Posts made in January, 2020

Cardinal’s book on celibacy barely acknowledges Eastern Catholic tradition of married priests

Posted on Jan 23, 2020

Cindy Wooden – Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The controversy surrounding retired Pope Benedict XVI’s contribution to a new book on priestly celibacy demonstrates just how much both substance and appearances matter.

And, as far as substance goes, the book paid scant attention to the uninterrupted presence of married priests in all but two of the Eastern Catholic churches.

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Middle East Council of Churches releases statement on fate of kidnapped bishops

Posted on Jan 23, 2020

23 January 2020

The Middle East Council of Churches issued a statement related to the case and fate of two Archbishops, Boulos Yaziji and Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim, who were kidnapped on 22 April 2013.

“Over the past couple of months, many worrying reports and claims regarding the case and fate of the two Archbishops Boulos Yaziji and Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim who were kidnapped on April 22, 2013 in the western countryside of Aleppo – Syria, went viral in media outlets,” reads the statement.

Middle East Council of Churches releases statement on fate of kidnapped bishops

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Macron berates Israeli security men in tussle at Jerusalem church

Posted on Jan 22, 2020

By John Irish

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – “Go outside,” French President Emmanuel Macron demanded in English in a melee with Israeli security men on Wednesday, demanding they leave a Jerusalem basilica that he visited before a Holocaust memorial conference.

The French tricolor has flown over the Church of St. Anne in Jerusalem’s walled Old City since it was gifted by the Ottomans to French Emperor Napoleon III in 1856.

France views it as a provocation when Israeli police enter the church’s sandstone complex, in a part of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.

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Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.—Where Would He Stand Today on the Palestine-Israel Situation?

Posted on Jan 22, 2020

By: John Mason/Arab America Contributing Writer

Martin Luther King (MLK) famously wrote from a Birmingham, Alabama jail where he was imprisoned for protesting segregation, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Had MLK lived longer—he was shot down by an assassin’s bullet in 1968—we wonder how he might have characterized the extreme situation today of Palestinians under Israeli occupation. We also wonder what he might have said about today’s U.S. lopsided policy favoring Israel.

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The Activists Who Have Saved 1,000 Pets from Syria’s War Zones

Posted on Jan 17, 2020

by Stephen Starr | OZY

When Sedra Ayoub Agha and her family fled Damascus in August 2015, she was heartbroken. Not only because she was fleeing her life and home, but also because she had to leave her beloved cats, Rose and Jack, behind. These irreplaceable companions had helped Agha through the loss of another feline that went missing when the war started in her neighborhood. “We left the area, but she jumped out of the car because she was scared,” says Agha. The cat was never found. “I was very sick because of the sadness. That’s why my father bought Rose and Jack for me.”

People fleeing war often have no choice but to leave their pets behind. Without their primary caretakers, cats and dogs often end up on the street, abandoned or abused. But even shelters are at risk. Ernesto’s Sanctuary in Aleppo was destroyed in November 2017, killing several cats and a dog (the clinic was later revived in another part of the city). The dire situation has spurred a brave group of pet lovers to take action.

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Formal Reception in Honor of the Diplomatic Body in Syria

Posted on Jan 16, 2020

Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch

His Holiness Patriarch Aphrem II affirmed that despite the insistence of many to create violence and war in Syria, good will is going to prevail and peace will reign again. He greeted those who offered many sacrifices for their countries and spoke about the sanctions imposed on Syria.

January 16, 2020 – On the occasion of the New Year 2020, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II invited their Excellencies the Ambassadors, Charge d’Affaires and Diplomatic Representatives of Foreign Missions in Syria to a Formal Reception at the Patriarchate in Bab Touma.

The reception was attended by His Excellency Dr. Faysal Mokdad, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister, as well as the ambassadors or heads of missions of various countries.

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Holy Land Coordination Bishops release final statement after visit to local Christians

Posted on Jan 16, 2020

Photo: Bishops of the 2020 Holy Land Coordination  (Photo: Mazur/

Bishops of the 2020 Holy Land Coordination (Photo: Mazur/

STATEMENT – From January 11 to 16, 2020, the bishops of the Holy Land Coordination an carried out its annual visit to local Christians in Gaza, East Jerusalem and Ramallah. At the end of the visit, the bishops drafted a statement in which they express concerns and hopes, urge governments to take responsibility for enforcing international law and protect human dignity and invite Christian faithful from all over the world to pray for this reality.

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How Christian Writers Helped Spread Arabic Language

Posted on Jan 15, 2020

By: Emily Devereaux/Arab America Contributing Writer

Language as a Tool

Language is an important medium in religion. Some religions may rely on spoken word as a means to pass down traditions and beliefs, but Christianity emphasizes sacred scriptures. Many Christian early writers translated the messages of the Bible into other languages; the purpose was to reach a wider audience. The Bible was first translated into Greek from its original language. [The Hebrew Bible was mainly written in Biblical Hebrew, with some portions (notably in Daniel and Ezra) in Biblical Aramaic. The New Testament was written in Koine Greek.]

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Small West Bank school holds firm despite settler attacks

Posted on Jan 15, 2020


by Taghreed Ali*

Yanoun, Nablus — “Knowledge is light and ignorance is darkness,” says the writing on one of the walls of Yanoun Primary School. Given the school’s dismal physical condition — rundown, damaged walls, rickety tin roof and lack of a playground — the words would seem to provide little comfort to its students or teachers, but they take solace in being able to learn and teach within the school’s four walls.

The co-educational school, affiliated with the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education, is located in the West Bank village of Yanoun, in southeastern Nablus governorate. As it is in Area C, Israel has full administrative and security authority over the area based on the Oslo II Accord (1995). This means that the school must obtain permission from Israeli authorities to make renovations, something they have never been granted.

Although the village takes its name from the Canaanite word for “calm” or “serene,” life in Yanoun has been anything but. Situated amid five Israeli settlements — Gedonim, Givat ‘Alam and settlements 777, 776 and 778 —Yanoun has had to battle for survival.

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Gaza Exodus: Helping Christians caught in a crisis

Posted on Jan 14, 2020

By Courtney Mares

Gaza City, Jan 14, 2020 / 12:47 am (CNA).- With fewer than 1,000 Christians in a population of 1.8 million, the Christian population in Palestine’s Gaza Strip today is less than half of what it was 10 years ago.

“They are — of all the Christian groups in the Holy Land — certainly by far the group that’s facing the most difficulty,” Robert Nicholson, president and founder of the Philos Project, told CNA.

Nicholson is currently leading an initiative to help Gazan Christians. He insists the world does not need to wait for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to help the dwindling Palestinian Christian population.

“Christians are often forgotten in this conflict,” he said. “They are really caught between forces that are much bigger than them … They’re looking for stability, they’re looking for freedom.”

“Strengthening these communities need not necessarily be tied to politics,” Nicholson said.

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