Vatican City

Pope 'very pained' by decision to turn Istanbul's Hagia Sophia museum into mosque

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis said on Sunday he was hurt by Turkey’s decision to make Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia museum a mosque, the latest religious leader to condemn the move.

“My thoughts go to Istanbul. I think of Santa Sophia and I am very pained,” he said during his weekly blessing in St. Peter’s Square.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said the first prayers would be held in Hagia Sophia on July 24, after declaring the ancient monument was once again a mosque following a court ruling revoking its status as a museum.

Vatican City: Pope names administrator for Polish diocese hit by abuse allegations

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis appointed an administrator on Thursday to run the Polish diocese of Kalisz, whose bishop has been accused of shielding priests known to have sexually abused children.

The move came little more than a month after Church leaders in Poland announced that they were referring Bishop Edward Janiak to the Vatican for eventual judgement.

The Vatican said the pope had appointed Archbishop Grzegorz Rys of the city of Lodz as apostolic administrator, a temporary post. Janiak will remain bishop of Kalisz while the accusations are investigated.

VATICAN CITY: Pope says coronavirus should spark new environmental awareness

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The drastic reduction in pollution during coronavirus lockdowns around the world should lead to greater concern for the environment as restrictions are lifted, Pope Francis said on Sunday.

At his Sunday address in St. Peter’s Square, Francis said the pandemic made many people reflect on their relationship with the environment. The square reopened to the public a month ago and Italy’s last travel restrictions were lifted on June 3.

Pope makes anti-corruption spending rules mandatory in Vatican

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis has approved sweeping new rules for procurement and spending in the Vatican meant to cut costs, ensure transparent competition and reduce the risk of corruption in awarding contracts.

An Apostolic Letter and 30 pages of new norms released on Monday are the culmination of a four-year process to rationalise spending procedures and tackle nepotism and cronyism.

They come as the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc with the Vatican’s finances, forcing it to implement some of the toughest cost-control measures ever.

People more important than the economy, pope says about Covid crisis

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis said on Sunday that people are more important than the economy, as countries decide how quickly to reopen their countries from coronavirus lockdowns.

Francis made his comments, departing from a prepared script, at the first noon address from his window overlooking St. Peter’s Square in three months as Italy’s lockdown drew to an end.

“Healing people, not saving (money) to help the economy (is important), healing people, who are more important than the economy,” Francis said.

Pope: Easter gives hope in our ‘darkest hour,’ despite fear

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Easter offers a message of hope in people’s “darkest hour,” Pope Francis said, as he celebrated a late-night vigil Mass Saturday in St. Peter’s Basilica, with the public barred because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pontiff in his homily likened the fears of current times to those experienced by Jesus’ followers the day after his crucifixion.

After Pell sentence, pope prays for those suffering 'unjust sentences'

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis, speaking just a few hours after Australia’s highest court acquitted Cardinal George Pell of sexually assaulting two choirboys, on Tuesday offered his morning Mass for those who suffer from unjust sentences.

The court quashed convictions that Pell sexually assaulted the two teenagers in the 1990s and allowed the 78-year-old former Vatican economy minister to walk free from jail, ending the most high profile case of alleged historical sex abuse to rock the Roman Catholic Church.

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.”

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