Eight Things You Might Have Missed At Pope Francis Inauguration



VATICAN CITY- The inauguration of Pope Francis took place Tuesday morning in St. Peter’s Square before a sea of simple faithful and heads of state from around the world. Babies were kissed, flags were flown, and the Vatican rolled out its open-top white papal jeep. Here’s the 9 most interesting things that happened this morning.

MASS AND MASSES An estimated 150,000 people attended in Rome, while back in his hometown of Buenos Aires, a reported 40,000 watched on giant screens in the Plaza de Mayo, reports Clarin.

Wow. 12:37 AM. Plaza de Mayo doesn't sleep tonight as thousands await the inauguration of Pope Francis.… (Via @kekycg)

— Adrian Bono (@AdrianBono) March 19, 2013

HATS! People from all over the world came to see the inauguration of the first Jesuit and Latin American pontiff.

It's true! People from all nations were here in the square! #LoveUniversalChurch…

— Catholic News Svc (@CatholicNewsSvc) March 19, 2013

FÚTBOL In a role reversal, Jorge Bergoglio’s beloved soccer team San Lorenzo de Almagro were cheering for him today.

Foto del trapito de la peña en Italia ! #Francisco #AsuncióndelPAPA @diegobus77 @marufernandez_…

— ♥LORE♥(@loreboky) March 19, 2013

ST. FRANCIS In his homily Pope Francis stated that all of creation should be protected, including nature, animals and the environment: “The vocation of being a “protector”, however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live ... Be protectors of God’s gifts!Entire text in English here

ST. JOSEPH The happiest dignitary present was definitely U.S. VP Joe Biden, himself a Roman Catholic. Today also happens to be St. Joseph’s Day, who featured in Francis’ protection themed homily where he urged the faithful to protect everyone; ourselves, each other and all of creation.

#pope meets US Vice-President Joe Biden…

— Catholic News Svc (@CatholicNewsSvc) March 19, 2013

NOT ST. ROBERT Everything wasn't holy in the piazza. Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, who is not allowed to travel in European Union territory, did make it onto Vatican soil for the festivities.

Vatican said everyone could come, no one barred, so here's Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and wife with #pope…

— Catholic News Svc (@CatholicNewsSvc) March 19, 2013

SHOES Wearing his trusty black shoes instead of the traditional red pair, after the mass the pope changed out of his ceremonial vestments into a plain white cassock to greet the representatives and dignitaries.

SOCIAL SERVICE As if he didn’t have enough to do today, Pope Francis even found a moment to tweet messages to his 2,043,451 English followers.

Let us keep a place for Christ in our lives, let us care for one another and let us be loving custodians of creation.

— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) March 19, 2013

True power is service.The Pope must serve all people, especially the poor, the weak, the vulnerable.

— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) March 19, 2013

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Dutch Cities Have Been Secretly Probing Mosques Since 2013

Revelations of a nationally funded clandestine operation within 10 municipalities in the Netherlands to keep tabs on mosques and Muslim organizations after a rise in radicalization eight years ago.

The Nasser mosque in Veenendaal, one of the mosques reportedly surveilled

Meike Eijsberg

At least ten Dutch towns and cities have secretly used a private agency to probe mosques and other local religious organizations, Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports in an exclusive investigation.

The clandestine operation — funded by NCTV, the National Security Services, the Netherlands' leading counter-terrorism agency — was prompted by the social unrest and uncertainty following multiple terror attacks in 2013, and a rise in Islamic radicalization.

The NCTV, which advises and financially supports municipalities in countering radicalization, put the municipalities in touch with Nuance by Training and Advice (Nuance door Trainingen en Advies, NTA), a private research agency based in Deventer, Netherlands. Among the institutions targeted by the investigations, which came at a cost of circa 500,000 euros, were the Al Mouahidin mosque in the central Dutch town of Ede, and the Nasser mosque east of the city of Utrecht, according to NRC.

Photo of people standing on prayer mats inside a Dutch mosque

Praying inside a Dutch mosque.


Broken trust in Islamic community

Unlike public officials, the private agency can enter the mosques to clandestinely research the situation. In this case, the agents observed activity, talk to visitors, administrators, and religious leaders, and investigated what they do and say on social media.

All findings then wound up in a secret report which includes personal details about what the administrators and teachers studied, who their relatives are, with whom they argued, and how often they had contact with authorities in foreign countries, like Morocco.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed.

It is unclear whether the practice is legal, which is why several members of the Dutch Parliament are now demanding clarification from the outgoing Minister of Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus, who is said to be involved.

"The ease with which the government violates (fundamental) rights when it comes to Islam or Muslims is shocking," Stephan van Baarle, member of the leftist party DENK, told De Volkskrant, another Dutch newspaper.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed. Hassan Saidi, director of one of the mosques investigated, said that the relationship with the local municipality had been good. "This puts a huge dent in the trust I'd had in the municipality," he told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

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