November 2019: Pope Francis visits Japan and speaks out against nuclear weapons

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31/12/2019
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The pope began the month of November by praying for the deceased in this Roman catacomb. There he prayed also for today's persecuted Christians.

POPE FRANCIS
There are many catacombs in other countries, where they even have to pretend to have a party or a birthday to celebrate the Eucharist, because in that place it is forbidden to do so.

In early November, the pope met with the head of the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The two leaders are planning on visiting South Sudan together to promote peace.

 “We have agreed to visit South Sudan together in March.”

On World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis invited about 1,500 people in need to have lunch with him at the Vatican.

“Good morning, everyone. I welcome you. Thank you for being here.”

In November, the pope went on an intense trip to Asia. He visited two countries, Thailand and Japan, over the course of seven days.

When he landed in Bangkok, the first person he greeted was his cousin, Ana Rosa Sivori. She has been a missionary for years and acted as the pope's interpreter during his visit.

The pope went to Bangkok's Governmental House, where the prime minister, General Prayuth Chan-ocha waited for him. There, Pope Francis spoke before the country's authorities and thanked Thailand for its efforts to eradicate sexual tourism and child prostitution.

Then he visited the Supreme Buddhist Patriarch in Thailand. Their handshake lasted over 30 seconds. The pope gave the Supreme Patriarch the Declaration on Human Fraternity he had signed in Abu Dhabi, thereby including Buddhists in the project for dialogue.

Nagasaki was the first Japanese city the pope visited. He stood in the exact spot where the atomic bomb was dropped on Aug. 9, 1945.

There he asked for the total elimination of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

POPE FRANCIS
“I ask political leaders not to forget that these weapons cannot protect us from current threats to national and international security.”

In Hiroshima the pope met with survivors of the atomic bomb. Some could not contain their tears.

This woman told Pope Francis she saw her friends and family die in a matter of hours.

There Pope Francis criticized political leaders who talk about peace while promoting nuclear proliferation.

POPE FRANCIS
“The use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral. Just as the possession of nuclear weapons is immoral.”

Before returning to Rome, the pope met with Emperor Naruhito in Tokyo. The emperor personally welcomed him at the entrance to the Imperial Palace.

Upon returning to Rome, Pope Francis received a very interesting gift. It was this Dacia Duster turned popemobile.

The vehicle seats five and has enough space to allow the pope to wave to pilgrims from the inside, safe from the rain and cold.

It will be very useful for his trips to cold European cities.

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