Eritrean Catholics to get their own Church in break with Ethiopians

Pope Francis has established a new Eastern Catholic Church for Eritrea, the first since the early 20th century, in what may be a move to ease the position of Catholics in the country. Roman Catholicism is

Pope Francis has established a new Eastern Catholic Church for Eritrea, the first since the early 20th century, in what may be a move to ease the position of Catholics in the country.

Roman Catholicism is one of the four religions tolerated in Eritrea, along with the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Evangelical Lutheran church and Islam.

Until now, the four Eritrean ‘eparchies’, or dioceses, have been part of the Ethiopian Catholic Church. However, the Vatican announced on Monday that they will now come under the authority of an Eritrean metropolitan archbishop, the present Bishop of Asmara, Menghesteab Tesfamariam.

Establishing the Eritrean Catholic Church as a separate jurisdiction may be calculated to improve its standing in the eyes of the government of Eritrea, which has fought a series of bloody wars with its more powerful neighbour Ethiopia including a long struggle for independence.

The Eritrean government has been accused of horrendous human rights abuses. According to Human Rights Watch, it is one of the most closed countries in the world and is characterised by “indefinite military service, torture, arbitrary detention, and severe restrictions on freedoms of expression, association and religion”.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that more than 305,000 Eritreans – more than five per cent of the population – has fled the country during the past decade. Many of the migrants who perished in the Lampedusa tragedy, in which 360 people died when their ship sank, were from Eritrea.

There are an estimated 155,000 Catholics in Eritrea, though exact figures are hard to come by. Protestants, other than Lutherans, and adherents of minority faiths such as Jehovah’s Witnesses are severely persecuted.

 

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20 COMMENTS
  • seselamu January 27, 2015

    AM LITTLE DISAPPOINTED THAT VATICAN CHOSE ABUNE MENGISTEAB TO BE IN CHARGE OF THIS NEW SETUP.
    THOUGH ABUNE MENGISTEAB HAS DONE A GOOD JOB WHEN IT COMES TO ISSUES BETWEEN ERI-CATHO vs HGDEF, his integrity, dedication and trustworthy is utterly a different story when he is dealing with his subordinates in the catholic dominion in eritrea.(as secretive as it might seem, things do leak, and are really nasty . . .hope it is fixed before it is too late)
    hawka abey alo – … awesome step that get applauds from different directions. i do give it a great credit. As courageous and smart as he is, why then does abune mengisteab chose to hussle and suffocate some elements within his own catholic sect in asmara and around . . .
    i hope to see a better leadership bar to the expectation and ordinance,
    thanks to free press, if need be, things can be brought to light to the very detail.
    regards,

  • Stefanos Menghesteab January 27, 2015

    ብመጀመርያ ክብሩ ይስፋሕ መንግስቱ ይባረኽ ኣብ’ዚ ዘብጽሓና ኣምላኽ።

    ካልኣይ ንመራሕትን ኣማሓደርትን ሰበኻታት ኣቡናትና ኣብ’ዚ ካብ ሕማቕ ዝሓመቀት እዋን ፡ከቢድ ሓላፍነት ተሸኪሞም ዝሓልፍዎ ዘሎዉ እግዝኣብሔር ኢዱ የንብረሎም

    እወ! ስድራ ቤታት ፋሕ ብትን ዝብላሉ ዘሎ እዋን፡ቤተክርስትያን መተካእታ ብሕያዋይ ስርዓት ብፍቅሪ ምስ ወለዱ ተኾስኹሱ ዝዓቢ ዉልድ ስለ ዘድልያ ከቢድ ሻቅሎት ኣሎዋ፡ ሻቅሎታ ካአ ዓዉ ኢላ ከቢድ መግለጺ ኣዉጺኣ ኢያ ። ሳላ ትጉሃት ዉፉያትን ካሃናትን ደናግልን መእመናንን ግን ሕጂ እዉን ብርእሰሊቃነ ጰጰሳት ዕብየታን ተራጋጊጹ ፍሉይ ምምሕዳራ ብቀዳማይ ኣቡን ፡ ኣቡነ መንግስትኣብ ተስፋማርያ ተመዚዞም
    ኣለዉ፡ዓብይ ፍስሃ እናተሰማዓኒ ንቀዳማይ ኣቡን ኣቡነ መንግስትኣብ ጥዕናን ኣሳልጦ ይምነየሎም፡፡

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