This warning was issued quietly after the attack by the Islamic State on Christians traveling to a monastery in Egypt that killed 29 people in May. Sources are saying that the warnings were given verbally to individual church leaders by a representative of the Coptic Orthodox Pope. Christians who are on trips or youth camps had been told to stop all activities and return home early. A spokesperson for the Egyptian Catholic Church said they had received the same instructions. A Coptic church official told media that "his" church received, "verbal instructions this week, nothing written, to prevent panic,". Egypt faces an Islamist insurgency led by the Islamic State group in the Sinai Peninsula, where hundreds of soldiers and police have been killed since 2013. Just recently, an additional 23 soldiers were killed last week when suicide car bombs exploded at two military checkpoints in an attack claimed by Islamic State. Terror attacks that target Christians have intensified in Egypt and currently, over 100 Coptic Christians have been killed in that country since December.
In Venezuela, the bishops of that country have joined the people in a symbolic referendum vote to protest against the countries President and his attempt to re-write the Venezuelan constitution. Over 7 million Venezuelans voted on Sunday in an "unofficial referendum" to protest and reject President Nicolás Maduro’s attempts to re-write the country’s constitution, which many argue, only benefits him and his supporters. The Venezuelan bishops strongly supported this referendum, even though, it has no legal standing since it was rejected by Maduro himself.
Reflecting on the country’s increasingly violent situation, pro-government militias shot at a church, where Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino was saying Mass, forcing him into lock-down with 200 people. They were eventually allowed to leave, but the incident left one woman dead and many others wounded.
Last Sunday, during his weekly Angelus address, the Pope asked for renewed prayers for Venezuela and for an end to the violence, and political instability that is plaguing that country.
The world meeting of families in Ireland is just over 12 months away and to help the people of Ireland prepare, Cardinal Christoph Schonborn visited Mary Immaculate College and addressed the attendees of the Limerick conference to help launch the preparations for the upcoming event, which will be the biggest single event in the life of the Church in Ireland since the Pope’s visit in 1979.
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