Vatican City

Pope backs U.N. chief's call for global ceasefire to focus on coronavirus

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Sunday backed a call by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a global ceasefire so the world can focus on fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at his weekly blessing, Francis appealed to everyone to “stop every form of bellicose hostility and to favor the creation of corridors for humanitarian help, diplomatic efforts and attention to those who find themselves in situations of great vulnerability”.

Guterres made the appeal on Monday.

Pope calls for world prayer to stop coronavirus, will deliver special blessing

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis said on Sunday he will this week deliver an extraordinary “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) blessing - normally given only at Christmas and Easter - and called for worldwide prayer to respond to the coronavirus crisis.

Francis made the surprise announcement in his weekly Angelus message, which he has been delivering from inside the Vatican over the internet and television instead of before crowds in St. Peter’s Square.

Trip to Iraq this year off, pope says

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis indicated on Wednesday he would not be visiting Iraq this year as he had hoped to do.

His improvised comments to a group of visiting Iraqis during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square were his clearest yet that the potentially dangerous trip had been indefinitely postponed.

“To you citizens of Iraq, I say I am very close to you. You are (in) a battleground. You suffer war, from one side and the other,” he said. “I pray for you and I pray for your country, where a visit by me had been programmed for this year.”

Pope calls for respect of humanitarian law in Syria's Idlib amid escalation

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis called on Sunday for respect of humanitarian law in Syria’s Idlib province, amid an escalation of a Syrian government offensive that has displaced more than half a million in two months.

He told tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s square that the reports from Idlib were “painful ... particularly regarding the conditions of women and children, of people forced to flee from a military escalation.”

In New Year message, pope decries violence against women

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis, in his first message of the new year, denounced on Wednesday the use and abuse of women in modern society, and called for an end to the exploitation of the female body.

Speaking in a packed St. Peter’s Basilica, the pope also defended women’s rights to migrate in search of a better future for their children and condemned those who only thought about economic growth rather than the well-being of others.

“All violence inflicted on women is a desecration of God,” the pope said in his homily.

For Christmas, pope decries injustice facing migrants

26 Dec 2019; MEMO: Pope Francis on Wednesday decried the international migrant crisis in his traditional Christmas address,  Anadolu reports.

“It is injustice that makes them cross deserts and seas that become cemeteries,” said the pontiff in his Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world) Christmas Day message, addressing crowds from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

Pope offers hope against darkness in Christmas Day message

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis offered a Christmas message of hope Wednesday against darkness that cloaks conflicts and relationships in large parts of the world from the Middle East to the Americas to Africa.

The pope told tens of thousands of tourists, pilgrims and Romans gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the annual Christmas Day message that “the light of Christ is greater″ than the darkness “in human hearts” and ’’in economic, geopolitical and ecological conflicts.″

Pope denounces ‘rigidity’ as he warns of Christian decline

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis warned Saturday that “rigidity” in living out the Christian faith is creating a “minefield” of hatred and misunderstanding in a world where Christianity is increasingly irrelevant.

Francis called for Vatican bureaucrats to instead embrace change during his annual Christmas greetings to the cardinals, bishops and priests who work in the Holy See.

Pope condemns Iraq's 'harsh' crackdown on protesters

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Sunday criticized Iraq’s crackdown on anti-government protests, which have led to the deaths of more than 400 people since they erupted in Baghdad and other cities in October.

“I am following the situation in Iraq with concern. It is with pain that I have learned of the protest demonstrations of the past days that were met with a harsh response, causing tens of victims,” Francis said at his weekly Sunday blessing and message.

Pope Francis to take anti-nuclear mission to Japan's ground zeros

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis takes his mission to ban nuclear weapons this week to the only places where they were used in war, visiting the World War Two ground zeros of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as part of a tour of Japan and Thailand.

The seven-day trip, one of his longest and most distant, gives Francis an opportunity to support and encourage the tiny but well respected Catholic communities, which make up less than 1% of the population in each country.

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