#ShortNews: Pope Francis: Advent is a time of joy-filled waiting

“…Advent responds with ‘the Gospel of anti-fear.’” Pope said. “If fear makes you lie on the ground, the Lord invites you to get up; if negativity pushes you to look down, Jesus invites us to turn our gaze to heaven, from where He will come. Because we are not children of fear, but children of God,” the He continues.

Then we welcome the invitation of the Gospel, the invitation so often repeated to stand up, to get up “From where? From the sofas of life: from the comfort that makes you lazy, from the mundanity that makes you sick inside, from the self-pity that darkens.”

“Stand up, let us look up to the sky,” as Pope instructed. “We would also advise of the need to open our hands to our neighbor. And the consolation that we can give will heal our fears.”

#ShortNews: Exorcism requests on the rise in US

The conviction that demons exist—and that they exist to harass, derange, and smite human beings—stretches back as far as religion itself. In ancient Mesopotamia, Babylonian priests performed exorcisms by casting wax figurines of demons into a fire. But far from being confined to a past of Demiurges and evil eyes, belief in demonic possession is widespread in the United States today. The percentage who believe in the devil is even higher, and in fact has been growing: Gallup polls show that the number rose from 55 percent in 1990 to 70 percent in 2007.

Accoding to Father Vincent Lampert, the official exorcist for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, in early October that he’d received 1,700 phone or email requests for exorcisms in 2018, by far the most he’s ever gotten in one year. Father Gary Thomas—a priest whose training as an exorcist in Rome was documented in The Rite, a book published in 2009 and made into a movie in 2011—said that he gets at least a dozen requests a week. Several other priests reported that without support from church staff and volunteers, their exorcism ministries would quickly swallow up their entire weekly schedules. The Church has been training new exorcists in Chicago, Rome, and Manila.

Read full story: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/12/catholic-exorcisms-on-the-rise/573943/?utm_source=eb

#ShortNews: Catholic patriarchs of the Middle East gather in Baghdad

“Youth, faith and vocational discernment” – hosted the 26th meeting of the Eastern Catholic Patriarchs, scheduled from 26 to 30 November at the patriarchal seat of Baghdad, and dedicated to young people as “a sign of hope in the Middle East”.

The program of the meeting also includes, a meeting of the Patriarchs with a large group of young Iraqi Christians, to be held in the Chaldean cathedral dedicated to Saint Joseph. The meeting – which ended with the publication of a final statement on the condition of Christian communities in the Middle East attended by Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai, Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, Melchite Patriarch Youssef Absi, Armenian Catholic Patriarch Krikor Bedros XX Ghabroyan, Bishop William Shomali (representing the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem) and Professor Souraya Bechealany, Secretary General of the Council of the Churches of the Middle East.

Read more: http://www.fides.org/en/news/65143-ASIA_IRAQ_Catholic_Patriarchs_in_Baghdad_to_meet_young_people_and_celebrate_martyrs