PASCHAL UCHE The vision that shook me up p7 SPAIN RISING A Catholic nation reborn p7 EASTERN PROMISE Is yoga truly good for you? p9
Let’s throw a lifeline to Christians fleeing ISIS
BY ED WEST
A CATHOLIC peer has urged the British Government to help refugees caught in the Christian areas outside Mosul after the Islamist terror group ISIS overran the area, threatening Iraq’s dwindling Christian population with extinction.
Lord Alton of Liverpool raised the plight of religious minorities in the Nineveh Plains in the Queen’s Speech debate on Wednesday, tabling a parliamentary question that pressed the Government to “recognise the particularly dangerous position in which the refugees are trapped”.
He told The Catholic Herald: “The first priority is for the world to recognise this perilous situation and to provide protection. Helping with the safe passage of incredibly vulnerable Christian refugees into the relatively safe Kurdish region may be the most immediately helpful action that the international community could take. If the UN’s doctrine of a ‘duty to protect’ is not to be invoked in a case such as this it may as well be abandoned as worthless rhetoric.
“It would need a UN, or possibly NATO, mandate and simply be a ‘protection’ force providing safe passage. The most important task at present is to provide the refugees with immediate protection.”
Meanwhile, a leading Iraqi churchman has called on western powers not to intervene in the conflict. Archbishop Jean Sleiman of Baghdad told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need that the priority should be for Iraqi leaders to
“work together” to overcome the crisis. He said that establishing a political consensus in Iraq was critical to stopping ISIS. The group pulled off a series of military takeovers of key northern cities including Mosul, the country’s second city. Archbishop Sleiman, Latin Rite Catholic Archbishop of Baghdad since 2001, said: “ISIS needs to be stopped... In responding to this crisis, the international community should think of the common good, not their own interests. They should think of peace.”
NINA SHEA CHRISTIANS’ LAST STAND IN IRAQ PAGE 8
Archbishop Sleiman celebrated Sunday Mass at Baghdad’s St Joseph’s Chaldean Catholic Cathedral, where numbers were down. With ISIS only 30 miles from the capital many people are desperate to escape.
Crossbench peer Baroness Cox, a patron of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, asked written and oral questions in Parliament about helping refugees.
She told the Herald: “The magnitude and the level of atrocities has forced international attention but there has been an apparent lack of concern until now. Could it be the end game for Christians in Iraq and the Middle East?” Editorial Comment: Page 13
FRANCIS: WE MUST PUT PEOPLE BEFORE PROFIT
June 20 2014 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)
Pontiff boosts the Cause of English nurse
BY SIMON CALDWELL
A NURSE who tended dying soldiers alongside Florence Nightingale in the Crimean War could become Britain’s next saint after the Pope declared that she lived a life of “heroic virtue”.
Pope Francis has given Frances Taylor the title Venerable and authorised the Church to search for the two healing miracles needed to recognise her as a saint.
Frances, the youngest of 10 children of an Anglican vicar from Lincolnshire, was 22 when she volunteered to join the “Lady of the Lamp” in Scutari, Turkey, in 1854, when Britain, along with France and the Ottoman Empire, was at war with Russia.
She converted to Catholicism after she was impressed by the faith of the dying Irish soldiers she cared for.
She went on to establish a religious order – the Poor Servants of the Mother of God – which under her direction opened refuges for prostitutes and homeless women and children in London before spreading throughout Europe.
As Mother Magdalen Taylor, Frances also founded the Providence Free Hospital in St Helens, Lancashire, and took over the running of St Joseph’s Asylum in Dublin. She died in her convent in Soho Square in 1900 after falling ill en route to Rome. She is buried at Roehampton, south-west London, after establishing 20 institutions in her own lifetime.
Today her order continues to work particularly with the poor, the elderly and the disabled.
One miracle is needed for her beatification, when she would be declared Blessed, and a second miracle at her intercession is needed for her to be recognised as a saint.
