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Pope Francis

Pope announces next World Day of Peace: “Non-Violence: A Style of Politics for Peace”

August 26, 2016. This is the theme Pope Francis has chosen for the next World Day of Peace, to be celebrated on January 1, 2017. Pope Francis has talked about the worrisome surge of violence that has taken over the world. On his trip to Poland in July he said the world is in a "piecemeal World War." That is why he wishes that this 50th World Day of Peace, the fourth of his pontificate, be a beacon of diplomacy and good will. The Pope wants to underline the prevalence of law in international affairs as a way to ensure a peaceful future. The World Day of Peace is a project started by Paul VI in 1968. It is celebrated the first day of every year, and it is usually an occasion where the pope makes important statements about the Social Doctrine of the Church.
World

Quake aftermath continues to torment ancient town of Amatrice as the death toll rises

August 25, 2016. Rescue teams continue to work tirelessly with the hope of finding new survivors, but the number of deaths will increase as there are still dozens missing. Italy's civil protection agency has announced that 190 have dead in the affected areas in the province of Rieti are overcome, while 57 were killed in the province of Ascoli. During the night, there have been up to 60 new tremors of between 3 and 4 degrees of magnitude. Rescuers worked overnight in the most affected Arquata del Tronto, Pescada< g> del Tronto, Accumoli< g> and Amatrice. The most dramatic situation exists in Amatrice, the largest municipality affected, and where 2,000 people live, but in the summer months doubles its population with vacationers and many tourists who had come to enjoy the weekend party pasta "amatriciana,” a dish that has its origins here. More than 1,000 people have been displaced by the quake.
World

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.

Pope to Presidents of Israel and Palestine: Peace takes more courage than war

2014-06-08

It was a meeting where politics was set aside, and priority was given to prayer. Pope Francis invited the Presidents of Israel and Palestine to pray for peace. 

Each president arrived separately and the Pope personally greeted each one of them.  Then, both presidents, exchanged a few words. 


"I call him Holiness, but he's been a  good friend for a long time”

"He is to blame for this”

"Against all the norms ...”


Also there, was Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, who leads the Orthodox Church, which has a strong presence in the Holy Land. 

Together, all four of them, got in the same car, and made their way to the Vatican Gardens to pray for peace. 

Since music can often express what words cannot-a list of moving melodies were played out before all delegations. 


The prayer session lasted over an hour. In chronological order, first it was the Jewish representatives, then Christians and finally Muslims. 


Each delegation gave thanks to God for creation and for humanity. Then came an apology for not always respecting one another. They asked for forgiveness, for their sins against God and their fellow brothers and sisters. Ultimately they prayed for the gift of peace. 


Along the way, music from these three religions intensified the atmosphere of prayer. 


It was a specifically a prayer meeting, but it's expected to have political consequences. Addressing both leaders, the Pope said it takes more courage to engage in peace than war. He then asked them to respect their accords and to avoid provocation. He also talked about those who have lost their lives in this conflict. 

POPE FRANCIS 
"Many, all too many, of those children have been innocent victims of war and violence, saplings cut down at the height of their promise. It is our duty to ensure that their sacrifice is not in vain. The memory of these children instils in us the courage of peace.”


SHIMON PERES
President of Israel 
"I was young, now I'm old. I experienced war. I tasted peace. Never will I forget the families, parents and children who paid the cost of war. All my life I shall never stop to act for peace.” 


MAHMOUD ABBAS
President of Palestine
"We want peace for ourselves and for our neighbors. We want prosperity and thoughts of peace for us and for others. Lord, listen to our prayers. Give victory to our requests, because You are the most just and merciful, God of all worlds.” 

Together they prayed, asking for a miracle. It may not trigger immediate results, but it shows a willingness to negotiate. They also planted an olive tree,  as a symbol of peace, to mark the day. 


The Pope then walked them to the Vatican's Casina Pio IV Hall, where both presidents spoke in private. 

The process will be long, with the Pope is hoping that Jews, Christians and Muslims will begin a new chapter of peace in the Holy Land...a region, that for generations has seen conflict. 


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