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Pope Francis

Complete program of pope's trip to Fatima on May 12-13

March 20, 2017. The Vatican has published Pope Francis' program for his upcoming trip to Fatima.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis will travel to Egypt from 28 to 29 April 2017

March 18, 2017. In response to the invitation from the President of the Republic, the Bishops of the Catholic Church, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II and the Grand Imam of the Mosque of Al Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayyib, Pope Francis will make an Apostolic trip to the Arab Republic of Egypt from 28 to 29 April 2017, visiting the city of Cairo. The programme of the trip will be published shortly.
Pope Francis

Pope to meet with most powerful European leaders on March 24

March 3, 2017. On March 24 a historic meeting will take place between the pope and many of the most powerful heads of government throughout Europe. The meeting was announced by the Director of the Press Office of the Holy See, Greg Burke and will begin at 6 p.m. in the Sala Regia of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican.

Iraqi Archbishop: The Islamic State is a cancer that needs to be stopped

2015-07-19

It was just over one year ago...On June 10th, the Islamic State took over the Iraqi city of Mosul, the second largest in the country. 

Locals were given three options: covert to Islam, pay a fine for being Christian or thirdly-death. In a matter of hours, thousands decided to flee from their homes, refusing to convert or to pay a 250 dollar fine for being part of a religious minority. 

Many took refuge in Kurdistan, an autonomous region of Iraq, where residents live in relative peace. Archbishop Bashar Warda is from Erbil, which is the capital. He witnessed Christians come in day in and day out, looking for refuge. He saw their tears and heard stories of the violent atrocities they endured. 

ARCH. BASHAR WARDA
Archbishop of Erbil (Kurdistan)
"To be honest, I feel tired. I've seen so many people in such situation and the increase of demands that's occurring every day. People are knocking on the doors of the church of my diocese, looking for help and shelter, education, operations... different needs.” 

Even though one year has passed, the situation is far from over. The Archbishop says Muslim leaders need to publicly condemn the attacks and the actions of the Islamic State. 

ARCH. BASHAR WARDA
Archbishop of Erbil (Kurdistan)
"Unless the statements of Muslim leaders, revolve around the victims, there is no possibility that Muslims will know what's going on. What is happening is not about harm to the reputation of Islam. It is that they are destroying the lives of many innocent people.”

The Islamic State controls roughly 40 percent of Iraq's territory and about half of Syria. The Archbishop describes the terrorists as a cancer that needs to be stopped. 

ARCH. BASHAR WARDA
Archbishop of Erbil (Kurdistan)
"I do believe Daesh is like a cancer. The first act you really take against cancer is to stop and terminate this disease. Because there is no other way. There is no way of negotiating or reaching any solution.”

Along with military action, he believes part of the solution lies in the reconciliation of Iraqis-from  majority to minority groups. He also thinks the international community needs to respond with political and humanitarian action

He adds that refugees and religious minorities don't want to leave Iraq. Rather, they just want to go back home. But he says that is becoming increasingly difficult as days go by...



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