a great opportunity for students to develop their confidence and for teachers to explore the hidden talents of students", said the Bishop after visiting, in recent days, St. Paul Girls High School, Sacred Hart Convent High School, St. Joseph High School and St. Anthony Girls High School in Faisalabad. <br />Mgr. Arshad always emphasizes "the importance of formation" and stresses the responsibilities and the valuable role of teachers, who "contribute to the human formation of students".<br />One of the priorities, notes the Bishop is "reaching poor and needy children, especially of Christian families, who have no access to school". It is the duty of Christian Schools "to economically support Christian children from poor families, so that they can continue their studies". To this end, for example, the LaSalle High School in Faisalabad offers a 50% reduction of fees for Christian students. And the 800 Christian students in the Sacred Heart Convent School receive a 40% reduction of fees, says to Fides Fr. Shafiqe Bashir, Executive Secretary of the Diocesan Council for Catholic education. "We are confident - said Fr. Bashir - that the visits that Mgr. Arshad is carrying out in schools will serve to motivate teachers and students and schools to promote education". <br />Sat, 24 Sep 2016 10:19:02 +0200ASIA/MALAYSIA - Mercy and inclusion with immigrants, who are "a blessing"http://www.fides.org/en/news/60826-ASIA_MALAYSIA_Mercy_and_inclusion_with_immigrants_who_are_a_blessinghttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60826-ASIA_MALAYSIA_Mercy_and_inclusion_with_immigrants_who_are_a_blessingKuala Lumpur - Mercy and inclusion are the fundamental teachings in the Gospel for every Christian who has relationships with immigrants: says the message Mgr. Bernard Paul, President of the Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People in Bishops' Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, released on the occasion of the "Day for migrants", which in the local Church is celebrated on September 25.<br />The text sent to Agenzia Fides, notes that "the Malaysian economy is heavily dependent on immigrant labor", which according to official figures are 6.7 million in the country, including more than 4 million workers without proper documents. "Only a few are willing to talk about the blessings that migrant workers and refugees bring to our lives, to our economy, to our companies. Their presence can also be seen in the field of construction, manufacturing, agriculture, plantation", says the message.<br />"Can we ignore their contribution? Can we look the other way, without any recognition? Do we have the courage to admit that they are our new neighbors? Migrants and refugees are our new friends and new neighbors, in a world marked by globalization and mobility", notes the Bishop, recalling that "when our children emigrate to foreign lands, we wish for them: inclusion, respect and benevolence. So let us do the same", he notes. The Bishop hopes that "parishes become centers of integration" and take steps to build a "migrant community", starting from the evangelical question, "Who is my neighbor?".<br />The text concludes with an appeal to all people of good will to "have the evangelical attitude of the Samaritan towards these new neighbors, who are among us, to build the Kingdom of God". <br />Fri, 23 Sep 2016 13:25:38 +0200AFRICA/EGYPT - Egyptian Politicians: let us give value to the "Way of the Holy Family" to relaunch tourismhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60825-AFRICA_EGYPT_Egyptian_Politicians_let_us_give_value_to_the_Way_of_the_Holy_Family_to_relaunch_tourismhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60825-AFRICA_EGYPT_Egyptian_Politicians_let_us_give_value_to_the_Way_of_the_Holy_Family_to_relaunch_tourismCairo - The economic crisis that is affecting Egypt calls upon all communities of Egyptian-born emigrants around the world. Among the resources on which to focus there is also that of promoting tourism, undermined also by terrorist attacks and sectarian violence, focusing not only on the Pyramids and resorts on the Red Sea, but also on the pilgrimage along the "Way of the Holy Family" the route to the places that according to ancient traditions are places Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus walked during their exile in the land of Egypt.<br />The idea was relaunched last Tuesday, September 20, from the United States, during the Economic Conference of New Jersey, organized by the American Coptic Association. The meeting, along with many representatives of the Coptic diaspora in the US, was attended by 24 members of the Egyptian Parliament, who pledged their political and institutional commitment to facilitate the concrete implementation of the "Holy Family Project" and make Egypt a pilgrimage site to be proposed especially to Christians around the world. According to supporters of the initiative, the tourist development of the "Way of the Holy Family" could increase the annual share of tourists in Egypt by at least one million units, with pilgrimages concentrated especially at Christmas time.