Sri Lanka: Congregation attacked in church raid

June 29, 2013 by  
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Attackers armed with clubs, knives and swords raided a church service in Sri Lanka; they beat up the pastor and worshipers and caused serious damage to the building.

The humble church building suffered severe damage

The humble church building suffered severe damage

Sri Lanka, June 25, 2013: The incident in Sugankerni, Batticaloa district, happened on the morning of 16 June. A mob entered the church building and began shouting orders that the congregation stop worshiping and the church close down.

The pastor and a number of worshipers were injured in the attack; some of them required hospital treatment.

It is thought that the attack was carried out by Hindu extremists, which is unusual in Sri Lanka, where most opposition to Christianity comes from Buddhists. This has been intensifying over recent months as the increasingly emboldened Sinhalese Buddhist lobby, which wants an exclusive ethnic and religious state, has been campaigning against the conversion of Buddhists by Christians and other minority groups, and also the halal slaughter of cattle by Muslims.

The church attack in Sugankerni was one of a number of anti-Christian incidents in Sri Lanka this month.On 5 June, a church building in Angulana, Kaluthara district, was broken into during the night and vandalised. The intruders tried unsuccessfully to start a fire in the building.

Also in Kaluthara district, posters have been put in up, in Ingiriya, saying:

We don’t need a church in the village, all we need is a Buddhist temple. Chase the Christian pastor from the village.Police have questioned the pastor about his church and also warned him that there is a threat against him.

Others are also in danger. On 16 June, Buddhist monks who were holding a meeting in Ambalanthota, Hambanthota district, about the cattle slaughter issue harassed a church leader who was passing by the event. He fled the scene, but they pursued him to the police station and made false allegations against him.

The following day, a 30-strong mob surrounded the pastor’s house, shouted threats against him and demanded that worship services be stopped. Police intervened and sent the mob away, but the pastor has continued to receive threats on an almost daily basis.

In Gangavereliya, Kegalle district, a meeting against Christians was held on 15 June by Buddhist monks along with Buddhist and Hindu villagers. They want to restrict church activities, especially the conversion of people to Christianity. At least one pastor in the area has been threatened in an effort to get him to stop holding worship services.

– barnabas team

Quiet Time: Spending moments with God

June 29, 2013 by  
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“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33 NLT)

Seek First God's KingdomMany people say they don’t have time for a quiet time.
That’s an excuse. Every person on the planet has the same 168 hours in his or her week.

The question is: How do you spend the time you have?

You don’t have time for everything? No one does.

You have to make time for what really counts.
It’s not a matter of time; it’s a matter of priorities and values.

The key to making time for a daily devotion is to make Jesus and his Kingdom the priority in your life.

Jesus said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33, NLT).

Seek First God's KingdomPut God first in your life, and you’ll have more time. Whatever you need more of in your life, give God first place in that area.

Your quiet time and getting to know God should be the number one priority of your life. Why?
You weren’t put on the planet to mark things off your to-do list.

You were made to spend time with God.
A quiet time is a tremendous privilege you’ve been given.

Put God first in your lifeThe creator of the universe has invited you to spend time with him every day.
Imagine if your favorite actor, musician, singer, or athlete asked you to spend time with him or her every day.

Would you say, “Sorry, I don’t have time for you”? Of course not!So why do you say “no” to God’s invitation to spend time with him?
You are missing out on so much when you do.

Think about it:

  • How do you currently prioritize your day? How would those priorities have to change if you made a quiet time with God your number one priority?
  • Does considering your quiet time with God a privilege change your attitude toward how you prioritize your day?

– fwd: vc mathews

Jeremiah 29:11Something BetterParadise



Egypt risks civil war in clashes between Sunnis and Shiites

June 28, 2013 by  
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The lynching of five Shiites on June 23 in Giza brings tug of war between Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran to Egyptian soil. The leaders of Sunni radicals ignore al-Azhar’s appeals against mounting violence and call for Shiites and Christians to be kicked out of country.

