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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.

Church abuse analyst: 400 priests defrocked is due to stricter Vatican norms

2014-01-21

The Vatican made history when its delegation appeared before a United Nations committee to explain their efforts in tackling sex abuse. It was the first time it took questions from an outside group about what it has done to protect children.

FR. HANS ZOLLNER S.J.
Director, Center for Child Protection (Gregorian University)
"In some way, the Holy See has shown that it is committed to the process, committed to the convention it has signed, and is willing to follow also.”

Father Hans Zollner, is the director the Gregorian University's Center for Child Protection. Since 2012, when they organized a symposium on the topic, his center has been at the forefront of sex abuse prevention across parts of the globe.

He said the testimony before the UN Commission for the Protection of the Child shows the Vatican's willingness to clarify its stance, and to make up for past errors when handling abuse cases. 

FR. HANS ZOLLNER S.J.
Director, Center for Child Protection (Gregorian University)
"It's very difficult to convey to the public that when  you talk about the Church you talk about two entities: the Vatican City and the local churches that have to be in accordance with the global law, but they have to take responsibility about what happens at the local level.”

Under the Church's global law, sexual abuse of a child is a crime. But accusations must be dealt with at the local level, before making their way to the Vatican.

According to officials statistics, in 2011 and 2012, about 400 of the cases that made their way to the Vatican ended up with the priests being defrocked, or removed from the priesthood. 

FR. HANS ZOLLNER S.J.
Director, Center for Child Protection (Gregorian University)
"They concerned those priests whose trials had been going on for years, most of them. And whose cases refer back up to 50, 60 years back.” 

Fr. Zollner attributed those cases to the norms implemented in the past three years, to make Church legislation stricter. But he recognized that there is still much more the Church can do, especially in the area of prevention. 

The Pope's new commission, which Cardinal Sean O'Malley announced back in December, is expected to play a big role in that process. However, the Vatican still has not released the exact details of the commission's work, and who will be a part of it.


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