The 17-day popular uprising in Egypt, which saw hundreds of thousands demonstrate in cities across the country, has prompted a "strategic rethink" for Catholic Relief Services operations across the region, said Mark Schnellbaecher, the agency’s regional director for Europe and the Middle East.
Benjamín Jiménez Hernández, the bishop of Culiacán, Sinaloa, extended his arm. Speaking in his packed and sweltering church in northwestern Mexico, he called for action, as his flock sweated it out. “We must fight for our faith, we must fight for our future. ... This heat we’re living in today, we must use our faith to conquer it.”
A group of young narcos, as Mexico’s drug traffickers are known, had been killed the day before in Jiménez’s violence-plagued city. Hundreds of locals had turned up to the church to hear his words of calm, braving the 90-degree heat inside to hear what they hoped might be solutions.
There were none. As they filed out of Mass, many of the faithful simply shook their heads. They headed back to their homes, dismayed, perhaps comforted, but nothing more. The next day, the headlines offered up more of the same: three more Culiacán narcos butchered.
Hosni Mubarak’s resignation today after 29 years of rule as president of Egypt has led to jubilation among young people there and newfound faith in the direction of the country, one person involved in the struggle told NCR from the city of Alexandria.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak defied demonstrators request that he resign today, saying in a speech he "can not and will not accept to be dictated orders from outside." Amid reports of the demonstrations spreading yesterday, NCR asked Stephen Zunes, a professor of politics and international studies at the University of San Francisco and chair of their program in Middle East studies, for his take on the upheaval in the North African nation.
VATICAN CITY -- With the new English translation of the Roman Missal "substantially complete," a committee that advises the Vatican on English translations has added five new members, including two Americans.
The new members of the Vox Clara Committee, established by the Vatican in 2001, included Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix, and Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., former chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Divine Worship.
Other new members of the international committee, which met Feb. 2-3 at the Vatican, were Irish Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam; Auxiliary Bishop David McGough of Birmingham, England; and Bishop John Tong Hon of Hong Kong.
A press release about the meeting was posted on the blog of Vox Clara member Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa, Ontario.
WASHINGTON -- A year after the Department of Homeland Security stopped deportations to Haiti for humanitarian reasons, the agency is being urged back off its recent resumption of deportations on the grounds that civil unrest, cholera and slow earthquake recovery make Haiti too dangerous.
The Egyptian uprising has dominated the headlines in Israel over the past weeks.
As anti-government demonstrators continued to press for the removal of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak Feb. 4, NCR spoke with Adam Keller, a founding member of the Israeli peace organization Gush Shalom and editor of The Other Side, a bi-monthly newsletter documenting the struggle for Israeli/Palestinian peace.
“[The Haitians] got together and swore a pact to the devil ... ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other.”
When I heard Pat Robertson quoted in the news immediately following Haiti’s Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake, I imagined his theology to be an extreme anomaly, akin to Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church and its “God hates fags” campaign. Little did I suspect that I would be in Haiti three months later, working side by side with an American missionary who shared Robertson’s perspective.
Southern Sudan has voted to secede from the northern part of the country, an official tally of votes for the historic Jan. 9-15 vote is expected to reveal today.
Final results for the vote are due this afternoon. Christian S.N. Lewis was in the country during the vote as part of a reporting trip to Africa. She filed this report for NCR two weeks ago, when the results of the election were still unofficial.
PERTH, Australia -- Australia's Catholic bishops praised the Australian and Afghanistan governments for signing a deal they hope will be "a shift away from ineffective and cruel policies of deterrence to control forced migration."
The two governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding Jan. 17 with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
In a Feb. 4 statement, the Australian bishops' Migrant and Refugee Office expressed the hope that the agreement represents "a more proactive approach which addresses the underlying issue of war and instability in Afghanistan."
The bishops said that people smuggling activities cannot be controlled by returning unsuccessful asylum seekers to Afghanistan.
"The message is lost on people who are desperate and have no other choice," the statement said, and urged the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Bowen to guarantee "beyond doubt" that those who are returned to Afghanistan will be protected from violence and persecution.
"Australia is paving the way for the rest of the international community to start sending refugees back to Afghanistan. To do so would likely escalate the situation," the statement said.