C’è costernazione, paura e confusione in tante famiglie latinoamericane nello Stato del Mississipi (Stati Uniti) dopo il raid della polizia dell’8 agosto che ha lasciato decine di bambini senza genitori.
In un video inviato all’Agenzia Fides, diventato virale nei social media, tra i singhiozzi, Magdalena Gómez, 11 anni, appare davanti alle telecamere dicendo in inglese: "Governo, per favore, mostra un po' di cuore". Lo dice perché suo padre è stato arrestato mercoledì insieme a centinaia di persone dopo che più di seicento agenti dell'Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) hanno lanciato una vasta operazione di polizia nel Mississippi.
Dopo 32 anni Washington ufficializza il ritiro dal trattato con Mosca che limita l’utilizzo dei missili nucleari. Nuove tensioni in Europa e preoccupa la corsa agli armamenti.
Gli Stati Uniti annunciano il ritiro dal trattato con la Russia per il controllo delle armi nucleari (Inf). Oggi il segretario americano di Stato, Mike Pompeo, dovrebbe annunciare la sospensione del patto, dopo che il presidente Trump, nell’autunno dello scorso anno, aveva accusato la Russia di aver violato l’accordo. I due Paesi hanno ancora sei mesi per trovare un’intesa prima del ritiro effettivo. Tuttavia, secondo il Cremlino gli Stati Uniti potrebbero schierare 48 missili in Europa per fare pressione su Mosca, quindi preparano le contromisure. La speranza è che raggiungano un’intesa.
A inizio anno Francesco aveva espresso preoccupazione perché “il disarmo nucleare, ampiamente auspicato e in parte perseguito nei decenni passati, sta ora lasciando il posto alla ricerca di nuove armi sempre più sofisticate e distruttive”. Il tema era al centro del discorso rivolto dal pontefice ai membri del corpo diplomatico. Nei laboratori di ricerca si lavora alla miniaturizzazione delle testate nucleari, spiega Fabrizio Battistelli, presidente dell’istituto Archivio Disarmo. Questo “aumenta il rischio, perché essendo più manovrabili, diventano anche più utilizzabili”
Il trattato sui missili atomici era stato firmato l’8 dicembre 1987 dal Presidente russo Michail Gorbacev e da quello americano Ronald Reagan. L’obiettivo era limitare il ricorso a queste armi nucleari a medio raggio. Una pietra miliare che pose fine alla Guerra Fredda durata 40 anni. “Fu un atto di saggezza in quell’epoca”, spiega Battistelli. “L’idea di trasformare l’Europa in un campo di battaglia nucleare appariva improbabile agli stessi americani”. Oggi questo passo indietro “non potrà non provocare un processo di riarmo generalizzato”.
La crisi si scatena nell’autunno del 2018 quando l’Amministrazione americana aveva accusato Mosca di produrre nuovi missili nucleari. Critica subito rispedita al mittente dal Cremlino. Poi il fallimento definitivo dei negoziati con Trump che aveva intimato a Mosca di distruggere gli armamenti entro il 2 febbraio, pena il ritiro dal trattato. Ora occorrono sei mesi prima che la revoca sia definitiva, ma “non c’è da essere troppo ottimisti”, è l’analisi di Battistelli. Trump è “fermo nel proposito strategico di riaffermare la supremazia americana”.
Wang Jie (a fictional name) is a deacon belonging to the Chinese underground Church. He has spent several years studying in Europe, and for security reasons cannot use his real name, since Chinese authorities may not let him reenter his country if they knew he is preparing to become a priest.
The seminarian shared his story recently with media. He was born in China “in an area where most of the people are pagan.” None of his family members were Catholic, and in fact his parents “had never even heard the word 'Christianity.'”
But one day his mother fell ill. They found what they believed to be a medical center with a cross on it. It was actually a church, where a nun received them.
After his mother recovered, Wang’s parents returned to thank the woman for caring for her.
“Then the nun began to gradually speak to them about faith, about Christ. My parents were very interested and after some time they converted,” he said. “We see it as a miracle so we would know the faith. God guided us to his house.”
In a sense, the conversion was natural, because his parents were already practicing charity and trying to help others in any way they could. Wang’s entire family was baptized when he was eight years old.
His family joined the underground Catholic Church. They could not openly practice their faith, as the government only recognized the “Patriotic Church” controlled by the Communist Party.
When Wang’s mother became pregnant again, they faced a challenge. The one-child policy, which was in effect at the time, prohibited families from having a second child. But as Catholics, his parents refused to abort. They looked for a way to avoid the heavy penalties imposed by the Communist government on families with more than one child.
“When my sister was born, we found a family that had just had another child, and we registered them as if they were twins. In fact, my sister doesn't have my same last name [as I do] but that of the other family because according to those documents they are siblings,” he said.
Eventually, his parents befriended a priest who was a rector of the seminary. The rector explained that the seminarians had to move every three or four months to avoid being discovered by the authorities.
“My parents offered them our house, they could live on the ground floor and we on the top floor,” he said.
For the next 10 years, seminarians were living intermittently on the ground floor of the house. Touched by their example, Wang felt a call to the seminary.
He made the final decision after accompanying one of the seminarians to give some catechism lessons.
“When I returned home, it was as if something had set my heart on fire, I told my parents I wanted to be a priest. I had that seed of a vocation in my heart,” he said. “Now I'm a deacon and no words can express the very profound joy I have in my heart.”
