LIVE BROADCAST: Presentation of the Final Message of the Synod on the Family
October 18, 2014. Presentation of the Final Message of the Synod on the Family.
The topic of the second part of the Synod on the Family has been announced
October 13, 2014. The new topic for the second part of the Synod on the Family will be "The vocation and the mission of the family within the Church and in the contemporary world.”
This second part will take place in Rome from October 4-25, 2015. The issues dealt with during the first part of the Synod, which concludes this week, will be further discussed in this second part.
Priest kidnapped in Syria is freed
October 9, 2014. Fr. Hassan Jallouf, 62, has been freed and taken to a convent in Knayeh, Syria. He was kidnapped on the evening of October 5th. Of the 20 other Christians kidnapped that night, 4 women were also freed.
Pope Francis names new bishops for Italy, Spain & Brazil
October 8, 2014. Pope Francis has named several new bishops today. The Pope named Archbishop Celso Morga Iruzubieta as Coadjutor Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Mérida-Badajoz (Spain). As of now, Archbishop Morga Iruzubieta was secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy.
He also named Bishop Fausto Tardelli, from the diocese of San Miniato, as bishop of the Diocese of Pistoia (Italy). Finally, the Pope named a new auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Goiânia (Brazil). He nominated Fr. Levi Bonatto, a priest from the personal prelature of Opus Dei.
Pastor and 20 Christians kidnapped in Syria
October 7, 2014. A pastor and roughly 20 Christians were kidnapped in Knayeh, Syria on the evening of October 5th. Fr. Hassan Jallouf, a 62 year old Franciscan, belongs to the Custody of the Holy Land. Local sources said that a group of armed members of Islamic militant group, Jahbat Al-Nusra, are responsible for the kidnapping.
All cardinals to meet at the Vatican on October 20
October 7, 2014. Pope Francis convoked a Consistory at the Vatican on October 20. All the cardinals will discuss the situation of Chistians in Middle East, especially of those suffering continuous attacks of ISIS.
Pope Francis will travel to France in 2015
October 7, 2014.Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi has announced that Pope Francis will visit France in 2015.
During his visit to the Vatican in January, French President Francois Hollande, formally invited the Pope to France. The mayor of Lourdes also extended an invitation.
It is likely that he will visit Lisieux, home of one of the Pope's favorite saints, St. Therese.
The last Pontiff to visit France was Benedict XVI in 2008.
Pope Francis: "Happy families are essential for society"
October 3, 2014. Pope Francis asked Christians to pray for the upcoming Synod on the Family via Twitter. He also said that "happy families are essential for society."
The Arab Spring led to civil action, empowerment and political accountability. But as the Middle East goes through this transition, it's also bringing about some negative elements that are raising concerns.
Middle East Expert
"With the rise of new political freedoms in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen, they have been using those political freedoms in order to encroach on others freedom.”
Mariz Tadros is an expert on the Middle East.
In a recent Georgetown University conference, titled Christianity and Freedom: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, she talked about some of the dangers and consequences of limiting diversity between Christians and Muslims, in such a delicate transition period.
While attacks on churches are usually publicized, she says there's another wave of discrimination that perhaps isn't as visible. It can be seen on every day life, affecting all levels of society, including perhaps even local vegetable sellers.
Middle East Expert
"Suddenly losing her regular customers of women who used to buy from her, because these women are being told 'don't buy from a Christian vegetable seller.' It affects your life.”
With the rise of radical Islamic groups, it's not just Christians who are being targeted. She says even Sunnis who are also Muslim, but follow their own rituals, have been attacked by other Muslim groups.
Middle East Expert
"They have been attacked by the Salafi groups in Egypt. Their shrines have been desecrated and they have been demonized. When you start attacking Christians you almost always know that some groups of Muslims are next.”
So whether it's through direct violence or passive aggression, Tadros says if left unchecked, these challenges could have direct consequences on Middle Eastern society, be it ten or 15 years down the line. That's why she says it's imperative that these issues are addressed now.