<br />The appeal to take care of itineraries that follow the path carried out by the Holy Family during their exile in Egypt reappears periodically in the initiatives aimed at expanding the tourism sector of the Egyptian economy. Already two years ago the ideal path of the pilgrimage on the footsteps of the Holy family in Egypt had been identified, which should start from the town of Al-Arish in northern Sinai, then head to the delta and Wadi Natrun, and reach Assiut and the Monastery of the Virgin Mary, known as the Monastery of Al-Muharraq. <br />Fri, 23 Sep 2016 13:31:36 +0200AFRICA/DR CONGO - Controversy between majority and opposition on the responsibility of the clasheshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60824-AFRICA_DR_CONGO_Controversy_between_majority_and_opposition_on_the_responsibility_of_the_clasheshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60824-AFRICA_DR_CONGO_Controversy_between_majority_and_opposition_on_the_responsibility_of_the_clashesKinshasa – There is internal and international controversy on the responsibilities of the recent clashes that devastated Kinshasa, capital of Democratic Republic of Congo . The presidential majority of Joseph Kabila accuses "Le Rassemblement", the group of opposition parties that support the candidate Etienne Tshisekedi who organized the protests, of giving life "to an insurrectionary movement" and of having caused the clashes. The government in Kinshasa also rejected accusations of French President François Hollande of being responsible for the violence, as well as the toll of 50 victims of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Congolese authorities remain firm on the figure of 32 dead revealed yesterday , while the opposition says that there are a hundred victims.<br />If calm seems to have returned to the capital, a new front has opened on the funerals of the victims. Tshisekedi's party, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress , announced a national day of mourning on September 26 with a funeral procession in which Tshisekedi will accompany the victims to the cemetery.<br />Meanwhile after that of the Catholic Church even Protestant churches condemn the violence. "The heads of religious denominations condemn the acts of violence that grieve our families and destroy the economic and social fabric of our Country", said a statement by Mgr. Marini Bodo, National President of the Church of Christ in Congo, a union which various Protestant faiths in the Country adhere to. <br />Fri, 23 Sep 2016 13:17:02 +0200ASIA/INDIA - Inquiry in the anti-Christian massacres in Orissa: there was careful planninghttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60823-ASIA_INDIA_Inquiry_in_the_anti_Christian_massacres_in_Orissa_there_was_careful_planninghttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60823-ASIA_INDIA_Inquiry_in_the_anti_Christian_massacres_in_Orissa_there_was_careful_planningBhubaneswar - The Christian massacres that occurred in Orissa in 2008 are the result of careful planning by Hindu nationalist groups of the "Sangh Parivar" network at the highest level. Illiterate masses of militants were manipulated by propaganda and incited to kill. Thanks to the investigation carried out by Indian journalist Anto Akkara, "one can rewrite the history of Kandhamal", the district of Orissa theater of anti-Christian pogroms in 2008. And today, "it is a disgrace for the nation and the judiciary that seven innocent Christians are in prison for a crime they did not commit", notes Akkara in a conference in which his latest investigative book entitled: "Who killed Swami Laxmanand?" was presented.<br />The book - which follows other works such as "Kandhamal: a blot on Indian secularism" and "Kandhamal craves for justice" - sheds light on the mysterious murder of the Hindu leader Swami Laxmanand, for which Christians were accused, and which was the pretext to unleash violence.<br />Following the murder of the 81-year-old leader, on August 23, 2008, in Kandhamal district, in the Indian state of Orissa, the Christian communities suffered an indiscriminate mass attack. About 100 Christians were killed, 300 churches and 6,000 homes were looted and 56,000 internally displaced people sought refuge in the forests to escape the ferocious ethnic cleansing.<br />After the murder of leaders, later claimed by Maoist guerrillas, seven Christians were arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2013 for the murder "without any proof", notes Akkara, denouncing an authentic "travesty of justice". The Supreme Court has yet to set a date for the appeal, "but the alleged Christian conspiracy against Hindus is totally unfounded", notes the journalist.<br />This is Akkara’s reconstruction: "In the political calculation of the extremist Sangh Parivar network, after having brutalized the Christians in Kandhamal, the international Christian lobby apparently led Sonia Gandhi to sack the government of Orissa, in which the Bharatiya Janata nationalist Party was partner coalition. This would have paved the way for the victory of Hindu nationalist groups and the BJP in the 2009 elections, which was then won by the Congress Party".