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24th February 2020

Lent in Black and White – A Reflection

Two centuries after Nieuw Amsterdam had become New York, a treat still somewhat unique to that city was born, the black and white cookie. It is coated half-and-half with dark and light frosting. Though when I was a kid I gave up eating them during Lent, those cookies are an apt symbol for the season. We generally think of Lent as a time of gloom. … Read more

India: Acquittal of Christians Wrongly Accused of Forced Conversions

The six men and two women were freed on Feb. 18 by the criminal court in Ratlam in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.“Justice has finally been done,” said Tehmina Arora, director of the legal team of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Christian forum that took up the case. “But we must not forget the toll that such false cases take on families. No one … Read more

Philippines: Siffer Penalties for Child Abuse and Exploitation

Philippine lawmakers have passed a measure that would impose stiffer penalties in child abuse, exploitation and discrimination cases.The proposed Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act imposes bigger fines and longer jail terms for violators. “This is a good step to minimize or totally eradicate cases involving children,” said Father Conegundo Garganta, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Youth.However, he said, … Read more

Cameroon: Bishops from across the Globe Call for Urgent Peace Talks

Roman Catholic bishops from around the world are calling on the Cameroon government to hold urgent peace talks with the country’s English-speaking separatists and moderates. As violence grows in the central African country, church leaders are urging President Paul Biya to enter negotiations to find a peaceful constitutional settlement that addresses the grievances of the Anglophone community. Human rights groups report that both the Cameroon … Read more

Pakistan: Constraints on Christian Outreach

In his book The Crimson Lily in our Midst, the British Mill Hill Father Tom Rafferty recounted the difficulties of evangelism in Punjab, Afghanistan, Kashmir and North West Frontier province (now called Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). “John van Eyndhoven was one of the first Mill Hill missionaries to be sent as chaplain to the British forces in North West Frontier province … he had just begun to set … Read more

Vatican: Training for Diplomatic Service to Include a Year of Mission

There is no doubt that the decision, now formalized by the Successor of Peter, represents a truly significant change in the course of studies for those who will serve in the Nunciatures and who will, in many cases, be made bishops at a relatively young age. A fundamental piece of the curriculum now becomes the year dedicated to missionary service in the field, far from … Read more

India: ‘Facing Most Critical Phase in its History’

The Feb. 12 open letter by Jesuit Father Cedric Prakash was written as the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) was about to begin its 34th biennial plenary assembly Feb. 13-19 in Bengaluru. The theme of this year’s assembly is “Dialogue: The Path to Truth and Charity.” “Dear Bishops, your meeting takes place at a time when the country is perhaps in the most critical phase … Read more

Egyptian Coptic Church Marks 5th Anniversary of 21 Martyrs Beheaded by ISIS in Libya

As the Egyptian Coptic Church marks the 5th anniversary of the 21 Christian men who were beheaded by ISIS on a Libyan beach on February 15, 2015, the mother of two brothers who were among those that were killed by the abductors has said that she is a “mother of martyrs” and exuded confidence that her sons are in heaven, praying for her family. “I’m … Read more

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