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Quotes and news

Patriarch laments abortion, violence

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal said:

“It is sad to note and heartbreaking to see that in our world millions of abortions are performed each year because of selfishness, hardness of hearts, ignorance, lack of preparation to accept and foster life, and the outright rejection of a life that begins from the first moment of conception.

“In a world torn apart by violence and fundamentalism, which legitimises the worst actions, including killings in churches, the Child of Bethlehem reminds us that the first commandment is love. He teaches us forgiveness and reconciliation, even with our enemies.”

Pope holds lunch with 250 poor people

Pope Benedict XVI invited 250 people who usually eat at the soup kitchens operated by the Missionaries of Charity in Rome, for lunch last Sunday. More than 100 members of the religious order, which was founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta, were also the Pope’s guests.

Respect for human rights linked to EU aid

European Parliament president Jerzy Buzek said he would keep a careful watch on the conditions facing Christians in Iraq. He was speaking after meeting a delegation of Iraqi Church leaders. He promised to press for action to safeguard the human rights of Iraq’s religious minority, and make appropriate safeguards a condition for new European aid.

Russian Patriarch urges acceptance of immigrants

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill said: “The Orthodox faithful should become pioneers in overcoming inter-ethnic tensions”. He was speaking in a context where immigrants to Moscow are facing difficulties due to xenophobic feelings against them. He argued that the Orthodox faith cannot support “the idea of national superiority”.

Pope deplores attacks on churches

“At this time of holy Christmas, the desire and the pleas for peace have become more intense. But our world continues to be marked by violence, especially against the disciples of Christ,” Pope Benedict XVI said at his noon blessing.

The Pope spoke after bombs went off in churches in the Philippines and Nigeria, killing or wounding several worshipers. In Pakistan, a suicide bombing against a World Food Program depot left 40 dead.

“I wish to express my heartfelt condolences for the victims of this absurd violence. Once again I make an appeal to abandon the path of hatred in order to find peaceful solutions to conflicts,” he said.

Religion banned from state daycare centres in Quebec

According to reports in Globe and Mail, Quebec’s family minister, Yolande James, has banned all religious instruction in government-subsidised daycare centres.

Under the new regulations, these centres are permitted to have Christmas trees and Nativity scenes, but are forbidden to identify Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as figures in the scene. Christmas carols are also forbidden.

To help enforce the regulations, the government is tripling the number of its daycare inspectors.

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)

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