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Organizers of the Lord Jesus of the Great Power Festival, which fuses Andean and Catholic cultures, have chosen the queen to head the annual event which will mobilize 74,000 dancers and more than 4,000 musicians in the Bolivian city of La Paz.

Wearing the red skirt, white-fringed shawl and hat of the “la morenada” dance, Steffany Arriaza Cabezas took first place among 73 participants in voting that concluded early Saturday. She will lead festivities on June 21.

Arriaza represented “Morenada X of the Great Power,” one of the most traditional fraternities in the festival with more than a thousand dancers. The morenada is a folk dance born in the Andes and inspired by the slave trade in the region during the colonial era. Its influence has extended to Peru, Chile and Argentina in recent decades.

Each participant enters the catwalk performing the dance she represents. The judges take into account the dress and choreography, and the contestants have to answer questions.

The first place winner receives a kitchen; the second place participant a refrigerator and the third place dancer a microwave oven. The queen will preside over the festival, said Marina Isabel Salazar, president of the Association of Folkloric Groups.

On June 21, the dancers will descend the steep streets of the highland city of La Paz from the Jesus of the Great Power Catholic church, where the festival was born 49 years ago. Over the years, the festival has become a cultural icon for the city.

Source: Fox News World

Pope Francis on Saturday likened abortion to hiring a hitman and said the procedure can never be condoned, even if the unborn child is gravely sick or likely to die.

Francis made the comments during a pro-life conference sponsored by the Vatican. He stressed that abortion isn’t a religious issue but a human one.

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“Is it licit to throw away a life to resolve a problem?” he asked. “Is it licit to hire a hitman to resolve a problem?”

“Is it licit to throw away a life to resolve a problem? Is it licit to hire a hitman to resolve a problem?”

— Pope Francis

The pope also condemned abortion decisions based on prenatal testing, stating that a human being is “never incompatible with life.”

This applies to those babies who are destined to die at birth or soon after, he said. He stressed the importance of providing medical care to such babies in the womb and support their parents so they don’t afraid and isolated.

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“Taking care of these children helps parents to grieve and not only think of it as a loss, but as a step on a path taken together,” Francis said.

Pope Francis arrives for an audience with participants of a pilgrimage of the Italian-Albanian diocese of Lungro, in the Pope Paul VI hall, at the Vatican, Saturday, May 25, 2019.

Pope Francis arrives for an audience with participants of a pilgrimage of the Italian-Albanian diocese of Lungro, in the Pope Paul VI hall, at the Vatican, Saturday, May 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

The latest comments follow Pope’s previous condemnations of abortion, though he struck a somewhat more conciliatory tone towards the woman who had the procedure and made it easier for them to be absolved of the sin of abortion.

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His comments also came in the wake of a raging abortion debate in the U.S., where multiple states severely limited or banned abortion after six weeks, prompting outcry by pro-choice advocates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News World

One victim spoke out, and then another, and another. A statue of a pedophile priest was toppled in Gdansk, put back by his supporters, and finally dismantled for good. A feature film about clerical abuse was a box office hit.

Poland thought it had started confronting the problem of clerical abuse and its cover-up by church authorities. Then a bombshell came: A documentary with victim testimony so harrowing it has forced an unprecedented reckoning with pedophile priests in one of Europe’s most deeply Catholic societies.

Poland’s bishops acknowledged this week they face a crisis and made a rare admission that they have failed to protect the young. It’s also a crisis for the country’s conservative government, which is closely aligned with the Catholic Church, putting the ruling Law and Justice party on the defensive before Sunday’s European Parliament vote in Poland.

The documentary “Tell No One ” was directed by journalist Tomasz Sekielski. Before its release on May 11, ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski had described discussion about clerical abuse as a “brutal attack” on the church and portrayed the LGBT rights movement as the key threat to children in the country. But the revelations in the documentary have pushed the party to face up to the cleric abuse crisis. It has vowed stiffer penalties for pedophilia, although its leaders have avoided pointing a finger at the church specifically.

Across the country, the film has triggered soul searching and raised questions, including whether the same bishops who moved perpetrators from parish to parish for years will be capable of cleansing the church. Some wonder if Poland, which is already being reshaped by economic growth and secularization, could eventually follow Ireland, where the abuse crisis broke the Catholic Church’s hold on society.

Crowdfunded and free on YouTube, “Tell No One” has gotten more than 21 million views so far and has prompted a new wave of survivors to come forward. About 150 people have contacted a foundation helping victims of clerical abuse, “Have No Fear.” One was an 86-year-old man who was molested when he was 6 and had never told anyone until now.

