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Rome Reports

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October 2017: Pope Francis asks for action and measures for protecting minors on Internet

In the month of October, the Vatican welcomed a unique congress, “Child Dignity in the Digital World,” to prevent abuse of minors on the Internet. 

Pope Francis met with attendees, who presented him with proposals to end sexual assault, bullying and online threats. 

“It would be a grave illusion to think that a society, where an abnormal amount of online sex is common among adults, would then be able to effectively protect its minors.”

On October 12, the pope celebrated Mass in the basilica of Saint Mary Major. He commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Pontifical Oriental Institute and the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, both founded by Pope Benedict XV in 1917. He also denounced religious persecution again. 

“Then the First World War broke out; today – as I have already said – we are living another World War, a piecemeal war. We see many of our Christian brothers and sisters in the Oriental Churches experiencing dramatic persecution and an increasingly disturbing diaspora.”

The pope welcomed Special Olympics athletes for a visit. They gave him a warm reception. 

The Special Olympics were celebrating their 50th anniversary. Pope Francis spoke with athletes as this little girl played by his side. 

Just two days later, October 15, the pope canonized 35 new saints. Among them was Spaniard Faustino Míguez; the three indigenous children – Cristóbal, Antonio and Juan – who were the first martyrs in the Americas; and the group of martyrs from Brazil, headed by the Jesuit André de Soveral. 

Without a doubt, this was one of the most epic moments of the month. Pope Francis spoke withsix astronauts on the International Space Station live from the Vatican. 

The pope asked them interesting questions and, even though the connection was poor at times, was able to speak with all of them, assuring them he had learned a lot. 

“May the Lord bless you, your work and families. I assure you that I will pray for you, please pray for me.”

That's how Pope Francis' first conversation through space ended.