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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.

The top ten achievements of John Paul II

2014-04-22

John Paul II's pontificate broke many records. But, beyond the numbers, the leadership of the Polish Pope guided the Catholic Church through many rising challenges in modern times.


FIGHT FOR FREEDOM

"Don't be afraid!”

One of the greatest challenges was the Cold War, and the two blocs that pitted the world against each other. John Paul II had suffered first hand from the oppression of Nazi and Communist regimes. His role was fundamental in the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. One of his first trips was to his native Poland in 1979. It became a defining point that encouraged Poles to fight for freedom.

GLOBAL PAPACY
John Paul II was a seasoned traveler and reached all corners of the world. He made 104 international trips, and visited 130 countries. In terms of mileage, it's enough to go around the world 30 times. But there were two countries he was unable to visit, China and Russia

DIALOGUE WITH MUSLIMS AND JEWS
John Paul II referred to Jews as "older brothers,” and became the first Pope to step inside a synagogue since the times of Jesus. He also prayed before the Western Wall. He was also the first Pope to kiss a Koran, and step inside a mosque. 

ASSISI GATHERING
Speaking of spurring inter-religious dialogue, John Paul II was a pioneer in calling for joint prayer in favor of peace, as he did so in Assisi. The first joint prayer was in 1986. More than 150 delegates from 12 religions heeded his call.

NO TO WAR
During his pontificate, several major conflicts made international headlines: Rwanda, Kosovo, Sudan, Iraq and the Balkan wars. The Pope, who had survived World War II, did not remain silent. He became the voice of humanity, actively advocating against violence.

"War, never again.”

SAINTS
When it came to proclaiming saints, the Polish Pope looked to modern times. He raised to the altars hundreds of people who led exemplary lives for Christians today. For example, and for the first time, he jointly beatified a married couple: Luigi and Maria Beltrame. 

LETTER TO WOMEN
John Paul II took a particular concern for women. He was the first Pope to write an apostolic letter directed to women, Mulieris Dignitatem. In it, he urged them to reflect on their personal, cultural, social and ecclesiastical responsibilities.

DIGNITY OF THE SICK
Weakened by sickness himself, John Paul II remained active until his very last moments. He used his personal experience as a teaching tool for a world already under the influence of the "throw-away” culture.

FORGIVENESS
In the Jubilee for the Year 2000, John Paul II formally apologized for the Church's past errors. It was a historic moment, which the Pope defined as a purification of memory, which allowed Christians to enter the Third Millennium more open to God.

A POPE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
John Paul II understood that young people needed special attention and guardianship. He came up with a gathering dedicated exclusively to them: World Youth Day. The Pope said he felt like another young person in the crowd.

"If you live with youth, you have to become young.”

Over the course of his 27 year pontificate, John Paul II overcame many obstacles and reached many goals. But above all, he was able to reach millions of Christians, talking to them one on one, from heart to heart.


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