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New bishops in the Philippines

July 3, 2015. Pope Francishas nominated Msgr. Dennis C. Villarojo andFather Oscar J. L.Florencio to be the Auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese of Cebu(Philippines). Since 2010, Villarojo has been at the parish of OurLady of the Sacred Heart in Cebu City. Florencio has been the rectorof Saint John the Evangelist School of Theology since 2013.
World

Pope weighs in on economic crisis in Greece

July 1, 2015 The Vatican is weighing in on the economic crisis that is crippling Greece. Through a written statement, the Vaticans press office issued a release that reads "the dignity of the human person must remain at the center of any political and technical debate." It goes on to say that the Pope "wishes to convey his closeness...with a special thought for the many families gravely beset by such a keenly felt human and social crisis. The Pope then "invites all the faithful to unite in prayer for the good of the beloved Greek people.”
Vatican

Benedict XVI will spend two weeks at Castel Gandolfo

June 30, 2015. Thismorning at 10:00 a.m., Pope Francis said farewell to Pope EmeritusBenedict XVI, before he leaves for Castel Gandolfo. The meetinglasted about 30 minutes. The pope emeritus will return on July 14th< sup>,one day after Pope Francis returns from his trip to Latin America.
Vatican

Pope Francis creates Secretariat for Communication

June 27, 2015. The Popehas created a Secretariat for Communication, which will unify allVatican media, including the Press Room, Twitter and the PontificalCouncil for Social Communications. Its prefect is the Italian priestDario Viganò, and the number two is the Argentine Lucio Adrian Ruiz.
Pope Francis

Appointments

June 26, 2015. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Hector Luis Gutierrez de Pabon, who served as Bishop of Engativá, Colombia. His post will be taken by Francisco Antonio Nieto Súa, who up until now, served as the Bishop of San José del Guaviare (Colombia).
World

Holy See backs two-state solution in Middle East

June 26, 2015. The Holy See and thePalestine Liberation Organization (PLO) have officially signed acomprehensive agreement, in which the Holy See recognizes the Stateof Palestine and supports a two-state solution for peace based on the1967 borders.
World

Armenian Catholic Patriarch of Cilicia passes away

June 25, 2015. Pope Francis has written a telegram expressing his condolences over the recent death of the Armenian Catholic Patriarch of Cilicia, Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni. He was 75-years-old and had recently been at San Peters Basilica to celebrate Mass in remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.
World

Mexican bishop resigns after possible abuse of episcopal office

June 25, 2015. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Gonzalo Galván Castillo, who was until now bishop of Autlán, Mexico. A sexual abuse victim said in July of last year that he had been waiting for five years for the bishop to take action against the priest who abused him. Although the Vatican has not provided further information, this case could be treated as abuse of episcopal office.
World

Successor of Mother Teresa, passes away.

June 23, 2015. Sister Nirmala Joshi, the head of the Missionaries of Charity, has passed away at the age of 81. She died in the Indian city of Kolkate on Monday night, after suffering heart ailments. Sister Joshi was elected as head of the Missionaries of Charity in 1997.
Vatican

Trial against former apostolic nuncio accused of abuse will start on July 11th

June 15, 2015. The former apostolic nuncio to Dominican Republic, Józef Wesołowski will stand trial at a Vatican tribunal. The first hearing will take place on July 11th. Wesołowski has already been removed from the clerical state after being charged with possession of child pornography and sexual abuse of minors.
Vatican

American Archbishop Resigns After Mishandling of Abuse Allegations

June 15, 2015. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Msgr. John Clayton Nienstedt, who served as the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He also accepted the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop, Rev. Lee Anthony Piche, from that same diocese. Recently, both were accused of ignoring accusations involving an abusive former priest who served in the Archdiocese.
World

Pope Francis to travel to Africa

June 12, 2015. The Vatican’s nuncio in the Central African Republic, Mons. Francesco Coppola, confirmed that Pope Francis is planning on visiting the country. He states it will take place on November 2015. It will be Pope Francis’ first visit to Africa.
World

New archbishop in Berlin (Germany)

June 8, 2015. The Pope has appointed Heiner Koch as the new metropolitan bishop of Berlin (Germany). Until now, he was bishop of Dresden-Meiβen.
World

New military ordinariate of Venezuela

June 8, 2015. Pope Benedict has appointed Adan Mendez Bracamonte to bemilitary ordinariate of Venezuela. Until now, he was military diocesan administrator.
Pope Francis

Appointments

June 5, 2015. Pope Francis has appointed Augusto Munera Ochoa as the new Apostolic Vicar of Tierradentro, Colombia. He will take the post previously held by Edgar Hernando Tirado Mazo.

A look at the sticking points between Israelis and Palestinians

2014-06-07

On his return from the Holy Land, Pope Francis brought with him a historic agreement: a meeting between the presidents of Israel and Palestine at the Vatican to pray together for peace.

POPE FRANCIS
May 25, 2014
"In this site, where the Prince of Peace was born, I would like to invite you, President Mahmuod Abbas, and President Shimon Peres, to come together and join me in intense prayer and asking God for the gift of peace. I offer my home at the Vatican to host this meeting of prayer.”

Both leaders accepted the invitation. The Pope made it clear the meeting was not a negotiation, but rather a moment to pray for peace. If anything, it will be a time to bring both sides together after the peace talks between the two countries stalled.

FRANCESCO BONINI
Professor, LUMSA
"The gesture from Pope Francis, and the confirmation from both presidents and the ecumenical patriarch for this prayer give way to large margins for hope, because only a creative and trustworthy effort will solve this extraordinary, complex and fascinating issue.”

One of the most contested points deals with the status of Jerusalem. Both countries claim the Holy City as their capital. But the main debate is centered over control of the historic area, located in East Jerusalem.

FRANCESCO BONINI
Professor, LUMSA
"Israelis control it, and it's the capital of the State of Israel. But it has the potential to become the capital of an independent Palestinian state, but it hasn't been fully recognized by the international community. It's a giant diplomatic puzzle.”

Another trouble spot in negotiations is the establishment of internationally recognized borders, and the mutual recognition of the two independent States. Pope Francis pressed the latter during his trip to the Holy Land.

FRANCESCO BONINI
Professor, LUMSA
"Palestine's institutional and democratic identity is strongly debated, because at this moment, it's in the midst of a liberation movement, a product of a 'revolutionary' process to achieve independence.”

Pope Francis is aware of the importance that stability in the Middle East has on a global scale, as well as to sustain Christian populations in the Land of Christ. As a result, he decided to harvest the power of prayer as a tool to help ease the tensions that have seized the region since the start of the 20th Century.


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