Don’t use religion as a weapon of war, Pope Francis insists

Colombo, Sri Lanka, Jan 13, 2015 / 06:38 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In an oft-repeated message to interreligious groups, Pope Francis stressed again that believers must unite in condemning violence and insist that religion never be used to justify warfare. “For the sake of peace, religious beliefs must never be allowed to be abused in the cause of violence and war,” the Pope told Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic and Christian leaders during his Jan. 12-15 trip to Sri Lanka. “We must be … [Read more...]

A warm Sri Lanka welcome – Pope greeted by 40 elephants

Colombo, Sri Lanka, Jan 13, 2015 / 02:49 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In all, there were 40 elephants that the Sri Lankan authorities decided to include in Pope Francis’ welcome ceremony upon his first visit to the Asian nation. The elephants came from the Buddhist temples of Colombo, where they were extravagantly dressed up for the occasion and were among the first to greet the Pope when he came out of the open-air Pope Mobile. Elephants have been an important part of the Sri Lankan armory … [Read more...]

Amid schedule delays, Pope cancels meeting with Sri Lanka bishops

Colombo, Sri Lanka, Jan 13, 2015 / 02:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis decided to forego a scheduled meeting with the bishops of Sri Lanka Jan. 13 after delays in arriving at the apostolic nunciature in the country. Media representatives on the papal trip told CNA that traveling from the airport to the nunciature took longer than expected. The Holy Father greeted many people along the way, and the trip fell behind schedule. Therefore, the Pope decided to stay at the nunciature and … [Read more...]

Pope Francis: Sri Lankans can learn to live as one family

Colombo, Sri Lanka, Jan 12, 2015 / 09:32 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis has begun his visit to Sri Lanka, voicing hopes for “days of friendship, dialogue and solidarity.” “It is my hope that Sri Lanka’s political, religious and cultural leaders, by measuring their every word and action by the good and the healing it will bring, will make a lasting contribution to the material and spiritual progress of the Sri Lankan people,” the Pope said during a welcoming … [Read more...]

Divine Word Missionaries contemplate ‘The Joy of the Gospel’ in peripheries

Madang, Papua New Guinea, Jan 9, 2015 / 12:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Observing the Year of Consecrated Life convoked by Pope Francis, the members of the Society of the Divine Word serving in Papua New Guinea are gathered to study the Pope's 2013 apostolic exhortation on the proclamation of the Gospel in today's world. More than 60 Divine Word Missionaries from across the Melanesian nation are in Alexishafen, 10 miles north of Madang, Jan. 5-10, to share their experiences of missionary … [Read more...]

Mercy and compassion at heart of papal visit to the Philippines

Manila, Philippines, Jan 7, 2015 / 04:12 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- “Mercy and compassion” will be the theme of Pope Francis' visit to the Philippines, where devastation from Typhoon Haiyan is still being felt more than a year later, along with the earthquake that hit the region of Visayas one month earlier.   The theme of the Jan. 15-19 visit refers to Matthew 9:36, where Jesus, after “seeing the people, felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and … [Read more...]

Preparing for Francis, Sri Lanka Church considers roadmap for peace

New York City, N.Y., Jan 6, 2015 / 02:57 am (Aid to the Church in Need).- Deep wounds have barely begun healing. Only few years have passed since Sri Lanka’s civil war ended in May 2009. It is estimated that more than 100,000 people died in the conflict, most of them in the final months of the war. In 2010, a reconciliation commission was established to deal with atrocities committed by government troops in the northern and eastern parts of the island nation. But little has been done so … [Read more...]