Pope ‘Very Distressed’ Over Turkey’s Hagia Sophia Conversion To Mosque

This photo taken and released on April 13, 2020, by the Vatican Media shows Pope Francis delivering his message during a private Angelus prayer live broadcast from the library of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican on Easter Monday, during the lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. Handout / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP.

 

Pope Francis said Sunday he was “very distressed” over Turkey’s decision to convert the Byzantine-era monument Hagia Sophia back into a mosque.

“My thoughts go to Istanbul. I’m thinking about Hagia Sophia. I am very distressed,” the pope said in the Vatican’s first reaction to a decision that has drawn international criticism.

The Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano had on Saturday carried reaction from different countries about Friday’s decision to turn the monument from a museum back into a mosque but without any comment.

A magnet for tourists worldwide, the Hagia Sophia was first constructed as a cathedral in the Christian Byzantine Empire but was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who critics say is chipping away at the Muslim-majority country’s secular pillars, announced Friday that Muslim prayers would begin on July 24 at the UNESCO World Heritage site.

In the past, he has repeatedly called for the stunning building to be renamed as a mosque and in 2018, he recited a verse from the Koran at Hagia Sophia.

Erdogan’s announcement came after a top court cancelled a 1934 cabinet decision under modern Turkey’s secularising founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to preserve the church-turned-mosque as a museum.

Pope Francis Apologizes For Slapping ‘Exuberant Admirer’ At Saint Peter’s Plaza

 

Pope Francis apologised Wednesday for his widely-viewed slap of a woman who had grabbed his hand as he greeted Catholic faithful on New Year’s Eve.

The image of Francis slapping his way free from the clutches of the admirer was an instant hit on social media.

A personal apology followed.

“We lose patience many times,” Francis confessed.

“It happens to me too. I apologise for the bad example given yesterday,” the head of the Catholic church said before celebrating Mass at the Vatican.

Twitter enthusiasts commented with abandon on the pontiff’s prompt riposte to the woman.

Francis had greeted children before the Nativity scene on Saint Peter’s square and was turning away when the woman who had crossed herself then cried out something, pulled on his hand and almost caused him to fall.

The 83-year-old pope grimaced before managing to break free by slapping her hand twice.

He continued his tour, walking with some difficulty while maintaining a slightly greater distance from visitors, and gradually relaxed again as he came into contact with other children.

Twitter comments were mostly supportive of the pontiff’s instinctive reaction.

“HE IS HUMAN.. Been (sic) a Pope doesn’t make you immune to Pain or avoid Reaction to pain,” one typical comment read.

In his first Mass of the New Year, the pontiff later denounced “all violence against women” as “a profanation of God, born of a woman.”

Francis also said women were “the source of life” but deplored that they were constantly “offended, beaten, abused and forced into prostitution” and forced to “supress the life they carry within” them.

He emphasised that the “rebirth of humanity began with a woman,” and bemoaned that women’s bodies were “sacrificed on the profane altars of advertising, profit, pornography.”

Pope Slaps ‘Exuberant Admirer’ At Saint Peter’s Plaza

Pope Francis (L) celebrates the New Year’s day mass on January 1, 2020 in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. Andreas SOLARO / AFP

 

 

An image of Pope Francis slapping his way free from the clutches of an admirer late Tuesday had social media abuzz with comments on the pontiff’s prompt riposte.

Francis had greeted children before the Nativity scene on Saint Peter’s plaza and was turning away when the woman cried out something, grabbed his hand and almost caused him to fall.

The 83-year-old head of the Catholic church grimaced before managing to break free by slapping the woman’s hand twice.

He then continued his tour, walking with some difficulty while maintaining a slightly greater distance from visitors, and gradually relaxed again as he came into contact with other children.

Comments on Twitter were mostly supportive of the pontiff’s instinctive reaction.

READ ALSO: Nine Dead After Indonesian Capital Hit By New Year Flooding

“HE IS HUMAN.. Been (sic) a Pope doesn’t make you immune to Pain or avoid Reaction to pain,” one typical comment read.

In his first Mass of the New Year, the pontiff nonetheless denounced Wednesday “all violence against women” as “a profanation of God, born of a woman,” a position underscored by several Twitter enthusiasts.

Another concluded that as 2020 dawned, “the pope is trending.”

I ‘lost patience’ with exuberant admirer

Pope Francis confessed Wednesday he had “lost patience” with an exuberant admirer who had grabbed his hand on Saint Peter’s Square, prompting a swift pair of slaps.

“We lose patience many times. It happens to me too. I apologise for the bad example given yesterday,” the head of the Catholic church said before celebrating Mass at the Vatican.

AFP

Jonathan’s Vatican Visit Important To Nigeria – Ambassador Okeke

Goodluck Jonathan waveNigeria’s ambassador to the Holy See, Dr Francis Okeke, has said that the President’s scheduled visit to the Vatican is important to the nation.

In an interview with Channels Television, Dr Okeke disclosed that all was set for President Goodluck Jonathan’s visit to the Holy See otherwise known as the Vatican City.

He also mentioned that apart from the meeting with the Pope, the visit is an attempt to reestablish contact with the Holy See authorities because they have an important part to play in Nigeria’s affairs.

He recalled that the Christian religion brought education to Nigeria over one hundred years ago, and the Holy See plays an important part with other Christian religions in supporting education in Nigeria.

“Besides, the President would like to take this opportunity to do a pilgrimage for himself and the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, he said.

Also, in a statement signed by the President’s aide on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, the Presidency on Wednesday disclosed its plans to embark on a 6-day working tour which would take President Jonathan to the 2014 Global Nuclear Security Summit which opens at The Hague in Holland, on Monday, March 24, 2014.

The statement read, “The President, accompanied by the First lady, Dame Patience Jonathan will leave Abuja for Windhoek early on Thursday for a two-day state visit to Namibia in the course of which he will participate in a business forum aimed at boosting trade and economic relations between Nigeria and Namibia.

“President Jonathan will also attend the celebration of Namibia’s 24th Independence Anniversary as a Special Guest of Honour on Friday before departing for Rome and the Vatican for talks on Saturday, March 22, 2014 with Pope Francis and Monsignor Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State.”.