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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 speech of a lifetime: John XXIII's words dedicated to the Moon

2014-04-24

The night of October 11, 1962, thousands of people made it to St. Peter's Square to celebrate the beginning of the Second Vatican Council.

When Pope John XXIII saw the excited crowd, he improvised the most famous speech of his pontificate.

My dear children, I hear your voices. Mine is just one, but it sums up the world's. Here, the entire world is represented. I should say that even the moon has come out here tonight, to witness this amazing moment.

GIOVANNI MARIA VIAN
Director, L'Osservatore Romano
"And he added: 'Even the Moon showed up to greet us! When you go back to your homes, be tender to your children, to the elderly, to all people suffering...and say it's the Pope's tenderness.' I remembered it perfectly: I was at St. Peter's Square that evening!”

ALEXANDRA VON TEUFFENBACH
Writer of "Johanes XXIII. Begegnen”
"He was so close and familiar when he said it...Something never seen before. He was so sincere, it seemed that his words came from deep within his heart. It was very moving.”

The so called 'Moonlight Speech' was one of the most accurate portraits of John XXIII, who soon after being elected became 'the Good Pope.'

ALEXANDRA VON TEUFFENBACH
Writer of "Johanes XXIII. Begegnen”
"His ways were really easy-going. He always had a welcoming smile, even when he met with journalists... This way of being made him 'good' to the eyes of the world.”

GIOVANNI MARIA VIAN
Director, L'Osservatore Romano
"I can also recall when he passed away, in St. Peter's Square, he just looked like a patriarch. He passed away the way it happened years ago, surrounded by family members. And for John XXIII his family was his life.”

History will remember him as the Pope who kicked off the Second Vatican Council. An initiative that guided the Catholic Church, years before the social revolutions of the 60's and 70's.


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