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Mending historical fences

LUND (SE): Standing in the Lutheran cathedral in Lund, Sweden, Pope Francis said on October 31 that relations between the Lutheran and Catholic faiths has moved beyond the stage of resignation to division and that he regards his presence at the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation as an opportunity to mend a critical moment of history.

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Around the traps

Archives on Argentine dictatorship to be opened

VATICAN (SE): The Vatican has completed the cataloguing and digitising of the archival material of the Bishops’ Conference of Argentina, the apostolic nunciature in Buenos Aires and the Vatican Secretariat of State in regard to the Argentine Military Dictatorship Period (1976 to 1983).

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The rosary is our daily history

VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis described the rosary as in many ways being a synthesis of the history of God’s mercy at a Mass celebrated on October 8, the vigil of the Marian Jubilee, a part of the observance of the Year of Mercy.

But he added that the repetitive prayer, far from removing us from the problems of life, demands that we immerse ourselves in the history of each day, so as to grasp the signs of Christ’s presence in our midst.

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Pope’s gift from China

ROME (SE): The gift from China that Pope Francis spoke of with journalists during his return flight to Rome from Baku in Azerbaijan on October 2 is a silk print drape inscribed with ideogrammes from the historical Christian Stele of Xi’an.

It depicts the long narrative inscribed on the famous stele, which is also referred to as the Nestorian Stele, which dates back to 781 during the Tang Dynasty, and documents the first 150 years of the presence of Nestorian Christians in the Middle Kingdom.

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Chinese bishop meets with pope

HONG KONG (UCAN): Pope Francis met with Bishop Joseph Xu Honggen from mainland China during a public audience at St. Peter’s Square on October 5 in the first public meeting between a pope and a bishop resident in China since the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949.

Photographs published by L’Osservatore Romano show the bishop kissing the pope’s ring, chatting with him one-on-one and the two waving to the camera and the crowds together. 

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Bishops team up for ecumenical mission

VATICAN (SE): Fifty years ago the Anglican Centre was set up in Rome as a result of an historical meeting between Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey, the archbishop of Canterbury and head of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

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Two Asians among new cardinals

VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis named 17 new cardinals at his public angelus address at midday on October 10, including two from Asia.

However, only one is of an age entitling him to vote at a conclave that elects a new pope, Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario, from Dhaka in Bangladesh. The other is the 84-year-old former archbishop of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Archbishop Anthony Soter Fernandez.

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Two sides of pope’s views on marriage

VATICAN (SE): On his long flight from Azerbaijan to Rome on October 2, Pope Francis spoke at length with reporters during an in-flight press conference about his views on marriage and pastoral care of people in irregular situations.

He has been quite vocal in the past on the necessity of welcoming those who are divorced and remarried, as well as the same sex attracted into the caring fold of the Church, but on the plane he made a quite clear distinction between dogma and pastoral care.

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Pope receives gift from Xi Jinping

HONG KONG (SE): “And the Chinese president sent me a gift. They are good relations,” Pope Francis told an inflight media conference on his way back to Rome from Georgia and Azerbaijan on October 2.

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Vatican peace push to Colombia

BOGOTA (SE): Pope Francis is continuing his push for world peace. Following on from his World Day of Prayer for Peace at Assisi and the appearance of his secretary of state, Pietro Cardinal Parolin, at the United Nations to address 193 representatives of countries on Vatican diplomacy for peace, he dispatched the cardinal to Bogota, Colombia, as a go between in the 52-year-old conflict between the government and the Colombia People’s Army.

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