“He finally understood that he is not alone,” said Anna Frankowska, a lawyer for the organization who took his call.

“A huge tsunami has come, and there is no way this issue can be swept under the rug now,” she said. “It has to be addressed.”

Michal Wojciechowicz, a 54-year-old abused in his youth by a prominent Solidarity-era priest, the late Rev. Henryk Jankowski, sees a “revolution” whose time has come thanks to clerical sexual abuse revelations elsewhere as well as reforms by Pope Francis.

“The Catholic Church had power over people for centuries. We needed to wait for the right time, and this is the right time,” said Wojciechowicz, a writer. “The most important thing is that people are now willing to listen.”

The church has played an inspirational role in Poland, keeping its language and culture alive during a long era of occupation and foreign rule and supporting the anti-communist Solidarity movement in the 1980s. To generations, the church has been an advocate for freedom and a source of solace under hardship, and to many, Catholic faith and traditions are synonymous with Polishness itself.

A Polish pope who is now a saint, John Paul II, was a moral authority and a political hero for opposing communism, but even his legacy is now in question due to his failure to tackle clerical abuse.

Recognition of the problem came slowly at first. A book published six years ago by a Dutch journalist had the accounts of Polish victims and five years ago “Have No Fear ” was founded to offer victims counseling and legal help. But the last eight months have brought the most dramatic milestones. A feature film about corrupt, abusive priests, “Clergy,” was a blockbuster after its September release.

Then in December, Barbara Borowiecka, 62, told Polish media about being abused when she was 11 by Jankowski, a prominent prelate in Lech Walesa’s anti-communist Solidarity movement in Gdansk, where a monument of him stood.

Borowiecka was encouraged to tell her story by another priest who brought her back to the church after a nearly five-decade break. Before his death in 2016, he made her promise to publicly name her aggressor when she was strong enough.

Shaken by Borowiecka’s story, three activists from Warsaw — Konrad Korzeniowski, Rafal Suszek i Michal Wojcieszczuk — traveled to Gdansk in February and in the middle of the night put a rope around the Jankowski monument and pulled it down.

“There was something in Borowiecka’s story that chilled me to the bone. It was shocking. The length of her isolation, the embarrassment she had to feel, that her own mother didn’t believe her,” said Korzeniowski, a computer programmer. “Even though I was aware of what is happening in the church with pedophilia, it put a face to it, and I was crying.”

They placed children’s underwear, shoes and white lace church vestments on the toppled statue to symbolize his victims’ suffering, then called police to turn themselves in. They also accused Jankowski, the church and society at large for remaining indifferent to his crimes and the venomous anti-Semitism he spread in his sermons.

Poles awoke to news of the toppled statue as the Vatican began hosting a landmark meeting on clerical sex abuse.

Two days later, the priest’s supporters, shipyard workers in Gdansk, re-erected the statue. During a Mass in his former church, the parish priest recalled the good done by Jankowski, who died in 2010. Pressured to act, the city dismantled the statue.

Borowiecka was touched and incredulous that three strangers risked prison — they have been charged with “insulting a monument” though no trial date has been set — to give her the relief she that feels now that the statue is gone. She met them in Warsaw this month, a warm encounter that sealed new friendships.

Days later, “Tell No One” came out, showing victims psychologically destroyed even in adulthood by their childhood abuse, priests caught by hidden cameras confessing to wrongdoing and convicted offenders still working with children.

Sekielski, the director, has been taken aback by the response, which has included new investigations and at least one priest asking to be laicized.

“A mental revolution is happening in front of our eyes. Victims are being called victims and perpetrators called perpetrators,” he told the weekly magazine Polityka.

Suszek welcomed Poland’s new awareness of clerical abuse but disagreed a revolution is underway, saying there is no mass of rebels and fearing instead a wave of emotion that could easily die down.

“If you are about to start a revolution, then you’d better have a plan for the aftermath,” Suszek said. “And nobody has a clear-cut idea about how to deal with the void that would inevitably come about when you remove the institutional church from the public sphere.”

Source: Fox News World

One victim spoke out, and then another, and another. A statue of a pedophile priest was toppled in Gdansk, put back by his supporters, and finally dismantled for good. A feature film about clerical abuse was a box office hit.

Poland thought it had started confronting the problem of clerical abuse and its cover-up by church authorities. Then a bombshell came: A documentary with victim testimony so harrowing it has forced an unprecedented reckoning with pedophile priests in one of Europe’s most deeply Catholic societies.

