KRAKOW, Poland (AP) — Pope Francis encouraged hundreds of thousands of young people at a global gathering Sunday to “believe in a new humanity” that is stronger than evil and refuses to see borders as barriers. …
Security was very tight throughout the pope’s five-day visit, but he encountered huge crowds day after day without incident and arrived back in Rome on Sunday evening. …
The pope used his several encounters with the young pilgrims – from mega-gatherings to a private lunch with only a dozen people from five continents – to encourage a new generation to work for peace, reconciliation and justice.
God, said Francis in his final homily of the pilgrimage, “demands of us real courage, the courage to be more powerful than evil, by loving everyone, even our enemies.”
“People may judge you to be dreamers, because you believe in a new humanity, one that rejects hatred between peoples, one that refuses to see borders as barriers and can cherish its own traditions without being self-centered or small-minded,” Francis told his flock.
The Pope also announced the canonization of St. John Lennon.
… Earlier in his pilgrimage, Francis had expressed dismay that many people and places aren’t welcoming enough to refugees or those fleeing poverty in their homelands.
After over 1 million people arrived on Europe’s southern shores last year, some nations on the continent, notably in central and eastern Europe, hastily built fences to keep the refugees out. Poland has been among the EU countries that have refused to take in many Muslim refugees, saying it has already welcomed hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian immigrants.
… The World Youth Day events took place amid very high security following a string of extremist attacks in Western Europe, with an elderly French priest being slain in his Normandy church Tuesday, the day before Francis arrived in Poland.
Have they ever figured out who did it? Or was it just one of those outbreaks of Extremist Violence the way Chicago comes down with a bad case of Gun Violence every weekend?
Since the Paris extremist attacks in early 2015, concerns have heightened that the Vatican, and the pope in particular, could be targeted because of his role as the most influential Christian leader. When the pope travels, a corps of Vatican bodyguards travels with him, running alongside his popemobile or scrutinizing crowds along the route.
On Saturday, at a Mass attended mainly by Polish priests, nuns and seminarians, sniffer dogs patrolled the perimeter, searching for explosives. Police opened every bag of those entering and waved metal-detecting wands carefully over each person.
At Sunday’s Mass, several Polish police vans followed the pope’s open-sided popemobile as he rode through the wide flat meadow in the middle of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims. Motorcycle police rode close to metal barriers keeping the crowd away.
Nice, if you can afford it. Why are all these non-Popes worrying about their own security when all they have to do is get themselves a Popemobile and a bunch of sniffer dogs? God helps those who help themselves: no Muslim has shot a Pope since way back in 1981.
By the way, how many minarets would St. Peter’s get? Santa Sophia in Constantinople got six minarets after 1453, but that set off a stink with the mosque in Mecca, which had been the only one with six. So, the Ottoman sultan paid for Mecca to get a seventh minaret: a commendable example of the type of win-win thinking often lacking in the Middle East.
But I could imagine St. Peter’s getting seven minarets.
OOPS: I was wrong about St. Sophia having six minarets; it only has four. It’s the almost as fabulous Blue Mosque next door to St. Sophia that has six minarets.
VATICAN CITY — Sep 6, 2015, 2:30 PM ET
By FRANCES D’EMILIO Associated Press
The Vatican will shelter two families of refugees who are “fleeing death” from war or hunger, Pope Francis announced Sunday as he called on Catholic parishes, convents and monasteries across Europe to do the same.
Francis cited Mother Teresa, the European-born nun who cared for the poorest in India, in making his appeal in remarks to pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter’s Square.
No room at the inn.
“Faced with the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees who are fleeing death by war and by hunger, and who are on a path toward a hope for life, the Gospel calls us to be neighbors to the smallest and most abandoned, to give them concrete hope,” Francis said.
It’s not enough to say “Have courage, hang in there,” he added.
“May every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary in Europe host a family, starting with my diocese of Rome,” Francis said. He also asked bishops throughout Europe to have their dioceses take up his call to “express the Gospel in concrete terms and take in a family of refugees.”
The Vatican is a tiny city-state and some of its citizens, including families with children, live in apartments inside its ancient walls. It has two parish churches, including St. Peter’s Basilica.
Francis said two of the Vatican’s parishes will welcome two refugee families, but did not give details.
“Sorry, not much room at the Vatican inn,” says Pope Francis
A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, quoted the pope’s chief alms-giver as saying the Vatican is now deciding which families will be hosted.
He has chosen mercy as the overarching theme of his papacy. Practicing what he preaches, he has already made free showers at the Vatican available to Rome’s homeless and has barbers available for haircuts for the needy, among other initiatives.
Thousands of migrants and refugees, many fleeing war and persecution, have streamed into Germany and Austria over the weekend after being stuck in Hungary for days.
Italy has nearly 120,000 people who were brought to its shores after rescue at sea and who are hoping for asylum in Europe.
An Italian cardinal calculated that the parishes in the predominantly Roman Catholic country could practically host them all.
With more than 27,000 parishes, if each parish hosted a family of four, more than 108,000 people would have shelter.
But not in the Pope’s own separate country, which has way too many Nice Things to let a mob of Muslims youths hang out there.
Email me at SteveSlr *at* aol*dot*com (make the obvious substitutions between the asterisks; you don’t have to capitalize an email address, I just included the capitals to make clear the logic — it’s my name without a space and without the vowels in “Sailer” that give so many people, especially irate commenters, trouble.)
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