Egypt risks civil war in clashes between Sunnis and ShiitesEgypt, June 26, 2013: Cairo The conflict between Sunnis and Shiites has arrived in Egypt after having devastated Iraq and Syria. The episode in Abu Mussalam, Giza district (Cairo), where on 23 June, five Shiites were lynched by a mob of 3 thousand people have opened a new front in the religious conflict in Egypt ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood. Yesterday, police arrested eight people responsible for the massacre caught on video which appeared on the internet. However, the residents point out that  3 thousand Islamists attacked 24 people, with the intent to kill.

According to Fr. Rafic Greiche, a spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church, “the persecution of the Shia is nothing new in Egypt. In recent years the country has never witnessed this kind of sectarian violence among Muslims. So far, only the Christian minority had suffered this type of attack “. The priest invites us not to underestimate the problem, which might drag the largest Arab country (80 million inhabitants) into a much broader conflict, which is already ravaging Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, with serious risks for Christians . “The lynching – he says – came two days after a big rally by Salafis, attended by President Morsi. During the rally, several radical imams urged Sunni Muslims to attack the Shiites claiming they were heretics and immoral. Morsi stood by in silence listening to these dangerous invectives. ”

“The Shia are very numerous in Egypt – said Fr. Greiche – but there are no reliable censuses. Some speak of 800 thousand, others of several million.” Egyptian society now fears the beginning of a clash between Islamist ideologies. It is well known that Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to political power is mainly due to funding from the Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which support Sunni Islamists throughout the Middle East and oppress the Shia minorities in their countries. For some time, however, Iran has also been trying to find consensus in Egypt, using the strategy has already been tried in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Lebanon, funding the Shiite community against the Sunni governments.

In recent days, Ahmed al-Tayeb Grand Imam of Al-Azhar condemned the Giza lynching calling it “contrary to Islam.” Even the office of Mohamed Morsi criticized the fact, without clearly condemning anti-Shiite sentiments. In the text denouncing the violence, the word “Shia” is never mentioned. The attack of 23 June was also fueled by the al-Nour Party, the political arm of the Salafi movement which holds about 20% of the parliamentary seats. In the foreign media they have criticized the position of the other Islamist parties, but in the slums of Cairo and in the rural districts of the country they distributed leaflets calling on the population to denounce the presence of Shiites and drive out Christians.The ambiguous position of the authorities, often complicit with the radical imams, increases the risk of attacks against Christians and all those who are not in line with the extremist Islam proposed by the political establishment.

– asianews

EU strengthens religious freedom

June 28, 2013 by  
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European UnionUK, June 25, 2013:  European Union foreign ministers adopted new guidelines designed to better ensure freedom of religion following a meeting in Brussels on Monday.

The EU decision fulfils a commitment made in a human rights strategy document a year ago.

The guidelines set out priorities and ways to promote religious freedom, aiming to support people facing discrimination, taking action when it occurs and preventing religious persecution in future.

“Religious freedom is neither about excluding religion or belief from our societies, nor about promoting any particular belief,” said Sofia Lemmetyinen, senior advocate at the EU for Christian Solidarity Worldwide. “[It is] about creating an environment conducive to the development of democratic, peaceful and pluralist societies.”

Meanwhile, a British parliamentary report to be published on Wednesday calls on the government to take stronger action on violations of religious freedom around the world.

The report, from the newly formed all-party parliamentary group on international religious freedom, was drawn up by leading academics with testimony from human rights and faith-based groups including the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.

The document will call on the British government to further efforts to ensure freedom of belief for people around the world.

– ucan

EFI: Odisha Meeting Targeted & Christians Beaten, Ostracized…

June 26, 2013 by  
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Christian Meeting Stopped

Orissa ChristiansOdisha, June 24, 2013: In Canalpada of Duagarh District, Hindu extremists on 12 June barged into a special meeting conducted by Independent Pentecostal Church, accused the organizers of “forceful conversion” and ordered them to stop the meeting. About 30 Hindu Hindu extremists barged into the last session of the meeting at about 9 p.m, accused the Christian leaders of forceful conversion and demand the closure of the meeting.

The Christian leaders thereafter closed the meeting to avoid trouble and about seven Christians hopped into an auto rickshaw to go back home in Duagarh, about 15 kms from the meeting place. The extremists however followed the Christians in their motor cycles and obstructed the speeding auto rickshaw which subsequently resulted in the overturning of the auto rickshaw.

