#ShortNews: Over 50,000 petition for release of Christians jailed in India

Journalist author Anto Akkara, who has been spearheading the campaign in a press statement on July 12, called for more signatures for the release of the seven – six of them illiterates including a mentally challenged.

The seven Christians – Bhaskar Sunamajhi, Bijay Kumar Sanseth, Budhadeb Nayak, Durjo Sunamajhi, Gornath Chalenseth, Munda Badamajhi and Sanathan Badamajhi–have been jailed accused of murdering of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati on Aug. 23, 2008.

The murder sparked a six-week long anti-Christian violence, resulting in the death of some 100 Christians. Frenzied groups raided and torched some 300 churches and 6,000 Christian houses.

Read full article: http://india.ucanews.com/news/campaign-for-jailed-christians-achieves-milestone/37717/daily

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#ShortNews: Amnesty International backs abortion on demand

A press release on Amnesty’s website describes its new position as calling on States “not just to decriminalize abortion, but to guarantee access to safe and legal abortion in a broad way that fully respects the rights of all women, girls and people who can get pregnant,” an apparent reference to women who identify as men or as transgender.

“We want to make sure we are well placed to fight for the human rights of millions of people whose lives are impacted by how governments criminalize or restrict access to abortion and by the prohibition of drugs,” said Tawanda Mutasah, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Law and Policy according to a press release on Amnesty’s website.

Read full article: https://c-fam.org/friday_fax/amnesty-international-backs-abortion-demand/

#ShortNews: US advocates say Christians in Myanmar’s Kachin state need help

Although much attention has been given to the ethnic Rohingya, “If you ask the Kachin if they believe a genocide is taking place, everyone will tell you yes,” said the Rev. Bob Roberts, senior pastor at Northwood Church in Dallas, who recently visited Myanmar.

In Kachin state, which is over 90 percent Baptist and about 5 percent Catholic, the Tamadaw has burned 406 villages and 311 churches and displaced more than 130,000 people in the past seven years. The motivation for the attacks is an ongoing conflict that started almost as soon as Burma, now Myanmar, gained its independence from Britain in 1948.

The motivation for the attacks is an ongoing conflict that started almost as soon as Burma, now Myanmar, gained its independence from Britain in 1948.

To read full article: http://catholicphilly.com/2018/07/news/world-news/u-s-advocates-say-christians-in-myanmars-kachin-state-need-help/

#ShortNews: Pope Francis: Jesus is more than a dreamer or revolutionary—He is Son of the living God

Over the centuries, the world has defined Jesus in different ways: a great prophet of justice and love; a wise master of life; a revolutionary; a dreamer of the dreams of God … and so on. Many beautiful things. In the chatter of these and other hypotheses, the confession of Simon, called Peter, humble and full of faith, stands still today, simple and clear: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v. 16). Jesus is the Son of God: therefore He is perennially alive as His Father is eternally alive. This is the novelty that grace ignites in the heart of those who open themselves to the mystery of Jesus: the non-mathematical certainty, but even stronger, interior, of having met the Source of Life, the Life itself made flesh, visible and tangible in our midst. This is the experience of the Christian, and it is not the merit of us Christians, it is not our merit, but it comes from God, it is a grace of God, Father and Son and Holy Spirit. All this is contained in Peter’s answer: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

Read full translation of Pope Francis’ address before and after the recitation of the Angelus, to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

#ShortNews: Bethlemen’s pastor reports Christians disappearing

The alarm is launched by Catholic priest Rami Asakrieh, of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, parish priest in Bethlehem of the church of Santa Caterina, near the Basilica of the Nativity. “My parish”, Father Rami reports to Agenzia Fides “is facing serious problems. The number of Catholic families in Bethlehem is shrinking. Now our parish has only 1,479 Palestinian families. Christians make up 17% of the city’s population, while in the past they were 90%”. The vertiginous decline of the Christian presence in Bethlehem – adds Father Rami – is linked above all to the exodus of young Christians who emigrate to other Countries. “We”, reports the Franciscan parish priest, “try to stop emigration, trying to provide help in many situations of need”. But the current political and economic situation of the town, surrounded by settlements of Israeli settlers, sees the number of cases of “unemployed faithful, who are depressed and drowned in debts multiplying”. “None of our parish faithful receive a single cent from these organizations”, concludes Fr. Rami.

Read full article: http://www.fides.org/en/news/64476-ASIA_HOLY_LAND_The_parish_priest_of_Bethlehem_the_baptized_are_disappearing_in_the_city_where_Jesus_was_born

#ShortNews: Middle East’s Christian population has fallen from 20% to 4% in last century

The minority situation in which Christians are found in the Middle East is an urgent reason for meeting in what could be called an “ecumenism of life”. In his own Letter to Christians in the Middle East, the Holy Father underlined this ecumenical call to holiness for Christians in all the Churches of the Middle East: “The situation in which are you living is a powerful summons to holiness of life, as saints and martyrs of every Christian community have attested”.

When difficulties become suffering, this ecumenism of holiness becomes an ecumenism of blood. Since the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis has made this topic one of his main ecumenical themes. Among the various statements, I recall his words at the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem: “When Christians of different confessions suffer together, side by side, and assist one another with fraternal charity, there is born an ecumenism of suffering, an ecumenism of blood. … Those who kill, persecute Christians out of hatred, do not ask if they are Orthodox or Catholics: they are Christians. The blood of Christians is the same” (25 May 2014).

Read the full article: “Press Conference to present the Meeting of the Holy Father Francis with the Heads of the Churches and Christian Communities of the Middle East in Bari, 03.07.2018

#ShortNews: South Korea to build ‘chapel of peace’ in demilitarized zone

A new chapel will be built in the Joint Security Area (JSA) at Panmunjom, a truce village on the inter-Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that was established at the end of the (1950-53) Korean War. On June 5 a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new chapel presided over by Bishop Francis Xavier Yu Soo-il.

The 65-year armistice means the two Koreas remain technically in a state of war despite a recent series of rapprochement talks between U.S. President Donald Trump, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The facility, which will be placed in front of the JSA Visitor Center, will act as a “chapel of peace” in this historic setting where the scars of the war remain despite the latest wave of momentum for reconciliation and increased inter-Korean exchanges.

Read Full Article: https://www.ucanews.com/news/south-korea-to-build-chapel-of-peace-in-panmunjom-on-dmz/82618