FaithWorld

Pope Francis says it’s legitimate for world to stop Islamist aggression in Iraq

(Pope Francis gestures during a meeting with Asian youths at the Solmoe Shrine in Dangjin August 15, 2014. The pope began his five-day trip to South Korea on Thursday. The main purpose of the trip is to preside at the gathering of Asian Catholic youth and beatify 124 people killed for their faith in the 18th century. REUTERS/Ahn Young-joon/Pool )

(Pope Francis gestures during a meeting with Asian youths at the Solmoe Shrine in Dangjin August 15, 2014. REUTERS/Ahn Young-joon/Pool )

Pope Francis said on Monday the international community would be justified in stopping Islamist militants in Iraq, but that it should not be up to a single nation to decide how to intervene in the conflict.

The leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics made his comments in an hour-long conversation with reporters aboard a plane returning from a trip to South Korea that ranged from international diplomacy to his health and future travel plans.

During the encounter that has become a tradition at the end of his foreign journeys, Francis, 77, also said he planned to visit the United States next year and that he was ready to go to China “tomorrow” if the communist government allowed him.

He said he realised he had to slow down and be more “prudent” with his health and that he had learned how to handle the super-star status he has gained since coming to office last year by thinking of his errors and his own imminent mortality.

from Photographers' Blog:

From central banker to Islamic king

Kano, Nigeria

By Joe Penney

Last year Lamido Sanusi wore pin stripe suits and a colorful array of bow ties to work, and his job consisted mostly of managing interest rates and keeping inflation under control.

Today, he sports long flowing gowns and a white veil over his face, while his daily activities include reciting the Quran and blessing visitors who bow before his feathered slippers.

The Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II at the palace in Kano

Sanusi was crowned Muhammadu Sanusi II, the 14th Emir of Kano in June, taking over from Ado Abdullahi Bayero after his death. Reuters visited his palace, an elaborately decorated place within the historic walled city, last month. He is surrounded at all times by their court and bodyguards, who wear brightly colored headwraps and babban riga, or big gowns.

Pope urges young people not to waste time on Internet and smartphones

(A faithful takes a picture with a tablet computer as Pope Francis arrives to conduct his weekly general audience at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican November 20, 2013. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini )

(A faithful takes a picture with a tablet computer as Pope Francis arrives to conduct his weekly general audience at St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican November 20, 2013. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini )

Pope Francis on Tuesday urged 50,000 German altar servers not to waste time on the Internet, smartphones and television, but to spend their time on more productive activities.

“Maybe many young people waste too many hours on futile things,” the pope said in a short speech to the altar servers – young people who help the priest during religious services – who had come to Rome on a pilgrimage.

The doubt inside the Sunni ‘revolution’ against Iraq’s Shi’ite-led gov’t

(Masked Sunni Muslim gunmen take their positions with their weapons during a patrol in Ramadi, 100 km (62 miles) west of Baghdad, January 28, 2014. Iraqi government forces battling al Qaeda-linked militants intensified air strikes and artillery fire on the Sunni city of Ramadi on Monday in a military operation that killed at least 20 ISIL militants in the eastern part of the city, Ministry of Defence said. REUTERS/Stringer )

(Masked Sunni Muslim gunmen take their positions with their weapons during a patrol in Ramadi, 100 km (62 miles) west of Baghdad, January 28, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer )

Sheikh Ali Hatem Suleiman, one of the leaders of the Sunni revolt against the Shi’ite-led government of Iraq, sat cross-legged on a couch last month, lit another Marlboro Red, and discussed the struggle with visitors from his home city of Ramadi, where the uprising began late last year.

Instead of taking delight in the rebellion’s progress, though, the 43-year-old crown prince began lamenting the fact that Iraq’s patchwork quilt of ethnicities and religions was being torn apart. “How do we guard what we still have?” he asked his visitors.

Vatican bank’s TV investment loss showed Cardinal Bertone’s power

(The Vatican State Secretary Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone prays as Pope Benedict XVI meets youths in Bkerke in Harissa, near Beirut September 15, 2012. REUTERS/ Stefano Rellandini )

(The Vatican State Secretary Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone prays as Pope Benedict XVI meets youths in Bkerke in Harissa, near Beirut September 15, 2012. REUTERS/ Stefano Rellandini )

Two years ago, the Vatican bank invested 15 million euros in an Italian television company that makes family movies, including films about popes and a series about a bike-riding country priest who helps police solve crimes.

The Vatican’s then Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone ordered the investment in Lux Vide SpA, which he said shares the Holy See’s “lofty goal of evangelisation”.