The auto rickshaw was completely damaged and the Christians including Rev Sura Mahat Samal from Love and Serve India, local pastor Chandra Mani Tandi, his wife, mother-in-law and four others received minor injuries. The police arrived at the spot and took the Christians to a local hospital for first aid treatment.

Christians Beaten, Ostracized

Hindu extremists allegedly from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh have launched a series of attack against the Christian in Dangarguda, Malkangiri district. In the latest attack on 10 June, about 70 Hindu villagers attack the Christians and the Koya Christian leaders with swords, rods and woods. Four Christians were badly injured and were hospitalised. Two houses, two bicycles, one motor bike of the Christians were also damaged.

Since April, the Christians in the village were boycotted from fetching water from the public well because of their faith in Christ. Subsequently, the Christian started drinking from the river. However, because of the heavy rain, they were not able to drink from the river as it became muddy. On 8 May, a Christian woman, Mongli Madhi went to get water from the public well. However, three Hindu extremists stopped her and beat her up severely and broke her water buckets and pots.

The next morning, the three Hindu extremists from the previous day came and beat her up again in her home in the absence of her husband. Mongli sustained injuries. At the time of writing this news, the Christians have relocated to another area for safety measures.

Pak: Case against Police after Christian dies in custody

June 26, 2013 by  
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A Christian teenager has died in police custody in Pakistan after allegedly being severely tortured for six days.

Adnan Masih's funeral took place on 11 June

Adnan Masih's funeral took place on 11 June

Pakistan, June 24, 2013: Adnan Masih (18) from Sharaqpur Sharif was arrested on 4 June in connection with the case of a young Muslim woman who had gone missing. The police had also rounded up local Muslim youths to question them over the matter, but they were all released.

Adnan insisted that he knew nothing of the woman in question; she had apparently had an affair with a Muslim man and left her husband, but her parents claimed that she had been kidnapped.

Officers seized mobile phones belonging to Adnan and the woman and obtained their call records from their respective network providers. They found no record of any communication between them.

They did however discover calls between the woman and three young Muslim men from the area. The Muslims were summoned to the police station but later set free, seemingly after the payment of a bribe.

Officers then tried to force Adnan to confess to being involved in the woman’s disappearance, allegedly subjecting him to severe torture: they beat him round the head with an iron rod, cut him with a sharp knife, broke his legs and pulled the nails out of his fingers and toes. After six days of torture, when Adnan was almost dead, his neck was broken. The Christian’s body was hanged in the bathroom; police claimed that he had committed suicide.

The matter was reported by a local pastor to CLAAS, a Christian legal organisation in Pakistan that Barnabas Fund supports, who immediately sent an investigative team to the Sharaqpur Sharif Police Station, where Adnan had died on 10 June.

Over 4,000 local Christians blocked the road in protest, demanding justice and the arrest of those responsible for his death.

The CLAAS team succeeded in persuading senior officers to register a First Information Report (FIR), which launches a criminal investigation in Pakistan, against three officers.

Adnan’s funeral took place on 11 June after a post-mortem had been carried out. He was the son of a retired head teacher and had six siblings. Adnan lived with his parents in Sharaqpur Sharif and worked as an air-conditioning and fridge mechanic in Lahore.

– barnabas team

What drives the bloody fratricide within Islam?

June 26, 2013 by  
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Islamic extremismJune 23, 2013: Some of my Pakistani friends had been offended when in an emotional piece some time ago I had the temerity to suggest that some of the greatest crimes against Islam and its followers have been committed in the land that was earned in the name of the faith. It was a situation of, in Parveen Shakir’s words, “Baat toe sach hai magar baat hai ruswai ki” (although this is the truth, it’s not good for our reputation).

Friday’s attack on a Shiite mosque in Peshawar, killing at least 15 people, is the third major suicide bombing in the country in the past six days. With these terror strikes in Pakistan last week, more senseless, totally absurd atrocities have been added to the long roll of crimes perpetrated in the name of Islam against the Muslims by fellow Muslims.

On June 18, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives at a funeral in Mardan in northwestern Pakistan. A member of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly was among 35 people killed in the deadly blast.

