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New bishops in the Philippines

July 3, 2015. Pope Francishas nominated Msgr. Dennis C. Villarojo andFather Oscar J. L.Florencio to be the Auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese of Cebu(Philippines). Since 2010, Villarojo has been at the parish of OurLady of the Sacred Heart in Cebu City. Florencio has been the rectorof Saint John the Evangelist School of Theology since 2013.
World

Pope weighs in on economic crisis in Greece

July 1, 2015 The Vatican is weighing in on the economic crisis that is crippling Greece. Through a written statement, the Vaticans press office issued a release that reads "the dignity of the human person must remain at the center of any political and technical debate." It goes on to say that the Pope "wishes to convey his closeness...with a special thought for the many families gravely beset by such a keenly felt human and social crisis. The Pope then "invites all the faithful to unite in prayer for the good of the beloved Greek people.”
Vatican

Benedict XVI will spend two weeks at Castel Gandolfo

June 30, 2015. Thismorning at 10:00 a.m., Pope Francis said farewell to Pope EmeritusBenedict XVI, before he leaves for Castel Gandolfo. The meetinglasted about 30 minutes. The pope emeritus will return on July 14th< sup>,one day after Pope Francis returns from his trip to Latin America.
Vatican

Pope Francis creates Secretariat for Communication

June 27, 2015. The Popehas created a Secretariat for Communication, which will unify allVatican media, including the Press Room, Twitter and the PontificalCouncil for Social Communications. Its prefect is the Italian priestDario Viganò, and the number two is the Argentine Lucio Adrian Ruiz.
Pope Francis

Appointments

June 26, 2015. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Hector Luis Gutierrez de Pabon, who served as Bishop of Engativá, Colombia. His post will be taken by Francisco Antonio Nieto Súa, who up until now, served as the Bishop of San José del Guaviare (Colombia).
World

Holy See backs two-state solution in Middle East

June 26, 2015. The Holy See and thePalestine Liberation Organization (PLO) have officially signed acomprehensive agreement, in which the Holy See recognizes the Stateof Palestine and supports a two-state solution for peace based on the1967 borders.
World

Armenian Catholic Patriarch of Cilicia passes away

June 25, 2015. Pope Francis has written a telegram expressing his condolences over the recent death of the Armenian Catholic Patriarch of Cilicia, Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni. He was 75-years-old and had recently been at San Peters Basilica to celebrate Mass in remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.
World

Mexican bishop resigns after possible abuse of episcopal office

June 25, 2015. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Gonzalo Galván Castillo, who was until now bishop of Autlán, Mexico. A sexual abuse victim said in July of last year that he had been waiting for five years for the bishop to take action against the priest who abused him. Although the Vatican has not provided further information, this case could be treated as abuse of episcopal office.
World

Successor of Mother Teresa, passes away.

June 23, 2015. Sister Nirmala Joshi, the head of the Missionaries of Charity, has passed away at the age of 81. She died in the Indian city of Kolkate on Monday night, after suffering heart ailments. Sister Joshi was elected as head of the Missionaries of Charity in 1997.
Vatican

Trial against former apostolic nuncio accused of abuse will start on July 11th

June 15, 2015. The former apostolic nuncio to Dominican Republic, Józef Wesołowski will stand trial at a Vatican tribunal. The first hearing will take place on July 11th. Wesołowski has already been removed from the clerical state after being charged with possession of child pornography and sexual abuse of minors.
Vatican

American Archbishop Resigns After Mishandling of Abuse Allegations

June 15, 2015. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Msgr. John Clayton Nienstedt, who served as the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He also accepted the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop, Rev. Lee Anthony Piche, from that same diocese. Recently, both were accused of ignoring accusations involving an abusive former priest who served in the Archdiocese.
World

Pope Francis to travel to Africa

June 12, 2015. The Vatican’s nuncio in the Central African Republic, Mons. Francesco Coppola, confirmed that Pope Francis is planning on visiting the country. He states it will take place on November 2015. It will be Pope Francis’ first visit to Africa.
World

New archbishop in Berlin (Germany)

June 8, 2015. The Pope has appointed Heiner Koch as the new metropolitan bishop of Berlin (Germany). Until now, he was bishop of Dresden-Meiβen.
World

New military ordinariate of Venezuela

June 8, 2015. Pope Benedict has appointed Adan Mendez Bracamonte to bemilitary ordinariate of Venezuela. Until now, he was military diocesan administrator.

Pope Francis meets with family of an Argentine death row inmate

2014-02-06

During his General Audience, Pope Francis greeted an Argentine couple, whose son sits behind bars as a death row inmate in Texas. After 17 years behind bars, and exhausting legal options, their hoping Pope Francis can save their son's life.


LIDIA GUERRERO

Mother
"I believe it's important because he's a Pope that takes interest in the problems of the world. And he has a lot of influence because the world listens to him.”


A Texas court convicted Victor Saldaño of killing another man in 1995. His trial resulted in a death sentence. But in 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down, saying the testimony against Saldaño was tainted by racial discrimination.

  

JUAN CARLOS VEGAS
Family lawyer

"By any international standard, that would have been enough to set Saldaño free. Instead, he faces a new trial.”


The second trial ended like the first, a jury sentenced Saldaño to the death penalty. At that point, after seven years on death row, his family and lawyer argued he developed mental health problems, and that he should be released.

  

The state of Texas has shown little signs of changing its mind. A lawsuit filed against the U.S. government at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights is also stalled. With the Catholic Church's vocal opposition to the death penalty, they turned to Pope Francis.

 

LIDIA GUERRERO
Mother

"I hope, truthfully, that he asks for clemency on behalf of my son, so that he's not given the death sentence.”


Saldaño's mother said the Pope did not commit to anything when she brought up her request. But with his constant emphasis on mercy, she's hopeful he'll take action.

 

Giving her additional hope is that fact that Texas hasn't scheduled Saldaño's execution. But after 17 years, it's not much comfort. Until, and if, the Pope intervenes, she says she keeps her bags ready, to go her son's side, at a moment's notice.

 


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