If her Cause progresses swiftly she may become the first British woman to be declared a saint since 1970 when Pope Paul VI canonised Anne Line, Margaret Ward and Margaret Clitheroe, the 40 English and Welsh
Continued on Page 3
Pope Francis greets Cardinal Peter Turkson at a Vatican symposium on ethical investment on Monday. The Pope said ethics must ‘once again play its due part in the world of finance’ AP
Francis: I’m too old to have high security
BY STAFF REPORTER
POPE FRANCIS has said he does not worry about his personal security because “at my age I don’t have much to lose”.
The comment appeared in an interview with the Spanish daily La Vanguardia. The Pope acknowledged that his accessibility to crowds had left him vulnerable to attacks, but said his safety “is in God’s hands”.
“I cannot greet a nation and tell it that I love it from inside a sardine can, even one made of glass. For me that is a wall,” he said. Full story: Page 5
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Pope to make day trip to nation that banned religion until 1990
BY CONOR GAFFEY
POPE FRANCIS has announced that he will visit Albania in September to encourage the Catholic minority there and the people “who long suffered as a result of the ideologies of the past”.
The day-long visit to the capital Tirana will be Pope Francis’s first papal trip to a European nation outside Italy. Albania banned all religious practice from 1967 to 1990.
The Pope announced the visit after praying the Angelus with those gathered in St Peter’s Square.
Bishop George Frendo, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Tirana-Durrës in Albania, said the whole country was looking forward to the Pope’s visit.
Bishop Frendo said: “I’m sure he will be well received by all Albanians, independent of their religion.
“Pope Francis has attracted the sympathy of many people because of his attention to the marginalised. It is significant that Albania is the first European country he is visiting, as we are on the margins and outskirts of Europe.”
The bishop said that he appreciated the Pope’s solidarity with the suffering of the Church in Albania.
Bishop Frendo said: “Catholicism was the religion which suffered most under the Communist regime of Enver Hoxha. This was because the Church would not compromise with the regime. Many priests were brutally tortured and killed. There is a beatification process underway for 50 Albanian martyrs.”
Plans for the visit include Mass in Mother Teresa Square in Tirana, which it is hoped up to half a million people will attend. The Pope will also meet Orthodox, Protestant, Muslim and Bektashi leaders.
The last papal visit to Albania was made by St John Paul II in 1993. Melanie McDonagh: Page 12
Identical twins are ordained together BY CONOR GAFFEY
IDENTICAL twin brothers were ordained priests in America last weekend.
Todd and Gary Koenigsknecht, 26, were ordained in Michigan along with three others on Saturday.
Fr John Linden, the diocesan vocations director, described the twins as down to earth. “There is nobody those two boys couldn’t get into a conversation with,” he said. The Koenigsknecht brothers grew up in a family of 10 children on an organic dairy farm. They were inspired in their vocations by their uncle, Fr William Koenigsknecht. Their younger brother Lee, 19, has also completed his first year of seminary.
In 2006 the brothers entered seminary at the same time and later studied together at Sacred Heart Major seminary, Detroit.
They were both ordained deacons last May and have regularly been mistaken for each other by members of their respective parishes. They will now be separated for the first time after being assigned to parishes 50 miles apart.
Famous model quits to join religious order
BY ED WEST
A FAMOUS Spanish model and actress has become a nun after an “earthquake” experience during a visit to Fatima.
Olalla Oliveros, 36, appeared in adverts and television commercials, and worked as an actress, but has now entered the semi-cloistered Order of St Michael. She subsequently turned down an offer to star in a big-budget film.
The decision has caused surprise in a country which has seen a recent revival in the faith, following the secularising government of José Luis Zapatero. Miss Oliveros said she found the experience
Olalla Oliveros of visiting the shrine weird at first, but could not shake the image of herself dressed as a nun. After much thought she made her decision. “The Lord asked if I will follow him, and I could not refuse,” she said. Filip Mazurczak: Page 7
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