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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.

Egypt officially restores full ties with the Vatican, with arrival of new ambassador

2014-02-07

It was a homecoming for sorts for Egypt's new ambassador to the Holy See, and it left her speechless.

"The honor is mine. I don't know what to say. There are many feelings in my heart.”

Wafaa Bassim presented her credentials to Pope Francis on Thursday. She previously worked for Egypt's mission to Italy. But this time around she has a bigger responsibility. Bassim's arrival signals a renewal of relations, after Egypt withdrew its ambassador back in 2011.

WAFAA BASSIM
Egyptian Ambassador to the Holy See
"There is a general feeling of satisfaction and of optimism for the future since now there is a new ambassador in the Vatican, after almost two years of a non presence here. But that was due to different things and the main element was the great changes that Egypt was watching.”

Bassim's appointment comes at a fragile time, following major unrest in Egypt. Christians in the country suffered greatly, as did many other Egyptians.

The Egyptian ambassador said one of her main goals will be to push for dialogue and cooperation with the Vatican, to look out after all Egyptians. But also to clear up any stereotypes and misunderstandings.

WAFAA BASSIM
Egyptian Ambassador to the Holy See
"It's our role to explain, to clarify, to answer questions, to provide reliable information, credible information and accurate information about what's happening in Egypt; about the new constitution, how it is treating the different factions of the society.”

After presenting her credentials to Pope Francis, Bassim said the two spoke about the Pope's commitment to issues of mutual interest, especially economic equality and the protection of minorities.

The ambassador introduced her family and embassy staff. She also gave Pope Francis an engraved, gold Coptic cross as a gift.

I am very happy.
I am also happy to meet you.


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