PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
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LAUDATO SI': POPE FRANCIS SAYS,  'REVOLUTION' NEEDED TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE
[The encyclical: Entitled, "Laudato Si" meaning, 'Praise be to you', from the Catholic hymn "Canticle of the Creatures," a song penned by St. Francis of Assissi, the patron saint of ecology.]


JUNE 19 ---Pope Francis to unite all Religions with Climate Change Encyclical? “The encyclical will not only represent key step forward on climate and environmental issues within the Catholic community. It'll be a document that people of all faiths can use to increase the attention paid to climate change and the environment in their own communities.” World Council of Churches
Pope Francis warned Thursday that modern trends -- from a heedless worship of technology to an addiction to fossil fuels and compulsive consumerism -- have swept the planet to the verge of a perilous "breaking point." 
"Doomsday predictions," the Pope said in a sharply worded manifesto, "can no longer be met with irony or disdain."  Citing scientific consensus that we are witnessing a "disturbing warming" of the Earth, Francis embraced the view that humans are largely to blame for a dramatic change in the climate. READ MORE....


Catholicism and the Challenge of Ecology ---LaudatoSi'--- Prior to the release of Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, experts reflect on the history and significance of the church’s role in promoting stewardship of creation. CLICK VIDEO BELOW REPORT. FROM LIGHT & SALT MEDIA

ALSO Pope in Turin: Asylum seekers’ plight moves Pope Francis to tears

Pope Francis waves as he arrives at the Santa Maria Ausiliatrice Basilica in Turin, Italy, Sunday, June 21, 2015. Pope Francis earlier prayed in front of the Holy Shroud, the 14 foot-long linen revered by some as the burial cloth of Jesus, on display at the Cathedral of Turin. AP PHOTO/LUCA BRUNO TURIN, Italy–Pope Francis said Sunday the plight of asylum seekers hoping for a new life in Europe was enough to make him cry, condemning those who treat them “like merchandise.”  Speaking during his first pastoral visit to northern Italy, the pontiff slammed hostility toward migrants arriving by boat from Libya, with European countries bickering over who should be forced to provide shelter to the needy. “It brings tears to one’s eyes to see the spectacle of these days, in which human beings have been treated like merchandise,” he told the crowds. He was speaking as Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi met his French counterpart Francois Hollande in Milan to discuss the immigration crisis which has seen hundreds of migrants blocked on the border between the two countries. The head of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics was in the industrial city in the northwest of the country for a two-day visit which saw him spend time with the poor, sick and marginalized, including prisoners and migrants.
Francis, whose father grew up in the city, was in Turin to pray before the mysterious shroud, believed by Christians to be the burial cloth of Jesus but held by skeptics to be a medieval fake. READ MORE...

ALSO: The Pope's 10 commandments on climate change

1. Think of future generations


JUNE 19 ---Pope Francis released a sweeping statement about the environment on Thursday, calling for "cultural revolution" to change our lifestyles -- from our addiction to technology to our treatment of the poor. The document is very long -- 184 pages in English. But here are 10 quick commandments the Pope says everybody can follow to stop the "disturbing warming" of our planet. 1. Think of future generations.CONTINUE READING...

ALSO St. Francis of Assisi: Why He's the Patron of Ecology


Seated on “Sister Earth,” near San Damiano, a bronze Francis contemplates “Brother Sun” as he looks out over the plain below Assisi toward Little Portion. The saint who composed the Canticle of the Creatures, preached to the birds and prayed in the woods can teach us about caring for creation. PERHAPS THE MOST popular sculptured image of Francis of Assisi is that of the bearded little man standing on a birdbath. This figure is so universal that you can find it as readily in an Episcopalian’s backyard or a Buddhist prayer garden as at a Franciscan retreat center. READ MORE...

ALSO: U.S. gives up decades of tradition; will no longer set up UN assembly operations in Chinese-owned NY's Waldorf-Astoria


JUNE 20 ---UN logo
WASHINGTON – The US State Department will abandon decades of tradition this fall at the annual UN General Assembly by setting up shop in a hotel other than New York’s Waldorf-Astoria, which was purchased last year by a Chinese company. Officials said Wednesday the department would base its UN operations at the New York Palace Hotel instead of the famed Waldorf. The officials did not give a reason for the switch, which will affect hundreds of American diplomats and support staff who travel to New York for the General Assembly each September and usually stay and hold meetings on two secured floors at the Waldorf. However, officials pointed to Hilton Worldwide’s sale of the Waldorf-Astoria to China’s Beijing-based Anbang Insurance Group for $1.95 billion last year, a deal that prompted security concerns. Terms of the sale allow Hilton to run the hotel for the next 100 years but also call for “a major renovation” that officials say has raised eyebrows in Washington, where fears of Chinese eavesdropping and cyber-espionage run high. The US suspects China-linked hackers were behind a recent massive breach of federal personnel records that compromised the data of millions of government workers. Both the White House and the State Department declined to comment on the hotel choice for the UN General Assembly. READ MORE...

