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Iranian Judges’ Opinion on House Churches Seen

THE Tehran Supreme Court has decided to review the five-year sentences imposed on Pastor Matthias Haghnejad and eight other Christian converts (News, March 6, 2020), reports Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). The men were first convicted of “endangering state security” and “promoting Zionism” and sentenced to five years in prison in 2019. Their sentences were upheld last year without a hearing , after the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei allegedly authorized the judge to bypass court proceedings. A November 3 statement seen by CSW says judges did not consider proselytizing and establishing house churches to be illegal activities. A CSW source said: “Some judges refuse to take orders from the secret police. This new development doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be released, but there will likely be a new trial. “

The plans of Notre-Dame de Paris defended

Plans to redesign the interior of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, devastated by a fire in 2019 (April 15, 2019), were defended by the parish priest in charge of the process, Father Gilles Drouin, after intense reviews in the press. Proposals include the projection of Bible verses in multiple languages ​​and murals on the walls and a “discovery trail” featuring chapels depicting themes such as various continents, “faith and reason” and “creation reconciled”. The plans will be heard by the National Heritage and Architecture Commission this month. Maurice Culot, architect, said The daily telegraph last week: “It’s like Disney is walking into Notre-Dame. . . a kind of theme park and very childish and banal given the size of the place. ” But Father Drouin explained to AFP that it was a question of better welcoming and informing the public, because it was “not always of Christian culture. . . Chinese visitors may not necessarily understand the Nativity. The cathedral had “always been open to the art of the contemporary period”.

Colombia celebrates five years since the peace agreement

PROGRESS on the peace accord signed in Colombia five years ago (News, November 26, 2016) has been “too slow,” warned Alejandro Perez of Caritas Colombia, a branch of the country’s Conference of Catholic Bishops. “The biggest obstacles to the implementation of the peace agreement are the continued attacks and killings of community leaders, victims and human rights defenders,” he said, in a statement quoted by CAFOD . “The FARC have left many rural areas but the government has not been able to occupy them, leaving a void where armed groups have settled and are using the land to cultivate illicit crops, mining and farming. lumbering. CAFOD’s Colombia program manager Ulrike Beck said defending peace and reconciliation in the country could be “deadly”. CAFOD calls on the international community to monitor the safety of leaders who are victimized in next year’s elections and urges the Colombian government to guarantee their safety.

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