Bosnia and Herzegovina: “Open war against the Catholic church” The guns have been silent in Bosnia and Herzegovina for 23 years. However, according to Bishop Franjo Komarica, the country is like a powder keg. Head of the diocese of Banja Luka in the northern part of the country, the 72-year-old does not believe in beating about the bush, particularly when the discussion turns to the Catholic Croat minority. He believes that Catholic Croats are still being kept from returning and that they are disadvantaged economically, socially and religiously. He is making serious charges against the governments of Europe: they are turning a blind eye to the religious discrimination. In an interview with Tobias Lehner during a visit to the headquarters of the pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) in Germany, Bishop Komarica discusses why a growing number of Catholics are leaving the country, but how, in spite of everything, the church is living reconciliation.
Click here to access articles prior to 2017
The new Executive President of the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Thomas Heine-Geldern, said he intends to continue his predecessor’s approach –including trusting in God for the success of the charity’s work.
The appointment of Mr Heine-Geldern, who previously served as president of the board of ACN’s Austrian office, was publicly announced during a ceremony held at the charity’s International Headquarters in Königstein, near Frankfurt, Germany. Paying tribute to outgoing Executive President Baron Johannes Heereman von Zuydtwyck, Mr Heine-Geldern said his predecessor’s “faith, drive, cheerful equanimity and trust in God” will be a model for his leadership of the charity. In his short address, Mr Heine-Geldern spoke about the “role of ACN as a bridge of love and prayer”, describing how the charity unites the worldwide community of benefactors and its project partners in more than 140 countries. Mr Heine-Geldern added that this means each benefactor can be a partner in evangelisation while continuing to live their everyday life. He said that faith and professionalism are the tools the charity must use to pursue its objective: “to act as if everything depended on you; trust as if everything depended on God”. He described the the charity as a family, when speaking about how the 23 national offices work together with the International headquarters in Königstein.
“We want and we need peace. Please pray for us!”, an appeal from Syria by Archbishop Jean-Abdo Arbach.
The Melkite Catholic Archbishop of Homs, Mons. Jean-Arbach, has issued a message tinged with weariness and sadness at the current situation in Syria, after seven years of war and the most recent events. “People cannot take any more”, he says. “They simply want to live an ordinary life, to sleep peacefully in their beds and wake and go to work, and not to the sound of falling bombs. It is enough, it is too much.” Speaking to the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), he asked the charity to pray for them. “We need prayers, prayers and more prayers. It is the only thing that can bring us unity in this country”, he repeated, recalling that Pope Francis has also called for us to pray for the situation in Syria which – as he himself explained – is not simply about this country, but has now crossed international frontiers, so that the whole world needs peace. “What was the point of this war?”, he asked. "Everything has been destroyed, there are millions of refugees… If only the politicians of the world would work for peace and not for war” he repeated despairingly.
Despite the disastrous Marxist influence up until 1992 and the recent proliferation of Protestant sects, the Catholic Church in Congo-Brazzaville is recovering some lost ground. During the visit of an ACN delegation to the diocese of Dolisie, established in 2013, Msgr. Bienvenu Manamika Bafouakouahou assessed the current situation in the country, and his way of bringing the Gospel message to the faithful in spite of Islam’s seduction. Msgr. Bafouakouahou, bishop of the youngest diocese in the country, was once a scholarship holder of ACN, and he is now in charge of the seminarians’ formation.
Father George Maamary, parish priest of the church of the Assumption, which is close to the fortress, is asking our help to rebuild their church so that the families can return there soon
ACN (Josué Villalón, Qalat’al Hosn).- Qalat’al Hosn is a village in western Syria in a region known as the Valley of the Christians, best known for the imposing fortress the Krak des Chevaliers, which dominates the area. The castle is a World Heritage Site, one of the historic jewels of Syria and a place which before the war attracted tourists from all over the world.