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Papal Trip to Cuba?
April 17, 2015. The Vatican's spokesperson has announced that Pope Francis is considering a trip to Cuba. If the visit takes place it would be before or after his trip to the U.S in September. The process however, is still in its beginning phases, so no official decision has been made. 
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Dates of papal trip to Latin America released
April 16, 2015. The Vatican has announced the dates of Pope's upcoming trip to Latin America. He will visit Ecuador from July 6 to 8. After, he will be in Bolivia from July 8 to 10. He will then go to Paraguay until July 12. 
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Pope's Message for World Day of Prayer for Vocations
April 14, 2015. In his message for the event, which will be held on April 26, Pope Francis considers the meaning of "vocation.” He writes that it means to respond to God's call. That is, "allowing him to help us leave ourselves and our false security behind” so that we can find Jesus Christ, "the origin and destiny of our life and our happiness.”

The title of the message is: "Exodus, a fundamental experience of vocation.”

Read the full text here.
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New vicar apostolic in Venezuela and bishop in India

April 7, 2015. Pope Francis has appointed Ernesto José Romero Rivas, O.F.M. to be Vicar Apostolic of Tucupita (Venezuela). The Pope has also appointed Vincent Aind to be Bishop of Bagdogra (India).

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New Prefect in the Congregation for Catholic Education
March 31, 2015. Pope Francis has appointed Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, as the new Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education. He also also appointed Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki as a member of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See. 
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New bishop in Mozambique
March 30, 2015. The Pope has appointed Alberto Vera Aréjula, a Spanish missionary, to be Auxiliary Bishop of Xai-Xai in Mozambique.
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New Eparchy and new Exarchate in India
March 26, 2015. The Pope has created the Eparchy of St. John Chrysostom in Gurgaon of the Syro-Malankara Church (India). He has also appointed its first bishop, Jacob Barnabas Aerath. Additionally, Pope Francis created the new Apostolic Exarchate of St. Ephrem of Khadki of the Syro-Malankara Church (India). He appointed the first Exarch, Bishop Thomas Mar Anthonios Valiyavilayil.
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New bishop in Ecuador
March 24, 2015. Pope Francis appointed Victor Bertram Wick Enzler to be bishop of Santo Domingo (Ecuador). Until now, he served as auxiliary bishop of Guayaquil, also in Ecuador.

Pontifical Academy for Life: Child euthanasia is not the answer

2014-03-20

"The lack of health, and disability are not good reasons to exclude, or worse, do away with a person.” That is the message the Pope sent members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, which gathered in Rome in February for its 20th anniversary

Dozens of experts talked about aging and disabilities. Pope Francis reminded them that "the tyranny of an economic logic” turns many people into victims, "starting with the elderly.”

MONICA LOPEZ BARAHONA
Academic Director, Centro de Estudios Biosanitarios (Spain)
"The new idea in this case is to take back the culture of love, of love towards the elderly. To reclaim the value that old age has when it comes to experience gained, and experience that can be passed on.”
 
In the more developed countries, populations are aging fast. In an effort to tackle the "throw-away culture,” experts said the key is in engaging, not excluding family members who cannot fend for themselves.

ENCARNACION PEREZ BRET
Hospital Centro de Cuidados LAGUNA (Spain)
"What we have to do is see in what way that person's limitations and dependency are developing. Also to find out what that person expects from us, and what we can do within our means to be close to them, support and help them.”

In February, Belgium approved the practice of child euthanasia. It's the first country to legalize assisted suicide for minors. Catholic experts were clear about their stance on the issue.

MONICA LOPEZ BARAHONA
Academic Director, Centro de Estudios Biosanitarios (Spain)
"I don't think that within the experience gained by pediatricians, in working with children with terminal illnesses, you will find a mother or father who wouldn't want three more hours of life for their child. This is not resolved with euthanasia. This topic is dealt with palliative care. The issues is solved with an interdisciplinary team, made up not just of doctors, but also with nurses, and psychological and spiritual support for the parents and child in their last moments.”

VINCENZO DI LAZZARO 
Neurology Department, Rome University
"That practice is a way to undervalue the potential of humans, and reduce them simply to a physical machine. If something is broken, throw it away. That is not how you deal with it. Humans are much more than that.”

John Paul II established the Pontifical Academy for Life in 1994. Its main goal is to deal with issues relating to life, from conception to natural death. The Academy's first president was Jérôme Lejeune, the doctor that discovered the genetic mutation that causes Down Syndrome. His beatification process is now underway.


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