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Pope Francis

Pope announces next World Day of Peace: “Non-Violence: A Style of Politics for Peace”

August 26, 2016. This is the theme Pope Francis has chosen for the next World Day of Peace, to be celebrated on January 1, 2017. Pope Francis has talked about the worrisome surge of violence that has taken over the world. On his trip to Poland in July he said the world is in a "piecemeal World War." That is why he wishes that this 50th World Day of Peace, the fourth of his pontificate, be a beacon of diplomacy and good will. The Pope wants to underline the prevalence of law in international affairs as a way to ensure a peaceful future. The World Day of Peace is a project started by Paul VI in 1968. It is celebrated the first day of every year, and it is usually an occasion where the pope makes important statements about the Social Doctrine of the Church.
World

Quake aftermath continues to torment ancient town of Amatrice as the death toll rises

August 25, 2016. Rescue teams continue to work tirelessly with the hope of finding new survivors, but the number of deaths will increase as there are still dozens missing. Italy's civil protection agency has announced that 190 have dead in the affected areas in the province of Rieti are overcome, while 57 were killed in the province of Ascoli. During the night, there have been up to 60 new tremors of between 3 and 4 degrees of magnitude. Rescuers worked overnight in the most affected Arquata del Tronto, Pescada< g> del Tronto, Accumoli< g> and Amatrice. The most dramatic situation exists in Amatrice, the largest municipality affected, and where 2,000 people live, but in the summer months doubles its population with vacationers and many tourists who had come to enjoy the weekend party pasta "amatriciana,” a dish that has its origins here. More than 1,000 people have been displaced by the quake.
World

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.

American reporter and pianist performs for Benedict XVI's brother

2014-01-17

She is best known for her work in front of the cameras, as a reporter for Fox News Channel. But unbeknownst to many, Lauren Green is also a distinguished pianist. 

And there's not bigger distinction than playing for the piano for Benedict XVI. The invitation arrived months ago.

LAUREN GREEN
Reporter and Pianist
"It was amazing. Just to get that I... are you really? Are you certain? This is really going to happen right? This is... really?”

Sworn to secrecy, Green practiced when she wasn't at work. She was one of three musicians, and along with a tenor, they would perform for the 90th birthday celebration for Georg Ratzinger, the Pope emeritus' brother.

When the day finally came, Green can only describe it as "nerve-wracking.” Benedict XVI is well-known for his love of music. And he too plays the piano.

LAUREN GREEN
Reporter and Pianist
"I'm a pianist and so are they, and that was a lot of stress, to play as beautifully as I could possibly play.”

Needless to say, the performance flowed smoothly. Once finished, both Georg and Benedict greeted the performers. But for this journalist, who's usually so composed in front of the cameras, that moment did not play out as planned.

LAUREN GREEN
Reporter and Pianist
"I had my piano hat on, and I was a performer and nervous about how he was going to react to my performance. And he was the Pope, and I was not, for those few minutes a journalist. I was just a performance who had just performed.”

The one-of-a-kind opportunity ended with an equally rare photo opp. And Green had the chance to sit next to Benedict XVI. 

It wasn't until the concert ended, that the journalist in her kicked in. And though she lost her chance to ask her questions, there was one observation she couldn't miss.

LAUREN GREEN
Reporter and Pianist
"One of the things I noticed about him was that he seemed less frail, that before he resigned. It's almost as if weight of the Catholic Church was finally off his shoulders, although he constantly prays for the Church.”
 

The birthday celebration for Georg Ratzinger started a few hours earlier. An orchestra played a few songs, as the two brothers look on side by side. Once they finished playing, they even presented Georg with a chocolate cake to celebrate.


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