POPE TO TRUMP: MAY YOUR DECISIONS BE GUIDED BY SPIRITUAL, ETHICAL VALUES THAT SHAPED AMERICAN HISTORY

POPE TO TRUMP: MAY YOUR DECISIONS BE GUIDED BY SPIRITUAL, ETHICAL VALUES THAT SHAPED AMERICAN HISTORY

Following is the message that Pope Francis sent yesterday to Donald Trump on the occasion of inauguration as president of the United States:

The Honorable Donald Trump
President of the United States of America
The White House
Washington

“Upon your inauguration as the forty-fifth President of the United States of America, I offer you my cordial good wishes and the assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will grant you wisdom and strength in the exercise of your high office.

“At a time when our human family is beset by grave humanitarian crises demanding far-sighted and united political responses, I pray that your decisions will be guided by the rich spiritual and ethical values that have shaped the history of the American people and your nation’s commitment to the advancement of human dignity and freedom worldwide.

“Under your leadership, may America’s stature continue to be measured above all by its concern for the poor, the outcast and those in need who, like Lazarus, stand before our door.

“With these sentiments, I ask the Lord to grant you and your family, and all the beloved American people, his blessings of peace, concord and every material and spiritual prosperity.

FRANCISCUS PP.”

 

NEW BEGINNINGS

NEW BEGINNINGS

I arrived Washington, D.C. last evening to attend Friday’s inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, a day of history in the making as this is the first time Americans have said ‘no’ to politicians who had been running for the highest office in the land and choose instead a political outsider.

I will leave political discourse to others at the moment. However, I will say that what was important for me this year as I listened to and studied the two candidates running for the presidency, was electing a person who, in addition to improving the economy and the reputation of the U.S. abroad, etc. would protect life, traditional marriage and religious freedom – values that have been under attack and eroded in recent years.

Number One on my list of priorities as I voted was who the two candidates would name as future justices for the Supreme Court – and that left me only one choice. I felt (feel) that we needed to replace the late and great Justice Antonin Scalia as fast as you can say his name and only one person would do that. And I will witness his inauguration Friday.

Hopefully, in coming days I’ll be able to bring you some of the upcoming events via radio, photos and Facebook postings, including Facebook Live. I’ll make sure everything is charged to 100% – cameras, cell phone, etc. including my small, portable charger.

A packet of materials including passes and tickets to events was in my hotel room when I checked in a few hours ago. I was thrilled beyond words as I studied each document, ticket, ID card, map, etc. Here are some photos (although I’ll only publish some IDs and tickets after the event – don’t want to give anyone the chance to make a copy).

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We are in section Green 12:

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Yesterday afternoon I took a shuttle from Dulles Airport to IWP, the Institute for World Politics where my friend Kathy Carroll works. I was her houseguest last night and will be again after the inauguration as I stay in D.C. to participate in the January 27 March for Life!

John Lenczowski, a friend as well as the founder and president of IWP, was just leaving the building as I arrived so we spoke briefly. As we were talking, sirens, many, many sirens, could be heard coming towards us on 16th Street. About a dozen or motorcycle cops and several police cars preceded a seven-car motorcade and that was followed by additional cars and motorcycles.  John wondered aloud if the motorcade was for a head of State – or perhaps even Trump.

Turned out it was indeed the president-elect! He was in town for a huge dinner attended by donors, diplomats and future White House staffers, among others.

This morning, as Kathy and I drove in to D.C. from Virginia, there were plenty of signs of the big events – lots of police and security, some barricades were already set up (for example, in front of the Trump International Hotel, although I later learned that those barriers have been there since the hotel was inaugurated this fall), color bunting on some buildings and hundreds of portable bathrooms. A number of roads downtown will be closed tomorrow to all traffic for several days. In addition, many offices will close tomorrow for half, perhaps even the whole, day while all offices in D.C. will close Friday.

Thousands upon thousands of security people, police officers, National Guard members, etc. are already hard at work to guarantee security, many uniformed and large numbers in plainclothes. Phone carriers have increased their potential by 400% in the area of the Capitol as they know everyone in the vicinity will use cameras, videos, cell phones, etc. Hope that works as promised!

