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TOPIC: pope francis


The Pope's Health Feeds Succession Rumors — And Deeper Questions About The Church

It is not only the health of the Pope that worries the Holy See. From the collapse of vocations to the conservative wind in the USA, there are many ills to face.

Updated Dec. 4, 2023 at 6:05 p.m.

ROME — "How am I? I'm fine... I'm still alive, you know? See, I'm not dead!"

With a dose of irony and sarcasm, Pope Francis addressed those who'd paid him a visit this past week as he battled a new lung inflammation, and the antibiotic cycles and extra rest he still must stick with on strict doctors' orders.

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The Pope is dealing with a sensitive respiratory system; the distressed tracheo-bronchial tree can cause asthmatic reactions, with the breathlessness in his speech being the most obvious symptom. Tired eyes and dark circles mark his swollen face. A sense of unease and bewilderment pervades and only diminishes when the doctors restate their optimism about his general state of wellness.

"The pope's ailments? Nothing compared to the health of the Church," quips a priest very close to the Holy Father. "The Church is much worse off, marked by chronic ailments and seasonal illnesses."

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Talks To Extend Gaza Truce, Trapped Indian Workers Rescued, Pope On The Mend

👋 Da'anzho!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where talks are underway in Qatar to prolong the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, the 41 Indian workers who had been trapped in a tunnel for 17 days have all been rescued, and Kyrgyzstan votes to alter its flag design because of a flower. Meanwhile, Guillaume Ptak for French daily Les Echos reports from the frontlines in Donetsk, Ukraine, where a bitter winter is setting in and a deadly DIY drone war rages on.

[*Eastern Apache]

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The Pope's Synod — Both A Bust And Breakthrough For Women And LGBTQ+

The synod had promised to bring forth revolutionary ides for both members of the LGBTQ and women within the Church. But looking at the first session's conclusion reveals that hopes for change may have come too early.

VATICAN CITY — Opinions are split following the month-long Synod called by Pope Francis to confront the future of the Catholic Church, but perhaps the greatest hopes dashed are among the LGBTQ+ community — and it starts with the acronym itself.

The disappointment noted in the LGBTQ+ world for the absence of the acronym in the "Summary Report of the first Session." In its place there is only a vague, more palatable reference to homosexuality. On the other hand, Catholic women were divided in their reaction to the month-long Vatican meeting, with some arguing that the ongoing talks was the first step to increased rights, stating that "a taboo has been broken."

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Vladimir Luxuria, an Italian transgender activist, shared her disappointment over the fact that in the final document voted on by the majority at the Bishops' Synod, the acronym has disappeared, replaced with a very general reference to homosexuality.

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Genocide To Ethnic Cleansing, Why Europe Has Forsaken Armenians Again

As Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh are forced to flee their homes, is culture or corruption or something more sinister forcing a people to suffer so greatly a century after a genocide tried to wipe them out?


TURIN — When we hear that an animal is endangered, — maybe even at risk of being extinct — our collective outrage pushes us to defend its survival, passionately. And yet we can't seem to muster the willingness to do anything about the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The more than 100,000 Armenians who have left their land in a matter of days did not choose to abandon a land to which they have been attached for centuries, nor did they choose to abandon their ancient churches and monasteries, which will be destroyed with bulldozers. They were forced to do so to save their lives.

The European Union has not lifted a finger to protest against the Azerbaijanis or to stop the ethnic cleansing of an ancient people from the land they have occupied for millennia.

In fact, they insist on calling the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh separatists, adopting the Azerbaijani point of view. How can a people who have lived in that territory, without ever leaving it for 2,500 years, be considered separatist?

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In The News
Yannick Champion-Osselin and Chloé Touchard

Trump Indicted Part III, Evacuating Niger, Sturgeon Supermoon

👋 Kaixo!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where former U.S. president Donald Trump is facing federal charges over attempts to overturn the 2020 election, European countries have started evacuating their citizens from Niger, and NASA picks up an unexpected heartbeat from Voyager 2. Meanwhile, Zoriana Variena and Katarzyna Pawłowska in Warsaw-based daily Gazeta Wyborcza look at what drives Ukrainian women, who found refuge in Poland, to cross back into their home country to get medical care.


