World News In Brief

Bishops back Indian strikes

India’s Catholic Church supported some 150 million workers on a nationwide strike that shut down factories, banks, traffic and government offices on September 2.

“The Church is in solidarity with striking workers because we are concerned about their welfare,” according to Jaipur’s Bishop Oswald Lewis, head of the Indian bishops’ labour office, adding that all Catholic forums in the country are supporting the strike.

“We believe policy changes should be done after wider consultation with all stakeholders, including workers,” Dr Lewis said, arguing that the development model based on private-public partnership, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government supports, benefits industrialists more than ordinary people. “We don’t see such consultation in the policy making of this government,” he continued, saying, “that is a concern.”


Mobility should open the horizons of life – Mexican bishop

“No one lives alone,” says Mexico’s Bishop Guillermo Ortiz Mondragón of Cuautitlan, explaining that just as everyone has the right to defend their identity and set limits to their spaces, so everyone needs to open their borders “to meet each other’s needs, to give one’s wealth and receive it from others”.

In his message for the World Day of Migrants, celebrated in Mexico on Sunday, September 6, Dr Ortiz Mondragón said human mobility is now characterised by “a globalisation that loses sight of the person and God; insecurity caused by violence, organised crime”, adding that “often it is not a mobility that opens the horizon of life to people”.

Mexicans should work to make their country “an open space for respectable migration, in justice and peace”, he said. 


Rabbi hopes for sweet future

Britain’s Chief Rabbi has given Pope Francis a special package of apple and honey used for Jewish New Year celebrations, representing past bitterness and future sweetness.

Praising Pope Francis as a “truly outstanding and inspirational spiritual leader”, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis told Vatican Radio that the gift was an expression of thanks and commemoration of how, thanks to the Second Vatican Council’s document Nostra Aetate, issued 50 years ago this October, “we are moving very much forward”.

The Chief Rabbi was accompanied in his visit to Rome by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales”. 


Court sentences church arsonists

An Egyptian court has sentenced 22 people to life in prison for their part in attacks against churches throughout the country. 

The attacks came in August 2013 following the brutal crackdown on protesters in Cairo’s Rabaa al Adawiya square, when at least 600 people were killed.

Over 30 churches were attacked in the hours following the crackdown, along with the homes and businesses owned by dozens of Coptic Christians.

Those convicted were found guilty of attacking the church of St George in Sohag, with the Sohag criminal court issuing 22 life sentences, 37 15-year sentences and eight 10-year sentences. 


Almost half of Americans are connected to the Catholic Church

Nearly half of the US population has a close link with the Church according to a Pew Forum Study in advance of this month’s papal visit.

20% of Americans identify as Catholic, according to the study, with a further 9% defining themselves as cultural Catholics, while 9% describe themselves as ex-Catholics. In addition, 8% of Americans, not otherwise connected with the Church, say they have Catholic spouses or partners, are the children of Catholics, or attend Mass.

Almost a third of those who identify as culturally Catholic attend Mass at least once a year, and 43% say they could see themselves returning to the Church. 73% expressed a warm view of Pope Francis.