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- QATAR (EMIRATS) : Here is finally a story concerning a Christian achievement in full Islam territory. On Palm Sunday, a spacious new Catholic church, ‘Our Lady of the Rosary’, has been inaugurated in Qatar, with the presence of cardinal Ivan Dias from Rome, a member of the Qatar Government and thousands of faithful. The latter must be foreigners, very numerous in this country (especially Filipino workers), as the access to this church is by principle prohibited to the Qatar nationals (even those converted to Catholicism), according to the terms of the construction permit. But after all, it’s a first step. The cost of the construction which lasted over eight years: 20 million USD, an enormous sum. It’s true that the government of Qatar had freely offered the ground for this construction, a gesture in direction of the Vatican, but also of the European Union. The Vatican is, besides, in negotiation with other Arab countries, including the Saudi Kingdom, for the construction of other churches. The international Christian push starts to bear fruits. - Encouraged by such successes, the association UNEC (Union of the Nations of European Christians, HQ in Paris) requested from the Turkish ministry for cultural and religious affairs in Ankara the authorization to celebrate, during its pilgrimage planned for autumn 2008, the holy Catholic Mass in 3 large Christian churches which have been forcefully abandoned since centuries and are today ‘museums’: the Hagia Sophia cathedral in Constantinople (today called Istanbul), the cathedral of Ani (ex-Armenian), and the Haya Sofia church at Trabzund on the Black Sea, a permission which should be, according to UNEC, perfectly compatible with a `laic state'. One can imagine the joy which will make tremble those venerable buildings when will rise up again to its vaults and cupolas the ancient songs and prayers to the Father, and the Son and the Holy Ghost, prayers which were solemnly sung in these churches during centuries, before the invasion by Islam more than 500 years ago, and especially when these churches will welcome again, during the Holy Mass of the pilgrimage, the King of heaven and earth, O.L. Jesus Christ, Saviour of all mankind. – It’s true that UNEC is expert in this field, as this association organized in the years 1990 eighteen ‘surprise masses’ in various churches of the French Val-d'Oise department (including the cathedral of Pontoise and the Basilica of Argenteuil) which are today occupied by modernism, to have made celebrate again the Holy Catholic Mass of all times in many anciently Catholic ruins and churches - today occupied by the Lutherans since four centuries - in Sweden in summer 2005, and in Norway in 2006, including in the chorus of the vast Gothic cathedral of Trondheim on the North Sea (XIIe century). UNEC now patiently awaits the answer of the Turkish ministry. - (Ru; cf O.F. March 18)



- ALGERIA: Another good news from an Islamic country: in Algiers, on March 17th, 140 intellectuals and artists expressed their “solidarity with the Christian community of Algeria, target of measures which are as brutal as unjustified”. They reaffirmed “their attachment… to the freedom of conscience, synonymous with the right of each one to practice – or not to practice - the religion of his choice”. The signatories, amongst whom are listed Abdennour Ali-Yahia, honorary president of the League of Human Rights, the historian Mohamed Harbi, the writers Boualem Sansal and Nordine Saadi, as well as the professor of Berber culture Salem Chaker, call for “the tolerance and the respect of freedom and diversity, cardinal values of any democratic society”. It’s true that the pressure against the Christians, including the Catholics (abt. 10, 000 faithful, in a country of 34 million inhabitants who are almost all Moslems), has been recently intensified by expulsions, radiations and judgments. The last jugdment, besides those marked against Protestant sects, is directed against Rev. Fr. Pierre Wally, of January 30th of this year, a Catholic priest of the diocese of Oran, who has been condemned to 1 year of prison and 200,000 Dinars of fine “to have prayed”, shortly after Christmas, with an small group of migrants from Cameroon, “outside of an authorized place for worship”, an arbitrary obligation imposed to the Christians by a presidential decree since February 28th, 2006. The Algerian daily newspaper “LIBERTE” courageously took the defense of the Christians, insisting that “the only danger which currently threatens Islam, is Islamism” (and not Christianism). Last year one even saw, in the streets of Ankara in Turkey, a group of Islamic demonstrators carrying a banderole: “We are all Christians! ”, to express publicly their dissension with the low-keyed but real persecution of the Christians. Signs of the time to be meditated! - (Ru; cf F.C. Mar.8 , O.F. Mar. 18)

- - O.A.M.D.G. - -


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