At Mass celebrated in Cairo Francis exhorts Egyptian Catholics "not be afraid to open your hearts to the light of the Risen Lord, and let him transform your uncertainty into a positive force for yourselves and for others. Do not be afraid to love everyone, friends and enemies alike, because the strength and treasure of the believer lies in a life of love!" "For God, it is better not to believe than to be a false believer, a hypocrite!"
Four significant moments marked the first day of Francis in Egypt. Admiration and appreciation for the courage shown by the pontiff: "Thank you for having risked your security for us." And some would like an Egyptian capital, as it is today, "clean, uncrowded and of a particular beauty. Reminiscent of the past."
Francis last encounter in Egypt was dedicated to priests, religious and seminarians. Do not give in to temptations, from being dragged down by disappointment and pessimism to allowing yourself be dominated by envy and yielding to gossip, from feeling superior to others to "walking without compass" by living "with a heart divided between God and worldliness" .
Citizens want to express their admiration. Each day thousands go to the town hall. The area in front of the palace flooded with signposts and floral decorations. Radical Islamist group's initiatives against the Christian governor continue. On 9 May the verdict of the blasphemy trial. Ahok: "Disliked and hated because of my faith and my ideas."
They will be integrated into elementary school curriculum from 2018 to teach children "how to behave with others" and to reflect on their choices.
Trial held behind closed doors. He is one of the lawyers and rights activists arrested in July 2015. During his imprisonment Li suffered torture. In the absence of offenses during his detention, he will not have to sever the sentence.
Francis and Patriarch Tawadros II want to move on the path of full unity. They prayed in the church attacked in December. “[J]ust as the heavenly Jerusalem is one, so too is our martyrology; your sufferings are also our sufferings.”
In his address to Egyptian authorities, Francis stressed Egypt’s role and responsibility in the future of the region. "In the fragile and complex situation of today’s world, which I have described as ‘a world war being fought piecemeal’, it needs to be clearly stated that no civilized society can be built without repudiating every ideology of evil, violence and extremism that presumes to suppress others and to annihilate diversity by manipulating and profaning the Sacred Name of God.”
National conference of female religious scholars issues three fatwas. Child marriage is against Islamic law. Marriage age for women should be raised from 16 to 18. Every year, 340,000 girls are married. Sexual violence should also be banned, even in marriage. In Indonesia, 16,217 cases were reported in 2016. Environmental destruction for economic development should also be illegal.
Egyptian president al-Sisi forcefully backed the meeting to fight the ideology of the Islamic state. Coptic Orthodox Bishop of Tanta says that terrorism has to be fought with peace. Violence binds fundamentalism and relativism. Qur'anic exegesis remains a problem.
Francis in Cairo intervenes at the Peace Conference organized by Al-Ahram. Never commit violence in the name of God. "Without giving in to forms of facile syncretism, our task is that of praying for one another, imploring from God the gift of peace, encountering one another, engaging in dialogue and promoting harmony in the spirit of cooperation and friendship."
He admires the charity shown by the pontiff towards Syrian Muslim refugees, and his push in favour of love and against hatred. Islamic scholars are not like this, he says, they do not denounce Daesh’s hatred and do nothing for Christians. He calls on the pontiff to press President to Sisi and Al Azhar to reform Islam. Without this Al Azhar risks being the academy of world fundamentalism. Here is the letter from our friend and collaborator Kamel Abderrahmani.
The incessant rains flooded five districts. 300,000 farmers are on the run. All the production of boron rice is damaged. Tons of dead fish due to oxygen shortage in the waters. Farmers do not know how to repay their debts and feed their families.
Costs amount to about one billion dollars. Trump: "It would be worthwhile to pay." Seoul: "The South Korean government provides site and facilities, the United States pays for installation and management." Washington: "Renegotiate or terminate" the free trade agreement.
The country that Pope Francis will visit is afflicted by a failed economy, overpopulation, corruption, pollution, terrorism and fatalism. But it is home to a much bigger treasure than its millennial history: the joyous heart of its people.
The President of the Republic al-Sisi personally supervising the security apparatus. Cairo wants to show itself as a tolerant, fraternal and welcoming country. Today, the intervention at al-Azhar peace conference. Over 35,000 people (accredited) for tomorrow's Mass at the aeronautics academy. More extremist threats against Christians in Minya.
