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(Vatican Radio) A pioneering congress focusing on the fight against online child sexual exploitation and abuse is to take place at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University.
Spearheaded and hosted by the University’s Center for Child Protection headed by Prof. Hans Zollner SJ, the congress entitled “Child Dignity in the Digital World” will examine new forms of abuse children can be subjected to in the digital world, and discuss the risks and challenges of the digital age and its impact on the dignity of children.
The congress foresees the participation of global scientific and technical experts and decision makers, and aims to promote appropriate action.
The International event will take place from 3 to 6 October in partnership with WePROTECT Global Alliance. At the end of the congress a declaration will be presented to Pope Francis who is scheduled to receive the participants in audience.
Please find below the official press for the event:
Rome, May 31, 2017 – Children make up over a quarter of the 3.2 billion Internet users worldwide. This generation of over 800 million young users is vulnerable to entirely new forms of harm and abuse such as trolling, cyberbullying, sextortion, and grooming for sexual exploitation. The international congress “Child Dignity in the Digital World”, will focus on the latest scientific research and technical understanding in this field, bringing together global experts and decisions makers to discuss the risks and challenges of the digital age and its impact on the dignity of children. The congress will be hosted by the Centre for Child Protection of the Pontifical Gregorian University.
This pioneering congress on the fight against online child sexual exploitation and abuse will be held 3–6 October, 2017 at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. The focus of the congress is scientific and technical, with a view to promoting appropriate action. The Centre for Child Protection and its partner WePROTECT Global Alliance have invited more than 140 internationally recognized experts from academia, business, and civil society as well as political leaders, and religious representatives from across the globe.
Prof. Hans Zollner SJ, President of the Centre for Child Protection said “The congress provides an outstanding opportunity to exchange knowledge and good practice on risks and prevention as children navigate this new digital world,”
Prof. Ernesto Caffo, the Scientific Coordinator of the Congress, added, “We are proud to bring together many of the world’s leading scholars and researchers in the field of child victimization. Our goal is to substantially expand the body of knowledge on these complex issues and generate true global dialogue.”
The global congress closes with the “Declaration on Child Dignity in the Digital World” that will be presented during an audience with Pope Francis. Baroness Shields OBE, UK Minister for Internet Safety and Security said: “Our increasingly connected society greatly empowers children, but also exposes them to risks that compromise their safety and wellbeing. To address these escalating global threats we need a broad coalition of government, faith leaders, academia and industry, all committed to protecting the dignity of children in this digital age.”
At the end of the congress a Call for Papers will be issued, seeking to stimulate new, creative research in this field as well as innovative ideas and approaches.
With a mix of keynotes, plenary sessions, workshops and a discussion forum, the congress will focus on the fields of Cyber Protection, Cyber Education and Cyber Responsibility and examine the role of business, media, civil society, politics and religions.
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The Centre for Child Protection (CCP) of the Institute of Psychology of the Pontifical Gregorian University is a key institution in the global fight against sexual abuse. The CCP is dedicated to the safeguarding and well-being of children and vulnerable persons throughout the world. It provides information on the problem of sexual abuse and other kinds of abuse and promotes prevention measures. The fields of activities include education and professional training, interdisciplinary research, doctoral programs and conferences. For more information: http://ift.tt/2rEM5pt
The Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, formerly the “Roman College” founded in 1551 by Ignatius of Loyola, today has 2,700 students from more than 120 countries. The university is one of the most important centres for the training of Church leadership and ministry. Faculties include theology, canon law, philosophy, history and cultural heritage of the church, as well as missiology, and social sciences, and institutes of psychology and spirituality. For more information: www.unigre.it
WePROTECT Global Alliance is a movement that brings together the influence, expertise and resources required to transform how online child sexual exploitation is dealt with worldwide. This initiative is led by an executive Board drawn from key countries, international organisations, civil society and technology companies. Guided by the WePROTECT Global Alliance Model National Response we support countries to evaluate and enhance their response to online child sexual exploitation. For more information: www.weprotect.org
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(Vatican Radio) In a telegram signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis has expressed his condolences to all those affected by the bombing carried out in the diplomatic zone of Kabul on Wednesday.
