World News in Brief

Syrian doctor cautions of the West getting used to attrocities

People in the West are in danger of taking for granted atrocities committed in Syria, according to the Marist brother who is director of one of Aleppo’s two remaining hospitals.

“We think that the repetition of the denunciation of the crimes committed and the suffering of Syrians risks becoming insignificant,” said Dr Nabil Antaki, adding that “we are afraid that, by constantly reading the atrocities being committed in Syria there is a risk of getting used to horror”.

Commenting on how people in the West were horrified when ISIS militants “slaughtered some Westerners”, Dr Antaki pointed out that “hundreds of Syrians had already been victims of this barbarity”, and lamented how the country is being “emptied of its people, especially Christians”. 

“Next time, before you start a war at home, think twice,” he said.


Filipinos warned against making money out of ‘miracles’ by Church leaders

Philippine Church leaders have warned the faithful against making money out of reported miracles and apparitions.

Father Melvin Castro, director general of the Confraternity of Mary Mediatrix of All Grace, observing how stories of weeping images of Or Lady had surfaced in the media following a declaration that a reported 1948 apparition of the Mary in the province of Batangas had a “supernatural character”.

“It’s possible that some people think that this is some sort of fad that they should join in, but people should also be discerning,” Fr Castro said.

Dr Oscar Cruz, retired Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, said reports needed careful consideration, adding, “hopefully, there would be no individuals who would make money out of it by producing this item or image, medals, candles left and right for business”.


Malaysia’s Christian journalists must tread carefully

Although Malaysia’s Christians are not especially persecuted, they are vulnerable to persecution, according to the editor of the country’s leading Catholic newspaper.

The Herald newspaper’s editor Fr Lawrence Andrew SJ says that journalism requires discretion in the country where Christians make up just 10% of the population. “It is a question of discerning which is more important: the message to the people we have to carry or be an overly courageous mouthpiece but find ourselves shutdown? That serves no one any good purpose,” he said. “So we publish what we like, but we are careful.”

Last year The Herald appealed a legal ban on Malay-speaking Christians from using the word ‘Allah’ when referring to God, but was unsuccessful. 


Nicaraguan Church calls for calm

Leaders of the Catholic Church in Nicaragua have begun meetings with parish priests in communities where settlers and natives have clashed over land rights. 

Bluefield’s Auxiliary Bishop David Zywiec and Bishop Paul Schmitz have met with local priests in order to try to mediate over “a situation of violence” in which houses were burned, and people injured, starving, and frightened.

“It seems that the root of the problem lies in the sale of land in indigenous territory, which sparked the clashes,” Dr Zywiec said, while the national police has set up a special security team for the area. 


Catholic church destroyed in Yemen

A Catholic church in Aden has been looted and set on fire by a group of unidentified armed men whom local observers believe may have been members of Al Qaeda, which has strong links with the Yemeni city and its hinterland.

Last May bombings by the Saudi air force hit the Church of the Immaculate Conception, which had been occupied by Houthi rebels after the deposed President Abdel Rabbo Mansour Hadi had been driven from the city, which he declared the country’s temporary capital.