AFRICA/NIGERIA - "Christianity does not identify with Western civilization as Boko Haram says"
26/05/2018

Abuja - "The Church should continue to correct the distorted historical narrative of fundamentalist’s ideology which identifies colonialism and Western civilization with Christianity" say the Rectors of Seminaries of Nigeria in the document published at the end of a committee workshop held in early May at the Spiritan School of Philosophy in Isienu, Nsukka.
In the document entitled "Christian witness in the face of Islamic militancy", the history of Islam in Nigeria is briefly traced, underlining that in the nineteenth century the struggle against British colonizers by the Islamist preacher of the Fulani ethnic group, Uthman dan Fodio , "waved the flag of pure Islam and refused all Western Culture".
A century and a half later, Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen continue the same ideological line. Boko Haram has committed "ceaseless attacks on churches and schools, communities and security agencies, leading to the loss of thousands of lives and property. And today Fulani herdsmen kill, plunder and occupy territories without the government being able to stop them".
"These groups - underline the Rectors of seminaries - are motivated by the ideology that Islam has to rule in all spheres of life. And above all Western civilization is antithetical to Islam and it is not possible for Islam to co-exist with democracy and with those they call infidels".
To counteract these trends, the statement suggests fighting against ignorance "that plays a vital role in the history of fundamentalism". "For this reason the Church and the government should continue to foster education at the grassroot and establish schools where they are not found".
Christians should also promote policies of economic development, defense of democracy and fundamental human rights, above all that of life, remaining united in professing their faith and bearing witness to the love of Christ.
ASIA/IRAQ - Ministry of Foreign Affairs: thanks to Pope Francis for his support for Iraq
26/05/2018

Baghdad - The Iraqi Foreign Ministry presents his thanks to His Holiness Pope Francis and the “Vatican” for their “continuous support” to Iraq and its people “at this pivotal stage for peace and coexistence”. A further, recent manifestation of this support is identified by Iraqi Foreign Ministry in "granting the Iraqi Patriarch Mar Luis Raphael I Sako the title of Cardinal". This title - specifies the statement released by the Ministry, and signed by official spokesman Ahmed Mahjoob - "is considered a high rank after the Pope". The co-optation of Patriarch Sako in the College of Cardinals will also represent a recognition of his humanitarian initiatives in the eyes of the Iraqi political leadership. Thanks to the future Iraqi Cardinal - say Baghdad officials - Iraq "will have a voice in the Vatican and international forums" in order to support Iraq in its "fight against terrorism" and to "preserve its religious diversity".
AFRICA/NIGERIA - Appointment of the Auxiliary of Enugu
26/05/2018

Vatican City - The Holy Father Francis has appointed the Rev. Ernest Obodo, of the clergy of Enugu, Rector of St. Bernard Senior Seminary Hostel and professor at the Bigard Memorial Seminary in Enugu, as Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Enugu , assigning him the titular seat of Mediana.
The new Bishop was born on 24 October 1966 in Awha-Imezi, Diocese of Enugu. He entered the "Sacred Heart" Minor Seminary, Nsude, and carried out his studies in Philosophy and Theology at the Bigard Memorial Major Seminary in Enugu. He was ordained a priest on July 22, 2000 for the Diocese of Enugu.
Since his priestly ordination he has held the following positions: 2000-2001: Parish Vicar of the Queen of Holy Rosary Parish, Ugwuagor; 2001-2004: Parish priest of St. Charles Parish, Amechi Idodo; 2004-2009: Formator at St. Bernard's Hostel Seminary, Nchatancha; Secretary of the diocesan Clergy of Enugu; Chaplain of the St. Jude Society; Member of the diocesan Commission for History; 2010-2016: Studies for a Licentiate and Doctorate in Theology at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. Since 2016: Rector of the St. Bernard Senior Seminary Hostel and professor at the Bigard Memorial Seminary in Enugu.

AFRICA/TANZANIA - The family, the cradle of vocations to the priesthood and to consecrated life
26/05/2018

Dar es Salaam - "Families are kindergartens where priests, religious, parents and good faithful come from", said Msgr. Flavian Kasala, Bishop of Geita, member of the Association of Catholic Bishops of East Africa in a recent meeting in Dar es Salaam. The Bishop observed that families have the responsibility of guaranteeing and anticipating a formation to their children before they go to school or receive the sacraments: "If they are properly formed, it will be easy for them to respond to their vocation". As reported by the local press, Msgr. Kasala urged all parents to instill evangelical values in their children through a human and Christian formation aimed at breaking the moral decline among young people in society.
"The tendency in our society of young people who do not want to marry in Church or priests who renounce their ministry is being strengthened. These few events should make us reflect seriously and resolve these challenges as best as we can", underlined the Bishop of Geita, highlighting the urgent need to invest in the formation of the family for a better future.
At the same time, Msgr. Kasala praised couples, parents, priests, men and women religious who carry out their vocations in a serious and conscientious manner. "We have seen stable marriages and families, courageous priests and religious. The few who go against their call to holiness should not make us change the ecclesiastical discipline that has existed for years".
The Church in Tanzania celebrates 150 years of evangelization in 2018, in memory of the arrival of the first missionaries on the coast of the country, in Bagamoyo.
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