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Ecumenical fest in Germany

BERLIN (SE): Germany is famous for its festivals, with the beer fest season holding worldwide attention.

But this year, there will be a festival of a different kind as Catholics and Lutherans will get together on September 16 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

To be held in Bochum, the festival will run under the theme of On earth, as it is in heaven and have as its focus the commitment of Christians to the shaping of politics and society in Germany and the world.


Psychotic fear in Congo

KINSHASA (SE): Luisa and the Central Kasai area of the Republic of the Congo has been in the grip of horrific violence that has left at least 50 people dead and many forced to flee.

Churches have been abandoned in fear and then looted. One bishop described the situation as so chaotic and the people so afraid that it is impossible to gather to mourn their loved ones, Fides reported.

“The population is in the throes of psychosis to the point that it is impossible to organise the funeral of the victims,” Bishop Félicien Galumbulula commented.


Pope supports appeal
for South Sudan

VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis has added his voice to the United Nations appeal for assistance for an estimated 100,000 people in South Sudan on the verge of starvation, in addition to some 4.9 million in urgent need to assistance.

At his public audience on February 22, Pope Francis spoke of the desperate situation in South Sudan, where a fratricidal conflict joins a severe food crisis, threatening millions with starvation.

In saying that statements alone are not good enough, he called for commitments to providing real aid.


Protect papal image

VATICAN (SE): A February 22 press release from the Vatican reminds the public that one responsibility of the Secretariat of State is the protection of the image of the Holy Father, so that his message may reach people intact and his person not be exploited.

While the statement seems to be aimed at the critical posters of the pope pasted around Rome on February 4, it cautions that it also safeguards the use of all symbols and official coats of arms of the Holy See at an international level.

It carries out systematic surveillance and acts where necessary.

Orthodox condemn orthodoxy

DAMASCUS (SE): The Syrian Orthodox Church is looking at a special synod to address tensions that erupted after Patriarch Ignatius Ephem II held a copy of the Qu’ran reverently in his hands as a gesture of respect for the Islamic faith on February 20.

Fides reports that he has been condemned by six metropolitan archbishops of the Syrian Orthodox Church for betraying the faith. His orthodoxy is also being questioned.

However, 30 other bishops came to his defence and challenged the orthodoxy of attacking the patriarch’s orthodoxy. Some of the critical bishops have apologised, but rigidly held onto their opinion.


The Roe of Roe versus Wade dies

WASHINGTON (SE): The Jane Roe in the famed Roe versus Wade case in the United States of America, Norma McCorvey, died in Texas on February 18 at the age of 69.

At first an anonymous plaintiff, McCorvey identified herself in the 1980s. Later she became an outspoken opponent of legal abortion.

McCorvey said that as Jane Roe she had been exploited by lawyers anxious to challenge the nation’s abortion laws—not to help a woman in need. “I was persuaded by feminist attorneys to lie; to say that I was raped and needed an abortion,” she said. “It was all a lie.”


Suspect millions frozen by the Vatican

VATICAN (SE): Vatican financial authorities froze more than Ä2 million ($16.5 million) last year, as part of the continuing crackdown on suspicious financial transactions.

Reuters reported that Gian Pietro Milano, the top prosecutor for the Vatican, reported on the frozen assets and, as part of a summary of the activities, he disclosed that the Financial Intelligence Authority, created by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, called attention to suspicions transactions which led to two indictments.

Milano said that investigations are continuing in 17 cases of suspected financial misconduct from 2016 and earlier.


Trumping prophets

STOCKHOLM (SE): What was originally tagged as fake news, may have simply been prophecy. The president of the United States of America, Donald Trump, was roundly roasted for his bogus reference to an undescribed incident involving migrants in Sweden on February 17 that never happened.

Turns out he may have just been prophesying, as two days later there was a riot in a dominantly immigrant area of Stockholm.

Over four hours, the crowd burned about half a dozen cars, vandalised several shopfronts and threw rocks at police, the Washington Post reported.

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