I’m counting on a lot of walking as broad areas around major events will be closed and taxis, limos, etc can only take us to within a number of blocks of the event.

I will be on EWTN’s “Morning Glory” tomorrow in the 7:30 am slot so tune in for that as, whatever I have to share about these days, I’ll bring to you tomorrow! Hopefully I’ll have time to write a bit tomorrow but don’t expect much on Friday – will try to post photos and do Facebook Live.

Whatever your feelings about our future president, he will be our president as of noon Friday. We wish him well and will pray for him because where he succeeds, we succeed. If he is great and does great things, we too will be great!

POPE SENDS CONDOLENCES FOR PLANE CRASH IN KYRGYZSTAN – BISHOPS VISIT HOLY LAND ON 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF OCCUPATION OF PALESTINE

Today is Religious Freedom Day in the U.S. and, in the event you were not aware of this special day, here is a link that will explain it: http://www.religiousfreedomday.com/

There is a separate internal link for churches: http://www.religiousfreedomsunday.com/

I leave tomorrow for Washington D.C. where I will be able to participate in many inaugural events. I’m delighted to add that I’ll be staying on through the January 27th March for Life, the annual event that EWTN covers from gavel to gavel, so to speak. Perhaps I’ll even see some of you there!  If you come to D.C. for that event, try to look me up – I’m hoping I’ll be near a microphone!

While in D.C. I will have some office space in which to work and will do my best to bring you news, photos, perhaps even some videos and Facebook Live postings. I do not know where my schedule will bring me but I do know my days will be filled with fascinating people and events!

POPE SENDS CONDOLENCES FOR PLANE CRASH IN KYRGYZSTAN

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent his condolences after a cargo plane crashed in a residential area outside Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. The Turkish plane was flying from Hong Kong, and was scheduled to stop at Manas Airport, before continuing to Istanbul.

At least 37 people were killed in the crash, most of them on the ground. Over half the houses in the small village next to the airport were reported destroyed in the accident. (photo news.va)

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Following is the telegram sent in Pope Francis’ name by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin:

“Deeply saddened to learn of the tragic crash of a cargo plane near Bishkek, Pope Francis sends his condolences to all those who have lost loved ones, particularly in Manas, and commends the souls of the deceased to the mercy of Almighty God. In praying for the search and rescue efforts, His Holiness invokes upon the nation the divine blessings of strength and consolation.”

BISHOPS VISIT HOLY LAND ON 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF OCCUPATION OF PALESTINE

(Vatican Radio)  The Holy Land Co-ordination, comprising bishops from across Europe, North America, and South Africa, is on its annual pilgrimage to the area with the aim of visiting and supporting the local Christian communities.

Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces in New Mexico, USA, is participating in the pilgrimage which runs from 14-19 of January. In an interview with Devin Watkins, Bishop Cantú said the Co-ordination’s theme this year is on the 50th anniversary of the occupation of Palestine.

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This is the third year that Bishop Cantú participates in the Holy Land pilgrimage.

“The settlements continue, and there are some small signs on the part of the Israelis that seem to show some good faith, but it’s one step forward and two or three steps backwards.”

But Bishop Cantú said the elements of good faith seem to be “disingenuous”.

He said the reality is “just a gradual taking-over of land and closing the possibility of a two-state solution. And that’s particularly what we’re concerned about: the dignity of persons, no matter their religion or their ethnicity, and their self-determination. That is a basic human right that is disrespected.”

Bishop Cantú noted that issue is complex and that the motivations for the settlements vary between families, “some are political, some are economic, some are religious”. “No matter what the motivations are, the Palestinian people are becoming a people without a land, and they are certainly people without rights.”

In conclusion, Bishop Cantú said that, as the group walked through the city of Hebron on Monday, “the tension is palpable…, and I can’t imagine having to live in this kind of tension”, which he said “day-in and day-out certainly weighs on the human spirit. So it allows us to enter into, a bit, the minds and the psyche of the Palestinians living under occupation.

(As Vatican Radio noted last year, Each year Bishops from around the world travel to the Holy Land on a pilgrimage to support the Christian community in the land of Jesus’ birth. Organized by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, the annual Holy Land Coordination brings together Bishops from different countries, especially countries that have historically had an influence in the Holy Land. This year’s visit included Bishops from the Europe, North America, and South Africa.)

