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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.

Speaking Latin one Roman obelisk at a time...

2014-07-06

There's a long list of 'must see' monuments in the Eternal City. This group is taking a different approach because here—it's all about reading and speaking in Latin. 

MSGR. DANIEL GALLAGHER 
Vatican's Office of Latin Letters
"So actually teaching Latin in Latin and experiencing Latin through monuments all throughout Rome.”


MALE STUDENT
"Yes, I speak Latin, I lived in a monastery for three months near Rome where we were only allowed to speak Latin.”

The course is offered by the Paideia Institute. It brings students from different parts of the globe. As part of the class, students visit obelisks with inscriptions in Latin to understand their history and relevance.  

MSGR. DANIEL GALLAGHER 
Vatican's Office of Latin Letters
"Every obelisk has its own story and simply by the words in the inscriptions which usually don’t total more than anywhere from five to 15, you have the entire story of where it came from, why it was brought to Rome, who brought it to Rome.”

The tour includes obelisks throughout the city, but without a doubt, the most popular one is this one: So while most people visit the square and take a picture with St. Peter's Basilica in the background, this group delves even further into the historic roots....

MALE STUDENT
 "So we read ancient texts that are about what we’re seeing and we even read the inscriptions on the obelisks and on the churches  and translate those.”

So what exactly do we know about the obelisk in St. Peter's Square? Well, It's more than 80 feet high. It was originally made in Egypt and unlike most obelisks, this one has never been broken down or re-constructed. But the big question is, what words are inscribed on it?

MSGR. DANIEL GALLAGHER 
Vatican's Office of Latin Letters
"So this was so to speak the inscription that said, by placing this obelisk here, dedicated to the holy cross, all the evil powers against the world will flee because it’s such a powerful sign.”

So while some may argue that Latin is a 'dead language' this group is proving otherwise. The Pope's twitter account already has over 250,000 followers in its Latin account and many of them are part of a younger generation.  

FEMALE STUDENT
 "I can see how it can appeal to people of all ages FLASH 00 28 ‘It’s so exciting to be in Rome with a bunch of like minded, passionate excited students studying stuff we all love.”

Now, the Vatican's official language is still being used as a tool to learn history, art and religion in very short, concise expressions in none other than the Eternal City.  


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