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 Pope Benedict to consecrate Barcelona's Sagrada Familia

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Nombre de messages : 21
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Date d'inscription : 13/10/2010

MessageSujet: Pope Benedict to consecrate Barcelona's Sagrada Familia   Dim 7 Nov - 11:42

Pope Benedict to consecrate Barcelona's Sagrada Familia
Seats outside the Sagrada Familia ahead of the Pope's visit The Sagrada Familia will become the world's tallest church when finished
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Pope Benedict XVI is to visit the Spanish city of Barcelona to consecrate Antoni Gaudi's unfinished cathedral, the Sagrada Familia, as a basilica.

Gaudi's greatest work has been under construction for more than a century, and will not be finished before 2026.

But the Pope will dedicate its altar and celebrate its first mass on Sunday.

In Santiago de Compostela on Saturday, he warned of an "aggressive anti-clericalism" in Spain which was akin to that experienced during the 1930s.

The comments were a reference to the civil war era, during which Republicans killed thousands of priests and nuns, and burned churches.

Despite opposition from the Roman Catholic Church, Spain's Socialist-led government has introduced laws allowing gay marriage, fast-track divorce and easier access to abortions.
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“Start Quote

The building shows that through art we can achieve spirituality that people need so much”

End Quote Jordi Bonet Armengol Chief architect, Sagrada Familia

Work began on Barcelona's Sagrada Familia (Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family) in 1882, based on a design by Francesc de Paula Villar, who envisioned a simple church in a traditional neo-Gothic style.

But after he resigned in 1883, Gaudi was appointed the lead architect and redesigned the church entirely. His imaginative plans included 18 spires and five naves, rich with decorated organic detailing.

He once said it was an expression of "the divine history of the salvation of man through Christ incarnate, given to the world by the Virgin Mary".

In 1911, the devout Catholic devoted himself entirely to the project, and spent the next 15 years living and working on site as a virtual recluse, supervising work. He died in 1926, after being run over by a tram.

Already a Unesco world heritage site visited by millions, it will become the world's tallest church when the 170m (560ft) central tower is erected.

Although work is not scheduled to finish for many more years, enough work has been done to welcome Pope Benedict, including covering the central nave and installing stained-glass windows there.

Jordi Bonet Armengol, the current chief architect, said he hoped the Pope's visit would provide the boost needed to finish the construction, which is funded by private donations and visitors' fees.

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The Pope was greeted by thousands of people as he arrived in Santiago de Compostela

"He will bring a message of spirituality and it's a stimulus to finish the work," he told the Reuters news agency. "The building shows that through art we can achieve spirituality that people need so much."

Gay activists have meanwhile said they will stage a "kiss-in" outside the Sagrada Familia when the Pope arrives to consecrate it.

"Our main goal is to perform a symbolic act through love to show other forms of love," the organisers said in a statement.

This is Pope Benedict's second visit to Spain since his election, and a third visit is planned next year for World Youth Day, a sign of how important the Vatican considers the health of the Church in the country.

Only 14.4% of Spaniards regularly attend mass, and legal changes to allow divorce, gay marriage and abortion have caused concern to the Church. But 73% of Spaniards still define themselves as Catholic

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Date d'inscription : 16/11/2010

MessageSujet: Re: Pope Benedict to consecrate Barcelona's Sagrada Familia   Mar 16 Nov - 3:08

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MessageSujet: Re: Pope Benedict to consecrate Barcelona's Sagrada Familia   Mer 1 Déc - 6:04

Israel's eased blockade 'still crippling' Gaza
By Jon Donnison
BBC News, West Bank

Import levels have only increased by a third since the blockade was eased, says the reports
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Israel and the Palestinians

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There has been "little improvement" for people in Gaza since Israel announced it was easing its economic blockade of the territory six months ago.

That is the verdict of a new report by aid agencies and rights groups working inside the Palestinian territory.

A ban on most exports from Gaza is "crippling" the economy, they say.

The report, "Dashed Hopes: Continuation of the Gaza Blockade", was compiled by 21 different groups, including Oxfam, Amnesty and Save the Children.

"Only a fraction of the aid needed has made it to the civilians trapped in Gaza by the blockade," said Jeremy Hobbs, Director of Oxfam International.

"Israel's failure to live up to its commitments and the lack of international action to lift the blockade are depriving Palestinians in Gaza of access to clean water, electricity, jobs and a peaceful future," Mr Hobbs added.

The report says there has been an increase in imports such as food and consumer goods but that import levels are still only just over one-third of what they were before 2007 when the blockade was originally tightened.

It also says only a tiny fraction of the construction materials needed to rebuild Gaza are being allowed in.

In June, Israel said it would allow in construction material for projects carried out by organisations such as the United Nations. But the report says Israel has so far approved only 7% of the UN's reconstruction projects in Gaza.

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Guide: Eased Gaza blockade
Business under the eased blockade
It says at the current rate it will take decades to carry out the UN's housing and schools projects in the strip.

Earlier this month the Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza, John Ging, told the BBC there had been "no material change" for people living in Gaza since the "so-called easing".

Mr Ging accused Israel of ignoring the demands of the international community to fully lift the blockade.

The report stresses that virtually all exports remain banned, having a devastating effect on Gaza's economy.

Janet Symes, Christian Aid's Head of Middle East Region, said that "with the continued ban on exports, Gaza is crippled economically".

"How can it stand on its own two feet? People want jobs to make a living in a dignified manner and not exist on handouts."

The only exports currently allowed out of Gaza are a limited number of flowers and strawberries.

Responding to the report Major Guy Inbar - a spokesman for the Israeli office which controls crossings into Gaza (Cogat) - said in a statement: "The claims of the organisations, as they appear in the report, are biased and distorted and therefore mislead the public."

He said the number of trucks entering Gaza from Israel every day had increased by 92% this June.

The United Nations says this is still only a fraction of what was being allowed into Gaza before 2007.

Israel originally tightened its blockade of Gaza in 2007 after the Islamist movement Hamas came to power. Israel, the US and the EU regard Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

Over the past decade Hamas has fired thousands of rockets into Israel, although that number has declined dramatically since Operation Cast Lead, Israel's major offensive in Gaza almost two years ago.

Policies revealed
Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, said the report's findings needed an urgent practical response: "The report needs an immediate translation into action to take an active and strong international decision to obligate the occupation government to end immediately the Gaza Strip's suffering and lift the siege,"

Under the blockade, Gaza is only permitted to export flowers and strawberries
Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said Israel is easing the blockade but must check everything entering Gaza.

"Israel does not see the people of Gaza as our enemy. On the contrary, the people of Gaza suffer - like Israel suffers - from a terrible, authoritarian Hamas regime, and we are committed to making sure that civilian goods reach the civilian population of the Gaza Strip," he said.

Last month, the Israeli government was forced to reveal that the blockade was not only imposed for security reasons.

After a freedom of information request by the Israeli human rights organisation Gisha, the Israeli government released documents saying the blockade was originally tightened as part of a policy of "deliberately reducing" basic goods for people in Gaza in order to put pressure on Hamas.

These documents referred to Israeli policy up to the point when the government announced it was easing the blockade in June.

At the time, the director of Gisha, Sari Bashi, said: "Instead of considering security concerns, on the one hand, and the rights and needs of civilians living in Gaza, on the other, Israel banned glucose for biscuits and the fuel needed for regular supply of electricity - paralysing normal life in Gaza and impairing the moral character of the State of Israel."

"I am sorry to say that major elements of this policy are still in place."

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