Vatican Secretary of State, demanding respect for Iraqi Christians’ rights, cites their crucial role in the region
Beyond the urgency of the physical reconstruction of the Nineveh Plains, the the cardinal said, “there is the more important obligation of reconstructing Iraqi society and consolidating a harmonious and peaceful coexistence. Here, Christians have the specific position to be artisans of peace, reconciliation and development.”
“We appeal to their conscience. We do not have any weapons. Our weapon is the Word of God. We are men of the Word of God. We go and knock on the gate to the hearts of these men and women. The people can either accept this or not. It is our job and duty to tell them: thou shalt not kill.”
“To the Muslims of Marawi and Lanao del Sur, I declare that I continue to believe that we can still be united as Muslims and Christians. We are not enemies, we believe in one God.”
Still, with another 12,000 houses still to be repaired or rebuilt, Father Halemba—who serves as acting chairman of the Nineveh Reconstruction Committee (NRC)—said much more work had to be done, alongside efforts to secure significant funding.
Tony Zender, who oversees projects in a number of English-speaking African countries for international papal charity Aid to the Church in Need, recently visited Zambia. It is a politically stable nation, though it has far to go in terms of development and lifting its people out of poverty.
“When someone sacrificed his life for something, then it is worth asking why he did so.” That statement by Franciscan Father Tomás Ciaran O’Nuanain, an Irish missionary in El Salvador, goes to the heart of the mission of the newly-established Office of Lay Martyrs of the Church in El Salvador.
The specter of Boko Haram may have fallen from the headlines, but a painful echo of its reign of terror in northeastern Nigeria endures. The group mainly killed men, leaving behind countless widows and orphans in dire straits.
Bartella, a Christian village on the Nineveh Plains in Iraq, was the first of the region’s communities to be liberated from the grip of ISIS, freed in fall 2016. Recently, after three years of exile in Kurdistan, the first six Syriac-Orthodox families have returned to their newly restored homes.
Dust and mud brick houses everywhere—as far as the eye can see. The houses are indistinguishable in color from the ground on which they stand. Trees are few and far between.
The Catholic Church in Bangladesh is speaking up for the rights of the country’s ethnic minorities, bemoaning the fact that ethnic and religious minorities are not explicitly mentioned in the nation’s constitution.