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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.
Pope Francis

Encyclical on Ecology

June 4, 2015. The Vatican has announced that the Popes encyclical on the Ecology will be released on Thursday June 18th.
Pope Francis

Putin will meet with Pope Francis

June 4, 2015. Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit the Vatican on June 10 and will meet with Pope Francis for the second time. His previous visit was on November 25, 2013.
Pope Francis

Appointments

June 1, 2015. Pope Francis has appointed Eugene Joseph as the new Bishop of Varanasi, India. He has also named Orlando Roa Barbosa as the new Bishop of Espinal, Colombia, who up until now, served as the Bishop of Ibague.

U.S. State Department releases country-by-country analysis of religious freedom

2014-07-30

Another grim milestone for humanity. 2013 was one of the worst years for the displacement of entire religious communities around the world. A comprehensive report from the U.S. State Department tracked down the state of religious freedom in nearly 200 countries. 

KENNETH HACKETT
U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See
"Religious freedom takes a lot of interpretations. In our own countries there are some very fine lines on interpretation. But the actual persecution of people because of their religion is one of the horrors of our day.”

The report highlighted areas where entire communities are targeted simply for their religion. It recorded increased persecution of Christians in 2013, noting that in countries like Syria, Egypt and Iraq, entire Christian communities have been decimated by violence.

Meanwhile, the report also details repressive government policies against Christians and other minorities in places like Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan and Pakistan. The Vatican expressed their concern for these policies.

MSGR. MARCELO SANCHEZ SORONDO
President, Pontifical Academies for Sciences
"First off, the Holy See wants to warn the world about the issue. Second, to work with Christians so they stay. And third, to get the universal Church to pray and take social actions to stop persecution.”

But the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See pointed out that the report highlights the plight of all religious communities, not just Christians. Whether it's rising anti-Semitism in Europe to discrimination against Shia Muslims in countries like Bahrain, Ambassador Hackett said the U.S. and the Holy See have a a common stance. 

KENNETH HACKETT
U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See
"Wherever we can, we want to find a common cause with the Church, and the Holy See itself, on issues of religious persecution of all people, not just Christians. It's for all people, and the Holy See has been a loud and abiding voice for those kinds of concerns.”

American agencies will use the latest report on religious freedom to help determine U.S. policy in those countries, and determine the best way to help promote religious freedom.


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