Poland’s bishops acknowledged this week they face a crisis and made a rare admission that they have failed to protect the young. It’s also a crisis for the country’s conservative government, which is closely aligned with the Catholic Church, putting the ruling Law and Justice party on the defensive before Sunday’s European Parliament vote in Poland.

The documentary “Tell No One ” was directed by journalist Tomasz Sekielski. Before its release on May 11, ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski had described discussion about clerical abuse as a “brutal attack” on the church and portrayed the LGBT rights movement as the key threat to children in the country. But the revelations in the documentary have pushed the party to face up to the cleric abuse crisis. It has vowed stiffer penalties for pedophilia, although its leaders have avoided pointing a finger at the church specifically.

Across the country, the film has triggered soul searching and raised questions, including whether the same bishops who moved perpetrators from parish to parish for years will be capable of cleansing the church. Some wonder if Poland, which is already being reshaped by economic growth and secularization, could eventually follow Ireland, where the abuse crisis broke the Catholic Church’s hold on society.

Crowdfunded and free on YouTube, “Tell No One” has gotten more than 21 million views so far and has prompted a new wave of survivors to come forward. About 150 people have contacted a foundation helping victims of clerical abuse, “Have No Fear.” One was an 86-year-old man who was molested when he was 6 and had never told anyone until now.

“He finally understood that he is not alone,” said Anna Frankowska, a lawyer for the organization who took his call.

“A huge tsunami has come, and there is no way this issue can be swept under the rug now,” she said. “It has to be addressed.”

Michal Wojciechowicz, a 54-year-old abused in his youth by a prominent Solidarity-era priest, the late Rev. Henryk Jankowski, sees a “revolution” whose time has come thanks to clerical sexual abuse revelations elsewhere as well as reforms by Pope Francis.

“The Catholic Church had power over people for centuries. We needed to wait for the right time, and this is the right time,” said Wojciechowicz, a writer. “The most important thing is that people are now willing to listen.”

The church has played an inspirational role in Poland, keeping its language and culture alive during a long era of occupation and foreign rule and supporting the anti-communist Solidarity movement in the 1980s. To generations, the church has been an advocate for freedom and a source of solace under hardship, and to many, Catholic faith and traditions are synonymous with Polishness itself.

A Polish pope who is now a saint, John Paul II, was a moral authority and a political hero for opposing communism, but even his legacy is now in question due to his failure to tackle clerical abuse.

Recognition of the problem came slowly at first. A book published six years ago by a Dutch journalist had the accounts of Polish victims and five years ago “Have No Fear ” was founded to offer victims counseling and legal help. But the last eight months have brought the most dramatic milestones. A feature film about corrupt, abusive priests, “Clergy,” was a blockbuster after its September release.

Then in December, Barbara Borowiecka, 62, told Polish media about being abused when she was 11 by Jankowski, a prominent prelate in Lech Walesa’s anti-communist Solidarity movement in Gdansk, where a monument of him stood.

Borowiecka was encouraged to tell her story by another priest who brought her back to the church after a nearly five-decade break. Before his death in 2016, he made her promise to publicly name her aggressor when she was strong enough.

Shaken by Borowiecka’s story, three activists from Warsaw — Konrad Korzeniowski, Rafal Suszek i Michal Wojcieszczuk — traveled to Gdansk in February and in the middle of the night put a rope around the Jankowski monument and pulled it down.

“There was something in Borowiecka’s story that chilled me to the bone. It was shocking. The length of her isolation, the embarrassment she had to feel, that her own mother didn’t believe her,” said Korzeniowski, a computer programmer. “Even though I was aware of what is happening in the church with pedophilia, it put a face to it, and I was crying.”

They placed children’s underwear, shoes and white lace church vestments on the toppled statue to symbolize his victims’ suffering, then called police to turn themselves in. They also accused Jankowski, the church and society at large for remaining indifferent to his crimes and the venomous anti-Semitism he spread in his sermons.

Poles awoke to news of the toppled statue as the Vatican began hosting a landmark meeting on clerical sex abuse.

Two days later, the priest’s supporters, shipyard workers in Gdansk, re-erected the statue. During a Mass in his former church, the parish priest recalled the good done by Jankowski, who died in 2010. Pressured to act, the city dismantled the statue.

Borowiecka was touched and incredulous that three strangers risked prison — they have been charged with “insulting a monument” though no trial date has been set — to give her the relief she that feels now that the statue is gone. She met them in Warsaw this month, a warm encounter that sealed new friendships.

