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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.

John XXIII, eight achievements of a revolutionary pontificate

2014-04-24


After his election to the papacy, John XXIII quickly became known as the "Good Pope” by Christians who worked closely with him and knew him personally. Largely recognized for convoking the Second Vatican Council, John XXIII was also known for his simple charity that endured throughout his papacy and had a lasting impact on the Church.

A NEW HISTORY
The Good Pope made simple but  important changes. He established the tradition of  publicly reciting the Angelus from the window of the Apostolic Palace on Sundays and offering pilgrims a short catechesis. 

PERSONAL 
As Pope and bishop, John XXIII always wanted to be near to the faithful. He was the first Pope to leave the walls of the Vatican to visit parishes, hospitals and prisons around Rome. At times he would even sneak past the Swiss Guard to walk around the city alone. 

UNIQUE
John XXIII courageously chose the name of an anti-pope from the fifteenth century and by doing so, redeemed it. Cardinal Roncalli had no fear to take the name of an imposter, that had been avoided for 500 years

PEACE
During his pontificate, John XXIII witnessed two world wars that divided the world into two opposing political regimes. He recognized the need to build bridges of peace and even exchanged letters with world leaders like Khrushchev, the leader of the Soviet Union. 

MESSAGES
For the first time in history, John XXIII addressed,  not only Catholics, but "all men of good will” in his encyclical letter, "Pacem in terris.” The encyclical strongly argued against the use of armed conflict as a means to obtain justice. 

REFORM 
Only a few months after his election to the papacy, John XXIII announced a consistory to elect nine new cardinals, more than half of which were not Italian. He appointed cardinals from Japan, Africa, the Philippines, and Venezuela, offering also greater representation within the Curia. 

VATICAN II 
Undoubtedly, the major work of John XXIII was convening the Second Vatican Council, a meeting of all the bishops from around the world to study and discuss the situation of the Church. An elderly pontiff, considered to be a transitional pope, carried out one of the most profound changes in the Church in modern time. 

ECUMINISM 
John XXIII worked to increase dialogue between Christians and all other denominations, even inviting Muslims, American Indians, and members of various Christian denominations as observers to the Second Vatican Council. He also established the first Vatican department to promote unity amongst Christians. 

At his death, crowds chanted "sainthood now” as they paid their last respects, a gesture that would be seen again years later at the death of John Paul II. Both of these popes will continue their common history as they are elevated to sainthood together this Sunday. 


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