Hundreds march in Solidarity for Bishops amidst Sedition Complaint

On July 31, the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan organized a Mass and a candle-lighting ceremony to express solidarity for the faithful leaders accused of inciting sedition, cyber libel, libel, and obstruction of justice. Involved in the sedition charge are the Vice President of the Philippines and 35 others, including four bishops and several priests. The bishops cited include Archbishop Socrates Villegas, President of ACN Philippines and Member of the Supervisory Board of the International Foundation and retired Bishop Teodoro Bacani,  Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao and Bishop Pablo David of Caloocan.

Held at the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist in Dagupan, hundreds of people marched in prayer after Mass on Wednesday in support of Archbishop Villegas and the other three bishops innocently charged.

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Solidarity march for the Filipino bishops charged with sedition complaints by the Philippine national police:
Archbishop Socrates Villegas (ACN Philippines President) with people during the march. They are demanding "Justice for Father Soc!"
Photographer: ACN Philippines. 
Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need

“Religious fundamentalism places Christians on the fringes of society”

Archbishop reports on the current situation in the Holy Land

Pierbattista Pizzaballa has already spent more than three decades of his life in the Holy Land. In 2016, the Franciscan was made Archbishop and Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. In an interview with Daniele Piccini while visiting ACN Germany, the archbishop recently explained why current international political decisions exacerbate the conflict in the Holy Land and why the Church is relying on the power of small steps.

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Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa (Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Franciscan Custos of the Holy Land) during Abu Dhabi conference on human fraternity. 
Photographer: Oliver Maksan. Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need

Bishop in Central African Republic: violence is not driven by Muslim-Christian conflict

Various media reports suggest that the ongoing crisis in Central African Republic (CAR) is caused by a Muslim-Christian conflict or even Islamist efforts to subdue Christians. That is not the case, said one of the country’s prominent Catholic leaders. The ongoing bloodshed, said Bishop Nestor Nongo-Aziagba of Bossangoa, president of the CAR bishops’ conference, is the result of economic exploitation—the pursuit by both state and non-state actors of the country’s rich diamond and gold deposits. “Let us not use religion to cover up exploitation,” he said speaking  with Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) during a recent visit to Washington, D.C, where he attended the second annual Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom which brought together some 1,000 religious leaders  and representatives of government and non-governmental organizations, including ACN.

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Bishop Nestor Nongo-Aziagba of Bossangoa in CAR for priestly and diaconate ordinations in Ibadan, Nigeria (July 2014)
Photographer: Diocese of Bossangoa, CAR. Copyright Aid to the Church in Need.

CAMEROON: Women maimed as Boko Haram strikes terror

by Maria Lozano

On the night of July 29, members of the terrorist group Boko Haram attacked the town of Gagalari in the diocese of Yagoua in the Far North region of Cameroon.

According to information received from local sources by Aid to the Church in Need, the terrorists seem to have changed their strategy, now targeting the town's women. "They arrived during the night, entered the houses one by one and kidnapped the women. Only the women. They took them to the outskirts and amputated one ear of each of the victims. Then they released them threatening them and telling them that they would return, that this is the first touch intervention, but others will follow. It is terrifying. "

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Children in a village in Bauchi Diocese devastated by Boko Haram. Photographer: Corinne Zaugg. Copyright Aid to the Church in Need.

Courage and faith celebrated as cathedral re-opens
by Citra Abbott & Maria Lozano

The reopening of a bomb-blasted cathedral in the Philippines, six months on from terror attacks which killed 20 people, has been hailed as a testimony to the local Church’s faith and resilience despite the ongoing threat of Islamic extremism. Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need’s national director in the Philippines Jonathan Luciano described witnessing the local Christian community’s faith and courage at the re-dedication Mass of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo. Mr Luciano said: “Security was really tight – police and soldiers locked down an entire block of the city. “Yet the cathedral was packed. The dedication was attended by hundreds. It was inspiring to see the families of the victims and the survivors of the blasts there.”

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