<br />Akkara notes the institutional reluctance to address the issue, given that "the National Commission for Human Rights has not even issued a press release on Kandhamal in eight years" and notes that "seven innocent Christians in prison are a stain on the judicial system of the country", while "Kandhamal remains a blot on the face of Orissa and Indian secularism". <br />Fri, 23 Sep 2016 12:45:39 +0200AMERICA/PARAGUAY - Bishops denounce the disproportionate violence against farmershttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60821-AMERICA_PARAGUAY_Bishops_denounce_the_disproportionate_violence_against_farmershttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60821-AMERICA_PARAGUAY_Bishops_denounce_the_disproportionate_violence_against_farmersAsunción - "The Church condemns any acts that go against the dignity of human beings, whatever their social status is, but especially when it comes to the most vulnerable sectors of society, such as families of farmers": this is how the statement of the Bishops' Conference of Paraguay sent to Fides begins. The complaint concerns the eviction of the families of farmers from Guahory colony, in the district of Tembiaporá , where they lived for a long time, and took place on September 15, which aroused great echo in the Country for the excessive use of force.<br />The Bishops continue: "one condemns and complains about the excessive and disproportionate intervention of the police to destroy the crops and the houses of farmers, in a land whose ownership is disputed and has not yet been established and proven in a sufficient manner".<br />The statement presents this request: "once again, we see the need to tackle an integral agrarian reform seriously and urgently, that allows farm families to remain on their land". Finally he recalls "the obligation for the authorities to moderate actions and respect the rights and dignity of all, providing the necessary guarantees for the most vulnerable". <br />Fri, 23 Sep 2016 12:20:31 +0200ASIA/IRAQ - Chaldean Patriarch Sako at the Synod: digital culture aggravates our spiritual crisishttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60822-ASIA_IRAQ_Chaldean_Patriarch_Sako_at_the_Synod_digital_culture_aggravates_our_spiritual_crisishttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60822-ASIA_IRAQ_Chaldean_Patriarch_Sako_at_the_Synod_digital_culture_aggravates_our_spiritual_crisisErbil - The pastoral, administrative and financial affairs of the Chaldean Church is full of "shades", and among them there is the focus on self-interest which indicate how "the motivational and spiritual crisis has been maximized with the spread of digital culture". It is a consideration full of implications, and applicable to all contexts, which were expressed by Chaldean Patriarch Raphael Louis Sako in the report with which yesterday, Thursday, September 22, he opened the proceedings of the annual Synod of Chaldean Bishops, taking place in these days in Ankawa, a Christian-majority suburb of Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region. <br />The Patriarch highlighted how social media have become a privileged instrument to fuel controversy and above all charges against and within the Church.<br />In his speech, sent to Agenzia Fides, the Patriarch outlined the many shades but also the significant lights that mark the condition of the Chaldean Church at the moment, characterized by the situation of violence, sectarianism and political instability that has continued to plague Iraqi people for years. Among the factors of crisis and discomfort related to the pastoral dimension, the Primate of the Chaldean Church also alluded to the chaos caused by priests and monks who departed their dioceses and monasteries without the consent of their superiors, emigrating abroad - often bringing their own families of origin with them - to take advantage of more comfortable living conditions. The continuation of such phenomenon - said the Patriarch - is due to inadequacies in the upbringing/forming of these individuals.<br />In this regard, the Patriarch expressed his hope that the occasions to provide guidance for the priests through organizing sustainable forming retreats, meetings, lectures, etc multiply. It might be worthwhile to think about the possibility of opening the doors for the exchange of visits between the priests inside the country and their counterparts abroad. With regards to the financial aspect, the Patriarch denounced episodes of "financial and administrative corruption" involving parishes and ecclesial institutions. In terms of aid to refugees, the Patriarch stressed the difference between parishes that have done "a tremendous job in assisting all the displaced families, without discrimination", and those that "did not pay any attention" to this problem. <br />Fri, 23 Sep 2016 12:03:56 +0200AFRICA/SUDAN - Unsustainable education costs: Sudanese families forced to leave their daughters at homehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60820-AFRICA_SUDAN_Unsustainable_education_costs_Sudanese_families_forced_to_leave_their_daughters_at_homehttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60820-AFRICA_SUDAN_Unsustainable_education_costs_Sudanese_families_forced_to_leave_their_daughters_at_homeEl Geneina - Studying in Sudan seems to have become inaccessible for a growing number of people. The surge in prices is forcing parents to keep their daughters at home. The costs for uniforms, folders, books, notebooks and pens continue to rise and families do not have the money to face the costs, especially those families with several school age children. In El Geneina, capital of West Darfur, another problem regards school buildings that were destroyed in past months due to heavy rains. "With the sudden increase in food prices, many parents cannot afford to pay for their studies. In addition there are also economic problems for the reconstruction of the schools", reads a note sent to Agenzia Fides. <br />Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:24:19 +0200EUROPE/AUSTRIA - National Director of the PMS, Fr. Karl Wallnerhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60819-EUROPE_AUSTRIA_National_Director_of_the_PMS_Fr_Karl_Wallnerhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60819-EUROPE_AUSTRIA_National_Director_of_the_PMS_Fr_Karl_WallnerVatican City - On February 5, 2016, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, appointed rev.<br />Fr. Karl Wallner, of the Cistercian Order as National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Austria for five years .<br />Fr. Karl Wallner was born in Vienna in 1963. In 1982 he entered the Cistercian Order in "Stift Heiligenkreuz" monastery, in Vienna, where he carried out his philosophical and theological studies. In 1986 he obtained a licentiate in theology at the University of Vienna. Since his ordination, in 1988, he has served various pastoral roles in Heiligenkreuz monastery, and was parish priest in various parishes. In 1992 he obtained a doctorate at the Faculty of Theology at the University of Vienna. He was a formator for teenagers and students in Stift Heiligenkreuz. Since 2004 he has been member of the Theological Commission of the Austrian Bishops' Conference. In 2007 he was appointed Rector of the new "Benedict XVI Heiligenkreuz" pontifical University, of which he was the founder, a position reconfirmed in 2011. <br /><br />Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:23:30 +0200AMERICA/MEXICO - Another priest kidnapped in Michoacanhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60818-AMERICA_MEXICO_Another_priest_kidnapped_in_Michoacanhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60818-AMERICA_MEXICO_Another_priest_kidnapped_in_MichoacanMichoacan - The Archbishop of Morelia, Card. Alberto Suárez Inda, denounced the kidnapping of a priest from Janamuato community, in the municipality of Puruándiro, in the Mexican state of Michoacan. Through a video released yesterday by the archdiocese and shared with Fides, the Cardinal complains about the kidnapping of Fr. José Alfredo Lopez Guillen, and recalls the recent killing of two priests in Papantla .<br />"Now we experience firsthand the anguish over the disappearance and abduction of one of our priests, Fr. Jose Alfredo Lopez Guillen" said the Cardinal. "We ask God to respect his integrity, his life and that he may soon return to 'exercise his ministry". Then he informs that the priest was kidnapped on Monday, September 19, on the same day when the other two priests in the state of Veracruz were found dead, and that many things were stolen from his home. Even the Mexican Bishops' Conference has denounced the disappearance and ask the Catholic community to pray. <br />Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:22:51 +0200AFRICA/KENYA - Bishops choose a woman who will select a new electoral commissionhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60817-AFRICA_KENYA_Bishops_choose_a_woman_who_will_select_a_new_electoral_commissionhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60817-AFRICA_KENYA_Bishops_choose_a_woman_who_will_select_a_new_electoral_commissionNairobi – Kenya conference of Catholic Bishops has selected Mrs. Bernadette Musundi, to a nine-member team that will select a new electoral commission. This is what the Kenyan Bishops decided during a meeting of national religious leaders, held in Nairobi, on 19 September.