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Pope Francis and Catholicos Karekin II Sign Joint Declaration on Family, Unity and Solidarity (2141)

The documents signed the final day of the Pope's three day trip to Armenia also recognizes the tragedy of persecution in the Middle East and other parts of the world.

06/26/2016 Comments (4)
L'Osservatore Romano/CNA

Pope Francis and Catholicos Karekin II pray at the Armenian Apostolic Cathedral in Gyumri on June 25, 2016.

– L'Osservatore Romano/CNA

YEREVAN, Armenia — In a joint declaration signed Sunday, Pope Francis and Catholicos Karekin II expressed their shared belief that, when the family is no longer seen as sacred, it falls into crisis.

“The secularization of large sectors of society, its alienation from the spiritual and divine, leads inevitably to a desacralized and materialistic vision of man and the human family,” the June 26 declaration said. “In this respect we are concerned about the crisis of the family in many countries.”

“The Armenian Apostolic Church and the Catholic Church share the same vision of the family, based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between man and woman.”

The joint declaration...READ MORE

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Pope to Armenian Orthodox: ‘Let Us Race Towards Full Communion!’ (2171)

‘With great joy, we are walking together on a journey that has already taken us far,’ the Holy Father declared today at an ecumenical meeting in Yerevan, Armenia.

06/25/2016 Comments (1)
Edward Pentin

Pope Francis and Catholicos Karekin II at the ecumenical meeting and prayer for peace on Saturday, June 25.

– Edward Pentin

YEREVAN, Armenia — Working toward full communion is a project of love, humility and peace, Pope Francis told Armenian Orthodox leaders gathered at an ecumenical meeting on Saturday.

“With great joy, we are walking together on a journey that has already taken us far, and we look confidently towards the day when by God’s help we shall be united around the altar of Christ’s sacrifice in the fullness of Eucharistic communion,” he said.

About 95% of Armenia’s 3 million people practice Christianity. Of those Christians, about 92% belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church, which is in communion with the other Oriental Orthodox Churches.

Pope Francis, together with the Supreme Patriarch and...READ MORE

Filed under armenia, catholic news agency, ecumenism, papal trips, pope francis

Faith Is Not a Relic of the Past, Pope Tells Armenian Pilgrims (1075)

Pope Francis delivered his homily during Mass at Vartanants Square in Gyumri, the main event of his second day in the country.

06/25/2016 Comment
AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

Pope Francis incenses the altar as he celebrates Mass in Vartanants Square, in Gyumri, Armenia on June 25. Pope Francis is in Armenia for a three-day visit.

– AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

GYUMRI, Armenia — During the first major Mass of his three-day visit to Armenia, Pope Francis said faith is not a thing of the past, like an artifact in a museum. Rather, it is kept alive through continuous encounters with Christ.

Pope Francis' June 24-26 to Armenia was organized following the invitation of Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, Karekin II, the nation's civil authorities, and the Catholic Church.

The visit also comes a little over 100 years after the 1915 Armenian genocide, during which some 1.5 million Christians were killed by the Ottoman Empire, and millions more displaced.

Armenia has an ancient Christian legacy, being the first nation to adopt...READ MORE

Filed under ann schneible, armenia, pope francis

How Pope Benedict XV and Holy See Tried to Stop Armenian Genocide (3038)

German author and researcher Michael Hesemann discusses the Vatican’s efforts to bring an end to the killings of Armenian Christians carried out by the Ottoman Empire.

06/25/2016 Comments (10)
Bohumil Petrik/CNA

Michael Hesemann

– Bohumil Petrik/CNA

Did Pope Benedict XV and the Holy See try to stop the Armenian Genocide? Well-known German historian Michael Hesemann says the Vatican Secret Archives have provided clear evidence that they did so.

The German author of more than 40 works just had his book, The Armenian Genocide — According to Unpublished Documents from the Vatican Secret Archive on the Greatest Crime of World War I, published by Herbig-Verlag, Munich. He also co-authored My Brother, the Pope with Msgr. George Ratzinger.