Days later, “Tell No One” came out, showing victims psychologically destroyed even in adulthood by their childhood abuse, priests caught by hidden cameras confessing to wrongdoing and convicted offenders still working with children.

Sekielski, the director, has been taken aback by the response, which has included new investigations and at least one priest asking to be laicized.

“A mental revolution is happening in front of our eyes. Victims are being called victims and perpetrators called perpetrators,” he told the weekly magazine Polityka.

Suszek welcomed Poland’s new awareness of clerical abuse but disagreed a revolution is underway, saying there is no mass of rebels and fearing instead a wave of emotion that could easily die down.

“If you are about to start a revolution, then you’d better have a plan for the aftermath,” Suszek said. “And nobody has a clear-cut idea about how to deal with the void that would inevitably come about when you remove the institutional church from the public sphere.”

Source: Fox News World

Thousands of supporters of an Iraqi populist Shiite cleric held sit-ins around Iraq saying their country should not be a battlefield between the United States and Iran.

The sit-ins Friday come days after a rocket slammed into Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, landing less than a mile from the sprawling U.S. Embassy. No injuries were reported and no group claimed responsibility.

Last week, the U.S. ordered the evacuation of nonessential diplomatic staff from Iraq amid unspecified threats from Iran.

In Baghdad, more than 3,000 people gathered Friday night in central Tahrir Square chanting “no to war” and “yes to peace.”

The demonstrators are supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr, who recently said that any political party that would drag Iraq into a U.S.-Iran war “would be the enemy of the Iraqi people.”

Source: Fox News World

Thousands of supporters of an Iraqi populist Shiite cleric held sit-ins around Iraq saying their country should not be a battlefield between the United States and Iran.

The sit-ins Friday come days after a rocket slammed into Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, landing less than a mile from the sprawling U.S. Embassy. No injuries were reported and no group claimed responsibility.

Last week, the U.S. ordered the evacuation of nonessential diplomatic staff from Iraq amid unspecified threats from Iran.

In Baghdad, more than 3,000 people gathered Friday night in central Tahrir Square chanting “no to war” and “yes to peace.”

The demonstrators are supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr, who recently said that any political party that would drag Iraq into a U.S.-Iran war “would be the enemy of the Iraqi people.”

Source: Fox News World

Thousands of supporters of an Iraqi populist Shiite cleric held sit-ins around Iraq saying their country should not be a battlefield between the United States and Iran.

The sit-ins Friday come days after a rocket slammed into Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, landing less than a mile from the sprawling U.S. Embassy. No injuries were reported and no group claimed responsibility.

Last week, the U.S. ordered the evacuation of nonessential diplomatic staff from Iraq amid unspecified threats from Iran.

In Baghdad, more than 3,000 people gathered Friday night in central Tahrir Square chanting “no to war” and “yes to peace.”

The demonstrators are supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr, who recently said that any political party that would drag Iraq into a U.S.-Iran war “would be the enemy of the Iraqi people.”

Source: Fox News World

The umbrella group of Catholic nuns is urging religious sisters around the world to speak out about sexual abuse by priests and other abuses of power that they experience, while also announcing new initiatives to protect children in their care.

The International Union of Superiors General, which represents leaders of some 400,000 nuns, issued a final declaration on Friday after their triennial assembly.

The group said the 850 superiors who attended were informed of the different types of abuses of power that sisters might experience and the importance of teaching them to confront it. The superiors “were encouraged to begin open conversations” about the issue.

The sexual abuse of nuns by priests has been taboo for centuries, but recent news reports, including by The Associated Press, have broken the silence.

Source: Fox News World

An Afghan police official says a bomb exploded at a mosque in a western part of Kabul, killing two people, including the prayer leader, and wounding seven.

Jan Agha, a district police official, says the bomb was apparently planted in the microphone used by the mosque leader during Friday prayers.

No militant group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but both the Taliban and the Islamic State group regularly stage attacks in the country’s capital.

The Kabul neighborhood where the bombing took place is dominated by ethnic Pashtuns, most of whom are Sunni Muslims and who make up the backbone of the Taliban movement.

Source: Fox News World

An Afghan police official says a bomb exploded at a mosque in a western part of Kabul, killing two people, including the prayer leader, and wounding seven.

Jan Agha, a district police official, says the bomb was apparently planted in the microphone used by the mosque leader during Friday prayers.

No militant group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but both the Taliban and the Islamic State group regularly stage attacks in the country’s capital.

The Kabul neighborhood where the bombing took place is dominated by ethnic Pashtuns, most of whom are Sunni Muslims and who make up the backbone of the Taliban movement.

Source: Fox News World


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