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Holy See confirms investigation of Order of Malta

January 17, 2017. The Holy See has issued a statement Tuesday in response to "attempts by the Order of Malta to discredit” the new group established by the Vatican to conduct the investigation of why the Chancellor of the Order of Malta was asked to step down.
World

Pope sends condolences for victims of Turkish cargo jet crash

January 16, 2017. On Monday morning, a Turkish cargo plane has tragically crashed in Kyrgyzstan, killing dozens and hospitalizing many others. Many homes and vehicles in the small village are also destroyed. As a result, Vatican Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin has sent a message of condolences to the victims of the disaster on behalf of Pope Francis.
Vatican

Pope Francis to meet with Palestinian president on Saturday

January 11, 2017. Pope Francis will meet with Palestinian president, Mahmud Abbas on Saturday, January 14, at the Vatican to inaugurate the new Palestinian embassy to the Holy See.
Vatican

Former Director of the Vatican's school for diplomats, Justo Mullor dies

December 30, 2016. The smiling archbishop Justo Mullor died this morning in Rome, at the Pío XI Clinic. He was 84 years old.
Pope Francis

Pope approves new decrees for the Causes of Saints

December 22, 2016. On Wednesday, December 21, Pope Francis authorized the following decrees for the Causes of Saints:

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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