- Prayer for today
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is to create a new monastic community at his London residence of Lambeth Palace. Like many experiments with innovative models of religious life, it will combine aspects ancient and modern
- Home News
- World News
- Parish Practice
- Letters Extra
- The living Spirit
- Bishops’ general secretary, Mgr Marcus Stock, to lead cash-strapped diocese of Leeds
- Cardinal condemns ‘repugnant’ slaughter of David Haines by IS as Pope Francis foresees World War III
- Cohabitees, divorcee and single parent among brides and grooms married by Pope in Vatican ceremony
- Independent Scotland would need its own papal ambassador
- If there’s a shortage of priests in Ireland, why not ordain women to the diaconate? Michael Phelan
- Christians and Yazidis in Iraq: unwanted guests in their own country John Eibner, Christian Solidarity International
- Church should rethink its attitude to adoption Katherine Backler
Catholic Church leaders in Nigeria are urging the release of 190 schoolgirls who are still missing, after last week’s mass abductions of 234 by suspected Boko Haram terrorists.
The girls from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok in Borno State in the north of the country were kidnapped in Holy Week, after midnight on 14 April. Their abduction followed a missive bomb-blast in a bus station in Abuja, the capital, in which more than 70 people were killed and about 140 wounded.
“The abduction is most unfortunate and uncalled for,” Catholic Archbishop Alfred Martins of Lagos said in statement. Martins expressed his sadness at the escalating insecurity, while regretting that the terrorists were using religion to justify their actions.
His view is common among church leaders who have since united to urge the release of the students. On Tuesday desperate parents continued to search for children in a remote forest in the north as the church leaders urged the army to quickly find the girls.
The students aged between 16 and 18, were dragged from school by the gunmen and taken to an unknown destination. About 40 have since managed to escape, Revd Titus Pona, of the Christian Association of northern Nigeria was quoted as saying.
Since 2009 the Islamist terrorists have increased pressure on Christians in the north, bombing and attacking churches, alongside government installations and institutions.
“We are pleading with our brothers and kinsmen in the Boko Haram to… have sympathy on the innocent children, our daughters, and release them to their family,” Revd Pona told journalists in Maiduguri.
According to Fr John Bakeni, the secretary of the Maiduguri Catholic diocese in Borno, Boko Haram has been difficult to defeat because it has sympathisers in the higher ranks of society.