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Grand Ayatollah to Pope Francis: “Thank you for saying Islam is not equal to terrorism”

August 22, 2016. Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi sent a letter to Pope Francis to thank him for his words on the flight back from Poland, a few weeks ago: "It is not right to say that Islam is a terrorist faith.” In his letter, the Shia religious leader has strongly condemned terrorist attacks from fundamentalist Islamic groups. He has also stated that "the vast majority of the Musilm people consider all Takfiri sects to be outside the fold of Islam.” Makarem Shirazi is one of the 64 Grand Ayatollahs in Shia Islam and, as such, one of the highest authorities in matters of Islamic dogma and law.
World

Pope conveys “solidarity and spiritual closeness” for the victims of wildfire in Portugal

August 16, 2016. The fire has killed at least five people and caused hundreds to evacuate their homes. The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin addressed a letter, on behalf of Pope Francis, to the bishop of Funchal, Antonio Carrilho. The letter was read during the celebration of Holy Mass for Our Lady of the Mount, Patroness of Funchal. In the letter, Pope Francis expressed his condolences and sorrow over the loss of life and property in the Portuguese island of Madeira, where wildfires have killed at least five people and caused hundreds to evacuate their homes. Pope Francis conveys "solidarity and spiritual closeness” for the victims and those displaced by the wildfires and prayed for the wounded and asked them to have "courage and consolation in Christian hope” for all involved.
World

Pope sends condolences to North America in wake of Hurricane Earl

August 9, 2016. Pope Francis sent his prayers and condolences to the victims in the wake of Hurricane Earl through a message sent by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin. The hurricane killed at least 45 people in Mexico and 13 in the Dominican Republic and caused an estimated $50 million in damage.
World

Pope sends his condolences following attack that killed 70 people at a hospital in Pakistan

August 9, 2016. The terrorist attack at Quetta Hospital killed dozens of lawyers and left 120 others injured.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis officially establishes the commission to study the diaconate of women

August 2, 2016. Six women and six men will study the diaconate of women "with regard to the first ages of the Church.”
Vatican

Federico Lombardi appointed new president of The Ratzinger Foundation

Aug. 1, 2016. Today Fr. Lombardi officially ceases to be director of the Vatican Press Office and becomes the president of The Ratzinger Foundation. Father Federico Lombardi will chair the board of the Vatican foundation established by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010. Until now it was run by president Monsignor Giuseppe Scotti. The Ratzinger Foundation promotes the study of theology, organizes cultural and scientific congresses and rewards the work of scholars and researchers in different fields.

Book published on Pope Francis' first interview: 'My door is always open.'

2013-12-08

Traditionally Popes don't usually give out interviews. But Jesuit priest, Antonio Spadaro broke that mold, when he interviewed Pope Francis for Civiltà Cattolica and other Jesuit publications.

It was the first interview Pope Francis agreed to and it made waves across the globe. It laid out some of his priorities like evangelization and reforms in the governance of the Church. Now Spadaro is sharing what that conversation was like. 

FR. ANTONIO SPADARO
Director, Civilttà Cattolica
"The Pope is calm, but he's also like a volcano. When Pope Francis speaks, he doesn't follow a linear conversation, instead it goes up and down. So he first throws out something to test you, then he does that again and again. So for the final product to make sense you have to tie it all together and lay out the entire conversation. This interview could not follow a  simple question and answer format." 

That conversation is now part of a book, titled 'My Door is Always Open.' The publication is an extension of that breakthrough interview, including some background and comments to help readers understand the context and setting of the interview. 

CARD. OSCAR A. RODRIGUEZ MARADIAGA 
Council of Cardinals
"The title of the book, already says so much about the Pope's attitude. With John Paul II his main phrase was: Don't be afraid. Then with Benedict XVI it was: Open Wide the doors to Christ. Now with Pope Francis it's, My Door is Always Open.” 

FR. ANTONIO SPADARO
Director, Civilitta Cattolica 
"Once I wrote and published the interview, I noticed that there was still much more to be said.  There was a need to share things that I hesitated to publish, because it was difficult to explain.” 

The interview was carried out in three afternoons back in August. It was around the same time when the Pope was preparing his apostolic exhortation. 

It was the Pope's first interview, so it made sense that the Pope's new team was at the book launching, including his advisory group, the Pope's secretary Fabian Padacchio and the Vatican's Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin. 


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