On June 16, at least 25 people, including 14 female university students, four nurses, a medical officer and the deputy commissioner of Quetta, were killed when a bomb tore through a bus, followed by a suicide attack and a bloody gun battle in the Bolan Medical College hospital, where the injured students were taken for treatment. The authorities reveal that the first attack targeting the students of the region’s only all-women university was carried out by a female suicide bomber and has proudly been claimed by the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi,.

These terror strikes are apparently aimed at strengthening the hands of Pakistan’s new leader, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has gone against the established traditions to confront the United States and his own army, warning in no uncertain terms that the dance of death in Pakistan’s skies must end.

With all those Lashkars, Jaishes and defenders of faith though, Pakistan hardly needs the services of Uncle Sam or assorted Indian and Zionist conspirators and saboteurs. Of course, this isn’t the first such attack and, rest assured, it will not be the last one. This conflict has already claimed more than 48,000 lives in the past few years, suggests a report by South Asia Terrorism Portal and Institute for Conflict Management.

In the past few years Pakistan has witnessed so much of mindless violence and splurging of innocent blood in its streets, mosques, schools and hospitals that the issue now evokes little more than helpless resignation and revulsion. After a point, death becomes a dull, daily routine and lost lives mere statistics.

But indifference and aversion cannot wish away this menace, this deep sickness that has crept into Muslim lands in the past few years. Convenient and convoluted interpretations and spin cannot treat this deadly disease.

What sort of people send a young woman to blow herself up with other totally innocent, unsuspecting fellow women on the way to college with stars and dreams in their eyes? What kind of religion do they believe in and where and how they came up with this morbid, sick interpretation of the faith? No religion sanctions killing of innocent people, especially women and children, least of all Islam. The faith I know and believe in along with more than 1.6 billion people sternly warns its followers against targeting of innocents including animals and plants even during a conflict.

What kind of holy war is this that drives people to turn on fellow believers and what divine goals do these holy warriors hope to achieve? Do they really think God will reward them for snuffing out the beautiful lives that He created? Would He shower His blessings on them for spilling the blood and guts of His children in the prime of life? Can there be a greater atrocity and outrage against the faith that so many believers led by the Prophet himself, peace be upon him, sacrificed so much to spread and strengthen?

Islam was sent down as a blessing for the whole of humanity, demolishing all false distinctions of birth, color, gender and social status. Who would have thought that Muslims would be killed for believing in it by fellow Muslims? According to a much quoted Hadith, the Prophet is said to have warned of a period when his followers notwithstanding their extraordinary numbers would find themselves under siege everywhere. Who would have known that the Muslims would end up their own worst enemies and of their own kind?

And this isn’t a problem that is confined to Pakistan. From the killing fields of Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen to the battlefronts of Syria, Lebanon and Turkey, it is the same sickening story of the faithful being slaughtered at the hands of fellow travelers.

Groups like Al-Qaeda and Tahreek-i-Taleban that seemingly came into being to avenge the Western crimes and injustices against the faithful have killed more of their own people–an infinite number more—than their intended enemy. Indeed, more believers have died at the hands of their brethren than all the recent Western wars put together may have.

Remember the decade-long disastrous war between Iran and Iraq at the turn of the last century? Millions perished in the pointless clash, not to mention the mutual destruction of the two oil-producing nations under the benign gaze of the West and the rest. In Syria, what began as a people’s uprising against the long night of the Bathist tyranny has turned into a bitter, endless civil war claiming nearly 100,000 lives.

Clearly, we have a serious problem in our midst and the sooner we confronted it the better for everyone. We can go on deluding ourselves that all is well and that this is all part of a grand conspiracy to malign Islam and Muslims and do nothing. We can stand and stare while the world around us unravels and more and more impressionable minds are claimed by violent extremism with fingers inevitably being pointed at our faith.

Alternately, we could start fighting back confronting the dark forces in our midst. The enemy within now threatens our very identity and the sweet name of the faith that continues to conquer hearts and minds against all odds. This is the only way forward if we believe in Islam’s humane teachings and care for the future of our succeeding generations.

