Europe

Priests to celebrate Masses outdoors after massive earthquake in Italy

Coffins are seen in a collapsed cemetery Oct. 31 following an earthquake near Norcia, Italy. Priests in central Italy were instructed to celebrate Mass outdoors following another devastating earthquake that rocked the region and brought one its most spiritually and historically significant churches tumbling down.

ROME — Priests in central Italy were instructed to celebrate Mass outdoors following another devastating earthquake that rocked the region and brought one its most spiritually and historically significant churches tumbling down.

Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia-Citta della Pieve advised priests to not celebrate Mass indoors over the next several days, including Nov. 1, the Solemnity of All Saints, which is also a national holiday in Italy.

The 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck Norcia in the early morning Oct. 30 and reduced the Basilica of St. Benedict to rubble.

Killing of priest act of 'absurd violence'; Father Jacques Hamel murdered during Mass in France

VATICAN CITY — The murder of a priest in northern France, taken hostage with a handful of other faithful during a weekday morning Mass July 26, is another act of "absurd violence" added to too many stories of senseless violence and death, Vatican spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said.

Pope Francis was informed about the hostage situation at the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen and the murder of 84-year-old Father Jacques Hamel.

Pope Francis' use of term 'genocide' angers Turkey; pontiff says memory leads to healing

Pope Francis embraced Catholicos Karekin II of Etchmiadzin, patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church, during an April 12 Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

VATICAN CITY -- Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, Pope Francis said atrocities from the past have to be recognized -- not hidden or denied -- for true reconciliation and healing to come to the world.

However, Turkey's top government officials criticized the pope's use of the term "genocide" -- citing a 2001 joint statement by St. John Paul II and the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church -- in reference to the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians during their forced evacuation by Ottoman Turks in 1915-18.

Pope, Ukrainian church leaders call for end to violence in Ukraine

VATICAN CITY -- After a night of violent confrontations between protesters and police and the deaths of more than two dozen people, Pope Francis and Ukrainian Church leaders called Feb. 19 for an end to all violence and a serious commitment to dialogue for the good of Ukraine.

"With a troubled heart I am following what is happening in Kiev," Pope Francis said at the end of his weekly audience.

"I assure the Ukrainian people of my closeness and I pray for the victims of the violence, for their families and for the injured," he said.

THE CATHOLIC DIFFERENCE | Living inside the Bible

George Weigel

KRAKOW, Poland -- The village of Pasierbiec is in the south of Poland, about 30 miles from the old royal capital of Krakow. Its church, the Basilica of Our Lady of Consolation, is full of votum gifts testifying to favors received through the intercession of the basilica's namesake.

Pope prays for victims of train wreck in Spain; Virginia woman killed

Rescue workers pull victims from a train crash July 24 in Galicia, Spain, near the pilgrimage site of Santiago de Compostela. At least 35 people died and hundreds were injured when the train derailed, the president of the regional government said.

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis sent condolences to the archbishop of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, after a train crash left at least 80 dead and more than 100 injured.

The telegram was sent July 25, the feast of St. James the Apostle, patron saint of Spain. The accident occurred the previous day when the train, traveling above the speed limit, derailed.

Pope Francis' telegram to Archbishop Julian Barrio of Santiago de Compostela said he was praying for the victims, and he expressed his spiritual closeness to those suffering.

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