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New Archbishop of Sens and the Mission of France
March 5, 2015. Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Yves Patenôtre, and has appointed Hervé Giraud as Archbishop of Sens (France) and the territorial prelature of the Mission of France.
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New Nuncio in Honduras
March 5, 2015. The Pope appointed Novatus Rugambwa to be Nuncio in Honduras. Until now, he was Nuncio in Angola and the Republic of São Tomé and Principe.
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New Bishops in Mexico and Brazil
March 4, 2015. The Pope has accepted the resignation of Francisco Ramirez Navarro, the Auxiliary Bishop of Tlalnepantla (Mexico). He has appointed in his place Cuapio Jorge Bautista, of the diocese of Texcoco.

In Brazil, Francisco Joaquim Wladimir was appointed Bishop of Colatina Lopes.
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New Bishop in San Diego (United States)
March 3, 2015. Pope Francis has appointed Aux. Bishop Robert McElroy of San Francisco to head the Diocese of San Diego. McElroy is 61.
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New bishop in San Andrés Tuxtla (Mexico)
March 2, 2015. The Pope has appointed Fidencio Lopez Plaza, a priest from the diocese of Querétaro, to be the new Bishop of San Andrés. 
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Appointments
February 27, 2015. Pope Francis has named Msgr. Charles Jude Scicluna as the new Metropolitan Archbishop of Malta. Up until now, he had served as the Bishop of San Leone and as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Malta. 
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New bishops in the Dominican Republic and Colombia
February 23, 2015. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of three bishops from the Dominican Republic. They are Ramon Benito de la Rosa (Archdiocese of Santiago de los Caballeros), Rafael Leonidas Felipe and Núñez (Diocese of Barahona) and Antonio Camilo Gonzalez (Diocese of La Vega).

In their places, he has appointed Freddy Antonio de Jesus Breton Martínez (Archdiocese of Santiago de los Caballeros), who is transferring from the Diocese of Bani; Andrew Napoleon Romero Cárdenas (Diocese of Barahona); and Hector Rafael Rodríguez Rodríguez, M.S.C. (Diocese of La Vega).
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New Doctor of the Church
February 23, 2015. San Gregorio di Narek will soon be named a Doctor of the Catholic Church by Pope Francis. The Armenian theologian, philosopher and writer was born around 950 and died in 1005. He lived most of his life in a monastery in Narek and for years now he has been considered a Doctor of the Armenian Church.
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New bishop in Colombia
February 19, 2105. The Pope has appointed Francisco José Méndez Crispiano Clavijo to be the new bishop of Sincelejo (Colombia). Until now, he was rector of the John Paul II diocesan seminary in Valledupar (Colombia).
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Nominations
February 17, 2015. Msgr. Adolfo Tito Yllana, has been nominated by Pope Francis as the new nuncio of Australia. Up until now, he served as the nuncio, or papal respresentative, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 
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Coptic Pope phoned by Pope Francis
February 16, 2015. In light of the brutal assassination of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya, Pope Francis called the Coptic Pope, Tawadros II, to express his condolences. The victims were beheaded by Islamic terrorists, before posting the video online. Pope Francis told Tawadros II that he will be praying for the victims, on Tuesday morning, as their funeral Mass is celebrated. 
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New permanent representative to the FAO
February 12, 2015. Pope Francis has named the Spanish Msgr. Fernando Chica Arellano permanent representive to the United Nations Agency for Agriculture and Food.

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Appointments
February 6, 2015. Pope Francis has appointed Polish missionary Józef Roszynski, S.V.D. to be Bishop of Wewak (Papua New Guinea) and Chidi Denis Isizoh to be Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Onitsha (Nigeria).
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Pope to address US Congress September 24
February 5, 2015. Pope Francis will visit the United States Capitol on September 24th and deliver an address to a joint session of Congress. It will be the first ever address to Congress by a Pope. House Speaker John Boehner, a Catholic, said in a statement that the Pope’s "teachings, prayers, and very example bring us back to the blessings of simple things and our obligations to one another.”

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LIVE CHAT
February 5, 2015. Pope Francis will take part in a Google Hangout to chat live with students with special needs.  The Thursday afternoon meeting, will kick off at 4pm, Rome time. The program is part of the ‘Scholas’ project which is meant to improve education on a global scale.  The students are from the U.S, Brazil, India and Spain. 

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Crash Condolences
February 5, 2015. Pope Francis has expressed his condolences over the deadly Taipei plane crash. The TransAsia flight crashed into a river with 58 people on board. On behalf of the Pope, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, sent a message addressed to Taipei’s Archbishop Hung Shan-cuan. In it, the Pope offered his heartfelt condolences to the civil authorities and assured families of the deceased and the missing, of his spiritual closeness.

U.S. State Department releases country-by-country analysis of religious freedom

2014-07-30

Another grim milestone for humanity. 2013 was one of the worst years for the displacement of entire religious communities around the world. A comprehensive report from the U.S. State Department tracked down the state of religious freedom in nearly 200 countries. 

KENNETH HACKETT
U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See
"Religious freedom takes a lot of interpretations. In our own countries there are some very fine lines on interpretation. But the actual persecution of people because of their religion is one of the horrors of our day.”

The report highlighted areas where entire communities are targeted simply for their religion. It recorded increased persecution of Christians in 2013, noting that in countries like Syria, Egypt and Iraq, entire Christian communities have been decimated by violence.

Meanwhile, the report also details repressive government policies against Christians and other minorities in places like Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan and Pakistan. The Vatican expressed their concern for these policies.

MSGR. MARCELO SANCHEZ SORONDO
President, Pontifical Academies for Sciences
"First off, the Holy See wants to warn the world about the issue. Second, to work with Christians so they stay. And third, to get the universal Church to pray and take social actions to stop persecution.”

But the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See pointed out that the report highlights the plight of all religious communities, not just Christians. Whether it's rising anti-Semitism in Europe to discrimination against Shia Muslims in countries like Bahrain, Ambassador Hackett said the U.S. and the Holy See have a a common stance. 

KENNETH HACKETT
U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See
"Wherever we can, we want to find a common cause with the Church, and the Holy See itself, on issues of religious persecution of all people, not just Christians. It's for all people, and the Holy See has been a loud and abiding voice for those kinds of concerns.”

American agencies will use the latest report on religious freedom to help determine U.S. policy in those countries, and determine the best way to help promote religious freedom.


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