CRISIS IN NICARAGUA – CARDINAL BRENES TELLS ACN:

“Please put pressure on the government, urging it to show respect for the bishops, the priests and the population.” This was the appeal issued via ACN by Cardinal Leopoldo José José Brenes Solorzano, the Archbishop of Managua, Nicaragua.

The Cardinal also spoke about the difficult situation in Masaya, a town some 30 km south of the capital Managua, which has become a symbol of the opposition to the government of President Daniel Ortega and which since 6am local time Tuesday has been besieged “by over 1000 soldiers and police. So far no deaths have been recorded, but undoubtedly there will be numerous injured victims. The town has been submerged under a wave of bullets”, the Cardinal stated.

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Red Wednesday is an initiative of Aid to the Church in Need set down this year for 28 November.

It is a day to gather and pray in solidarity with those who are persecuted and suffer unjustly for their peacefully held beliefs.

Persecution in the world’s worst-affected regions has reached a new peak, the impact of which is now being felt in all its horror.

In Syria and Iraq the crisis is immense and the evidence shows that Christians have fallen victim to a genocide conducted by Daesh (ISIS). In Syria 13.1 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. 5.5 million have fled the country, half of them are Christians.

Iraq and Syria are countries of serious concern but there are also abuses of religious liberty taking place in 23 other countries/regions including (but not limited to) India, Pakistan, China, Africa and South America.

The purpose of Red Wednesday is for us to join with people of all faiths to raise a strong voice in support of the persecuted who cannot profess their religion freely:

Christians in Egypt and Iraq
the Baha’i community in Iran
Catholics in the southern Philippines
the Rohingya in Myanmar
Jewish communities in Europe
people of all faiths in China.

Red Wednesday coincides with the release of the 2018 Religious Freedom in the World Report. A document produced every two years by Aid to the Church in Need the Report assesses issues relating to religious freedom for all faith groups in 196 countries. It can be viewed from 23 November at: http://religious-freedom-report.org/ 

As well as the release of the Religious Freedom Report 2018 we will gather and pray in solidarity with those of all faiths who are persecuted and suffer unjustly for their peacefully held beliefs.

Let’s spread the word and use social media to make #RedWednesday 2018 a campaign that cannot be ignored.

Over the past year, the pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need maintained a high level of donations which has been documented in the organisation’s 2017 Annual Report released following attestation by the auditing firm KPMG.

The report shows that the total sum of donations, legacies and other income was over AUD$182 million ($182,736,571 to be exact). The largest part of the donated funds (82.5%) was used to finance mission related expenses. The main share served to fund 5,357 projects in 149 countries. Of the mission-related expenses, 16% served to raise awareness for the cause of the suffering church, media work and advocacy work with political institutions.

Nigeria – The roots of a conflict with social and religious ramifications 

Bishop Ignatius Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos, capital of the Plateau State, spoke to ACN - Canada about one of the main conflicts in his country: the one between the Fulani herdsmen (nomads and majority Moslems), and the farmers (sedentary and predominantly Christian). 

Mons. Kaigama (a veteran and fervent defender of peace) shared his knowledge on the conflict which requires a skillful and human dialogue, in an ever-increasing quest for the common good.

Mons. Kaigama

ACN: Bishop Kaigama, could you explain what has changed in this conflict that has been going on for a few years?

Msgr Kaigama: The question of the herdsmen [referring here to the herding of cattle] who are mainly Fulani, and that of the farmers has become very complicated. Farmers cultivate their land using manual methods. When crops grow, they complain that the Fulani cows come and eat them. This situation is very worrying for them, as it deprives them of their main means of subsistence and generates strong tensions between the two communities. In retaliation, farmers attack the cows. Cows are worth more than anything to the Fulani. Also, if you kill a cow, if you attack them, the herdsmen will retaliate by attacking everything that belongs to you. Sometimes they go so far as to burn houses, kill families, and destroy crops. This is a very serious problem that we see especially in the northern part of Nigeria.

The extremely grave situation for priests in Venezuela continues to be one of the major concerns of the pontifical foundation ACN.

Yet another priest has been murdered in Venezuela in the wave of violence that has swept across the country. Father Irailuis García of the parish of Our Lady of Fatima was shot three times by intruders who stole his van in the grounds of his presbytery on Tuesday 9 July. His death was confirmed in a communiqué from the diocese of Barquisimeto, in the northeast of the country, which at the same time appealed for prayers for his soul.

Father Irailuis García of the parish of Our Lady of Fatima. He was shot three times by intruders who stole his van in the grounds of his presbytery on Tuesday 9 July 2018 - Image Credit: Conferencia Episcopal Venezuela

 

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