- Dec 10, 2019
Pope Francis’s moving letter to a dying nine-year-old girl echoes St. John XXIII’s famous moonlight speech, and shows that, whatever else he has become as pope, he remains, at heart, a pastor, reaching out to one soul at a time.
Italy’s upcoming referendum might be the final surprise in a year marked by a sharp rise in populist sentiment. After Brexit and Trump’s victory in the U.S., Catholic votes might be the decisive factor in determining the political agenda for Italy and the West.
Upholding the truth and moral values can be difficult for young people Pope Francis said at the Fourth World Congress on the Pastoral Care of International Students. But, the pope added, “with God’s help and with the sincere will to do good, every obstacle can be overcome.”
In private meeting with French political representatives, Pope Francis stressed that seeking dialogue and the common good is essential in times when the country is torn by fear. The pope’s words are even more important as France will be holding presidential elections next year.
Pope Francis encouraged people to pray for the living and the dead, during the general audience concluding his catechesis on mercy. He stressed the importance of burying the dead without forgetting those “who together with us every day confront the trials of life.”
By now the world has become used to Pope Francis addressing multiple issues in a single day, generating several headlines. His Wednesday general audience wasn’t an exception, producing several news flashes in just half an hour: Syria, the fight against AIDS/HIV and parents’ rights to choose their children’s education.