We use our own and third party cookies to improve your user experience; by continuing to browse, we understand that you accept their use. You can get more information on our cookies policy.

Rome Reports

You are using an outdated browser

In order to deliver the greatest experience to our visitors we use cutting edge web development techniques that require a modern browser. To view this page please use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer 11 or greater

November 2014: The Pope builds bridges with the Orthodox Church and Islam

"How are you, Francis? The Argentinian Pope! What a joy.â? "Come in.â? "Thank you. This is my grandson, Ignacio.â? "How are you?â? "It's a pleasure.â? November was a busy month for Pope Francis. He met the president of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in the Vatican. It was a special meeting where she introduced her grandson, who went missing during Argentina's dictatorship.  The Pope highlighted Ignacio Guido's courage in accepting the truth about his past and  moving forward with his life.  "Thank you for the courage you have shown.â? "No, I did nothing, it was them.â? In November, he received another important visit, this time from the president of Peru, Ollanta Humala. "Good morning, Mr. Presidentâ? "Your Holinessâ? "Welcomeâ? "It's a pleasureâ? Besides inviting him to visit Peru, Humala's wife gave him a cookbook. "So that they can make you something to eat and you can eat delicious food.â? Pope Francis did not confirm whether he plans on visiting Lima, but he did say he will try their fantastic cuisine. In November, 350 representatives from 14 religions gathered in Rome for an inter-religious conference on how marriage between a man and a woman influences people's lives and society. The Pope inaugurated the conference, and said a decline in marriages leads to a decline in society. POPE FRANCIS  "This revolution in thought and morals has often flown the 'flag of freedom,' but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.â? The Pope also met with an important association of Italian doctors. In his speech, he denounced the 'false compassion' used to justify abortion and euthanasia. POPE FRANCIS  "The dominant thought sometimes proposes a  'false compassion.' It promotes abortion as a way to help the woman; seeking euthanasia as an act of dignity.â? November was a month of great speeches, in international stages.  He participated in the International Conference on Nutrition, organized by the FAO, which is the UN's organization in charge of food. There, the Pope strongly criticized the economic speculation behind the food industry. POPE FRANCIS "It is also painful to see that the struggle against hunger and malnutrition is hindered by 'market priorities,' the 'primacy of  profit', which have reduced food to a commodity like any other, subject to speculation, also of a financial nature. And while we speak of new rights, the hungry remain, in the street corner.â? The Pope described the political and economic pressures to reduce the availability of food in order to increase its price, as unacceptable. He also called for of mother nature.  The shortest papal trip in history also took place in November. During his trip to Strasbourg, Pope Francis visited the European Parliament and the Council of Europe for a few hours.  He even saw an old friend from years ago. German Elma Schmidt. The Pope stayed with her family roughly 30 years ago,when he lived in Germany.  In his speech, Pope Francis invited European leaders to leave the old, tired Europe behind and to revitalize it through the family, employment, and the care for the most vulnerable, immigrants and the environment. POPE FRANCIS "I would like to reaffirm the centrality of the human person, which otherwise is at the mercy of the whims and the powers of the moment.â?  He even got a standing ovation, which is very unusual in the Parliament, which represents more than 500 million people from various backgrounds. He also visited the Council of Europe, where he called on the Old Continent to reclaim the values that once made it great.  POPE FRANCIS "To Europe we can pose this question: 'Where is your vigor? Where is that idealism which inspired and ennobled your history? Where is your spirit of curiosity and enterprise? Where is your thirst for truth, a thirst which hitherto you have passionately shared with the world?â? Three days later, he boarded a plane once again,  to travel to Turkey. This was a key trip as far as the relationship among  Catholics, Muslims and the Orthodox Church. Pope Francis met with the Turkish president  at his new residence. He then traveled to Istanbul, where he visited the country's most important mosque, the Blue Mosque.  The Pope followed a tour offered by the Grand Mufti. Then, they prayed together.  The other great image from the trip was the meeting with the head of t he Orthodox Church, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.  The Orthodox and Catholic Church separated in the year 1054. For centuries, their relationshipwas pratically non-existant.  The Pope visited the Church of St. George, which is the Orthodox equivalent of the Vatican, and made a surprising request to the Patriarch. POPE FRANCIS "As a favor, I will ask you to bless me and the Church of Rome.â? The next day he attended the Divine Liturgy. He explained that he is open to reaching full unity.  POPE FRANCIS "I want to assure each and every one of you, that to achieve the complete unity we yearn for, the Catholic Church does not intend to impose any requirement.â?  At the end of the visit, the Pope and the Patriarch symbolically gave a blessing together. A gesture meant to unite two Christian Churches that have been divided for almost 10 centuries. JMB/CA RR - PR Up: GRT