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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.

Pope to soccer players: Set an example of peace on and off the field

2014-09-02

Pope Francis met with soccer players and organizers of today's Interreligious Soccer Match for Peace. The match will take place this evening at Rome's Olympic Stadium. 

The Pope thanked the players and highlighted the importance of setting an example for youth. 

POPE FRANCIS
"People, especially young people, look at you with admiration for your athletic abilities. It is important to set a good example, on the field and  off the field.”

The Pope also expressed his hope that this interreligious match would contribute in eradicating all forms of racial, cultural and religious discrimination.

POPE FRANCIS
"You all know that to discriminate is synonymous with despising. Discrimination is to despise, and with this match today, you say "no” to all discrimination.”

Pope Francis then greeted all of the players, among them, soccer legend Diego Maradona, who presented the Holy Father with a jersey bearing the Pope's name. 

Maradona said that he was moved by the Pope's words, especially now that he has returned to the Church. 

DIEGO MARADONA
Soccer Player
"I was very moved after I hugged him. I felt proud to be an Argentinian. And of returning to the Church after being far from it after God took my mother. But today, I am happy to be once again with the Church, with Pope Francis and to play for peace.”

Ukrainian soccer player Andriy Shevchenko also spoke to the Pope, asking him to pray for his country.

ANDRIY SHEVCHENKO
Soccer player
"I asked him to pray for my country because we truly need everyone's help. It is truly difficult to speak especially with what is happening in my country. But I hope things will get better. We are here to play this match and to try to give a sign of peace to all.”

The Pope was presented with the award for the soccer match as well as an olive tree that will be planted at the Olympic Stadium. He also posed for group photo with athletes. 


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