ALSO: China releases photos of projects on Fiery Cross Reef


JUNE 16 ---Screengrab of some photos released on Chinese online news site Sina.com showing activities in the reclaimed area on Fiery Cross (Kagitingan) Reef in the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea. Sina sources most of its content from state-owned media companies Xinhua and People's Daily.
A Chinese website has released photos from the Fiery Cross (Kagitingan) Reef showing vegetable gardens, animals and female soldiers in an apparent effort to brush off criticisms against its reclamation projects in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
A slideshow with 17 photos showing China's facilities and activities in the reef was uploaded by online media company sina.com.cn a few days after the Philippines launched a documentary about the West Philippine Sea dispute. The website described as "gratifying" the results of construction efforts on Fiery Cross, which China calls Yongshu Reef. Fiery Cross is part of the disputed Spratlys archipelago and is one of the sites of China's much-criticized reclamation projects. China is also building structures on Panganiban (Mischief), Zamora (Subi), Kennan (Chigua), Mabini (Johnson South), Burgos (Gaven) and Calderon (Cuarteron) Reefs, areas that are also being claimed by the Philippines. READ MORE...

ALSO: Filipino cuisine 'adobo' is world’s 2nd best–CNN poll


JUNE 16 ---No. 2 Philippines: 1,526 votes (FB users)-- This version of Filipino fave adobo was created by Chef Claude Tayag who is credited with exporting awareness of his country's cuisine to the world.  (Cropped) Screengrab from CNN.com CNN features the Philippines’ adobo in its listing of best food destinations in the world. In the same manner that “a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” the way to get to know a nation’s culture better is through its cuisine. This was CNN’s message in its latest listing of culinary hotspots, where the Philippines was hailed the second best food destination in the world. Garnering a total of 1,528 votes from Facebook users, Filipino cuisine ranked behind topnotcher Taiwan, which recorded 8,242 votes. “Blessed with an abundance of seafood, tropical fruits and creative cooks, there’s more to Filipino food than the mind-boggling balut (duck embryo),” CNN said in its report on Monday. The CNN report highlighted the world-famous adobo, which it said was originally Mexican that Filipinos devised as a cooking method.READ MORE...

ALSO: PH ‘known to have worst food in Asia,’ says Malaysian chef—report


JUNE 20 ---Following the release of a CNN poll of top food destinations in the world that ranked Filipino cuisine as second best, a Malaysian chef reportedly said the Philippines has the worst food in Asia.
In a report by Malaysian news website Astro Awani, celebrity chef Datuk Redzuawan opposed the survey results, saying that sixth placer Malaysia (265 votes) should have topped the list. “Philippines is known to have the worst food in Asia, ask any chefs and they will tell you I am right,” he said. “I see food as varieties and flavors that reflect the culture and food, and that is why Malaysia should be the [world’s] best food destination.” READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Pope Francis: 'Revolution' needed to combat climate change


Pope Francis to unite all Religions with Climate Change Encyclical? “The encyclical will not only represent a key step forward on climate and environmental issues within the Catholic community. It will be a document that people of all faiths can use to increase the attention paid to climate change and the environment in their own communities.”  World Council of Churches head tells UN body, faiths united on climate change call.

FROM CNN, JUNE 22, 2015 (CNN) By Daniel Burke, CNN Religion Editor Updated 4:10 PM ET, Thu June 18, 2015 - Pope Francis warned Thursday that modern trends -- from a heedless worship of technology to an addiction to fossil fuels and compulsive consumerism -- have swept the planet to the verge of a perilous "breaking point."

"Doomsday predictions," the Pope said in a sharply worded manifesto, "can no longer be met with irony or disdain."

Citing scientific consensus that we are witnessing a "disturbing warming" of the Earth, Francis embraced the view that humans are largely to blame for a dramatic change in the climate.

READ MORE...

Nothing short of a "bold cultural revolution" can halt humanity's spiral into self-destruction, the Pope warned.

"The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth," Francis said. "In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish."

The popular pontiff castigated big businesses, energy companies, short-sighted politicians, scurrilous scientists, laissez faire economists, indifferent individuals, callous Christians and myopic media professionals. Scarcely any area of society escapes his probing pen.

Though it ends with a prayer, it is a deeply pessimistic statement, at least in parts, particularly from a spiritual leader known for his hopeful messages of mercy and openness. People no longer seem to believe that happy days lie ahead, the Pope lamented.

Francis' challenging manifesto came Thursday in the form of an encyclical, a letter traditionally addressed from St. Peter's Square to the more than 1 billion Catholics across the globe. Derived from the Greek word for "circle," an encyclical is among the church's most authoritative teaching documents.

Special coverage: How 2 degrees are key to climate change

But Francis has set his sights far beyond the circle of his church. With an eye toward several key climate change summits scheduled for later this year, the Pope said his letter is addressed to "every person living on this planet."

"I would like to enter a dialogue with all people about our common home," Francis said.

Critique of modern life

The humble invitation belies the damning analysis of modern life contained in the 184-page encyclical, entitled "Laudato Si."

The archaic Italian phrase, which means "Praised Be To You," appears in the "Canticle of the Sun," a song penned by St. Francis, the patron saint of ecology.

Read the full encyclical (PDF)

Subtitled, "On Care for Our Common Home," the encyclical was published Thursday in at least five languages during a news conference at the Vatican.

The document was more than a year in the making, church officials say, and draws on the work of dozens of scientists, theologians, scholars from various fields and previous popes.

"We have a situation here," said Janos Pasztor, the U.N.'s assistant secretary-general for climate change, "in which science and religion are totally aligned."

Pasztor was part of a team that convened with church officials at the Vatican this April.

With his penchant for crowd-pleasing and spontaneous acts of compassion, Pope Francis has earned high praise from fellow Catholics and others since he replaced Pope Benedict XVI in March 2013.

The Pope's eagerly awaited encyclical recycles some of the now-familiar themes of Francis' papacy: an abiding concern for the poor, a scorching critique of the idolatry of money and a facility for using evocative and earthy language to describe complex conundrums.

As the first Pope from the developing world, Francis brings a moral vision shaped not in the seminaries of Europe but the slums of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

With language ranging from the majestic (lyrical poetry in praise of nature) to the mundane (take the bus!), the Pope put his signature stamp on a controversial topic and moral clout on the line.

"Laudato si" is long on laments and short on specific solutions, though the Pope repeatedly urges deep thinking and dialogue to address the complex symptoms now plaguing the planet.

In broad strokes, Francis calls for a drastic change in "lifestyle, production and consumption" from superficial and unsustainable habits to more mature means of caring for "our common home."

"What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?" Francis asks. "The question not only concerns the environment in isolation; the issue cannot be approached piecemeal."

And while the Pope calls for practical steps like recycling and improving public transportation, he said structural injustices require more political will and sacrifices than most societies seem willing to bear.

In short, our care for the environment is intimately connected to our care for each other, he argues, and we are failing miserably at both.

"We are not faced with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social," Francis writes, "but rather one complex crisis which is both social and environmental."

The rich and powerful shut themselves up within self-enclosed enclaves, Francis argues, compulsively consuming the latest goods to feed the emptiness within their hearts, while ignoring the plight of the poor.

The poor, meanwhile, find themselves on the run from natural disasters and degraded habitats, shunted to the bottom of the world's pile of problems with decreasing access to its natural resources.

Francis saves his most challenging questions for modern consumers, arguing that humanity has become enamored of another apple -- and this time no Eve or serpent are around to take the fall.

The temptation may have shifted from a forbidden fruit to cutting edge technology, but the sin remains the same: hubris.

"We are not God," the Pope warns, "The Earth was here before us and has been given to us."

Powerful quotes from the Pope's encyclical

'Bottom of the pile'

Though Popes since Paul VI in 1971 have addressed environmental degradation, "Laudato Si" is the first encyclical to focus primarily on creation care, the Christian idea that God gave humans the earth to cultivate, not conquer.

Even months before its publication, the encyclical drew criticism from conservatives and climate change skeptics, who urged the Pope not to put his moral weight behind the controversial issue of global warming.


The pope has said he hopes his encyclical on the environment will reach a wide audience.

Many Catholics and environmentalists, meanwhile, eagerly awaited the encyclical.