Hesemann has spent more than two years locating and studying more than 2,000 pages of never-before published documents on the events of 1915-1916 — the “persecution of the Armenians,” as it was referred to...READ MORE

Filed under armenia, armenian genocide, deborah lubov, michael hesemann, ottoman empire, pope benedict xv, pope francis

Pope Francis in Armenia: ‘Spirit of Ecumenism’ Helps Promote Christian Witness (1406)

The Pope reflected on the nation’s Christian legacy, saying he thanked God “for the light of faith kindled” in Armenia, which has given it a “particular identity and made it a herald of Christ among the nations.”

06/25/2016 Comment
EWTN screenshot

Pope Francis speaks in Armenia on June 24.

– EWTN screenshot

YEREVAN, Armenia — Praying at the main cathedral of the Armenian Apostolic Church at the start of his three-day visit to the Caucasus nation, Pope Francis praised the “spirit of ecumenism,” and its role in promoting human dignity against “grave forms of material and spiritual poverty.”

“We offer to the world — which so urgently needs it — a convincing witness that Christ is alive and at work, capable of opening new paths of reconciliation among the nations, civilizations and religions,” the Pope said Friday. “We offer a credible witness that God is love and mercy.”

The Pope made these remarks during his visit to the Etchmiadzin Cathedral at the invitation of Karekin II, the supreme head...READ MORE

Filed under armenia, pope francis

What the Pope Says All Humanity Can Learn from Armenian Genocide (310)

On the first day of his visit to Armenia, Pope Francis delivered remarks for Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan and other political and civil leaders, touching on the 'Great Evil' that struck their people.

06/24/2016 Comment
L'Osservatore Romano via CNA

Pope Francis visits Armenia Apostolic Church on June 24.

– L'Osservatore Romano via CNA

YEREVAN, Armenia — The catastrophe of the Armenian genocide is a lesson for all humanity, the Pope said June 24, the first day of his visit to Armenia.

After arriving at Yerevan’s Presidential Palace on Friday Pope Francis delivered remarks for Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan and other political and civil leaders. He recalled the solemnities in St. Peter’s Basilica last year attended by the president and leading Armenian churchmen including Catholicos Karekin II, head of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

“The occasion was the commemoration of the centenary of the Metz Yeghérn, the ‘Great Evil’ that struck your people and caused the death of a vast multitude of persons,” the Pope said....READ MORE

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Jesuit Father Thomas Reese Appointed Chair of U.S. International Religious Freedom Commission (1049)

First appointed to the commission by President Obama in 2014, Father Reese succeeds Robert George as its chairman.

06/24/2016 Comments (11)
Courtesy of USCIRF

Jesuit Father Thomas Reese

– Courtesy of USCIRF

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has a new chairman, and for the first time, the position will be held by a Catholic priest.

Jesuit Father Thomas Reese was first appointed to a two-year term as a member of the commission by President Barack Obama in 2014, and re-appointed in 2016.

Now he will take over as the chair of the organization, an independent, bipartisan commission that monitors and reviews religious freedom violations around the world, and makes policy recommendations to the Secretary of State, Congress and the president.

“I am honored to serve as USCIRF's Chair and work with my fellow Commissioners in support of freedom of religion or belief,”...READ MORE

Filed under catholic news agency, father thomas reese, religious freedom, robert george, u.s. commission on international religious freedom

Britain Needs More Than Brexit (3422)

COMMENTARY: Yesterday’s vote will enhance British democracy, but only a spiritual revival can successfully address the major issues confronting the U.K. and other Western nations.

06/24/2016 Comments (20)
Shutterstock/Nerthuz

– Shutterstock/Nerthuz

As Britain voted whether to leave the European Union or remain, rain lashed down across London, flooding main railway lines and parts of the London Underground. The previous day had been warm and sticky, with massive thunderstorms overnight.

Midsummer can be a strange season: June 24 dawned warm and faintly sunny, as people woke to the news that a majority had voted “Brexit,” Prime Minister David Cameron was about to resign and a new chapter had opened in political history.

For weeks, TV, the Internet, newspapers and house-to-house leaflets bombarded the nation. Leading figures in banking and show business — together with the official government spokesmen — urged us to vote “Remain.”...READ MORE

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