Thai surrogate mother refused to abort Down’s twin on religious grounds

(Gammy, a baby born with Down's Syndrome, is held by his surrogate mother Pattaramon Janbua at a hospital in Chonburi province August 3, 2014. According to Pattaramon, his Australian parents, through a local surrogate agency, asked her at her 7th month of pregnancy to terminate it because of his Down's Syndrome but she refused and kept the baby. The Australian parents instead took with them Gammy's twin sister who was born healthy. More than 3 million Thai baht ($93,360) was raised through an online campaign in Thailand in less than a day for the medical treatment of Gammy who suffers from potentially life threatening heart conditions and a serious lung infection, local media reported. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj )

(Gammy, a baby born with Down’s Syndrome, and his surrogate mother Pattaramon Janbua at a hospital in Chonburi province August 3, 2014. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj )

A Thai surrogate mother left with one twin by his Australian biological parents after the child was born with Down’s Syndrome said on Sunday she was not informed of his condition until the seventh month of her pregnancy. The surrogacy agency asked her – at the parents’ request – to abort the disabled fetus, but she refused for religious reasons.

Pattaramon Janbua said her doctors, the surrogacy agency and the baby’s parents knew he was disabled at four months but did not inform her until the seventh month ,when the agency requested the abortion.

Iran’s elite Guards help defend Shi’ite shrines in Iraq against Islamic State

(A view of the Shi'ite Imam al-Askari shrine in Samarra July 12, 2014. Picture taken July 12, 2014. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani (IRAQ - Tags: RELIGION))

(A view of the Shi’ite Imam al-Askari shrine in Samarra July 12, 2014. Picture taken July 12, 2014. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani )

In early July, hundreds of mourners gathered for the funeral of Kamal Shirkhani in Lavasan, a small town northeast of the Iranian capital Tehran. The crowd carried the coffin past posters which showed Shirkhani in the green uniform of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and identified him as a colonel.

Shirkhani did not die in a battle inside Iran. He was killed nearly a hundred miles away from the Iranian border in a mortar attack by the militants of the Islamic State “while carrying out his mission to defend” a revered Shiite shrine in the city of Samarra, according to a report on Basij Press, a news site affiliated with the Basij militia which is overseen by the Revolutionary Guards.

Putin wants demolished monasteries and church rebuilt inside Kremlin

(Three cathedrals in the Moscow Kremlin, 17 bMay 2014/Tom Heneghan

(Three cathedrals in the Moscow Kremlin, 17 May 2014/Tom Heneghan)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for two monasteries and a church that were demolished during Soviet times to be rebuilt in the Kremlin, the largest overhaul of the site’s architectural landscape in nearly a century.

Putin has cultivated strong ties with Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, adopting more conservative policies and prompting some critics to suggest the line separating state and church has become blurred.

At a meeting on Thursday with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and top administrators of the Kremlin site, Putin said his plan would involve tearing down a building used for administrative purposes to restore the site’s “historic appearance”.

China says Islamist militants kill pro-Beijing imam in Xinjiang

(Juma Tayir speaks during an interview at Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar in this still image taken from video dated August 3, 2011. Three suspected Islamist militants armed with knives and axes killed Tayir, the imam of China's biggest mosque in the western region of Xinjiang, on July 31, 2014, the authorities said, days after a knife-wielding gang attacked state buildings in the same region. All three attackers, who were named by the government, had ethnic Uighur names and the imam, Tayir, was a well-known pro-government Uighur who led prayers at the Id Kah Mosque in the old Silk Road city of Kashgar. REUTERS/ Reuters TV )

(Juma Tayir speaks during an interview at Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar in this still image taken from video dated August 3, 2011. REUTERS/Reuters TV )

Three suspected Islamist militants armed with knives and axes killed the imam of China’s biggest mosque in the western region of Xinjiang on Wednesday, the authorities said, days after a knife-wielding gang attacked state buildings in the same region.

All three attackers, who were named by the government, had ethnic Uighur names and the imam, Juma Tayir, was a well-known pro-government Uighur who led prayers at the Id Kah Mosque in the old Silk Road city of Kashgar.

U.N. religion expert concerned over ‘interrupted’ Vietnam visit

(Lighting strikes over Saint Joseph cathedral during a storm in Hanoi July 14, 2012. REUTERS/Carlos Barria )

(Lighting over Saint Joseph’s Catholic Cathedral during a storm in Hanoi July 14, 2012. REUTERS/Carlos Barria )

A U.N. expert expressed worry on Thursday over “serious violations” of religious freedom in Vietnam following a fact-finding mission he said was interrupted by surveillance, harassment and intimidation.

Heiner Bielefeldt, U.N. Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, said parts of his trip were hampered by interference by unidentified agents, with people he met followed or questioned and others warned or blocked from seeing him.