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Colombian rebels ask to meet pope

BOGATA (CNS): Representatives of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People’s Army, a leftist rebel group currently engaged in peace talks with the Colombian government, have requested a meeting with Pope Francis during his September apostolic journey to Cuba.

The conflict between revolutionary forces and the government has claimed over 200,000 lives since 1964.

The rebels want “to move the peace process forward, particularly with the support of the Catholic world,” a representative told CNS on August 19. “The Church can offer all its experience to help reach a final agreement.

 

Anglican bishop breaks ranks on legalised euthanasia

CANTERBURY (CWNews.com): A former archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop George Carey, has broken ranks with the public position of the Church of England saying that physician-assisted suicide could be a profoundly Christian and moral thing.

Archbishop Carey, the worldwide leader of the Anglican Communion from 1991 until his retirement in 2002, said that he is confident safeguards could be devised to prevent abuse of legalised euthanasia.

Reverend Brendan McCarthy, an adviser on medical ethics to the Church of England, took a radically different stand in advance of a vote in the House of Commons on a proposal to legalise assisted suicide on August 14.

Reverend McCarthy called the proposal criminally naïve and one that would most certainly put vulnerable elderly people at risk of involuntary euthanasia.

 

French church bells toll for Middle East Christians

PARIS (CWNews.com): Catholic churches in six parts of France tolled their bells at noon on August 15 in a gesture of solidarity with persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

At least three Swiss dioceses also joined the campaign, which also called people to gather in the churches at noon to pray for persecuted Christians.

August 15 marks the anniversary of the fall of Mosul and the Nineveh Plains to the forces of the Islamic State—an offensive that drove tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians into exile.

The French government increased police security on Catholic churches in response to threats of an Islamist terrorist attack on the day.

 

Politicians demanding rights for Dailits beaten by police

KATHMANDU (AsiaNews): Riot police in Kathmandu, Nepal, charged a group of opposition lawmakers on August 5 at a rally demanding protection of the rights of Dalit people be included in the new constitution.

An estimated 50 politicians who do not belong to a caste and are disingenuously referred to commonly as untouchables, were involved. Twenty-six were hospitalised, with some seriously injured.

The politicians are from different parties, but are united in the Joint Dalit Political Committee against new measures contained in the draft charter set to be approved.

Man Bahadur Biswakarma said, “The draft of the new constitution is a step into the past, because it does not guarantee the rights of minorities, which have been inscribed in the interim constitution.”

 

Pope calls for peace in Ukraine

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Marking the 24th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence, Pope Francis sent a letter to the country’s president, Petro Poroshenko, the country’s embassy to the Holy See reported on August 23. 

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is monitoring the situation in eastern Ukraine where Russian-backed separatists are fighting national troops, has reported increasing violations of a cease-fire agreement signed in February.

The pope wrote in his letter, “I pray for your country in this difficult situation, renewing my spiritual affinity with victims, their families and all those who suffer. I support the efforts that help the Ukrainian nation move forward in the spirit of peace and reunification,” the embassy said the message reads.

Following his angelus prayer on August 23, Pope Francis told the crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square that he has been following the situation in Ukraine with deep concern. 

 

He said, “I renew my appeal that the commitments made for achieving peace would be respected and that, with the help of organisations and people of goodwill, there would be a response to the humanitarian emergency in the country.”

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