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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.

Syria's risks losing more of its renown heritage to the civil war

2014-07-18

A violent conflict like the Syrian Civil War has many casualties. The death toll surpassed a staggering 170,000, while millions of people are refugees. But in addition to human suffering, there's another aspect under increasing assault.

DANIELA PORRO
Artistic Historic Patrimony (Rome)
"There is a lack of attention to an issue that is becoming very serious: the extraordinary, thousand-year-old cultural patrimony in Syria. A large part has been damaged, and risks total destruction.”

An exhibit in Rome titled "Syria: splendor and drama,” summarizes the country's history through its cultural patrimony. A series of photos, videos and artifacts provide glimpses into the Syria before and after the conflict.

DANIELA PORRO
Artistic Historic Patrimony (Rome)
"The exhibit tells this history through these 27 works of art, especially antique sculptures, that, for political and diplomatic purposes, come from Italian museums. We also have important works on loan from the Vatican Museums, especially funerary portraits.”

Organizers said that "when people die, archeological and cultural goods take on a lessened significance.” But, they added that this was no reason to ignore the destruction of one of the most prized patrimonies around the world.

DANIELA PORRO
Artistic Historic Patrimony (Rome)
"This exhibit aims to call attention so that this extraordinary cultural patrimony can be saved.”

The exhibit is open to the public until August, and is free. It's been so successful, so far, that organizers are looking into the possibility of taking it on the road to other Italian cities, and even throughout Europe.


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