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Pope Francis

Pope Francis' complete schedule for Colombia trip

June 23, 2017. He will go to Colombia September 6-11.
Vatican

Bruno Marie Duffé, new secretary of the Department for Integral Development

June 16, 2017. Thepope has named French priest Bruno Marie Duffé, from Lyon, number two of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. He will be in charge of one of the key offices in the Vatican Curia.
Pope Francis

Angela Merkel to meet with pope on June 17

June 9, 2017. The Vatican has confirmed that on Saturday, June 17, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with Pope Francis. Both have previously met in Rome in May 2016, February 2015 and May 2013, two months after Pope Francis was elected pontiff.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis to meet with Venezuelan bishops on June 8

June 5, 2017. Pope Francis will meet with Venezuelan bishops next Thursday to discuss the situation their country is facing.
Vatican

New secretary of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life

May 31, 2017. The Brazilian priest Alexandre Awi Mello, the National Director of Brazil's Schönstatt Movement, will serve as the new secretary. He was born Rio de Janeiro in 1971, and ordained a priest in 2001.
Pope Francis

Pope sends condolences and solidarity to Cairo after bus attack

May 26, 2017. Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, wrote a letter to His Excellency Abdel Fattah Al Sisi after the bus attack Friday in Cairo, which left close to 30 Coptic Christians dead, including children, and many others injured.

US State Department: Christians vulnerable to non-government persecution

2015-10-20

For the 17th time, the United States State Department has released its annual International Religious Freedom Report. It studies the situation in more than 200 countries and territories, looking for places where religious freedom is violated. It paints a bleak picture.

According to the report, the most troubling aspect is the rise of non-governmental groups, such as the Islamic State. In parts of the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, these organizations often undermine governments who otherwise support religious freedom.

JOHN KERRY
Secretary of State
"Most prominent and most harmful obviously has been the rise of international terrorist groups, such as the Daesh, al-Qaeda, al-Shabab, Boko Haram. And all have been guilty of vicious acts of unprovoked violence. Under their control, captives have been given a choice between conversion, or slavery, or death.”

According to the report, "religious intolerance and hostility, often combined with political, economic and ethnic grievances, frequently led to violence.”

It pointed to northern Nigeria, Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, China, and Iran as particularly dangerous places for Christians. But the situation in Iraq and Syria may be worst of all.

Religious leaders from the region have spoken about how families are torn apart by religious persecution.

IGNACIO JOSÉ III YOUNAN
Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians
"We have hundreds of people who have been kidnapped by Islamic terrorists. It is a catastrophic phenomenon that has gone on for a long time.”

But the report did contain some optimistic notes. While violence against Coptic Christians persists in Egypt, many of those who carried it out have been prosecuted. The new constitution also provides religious freedom and makes it easier to build churches in the country.

In less populous countries like Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, courts have recently ruled in favor of religious minorities or released some from prison.

Unfortunately, the list of positive developments in the report is much shorter than the list of problems throughout the world.


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