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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.

Happy Birthday Benedict XVI!

2014-04-15

April 16th marks Benedict XVI's 87th birthday. It will be the first time he will celebrate the big day as Pope Emeritus at the Vatican. Since last year, for his birthday he was just a few miles away at Castel Gandolfo.  

Even though a public celebration is unlikely this year, Joseph Ratzinger has had a full list of unforgettable birthdays, with music being the one common denominator. 

He's seen it all...From Germany's Stuttgart Radio Symphonic Orchestra performing for him at the Vatican. 

Then all the way to the White House, where he celebrated his birthday with president George W. Bush and the first lady. 

But sometimes there's no better company than family. Whenever possible Benedict XVI has made it a point to celebrate his birthday with his older brother Georg.  Back in 2012, for his 85th birthday the two brothers celebrated the Pope's birthday with traditional folk music from their native Bavaria, complete with costumes and dancing. 

This was actually the last birthday celebration Benedict XVI had as the head of the Catholic Church. But birthdays are always a great excuse for a party...Benedict XVI hosted his brother's 90th birthday at the Vatican, with a classical music concert. 

All in all, Benedict XVI celebrated a total of seven birthdays as the head of the Catholic Church. Now on his 87th birthday, classical concerts or not, he will continue to make history as the only Pope Emeritus on earth. 


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