Since the end of last year, when the Catholic laity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo began to openly protest against the situation in the country, there has been support from many quarters, both inside and outside the country. Within the Congo, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference has supported them. More recently they also took courage from the words of the Holy Father, who likewise spoke up for the common good of all the Congolese people. And a new climate of support is also emerging among other Christians and those of other faiths, despite new victims of state violence.
KOREA: What will happen to the inter-Korean Olympic romance after the Olympic fire has gone out? Rarely have current politics played such a key role in the Olympic Winter Games as they did in PyeongChang. Maria Lozano spoke with the director of the South Korean office of Aid to the Church in Need in Seoul, Johannes Klausa, about the fragile step the North and South have taken towards one another and the situation of Christians.
UNDP and ACN: High level meeting to channel more help to suffering Christians in the Nineveh Plains
Representatives of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) and the Knights of Columbus (KoC) were received today by Mr. Mourad Wahba the Assistant Secretary General at the United Nations Development Programme to brief the UN on the situation of Christians and minority populations in the Nineveh Plains.
ACN and KoC drew attention to the ongoing challenges for Christians seeking to return to their homes, highlighted the urgency for a coordinated response to preserve these minority communities, and offered their expertise on the ground. These Catholic charities are the largest single contributors to the preservation of the remaining 95,000 Christian IDPs in northern Iraq with over $50 million USD since the 2014 ISIS invasion.
SYRIA – THE SITUATION IN DAMASCUS IS CRITICALThe inhabitants of the Christian suburbs in the Syrian capital express their desperation at the constant attacks upon them. The international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is calling for prayers and for a cessation of all violence. According to a report sent to the pontifical foundation ACN by Caritas International, the situation in the Syrian capital is critical, with people scarcely daring to emerge from their homes.
In the last three days, Damascus has suffered a sudden increase in violence, including the Eastern Ghouta, a part controlled by the rebels, with reports of more than 250 people killed.
Faced with the tragic situations of conflict in various parts of the world, the Holy Father Pope Francis has called upon faithful Catholics to join in a special day of prayer and fasting for peace, this week on 23rd February, the first Friday of Lent. The Pope has also invited non-Catholics and non-Christians to join together with this initiative in whatever manner they deem most appropriate. In his appeal the Holy Father underlined in particular his concern for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and for South Sudan Two African bishops, Bishop Timothy Bodika Mansiyai of Kikwit in the DRC, and Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Adwok of the Archdiocese of Khartoum in Sudan, spoke recently to the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) about the crisis their people are suffering.