Sunday, July 17, 12,000 faithful populated St. Peter’s Square to pray the Angelus with Pope Francis, standing close at times to the two fountains in the square to cool off from the sweltering heat that has enveloped Italy for many weeks.

After the Angelus, Francis asked for prayers, saying, “I’m about to make a penitential pilgrimage that I hope, with God’s grace, will contribute to the journey of healing and reconciliation already undertaken.” He explained that, “unfortunately, in Canada, many Christians, including some members of religious institutes, contributed to the policies of cultural assimilation that, in the past, have severely harmed indigenous communities in various ways.”

The Holy Father leaves Sunday, July 24 for a multi-city visit to Canada, arriving back in Rome on July 30.

Addressing Canadians specifically, the Pope Sunday recalled a series of meetings he held in the Vatican in April with delegations from Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, listening to stories about life in the residential school system. As Vatican news reported, this was the forcible integration of indigenous children into Canadian culture by separating them from their families and communities and placing them in boarding schools.

On April 1, Pope Francis expressed his profound sorrow to the delegations, asking for pardon for the suffering inflicted by some members of the Catholic Church. He also mentioned he wanted to travel to Canada.

The fact the Canada trip is still on the papal agenda seems to be positive news about the Pope’s health.

In a recent interview, he spoke about his cancelled July trip to Africa: “I suffered so much for not being able to do this trip, but the doctor told me not to do it because I was not able to do it yet. I’ll go to Canada because the doctor told me at that time, ‘With 20 more days you will recover.’

Francis further explained his knee problem: “A ligament became inflamed and, because I walk badly (due to sciatica), this …. moved a bone and caused a fracture…and that’s the problem. …I am slowly improving, and technically the calcification has already occurred, thanks to all the work done with the laser … and magnet therapy. Now I have to start moving because there’s a danger of losing muscle tone if one doesn’t move.”


Pope Francis says SIGNIS “can play an important role” in meeting the challenge of “toxicity, hate speech, and fake news” in the media.

By Christopher Wells (vaticannews)

Although modern means of communication can be “a powerful means of fostering communion and dialogue within our human family,” they can also become “places of toxicity, hate speech, and fake news,” warns Pope Francis, in a message to the lay communications network SIGNIS, which is holding its annual World Congress in Seoul in August.

“It is appropriate,” the Pope says, “that, in these days marked by new outbreaks of violence and aggression in our world, you have chosen as the theme of your World Congress ‘Peace in the Digital World.”

Serious ethical issues

Pope Francis notes, “The use of digital media, especially social media, has raised a number of serious ethical issues that call for wise and discerning judgment on the part of communicators, and all those concerned with authenticity and the quality of human relationships.” SIGNIS, he continues, “can play an important role” in meeting this challenge, especially through “media education, networking Catholic media, and countering lies and misinformation.”

In his message, the Pope encourages SIGNIS members to persevere in their efforts by helping people “develop a sound critical sense, learning to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, good from evil, and to appreciate the importance of working for justice, social concord, and respect for our common home.” At the same time, recognizing that many communities have limited access to “the digital space,” he calls on SIGNIS communicators to make “digital inclusion a priority” in their planning.

The value of listening

The Holy Father also calls attention to the importance of listening “as the first and indispensable ingredient of dialogue and good communication,” an issue he highlighted in his message for World Communication Day 2022.

“Communication is not just a profession, but a service to dialogue and understanding between individuals and larger communities in the pursuit of a serene and peaceful coexistence.”

Listening, he says, “is likewise essential to the synodal journey that the whole Church has undertaken in these years,” recalling the ongoing Synod on Synodality that will culminate at the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2023.

“It is my hope,” Pope Francis says, “that, in your communication, you will contribute to this process by assisting the holy and faithful people of God in our commitment to listen to one another, to the Lord’s will, and to grow in the awareness that we participate in a communion that precedes and includes us.”

“In this way, your efforts to foster ‘Peace in the Digital World’ will help to create an ever more ‘symphonic’ Church, whose unity is expressed in a harmonious and sacred polyphony.”


There were a number of meetings with the Pope today in the Vatican but I felt this was one of the most significant talks that he gave, given the urgency of combating pornography in general and its effects on youth in particular.

