In a message sent in early July to participants of an Italian conference on the consequences of deforestation in the Amazon, Pope Francis said the current situation in the South American rainforest “is a sad paradigm of what is happening in many parts of the planet.”
For most of October, more than 100 bishops will meet at the Vatican to wrestle with what that means for the church’s ministry in a politically, culturally and ecologically complex region where indigenous people face increasing threats.
Pope Francis welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Vatican July 4, and the two discussed the ongoing wars in Eastern Ukraine and in Syria, the Vatican said. Russia plays a major role in both conflicts.
In the light of “a worrying negative prejudice” against the Catholic Church, Pope Francis ordered the publication of a document affirming the absolute secrecy of everything said in confession and calling on priests to defend it at all costs, even at the cost of their lives.