“This visit comes where Egyptians are wounded because of what happens, wounded in their hearts and when a Pope comes is to consolidate and give his solidarity to all the people,” said Rafik Grish, Coptic Catholic church spokesman. [...] Pope Francis will visit Cairo’s largest Coptic cathedral to pray for the 28 people killed in a Christmas season blast last year.
Pope Francis Sunday met Ilham Aliyev, the president of Azerbaijan concluding his trip in the Caucasus region. Describing the visit of the spiritual leader of the globe’s estimated 1 billion Catholics in a Muslim-majority country as “historic”, Aliyev said that it was important, both for bilateral relations between the Vatican and Azerbaijan and dialogue between civilizations.
In a visit to Armenia, Pope Francis has urged the world to never forget the Ottoman-era slaughter of some 1.5 million Armenians which he termed a genocide – a characterization likely to cause tensions with Turkey.
The deceit of history consists in making us believe we live in the present; when in reality, history is all there is, and everything is but mere repetition. [...] Pope Francis, in delivering a message of hope, invoked the founding fathers of the European project, and exhorted European political leaders to follow their footsteps and that “Today more than ever, their vision inspires us to build bridges and tear down walls.”
Pope Francis visited the Greek island of Lesbos on Saturday, highlighting the plight of nearly 4,000 migrants, who, in the wake of the E.U.-Turkey deal, are in limbo waiting to see whether they’ll be granted asylum in Greece or be deported to Turkey. The Vatican also announced the Pope would bring 12 refugees, all of whom are Muslim, back with him to Italy. The Vatican is already hosting two refugee families.
When he became pope, there was some concern that Francis lacked experience with the wider world. He had traveled little outside of his native Argentina, his pastoral experience was rooted in a metropolis, Buenos Aires, and its shantytowns, addressing problems of everyday life — poverty, migration and human trafficking. No one expected him to become a global player. But Francis is also the first Jesuit pope. Over the centuries his religious order often waged its own diplomacy, acquiring extensive knowledge of other cultures. The training shows.
Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders on Friday morning announced a visit to the Vatican next week to attend a conference on social, economic and environmental issues.
Despite once claiming to be a technological dinosaur, Pope Francis has expanded his social media presence by joining Instagram, launching the new account with a picture of himself knelt in worship alongside the caption “pray for me”.