(You may remember that the Holy Land and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict were among the topics discussed last Saturday by Pope Francis and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Vatican.)

HAVE THE DUBIA OF 4 CARDINALS JUST BEEN ANSWERED?

HAVE THE DUBIA OF 4 CARDINALS JUST BEEN ANSWERED?

From the website of the Episcopal Conference of Malta (www.thechurchinmalta.org):

Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna and Bishop Mario Grech have drawn up guidelines for priests, for the application of Chapter VIII of the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love). This chapter is an invitation to mercy and pastoral discernment in the light of various social realities present today.

In a letter which will be read out this Sunday in churches all over Malta and Gozo, the Bishops explain that these guidelines for priests are aimed at accompanying people to an awareness of their life situation in the light of Jesus. “This message is also relevant to the couples and families who find themselves in complex situations, especially those involving separated or divorced persons who have entered a new union. Although they may have lost their first marriage, some of these persons have not lost their hope in Jesus. Some of these earnestly desire to live in harmony with God and with the Church, so much so, that they are asking us what they can do in order to be able to celebrate the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.” Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna and Bishop Mario Grech invite all those people who are in such a situation, and who are seeking help to continue to enlighten their conscience, to seek the assistance of a priest to accompany them.

The guidelines of the Maltese Bishops have been published in a document which has been handed out to every priest in the Archdiocese of Malta and the Diocese of Gozo.

Click here for that 22-page document: http://ms.maltadiocese.org/WEBSITE/2017/PRESS%20RELEASES/Norms%20for%20the%20Application%20of%20Chapter%20VIII%20of%20AL.pdf

News reports and commentaries:
1.      (AP) January 13, 2017: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/vatican-newspaper-communion-guide-remarried-catholics-article-1.2946142   VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is making clear Pope Francis supports letting divorced and civilly remarried Catholics receive Communion under certain conditions by publishing a set of new guidelines in the pope’s own newspaper that go beyond even what he has said.

2.      Times of Malta: January 14, 2017: http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20170114/local/divorced-remarried-at-peace-with-god-may-receive-communion-bishops.636462   Priests should offer assistance to couples whose marriage has broken down, the Maltese bishops are urging, issuing a set of guidelines which some observers have described as going even beyond the Pope’s teachings.

3.      Catholic News Agency (CNA/EWTN), January 13, 2017: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/maltese-bishops-divorced-and-remarried-at-peace-with-god-may-receive-communion-39095/   As debate over Amoris laetitia continues to gain steam, the Maltese bishops have come out with a new set of pastoral guidelines allowing divorced-and-remarried persons in certain cases, after “honest discernment”, to receive Communion.

4. Catholic News Service (CNS) – January 13, 2017: http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2017/bishops-of-malta-issue-norms-for-ministry-to-divorced-civilly-remarried.cfm

VATICAN INSIDER, PART II: ARCHBISHOP GARCIA SILLER ON V ENCUENTRO – POPE TO YOUTH: WE WANT TO HEAR YOUR VOICE FOR 2018 SYNOD

Pope Francis tweeted today: Children forced to flee, especially if fleeing alone, are most defenseless and vulnerable. Let’s pray for them and help them. @M_RSection

VATICAN INSIDER, PART II: ARCHBISHOP GARCIA SILLER ON V ENCUENTRO

Vatican Insider’s interview segment offers Part II of my conversation with San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia Siller as we talk about the V Encuentro and other topics during a visit he made to Rome.

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The V Encuentro is a four-year process of ecclesial reflection and action that invites all Catholics in the United States to intense missionary activity, consultation, leadership development, and identification of best ministerial practices in the spirit of the New Evangelization. It is part of the priority activity of the USCCB’s Strategic Plan for 2017-2020. The V Encuentro (5th Encounter) started this very month at the grass roots level and calls for the development of resources and initiatives to better serve the fast growing Hispanic population in dioceses, parishes, ecclesial movements, and other Catholic organizations and institutions in light of its theme Missionary Disciples: Witnesses of God’s Love.

