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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.

Vatican Congregation releases guidelines regarding the Sign of Peace During Mass

2014-08-03

The Sign of Peace is getting some more attention at the Vatican. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments released guidelines on the Rite of the Sign of Peace during Mass.

The letter, written by the current prefect of the dicaster, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, addresses several inquiries made by the Conference of Bishops in May 2008. The conferences asked the Congregation on their thoughts on changing the Sign of Peace to another moment "with the end of a better understanding and development of such a gesture.”

After much consideration, the Congregation for Divine Worship saw that it was best to preserve "in the Roman liturgy of the Rite of Peace in its traditional place and not introduce structural changes to the Roman Missal.”

The Congregation also gave several practical suggestions on how to better educate the Rite's significance during the Mass.

The guidelines also noted several liturgical missteps that are made during the Sign of Peace that should be avoided, including:

- The introduction of a "song of peace”, that does not exist in the Roman Rite;
- The displacement of the faithful in order to exchange the sign of peace;
- The priest leaving the altar to give the peace to some faithful;

Cardinal Cañizares concluded the letter, exhorting Bishops and Priests to help the faithful deepen the spiritual significance of the Sign of Peace.


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