Fr Bimal Kerketta has lived in Egypt for 14 years. Pope Francis is a "man of peace. He has resisted terror and extremism [. . .] with great courage and wisdom.” Egyptians love him because despite threats and the tragic attacks against the two Coptic churches, he has not postponed his visit.
The meeting aimed at boosting the role of female clerics in spreading Islamic teachings. Participants discussed and issued some fatwa. Broadening the role of women in Islam can counter extremist groups' propaganda. Muslim women can be "agents of change." Polygamy causes violence and is not part of Islamic teachings.
Gedhun Choekyi was six years old when he was kidnapped. Since then, he has been held incommunicado. This week Tibetans marked his 28th birthday. Beijing seeks to impose itself on the future of Tibetan Buddhism, but Tibetans demand the lama’s release.
Acting together, the Religious Affairs Bureau, Public Security and the United Front carried out the operation. Seized before Easter, the bishop of Wenzhou is back home. Bishop Guo Xijin of Mindong is still in police custody. The confrontation with the Vatican increases.
Former Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon said that the Islamic State group apologised for firing on an Israeli military unit. The reference is bout an incident last November in the Golan Heights. Officially Israel is neutral in the Syrian conflict, but it has helped anti-Assad and anti-Iran groups, including Jihadis.
Becoming a "witness to obedience" is "a grace of the Holy Spirit," and we must ask for it. "It is a grace we must seek, 'Father, Lord Jesus, send me your Spirit so that I may become a witness of obedience, that is, a Christian.'
The waste crisis emerged following the garbage avalanche that buried an entire slum on the outskirts of Colombo. Card Ranjith appeals to the government. A new disposal area found in Muthurajawela, but the population and Catholic leaders oppose it.
US intelligence: "Pressure on the North through economic sanctions and diplomacy". Admiral Harry Harris: "Make Kim Jong-un reason." US troops in South Korea start deploying the controversial anti-missile system. Clashes between residents and police: 10 injured. Beijing's anger and economic retaliation on the South.
The great Israeli statist presents the Palestinian leader. In prison for 15 years, the latter is behind the hunger strike undertaken by inmates against prison conditions. His charisma can overcome Palestinian divisions between Fatah and Hamas. Perhaps this is why Israel will not release him.
Hassan Abu Hamza wanted to be called Paul, in memory of the saint who, like him, is of Syrian origin. He intends to retrace his footsteps of tolerance after being a fierce persecutor. Online there are those who accuse him of having betrayed Islam. Others think it is a "Daesh attempt to infiltrate" fighters in Europe.
Those arrested are all members of groups struggling for democracy. Attempt to “frighten" public opinion. China excludes political reforms within the next 10 years. The EU: universal suffrage would give more solidity to the territory government.
The blast, also felt in the capital, enveloped a fuel tank and some warehouses near the airport. According to al-Manar it was caused by an Israeli air raid. Hezbollah logistics facilities in in Syria damaged. No victims or injured.
A recent conference in al-Azhar renewed the bases of the traditional relationship between the material and spiritual domains in Islam. Clearer bases are needed in the dialogue between Muslims and Christians. Benedict XVI’s teachings are important to understand the relationship between religion and politics and the difference between Christianity and the West.
On 18 April, unknown arsonists caused a fire at the pastor’s residence. Investigations have not led to any arrests. In 2009 three people died in another attack. This “won’t discourage us. We shall continue with our duties,” said parish priest.
All five attended a bible study group as part of a group of 40 Christians. They were arrested for “gathering a crowd to disrupt social order”. Prosecutors reportedly sent the case back twice for further investigation before indicting them. All five pleaded not guilty and said they would appeal the verdict.
Bishop Mathew Vaniakizhakkel is the emeritus bishop of Satna. Along with five Catholics, in 2009 he was denounced for conversion, conspiracy and disturbance of peace among religions. The accuser then repented and asked for forgiveness. Christian Leader: "Anti-conversion law is a tool to harassing Christians."
We will never cease to be "a concern for God's heart," because He is a God “passionate” for man, so tenderly loving as to be incapable of separating Himself from him." " Christian hope finds its root in fact not in the attraction of the future but in the certainty of what God has promised us and realized in Jesus Christ." "Our existence is a pilgrimage, a journey. Even all those who are moved by a simply human hope perceive the seduction of the horizon, which drives them to explore worlds they still do not know. Our spirit is a migrant soul "