pope francis

Congo’s bishops criticize excessive force to break up protests

A priest and other demonstrators chanted slogans at a protest organized by Catholic activists in Kinshasa, Congo. At least six people were killed during demonstrations across the country against Congolese President Joseph Kabila and delayed elections.

KINSHASA, Congo — Congo's bishops condemned the "excessive and disproportionate use of force" by security forces that dispersed protesters demanding President Joseph Kabila hold fresh elections in line with a Church-brokered accord.

In a Jan. 22 report, the bishops' conference said "peaceful marches" had been "violently repressed and smothered with tear gas and bursts of fire" in 95 Catholic parishes, leaving six dead and 127 injured, some by police bullets.

Sharing ‘fake news’ makes one an accomplice in evil, pope says

VATICAN CITY — People have a responsibility to check the source of what they share on social media to ensure it is not "fake news" designed to further prejudices or increase fear, Pope Francis said.

Fake news grabs people's attention "by appealing to stereotypes and common social prejudices, and exploiting instantaneous emotions like anxiety, contempt, anger and frustration," Pope Francis wrote in his message for World Communications Day 2018.

In Chile and Peru, pope tackles tough issues, urges compassion, unity

Pope Francis arrived to celebrate Mass Jan. 21 at Las Palmas Air Base in Lima, Peru. Organizers estimated that 1.3 million people attended the Mass.

LIMA, Peru — Pope Francis tackled politically charged issues during his weeklong visit to Chile and Peru, decrying human trafficking, environmental destruction, corruption and organized crime in speeches before audiences that included political leaders.

POPE’S MESSAGE | Don’t compromise on protecting minors from abuse

Pope Francis greeted a 99-year-old blind woman Jan. 20 along the parade route in Trujillo, Peru.

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said he told the bishops and priests of Chile to be uncompromising when it comes to protecting minors from sexual abuse and to trust that God will purify and renew His Church during this time of trial.

Problems and conflicts must never be swept under the rug, he also said, because they can be resolved only through openness and dialogue.

At his weekly general audience Jan. 24 in St. Peter's Square, the pope told an estimated 15,000 pilgrims and visitors about his Jan. 15-21 visit to Chile and Peru.

Fear becomes sin when it leads to hostility toward migrants, pope says

Family members brought up the offertory gifts as Pope Francis celebrated Mass marking the World Day of Migrants and Refugees Jan. 14 in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. The World Day for Migrants and Refugees has been an annual celebration of the Catholic Church for more than 100 years, with St. Pius X beginning the observance in 1914.

VATICAN CITY — Being afraid and concerned about the impact of migration is not a sin, Pope Francis said, but it is a sin to let those fears lead to a refusal to help people in need.

"The sin is to allow these fears to determine our responses, to limit our choices, to compromise respect and generosity, to feed hostility and rejection," the pope said Jan. 14, celebrating Mass for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

In Chile, pope focuses on ending division, segregation and abuse

Pope Francis greeted the crowd before celebrating Mass Jan. 17 at the Maquehue Airport near Temuco, Chile.

TEMUCO, Chile — Celebrating Mass in a land steeped in indigenous history and culture, Pope Francis said the greatest threat facing humanity is the stifling of differences driven by the idea that some cultures are better than others.

Greeting members of the Mapuche people and other indigenous peoples living in southern Chile Jan. 17, Pope Francis recognized the suffering and injustice endured by the indigenous population.

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