Below, please find the full text of the telegram, addressed to Afghanistan’s ambassador to Italy:
Having learned with sadness of the abhorrent attack in Kabul and of the many dead and seriously injured, Pope Francis expresses his heartfelt condolences to all affected by this brutal act of violence. His Holiness commends the souls of the deceased to the mercy of the Almighty, and assures the people of Afghanistan of his continued prayers for peace.
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(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis continued his catechesis on Christian Hope at Wednesday’s General Audience, taking as his starting point a reading from St Paul’s Letter to the Romans:
Rom 15, 13-14: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. I myself am convinced about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another.
The Holy Father said that in light of the upcoming feast of Pentecost, “we cannot fail to speak of the relationship between Christian hope and the Holy Spirit.” Hope, he said, quoting the Letter to the Hebrews, can be compared to an anchor, but also to a sail; like an anchor it gives us security, but like a sail it pushes us forward.
Pope Francis focused on the words “God of hope,” saying that God is not simply the object of hope; He also makes us “joyful in hope,” giving us here and now the joy of hoping, not just the hope of having joy in the future.
This joy comes from knowing that we are made sons of God, and His heirs. Repeating a constant theme in his preaching, the Pope said that “hope does not disappoint,” because the Spirit is within us, always pushing us onward.
But, he continued, the Holy Spirit does not simply give us hope. He also makes us capable of being “sowers of hope.” A Christian can spread bitterness and hopelessness, but one who does that is not a good Christian. Quoting Blessed John Henry Newman, the Pope said we must be “consolers” in the image of the Spirit, always ready to help those most in need.
The Spirit, he said, also gives hope to all of creation, and this impels us to respect the world God has created.
Pope Francis concluded his reflection by pointing once again to the Solemnity of Pentecost, the “birthday of the Church.” He prayed that the feast may find us united in prayer, with Mary, the Mother and Jesus and our Mother; and prayed, too, that the gift of the Spirit might make us abound in hope.
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(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has greeted young people in Poland gathered for an annual prayer meeting at Lake Lednica, where Poland was “baptized” and became a Christian country in the person of its pagan leader Mieszko in 966.
During his General Audience, Pope Francis asked Mary to guide the Lednica Youth Meeting , which this year carries the motto “Go forth and love”.
He said when Mary heard this call in her heart, she “went to Elizabeth to share the joy of her encounter and to offer her tangible aid.”
The Holy Father went on to call Zacchaeus the “second patron” of the meeting.
He said Jesus “wishes to come to send you to your brothers, so that you share His love. He knows it isn’t easy, so he sends the Holy Spirit who will fill you with His strength”.
The Lednica Youth Movement is a youth ministry promoted by the Dominican friars of Poland.
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(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has recalled the 75th anniversary of the Lidice massacre at the hands of the Nazi regime during his weekly General Audience on Wednesday.
In a special Czech-language greeting to pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father invited them to rely “with trust on the intercession of the Holy Virgin, whom you venerate in the icon of the Madonna of Lidice”.
He prayed Our Lady help them “to be courageous witnesses of the Resurrection of Christ, especially in difficult or trying moments”.
The group is participating in a national pilgrimage being led by Cardinal Dominik Duka, Archbishop of Prague.
The village of Lidice (then in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and now in the Czech Republic) was completely destroyed by Nazi troops in 1942.
All 173 men over the age of 15 were killed in reprisal for the assassination of Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich.
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(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis continued his catecheses on Christian hope during his Wednesday General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, reflecting on how the Holy Spirit makes us abound in hope as St. Paul writes in Romans 15,13-14.
