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01 Oct 2014 Vatican No comments

Put your gifts at the service of others, Pope Francis exhorts

Vatican City, Oct 1, 2014 / 01:41 am .- Pope Francis dedicated his weekly general audience to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, saying that rather than making…

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03 Sep 2015 Middle East News No comments

Patriarch pleads for young Christians to stay in Syria, Iraq

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06 Oct 2015 Middle East News No comments

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19 Sep 2015 News USA No comments

When Pope Francis comes to the US, he won't just talk about the environment

Pope Francis’ ecology encyclical is about a lot more than recycling – it speaks to man’s deepest relationships – and the Pope will emphasize all this in his upc…

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02 Jun 2015 Articles No comments

Failures are par for the course toward salvation, says Pope Francis

    The road to salvation may be pitted with failures, but God uses them and overturns them to manifest his love for his people, said Pope Francis. Reflectin…

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16 Apr 2015 News No comments

Why Pope Francis was right to call the Armenian massacres ‘genocide’

A century after the genocide began, Turkey still refuses to accept the truth. Yet for the sake of today’s persecuted Christians, the past must not be forgotten …

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16 Oct 2014 Articles Comments (4)

The Real Presence

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30 Sep 2015 Articles No comments


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Pope makes impromptu stop at statue marking Jewish-Catholic unity

Pope Francis paid an unscheduled visit to St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia this afternoon to bless a statue celebrating improved Vatican relations with the Jewish community.

The bronze statue, titled “Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time,” depicts two figures – signifying Christianity and Judaism – sitting beside each other and displaying their sacred texts in postures of dialogue.

“This statue is exactly a demonstration of two sisters of the same dignity, the church and the synagogue,” said Vatican spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi.

The statue, which was crafted by a Philadelphia native, revolutionizes past artwork on relations between the Catholic Church and Jewish communities. In the past, the Catholic Church was often depicted as a triumphant figure celebrating its defeat of a blindfolded woman representing the Jewish community.
The Jesuit St. Joseph’s University installed th09e statue on Friday in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vatican II document that reformed relations between Christianity and Judaism. Nostra Aetate condemned anti-Semitism and promoted unity and dialogue between Catholics and Jewish communities. The statue is placed outside of a Catholic chapel.

Pope Francis made the unscheduled stop on his way to celebrate the closing Mass for the World Meeting of Families at Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. He visited with St. Joseph’s students and administration as well as several religious leaders, including the Pope’s close friend Rabbi Abraham Skorka, who co-authored a book with Pope Francis about interreligious dialogue.

Relations between the Catholic Church and the Jewish community have been a major priority for St. Joseph’s University, which established the Institute for Jewish-Catholic relations in 1967 – just two years after Nostra Aetate’s publication.

Pope Francis has also had a major emphasis on Jewish-Catholic relations during his pontificate – and even before. During his pastoral visit to the Holy Land in 2014, Pope Francis detailed to the Chief Rabbis of Israel his respect and appreciation for dialogue.

“As you know, from the time I was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, I have counted many Jews among my friends,” he said.
“Together we organized rewarding occasions of encounter and dialogue; with them I also experienced significant moments of sharing on a spiritual level.

In the 2014 meeting, Pope Francis referred to the many requests for meetings and improving relations between Jewish leaders and the Popes of the last decades as “one of the fruits of the Second Vatican Council” and “a genuine gift of God.”

“Together, we an make a great contribution to the cause of peace; together, we can bear witness, in this rapidly changing world, to the perennial importance of the divine plan of creation; together, we can firmly oppose every form of anti-Semitism and all other forms of discrimination.”

Today is the final day of Pope Francis’ pastoral visit to the United States. He will return to Rome this evening after Mass at Benjamin Franklin Parkway.



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