Tag - support

Pope visits Colombia ‘to support peace and promote reconciliation’



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is set to travel to Colombia from 6 to 11 September. He will be the third Pope to visit the Latin American nation in the footsteps of Pope Paul VI in 1964 and Pope Saint John Paul II in 1986.

Francis begins his trip in the capital Bogota and also will visit the cities of Villavicencio, Medellin and Cartagena. 

It is a crucial moment for Colombia, which is in the throes of implementing a peace agreement with FARC rebels after a 52-year internal conflict that has left over 260,000 people dead, 60,000 unaccounted for and over 7 million displaced.

The former British Ambassador to the Holy See, Nigel Baker, who currently heads  the South America Department at the Foreign Office in London,  told Linda Bordoni that Pope Francis’ visit there is an extremely important sign of encouragement for the nation’s peace process and will help promote reconciliation:

Listen to the full interview:

 

Baker described the papal visit to Colombia as “extremely important” because it comes in the wake of the extraordinary progress and journey that the nation has made towards peace by signing a deal with the main guerrilla group, the FARC, which many thought would have been impossible.  

“The extraordinary progress that has been made needs to be acknowledged,” Baker said.

Another key theme of Pope Francis’ visit to Colombia is to encourage the process of reconciliation after such a long and bitter civil war. 

In this context, Baker said it was “incredibly important” that the Pope is meeting victims of the conflict and leading prayers for national reconciliation during his visit.

Staying on the theme of encouragement, Baker said the people of Colombia need “to turn the page from the difficult past” and recognize the huge possibilities and “bright future” that peace can bring to their nation.

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis sends letter in support of migration info portal



(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has sent a letter to the Italian news agency ANSA (Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata), expressing his approval and support for the new InfoMigrants news portal aimed at providing migrants with accurate information.

InfoMigrants.net was launched in March by ANSA, in coordination with France’s Media Monde and Germany’s Deutsche Welle, and publishes content in English, Arabic, and French.

Pope: ‘Project promotes integration’

In the letter to ANSA’s Editor-in-Chief, Luigi Contu, Pope Francis said he learned “with pleasure” about the “important project”. The service seeks to provide migrants and prospective migrants with information regarding all aspects of the journey to Europe and life there once they have arrived.

“I wish to express my sincere appreciation for the important project, and I hope, on the one hand, that it promotes the integration of these persons with all due respect for the laws of the countries which welcome them and, on the other, that it elicit within society a renewed commitment to an authentic culture of welcome and solidarity,” the Pope wrote.

Opportunity for human growth

He went on to describe the phenomenon of migration as an “opportunity for human growth”.

“The presence of so many brothers and sisters who experience the tragedy of immigration is an opportunity for human growth, encounter, and dialogue between cultures in view of the promotion of peace and fraternity among peoples.”

Pope Francis assured those involved in the project his prayers and invoked the protection of God, “Father of all, that He may accompany all who are constrained to leave their homelands because of armed conflicts, terrorist attacks, famine, and oppressive regimes.”

Finally, the Pope said he hoped migrants encounter “brothers and sisters under every sky, who share with them bread and hope along our common journey.”

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope and Trump discuss peace, dialogue, support for immigrants



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump met in the Vatican on Wednesday, discussing issues of peace, interfaith dialogue and religious freedom, as well as the role of the American Church in education, healthcare and support for immigrants.

Listen to Philippa Hitchen’s report:



The American leader spent half an hour in conversation with the Pope behind closed doors in the Apostolic Palace, before meeting with Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States or foreign minister.

Press office statement

A statement from the Vatican press office said during the course of the cordial encounter, the two men discussed the good bilateral relations that exist between the U.S. and the Holy See. They also spoke of their “joint commitment in favour of life, religious liberty and freedom of conscience”.

The statement expressed the hope for a “serene cooperation between the State and the Catholic Church in the United States”, which is engaged in service to people “in the fields of health care, education and assistance to immigrants”.

Dialogue and negotiations

It said the Pope and the President also exchanged views on international affairs and on the promotion of peace through political negotiations and interfaith dialogue, mentioning especially the situation in the Middle East and the protection of Christian communities.

Trump, who was accompanied by his wife Melania, as well as his daughter and son-in-law, is on the third leg of a nine day presidential tour that has already taken him to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Palestine.

Sistine chapel visit

After the papal audience, Trump was taken on a tour of St Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, before meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and with Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

Melania Trump, meanwhile, visited Rome’s ‘Bambin Gesù’ Children’s Hospital, while the president’s daughter, Ivanka, was scheduled to meet with victims of trafficking together with members of Rome’s Sant’Egidio lay Catholic community.

Please find below the full statement from the Holy See press office:

This morning, Wednesday 24 May 2017, the Honorable Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, was received in Audience by the Holy Father Francis and subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by His Excellency Msgr. Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, satisfaction was expressed for the good existing bilateral relations between the Holy See and the United States of America, as well as the joint commitment in favour of life, and freedom of worship and conscience. It is hoped that there may be serene collaboration between the State and the Catholic Church in the United States, engaged in service to the people in the fields of healthcare, education and assistance to immigrants.

 The discussions then enabled an exchange of views on various themes relating to international affairs and the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation and interreligious dialogue, with particular reference to the situation in the Middle East and the protection of Christian communities.

(from Vatican Radio)



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