News / Europe

    Stop the Wars, Pope Says in New Year Appeal

    Pope Francis is seen in the window of the Apostolic Palace in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, Jan. 1, 2014.
    Pope Francis is seen in the window of the Apostolic Palace in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, Jan. 1, 2014.
    Reuters
    Pope Francis delivered an impassioned New Year's peace address on Wednesday, saying the heart of humanity seemed to have gone astray and too many people were still indifferent to war, violence and injustice.

    The pontiff, who took his papal name from St Francis of Assisi, the saint most associated with peace, urged the world to listen to the “cry for peace” from suffering peoples.

    ”What on Earth is happening in the hearts of men? What on Earth is happening in the heart of humanity?” he said to tens of thousands of people in St. Peter's Square on the day the Roman Catholic Church celebrates its World Day of Peace.
     
    "Time to stop"

    ”It's time to stop!” he said, departing from his prepared text.

    Francis was speaking from the window of the Apostolic Palace overlooking St. Peter's Square that popes traditionally use for their addresses.

    Unlike his predecessors, Francis has not used the spacious apartment behind the window since his election in March, shunning pomp and preferring instead to live in small quarters in a Vatican guest house.

    ”Everyone must be committed to building a society that is truly just and caring,” he told the crowd on Wednesday, acknowledging the many peace banners and blue balloons held aloft.

    In a message for the World Day of Peace sent to world leaders last month, Francis said that huge salaries and bonuses were symptoms of an economy based on greed and inequality.

    In that letter, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina again urged nations to narrow the gap between rich and poor, more and more of whom were getting only “crumbs.”

    Francis, named Person of the Year by Time magazine and a number of other publications, has urged his own Church to set an example by being more fair and frugal and less pompous, and to get closer to the poor and afflicted.

    Changes coming

    The new year is expected to bring concrete changes to the Vatican, plagued by a series of mishaps and scandals under Pope Benedict XVI, who in February became the first pontiff to resign in 600 years.

    Francis has appointed a committee of eight cardinals from around the world to advise him on how to reform the central Vatican administration.

    He has also named commissions to consult him on what to do with the scandal-plagued Vatican bank, on transparency in other parts of Vatican finance and on how to deal with the Church's many sexual abuse scandals.

    Vatican officials expect changes to start taking shape in late February, when his council of advisors has a pivotal meeting at the Vatican.

    On February 22, Francis will name his first batch of cardinals to join the exclusive group that will one day choose his successor.

    The names of the new cardinals are expected to be disclosed sometime in late January, and will offer another indication of the type of humbler Church that Francis wants.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora