Pope: Albania proves to world that diverse religions can live in peace

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- People of different religious beliefs can and must live together in peace, Pope Francis said.

The Muslim majority and Christian minorities in Albania cooperate beautifully for the common good and prove to the world that it can be done, he said.

Pope Francis passes a man holding Argentina's flag and a sign with the word "Amigo" as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Sept. 24. (CNS/Paul Haring)

"I could see, with great satisfaction, that the peaceful and fruitful coexistence between people and communities belonging to different religions is not only beneficial, but is concretely possible and practical. They put it into practice" in Albania, he said.

During his general audience in St. Peter's Square Sept. 24, Pope Francis reviewed his one-day trip to Albania Sept. 21.

He told the more than 30,000 people in the square that he wanted to visit a country where people of different religious traditions were peacefully living and working together, despite suffering decades of violent oppression "by an atheist and heartless regime."

"I thought it seemed important to encourage them on this path" of religious respect and to urge them to never give up looking for ways to benefit the common good, he said.

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Nuncio: World won’t be more ‘genuinely’ human unless all work for peace

NEW YORK — Peace is never achieved once and for all, but is the fruit of a daily quest for greater justice and respect for one another, the new papal nuncio to the United Nations said Sept. 15.

For believers, it is not merely a result of human efforts, but also a gift from the Almighty, Archbishop Bernardito Auza said.

He spoke at a prayer service on the eve of the opening of the 69th session of the U.N. General Assembly. It was his first official function since arriving in New York Sept. 8. He was the nuncio to Haiti from 2008 until July 1.

The interreligious service is an annual event sponsored by theArchdiocese of New York, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations and the Church of the Holy Family, where it was held.

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Church serves 'women the rest of the world has left behind'

Recent claims that the Catholic Church disregards women fail to acknowledge the Church’s critical work to support women and families around the world, say leaders in medicine, academia and global relief work.

“Anyone who thinks that the Catholic Church doesn’t support women doesn’t know much about the Church, its mission and its presence around the world,” said Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Vice President of US Operations for Catholic Relief Services.

“Every day, the Catholic community supports women with opportunities to strengthen their families, become better educated, and build their economic and food security. Our presence across the globe, including in some of the most remote places on earth, allows us to help many women the rest of the world has left behind,” she told CNA Aug. 27.

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Promoting Peace Through Sport

Legendary AFL player and coach Kevin Sheedy will participate in the launch of the Australian Bishops' Social Justice Statement for 2014 at St Mary's Cathedral on Wednesday, 17 September.

Presented one and a half weeks before Social Justice Sunday on 28 September, the Bishops' statement entitled, "A Crown for Australia: Striving for the Best in Our Sporting Nation," explores sport's potential to unite communities, overcome differences and be a force for social justice and reconciliation.

Kevin Sheedy knows a lot about sport and a lot about striving for the best. A former AFL premiership player and coach, firstly with Richmond and then a winning coach at Essendon, Sheedy is also a Hall of Fame inductee. More recently he was the first coach for Greater Western Sydney, the newest club in the AFL. He will join the Chair of the ACSJC Bishop Christopher Saunders for the launch of the social justice statement.

"The idea of promoting peace and education through sport is one that appeals strongly to Pope Francis," says John Ferguson, National Executive Officer of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC) and applauds the first Interreligious Match for Peace which was held in Rome on Monday at the instigation of the Holy Father.

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Eastern Christian Bishops To Hold Three Days Of Fasting & Prayer In Unity With Middle East's Persecuted Christians

As the Western world reels in horror at the second shocking beheading of an American journalist posted on YouTube by ISIS overnight, Sydney's Assyrian, Maronite, Chaldean Coptic Christian and  Orthodox Churches are calling for three days of fasting and prayers for persecuted Christians across the Middle East.

The second barbaric execution of a US journalist was carried outby  a ISIS terrorist, dressed in black, his  face hidden by a balaclava and speaking with a British Accent.

Although the YouTube video has yet to verify last night's YouTube video, it is believed 31-year-old freelance journalist, Steven Sotloff's killer is former British Rapper, Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, who was identified by UK intelligence as the cold-blooded Jihadist who beheaded video journalist, James Foley two weeks ago.

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