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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.

Inside look at Pope's meeting with abuse survivors: 'most striking was the atmosphere'

2014-07-10

For Fr. Hans Zollner, the Mass Pope Francis celebrated for victims of sexual abuse, and his lengthy one-on-one meetings, were more than kind gestures.

FR. HANS ZOLLNER
Commission for the Protection of Minors
"These meetings were of a truly great human and spiritual depth. They have certainly impacted the victims and we can probably say that it also impacted the Holy Father.”

The German Jesuit, a member of the Commission for the Protection of Minors, served as the interpreter for two of the six victims. He said the Pope spoke little, and listed closely to their stories. Near the end, one of the victims asked him to never forget what he had just heard.

FR. HANS ZOLLNER
Commission for the Protection of Minors
"Most striking was the atmosphere. An atmosphere, like one of the victims described it, of sensibility, listening, and great respect.”

This atmosphere carried on from the night before, when Pope Francis briefly greeted several of the victims during dinnertime at Casa Santa Marta.

FR. HANS ZOLLNER
Commission for the Protection of Minors
"One of the victims made a small gesture with his hand when he saw the Pope, and he took the time to greet them briefly. He went around the table greeting members of the Commission and victims.”

Several victims chose to attend the meeting with the Pope joined by a family member or friend. Some shared their stories, while others chose to have a more informal conversation. Overall, the majority said the meeting was worth their time. 

FR. HANS ZOLLNER
Commission for the Protection of Minors
"One of them told me, for example: 'From the moment I was asked to come, I accepted and came. Something happened within me, as if a piece of salvation had come to me. To hear how moved and how truly involved they felt during this meeting, not just with the Pope himself, but also in the preparation, it's a great gift for me.”

The Commission for the Protection of Minors will return to work, coming off from the positive feedback surrounding this meeting. One of their proposals is to expand the Commission from eight to 15 members, and include representatives from Asia, Oceania and Africa.


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