August 19, 2014. ThePope's Twitter account has surpassed 15 million followers in the 9 languages where he publishes his tweets. The most popular accounts are Spanish, with almost 6.5 million followers; English, with more than 4 million followers and Italian, with almost 2 million followers.
August 13, 2014. Several hours before boarding his flight to Seoul, Pope Francis sent out a tweet asking for prayers for the fruits of his trip to South Korea.
As I begin my trip, I ask you to join me in praying for Korea and for all of Asia.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) August 13, 2014
August 12, 2014. The Pope accepted the resignation of Archbishop Nikolaos Foskolos, the former Archbishop of Athens. He has named Sevastianos Rossolatosto succeed him.
August 11, 2014. Pope Francis has sent
a message of condolence for the plane crash in
Tehran which claimed the lives of almost 40 people. The Pope
expressed his sadness for the tragedy and prayed for the eternal
repose of the victims as well as consolation for their families. The
Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, sent the
telegram in the Pope's name to Archbishop Ignazio
Bedini of Ispahan.
August 11, 2014. Pope Francis has sent a message of condolence for the plane crash in Tehran which claimed the lives of almost 40 people. The Pope expressed his sadness for the tragedy and prayed for the eternal repose of the victims as well as consolation for their families. The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, sent the telegram in the Pope's name to Archbishop Ignazio Bedini of Ispahan.
August 8, 2014. Pope Francis called on the faithful to pray for Iraq via his Twitter account. The Pope asked to "pray for Iraqi Christians and all vulnerable populations” as well as for "those who have been forced from their homes in Iraq.”
Please take a moment today to pray for all those who have been forced from their homes in Iraq. #PrayForPeace— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) August 8, 2014
August 7th, 2014. Pope Francis has named Fr. Bohdan Danylo as bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Josaphat (USA).
During his General Audience, Pope Francis greeted an Argentine couple, whose son sits behind bars as a death row inmate in Texas. After 17 years behind bars, and exhausting legal options, their hoping Pope Francis can save their son's life.
"I believe it's important because he's a Pope that takes interest in the problems of the world. And he has a lot of influence because the world listens to him.”
A Texas court convicted Victor Saldaño of killing another man in 1995. His trial resulted in a death sentence. But in 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down, saying the testimony against Saldaño was tainted by racial discrimination.
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"By any international standard, that would have been enough to set Saldaño free. Instead, he faces a new trial.”
The second trial ended like the first, a jury sentenced Saldaño to the death penalty. At that point, after seven years on death row, his family and lawyer argued he developed mental health problems, and that he should be released.
The state of Texas has shown little signs of changing its mind. A lawsuit filed against the U.S. government at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights is also stalled. With the Catholic Church's vocal opposition to the death penalty, they turned to Pope Francis.
"I hope, truthfully, that he asks for clemency on behalf of my son, so that he's not given the death sentence.”
Saldaño's mother said the Pope did not commit to anything when she brought up her request. But with his constant emphasis on mercy, she's hopeful he'll take action.
Giving her additional hope is that fact that Texas hasn't scheduled Saldaño's execution. But after 17 years, it's not much comfort. Until, and if, the Pope intervenes, she says she keeps her bags ready, to go her son's side, at a moment's notice.