September 2018: Vatican signs agreement with China to name new bishops

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The pope began September with new wheels, when this personalized scooter was given to him. Pope Francis gave it to the Vatican's charity manager, but the gift might've been useful to him a few days later, when he met with the riders of the World Motorcycle Championship. 

“Inject passion: this world needs passions, passion.”

The world champions gave their helmets to the pope. Like Dani Pedrosa... 

Or Marc Márquez, who has six titles. 

“I've brought you, I give you the helmet I raced in.”

“How does it feel to be the champion of champions?”

In September, the pope met with the leaders of the U.S. Episcopal Conference to confront the abuse crisis together.

“Thank you so much for receiving us.”

“Holy Father.”

“How are you?”

As it is a global question, Pope Francis summoned the presidents of all the world's episcopal conferences to convene in February to seek effective measures together.

In mid-September, the pope traveled to Palermo to remember the 25th anniversary of the Mafia's assassination of Pino Puglisi, a priest.

“You cannot believe in God and be in the mafia. One who is a mafioso does not live as a Christian, because he blasphemes with his life against the name of God-love.”

He was on the street where this priest lived. The people hung white sheets on their balconies, a symbol of the rejection of the Mafia. 

Pope Francis stopped at the exact spot where the priest was shot and visited the house where he lived. 

In September, he made another trip. On the 22nd, the Pope began a four-day visit to the Baltic States. 

In Lithuania, he met thousands of young people in front of the cathedral. During the Soviet occupation, this temple was converted into an art gallery and car-parts shop. 

“Think of all the times this Cathedral went up in flames and fell apart. Yet, there were always people ready to start rebuilding; they refused to let themselves be overwhelmed by hardship; they never gave up.”
“The freedom of your nation, was also won by men and women who did not flinch before terror and misfortune.”

He also entered the cells where the Gestapo and the KGB tortured priests and bishops, becoming emotionally moved by the history contained in these cells.

 “In this cell, (two bishops) spent 10 years in prison. It has been reconstructed with metal glasses, objects from the prisoners.”

The pope, Lutherans and Catholics prayed together in a Protestant cathedral in Latvia. The Lutheran archbishop explained that the 50 years under Soviet atheism helped Protestants and Catholics rediscover their common roots. 

“... that we become weavers of unity in our cities, ensuring that our differences don't turn into divisions.”

The last country he visited was Estonia, where only 0.5 percent of the population are Catholic. There he met with single mothers and people who have had problems with alcohol. They've been assisted by the Church and the pope told them that God uses their lives and hands to help others.

“Can Jesus count on you today? Let each one of you answer.”

In September, the Holy See signed a historic agreement with China to appoint new bishops. It is the first agreement since Mao Zedong expelled the nuncio in Beijing in 1951, when the regime began appointing bishops on its own.

From now on, the government will propose a candidate and the pope will decide whether or not to accept him.

“The Agreement is the result of a long and thoughtful journey of dialogue, intended to foster a more positive collaboration between the Holy See and the Chinese authorities for the good of the Catholic community in China and for the harmony of the whole society.”

Another great achievement of this agreement is that all Chinese bishops are already in communion with Rome, and that for the first time Beijing recognizes that the successor of Peter has an authority. 

In September, Rome Reports had its 15-year anniversary. The agency celebrated with the pope, who blessed one of the agency's microphones. 

“Don't report nonsense.”

It was a great anniversary, especially because of this visit with the pope.

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