#ShortNews: Religion and Violence

The fight against religiously motivated violence will be one of the defining battles of the twenty-first century, wrote Rabbi Jonathan Sacks at the start of his new book, “Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence,” (Schocken Books).

Sacks, who was Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013, deplored how only too often “people have killed in the name of the God of life.” When religion is used for political ends it is not righteousness but idolatry and to invoke God to justify violence is not an act of sanctity, but a kind of blasphemy, Sacks argued in the book’s opening chapter.

Summarizing the argument of his book Sacks explained that there is a connection between religion and violence, but it is oblique, not direct. Religion, he said, is the most powerful force to create and maintain large-scale groups as it solves the problem of trust between strangers. Most conflicts and wars are about secular matters, but sometimes religion is enlisted in the support of aggression.

Read more: https://zenit.org/articles/analysis-religion-and-violence/

#ShortNews: Over 1,000 Syrian refugees resettled in UK, but not one Christian

The Home Office has admitted that not a single Christian was among the 1,112 Syrian refugees resettled in the UK in the first three months of this year.

The four Christians out of 1,358 Syrian refugees recommended by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), for resettlement in the UK were rejected. Only Muslim refugees from the war-torn country were granted permission to resettle.

The information came to light following a freedom of information request by the Barnabas Fund – a charity that supports persecuted Christians.

In a statement, the charity said: “As Barnabas Fund recently reported, of the 7,060 Syrian refugees the UNHCR recommended to the UK in 2017 only 25 were Christians (0.35 per cent). However, the Home Office only accepted eleven of these – meaning that Christians made up only 0.23 per cent of Syrian refugees resettled in the UK last year.”

Read More: https://www.premier.org.uk/News/UK/No-Christians-among-1-112-Syrian-refugees-resettled-in-UK

#ShortNews: Pope Francis’s Encyclical on the Environment

After much anticipation, Pope Francis released Laudato Si, an encyclical on climate and justice to “enter into dialogue with all people about our common home.”

“Laudato si’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”.

This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.

Read full text of the Encyclical letter Laudato si’ Of the holy father Francis: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html