24 International News

posted May 8, 2019, 7:54 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 8, 2019, 7:54 AM ]

Bridge between East and West

Geographically, Bulgaria's capital city of Sofia lies midway between the Black Sea to the East, and the Adriatic Sea to the West. In his first public speech in the country, Pope Francis called Bulgaria "a bridge between East and West, capable of favouring encounter between the different cultures, ethnic groups, civilizations and religions that for centuries have lived here in peace."

Addressing the President, Authorities, and the Diplomatic Corps in Atanas Burov Square shortly after his arrival, the Pope praised Bulgaria, saying that here, "diversity, combined with respect for distinctive identities, is viewed as an opportunity, a source of enrichment, and not as a source of conflict."


Pope: Catholics, Orthodox must work to heal divisions

On the day Bulgarian Orthodox celebrate as St Thomas Sunday, and read the Gospel about the apostle asking to touch the wounds of the Risen Lord, Pope Francis said the divisions within Christianity are "painful lacerations on the body of Christ, which is the Church." Immediately after meeting Bulgaria's Prime Minister and President May 5, Pope Francis went to the Palace of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church for a meeting with Patriarch Neophyte and top bishops. Also present was King Simeon II, 81, who ruled only as a child in the 1940s, was exiled, and returned to his homeland in 1996.

Speaking of St Thomas and the wounds of Jesus, Pope Francis prayed that Catholics and Orthodox, like the apostle, would "touch those wounds, confess that Jesus is risen, and proclaim Him our lord and our God." Patriarch Neophyte welcomed Pope Francis with kisses on each cheek and the greeting, "Christos vozkrese" (Christ is risen). According to reporters present, the Pope kissed the patriarch's "engolpion" — an icon on a chain, worn instead of a pectoral cross. The Patriarch thanked the Pope for the special attention the Vatican has shown to his country and his church for decades. "This is the second visit of a Pope to Bulgaria, which we cannot explain, except as truly special attention," he said. St John Paul II visited in 2002.


Rare 400-year-old Bible stolen; found in Netherlands

A rare Bible, stolen in the 1990s from the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh as part of an extensive, years-long heist of an estimated $8 million worth of items, has returned home, according to the FBI. The 1615 Breeches Edition Bible was traced to the American Pilgrim Museum in Leiden, Netherlands, which had purchased it for $1,200. A former archivist at the Pittsburgh library and a rare book dealer are accused of stealing it, along with over 300 rare books, maps, plate books, atlases, etc. that were discovered missing last year.


World Press Freedom Day

The numbers speak louder than words: 95 journalists killed in the line of duty last year alone; 700 over the past ten years; 348 imprisoned. The figures come from the International Federation of Journalists. In its own report, issued in April this year, Reporters Without Borders denounces "unprecedented violence" against journalists, claiming most victims were "deliberately targeted" precisely because they were doing their job. Still, journalists and reporters continue to risk their lives in conflict zones, providing truthful and reliable coverage of world events, and investigating stories of crime and corruption.

One of the aims of World Press Freedom Day is to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the field. Another is to assess the state of press freedom throughout the world. The World Press Freedom Index, compiled every year by Reporters Without Borders, evaluated the state of journalism in 180 countries. Only 24 per cent of those countries are classified as "good". Norway ranks top of the list in terms of press freedom, with Turkmenistan at the bottom.


Training for development

A training programme in Rome has helped priests and nuns handling funds in their congregations and dioceses learn the components of Project Management and theories of Fundraising. "Right step and right direction for congregations to learn fundraising in this changing time," remarked Richard Manana from Kenya, a participant of the April 23-27 training on "Project Management and Fundraising."