Pope Francis Accepts Resignation Of 3 Chilean Bishops

Three Chilean bishops have sent their resignations to Pope Francis following sex abuse scandals, including Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, the city at the centre of the uproar, the Vatican said on Monday. In an unprecedented move, all Chile’s 34 bishops offered to resign en masse in May after attending a crisis meeting with the pope over allegations of a cover-up of sexual abuse in the South American nation.

It was not immediately clear if Monday’s move meant the pope would not accept any of the other resignations.

Besides Barros, the pope also agreed to the departures of Cristian Caro Cordero, bishop of Puerto Montt, and Gonzalo Duarte García de Cortazar, bishop of Valparaiso.
Church administrators were appointed to run all three diocese.

Pope Francis has promised Chilean Catholics scarred by a culture of clergy sexual abuse that “never again” would the Church ignore them or the cover-up of abuse in their country.

The scandal revolves around Father Fernando Karadima, who was found guilty in a Vatican investigation in 2011 of abusing boys in Santiago in the 1970s and 1980s.

Now 87 and living in a nursing home in Chile, he has always denied any wrongdoing.
Victims accused Barros of having witnessed the abuse but doing nothing to stop it. Barros has denied the allegations.

The Vatican’s most experienced sexual abuse investigator, Archbishop Charles Scicluna visited Chile earlier this year to look into the scandal.

He has been sent back to Chile to gather more information.

War Begets War And Violence Begets Violence- Pope Francis Speaks On Gaza Killings

Pope Francis on Wednesday condemned the killing of Palestinians near the Gaza-Israel border, emphasizing that war only lead to violence.

Israeli forces killed 60 Palestinians near the Gaza-Israel border on Monday during demonstrations against the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, in the bloodiest day in Gaza in years.

“I express my great pain for the dead and wounded and I am close in prayer and affection to all those who are suffering,” he told tens of thousands of people at his general audience in St. Peter’s Square.

“I repeat that the use of violence never leads to peace. War begets war and violence begets violence.”

Francis, who visited Israel and Palestinian territories in 2014, asked both sides and the international community to redouble efforts “so that dialogue, justice and peace prevail”.

In December 2017, when U.S. President Donald Trump announced the decision to move the embassy, Francis called for Jerusalem’s “status quo” to be respected, saying new tension in the Middle East would further inflame world conflicts.

Speaking earlier in the audience to a group of Polish World War Two veterans, he said: “We never learn.”

Nigerian Migrant, Ogah Rewarded By Pope Francis

Nigerian migrant John Francesco Ogah smiles in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on Saturday after his baptism by Pope Francis (swipe left for image).

On 26 September 2017, Ogah, while begging for spare change outside the Carrefour market in Rome’s Centocelle neighbourhood, saw a masked thief, armed with a meat cleaver, trying to make off with €400 he had stolen from the cashiers.

With nothing more than his bare hands, security cameras captured Ogah confronting the thief, and holding him by the collar until police arrived.

Ogah then disappeared, fearing he would be deported because he didn’t have his papers in order. But the police authorities in Rome sought to reward his courage and within a month had given him a coveted Italian residency permit that had been denied him when his asylum bid failed.

He now has a job with the Italian Red Cross and a place to call home.

Pope Francis opened the festivities with a Tweet to his global flock: “Our faith is born on Easter morning: Jesus is alive!”

He then delivered his “Urbi et Orbi” message (“to the city and the world”) message from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.

Francis called for peace in a world marked by war and conflict, “beginning with the beloved and long-suffering land of Syria,” and extending to the entire Middle East, the Korean peninsula and parts of Africa affected by “hunger, endemic conflicts and terrorism.”

The Pope reflected on the power of Christianity’s core belief – that Jesus rose from the dead following crucifixion.

The pontiff said the message of the resurrection offers hope in a world “marked by so many acts of injustice and violence.”

“It bears fruits of hope and dignity where there are deprivation and exclusion, hunger and unemployment; where there are migrants and refugees, so often rejected by today’s culture of waste, and victims of the drug trade, human trafficking and contemporary forms of slavery,” the Pope said.

