Mosul church reopens for midnight liturgy
A CHURCH in Mosul, Iraq — Mar Pulse (St Paul’s), Al-Mundshen — was reopened and the bells were rung for the first time in three years on Christmas Eve for the midnight liturgy, the charity Aid to the Church in Need reports. The church was cleaned by a group of young Muslims, and a cross was erected, to enable about 2000 people, including families from displacement camps near Erbil, Kurdish northern Iraq, to attend. The celebrant was the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako of Baghdad. The Syriac Catholic Archbishop Butros Moshe of Mosul, the Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Nicodemus Douad of Mosul, and Muslim representatives were also present.
Honour. The Iraqi Ministry of Culture has honoured the Anglican Chaplain of St George’s, Baghdad, the Revd Faiz Jerjes, as one of its Distinguished Personalities of the Year for his human-rights work, ANS has reported.
Eight are killed in DRC election clashes
EIGHT people, including a police officer, were killed on Sunday during protests against the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila, who has refused to resign from office, news agencies reported this week. At least two men were reportedly shot dead by security forces outside St Alphonse’s, Kinshasa. The UN spokeswoman on the DRC, Florence Marchal, said that at least 82 people had been arrested in connection with the incident. Roman Catholic churches and activists had called for peaceful demonstrations after Sunday mass, and more than 160 churches had responded. President Kabila has been accused of postponing elections to maintain power; his mandate ended in December 2016.
Exposure to violence must not be the norm, says UNICEF
CHILDREN have become frontline targets, used as human shields, killed, maimed, and recruited to fight in conflicts around the world, the UN children’s agency UNICEF says. It told world leaders this week that the “shocking” scale of violence against children in conflict zones must be abated. Sexual violence, forced marriage, abduction, and enslavement had become “standard tactics” used by extremist groups in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Myanmar; and children who had witnessed widespread violence were likely to suffer long-term psychosocial trauma, UNICEF said. Its director of Emergency Programmes, Manuel Fontaine, said: “Children are being targeted and exposed to attacks and brutal violence in their homes, schools, and playgrounds. As these attacks continue year after year, we cannot become numb. Such brutality cannot be the new normal.”