The Pope was treated to a Christmas Special offered by Bavarian Television entitled "Advent and Christmas in the Bavarian Alps - from heaven to earth." As he entered the hall where the film was to be projected, the Holy Father was greeted by a group of traditional Bavarian musicians who played some familiar native songs for the Pope, under the direction of composer Hans Berger.
Pope Benedict then viewed the TV special which focused on the human and spiritual atmosphere of the season of Advent in Bavaria, the homeland of the Holy Father, and how Christmas the region's towns, churches , parishes and families traditionally prepare for Christmas.
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Baghdad (AsiaNews) - A group of protesters linked to the Islamic extremist wing, composed mostly of young people, yesterday stormed several Christian-owned shops, a hotel and a beauty parlour. The violence erupted yesterday afternoon in the town of Zakho, about 470 km from Baghdad, Iraqi Kurdistan located a few kilometers from the border with Turkey, and caused the wounding of at least 30 people, including 20 policemen. The fundamentalist wrath was unleashed by the vitriolic sermon of an imam in the local mosque, after which punitive raids were launched across the city. Pro-government Kurdish factions have already responded to the onslaught of the xtremist groups, who burned at least six sites of the Islamic Party of Kurdistan in the city and surrounding areas.
A video posted on YouTube (click here to view it), shows the assault against Christian shops and properties. Local Christian sources interviewed by AsiaNews - anonymous for security reasons - were involved in the raid confirm that "hundreds of people, especially young people" destroyed "at least 13 liquor shops, but the number could reach 30. Witnesses added that "the police did not react" and it is likely that "the assault was pre-planned." The extremist crowd, that carried out the attack in Zakho, then headed for Sumaili - town 15 km from Dohuk, the third largest Kurdish city - where once again exercises owned by Christians and Yazidis were targeted.
In Sumaili, said the source for AsiaNews, there are at least 200 Christian families who are now terrified. The violence continued in the Christian village of Shiuz, where 180 families live, and " the Kurdish police intervened to restore calm only two hours later ". "The extremist crowd - he adds - chanted jihad, or holy war, and anti-Christian slogans."
The Christian community in the region experienced a day of panic and terror at the hands of extremists and abandoned by local authorities. "These events - warns the source - lead to the faithful fleeing their native lands. In Mosul, Kirkuk and Baghdad, the police took steps to protect churches and places of worship. "
Iraqi Kurdistan has long been the center of a bitter conflict between Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen for control of the lands and oil fields that surround it, the dispute also involves the Christian minority, who are victims of violence and vendettas. Iraqi Christian figures confirm that fundamentalist Islam - after the initial auspices related to "Arab Spring", which led to a cautious optimism - has become "much more aggressive and dangerous for non-Muslims." (DS)
ARCHDIOCESE OF CANBERRA REPORT: At a time when many Australians are suspicious or cynical about organised religion, they trust the place of Catholic hospitals in the community, Bishop Pat Power told a meeting in Rome yesterday.
Chairman of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference's Commission for Health and Community Services, Bishop Power is one of several bishops from around the world who gathered in Rome for a meeting of bishops called by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers.
Speaking on the topic, Organisation of pastoral care in health in the Church, he said Catholic hospitals were some of the best and most trusted in Australia.
“The face of Jesus is presented with compassion and expertise to the Australian community through our excellent Catholic hospitals,” he said.
“Governments across Australia have a high regard for Catholic hospitals and aged care services.
“Unlike the situation in some other countries, our state governments actively fund 21 Catholic public hospitals to provide services to any person in need.
“Our 550 Catholic aged care services all receive some type of federal government funding. Government health funding is in fact very good in Australia.”
He said although governments did not always take the same view as the Church on certain ethical issues, they did respect the ability of Catholic hospitals to operate in accordance with Catholic ethical teaching.
For the full text of Bishop Power's talk, click here.
St. Francis Xavier
JESUIT PRIEST AND GREAT MISSIONARY
Feast: December 3
|Matthew 9: 35 - 38|
|35||And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity.|
|36||When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.|
|37||Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;|
|38||pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."|
|10: 1, 5 - 8|
|1||And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity.|
|5||These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans,|
|6||but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.|
|7||And preach as you go, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'|
|8||Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay.|