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Pope Francis

It’s official: Pope confirms trip to Kenya!

September 4, 2015. Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Kenya for two days starting on November 25th. The president of Kenya’s Episcopal Conference, Msgr. Philip Anyolo, confirmed the news through a signed letter. During his visit, the Pope plans to meet with priests, religious and UN representatives. He also wants to visit local slums. As part of this African visit, the Pope will also visit Uganda and the Central African Republic.
Vatican

Ex-Nuncio to Dominican Republic, accused of sexual abuse, found dead

August 28, 2015. The Vatican has issued a statement saying that ex-Apostolic Nuncio to the Dominican Republic Józef Wesolowski was found dead in his room this morning. He is believed to have died of natural causes, according the Vatican authorities. A Vatican prosecutor has asked that an autopsy be performed today. The statement further specifies that the results will be announced as soon as possible and that Pope Francis has been informed of the situation.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis sends a message to organizers and participants of the Rimini Meeting

August 19, 2015. On the occasion of the 36th edition of the Rimini Meeting, Pope Francis sent a message to participants and organizers through Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin. He told them that the void we sometimes feel in our hearts reminds us that we are called to great things. The event is also known as "the Meeting for friendship among peoples,” and it is organized by the Communion and Liberation movement. During the meeting shows, conferences, exhibitions and sporting events are organized.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis “deeply saddened” by the tragedy in Bangkok

August 19, 2015. Pope Francis is "deeply saddened” by the terrorist attack in Bangkok, which killed at least 20 people, according to the Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin. In a telegram sent to the King of Thailand on behalf of the Pope, the cardinal said Pope Francis expressed his sorrow and his closeness to all those affected by the attacks.

Religious Persecution: Family of slain Pakistani minister, meets with Pope Francis

2014-08-29

The mother and brother of a Pakistani Christian minister, who was murdered because of his faith, met with Pope Francis. The son of 87 year old Marta, Shabaaz Bhatti, was killed in his native country, where as a Catholic he was part of the  minority. Now, his family is making sure his legacy lives on. 

PAUL BHATTI 
Brother of Shabaaz Bhatti
"The Pope was very touched and moved. He closed his eyes, held my mom's hand tightly and hugged her. That speaks volumes.” 

His brother, Shabaaz, was Pakistan's Minister of Minorities. He strongly opposed the country's blasphemy law which criminalizes critiques against Islam. In many cases, the law is used to wrongfully accuse people. It's often used as a tool for personal vendettas against Christians and other minorities. Shabazz killed in 2011, by Muslim extremists

With religious persecution on the rise, Bhatti, who held his brother's government post after he was assassinated, says the current violence in Iraq and Pakistan is much more complicated than it seems. 

PAUL BHATTI 
Brother of Shabaaz Bhatti
"What's going on in Iraq and Pakistan and other parts of the world, is not solely based on religion. They are terrorists who are using religion as a tool to reach their personal goals. In Pakistan, I've met good Muslims who have supported me as minister.”

At the same time, he fears that radicalized Muslims will turn Pakistan into another Iraq, where persecution and lawlessness seems to have taken over. 

PAUL BHATTI 
Brother of Shabaaz Bhatti
"That is a possibility, because you're dealing with Muslim terrorists who are also attacking other Muslim minorities. First we have to identify what is triggering this violence, discrimination and division and why people are ultimately being killed.” 

To prevent hatred, he says, education and inter-religious dialogue is key, especially in younger generations. 

PAUL BHATTI 
Brother of Shabaaz Bhatti
"When children are raised under a radical ideology, and they grow up with suicide bombers, they too become victims of violence. We must help these children.” 

Bhatti says he and his family are still threatened by extremists. So much so, that he's been forced to live between Pakistan and Europe. He says he doesn't feel a sense of revenge over the murder of his brother. Instead, he says he wants to devout his time helping those who cannot defend himself, just like his brother Shahbaz did before he was killed. 


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