FaithWorld

Pope Francis says world’s many conflicts amount to piecemeal World War Three

(Pope Francis walks inside the Austro-Hungarian cemetery at Fogliano in Redipuglia September 13, 2014. Pope Francis marked the centenary of World War One (WWI) at the Redipuglia Military Sacrarium with a mass. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini )

(Pope Francis walks inside the Austro-Hungarian cemetery at Fogliano in Redipuglia September 13, 2014. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini )

Pope Francis said on Saturday the spate of conflicts around the globe today were effectively a “piecemeal” Third World War, condemning the arms trade and “plotters of terrorism” sowing death and destruction.

“Humanity needs to weep and this is the time to weep,” Francis said in the homily of a Mass during a visit to Italy’s largest war memorial, a large, Fascist-era monument where more than 100,000 soldiers who died in World War One are buried.

The pope began his brief visit to northern Italy by first praying in a nearby, separate cemetery for some 15,000 soldiers from five nations of the Austro-Hungarian empire which were on the losing side of the Great War that broke out 100 years ago.

“War is madness,” he said in his homily before the massive, sloping granite memorial, made of 22 steps on the side of hill with three crosses at the top.

Pope to visit Turkey in November

(The sun sets over the Ottoman-era Suleymaniye mosque in Istanbul February 19, 2012. REUTERS/Murad Sezer )

(The sun sets over the Ottoman-era Suleymaniye mosque in Istanbul February 19, 2012. REUTERS/Murad Sezer)

Pope Francis will visit the Turkish city of Istanbul at the end of November, the Vatican said on Friday.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the exact dates and the programme for the trip, which will last several days, were still not fixed.

Topless activists acquitted over raid at Paris Notre Dame Cathedral

(Activists from the women's rights organisation Femen ring a bell as the protest in front of the new eight bronze bells displayed in the nave of Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral in Paris February 12, 2013. According to activists, the protest was organized to celebrate the resignation of Pope Benedict and the French parliament’s decision to approve a draft law allowing same-sex marriage. The slogan at 2ndL reads "Faith crisis". REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

(Activists from the women’s rights organisation Femen ring a bell as the protest in front of the new eight bronze bells displayed in the nave of Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral in Paris February 12, 2013. REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

A French court has acquitted nine women from protest group Femen over a topless protest last year inside Paris’s Notre Dame cathedral, a Catholic cathedral visited by millions of tourists and religious devotees every year.

The feminist activists mixed with hordes of queuing visitors to enter the 12th century church unspotted in 2013 – one day after Pope Benedict resigned – before bearing torsos painted with slogans such as “Pope No More” and “Get lost, homophobe”.

Ian Paisley – “Doctor No” who said Yes to peace in Northern Ireland

(File photograph shows Northern Ireland's new first minister Ian Paisley (L) and deputy first minister Martin McGuinness smiling after being sworn in at a ceremony at Stormont, Belfast May 8, 2007. Hardline Protestant cleric and Northern Ireland's former leader Ian Paisley has died, his Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) said on Friday. REUTERS/Paul Faith/Pool/Files )

(File photograph shows Northern Ireland’s new first minister Ian Paisley (L) and deputy first minister Martin McGuinness smiling after being sworn in at a ceremony at Stormont, Belfast May 8, 2007.  REUTERS/Paul Faith)

Ian Paisley, the firebrand preacher-politician who for decades brayed “No Surrender!” across Northern Ireland’s sectarian divide, died on Friday aged 88, in the province to which he, belatedly, helped bring peace.

Founder of his own church when, at 25, he judged mainstream Protestants too soft on fighting the devil’s work he saw in Roman Catholicism, Paisley’s Biblical fulminations against popes and Irish nationalists echoed among the bullets, bricks and bombs to form the soundtrack to 30 years of blood-letting.

