24 International News

posted Apr 12, 2018, 9:26 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 12, 2018, 9:28 AM ]

US Bishops' President lauds Gaudete et Exsultate

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on April 9, 2018, praised the release of Pope Francis's apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate: On the Call to Holiness in the Contemporary World. In his statement, Cardinal DiNardo expressed his deep gratitude to the Holy Father for the exhortation and the call for each Christian to “acknowledge and be open to what God wants them to be."

In the introduction to the exhortation, the Pope emphasises that the goal of his exhortation is to “re-propose the call to holiness in a practical way for our own time, with all its risks, challenges and opportunities. The mission entrusted to each of us in the waters of baptism was simple – by God's grace and power, we are called to become saints."


Integration of refugees remains urgent challenge

The integration of refugees in Italy remains an urgent challenge, with difficulties in access to protection for those seeking asylum, according to the Astralli Center's 2018 Annual Report, released April 9, 2018, in Rome. Astralli is the Italian headquarters of the Jesuit Refugee Service.

The report provides a snapshot of the condition of asylum seekers and refugees who appealed to the Center for help during 2017. It makes several references to Pope Francis's message for the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, celebrated on January 14, 2018.

Despite the decline in arrivals registered in Italy during 2017 (119,369, compared to 181,436 of the previous year), the goal of a single reception system with uniform standards is still far away, according to the report. The Centers of Extraordinary Reception (CAS) remain the prevailing solution, while the SPRAR network (Protection System for Asylum Seekers and Refugees), albeit growing, in July 2017 covered just under 15 per cent of the approximately 205,000 available places.


Pope denounces use of chemical weapons

Pope Francis condemned the use of chemical weapons after a deadly attack killed dozens of innocent men, women and children in Syria.

"There is no good and bad war, and nothing, nothing can justify the use of such instruments of extermination against defenceless people and populations," the Pope said April 8 before concluding Divine Mercy Sunday Mass in St Peter's Square.

A suspected chemical-weapon attack occurred late April 7 when Syrian army warplanes allegedly flew over and bombed the eastern town of Douma, located 15 miles north of the Syrian capital, Damascus, according to the Reuters news agency.

The Syrian American Medical Society Foundation reported 42 victims were killed in the attack, while hundreds of people, "the majority of whom are women and children, were brought to local medical centres with symptoms indicative of exposure to a chemical agent."


South Korea
Pope's message commemorates bloody Jeju Uprising

Pope Francis has sent a message of healing and reconciliation to Koreans commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Jeju Uprising and subsequent massacres, which resulted in the deaths of more than 10,000 civilians.

“[Pope Francis] hopes that this occasion will foster healing and reconciliation," wrote Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's secretary of state, in a letter made public by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK).

“Entrusting the beloved Korean people to the intercession of Mary, Queen of Peace, I assure all present of my prayers, that they may persevere in hope," said the letter.


Priest killed in Democratic Republic of Congo

Armed men burst into a church meeting room in the North Kivu region on April 8 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and killed 38-year-old Fr Étienne Sengiyumva, the Parish Pastor.

“After celebrating the Mass at Kyahemba, a district in his parish, around 3 pm, Fr Étienne was meeting with his parish staff, when an armed man, accompanied by others, entered the meeting room, and shot the priest point blank in the head, killing him instantly," Bishop Théophile Kaboy Ruboneka of Goma recounted.

“The murder happened so quickly that those present couldn't take note of how many people had entered the room to kill Fr Étienne," he lamented.

Bishop Ruboneka explained that “Fr. Étienne is the third priest killed in the region" and that “the investigations to find those responsible for these deaths go nowhere. On our part, we are doing everything we can to identify Fr Étienne's killers, even though we have no illusions."