CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 13 July 2019

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Franciscan priest released from captivity

Damascus (AsiaNews): The Custos of the Holy Land announced that Franciscan Father Dhiya Azziz, from Mosul, Iraq, has been released by his captors. The priest who has been working in Syria had been missing since July 4.

In a posting on its website on July 10, the Custos said that it had received no news of Father Azziz since the late afternoon of July 4, and that conflicting accounts had initially led to the belief that he had been abducted by the Al-Nusra Front. 

The group denied any involvement and indicated that it had helped in police investigations. 

The priest “was treated well during his abduction.”

Father Azziz was apparently kidnapped for ransom, but the Custos said that there had been no contact with his captors prior to his release. It noted, “There are a plethora of groups that operate with varied interests.”

The Custos also said, “Other religious are still missing in Syria and (we) invite everyone to continue praying for peace in this country.”


California legislature withdraws physician-assisted suicide bill

Los Angeles (CNA): The state legislature of California, the United States of America, has abandoned efforts to pass a measure that would legalise physician-assisted suicide—for now.

Sponsors of the bill said on July 7 that they did not have enough votes. The legislation has been strongly opposed by Californians Against Assisted Suicide, a broad coalition of disability rights groups, physicians, palliative and hospice care agencies as well as by the California Catholic Conference.

“We are very pleased,” said Ned Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference. “The physicians, health care workers, disabled advocates, religious groups and others who came together to oppose the bill were key to the success of the campaign …” he said.

A letter from Archbishop José Gomez, from Los Angeles, to members of the state legislature changed a lot of minds said Andrew Rivas, director of government and community relations for the archdiocese.

The archbishop wrote: “Death will always be a mystery and death will never be easy—for those who are dying or for those who love them. But we can make death less painful, less frightening and we can even make it a time of beauty, mercy and reconciliation.” 

The letter went on to warn: “Once we start down this path—once we establish in law that some lives are not as valuable as others; not worth paying for—there will be no turning back. The logic of doctor-assisted suicide does not stop with the terminally ill.” 

Rivas explained, “It was pulled so that it wouldn’t lose,” but “it will be back in January. We need to continue to educate people about what we know is bad for the poor and the community.”


Papal mention of
Armenian genocide changed world opinion

Rome (CWNews): Archbishop Raphael François Minassia, the Armenian Ordinary for Eastern Europe, told Aid to the Church in Need that Pope Francis “has changed the attitude of the entire world” by his public mention of the Armenian genocide

The archbishop said that the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenian Christians in 1915 still has repercussions today. 

He added that the pope’s statement—made during a Mass in April to commemorate the victims of the genocide—“encouraged us to pursue reconciliation” and to “recover what we have lost.”

Archbishop Minassian said the Armenian Catholic Church remains faithful despite a lack of material resources and that it is working closely with the Armenian Apostolic Church.


Immigration giving 

new life to British 


London (CWNews): Christian immigrants to Great Britain are giving new life to Christianity on the island, said Vincent Cardinal Nichols from Westminster, head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

In an interview with The Telegraph, he explained, “I think what is happening is that the energy of Christians in particular coming to a wearied, western secularised culture is giving it new hope and, certainly in the life of the Christian faith, new resilience and enthusiasm.” 

He added, “I think it rubs off on us … and we should take great heart from the fact that we are discovering again, under that impetus, some of our own wellsprings of faith.”


Cardinal Nichols remarked, “Our society … needs something more substantial, more well rooted than some of the ‘British values’ that we hear spoken of.”

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