Highlighting the life, suffering and enduring hope of St. Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese slave, Washington Auxiliary Bishop Martin Holley called for reflection and action to combat modern-day slavery during his homily on the first International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking on Sunday.
In the 10 years since U.S.-born Sr. Dorothy Stang was killed by ranchers in the Amazon, the risks have not decreased, said one of the coordinators of the Brazilian bishops' Pastoral Land Commission.
Antonio Canuto, one of the commission's coordinators, said although the 73-year-old nun's assassination in Anapu brought awareness of the plight of the peasants with whom she worked, this has not been enough to decrease impunity in the region.
"The reality continues the same as it was when Sister Dorothy was alive," Canuto said.
Church leaders criticized police manhandling of Christians who gathered Feb. 5 at the gate of Sacred Heart Cathedral in New Delhi to protest recent attacks on churches.
"The people are angry, anguished and frustrated. Five churches have been attacked in Delhi in two months and yet, not a single arrest has been made so far," Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi told Catholic News Service Feb. 5.
As world attention shifts to the growing influence of Muslim militant groups on the African continent, few have paid any attention to the ongoing bloody conflict in South Sudan.
An estimated 50,000 people have died and 2 million have been displaced in the latest phase of fighting in this nation, according to the International Crisis Group, a think tank that aims to prevent and resolve such conflicts. That’s about five times more than in northern Nigeria, where the Islamist militant group Boko Haram has killed more than 5,000 people in six years.
The head of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines said it was up to President Benigno Aquino III to decide whether he should resign, "after prayerful discernment."
Aquino was facing a growing cry for his resignation, with a few individual bishops joining the call, a week-and-a-half after 44 police troops were killed in one of the bloodiest encounters with Muslim rebels in recent history.
"Although the interests of churches like ours will be of secondary concern to those now in power, I think we can be hopeful our possibilities will improve."
The authors of a new paper issued by the Brookings Institute stress the importance of religious literacy in diplomatic dialogue.
Titled "Integrating Religious Engagement Into Diplomacy: Challenges and Opportunities," the paper was written by Peter Mandaville, a professor at George Mason University in Virginia, and Sara Silvestri, a senior lecturer at City University London.
Members of Parliament voted Tuesday to allow the creation of human embryos from the DNA of three people to try to eradicate a type of genetic disease that has caused the deaths of thousands of babies.
If the measure also passes Britain's upper chamber, the House of Lords, England would become the first country to legalize the procedure.
"This is world-leading science within a highly respected regulatory regime and for the many families affected, this is light at the end of a very dark tunnel," said Health Minister Jane Ellison.
With the new International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking, Catholic leaders hope to draw attention to what many have called the modern slave trade.
Bishop Cosmas Shi Enxiang of Yixian, 94, a member of the so-called underground Catholic church who has not been seen since his arrest in 2001, has died, a relative said.
Born in Hebei province, Shi was arrested April 13, 2001, Good Friday, at his niece's home in Beijing. He was held without charge in a secret location.
"We were informed by Baoding city government officials on Friday morning, but they did not say when he died exactly or the cause of his death," Shi Chunyan, the bishop's great-niece, told the Asian Catholic news portal ucanews.com on Saturday.