Please find below the official English-language synthesis of the Pope’s catechesis:
Dear Brothers and Sisters: As we prepare to celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, our catechesis on Christian hope now turns to the Spirit and his saving work. Saint Paul concludes his Letter to the Romans by praying that “the God of hope” will make us “abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom 15:13). As a gift of the Spirit, hope is both an anchor (cf. Heb 6:18-19) giving us security amid the storms of life, and a “sail” driving us forward towards the safe harbour of eternal life. The Spirit bears witness within our hearts to the consoling truth of God’s promises and the inheritance that awaits us as his beloved sons and daughters (cf. Rom 8:16). Filled with this hope, we can become, in the words of Cardinal Newman, “consolers in the image of the Paraclete… advocates, helpers and bringers of comfort” to others. The Spirit, who brings hope to all creation (cf. Rom 8:20-22), also inspires in us love and respect for this world in which we live. May this Pentecost find us, like Mary and the Apostles, gathered in prayer, and may the gift of the Holy Spirit make us “abound in hope”.
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(Vastican Radio) The true shepherd knows how to step down from his church, because he knows that he is not at the center of history, but is a free man who has served without compromises and without taking control of his flock. That was Pope Francis’ message during his homily at Mass celebrated on Tuesday in the Vatican’s Santa Marta residence.
“A shepherd must be ready to step down completely from his church, rather than leave in a partial manner” said the Pope.
His words were drawn from the first reading at Mass, where St Paul addressed the church leaders in Ephesus. The Pope said that this reading could easily be called “A bishop’s leave taking” because Paul has left the Church of Ephesus in order to go to Jerusalem, where the Holy Spirit called him to go.
“All shepherds have to step down. There comes a moment where the Lord says ‘go to another place, come here, go there, come to me.’ And it’s one of the steps that a shepherd must take; be prepared to step down in the correct way, not still hanging on to his position. The shepherd who doesn’t learn how to do this because he still has some links with his sheep that are not good, links that are not purified by the Cross of Jesus” said Pope Francis.
According to the Pope, St Paul had held a council with all the priests of Ephesus and during this council he had demonstrated three “apostolic attitudes.”
The first of these is never turning back. The Pope said that this is the worst of all sins, to turn back. This is the thing which will bring much peace to the shepherd, when he remembers that he is not a shepherd who has led the church through compromising. Pope Francis admitted that this attitude requires much courage.
The second attitude is obedience to the Spirit, without knowing what will happen. A shepherd must know that he is on a journey.
The Pope said that Paul was a shepherd who serves his sheep.
“Whilst guiding the Church he had an uncompromising attitude, at that moment it was the Spirit who asked him to go on his journey, without knowing what would happen to him. And he went because he had nothing of his own, he had not wrongly taken control of his sheep. He had served them. Paul said ‘Now God wants me to leave. I leave without knowing what will happen to me. I know only this – the Spirit had told him this – that the Holy Spirit had testified to me that trials and tribulations are awaiting me from city to city.’ This was what he (St Paul) knew. That I am not retiring. I am going away to serve other churches. The heart is always open to the voice of God, I am leaving this place, I will see what the Lord is asking of me. This is a shepherd without compromises who is now a shepherd on a journey.”
The third attitude is “I do not consider my own life to be precious in any way. I am not the center of history. Whether it’s large history or small history, I am not the center, I am a servant” said the Pope.
“With this most beautiful example, let us pray for our shepherds, for our parish priests, our bishops, the Pope, that their lives will be lives lived without compromise, lives on a journey and lives where they do not believe that they are the center of history and have learned how to step down. Let us pray for our shepherds.”
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(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday met with the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, and his wife, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, in a private audience in the Vatican.
A communique from the Holy See Press Office said their discussions were “cordial”.
“[T]he good bilateral relations between the Holy See and Canada were evoked, along with the contribution of the Catholic Church to the social life of the country. The parties then focused on the themes of integration and reconciliation, as well as religious freedom and current ethical issues.”
The statement also said, “in the light of the results of the recent G7 summit, attention turned to various matters of an international nature, with special attention to the Middle East and areas of conflict.”
Mr. Trudeau met afterwards with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.
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