- Jan 16, 2021
Over the past two years, over 30 churches have been attacked in Ethiopia – half burned to the ground – leaving over 100 people dead. In Eritrea, where Catholics make up just about 4 percent of the population, Church-run schools and hospitals have been forcefully shut down by the government.
Ethiopian Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel and his delegation were barred from entering neighboring Eritrea, a development that underlines the souring relations between the church and the Eritrean authorities.
Eritrean bishops protested the government’s seizure of Catholic schools and asked that the Church be enabled to continue its educational and health services.
Eritrea under President Isaias Afwerki is an old-style secular police state that tolerates religion when it’s perceived to be socially useful, but that represses it if it ever becomes a threat.
The last Catholic healthcare clinic in Eritrea was closed by the government over the weekend in anger over the bishops’ pastoral letter they felt was too critical.
Members of bishops’ conferences in East Africa condemned the Eritrea government’s seizure of health facilities belonging to the Catholic Church.