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Jun 8, 2014

Pope says Israelis, Palestinians must ‘persevere undaunted in dialogue’

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis told Israeli and Palestinian leaders they “must respond” to their people’s yearning for peace “undaunted in dialogue” during an unprecedented prayer meeting among Jews, Christians and Muslims at the Vatican on Sunday.

The pope made his vibrant appeal to Israeli President Shimon Peres and his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas at the end of a two-hour evening service in the Vatican gardens, an encounter he hopes will relaunch the Middle East peace process.

Jun 8, 2014

Israeli, Palestinian presidents in unprecedented Vatican prayers

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Israeli and Palestinian presidents meet in an unprecedented prayer meeting with Pope Francis on Sunday, a gesture he hopes will “re-create a desire, a possibility” of eventually relaunching the Middle East’s stalled peace process.

The Vatican has played down any expectations that the Sunday evening meeting between Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas – billed as a “pause from politics” – will lead to any immediate breakthroughs in the region’s tortuous problems and says it is not meddling in regional issues.

Jun 6, 2014

Pope’s Mideast prayer meeting not political meddling: Vatican

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis hopes an unprecedented meeting of the Israeli and Palestinian presidents at the Vatican on Sunday can help end “eternal negotiations” and lead to peace but he has no wish to meddle in Middle East politics, the Vatican said on Friday.

Israel’s Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will pray for peace together following a surprise invitation made by Francis during his visit to the Holy Land last month.

Jun 6, 2014
via FaithWorld

Pope Francis fires entire board of Vatican financial watchdog


(New recruits of the Vatican’s elite Swiss Guard march in front of the tower of the Vatican’s bank, the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) on May 6, 2014. REUTERS/Tony Gentile )

Pope Francis sacked the five-man board of the Vatican’s financial watchdog on Thursday – all Italians – in the latest move to break with an old guard associated with a murky past under his predecessor.

Jun 5, 2014

Pope fires entire board of Vatican financial watchdog

VATICAN CITY, June 5 (Reuters) – Pope Francis sacked the
five-man board of the Vatican’s financial watchdog on Thursday -
all Italians – in the latest move to break with an old guard
associated with a murky past under his predecessor.

The Vatican said the pope named four experts from
Switzerland, Singapore, the United States and Italy to replace
them on the board of the Financial Information Authority (AIF),
the Holy See’s internal regulatory office. The new board
includes a woman for the first time.

May 29, 2014

Israeli and Palestinian presidents to meet at Vatican on June 8

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet at the Vatican and pray for peace together at an unprecedented gathering on June 8, the Vatican said on Thursday.

In one of his boldest political gestures since his election in March, 2013, Pope Francis invited the two leaders to come to the Vatican and hold a joint prayer meeting with him during the pontiff’s trip to the Holy Land last week.

May 27, 2014

Pope to hold first meeting with sexual abuse victims

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (Reuters) – Pope Francis said on Monday that he will have his first meeting with a group of sex abuse victims at the Vatican early next month and said he would show zero tolerance for anyone in the Catholic Church who abused children, including bishops.”Sexual abuse is such an ugly crime … because a priest who does this betrays the body of the Lord. It is like a satanic Mass,” he said in some of the toughest language he has used on a crisis that has rocked the Church for more than a decade. “We must go ahead with zero tolerance,” he said, adding that three bishops were currently under investigation.

Francis said he would meet with eight victims and Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley of Boston, who is head of a commission set up to study ways of dealing with the crisis.

May 26, 2014

Pope navigates minefield of symbols in Israeli-Palestinian conflict

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Pope Francis, at the request of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visited on Monday Israel’s “Memorial to the Victims of Terror”, a day after praying at an Israeli security wall abhorred by Palestinians.

The impromptu visit to the monument appeared to be an attempt to appease his Israeli hosts following the surprise stop at the hulking concrete barrier, daubed with anti-Israeli graffiti, which separates Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

May 26, 2014

Pope wraps up Middle East visit with Jerusalem whirl

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Pope Francis completes a tour of the Holy Land on Monday, paying homage to Jews killed in the Nazi Holocaust and looking to affirm Christian rights at a disputed place of worship in Jerusalem.

After visits to Jordan and the Palestinian Territories – including praying at the wall dividing Bethlehem from Jerusalem, Francis spends the third and final day of his trip in the latter with a slate of political and religious encounters and visits to some of the most sensitive holy sites in the world.

May 25, 2014

Pope Francis lands in politically sensitive West Bank

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (Reuters) – Pope Francis arrived in the West Bank on Sunday to start the most delicate part of his stay in the Middle East, with visits to the Palestinian Territories and Israel, where his every word will be scrutinized.

Church officials say his three-day tour of the region, which started on Saturday in Jordan, is purely focused on religious issues. However, the dividing lines of the generations-old Middle East conflict will be impossible to ignore.