The seminarian said that even though he is studying in Europe, his desire is to return to China as soon as possible to preach the Gospel there.
Life as a Chinese Catholic is difficult. Mass is celebrated in family homes, and people must be careful not to talk about their faith explicitly, because the authorities could be listening. However, living with the risk of arrest is worth it, Wang said, because “we want to have the Truth, it's what you have to do despite the cost.”
One of the worst moments he faces, he said, is when he has to enter China without the authorities discovering that he is a seminarian.
“When I'm in line to enter and I have the passport in my hands, I start praying to the Virgin: 'My mother, help me. My mother, help me.' And everything has always gone well even though the dangers are real. God always helps me,” he said.
Regarding the recent accord between the Holy See and the Chinese government which initiates the integration of the underground Church with the Patriotic Church, the seminarian stressed the importance of unity.
“There are some who say the accord is good, and others who don't think so. But above all we have to pray a lot and follow what the Church says, because the Devil wants to divide the Church and knows how to do it,” he said.
“God gave the key to the papacy to Saint Peter and that's part of our faith, and either we unite ourselves to Peter or we're not going anywhere.”
Wang Jie is currently studying and receiving formation as a priest in Europe thanks to the Fundación Centro Académico Romano de Formación (Academic Formation Center Foundation of Rome).
This foundation grants scholarships to seminarians and priests from dioceses in need from all over the world so they can receive formation at the University of Navarre, Spain, of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, Italy, to later return to their dioceses.
205 decessi e 329 casi registrati di contagio. È questo il drammatico bilancio dell’epidemia di ebola che ha colpito le province del Nord-Kivu e dell’Ituri nell’est della Repubblica Democratica del Congo (RDC). Secondo il Ministero della Sanità congolese il bilancio dell’epidemia di quest’anno ha superato quello della prima epidemia, registrata nella storia nel 1976 a Yambuku, nella provincia dell’Equatore, nell’allora Zaire (come si chiamava all’epoca la RDC).
Per il Ministero della Salute congolese, nessun'altra epidemia di Ebola è stata così complessa come quella attuale. L'insicurezza, la densità della popolazione e la resistenza della comunità rendono più difficile il lavoro degli operatori umanitari.
La settimana scorsa, tre agenti della protezione civile e un epidemiologo sono stati brevemente presi in ostaggio da un gruppo di miliziani Mai-Mai nel villaggio di Matembo, tra le città di Beni e Butembo.
In una dichiarazione congiunta, il Dipartimento delle operazioni di mantenimento della pace dell'ONU e l'Organizzazione mondiale della sanità (OMS) denunciano che le squadre di soccorso incontrano forti resistenze da parte delle popolazione della aree colpite dall’epidemia, dove decenni di guerra hanno contribuito “alla diffusione di disinformazione e alimentato la sfiducia di alcune popolazioni locali che sono riluttanti a consentire alle équipe sanitarie di somministrazione i vaccini necessari a bloccare la diffusione della malattia e a seppellire dignitosamente le vittime in sicurezza”
A fine agosto Sua Ecc. Mons. Ecc. Mons. Melchisédech Sikuli Paluku, Vescovo di Butembo-Beni, aveva lanciato un appello alla popolazione perché collaborasse con le autorità sanitarie nel soccorre i malati e nel cercare di bloccare l’epidemia (vedi Fides 1/9/2018). (L.M.)
Top Catholic prelates in Israel are asking the government to repeal the recent Nation State Law, which they say paves a path for discrimination against non-Jewish citizens.
“Although the law changes very little in practice, it does provide a constitutional and legal basis for discrimination among Israel’s citizens, clearly laying out the principles according to which Jewish citizens are to be privileged over and above other citizens,” the Catholic leaders said in their statement, dated Oct. 31.
“We, as the religious leaders of the Catholic Churches, call on the authorities to rescind this basic law and assure one and all that the state of Israel seeks to promote and protect the welfare and the safety of all its citizens.”
The Nation State Law’s provisions, which have the weight of a constitutional amendment, define Israel as the “historic homeland of the Jewish people” who have “a singular right to national self-determination within it.”
The passage of the law by a 62-55 vote July 19 with the support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition drew widespread international criticism, including from influential groups like the American Jewish Committee.
Following the passage of the law, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem voiced concern that it had downgraded Arabic from an official language to a language with a “special status.” It also objected to the law’s “commitment to work on the development of Jewish settlement in the land, with no mention of the development of the country for the rest of its inhabitants.”
The Oct. 31 joint statement was signed by more than two dozen Catholic ordinaries of the Holy Land, representing Roman, Syrian, and Armenian Catholic, as well as Greek Melkite churches. Signatories included Archbishop Georges Bacouni of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church in Israel, Maronite Archbishop Moussa El-Hage of Haifa, and Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate Pierbattista Pizzaballa.
The bishops warned of the focus on Jewish identity at the expense of equality and democracy.
They particularly criticized a clause in the law that promotes “the development of Jewish settlement as a national value,” saying that by doing so, “the law promotes an inherent discriminatory vision.”
The law ignores the Palestinian Arabs living in the region, as well as the Christian, Muslim, Druze and Baha’i communities – all of whom should be treated as equal citizens, the bishops said. They added that the law violates international law standards.
“As Israelis and as Palestinian Arabs, we seek to be part of a state that promotes justice and peace, security and prosperity for all its citizens,” they emphasized.