This is not a tiny fringe that we confront anymore. What we are staring at is an extraordinary ideological and existential challenge, the kind Muslim societies have never encountered in their eventful history. This calls for an equally extraordinary response from governments, Muslim scholars, intellectuals and everyone who is concerned over this mayhem and murder in our name. Mere condemnations and denouncements from the pulpit will not do. It is time for more forceful and effective measures to fight the scourge and present the real face and spirit of Islam — not just before the world but for the sake of our own. This is the real jihad calling us right now.

– tcn / aijaz zaka syed

Nigeria: Rev. killed and four Churches bombed

June 26, 2013 by  
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A retired minister was killed after refusing to convert to Islam as suspected Boko Haram militants attacked four churches in the hill country of Borno state in Northern Nigeria.

Church buildings continue to be targeted in Northern Nigeria

Church buildings continue to be targeted in Northern Nigeria

Nigeria, June 24, 2013: The armed assailants tried to force the Rev. Jacob Kwiza to renounce Christ, but when he defied their threats, they slit his throat.

The militants were going round attacking communities and torching churches in the Gwoza Hills, where Mr Kwiza was picking mangoes at his father’s orchard in Hwa’a.

A resident of Kunde said that the attackers climbed the hills on foot carrying explosives and, after chanting “Allahu Akhbar” (“Allah is great”), bombed four church buildings, in Hwa’a, Kunde, Gathahure and Gjigga, on 13 June.

They pillaged the residents’ supply of grain as well as livestock from two communities.

The area has previously come under attack. In April, gunmen torched two churches, in Hrazah and Hembe, and killed two residents. That incident had caused people to flee, and the latest attack has driven more from the hills.
In other attacks, the district heads of Kurana Bassa and Damboa, and a secondary school head teacher, have been shot dead.

It is thought that Boko Haram militants have resurfaced in Gwoza and other nearby towns after their training camps in the Sambisa Games Reserve Forest were destroyed as part of a clampdown by the Nigerian military.

A state of emergency was declared last month in the Northern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, where the militants pose the greatest threat. Nigerian forces are carrying out their biggest offensive against Boko Haram since the Islamist group’s deadly insurgency began in 2009.

But the militants, who are fighting to establish an Islamic state in the North, have so far been undeterred.They are now targeting youth in Borno and Yobe states who have been helping the military to identify and arrest suspected Boko Haram members.

Last week they killed at least nine pupils at a school on the outskirts of Maiduguri, and 13 people, including students and teachers, at a school in Damaturu.

– barnabas team

Kerala’s tribal children pay for official neglect

June 26, 2013 by  
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Rising infant mortalities show basic needs are not being met.

A tribal woman who lost three infants during delivery, with her husband in Vellakulam

A tribal woman who lost three infants during delivery, with her husband in Vellakulam

Kerala, June 19, 2013: Rain mixed with tears on the face of 29-year-old Ponnamma as she returned home from the grave of her prematurely born twins, who died shortly after delivery on March 25.

“Why did God take them? He could have spared them. They were very cute,” she murmured as she stood in the rain outside her government-built house.

As neighbors gathered to offer consolation to Ponnamma, who visits her children’s graves every day, she walked slowly into her home and locked the door.

The twins were among 28 infants who have died in the tribal hamlet of Attapadi in Vellakulam, Kerala, since January – many of them after premature birth – because of poor maternal nutrition.

Some 187 tribal villages dot the lush, wooded landscape of the Attapadi Hills in Kerala’s Palakkad district – a 745 sq km area that is home to 30,000 people.

The tribal communities exist with few resources and a chronic lack of basic health amenities. They say they are victims of systemic government inaction and corruption.

“Most of the tribal villages have no transport. The high rate of illiteracy among women makes things worse,” said Dr Prabhudas, who has worked in the region for the last 15 years.

He and others say the deaths this year contradict claims by the Kerala government that the standard of healthcare in the area remains high compared to other parts of the country and even to developed countries.

Other claims by the Kerala government include a birth rate of 14 per 1,000 females (the national average is 25 and the United States average is 16), an adult literacy rate of 94.59 percent (the US is 99 percent) and a life expectancy of 75 years (the US is 77).

Dr Prabhudas notes, however, that in Attapadi chronically undernourished women are delivering underweight babies of between 600 and 900 grams, many of whom die in a matter of days.