<br />Every religious denomination appointed its own representative that, together with the four appointed by the Parliamentary Service Commission, will then choose 11 names to be submitted to the Head of State. The President will pick seven from the 11, one chairperson and six full-time commissioners. The two Houses will have seven days to vet the nominees and approve the names before they are sworn into office. <br />Thu, 22 Sep 2016 13:33:42 +0200AFRICA/EGYPT - Patriarch Tawadros: the invitation to support President al Sisi is not political interference, but "patriotism"http://www.fides.org/en/news/60816-AFRICA_EGYPT_Patriarch_Tawadros_the_invitation_to_support_President_al_Sisi_is_not_political_interference_but_patriotismhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60816-AFRICA_EGYPT_Patriarch_Tawadros_the_invitation_to_support_President_al_Sisi_is_not_political_interference_but_patriotismCairo – The invitation to express public support for President Abdel Fattah al Sisi during his visit in New York, by the Coptic Orthodox Church to the faithful residing in the US, does not manifest subordination or interference of the ecclesial reality towards political power, but only expresses an "act of patriotism". This is what Patriarch Tawadros II stresses in a live interview with ONTV channel. The President of Egypt’s visits abroad - insisted the Primate of the Coptic Orthodox Church - aim to "present the new Egypt". During the Tv interview, Pope Tawadros also said that the recent sectarian violence that took place in Upper Egypt's Minya is not a sign that Egypt suffers from sectarian strife. He described Minya as a special case, saying that it suffers from a high population rate, high illiteracy rates and few development projects.<br />In recent days , Patriarch Tawadros II had issued a message to invite the Egyptian Copts to offer a warm welcome to the Egyptian President during his trip to New York, on the occasion of his participation in the 71st session of the UN general Assembly. After this intervention, 84 intellectuals and professional Copts, including some activists of organizations engaged in the affirmation of civil rights, signed and released a letter criticizing the direct involvement of the Churches present in Egypt in the pro-Sisi mobilization campaigns, denouncing the direct interventions of institutions and religious hierarchies in matters affecting the political balance of the Country as "serious". <br />Thu, 22 Sep 2016 13:23:40 +0200AFRICA/CONGO RD - Apparent calm in Kinshasa; the number of the victims due to recent clashes remains uncertainhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60815-AFRICA_CONGO_RD_Apparent_calm_in_Kinshasa_the_number_of_the_victims_due_to_recent_clashes_remains_uncertainhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60815-AFRICA_CONGO_RD_Apparent_calm_in_Kinshasa_the_number_of_the_victims_due_to_recent_clashes_remains_uncertainKinshasa – There is apparent calm in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, were demonstrations were held in the city with clashes and also casualties among security forces and opposition , with an official provisional toll of 32 dead and a hundred injured. According to the main opposition party, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress , the toll is much more serious.<br />"Circulation has returned to normal while shops and offices have reopened" local sources told Agenzia Fides.<br />On September 19, "Le Rassemblement", a group of opposition parties supporting the candidate Etienne Tshisekedi, UDPS leader, had called on its supporters to take to the streets to "remind President Joseph Kabila of his eviction" three months after the expiry of his second term, on 20 December. The date of the presidential elections has not yet been set.<br />The UN Security Council has called for calm and stressed "the crucial importance" of the presidential election to be held "in accordance with the Constitution". <br /><br />Thu, 22 Sep 2016 12:55:22 +0200AMERICA/ARGENTINA - The preparation of the V National Missionary Congress beginshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60814-AMERICA_ARGENTINA_The_preparation_of_the_V_National_Missionary_Congress_beginshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60814-AMERICA_ARGENTINA_The_preparation_of_the_V_National_Missionary_Congress_beginsBuenos Aires - The National Council of Missions of the Episcopal Conference of Argentina held its second meeting of the year at the national headquarters of the Pontifical Mission Societies . Those present: Bishops of the mission Commission, regional delegates, religious and lay people who worked in the organization of the V National Missionary Congress, to be held for the first time in the region of Patagonia, in the city of Neuquén, from 18 to 20 November 2017. With the slogan: "Argentina on a mission, the Gospel is joy!". The meeting will contribute to the preparation of the American Missionary Congress, to be held in Bolivia in 2018.