At the Angelus on Migrant and Refugee Day Pope Francis thanks the Italian Church for welcoming initiatives. "God does not count on our goodness but on the generosity of His grace".
After the meeting with society's most vulnerable in the house of Mother Teresa's nuns, the speech at the Rencontres Méditerranéennes. "Just saying 'enough' to migration means turning a blind eye to the future: integration is tiring, but it prepares the future." The invitation to the Churches of the different shores of the Mediterranean: evaluate the opportunity of a joint Episcopal Conference.
From Algeria and Lebanon to Jerusalem to Morocco, bishops and young people of different faiths reach out to each other at a crossroads of migration to imagine new paths of coexistence, starting in La Solidarité, a neighbourhood where 90% of the residents are of North African and Sub-Saharan origin. The pontiff will be given the Manifesto for a Theology from the Mediterranean drafted by representatives from 17 institutions located on the five shores of the sea.
Bishop Yang Yongqiang of Zhouchun and Yao Shun of Jining are on the list of members released today a couple of weeks before the synod opens. They were picked by the local Church in agreement with the authorities and appointed by Pope Francis.
Pope Francis and President French Emmanuel Macron will meet next Sunday during the Mediterranean Meetings in Marseille. Qatar blames “personal interests" for the deadlock. Saudi Arabia’s renewed involvement ends its previous seeming standoffish policy.
Francis' appeal at the general audience for the Caucasus once again plunged into violence. On the table is a ceasefire between Azeris and Armenians brokered by Moscow that would include the surrender of the Armenian government in the enclave. The catechesis in St. Peter's Square dedicated to the figure of St. Daniel Comboni, apostle of Africa. From the pontiff a new denunciation against slavery and colonialism "which are not just a memory of the past".
Pope Francis expelled Pio Aclon, who served in the Diocese of Borongan, after an enquiry; the decision was read in all parishes. For the Bishops' Conference, “there will be no cover-up on the sexual abuse cases involving the clergy.”
At the end of the Marian prayer, the pontiff mentioned "Rencontres Méditerranéennes", which he plans to attend, calling it a "fine initiative" that can "promote paths of peace". The pope urged the faithful to pray for the Ukrainian people and every land "bloodstained" by war. He also noted that the Gospel encourages “forgiveness" to “defuse anger and heal so many maladies of the heart that contaminate society.”
Some 300 Korean pilgrims visited the Vatican on the day of the blessing of a statue of the first priest and martyr of the Korean Church, now placed in a niche outside St Peter's Basilica. “Let us entrust to Saint Andrew Kim the dream of peace of the Korean Peninsula, which is always in my thoughts and prayers,” Francis said. The pope also urged young people to prepare for WYD in Seoul in 2027. They should be heard to prevent them from being “seduced by the false myths” when in fact their hearts “seek something else.”
On a peace mission for Ukraine entrusted to him by Pope Francis, the Italian cardinal met with his Chinese "counterpart" Li Hui. The Holy See's statement said talks also addressed the problem of food safety, “with the hope that the export of grain can soon be guaranteed, especially to the countries most at risk.” No statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry. But from Moscow Lavrov announces possibility of the cardinal going to Russia.
Pope Francis approved the request by the Philippine Bishops’ Conference to establish this ordained ministry, which was restored by Vatican Council II and is open to married men. It remains, however, marginal in Asia. For theologian Fr Picardal, it is a welcome and much-anticipated change. Now it should be incorporated in all its richness in the Philippine context.
Recalling the example of the Venezuelan Blessed Hernández Cisneros, the "doctor of the poor", Francis invites us "not to stop at words, but to get our hands dirty on the great social, economic and political issues" of our time. The appeal for prayer and solidarity for the flood victims in Libya.
The archbishop of Bologna continues the mission entrusted to him by Pope Francis. If, as some media reports suggest, he will meet Premier Li Qiang, this will be the first high-level meeting between a top Church official and the head of government of the People's Republic. Meanwhile, four Chinese prelates are in Europe with government approval; in Leuven (Belgium), they met with the Verbiest Foundation to restart an exchange programme to train Chinese priests and lay people.
Malankara metropolitan is received at the Vatican. Based in Kerala, his Christian community traces its origins to Saint Thomas and is linked to the Syriac Orthodox Church. The pontiff expressed hope that ecumenism would bring more shared pastoral life, especially where Christians are a minority.
At the Angelus, Francis cited the example of the Polish couple killed in 1944 with their 7 children by the Nazis for having given refuge to the Jews and who were today proclaimed blessed. Closeness in prayer to the "dear people of Morocco" affected by the devastating earthquake. In the commentary on today's liturgy the path of authentic fraternal correction, an antidote to the "plague of chatter".
Card Sako speaks out from his temporary headquarters in Erbil after the falling out with Iraq’s president. The Christian community feels threatened in its “very existence”. A “new horizon” is needed through the synodal path. The cardinal will be in Marseille for Mass with Pope Francis.
