The Suffering Church
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.
There is massive destruction to the country’s infrastructure and the trauma of brutal warfare has left people—especially the young—with deep psychological scars, which are causing anguish, sickness and even death.
Now that Mosul has been recaptured from ISIS, will Christians be able to return to their homes there soon? It’s too soon to tell, according to Syriac-Catholic Archbishop Petros Mouche of Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq. He spoke with international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.
These structural mutations invite us to question ourselves concerning the pastoral traditions. Such an old Apostolic Church, rooted in tradition and customs—can she take steps towards a new type of Christian testimony?
“The veneration of Our Lady under the title “Help of Christians” is deeply rooted all over China and has been so for a long time. This title not only refers to help for individual believers, but also to help for the Church as a whole.”