He called for a “swift end” to carnage in Syria, demanding that aid be delivered to the needy there and calling for “fitting conditions for the returned and the displaced”.

The Pope also urged reconciliation in Israel and hoped that mutual respect would “prevail over divisions” in Yemen and the entire Middle East.

Nigerian migrant John Francesco Ogah smiles in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on Saturday after his baptism by Pope Francis (swipe left for image). On 26 September 2017, Ogah, while begging for spare change outside the Carrefour market in Rome’s Centocelle neighbourhood, saw a masked thief, armed with a meat cleaver, trying to make off with €400 he had stolen from the cashiers. With nothing more than his bare hands, security cameras captured Ogah confronting the thief, and holding him by the collar until police arrived. Ogah then disappeared, fearing he would be deported because he didn’t have his papers in order. But the police authorities in Rome sought to reward his courage and within a month had given him a coveted Italian residency permit that had been denied him when his asylum bid failed. He now has a job with the Italian Red Cross and a place to call home. Photo credit: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters #Easter #PaulOgah #Italy #RedCross #Nigerian #Hero #Migrant #Pope #PopeFrancis #Rome #Vatican #TheGuardianNg

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Pope Francis In Tears Over Sexual Abuse Scandal In Chile

Spokesman Greg Burke has reported that Pope Francis wept bitterly as he met with victims of child molestation and abuse by priests in Chile on Tuesday.

The private meeting took place during a packed first day of the pontiff’s week long trip to South America where he will also visit Peru.

Greg Burke said, ‘No one else was present. Only the Pope and the victims, ‘This was so they could speak of their suffering to Pope Francis, who listened to them and prayed and cried with them.’

It was only the second time on his overseas trips that the Pope has met victims of sexual abuse, although he has met some at the Vatican. The last meeting on a trip was in Philadelphia in 2015.

Burke declined to give details, but his statement came at the end of an intense day for the pope, during which he spoke of sexual abuse twice, once asking forgiveness for abuses he said had done “irreparable damage” to victims.

During his first public address of the tour Francis begged forgiveness and said he feels ‘pain and shame’ over the sex abuse scandal.

Pope Francis is facing protests as he travels around Chile over his appointment as Bishop of Osorno of Juan Barros, who is accused of covering up the abuse of the notorious paedophile priest Fernando Karadima.

 

Pope Francis Wants The Lord’s Prayer To Be Altered

Pope Francis has called for the alteration of the Lord’s Prayer by the Roman Catholic Church because he believes the current translation suggests God is capable of leading us “into temptation”.

He has suggested he wants to make a change to The Lord’s Prayer, popularly known among Catholics as the “Our Father.”

According to Reuters, the Pope during a televised interview Wednesday he would prefer to adjust the phrase “lead us not into temptation,” saying that it too strongly suggested that God leads people to sin.

“That is not a good translation,” the pope said. The phrase “do not let us fall into temptation,” which the Catholic Church in France has previously decided to use, would be a more appropriate alternative and should be used around the globe, Francis said.

“I am the one who falls. It’s not him pushing me into temptation to then see how I have fallen,” he continued. “A father doesn’t do that, a father helps you to get up immediately. It’s Satan who leads us into temptation, that’s his department.”

The prayer originated from Jesus’s language of Aramaic, which was then translated to ancient Greek, and later to Latin.

The prayer is part of Christian liturgical culture and memorised from childhood by hundreds of millions of Catholics.

 

Pope Francis Stresses Importance Of Unity In Diversity

Pope Francis while meeting leaders of several faiths in majority-Buddhist Myanmar on Tuesday stressed the importance of “unity in diversity”.

Athough he made no mention of the Muslim Rohingya who have fled en masse to Bangladesh after a military crackdown, the pope held private talks with Myanmar’s military chief in Yangon on Monday, the first day of a visit fraught with tension after the United States accused the Southeast Asian nation of “ethnic cleansing” against its Muslim Rohingya people.

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church will also travel to Bangladesh, where more than 620,000 Rohingya have fled to escape what Amnesty International has dubbed “crimes against humanity”.

