We begin in Rome today with a quick review of the Pope’s weekly General Audience where he focused his catechesis on the Sacrament of Baptism as "the foundation of Christian life."
To France now were French President, Emmanuel Macron, has caused an uproar among his critics and the secularists in his country, after making public remarks that he wants to repair the relationship between the Catholic church and the state of France.
During a meeting with France’s Bishops and other Catholic dignitaries on Monday, the French President paid homage to the Catholic Church and to Catholics, emphasizing their role in France’s history, and praising their commitment to those who are most vulnerable. He told them that he hopes to repair relations with the Church through a "dialogue of truth". "A president of the French Republic”, he said, “who takes no interest in the Church & its Catholics, would be failing in his duty”.
Now while the President is being applauded by the Bishops, he is being accused by his critics and other government leaders as tampering with France's longstanding secular tradition. The Catholic Church in France and the French Government were for centuries, indistinguishable until the two were formally separated by a law in 1905.
We go to the Congo now, where reports are surfacing that a Catholic priest was shot dead on Sunday shortly after celebrating Mass in an escalating wave of violence against Catholics and other Christians in that country.
U.N. radio in Congo reported that Father Etienne Nsengiunva was shot at point-blank range on April 8th while eating with parishioners after celebrating Sunday Mass. According to reports, "An armed man entered his house, pointed a gun at him and shot several times, killing him instantly. Those who were sharing the meal could not believe it," reported a fellow priest who was with him at the time of the incident. This murder comes three days after another priest was violently abducted on Easter but luckily found unharmed by villagers.
A wave of violence targeting Catholics continues in the Congo as the bishops in that country are pressing the country's President Joseph Kabila to step down since his second and final term expired in December 2016. Challenging what they termed as an "illegal" third term for the President, the Catholic Church has found itself targeted. Many Churches, convents and Catholic schools have been vandalized or looted by armed groups in a recent wave of violence.
And finally, with the release of Pope Francis' new Apostolic Exhortation on the call to holiness in today's world, I leave you with a look at some of the saints the Pope has canonized in the past five years as “examples of holiness”, for us to take inspiration from.
That is all that we have time for today. Join us again tomorrowwhen I bring you more news and stories from the Perspective of a Catholic Lens.
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