Starting tomorrow until 25 September, the pontiff will visit Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Pope John Paul II visited the three Baltic states in 1993. In Vilnius, Francis will visit the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights and remember the martyrs at the Hill of Crosses. Local Churches are strongly committed to ecumenism. Mercy is the main theme.
"When the Apostle forgets his origins and begins to make a career, he moves away from the Lord and becomes an official", will be a "system of pastoral plans", but unable to transmit Jesus. To those who are scandalized, Jesus replies that I am not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick.
"The gravity of these phenomena cannot leave us indifferent. We are all called, in our respective roles, to cultivate and promote respect for the intrinsic dignity of every human person, starting from the family – the place where we learn from a tender age the values of sharing, acceptance, fraternity and solidarity - but also in the various social contexts in which we operate ".
"The Church, when it journeys through history, is persecuted by hypocrites: hypocrites within and without. The devil has nothing to do with repentant sinners, because they look upon God and say, “Lord, I am a sinner, help me!” And the devil is impotent".
After 50 days, US oil sanctions bite. Exports drop from 2.5 million barrels per day in April to 1.6 million at present. Reacting to the crisis, Iran plans to introduce electronic vouchers for ten million poor people.
At the World Conference on Xenophobia, racism and populist nationalism in the context of world migration that opened yesterday, the theme is tackled from a Christian perspective. What are the most urgent problems related to migration?
A priest in charge of a Henan parish complains about the ban on displaying sacred images and attempts by the faithful to accommodate government authorities. The faith cannot be abandoned or betrayed, nor can it be negotiated. What cannot be asserted or defended in public is not faith.
In Shanghai the "basic values of socialism" are exalted on the pediment of the church. A painting of the Last Supper removed in Henan. Communities forced to sing patriotic hymns. Shaolin Monastery in Shaoshan must hold a flag-raising ceremony every morning. "The churches seem more and more like government offices".
Those with "strong religious beliefs" must be re-educated or expelled. Spreading "political rumours" and distorting the country’s history are banned.
At the end of the trip to Ireland, Francis renews his appeal for forgiveness for the abuses committed by people in the Church. But a dossier by the former nuncio in the US accuses him of covering the misdeeds of former Cardinal McCarrick and calls for him to resign.