Myanmar’s army has denied accusations of murder, rape, torture and forced displacement that have been made against it.

“Unity is always a product of diversity,” Francis told leaders of the Buddhist, Islamic, Hindu, Jewish and Christian faiths in Yangon.

“Everyone has their values, their riches as well as their differences, as each religion has its riches, its traditions, its riches to share.

“This can only happen if we live in peace, and peace is constructed in a chorus of differences.”

Aye Lwin, a prominent Muslim leader who was at the meeting, told Reuters he had asked the pope to appeal to Myanmar’s political leaders ”to rescue the religion that we cherish, which could be hijacked by a hidden agenda”.

Only about 700,000 of Myanmar’s 51 million people are Roman Catholic.

Thousands of them have traveled from far and wide to see him and more than 150,000 people have registered for a mass that Francis will say in Yangon on Wednesday.

The pope was later flying to the capital, Naypyitaw, where he will meet government leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate and democracy champion who has faced criticism from around the globe because she has expressed doubts about the reports of rights abuses against the Rohingya and failed to condemn the military.

His trip is so delicate that some papal advisers have warned Francis against even saying the word “Rohingya”, lest he set off a diplomatic incident that could turn the country’s military and government against minority Christians.

The pope is due to deliver a speech after meeting Suu Kyi.

The Rohingya exodus from Rakhine state to Bangladesh began after Aug. 25, when Rohingya militants attacked security posts and the Myanmar army launched a counter-offensive.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday called the military operation “ethnic cleansing” and threatened targeted sanctions for “horrendous atrocities”.

Myanmar’s government has denied most of the accusations made against it, and the army says its own investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing by troops.

Myanmar does not recognise the Rohingya as citizens nor as members of a distinct ethnic group with their own identity, and it even rejects the term “Rohingya” and its use.

Many people in Myanmar instead refer to members of the Muslim minority in Rakhine state as illegal migrants from Bangladesh.

Francis is expected to meet a group of Rohingya refugees in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, on the second leg of his trip.

Vatican sources say some in the Holy See believe the trip was decided too hastily after full diplomatic ties were established in May during a visit by Suu Kyi.

The pope has already used the word Rohingya in two appeals from the Vatican this year.

A hardline group of Buddhist monks, previously known as Ma Ba Tha, said on Monday it welcomed the pope’s visit but warned, without elaborating, of “a response” if he spoke openly about the Rohingya.

 

Pope Gives Rebel Nigeria Priests Ultimatum Over Bishop

Pope Francis has given church officials in southern Nigeria a 30-day ultimatum to obey him by accepting the nomination of a bishop — or face being suspended from office.

During talks with a Catholic delegation from Nigeria, the pope demanded that priests and church members in the southern diocese of Ahiara write to him personally to “ask his forgiveness”, the Holy See said in a statement at the weekend.

“In the letter, one must clearly manifest total obedience to the pope, and whoever writes must be willing to accept the bishop whom the pope sends and has appointed,” said the statement.

It gave the faithful a 30-day deadline for sending such letters, which ends on July 9.

“Whoever does not do this will be ipso facto suspended a divinis and will lose his current office,” it warned.

The dispute involves Monseigneur Peter Okpaleke who was named bishop of the Ahiara diocese in 2012 by Pope Benedict, Francis’ predecessor.

But his appointment was rejected on ethnic grounds by the local priests, who protested over the fact the Vatican had not named someone from their own diocese.

As a result, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, the archbishop of Abuja, was appointed the following year as the apostolic administrator of the diocese.

During his talks with the Nigerian delegation at the Vatican on Thursday, at which both Okpaleke and Onaiyekan were present, the pope denounced the situation as “unacceptable”, saying he was “deeply saddened.”

Credit: Guardian

Pope’s Urges Trump To Be A Peacemaker

Pope Francis has urged U.S. President Donald Trump to be a peacemaker at their first meeting on Wednesday. It is no new story that the Pope has not been on the same page with Trump on several issues. According to reports, Francis wasn’t as chatty and friendly to Trump as he has been to several heads of states who had visited in the past.