<br />During the meeting, the current state of the mission in Argentina was also discussed in order to collect the priorities and goals of the Missionary Congress. <br />Thu, 22 Sep 2016 12:32:00 +0200AMERICA/PERU - The Bishops: "Abortion is not a lesser evil, it is the absolute evil"http://www.fides.org/en/news/60813-AMERICA_PERU_The_Bishops_Abortion_is_not_a_lesser_evil_it_is_the_absolute_evilhttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60813-AMERICA_PERU_The_Bishops_Abortion_is_not_a_lesser_evil_it_is_the_absolute_evilLima - "Family, live the joy of love": was the theme of the XXII Life Day, celebrated a few days ago in Peru at the end of the National Family Week. "Human life - writes the Episcopal Commission for Life and the Family in a message posted on its website - is a sacred gift, especially in the early stages of its conception. The Lord loved us even before creating us, in His mind, and He created us to love one another". In their statement the Bishops sounded the alarm after the recent decision of the Court of Lima to promote free delivery of the "morning after pill" in the Country's health Centers. This drug, explain the Peruvian Bishops, is "an attack on human life, especially against the life of the smallest and most defenseless, who have no voice". An appeal to the State has also been launched, in order to recall - since the protection of life is mentioned in Article 2 of the National Constitution - that "its function is to respect and promote the human rights of all Peruvians, without any kind of discrimination, much less of age or inability to act". <br />Thu, 22 Sep 2016 12:22:40 +0200ASIA/JORDAN - Parliamentary elections, Islamist forces back in Parliamenthttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60812-ASIA_JORDAN_Parliamentary_elections_Islamist_forces_back_in_Parliamenthttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60812-ASIA_JORDAN_Parliamentary_elections_Islamist_forces_back_in_ParliamentAmman - The counting of the votes of the Jordanian parliamentary elections, held on Tuesday, September 20, still continues. But the first partial results, relating to 11 out of 23 districts, portend the return of Islamist political forces to Parliament, which had boycotted the elections in 2010 and 2013. According to the forecast released by the national press, the Islamic Action Front, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood should get 15 to 20 seats of the 130 that will form the new Parliament. <br />The elections were held without major incidents throughout the Kingdom. About 1.5 million Jordanian citizens went to vote. The vast majority of seats should still be assigned to businessmen and to candidates of tribes loyal to the monarchy. <br />Thu, 22 Sep 2016 12:13:58 +0200ASIA/INDIA - "The Church is committed to the development of the Dalits more than the Government", while violence increaseshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60811-ASIA_INDIA_The_Church_is_committed_to_the_development_of_the_Dalits_more_than_the_Government_while_violence_increaseshttp://www.fides.org/en/news/60811-ASIA_INDIA_The_Church_is_committed_to_the_development_of_the_Dalits_more_than_the_Government_while_violence_increasesNew Delhi - Violence against Dalits in India have increased in recent years: say the official data of the National Crime Record Board , illustrated in recent days in a public meeting in Delhi which was attended by more than 7000 Dalits from all over the country, promoted by the "Bharatiya Khet Mazdoor Union Federation" , a network that links different organizations of Indian Dalits.<br />"It is a matter of concern to note: since the Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been ruling, atrocities on Dalits have increased" says to Fides Jesuit A. Xavier John Bosco, director of the Jesuit Social Centre, based in Secunderabad , one of the speakers at the event in Delhi, attended by many Christian groups. "It is urgent to carry out a massive campaign across the country on the delicate question of the Dalits", asks Fr. Bosco.<br />Interviewed by Agenzia Fides, Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, General Secretary of the Indian Bishops' Conference, said: "The Church has always given attention to Dalits and tribals, the government has not given the Dalits the attention that the Church has given them, in the field of education, social welfare, development and promotion. There is a special Commission of Bishops in charge of their social development and the fight against discrimination. Of course, one must counter a widespread mentality which discriminates against them. We also ask Christian Dalits, penalized by the Presidential Ordinance of 1950, to have the same rights enjoyed by non Christian Dalits".<br />According to data released, in 2015 the states which registered a higher rate of violence, including murder and rape regarding Dalit women are: Gujarat , Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan . <br />Dalits are often victims of arbitrary and unlawful expropriation of the most fertile lands. According to the results of the socio-economic census of 2011, this occurred in nearly 73% of dalit families living in rural areas. About 45% percent of Dalits and tribal families are landless or deprived of an important part of their income for sustenance. These inequalities generate poverty, malnutrition, ill health, illiteracy and low human development indicators.<br />During the event in Delhi, the participants asked the government to take effective measures to limit the atrocities on Dalits in India. Among other demands raised: the need to outlaw violent groups attacking Dalits; provide work and employment contracts; distribute land to all landless; implement laws against discrimination in schools. <br />Thu, 22 Sep 2016 11:47:40 +0200