The Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Ephrem II, Greek Orthodox Patriarch John X and Melkite Catholic Patriarch Joseph Absi of Antioch have united in condemnation of the US air strikes on their country. They described the air strike as “brutal aggression” and “a clear violation of the international laws”. The Orthodox and Catholic leaders consider the attack to be in violation of the UN charter, since they constituted an “unjustified assault on a sovereign country”.

The Christian leaders argued that claims the Syrian government had used chemical weapons against its own people were “unjustified and unsupported by sufficient and clear evidence”. The military action, they added, interfered with efforts to establish responsibility for the chemical attack.

“This unjust aggression encourages the terrorist organisations and gives them momentum to continue in their terrorism,” the patriarchs said. The patriarchs urged all Christians to “condemn this aggression and to call their governments to commit to the protection of international peace”.

Pope on obedience, witness and realism

During a homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis said that Easter joy brings with it Christian obedience, witness and realism, which lead to the persecution of Christians around the world for their “bothersome” witness to Jesus.

The apostles obeyed God, not the Sanhedrin. Likewise, the Christian, he said, must obey God. The apostles’ “witness” annoy­ed their contemporaries just as Christian witness does today for some, he added. “Christian witness knows no path of compromise. Think about Christians persecuted in Africa and the Middle East. There are more today than in early Christianity: people in prison, killed and hanged all to witness to Jesus. They are witnesses to the end,” he said.

The Pope added that the third aspect of Easter joy is realism. He said the apostles spoke “not of fairy tales” but of concrete things. “Let us pray for joy for one another: the joy that comes from the Holy Spirit: the joy of Easter obedience, the joy of Easter witness, and the joy of Easter realism.”

Oscar Romero may be canonised in October

Salvadoran Archbishop Jose Luis Escobar Alas said the canonisation of Blessed Oscar Romero will “pro­bably” be held in Rome and “probab­ly” take place at end of October after a meeting of bishops. He told Catholic News Service that the final decision is up to Pope Francis.

“Soon we will have a canonisation,” the archbishop said during a homily in Washington to a crowd of mostly Salvadoran immigrants.

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)


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