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Sergio Rubin

Synod Forecast: How Far The Pope Will Go Toward A More Inclusive Catholic Church

Two synods by the Catholic Church, to be held in Rome in late 2023 and 2024, are to debate possible and even radical changes to the Church's practices and rules in line with the Argentine pope's vision of a social and inclusive Church.


BUENOS AIRES — Pope Francis wants to press ahead this year with some of the bold reforms he envisages for the Catholic Church. Ample debate is already taking place on issues and likely to be aired in two synods to be held in Rome.

These include the rule of priest celibacy, allowing married men of proven faith to become priests in parishes with an acute shortage of vocations, women as deacons (the level below priesthood), full recognition of remarriage for divorced Catholics, a place for homosexuals in the Church and greater care and attention to the poor and socially excluded.

The Church wants to hold a synod (or clerical assembly) in two phases — in October 2023 and October 2024 — so it began organizing in 2021 a broad-based consultation among its clergy and flock worldwide, to promote internal dialogue "in the light of faith."

In what is itself a "synodal process," Catholics are being asked their views on a range of issues including thorny ones, and while this vast exercise will yield no resolutions, it will act as a reflector of the Christian mood on matters and act as a useful pointer ahead of the first synod.

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In The News
Marine Béguin, Yannick Champion-Osselin, Sophie Jacquier and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Ukraine Targets Crimea, Pope & Lula, Musk v. Zuck

👋 Dumela!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Ukraine says it has struck a road in Russian-occupied Ukraine that leads to Crimea, time is running out in the search for the missing submarine and Lula meets Pope Francis, just back from the hospital. Meanwhile, Alfonso Masoliver, for Spanish daily La Razón, travels with Rwandan fishermen on the silent waters of one of Africa's largest lakes.

[*Tswana, Botswana and South Africa]

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In The News
Emma Albright, Yannick Champion-Osselin, Chloé Touchard, Marine Béguin and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Ukraine Dam Evacuation, Canada Wildfires Reach NYC, About Ducking Time

👋 Bonġu!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where evacuations are underway in southern Ukraine following the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam, an earthquake strikes Haiti in the wake of deadly floods and Apple says goodbye to its “ducking” autocorrect feature. Meanwhile, Colombian daily El Espectador looks at the tension between teachers and the rising power of artificial intelligence.


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In The News
Emma Albright, Ginevra Falciani and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Zelensky-Xi Call, Pope Gives More Power To Women, Ya Ya Goes Back Home

👋 Wĩmwega!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Chinese President Xi Jinping speak on the phone for the first time since the start of the Russian invasion, Pope Francis announces that women will be allowed to vote for the first time at an important bishops meeting, and Ya Ya the giant panda is headed back home to China. Meanwhile, Dankwart Guratzsch in German daily Die Welt marvels at 19th-century poet and scientist Goethe’s uncanny predictions about today’s tech revolution.

[*Kikuyu, Kenya]

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Nunzia Locatelli and Cintia Suárez

Mama Antula's Moment? An 18th-Century Feminist May Be The Next Catholic Saint

The Vatican may soon canonize the Mama Antula, an Argentine woman who started a spiritual movement at a time when religious intellectualism was strictly the domain the men.

BUENOS AIRES — The Vatican is studying the canonization of Mama Antula, an 18th century woman from northern Argentina who broke the rules to practice Christian spirituality. At the time, this was understood to be a job for the clergy and for men.

Some see her as an early defender of women's rights — and of the poor — in the Americas. She is also being hailed as the first "feminist" who would become a Catholic saint.

On March 7, Pope Francis declared "the time is very close when she could be a saint." The Pope, himself another Argentine, is an admirer of Mama Antula. When he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, he said "this woman is worth gold."

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This Happened

This Happened - March 13: Pope Francis Is Elected

Pope Francis was elected on this day in 2013, becoming the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church, after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

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In The News
Emma Albright & Ginevra Falciani

China-Russia Summit, Pope Calls For Ceasefire, Battle Of Oranges

👋 Allo!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Vladimir Putin meets with China’s top diplomat in Moscow, Japan and China have their first formal security talks in four years and Starbucks launches a new drinks flavor for Italian palates. Meanwhile, we look at how Russia’s war propaganda machine has backfired and actually left Moscow itself as the prime victim of its own lies.

[*Seychellois Creole]

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