In the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. Outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:00am (ET). On the SKY satellite feed to the UK and parts of Europe, VI airs on audio channel 0147 at 11:30 am CET on Saturdays, and 5:30am and 10pm CET on Sundays. It’s also available on demand on the EWTN app and on the website. CHECK YOUR TIME ZONE. Here’s a link to download VI to your iTunes library: http://www.ewtn.com/se/pg/DatService.svc/feed/~LE.xml   For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

POPE TO YOUTH: WE WANT TO HEAR YOUR VOICE FOR 2018 SYNOD

In view of the 2018 synod on on the theme: “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment,” Pope Francis has written a letter to young people. It was revealed Friday ahead of a press conference at the Holy See Press Office to present the preparatory document for the Synod.

The Vatican document focuses far more on getting input from young people, learning who they are and what they want as they grow up and live in an era so different from their parents and pastors. And that is what the Pope says in his Letter to young people: the Church wants “to listen to your voice, your sensitivities and your faith, even your doubts and your criticism.” He wants youth to tell him, the bishops and pastors about their hopes and struggles. “Make your voice heard. Let it resonate in communities and let it be heard by your shepherds of souls.”

He starts the Letter by teling youth, “I wanted you to be the center of attention, because you are in my heart. Today, the (synod) Preparatory Document is being presented, a document which I am also entrusting to you as your “compass” on this synodal journey.”

“I would also,” said the Pope, “remind you of the words that Jesus once said to the disciples who asked him: ‘Teacher […] where are you staying’ He replied, ‘Come and see’.  Jesus looks at you and invites you to go with him. Dear young people, have you noticed this look towards you? Have you heard this voice? Have you felt this urge to undertake this journey? I am sure that, despite the noise and confusion seemingly prevalent in the world, this call continues to resonate in the depths of your heart so as to open it to joy in its fullness. This will be possible to the extent that, even with professional guides, you will learn how to undertake a journey of discernment to discover God’s plan in your life. Even when the journey is uncertain and you fall, God, rich in mercy, will extend his hand to pick you up.”

The Pope noted that, “In Krakow, at the opening of the last World Youth Day, I asked you several times: ‘Can we change things?’ And you shouted: ‘yes!’ That shout came from your young and youthful hearts, which do not tolerate injustice and cannot bow to a ‘throw-away culture’ nor give in to the globalization of indifference. Listen to the cry arising from your inner selves!”

“A better world,” continued Francis, “can be built also as a result of your efforts, your desire to change and your generosity. Do not be afraid to listen to the Spirit who proposes bold choices; do not delay when your conscience asks you to take risks in following the Master. The Church also wishes to listen to your voice, your sensitivities and your faith; even your doubts and your criticism. Make your voice heard, let it resonate in communities and let it be heard by your shepherds of souls.”

“Such is the case,” Pope Francis ended his letter to young people, “even in the journey of this Synod. My brother bishops and I want even more to “work with you for your joy” I entrust you to Mary of Nazareth, a young person like yourselves, whom God beheld lovingly, so she might take your hand and guide you to the joy of fully and generously responding to God’s call with the words: ‘Here I am’.”

MCDONALD’S TO GIVE MEALS TO HOMELESS ON MONDAYS – THESE BOOTS WERE MADE FOR WALKING…..IN THE VATICAN

Two heartwarming stories from the Vatican and a papal tweet…

01/12/2017: Young migrants, especially when unaccompanied, are especially defenceless. Let everyone offer them a helping hand.

MCDONALD’S TO GIVE MEALS TO HOMELESS ON MONDAYS

(Vatican Radio) The controversial McDonald’s fast-food restaurant that has just opened only steps away from St. Peter’s Basilica and Vatican City State is to provide thousands of free meals to homeless people in the area.

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The restaurant was opened at the beginning of the year after months of protest from locals and prelates who deemed it inappropriate for the unique historical setting of the building it is housed in, with a prime view on the Vatican’s Saint Anne Gate.

But a collaboration between the Borgo Pio branch of McDonald’s and a local charity organization called Medicina Sociale has yielded a fruitful agreement that promises to hand out over 1000 McDonald’s meals to homeless persons every Monday at lunchtime starting from January 16th.

The special “McVatican” – as the outlet has immediately been nicknamed – lunch boxes will include a double cheeseburger, fresh apple slices and a bottle of mineral water.

