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Pope Francis

Pope Francis: No people is criminal and no religion is terrorist

February 17, 2017. Pope Francis has sent an important message to the Meetings of Popular Movements that is taking place in Modesto (California). The pope denounces the "moral blindness of this indifference”: "under the guise of what is politically correct or ideologically fashionable, one looks at those who suffer without touching them. But they are televised live; they are talked about in euphemisms and with apparent tolerance, but nothing is done systematically to heal the social wounds or to confront the structures that leave so many brothers and sisters by the wayside”.
World

The government of the Order of Malta will elect the successor of the Grand Master in April

February 15, 2017. On April 29, the Council Complete of State, the Order’s constitutional body, will elect the next Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta (or, as provided for in the Constitution, a Lieutenant of the Grand Master, to hold office for a year).
Pope Francis

Pope names a Special Envoy for Medjugorje

< style> February 11, 2017. Pope Francis has asked Henryk Hoser, S.A.C., bishop of Warsaw-Prague (Poland), to go to Medjugorje as Special Envoy of the Holy See. According< g> the Vatican, "the mission has the aim of acquiring a deeper knowledge of the pastoral situation there and above all, of the needs of the faithful who go there in pilgrimage, and on the basis of this, to suggest possible pastoral initiatives for the future”.
Vatican

Pope Francis advances eight new causes of sainthood

January 23, 2017. On January 20, Pope Francis met with Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to announce the publication of decrees for the advancement of eight causes of sainthood.

U.S. Commission singles out worst countries to worship freely

2014-05-31

The latest report from an American religious freedom watchdog listed the 26 worst countries that prosecute their citizens based on religion. Once again Asia dominated the report, but several African countries also made the list. Many of the nations have persecuted, minority Christian populations. 

The U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom issued their 2014 report, and divided the countries into three groups. The first includes the worst offenders, officially designated by the U.S. Government as "countries of particular concern,” and which face some type of sanctions.

They include Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan. Sudan, in particular, made headlines recently when a judge sentenced 27-year-old Miriam Yahya Ibrahim to death for apostasy. The  mother-to-be was born into a Muslim family, but married a Christian. Her husband, a U.S. Citizen, said they will appeal her sentence.

The second group is made up countries that the non-partisan commission says should also be designated as worst offenders by the U.S. State Department, and face government sanctions. The list is made up Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.

The inclusion of Nigeria is no surprise either. Christian communities in the country's north are constantly attacked by Islamist militant group Boko Haram. The Nigerian government has been under scrutiny, after the terrorist group kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls in April.

The third list is made up of ten countries included in the commission's Tier 2 category. These countries are classified as tolerating religious persecution, but not to the extent and severity to merit government sanctions. The ten nations include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Laos, Malaysia, Russia, and Turkey. 

Though not officially included on the list, the commission also discussed several other countries where they determined religious freedom was under attack. Although not a country, the commission singled out Western Europe. They said the region has put in place controversial laws on religious dress and practices like ritual slaughter. They also pointed out the lack of accommodation for conscientious objectors to certain laws, like gay marriage, based on their religious views. 


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