At the general audience, Francis reviewed the meetings of his apostolic journey to Mongolia. "Why did the Pope go so far from a small flock? Because the Lord does not seek the centre of the stage, but the simple heart of those who desire and love him. Let us widen the boundaries of our gaze to widen also those of the heart".
Before departing Ulaanbaatar, the pontiff blessed the House of Mercy where Mongolia’s small Church will welcome the marginalised. This will be the legacy of the pope’s historic visit and provide an opportunity to “reject certain myths” about charitable work. Christians do not engage in social outreach to proselytise; “only love can overcome selfishness and keep this world going.”
Fr. Gianni Criveller, PIME missionary and sinologist, comments on the words addressed by the pope yesterday to the Chinese people from Mongolia, with Card. Tong and Cardinal-designate Chow. "There is no contradiction between being good Christians and good citizens when there is freedom. Now it is up to Beijing to follow up with concrete steps on issues such as the permanent form of dialogue urged by Card. Parolin or the peace mission of Card. Zuppi."
The small Church of Mongolia that is currently meeting Pope Francis is closely connected to the Diocese of Ningxia in China, home until three years ago of the only Mongolian (underground) bishop in the history of the Catholic Church. Known in Chinese as Ma Zhongmu, he was jailed for 11 years for refusing to join the Patriotic Association. After the Cultural Revolution, he sought out each one of his scattered flocks. He translated the Bible and the Roman Missal into Mongolian.
At the interfaith meeting in Ulaanbaatar, Francis stressed sharing differences for the good of all. “There can be no mixing, then, of religious beliefs and violence, of holiness and oppression, of religious traditions and sectarianism.” In his address, he also quoted from Buddha and Gandhi. “And to Chinese Catholics: I ask you to be good Christians and good citizens.” Inspired by Fr Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, he mentioned the desert of Ordos, home to ethnic Mongolians in the People's Republic of China.
In the Mongolian capital, Francis praised Mongolia's non-nuclear status in his address to local authorities. In a city shaken by recent protests over a coal scandal, the pontiff spoke out against corruption "that impoverishes entire countries". In the cathedral, he met with the small local Church, urging simplicity and closeness to the people. Numbers and success are “not how God works.” He also blessed a statue of the Immaculate Conception found in a landfill, a great sign.
Pope Francis will deliver a much-awaited speech tomorrow before Mongolia’s authorities and the diplomatic corps in the State Palace in the Mongolian capital. Russia is the country's main energy supplier but 90 per cent of its exports go to China. Meanwhile, “new” partners are lining up, eager for access to its mineral riches, starting with strategic rare earths. During his visit, the pontiff hopes to encourage steps towards peace.
Reception at Genghis Khan airport, official meetings begin tomorrow. On the plane to journalists, "The silence of this great country will do us good." During the flight the telegram to Xi Jinping: "I assure my prayers for the well-being of China and invoke unity and peace." But despite the Agreement with the Holy See, bishops from Inner Mongolia and other provinces in mainland China will not be allowed to attend the historic event.
The pontiff's announcement today at the end of the general audience: a new exhortation on the feast of Saint Francis. “Let us stand alongside the victims of environmental and climate injustices”. In catechesis, the missionary example of Kateri Tekakwitha, the first native North American saint.
From the Mongolian capital the testimony of Sister Nirmala Rani, an Indian missionary for 21 years in the country. A visit was in the works in 2003, but Pope John Paul II’s health made it impossible. Mongolia is changing and the Church is trying to meet the challenge among young people. What do we expect from this visit? A powerful “experience of encounter with God”.
Discovering Mongolia’s small Catholic community ahead of the pontiff’s arrival on 31 August shows how the country is rebuilding its identity after 70 years of communism and the difficult transition to democracy. The small local Catholic community has been a work in progress for the past 30 years. Fr Peter Sanjajav is one of the first two local priests. “Today my story helps me serve as a bridge between different cultures and experiences, alongside those who are searching,” he said.
In an interview with the Hong Kong weekly Christian Times, the 91-year-old cardinal talks about his friend, the late Rev Yuen Tin-yau of the Methodist Church, a companion in many battles for educational freedom. He also expresses sadness over mobility issues that prevent him from ministering in prisons. “If I manage to heal quickly and walk, I will visit the prisoners again,” he hopes. "The pope has given us an excellent bishop," he says, speaking about Hong Kong’s new cardinal, Bishop Chow, a wise prelate who has to deal with an “uncomfortable situation”.
At the Angelus Francis invites the faithful to pray for his trip to the heart of Asia, which begins Aug. 31. "Jesus does not want to be a protagonist of history but of each person's today"
Today's headlines: Hanoi records a surge in rice price and demand;On return from India, papal delegate reports to pope on the situation of the Syro-Malabars; Druze protest continues for fifth day in southern Syrian town of Swida; Taipei reopens to Chinese tourists, "peace" signal to Beijing; UN report accuses Taliban of more than 200 extrajudicial killings; Flowers and tributes at St. Petersburg's Wagner Center after Prigožin's death.