Lucia Ercoli, director of the charity organization, said she was “very satisfied with this agreement with McDonald’s” and pointed out that the fast-food chain responded “promptly” to their request.

‘Medicina Solidale’ has been working with the papal almoner Archbishop Konrad Krajewski over the past year, providing health check-ups and medical care to the local homeless community. Volunteers and workers at the charity will be charged with distributing the McDonald’s meals.

THESE BOOTS WERE MADE FOR WALKING…..IN THE VATICAN

(Vatican Radio)  “He made boots for the Pope and was released from prison.” This is the story of Bobby Penny, the first inmate taken under the care of Deacon Thaddeus Horbowy, a retired chaplain for the US Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Deacon Horbowy told Devin Watkins the story of the pair of Texan boots during a recent trip to Rome.

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“Bobby Penny was my first inmate. He walked into my office and said, ‘Chaplain, I’ve been sent here by the warden to work as your helper.'”

The encounter took place in Abilene, Texas some 25 years ago at a prison facility which houses 3,000 inmates. Deacon Horbowy said he noticed that Mr. Penny was “somehow different; he didn’t have an attitude”.

Having worked well together for several years, Deacon Horbowy was promoted and moved to another prison in Texas but was allowed to have Bobby Penny transferred with him.

Despite being trained only in boot repair, Deacon Horbowy told Mr. Penny to make him a pair of boots, saying “You’ve got plenty of time. Learn it!” The result was impressive, he said.

After retiring, Deacon Horbowy was invited to come to Rome for Pope Francis’ Jubilee audience for Deacons. Not long before his pilgrimmage, Deacon Horbowy saw Mr. Penny in the Texas prison and asked him to make a pair of boots for the Pope.

Despite resistance from the prison’s warden, Mr. Penny was able to make the boots. Not long after their meeting, in a development which may or may not be related, Deacon Horbowy received a letter from Mr. Penny announcing he had made parole and was released from prison.

During his recent trip to Rome, Deacon Horbowy brought that pair of boots in hopes of presenting them to Pope Francis as a gift.

 

HOPE SHOULD COME FROM TRUST IN GOD’S WORD, NOT FALSE IDOLS – MEDIA CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED BY VATICAN MIGRATION, REFUGEE OFFICE – TWO PRIESTS ATTACKED IN ST. MARY MAJOR – 800 DEAD, 16 CHURCHES DESTROYED IN NIGERIA BY TERRORIST GROUP

HOPE SHOULD COME FROM TRUST IN GOD’S WORD, NOT FALSE IDOLS

Pope Francis continued his series of catecheses on Christian hope at his Wednesday audience in the Paul VI Hall and stressed that true hope is born of trust in God’s word, not in false idols such as wealth, power, beauty or even fortune tellers.

At one point, he departed from his prepared catechesis about false idols to tell a story about fortune tellers in a park in his native Buenos Aires. He said he used to walk through the park and see countless very small tables where these seers or fortune tellers were seated, talking to individuals.

Francis said: “It was always the same story: there’s a woman in your life, a man will come, everything will be just fine.” The Pope lamented that people paid these seers to get a sense of security, “ a false sense of security, one of – and pardon me! – stupidity.” He said it was so sad that people could feel better, more hopeful, with such false idols rather than having hope in Jesus Christ: “How very sad we do not trust Him as much!”

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Our hope, said the Holy Father, “must be rooted in what can actually help in living and giving meaning to our existence,” not in illusions that are both useless and meaningless.

He noted that, “hope in God demands strength and perseverance, whereas these false gods promise an easy security, a future we can control. The Psalmist denounces this kind of idolatry, stating that those who put their trust in images that are the work of human hands, will come to be like them: spiritually blind, deaf and insensible.”

The false idols that the Pope mentioned, “with their illusion of eternity and omnipotence,” include values such as physical beauty, he said. This is not bad itself, but “when it becomes an idol to which we sacrifice everything, they are all realities that confuse the mind and the heart.”

