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Papal household prefect not welcome home

VATICAN (CWN): Branded with the Mark of Cain for his criticism of recent statements on the indissolubility of marriage from the German bishops, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the prefect of the papal household and personal secretary to the former bishop of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI, told Schwäbischen Zeitung that he does not think he will be welcome home to his native Germany.

He said even though he has no ambition to be a bishop of a diocese, he does not believe he will be offered one at home.

Archbishop Gänswein described Pope Francis as a “classic Jesuit of the old Ignatian school,” saying there is definitely a continuity between him and his predecessor.

He also had a smack at the government for delisting Catholics for non-payment of Church tax, saying it is tantamount to the Church excommunicating them.


Pope presides at marriage ceremony

VATICAN (CNS); Pope Francis presided at the marriage a young hearing impaired couple in the chapel of his residence at the Domus Sanctae Marthae in the Vatican on July 9.

Teodoro Pisciottani married Paulina Szczepanska, the daughter of a Vatican employee.

Pope Francis rarely presides at marriage ceremonies, but did appear at one for 20 couples in St. Peter’s Basilica in 2014 as part of a promote-the-sacrament campaign.


Settling refugees in Britain

MANCHESTER (CNS): A parish in Salford, England, is set to welcome a family from a refugee camp in the Middle East as part of Church support for a government plan to welcome 20,000 Syrian refugees to Britain.

Organisers say that although most will come from predominantly Muslim camps, Islamic State sympathisers will not be among them.

Philip McCarthy, from the Caritas Social Action Network, said on July 20 that the government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees will rigorously screen all the refugees, so there would be no terrorists among them.

“These are not people we are taking over and above the 20,000,” McCarthy pointed out.


Bangalore welcomes African migrants

BANGALORE (AsiaNews): The Church in Bagalore, India, has welcomed over 100 migrants from Africa. Archbishop Bernard Moras said, “It is important to take care of the pastoral needs of migrants and dedicate ourselves to their wellbeing.”

The state of Karnataka is a popular destination for people fleeing Africa’s conflict zones.

The Church has promoted initiatives for both students and job searchers.

Archbishop Moras said, “We welcome you wholeheartedly. We want you to feel loved, accepted, as if you were at home.”


Churches attacked in Turkey

ISTABNBUL (SE): Pro-government mobs attacked two churches in the aftermath of the attempted coup in Turkey.

Democratic News reported that some Muslims tried to protect their Christian neighbours.

The attacks on the Catholic Church of Santa Maria in Trabzon and the Protestant Church in Malatya begun on in the evening of July 16, just after the coup had been put down.

In Trabzon, around 10 people threw stones extracted from the pavement. They also carried sledge hummers. But neighbours had warned the priest an attack was on the cards.

A previous parish priest, Father Andrea Santoro, was killed during an attack on the same church in 2006.


Cofounder of Neocatechumenate dies

MADRID (SE): Carmen Hernandez, one of the cofounders of the Neocatechumenal Way, died in Madrid after a long illness on July 20 at the age of 85.

Hernandez joined with Kiko Arguella and Father Mario Pezzi to start the international movement in 1968. It now has 40,000 communities aimed at helping people grow in the Catholic faith located in 900 different dioceses around the world, claiming almost one million members.


Echo-village at Youth Day

KRAKOW (SE): Laudato Si Echo-Village is one of the attractions at World Youth Day in Poland.

It will feature festival activities, workshops and artistic performances around the theme of caring for our common home, the earth.

It also has a green prayer room, where people are invited to come and pray and reflect on global realities around the world.

There will be workshops on forming networks to empower people to actively care for creation in their home dioceses when they return home.


International Vatican mediation

VATICAN (SE): The president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, was reported on July 22 to have agreed to an opposition proposal to invite the Vatican to mediate in talks to end the country’s political and economic crisis.

The Vatican has not yet responded formally to the request for mediation, but Vatican Radio reported that Pope Francis has sent the president of the Council for Justice and Peace, Peter Cardinal Turkson, to Juba in South Sudan to support the local bishops in their meetings with the government and opposition.

He took letters from the pope addressed to the president, Salva Kiir, and his vice president and enemy, Riek Machar.


Catholic wins seat in Bangladesh

DHAKA (UCAN): An indigenous Garo person secured victory in a parliamentary by-election on July 18 in Bangladesh becoming the youngest and only Catholic or Christian member.

Thirty-three-year-old Jewel Areng, from the ruling Awami League, is the son of a prominent former politician, Promod Mankin, who passed away on May 11.

“Like his famous father, he will need to become a leader of all people by working sincerely for their development and welfare. We hope he will be equally committed to the rights and wellbeing of Christian and indigenous communities in the country,” Nirmol Rozario, the secretary of Bangladesh Christian Association, said.


Mindanao peace talks rescheduled

MANILA (UCAN): The Philippine government said it will ask the Communist-led National Democratic Front to reschedule the resumption of formal peace negotiations from the last week of July to the third week of August.

“This is to ensure that all technical details related to the formal resumption in Oslo are attended to and addressed by both parties,” peace panel chairperson, Silvestre Bello, said on July 19.

He wants to lay a more formidable and durable foundation for the peace talks.

Hernani Braganza said they have been working in the background to fast-track the process of consultation for the resumption of the peace talks.


Record number from United States to Youth Day

WASHINGTON (SE): More than 40,000 people from the United States of America (US) have registered for World Youth Day in Poland, a post from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops reports.

This is the biggest number the country has ever sent to a World Youth Day outside of the US. In addition, a variety of social media access has been put into place.

“We want to let the world know that no one is excluded from a pilgrimage like this. Everyone is called to be a pilgrim, no matter if they have the means to travel to Poland,” Bishop Frank Caggiano, from the liaison office for World Youth Day, said.

Large delegations from wealthy countries are needed at World Youth Day to make it financially viable.


Nepal arrests social worker for converting children

KATHMANDU (UCAN): A Christian social worker who cares for orphans has been jailed in Nepal while waiting to be tried over charges related to human trafficking and controversial religious conversion laws.

Chinimaya Blown was accused by police of collecting Hindu children from remote areas of the Himalayan nation then putting them in her children’s home and forcing them to take part in Christian prayer services.

A conviction for attempting to convert someone in Nepal can result in five years prison and a 50,000 rupee ($3,645) fine.

“Religion inspires us to provide refuge to the poor and orphans, but injustice has been done to these Christians by our judicial system,” B.P. Khanal, the general secretary of Janajagaran Party Nepal, said.


False conversion report dangerous

DHAKA (UCAN): Church leaders have denounced a July 20 news report published in The Christian Post in the United States of America claiming 91,000 Muslims across Bangladesh have converted to Christianity.

“Even though persecution against Christians in Bangladesh is on the rise, so is the number of Muslims converting to Christianity,” the report reads.

It references Christian Freedom International as its primary source of information, which estimates there are 1.6 million Christians in Bangladesh, but data from the Catholic Church and a major Protestant Church forum say there are only 600,000.

“This is a totally false and fabricated report, there is no credible information,” Father Albert Thomas Rozario, from the Justice and Peace Commission, said.

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