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Pope Francis

Complete program of pope's trip to Fatima on May 12-13

March 20, 2017. The Vatican has published Pope Francis' program for his upcoming trip to Fatima.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis will travel to Egypt from 28 to 29 April 2017

March 18, 2017. In response to the invitation from the President of the Republic, the Bishops of the Catholic Church, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II and the Grand Imam of the Mosque of Al Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayyib, Pope Francis will make an Apostolic trip to the Arab Republic of Egypt from 28 to 29 April 2017, visiting the city of Cairo. The programme of the trip will be published shortly.
Pope Francis

Pope to meet with most powerful European leaders on March 24

March 3, 2017. On March 24 a historic meeting will take place between the pope and many of the most powerful heads of government throughout Europe. The meeting was announced by the Director of the Press Office of the Holy See, Greg Burke and will begin at 6 p.m. in the Sala Regia of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican.

Future beatification of Spanish martyrs sheds light on country's religious persecution


On October 13, the Catholic Church will witness one of the largest beatification ceremonies in history. It'll take place in the northeast Spanish city of Tarragona. Five hundred and twenty two martyrs of religious persecution from the 1930s will be one step closer to sainthood.   


"The fundamental conditions for declaring martyrdom are: death for their faith, to grant forgiveness before dying, and even praying for their executioners. These are the basic reasons for the Church to raise them to the honors of the altar, and present them to Christians and believers, as witnesses to the faith.”

This period of persecution surged during the Spanish Civil War, but the harassment began much earlier. Vicente Cárcel Ortí, one of the privileged few with access to the Vatican Secret Archives from that time period, called it one of the most ruthless persecutions of Catholics in history.


"Since 1931, there was a covert practice of forbidding Catholic newspapers from publishing, of not allowing funeral processions on the streets, or forcing people to remove any religious objects from public view. It was certainly the greatest persecution number-wise in all of Western Europe, practically since the Roman Empire.”

In 1987, the first beatifications of these martyrs began. John Paul II, moved by their stories of forgiveness and reconciliation, was one of the leading proponents.

"A cardinal once told me that the reason John Paul II pushed for these beatifications was the fact that they had killed women, especially lay and secular women. That for him was incomprehensible. He said, 'It's clear that they're martyrs of the faith.'

Some calculations place the number of Catholics killed during that time period at 10,000. With the latest beatification ceremony, Spain will now have a total of 1523 martyrs of religious persecution from the 1930's.