Today, I am working on my weekend radio show, Vatican Insider, and early this evening will attend a reception at the Apostolic nunciature for the Bethlehem University Foundation. If you are curious about BU, the only Catholic University in the Middle East, take a few minutes to visit: https://www.bethlehem.edu/


Pope Francis on Thursday addressed participants in an international congress in the Vatican on the theme, “Promoting Digital Child Dignity From Concept to Action, From 2017 to 2019.”
By Robin Gomes (vaticannews)

Pope Francis on Thursday called on experts in science and technology, the media, business, legislators, parents, religious leaders and others to join hands to take concrete and urgent action to protect children from criminal violence and harm in the digital world.

“We must ban from the face of the earth violence and every form of abuse against children,” the Pope told some 80 participants in the November 14-15 congress that is being jointly hosted by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, the Child Dignity Alliance and the United Arab Emirates Government.

“Let us look into their eyes: they are your sons and daughters; we must love them as God’s masterpieces and children,” the Pope told them, adding, “they have the right to a good life.” “We have the duty to do everything possible to ensure that right.”

Among those attending the 2-day meeting are important religious leaders from different communities, experts, academics, policymakers, and technology industry leaders.

Blessing and bane of info technology
The Pope expressed appreciation for the great opportunities that the astonishing development of technology in the information and communications media offers children, especially those in poverty and distant from urban centres.

However, the challenge is to “ensure that minors have safe access to these technologies so that “their healthy and serene development” is ensured and they are protected from “unacceptable criminal violence or grave harm to the integrity of their body and spirit.”

Tragically, the Pope noted, the use of digital technology to organize, commission and engage in child abuse at a distance, is outstripping the efforts and resources to combat such abuse.

“The spread of images of abuse or the exploitation of minors is increasing exponentially, involving ever more serious and violent forms of abuse and ever younger children.” The Pope blamed the dramatic growth of pornography in the digital world on the general loss of the sense of human dignity, which, he said, is frequently linked to human trafficking.

What is even more disturbing, the Pope said, is the fact that pornography is widely accessible to minors in the digital media, leading them to grave addiction, violent behaviour and troubled emotional and sexual relationships.

Concrete and urgent action
Drawing attention to the theme of their congress, “From Concept to Action,” Pope Francis said, “it is not enough to understand; we must act.” The moral condemnation of the harm inflicted on minors needs urgently to be translated into concrete initiatives. “The longer we wait,” he warned, “the more entrenched and insurmountable this evil becomes.”

Balance between free expression and good of society
In this regard, he called for a fitting balance between the legitimate exercise of freedom of expression and the interests of society, so as to ensure that digital media are not used to perpetrate criminal activities against minors.

He lamented that for the sake of advancing the development of the Internet and its many benefits, companies that provide services have long considered themselves mere suppliers of technological platforms, neither legally nor morally responsible for the way they are used.

Despite the enormous potential of digital technology, the Pope said, the negative impact of its abuse in the area of human trafficking, the planning of terrorist activities, the spread of hatred and extremism, the manipulation of information and in the area child abuse, is equally significant.

Pope Francis called for appropriate legislative and executive measures to counter criminal activities that harm the life and dignity of minors.

Corporate responsibility
He also appealed to large digital technology companies “to assume their responsibility towards minors, their integrity and their future.”

One way of ensuring this is for Internet service providers to prevent minors from accessing pornographic sites by verifying their age. In this regard, the Pope expressed alarm at studies showing the average age of first access to pornography is currently eleven and tends to keep lowering, which, he said, “is in no way acceptable.”

While encouraging the industry to cooperate with parents in their educational responsibilities, the Holy Father also urged computer engineers to use artificial intelligence technologies to identify and eliminate illegal and harmful images from online circulation and help develop and create a new ethics for our time.



Pope Francis today addressed the world congress, “Child Dignity in the Digital World,” a conference sponsored by the Child Protection Center of the Jesuit-run Gregorian University in Rome.

Simultaneous with his speech to the group in the Apostolic Palace, the Congress released a final declaration.

DICHIARAZIONE DI ROMA_Child Dignity World Congress_ENG.pdf 271K View as HTML Scan and download

Spanish: DICHIARAZIONE DI ROMA_Child Dignity World Congress_ES.pdf 260K View as HTML Scan and download