One such mother, identified only as Chelli, said that she was not aware that normal newborns should weigh about 3,300 grams and that pregnant women require extra nutrients in their diets.

The medical report on the death of Chelli’s newborn cited malnutrition as the cause.

Dr Prabhudas further noted that 28 infants in the villages died last year, and that the same number died in the first five months of this year, effectively doubling the deatrh toll. This puts the infant mortality rate in the tribal areas higher than Kerala as a whole, which is 12 per thousand live births, but still below the national average of 44 per 1,000 live births.

Some villages are even experiencing negative growth.

In three villages last year – Agali, Pudur and Sholayur – there were more deaths (776) than births (519), Dr Prabhudas said.

“It is certainly an alarming situation. But there is no easy solution,” he said.

“The situation was much better in the 1990s when I began to work here. During those days, tribal people were actively involved in farming. A change in lifestyle has led to a rise in the infant mortality rate across the region.”

Tribal activist VA Ramu says that tribal communities used to cultivate calcium-rich crops such as millet and Ragi, and lived a much healthier lifestyle. But that has changed with government development projects that have disenfranchised tribal communities and in many cases driven them off arable land.

Rajendra Prasad, who runs an NGO that works with tribal communities in the region, says there is also a link between infant mortality in tribal hamlets and poor living standards and a lack of proper hygiene.

“A majority of tribal villages face acute water shortages that lead to unhygienic practices,” he said.

Most tribal people have “only poor quality rice distributed by the government to eat, and that has almost no nutrients,” he added.

Meanwhile, the government has said it invested eight million rupees (about US$136,000) over the last decade for road development, housing, water supplies and income generating schemes including horticulture and farming.

PN Unnikrishnan, former director of the Attapadi Hill Area Development Society, says such programs have offered no benefits to poor tribal communities.

“These schemes only benefitted government officials and middle men who minted money from the projects,” he said.

In contrast, Unnikrishnan noted, the society – set up in 1995 for environmental conservation and wasteland development with support from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation – spent $39 million over the same period.

“It is a colossal waste of government money because no qualitative improvements have been achieved,” he said.

Moreover, the 50 km stretch of highway built in the last five years by the government has created new problems for the tribal communities.

“We were very happy to travel, but the roads also brought outsiders that have settled in our villages. They encroach on our lands, forge land records, purchase land at cut-rate prices from our uneducated people. We lost most of our agricultural land to settlers who cheated us,” said Vadugan, 70, a tribal who lost his land in Kottathara village.

Non-tribal communities who have moved into the area from Kerala and bordering Tamil Nadu state now have coconut and rubber plantations on lands where tribal people once cultivated millet.

Every year Kerala state’s tribal department spends about 500 million rupees on development projects in the area. Various other departments also spend money.

“But infant deaths indicate that poor tribal people are not eating proper food even once a day,” said Unnikrishnan.

– ucanews

Catholics and Lutherans agree to bury the hatchet

June 26, 2013 by  
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Celebration of Reformation’s anniversary to be held jointly.

Catholics and Lutherans agree to bury the hatchetVatican City, June 23, 2013: Lutherans and Catholics have pledged to celebrate together the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017, with both sides agreeing to set aside centuries of hostility and prejudice.

The Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation released a joint document, “From Conflict to Communion,” in Geneva on Monday (June 17) that said there’s little purpose in dredging up centuries-old conflicts.

The publication of Martin Luther’s 95 theses on Oct. 31, 1517, is traditionally celebrated as the birth of the Reformation that split Western Christianity into Catholic and Protestant.

In the document, the two churches recognize that in the age of ecumenism and globalization, the celebration requires a new approach, focusing on a reciprocal admission of guilt and on highlighting the progress made by Lutheran-Catholic dialogue in the past 50 years.

How to observe the landmark split is a sensitive topic in Rome, where some Catholics say there’s nothing to celebrate about a schism. Lutherans, too, are wary of a sense of triumphalism or taking pleasure in another church’s discomfort.

The document re-examines the history of the Reformation and the split it created, stressing that Luther “had no intention of establishing a new church, but was part of a broad and many-faceted desire for reform” within the church.

– religion news service

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