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  • Pope Francis celebrated his only public Mass in Armenia on the second day of his visit here, for some 50,000 faithful, in the Republic Square of Gyumri, Armenia’s second largest city, which was hit by an earthquake almost 30 years ago.

    Throughout his foreign journeys, Francis has always sought to visit the places of suffering and meet the survivors or relatives of the victims of natural or man-made disasters. So too here in Armenia, after praying at the...

  • After praying at the national memorial to the victims of Armenian genocide, in Yerevan, on Saturday morning, June 26, Pope Francis wrote the following poignant words in the Golden Book:

    Here, I pray, with sorrow in my heart, that never again may there be tragedies like this one, and that humanity does not forget and knows how to win over evil with good.

    May God grant to the beloved Armenian people and to the whole world...

  • Twilight stretches out over an eternity during the summer solstice in the North Country of Minnesota, where I found myself this past week on a pilgrimage of sorts to Bob Dylan country. Work had brought me to Minneapolis, his brief collegiate home , and so I extended my visit for two days to fulfill a desire two decades old and drive to...

  • In a keynote speech to the authorities and the diplomatic corps on his first day in Armenia, Pope Francis recalled “the genocide” of the Armenians 100 years ago and commented that “it is so sad” that then, as with “two others” since then, “the great international powers looked the other way.” Francis delivered the last speech at the presidential palace, after paying a courtesy visit on the president.

    His use of the word “genocide” surprised journalists travelling with him as it was...

  • In the first of his six speeches during his three-day visit to Armenia, Pope Francis not only recalled the history of the world’s first Christian nation and how “faith in Christ is part of its identity,” he also emphasized that by working to reach “full unity” between the Armenian Apostolic and Roman Catholic Churches they are together giving an example to a world “marked by divisions and conflicts” that “divergences” can be settled “by dialogue and appreciation of all that unites us.”...

  • You can’t walk out on love. You can walk away, but a love that is real will follow. It will stay with you, because it has become a part of you. Goethe puts it in the plainest possible German, in his little poem “ Heidenröslein .”

    Sah ein Knab’ ein Röslein stehn, Röslein auf der Heiden, War so jung und...
  • This weekend in New York City the LGBT community celebrates “Pride Weekend.” In the wake of the Orlando massacres, this event takes on great significance. Now, not every LGBT person will march in a parade this weekend or this month. Some people prefer to stand on the sidewalks and cheer. Some don’t much like parades at all. Sadly, some still have a hard time accepting who they are, and also struggle with their relationships with God.

    So I’d like to offer some reflections for LGBT...

  • It’s over. A large turnout of voters decided that four decades of British membership of the European Union should come to an end. The result became clear around five in the morning, even as a few geographical areas had still to report. Two hours later, in Manchester, the result was declared officially—51.9 percent had voted to leave, 48.1 percent to remain.

    Overnight, the situation had changed entirely, after two polling samples had suggested, seconds after the polls closed, that “...

  • Commenting on the final result of the Brexit referendum aboard the flight from Rome to Yerevan, Pope Francis said, “It was the will expressed by the people, and this requires great responsibility from all of us to guarantee the good of the people of the United Kingdom and also the good and the coexistence of the entire continent of Europe.”

    He made his comment in a brief greeting to the more than 70 journalists travelling with him on the flight to Armenia, including America’s Vatican...

  • No one seems to know much about what’s behind the current chaos in Pretoria/Tshwane. The rioting, burning of buses and looting in the townships around the nation’s capital erupted on Monday night, June 20, and continued through Tuesday. The unrest seems primarily related to an African National Congress decision to replace the current mayor, Kgosientso Ramokgopa, with Thoko Didiza—an A.N.C. stalwart from KwaZulu-Natal Province—as its mayoral candidate for the forthcoming August...