26 International News

posted Apr 16, 2019, 8:15 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 16, 2019, 8:15 AM ]

Pope kisses feet of warring South Sudan leaders

At the end of a spiritual retreat that brought two political adversaries from Southern Sudan together at the Santa Marta house, Pope Francis made an unexpected gesture. He knelt down to kiss the feet of the two leaders who led the country into civil war. Pope Francis asked them "from the heart and with their deepest feelings" to keep the peace. Recently, an armistice has been signed, and from the month of May, a transitional government will be created in which both leaders will participate.


Rome's 'Holy Stairs' uncovered for the first time in 300 years

The bare, white marble of Rome's Scala Sancta, which are believed to be the stairs trod by Christ on the day of his trial and death, are exposed and visible to pilgrims for the first time in almost 300 years. The stairs, encased in wood since the 1700s, will be uncovered for veneration from April 11 to June 9, the feast of Pentecost. During this time, pilgrims may ascend the marble steps on their knees.

"We thought this opportunity was important," Paolo Violini, the head of the restoration of the staircase, told EWTN. He said the idea to open the Holy Stairs to the public came when they removed the wood to restore it, and discovered the beautiful white stairs beneath.


Pope: human trafficking a crime of the "commercialisation of the other"

Pope Francis condemned trafficking in human beings as one of the most dramatic manifestations of the "commercialisation of the other", a crime against humanity that disfigures both the victims, as well as those who carry it out.

"Those who commit this crime do not only harm others, but also themselves. In its many forms, it constitutes a wound 'in the body of contemporary humanity'"—a profound wound in the humanity of those who suffer it and those who carry it out," the Pope told participants in a conference studying the implementation of the Pastoral Orientations on Human Trafficking by the Vatican's Migrants and Refugees Section.

The Holy Father lamented the "growth of individualism and egocentricity" in our times, that tend to consider others in a merely utilitarian perspective, attributing value to them according to criteria of convenience and personal advantage. This is essentially a question of a "tendency towards the commercialisation of the other," which the Pope said he has repeatedly denounced. And "among the most dramatic manifestations of this commercialisation is the trafficking in persons," the Pope said.


Next task for Pope's C6: Women's leadership in the Vatican

As Pope Francis' Council of Cardinals wraps up the drafting of a new Apostolic Constitution, they have decided to take up the topic of management roles for women working in the Vatican. Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti told journalists, April 10, that among proposed agenda items for subsequent meetings of the Pope's now-six member advisory group will be management positions for women in offices of the Holy See.

Gisotti expects the Council – formerly referred to as the 'C9' – will seek input from women in their discussion of female leadership in the Vatican, as they have done for other topics in the past. Gisotti also emphasised that it is not the first time Pope Francis, or the Vatican, have considered the issue of women in the Church. He highlighted, as an example, the April 10 appointment of Dr Amalia D'Alascio as a head of office in the Vatican's Apostolic Library.


Asia Bibi still in Pakistan, says PM Khan

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that Asia Bibi remains in the country, negating speculation that she had already joined her family in Canada. Khan told the BBC in an interview published online on April 10, that Bibi was still in Pakistan, because there was "a little bit of a complication" which he declined to explain. "But I can assure you she is safe, and she will be leaving in weeks," Khan said during the interview conducted in London.