Commenting on the news that suicide bombers had attacked Santa Maria Catholic church, Diponegoro Indonesian Christian church and Surabaya Centre Pentecostal church in Indonesia, Pope Francis said: “I am particularly close to the dear people of Indonesia, especially to the Christian communities of the city of Surabaya, which have been severely hit by the serious attack on places of worship. I raise my prayer for all the victims and their relatives. Together we invoke the God of peace to stop these violent actions, and in the heart of all, find not feelings of hatred and violence, but of reconciliation and fraternity. We pray in silence.”    

Malawi needs to change course – bishops

In a pastoral letter entitled ‘A call for a new era in Malawi’, the country’s bishops wrote: “We are saddened to note that the hard-won freedom and democratic dispensation in our country have not yielded the fruits we all hoped for. We have observed with deep sorrow that the majority of the people in this country still languish under the yoke of poverty, ignorance, disease, hunger and a seriously distorted mindset that has led to dangerous moral decadence in our society.

“We are of the opinion that Malawi as a nation needs a change of direction if we are to reverse the situation. We mean a total change in the way of doing things other than business as usual. This entails a change of mind-set leading to a new era of fairness and justice for all. We need to ask ourselves whether this chosen system of government has, over the years, delivered on its promise to uplift the lives of all the citizens... We must never pretend that all is well.”          

Cameroon facing ‘growing genocide’

Cameroon’s English-speaking Catholic bishops have described the crisis hitting their country as “a growing genocide”.

Refugees have said that Cameroonian government security forces were entering villages and killing unarmed people. Nearly 26,000 people, four-fifths of them women and children, have fled to Nigeria. More are arriving daily, while an estimated 40,000 people are displaced inside Cameroon.

Bishop Andrew Nkea, from Mamfe in Cameroon, said “the conditions under which refugees live are appalling”. He told Catholic weekly L’Effort Camerounais that refugees are scattered all over the place and sleeping on verandas and open spaces.

The Catholic Church in Cameroon, which represents 26 per cent of the population, as well as the African Union, are calling for peace and an “inclusive dialogue”.

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)


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