#ShortNews: Construction begins on first Christian church in Turkey built since 1923

The works for the construction of what will become the first newly built church in the Republic of Turkey will begin by next February. This was announced on Tuesday, January 8th, by Bulent Kerimoglu, mayor of Bakirkoy, the district of Istanbul where the new church will be built.

The construction works should last for a maximum of two years. The church will be built in the Yesilkoy district of Bakirkoy, in an area not far from the Ataturk International Airport, and will accommodate more than 700 faithful. The construction of the new church was in fact already announced in 2015 by the then Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu during a meeting at Dolmabahçe palace with representatives of Turkish non-Muslim religious minorities.

Read full article: http://www.fides.org/en/news/65357-ASIA_TURKEY_The_beginning_of_the_construction_of_the_first_church_in_Turkish_territory_since_1923_has_been_announced

#ShortNews: Israel’s Christian population on the rise

A Christian population that is growing, even with a lower child birth rate compared with Jews and Muslims, thanks also to the arrival of migrant workers. A good level of education among young people, with a figure that almost equals the Jewish majority and a percentage of increasingly significant active participation in the life of the country.

According to the document, Christians today in Israel are about 175 thousand equal to 2% of the total population. In 2017, the population growth of the minority reached 2.2%, a marked increase compared to 1.4% in the previous year. According to experts, growth is linked to the arrival of 597 migrants from Ethiopia rather than a boom in new births (where problems remain).

Education, health and above all tourism – in particular pilgrimages  -are the sectors in which the Christian community finds its most frequent employment.

Here to read full article: http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Christians-in-Israel-grow-%28slightly%29-through-immigration.-Educated-and-active-45909.html

#ShortNews: God always answers prayers, Pope reassures audience

Papal’s General Audience took place at 9.20 a.m. in the Paul VI Hall, where the Holy Father Francis met with groups of pilgrims and faithful from Italy and all over the world.

“We can be sure that God will respond. The only uncertainty is due to time, but let us have no doubt that He will respond. Perhaps we will have to persevere for a lifetime, but He will answer. He has promised us: He is not like a father who gives a snake in place of a fish. There is nothing surer: the desire for happiness that we all carry in our heart will be fulfilled one day. Jesus says. “Will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night?” (Lk ,18: 7). Yes, He will do justice, He will listen to us. What a day of glory and resurrection that will be! Praying is even now victory over solitude and desperation. Pray. Prayer changes reality, let us not forget. Either it changes things, or it changes our heart, but it always changes. Praying is even now victory over solitude and desperation. It is like seeing every fragment of creation swarming in the torpor of a story whose reason at times we are at times unable to grasp. But it is in movement, it is in journeying, and at the end of every road, what is there at the end of our road? At the end of prayer, at the end of a time in which we are praying, at the end of life: what is there? There is a Father Who awaits everything and awaits everyone with open arms. Let us look to that Father.”

Read full of the Papal’s greetings; http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2019/01/09/190109a.html

#ShortNews: Pope, ahead of Epiphany: ‘We like the Magi must look up, so that we can see the star’

Pope Francis stressed this in his greetings to Italian pilgrims and also reminded that beauty always brings us closer to God, “Beauty makes us better, everyone; beauty leads us to goodness, it also leads us to God.”

Acknowledging January 6, 2019, marks the Epiphany, Francis said: “Like the Magi, we also raise our gaze to the heavens; only in this way, will we be able to see the star that invites us to walk the paths of goodness.”

Read more: https://zenit.org/articles/pope-ahead-of-epiphany-we-like-the-magi-must-look-up-so-we-can-see-the-star/

#ShortNews: House churches shuttered in northeastern China

Authorities shut down a more than 20-year-old house church located in Yaopu town of the prefecture-level city of Tieling, in the northeastern province of Liaoning, after it refused to join the state-sanctioned Protestant Three-Self Church. A source speaking on condition of anonymity, told Bitter Winter that the closure comes after officials for the United Front Work Department of Diaobingshan city, which is under Tieling’s administration, convened a meeting of more than 30 employees of neighborhood committees to begin an intense crackdown on home gatherings of all religious persuasions – from Christians to Buddhists to Muslims.

It was decided at the meeting that religious believers are only allowed to attend gatherings at religious venues that have a government-issued religious activity permit; other gathering places will be shut down. The official claimed that Tieling city has already become a focus of the crackdown on religious house gatherings.

Read full article: https://bitterwinter.org/house-churches-shuttered-in-northeastern-china/

#ShortNews: Church credibility damaged by scandal, Cardinal Parolin admits

On the clerical sexual abuse scandals that have rocked Catholicism anew in recent months, the pope’s top aide has said the Church must do “everything possible, and even the impossible, to eliminate this phenomenon.”

Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, conceded that the scandals have damaged the Church’s moral authority.

“We have to recover credibility and authoritativeness,” said Parolin. “The Church has taken notable steps … but we have more work to do so that the faithful and the baptized can find anew in the Church an ambit of life and of witness.”

Read more: https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2019/01/03/popes-top-aide-says-church-must-do-the-impossible-to-fight-abuse/

#ShortNews: Parolin: True message of Christmas is peace, goodness for all

Cardinal Pietro Parolin celebrated Mass in the Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Erbil, Iraq, on Thursday. The Holy See’s Cardinal Secretary of State is visiting Iraq during the Christmas season, with a journey that began in Baghdad on Christmas Eve.

In his homily, Cardinal Parolin recognized the “great generosity” displayed by the local community in welcoming Christian refugees, especially from Mosul and the Plain of Nineveh. “Hatred and intolerance,” he said, “were countered by solidarity and closeness” on the part of all those who supported suffering Christians and other Iraqis.

“You are a Church of martyrs,” Cardinal Parolin said to the local community. “The blood of your martyrs and the witness of faith given by so many of your brothers and sisters represent a treasure for the Church and a seed of new vitality.”

Read full article here; https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2018-12/cardinal-pietro-parolin-erbil-christmas-homily-chaldean-catholic.html