Thousands of Christians trapped in Syrian village

Damascus, Syria, Aug 25, 2012 / 04:38 pm (CNA).- Syrian rebel forces have trapped over 12,000 Greek Catholics in a village near the Lebanese border, causing shortages of food, medicine and other urgent supplies. For over 10 days the village of Rableh in the area of Homs has suffered under a strict blockade from armed opposition forces that have surrounded it, Fides news agency says. Snipers have killed at least three men of the village, including a married father of four. Melkite Greek … [Read more...]

Pope to proceed with Lebanon trip despite Syria violence

Rome, Italy, Aug 23, 2012 / 02:17 am (CNA/EWTN News).- As fighting in neighboring Syria rages on, Pope Benedict XVI has confirmed that he will proceed with his trip to Lebanon as planned. "The Christians in Lebanon are looking forward to the Holy Father's visit with great joy,” Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Boutros Rai told Aid to the Church in Need Aug. 22. Escalating violence in Syria and increased tensions in Lebanon gave rise to speculation that the Pope would postpone or … [Read more...]

Mentally impaired child arrested under Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy law

Islamabad, Pakistan, Aug 21, 2012 / 03:59 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A young girl who suffers from Down's Syndrome has been arrested in Pakistan for allegedly burning a page from the Quran and could face the death penalty. Police confirmed that they arrested a young girl named Rimsha on Aug. 16 at the urging of neighbors who claim they saw her burning pages of the book outside her home, according to Vatican Radio. Some reports describe the girl from Islamabad as a teenager, while others say … [Read more...]

Maronite patriarch warns Syrian conflict could spread to Lebanon

Antioch, Turkey, Aug 19, 2012 / 05:04 pm (CNA).- Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai of Antioch, the head of the Maronite Catholic Church, has warned that the armed conflict in Syria is affecting neighboring Lebanon and could trigger a major conflict in the country. “The civil war in Syria between the Sunni majority and the Alawite minority has already begun to have an impact on the Sunnis and Alawites in north Lebanon, in Tripoli and Akkar,” he told Aid to the Church in Need. The … [Read more...]

Catholic vicariate moves from Kuwait to Bahrain

Awali, Bahrain, Aug 14, 2012 / 01:56 am (CNA).- The Catholic Church’s Vicariate of Northern Arabia will move its headquarters from Kuwait to Bahrain, saying the country’s location is more accessible for meetings. Apostolic vicar Bishop Camillo Ballin expressed his “heartfelt gratitude” to King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain and the ruling family for their “magnanimous gesture of goodwill to the Catholic community of Bahrain,” the bishop’s office … [Read more...]

Church leaders urge Egyptian troops to rescue Sinai hostages

Jerusalem, Israel, Aug 10, 2012 / 12:07 am (CNA).- “Dramatic changes” in the Sinai peninsula region offer Egypt's government a chance to rescue trafficking and torture victims, an assembly of Middle Eastern Catholic leaders said Aug. 9. “Due to the deployment of Egyptian troops in Sinai following the recent violence on the Israeli-Egyptian border, a window of opportunity opens up,” the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land said in a communique. The … [Read more...]

Christian community in Nigeria rocked by new wave of attacks

Abuja, Nigeria, Aug 7, 2012 / 05:32 pm (CNA).- Nigerian Christians are losing patience after an Aug. 6 attack on a church service in a central region of the country that killed twenty-five Christians. There is “not any religion in the world that accepts the killing of innocent people at their worshipping centers,” Tunde Ishaku, a leader of the Christian Association of Nigeria told the Christian Science Monitor. “We have to be serious now and take urgent action for the … [Read more...]