China tells Dalai Lama again to respect reincarnation

(The Dalai Lama gestures before speaking to students during a talk at Mumbai University February 18, 2011. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui)

(The Dalai Lama gestures before speaking to students during a talk at Mumbai University February 18, 2011. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui)

China repeated a call on the Dalai Lama on Wednesday to respect what it said was the historic practice of reincarnation, after the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader implied in a newspaper interview he may be the last to hold the position.

The Dalai Lama, in an interview with German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, said the tradition of the post could end with him, adding the Tibetan Buddhism was not dependent on a single person.

Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi clerics condemn Islamic State but preach intolerance

(Saudi members of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, or religious police, attend a training course in Riyadh September 1, 2007. REUTERS/Ali Jarekji )

(Saudi members of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, or religious police, attend a training course in Riyadh September 1, 2007. REUTERS/Ali Jarekji )

When Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh described Islamic State and al Qaeda as “kharijites” last month, he was casting them as the ultimate heretics of Muslim history, a sect that caused the faith’s first and most traumatic schism.

That sort of rhetoric aimed at expelling militants from the Muslim mainstream has grown increasingly common among top Saudi clerics in recent weeks as they work to counter an ideology that threatens their political allies in the Al Saud dynasty.

No Saudi ban over Ebola for Nigerians going on haj – Arab News

(Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba at the Grand mosque during the annual Haj pilgrimage, in the holy city of Mecca October 17, 2013. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha to mark the end of the Haj by slaughtering sheep, goats, cows and camels to commemorate Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail on God's command. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa )

(Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba at the Grand mosque during the annual Haj pilgrimage, in the holy city of Mecca October 17, 2013. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa )

Saudi Arabia, which has barred pilgrims from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea from the haj due to Ebola concerns, will allow Nigerians to attend, an official was reported on Monday as saying, suggesting the smaller outbreak there was less worrying.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been worst hit by an outbreak of the disease in West Africa, with a combined death toll in those three countries since March of 2,097, as at Sept. 5, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.

Pope Francis accepts resignation of head of scandal-plagued Irish church

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(Cardinal Sean Brady speaks to members of the media outside Armagh cathedral in northern Ireland May 2, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer )

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, the Vatican said on Monday, drawing a line under a career plagued by accusations that he kept quiet about the sexual abuse of children by clergy.

Cardinal Sean Brady announced his plan to retire in August, just before he turned 75, at which age all bishops must offer their resignation to the pontiff, who can reject or accept it.

French Muslims support Mideast Christians against Islamic State

(DATE IMPORTED:August 11, 2014Iraqi Christians, who fled the violence in the village of Qaraqosh, sit inside a church building in Arbil, north of Baghdad August 11, 2014. Iraqi Christian families sought sanctuary in the church after fleeing towns and villages to escape the advance of Islamic State militants. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal ()

(Iraqi Christians, who fled the violence in the village of Qaraqosh, sit inside a church building in Arbil, north of Baghdad August 11, 2014. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal)

The Muslim Council in France, home to Europe’s largest Islamic minority, denounced the persecution of Middle East Christians on Tuesday and said mosques across the country would pray for them this week.

In a joint statement with a Christian group, the Council (CFCM) said “barbarians are perpetrating crimes against humanity” in the region “exploiting Islam as their banner”.

Tunisia’s main Islamist party Ennahda to stay out of presidential election

(Supporters of the Islamist Ennahda movement wave national and party flags as they mark the 33rd anniversary of the founding of the party in Tunis June 7, 2014. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi )

(Supporters of the Islamist Ennahda movement wave national and party flags as they mark the 33rd anniversary of the founding of the party in Tunis June 7, 2014. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi )

Tunisia’s main Islamist party, Ennahda, said on Sunday it would not contest a presidential election in November, in the interest of ensuring an inclusive government for all Tunisians.

Ennahda is one of the two front-runners to win next month’s parliamentary election and provide the next prime minister, but opposition groups say its dominance of the last government almost derailed Tunisia’s transition to democracy following its revolution of 2011.