NEWS BRIEFS

Tej Francis

VATICAN CITY

Miracles attributed to Pope Paul VI, Romero clear way for sainthood

(CNS)  Pope Francis has cleared the way for the canonization of Blesseds Paul VI and Oscar Romero. At a meeting March 6 with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, Pope Francis signed decrees for the causes of 13 men and women — among them a pope, an archbishop, two young laywomen and a number of priests and nuns.

He recognized a miracle attributed to Blessed Paul, who, according Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, will be declared a saint in late October at the end of the Synod of Bishops on youth and discernment. Blessed Paul, who was born Giovanni Battista Montini, was pope from 1963 to 1978. Pope Francis also formally signed the decree recognizing the miracle needed to advance the sainthood cause of Archbishop Romero of San Salvador, martyr.

El Salvador’s ambassador to the Holy See, Manuel Roberto Lopez, told Catholic News Service March 7 that the news of the pope’s approval “took us by surprise.” “They told us before that the process was going well and that all we needed was the approval of the miracle, and it turns out the pope approved it yesterday,” he said.

Lopez told CNS that he was happy that Blessed Oscar Romero’s canonization was imminent and that his holiness was recognized alongside one of his earliest supporters. “To see that he will be canonized along with (Blessed) Paul VI, who was a great friend of Archbishop Romero and supported his work, is a great blessing,” Lopez said. The Vatican did not announce a date for Blessed Romero’s canonization.

SYRIA

Syrian Trappist nuns say Western powers and factional media fuel war propaganda

(AsiaNews) In a written appeal, the religious systematically take apart the version of the conflict touted by governments, NGOs and international news organizations. In Ghouta east, jihadists attack the capital and use civilians as human shields. The Syrian government and people have a duty to defend themselves from external attacks. The conflict alone has undermined the coexistence between Christians and Muslims in the country.

“We, the people who live in Syria, we are really exhausted and exasperated by this global indignation that issues blanket condemnations of people who defend their lives and their land.” Because the victims of a bloody war now in its seventh year, are not only hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, but also the truth and information too often enslaved by the interests of foreign governments and powers. These are the harsh words contained in a written appeal issued by the Syrian Trappist sisters, who have first-hand experience of the tragedy of the conflict.

In recent weeks, international bodies, Western chancelleries and large news networks have launched a frontal attack on the Damascus government and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, accusing them of deliberately targeting civilians trapped in Ghouta East, a rebel enclave in the suburbs of the capital. However, the religious say, it is from that area “that the attacks against the civilians who live in the part controlled by the government began, and not vice versa.” Moreover, those in the area “who did not support the jihadists, were put in iron cages: men, women, hung outdoors and used as human shields.”

The religious do not spare the neighboring countries that have favored the entry of “mercenaries” to fuel the conflict and the governments in the West who have trafficked with the jihadists to get oil below cost. “Today to tell Syria, the Syrian government, not to defend its nation – the nuns emphasize – is against all justice”. And those who speak of “the Churches’ partisan reverence of “Assad, they conclude, “reveal that they do not know Syria, because Christians and Muslims live together in this land. This war alone is to blame for wounding this cohabitation in many parts of the country”.

EGYPT

Egypt regularizes 53 churches built without a permit

(AsiaNews)  Rev. Refaat Fathi, secretary general of the Council of Churches of Egypt, said earlier this week that the implementation of the law on the regularization of the status of churches in Egypt is a very important step “so that every citizen can have his or her legal rights recognized and know how to act in light of this”.

“We got the approval of the ministerial committee, chaired by the Prime Minister himself, which is charged with regularizing the legal status of churches and buildings erected without permits”. The situation touches 53 Christian buildings. In fact, Law 80 on building and restoring churches and religious buildings was approved by the Egyptian Parliament in August 2016. Some 53 churches and Christian buildings in a number of Egyptian towns and villages now have the right papers and legal status.

“I know that the authorities are serious about trying to find solutions to the current crisis, and the Presidency of the Republic has proved that it really wants to solve all the problems concerning the construction and restoration of churches.” At the same time, Rev Fathi noted that, although many problems are now finding solutions, several governors continue to enforce the old law on churches of 1934, because the regulations to implement the new law of 2016 have not yet been adopted.

For its part, the Egyptian government had said that following a meeting in late February with the ministers of Housing, Interior, Justice, Parliamentary Affairs, Antiquities, Local Development and Social Solidarity, 53 churches were able to change their legal status.  At the end of this meeting, the spokesman for the Council of Ministers, Ashraf Sultan, told a television station that the regularization of these churches reflects the government’s desire to implement the principle of common citizenship for all Egyptians.

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