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Addressing the Mexico-Holy See Colloquium on Migration and Development through a letter this week, Pope Francis weighed in on the situation unfolding on the American border, where thousands of unaccompanied, undocumented children have been detained. Many of the children are from Central American countries and have made the journey to the United States alone. Pope Francis urged the international community to have compassion for the children “who migrate alone, unaccompanied, to escape poverty and violence,” remembering that they made the journey “in pursuit of a hope that in most cases turns out to be vain.”

This humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcomed and protected. These measures, however, will not be sufficient, unless they are accompanied by policies that inform people about the dangers of such a journey and, above all, that promote development in their countries of origin.

 

An interview with Pope Francis conducted by the founder of the Italian La Repubblica newspaper is making some serious waves. During a conversation with editor Eugenio Scalfari, the Pope reportedly said his advisors have told him that about 2 percent of Catholic Clergy are pedophiles, adding, "Among the 2% who are pedophiles are priests, bishops and cardinals. Others, more numerous, know but keep quiet. They punish without giving the reason. I find this state of affairs intolerable."

The Vatican, however, has taken issue with the article, noting that Scalfari doesn’t record interviews, and instead reconstructs them from memory afterward. Church officials say the three-page interview isn’t Pope Francis’ exact words and specifically disputes that he said that that cardinals were among the 2 percent of clergy that are pedophiles. Pope Francis was also quoted as saying that the crimes were “a leprosy in our house,” and vowed continued action against it. The headline for the piece read, "Pope says: Like Jesus, I shall use a stick against pedophile priests" ... Discuss

 

For the first time ever, victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by Catholic priest were invited to the Vatican to meet with the pope. In addition to asking for forgiveness directly for the “sins and grave crimes of clerical sexual abuse committed against you,” Pope Francis also acknowledged that the church leadership structure, which has been widely criticized for how they handled abuse cases, was also in the wrong. “I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made.” Though some have praised Pope Francis’ willingness to meet with victims, the outreach director of the Survivor Network of those Abused by Priest (SNAP), told The Daily Beast that if the Vatican does not punish the abusive priests and do more to prevent abuse (along with their list of demands), than they aren’t going far enough. “If it’s not preventing abuse, it’s probably meaningless or almost meaningless" ... Discuss

 

While driving through a rural Italian village, Pope Francis shocked locals standing on the side of the road, by stopping his motorcade to meet a young disabled woman. The family of the woman—who was connected to a breathing machine on a stretcher—had placed signs near the highway, reading, “Please Pope stop here to see an angel who has been waiting for you. Please come and bless little Roberta." Pope Francis kissed the woman on the forehead, before shaking hands and greeting her friends and family who were their waiting with her. As the Catholic News Agency notes, a friend of Roberta’s, who witnessed the Pope’s interaction with the woman, posted on Facebook, “It was very emotional to see how Pope Francis greeted Roberta … there are gestures in life that are worth more than speeches, much more than you would think … Pope Francis is unique” ... Discuss

 

Since he has assumed the papacy, Pope Francis has made no secret of his disdain for organized crime. This weekend, he informed members of the Italian mafia that they were being formerly thrown out of the church. During a service on Saturday, the pope said, “Those who in their life have gone along the evil ways, as in the case of the mafia, they are not with God, they are excommunicated.” Up to now, no pope has ever excommunicated any members of the mafia. As CNN notes however, his strong anti-crime stances may actually make him a target for mafia leaders. A prosecutor from southern Italy told the news agency, "The strong will of Pope Francis, aiming to disrupt the gangrene power centers, puts him at risk. He disturbs the Mafia very much” ... Discuss

 

In a historic meeting this Sunday, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with Pope Francis at the Vatican to pray for peace in the region. As CNN notes, “Sunday's meeting was a first for the Vatican, which had never hosted a prayer gathering of two leaders engaged in conflict.” Each leader—though they practice different religions—took turns praying for peaceful solution to the conflict that has long divided the region of the Holy Land. Though there were no immediate breakthroughs or promises of new peace talks, Pope Francis told the two political leaders, “I hope that this meeting will be a journey toward what joins us, to overcome what divides us” ... Discuss