Francis gave the president a small sculptured olive tree and told him through the interpreter that it symbolized peace. “It is my desire that you become an olive tree to construct peace,” the Pope said, speaking in Spanish through an interpreter. Trump responded: “We can use peace.” Francis also gave Trump a signed copy of his 2017 peace message whose title is “Nonviolence – A Style of Politics for Peace,” and a copy of his 2015 encyclical letter on the need to protect the environment from the effects of climate change. “Well, I’ll be reading them,” Trump said. Trump, seeming subdued,

“It is my desire that you become an olive tree to construct peace,” the Pope said, speaking in Spanish through an interpreter. Trump responded: “We can use peace.” Francis also gave Trump a signed copy of his 2017 peace message whose title is “Nonviolence – A Style of Politics for Peace,” and a copy of his 2015 encyclical letter on the need to protect the environment from the effects of climate change. “Well, I’ll be reading them,” Trump said. Trump, seeming subdued,

“Well, I’ll be reading them,” Trump said. Trump, seeming subdued,

Trump, seeming subdued, said, “it is a great honour.”

Pope Francis Criticizes The Use Of Mother To Describe US Bomb

Pope Francis has criticized the naming of the U.S. military’s biggest non-nuclear explosive as “Mother of All Bombs”, saying the word “mother” should not be used in reference to any deadly weapon.

The Pope said an audience of students on Saturday: “I was ashamed when I heard the name.

“A mother gives life and this one gives death, and we call this device a mother. What is happening?”

The U.S. Air Force dropped one of the bombs, officially designated as the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) on suspected Islamic State fighters in eastern Afghanistan in April. The nickname was widely used in briefings and reporting on the attack.

Pope Francis Visits Egypt as ‘Messenger of Peace’

Pope Francis is in Egypt on a visit aimed at improving Christian-Muslim dialogue, three weeks after bombings at two Coptic churches killed 45 people. As he arrived in Cairo he said his trip would be a “journey of unity and fraternity”, AFP news agency reports.

He will meet the Egyptian president and speak at al-Azhar University, a key centre of Sunni Islamic learning. So-called Islamic State (IS) said it was behind the Palm Sunday bombings.

The 80-year-old pontiff said before the visit that he was travelling as a “messenger of peace” and, as usual, would not use an armoured car. The two-day visit is the first papal trip to Cairo in 20 years and comes as Egypt’s Coptic Christians – who make up 10% of the country’s mainly Muslim population – face increased threats. The majority of the Copts are Orthodox, with less than 150,000 of them Catholic.

‘If things stay like this… we would be better off dead’
IS says it also sent a bomber who killed 28 people at Egypt’s main cathedral before Christmas. The group’s Egyptian branch says Christians are its “favourite prey”. Hundreds of Egyptian Christians fled northern Sinai earlier this year in the wake of at least seven killings by suspected Islamist militants.
‘Brotherhood and reconciliation’

As well as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the Pope is due to meet Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of the 1,000-year-old seat of Islamic learning, al-Azhar.

He is expected to address a conference there on religious dialogue, as part of efforts to improve relations, after Egyptian Muslim leaders cut ties over comments made by Pope Francis’s predecessor Pope Benedict XVI.

Coptic Christians make up about 10% of Egypt’s population

The pontiff will also meet the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros II, and walk with him to St Mark’s Cathedral, the scene of the December bombing. In a message ahead of the trip, Francis said he wanted the visit to be “a witness of my affection, comfort and encouragement for all the Christians of the Middle East” and “a message of brotherhood and reconciliation with all the children of Abraham, particularly the Muslim world”.
In a surprise TED talk earlier this week, delivered in a video, he lauded the values of humility, tenderness and hope, amid the “darkness of today’s conflicts”.

A three-month state of emergency is in place in the wake of the Palm Sunday bombings, and security has been boosted around churches.
But many Copts say the government should have done more earlier to protect them, and say they are also under pressure from sectarian tensions and long-standing discrimination.

BBC Africa