The Pope interrupted himself once again to tell a story. When we have false idols and don’t trust in the Lord, “It’s terrible, it hurts the soul what I heard one time years ago in the diocese of Buenos Aires: a woman, a good woman, beautiful, very, very beautiful and who bragged about her beauty, said with great naturalness, ‘Yes, I had to have an abortion because my figure is so important’.He said this surely puts one on the wrong path and does not lead to lasting happiness.

“God is always greater than we are,” said Francis, “and we, created in his image and likeness, cannot reduce him to our size or fabricate other gods, made in our own image and tailored to our desires. By trusting in God’s word and hoping in his promises, we become more and more like him, sharing in his life and rejoicing in his provident care, revealed in the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus his Son.”

At the end of the catechesis, the Pope said, “Now I must tell you something that I don’t want to tell you.” He held up a red audience ticket, saying tickets to papal events, whether in St. Peter’s Square or the audience hall are always entirely free, noting that the tickets say this in six languages. Anyone who wants you to pay for a ticvket, said Francis, is a fraud, devious and a delinquent.

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He called weekly audiences a chance “to talk to the Pope, to visit the Pope. If someone says you must pay, they are ripping you off. Beware – tickets are free!”

MEDIA CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED BY VATICAN MIGRATION, REFUGEE OFFICE

The Migration and Refugee Section of the new Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development has announced it is launching its first media campaign.

Although the Dicastery is run by Cardinal Peter Turkson – who had been serving as President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace – the Migration and Refugee Section is being led for the time being by Pope Francis himself, to show his particular concern during the ongoing refugee crisis.

The new media campaign is being launched to coincide with the 103rd World Day for Migrants and Refugees, which is observed 15 January 2017.

From 12 to 15 January 2017, the tweets of Pope Francis will focus on migrants and refugees, and will link directly to the Section’s Facebook page, which will present a brief story and reflection relevant to each day’s topic.

The media accounts of the new section are listed below
Twitter Accounts:
English – https://twitter.com/M_RSection
Italian – https://twitter.com/M_RSezione
Spanish – https://twitter.com/M_RSeccion
French – https://twitter.com/M_RSection_Fr
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MandRSection/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/migrants-&-refugees-section

TWO PRIESTS ATTACKED IN ST. MARY MAJOR

A man entered the sacristy of a Roman basilica on January 7 and used a broken bottle to attack two priests.

Worshippers at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore heard shouts from the sacristy as a 42-year-old man cut the faces of Father Angelo Gaeta, the sacristan, and Father Adolfo Ralf. Police soon apprehended the perpetrator.

The victims, according to Italy’s state radio and television network, are priests of the Franciscan Friars of Immaculate who have been critical of the institute’s founder, Father Stefano Maria Manelli. The network reported that the attacker’s motive was unknown and that he may have been psychologically disturbed. He was heard to have said, “I am misunderstood.”

800 DEAD, 16 CHURCHES DESTROYED IN NIGERIA BY TERRORIST GROUP

A report from Nigeria from Fides News service, an agency of the Congregation for Evangelization of Peoples states that over 800 people have been killed and 16 churches destroyed by the terrorist group of Fulani herdsmen.

Bishop Joseph Danlami Bagobiri of Kafanchan in the state of Kaduna told Fides, “In the last three months attacks have increased carried out by the Fulani Herdsmen Terrorist (FHT) in more than half of the territory of the southern State of Kaduna.” Bishop Bagobiri was speaking in Rome where he was visiting the Italian headquarters of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

“In the West, this group is almost unheard of, he said, “but it has been responsible since September of fires in 53 villages, of the death of 808 persons, the wounding of 57 others, the destruction of 1,422 houses and 16 churches.

He also noted that from 2006 to 2014, more than 12,000 Christians were killed and 2,000 churches destroyed because of terrorism in Nigeria. These crimes were mainly committed by the Islamic fundamentalist group Boko Haram, he said, but Boko Haram is not the only group that spreads terror in the African country, and he highlighted the role of Fulani herdsmen in recent years.

The Fulani are a nomadic ethnic group that has been protagonists of recurrent conflicts with farmers in the area. However in recent times the attacks are of a completely different kind compared to the old clashes between farmers and herders, as the latter use “sophisticated weapons that did not exist before, such as the AK-47, said Bishop Bagobiri, adding that it is not known where the weapons come from.