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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.

Pope Francis to Roman priests: Does your day end with God or with television?

2014-03-06

Thursday morning was full of comments, reunions, smiles and anticipation for Rome's priests, as they waited for their bishop, the Pope.

Pope Francis welcomed them inside Paul VI Hall for the traditional, yearly gathering to mark the start of Lent.

The Pope talked about mercy and forgiveness. But he also made exposed something personal. He keeps near his heart a crucifix that belonged to an Argentine priest well-known for confessing many people, including John Paul II, during one of his visits to Argentina. With lots of empathy, the Pope explained that he stole the crucifix from the priest's rosary, but for a good purpose.

POPE FRANCIS
"Right away, the thief in all of us come to mind. While I laid the flowers on his coffin, I took the crucifix from the rosary, about this size, I pulled gently and removed it. In that moment, I looked at him and said: 'Give me half of your mercy.' I felt a strong sense that gave me the courage to do this, and to say this prayer. Then, I placed that crucifix in my shirt pocket. But, the Pope's shirts don't have pockets, right? But, I always carry with me a small, cloth pouch. Since that day, up until today, I keep that crucifix with me. And when I get negative thoughts about any person, my hand comes here, always, and I feel the grace... it does me good. See what good the example of a merciful priest makes!”

The Pope also shared the questions he uses when a priest asks him advice, or even when he prays. Some of them caused laughter from the crowd.


POPE FRANCIS
"At night, how does your day end? With God, or with television? I see many of you laughing. I also laugh.” 

Pope Francis also expressed his solidarity with several priests unfairly accused of abusing minors. Courts found the allegations to be false, and the people responsible are now in custody.

POPE FRANCIS
"I want to state publicly my support for the clergy. Because in this case, the accused are not 7, 8, 15... it's the entire priesthood, in the name of these 7, 8, 15...”

Pope Francis also repeated that the Church lives through merciful times, and that it must be like a "field hospital.” It shouldn't wait for the sick to seek out doctors, but rather, the Church should go out and seek the "injured.”


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