Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Clash between Christians and Police in Cairo Leaves One Dead
- Haiti Cholera Spreading Faster than Predicted
- Vatican Threatens New China Bishop with Excommunication
Clash between Christians and Police in Cairo Leaves One Dead
The Associated Press reports that one person is dead after Coptic Christian rioters hurling stones and police armed with tear gas clashed in Cairo. The riots reportedly started on Wednesday after authorities halted construction on a church for an alleged building permit violation. Thirty people were injured and 85 were arrested. Egypt's Coptic community are often blocked from good jobs and discriminated against in the Muslim-majority country. Officials are reluctant to approve new churches, the AP reports, so Christians sometimes obtain permits for Christian service centers and convert them to churches. Islamic extremists have also targeted Egypt's Christians, citing the supposed conversion of two Christian women to Islam as a motivating factor in the recent Baghdad church attack.
Haiti Cholera Spreading Faster than Predicted
Haiti's cholera epidemic has spread to the capital city of Port-au-Prince and much of the country, surprising officials and infecting thousands. Reuters reports that the disease as killed more than 1,300 people since the first case was recorded in mid-October. U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Haiti Nigel Fisher said that the waterborne disease could cause 200,000 causes within three months, according to the World Health Organization. "It's going to spread," he said. "The medical specialists all say that this cholera epidemic will continue through months and maybe a year at least, that we will see literally hundreds of thousands of cases." Fisher said U.N. and other aid workers needed to "significantly ratchet up" their response, including going through faith groups to distribute chlorine tablets to purify water, and increasing the number of treatment centers.
Vatican Threatens New China Bishop with Excommunication
The Vatican issued a strong condemnation of China's newest bishop, who was ordained by China's state-backed Catholic Church without papal approval. According to the BBC, Pope Benedict SVI called Rev. Joseph Guo Jincai's ordination a "grave violation" of church law. The Vatican also accused Beijing of "grave violations of freedom of religion and conscience" because it forced Vatican-approved bishops opposed to the ceremony to attend. China's Catholics are split between followers of the Pope and members of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, the BBC reported. The Vatican directly threatened action against Guo, saying he "finds himself in a most serious canonical condition before the Church in China and the universal Church, exposing himself also to the severe sanctions envisaged... [by] the Code of Canon Law".