National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Federico Lombardi

Vatican downplays report that it's under threat from Islamic terrorists

The Vatican on Monday rejected reports that it could be the next target of Islamist terrorists after last week's deadly attacks in France.

The move came as Pope Francis called for a "unanimous" global response to the Islamic State group as he left on his first official visit to the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Israeli state TV reported Sunday that U.S. intelligence services had warned the Vatican could be the next terrorist target, as international leaders joined an estimated 2 million people in a massive anti-terrorism rally in Paris.

Pope Francis offers Mass for victims of attack at Paris satirical newspaper

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The morning after 12 people were shot to death and 11 others injured at the Paris office of a satirical weekly newspaper, Pope Francis dedicated his early morning Mass to the victims and their families.

At the beginning of the Mass on Thursday, he told the small congregation that the attack Wednesday in Paris was a reminder of "the cruelty man is capable of. Let us pray at this Mass for the victims of this cruelty -- there are so many! And, we pray also for the perpetrators of such cruelty that the Lord will change their hearts."

Yazidis thank Pope Francis for his support at Vatican meeting

An estimated 5,000 Yazidi women are being held as slaves by militants from the Islamic State group, Pope Francis was told when he met a top-level delegation of Yazidi leaders Thursday at the Vatican.

The delegation was led by Tahseen Said Al Baig, the Yazidis' secular leader, and Sheikh Kato, the group's supreme spiritual leader, or "Baba Sheikh," the Vatican said in a statement.

Yazidi officials from northern Iraq, Georgia and Germany were also among the delegation that met the pope for 30 minutes inside the Apostolic Palace.

Dalai Lama says Pope Francis is unwilling to meet: 'It could cause problems'

The Dalai Lama said Thursday that he would not meet Pope Francis while in Rome for a summit of Nobel Peace Prize winners.

"The Vatican administration says it is not possible because it could cause problems," the Dalai Lama said, hinting that the Vatican may be unwilling to irk China, a country with which it wants to engage and perhaps re-establish diplomatic relations.

But the Vatican's chief spokesman, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, declined to say whether the pope had personally turned down a request for a meeting with the spiritual leader of the Tibetan Buddhists.

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