The Washington-based Catholic Climate Covenant, for example, plans to send homily hints to the 17,000 Catholic parishes in the United States for priests to use during sermons this summer.

The group is also planning media events with bishops in Iowa, California, New Mexico and elsewhere.

In the weeks before the encyclical's release, Protestant pastors and at least 300 rabbis in the United States also said they were willing and eager to embrace Pope's call for environmental justice.

A Brazilian group made even made a tongue-in-cheek trailer ahead of Francis' encyclical, portraying the pontiff of a spiritual superhero gearing for battle against the forces of evil -- energy executives.

In another sign of the anticipation awaiting the encyclical, the news that an Italian magazine had published a leaked draft of the document online on Monday made the front pages of several American newspapers.

From the first days of his papacy, Francis has preached about the importance of the environment, not only as a scientific concern but also a moral one. In his first homily as pontiff, Francis called six times during the short sermon for humans to protect creation.

The encyclical published on Thursday goes well beyond any sermons, delving into fields familiar to any Catholic, such as Scripture and theology, but also wandering into sociology, politics, urban planning, economics, globalization, biology and other areas of scientific research.

The pope has said he hopes his encyclical on the environment will reach a wide audience.

Broken into six chapters, "Laudato Si" begins by cataloguing a host of ills wracking the planet: dirty air, polluted water, industrial fumes, toxic waste, rising sea levels and extreme weather.

The problem is "aggravated," the Pope said, "by a model of development based on the intensive use of fossil fuels."

If present trends continue, Francis argued, the changing climate will have grave implications for poor communities who lack the resources to adapt or protect themselves from natural disasters.

Many will be forced to leave their homes, while the economically and politically powerful "mask" the problems or respond with indifference, the Pope said.

The poor may get a passing mention at global economic conferences, Francis says, but their problems seem to be merely added to agendas as an afterthought.

"Indeed, when all is said and done," the Pope said of the poor, "they frequently remain on the bottom of the pile."

Opinion: Listen to the Pope about climate

Technology takes over Conservatives like Rush Limbaugh called Francis a Marxist after he released another statement, called an apostolic exhortation, in 2013. In the statement, the Pope called trickle-down economics "crude" and "naive."

Limbaugh renewed the criticism on Wednesday, accusing Francis of adopting "communist way of doing things: Controlling mankind through ... governments backed by police or military power."

Apparently undeterred, the Pope doubles down on his critique of modern capitalism -- especially aspects of the free market -- in "Laudato Si."

"We need to reject a magical conception of the market, which would suggest that the problems can be solved simply by an increase in the profits of companies or individuals," he said.

What's more, the Pope called the idea that the "invisible forces of the market" can adequately regulate the economy the "same kind of thinking" that leads to the "exploitation of children and abandonment of the elderly who no longer serve our interests."

In one particularly searing section, Francis compared laissez faire economists to mobsters, drug lords, illegal organ harvesters and human traffickers.

All are part of a "throwaway culture," the Pope argues, that treats human beings as just another commodity to exploit.

The Pope's attack on the "myth of progress" is more surprising. But he connected his critique to a "worshipping of earthly powers," where humans have usurped the role of God, imposing our own laws and interests on reality with little thought to the long-term consequences.

Opinion: Message from Pope: Hey you, stop ignoring climate change

In particular, he argued that our "cult of human power" and blind adoption of technology has been a Faustian bargain, offering a wealth of benefits, but at the risk of losing our souls.

"Life gradually becomes a surrender to situations conditioned by technology," he said, "itself viewed as the principle key to the meaning of existence."

"It has become countercultural," Francis continued, "to choose a lifestyle whose goals are even partly independent of technology."

The omnipresent digital media feeds our "information overload" and "mental pollution," the Pope said.

Those, in turn, lead to an excessive self-centeredness that tends to "shield us from direct contact with the pain, the fears and the joys of others and the complexity of their personal experience."

"Nobody is suggesting a return to the Stone Age," he continued, "but we do need to slow down and look at reality in a different way."

Despite his bleak view of our present situation, the Pope offered glimmers of hope near the end of his "joyful and troubling" reflection.

"Yet all is not lost," Francis said. "Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start, despite their mental and social conditioning."

Is the Pope right on technology?

Getting business 'on board'

Opposition to the Pope's encyclical began several months before it was released.

In April, the Heartland Institute, a conservative group skeptical of climate change, mounted a campaign to convince Pope Francis that global warming "is not a crisis."


The Heartland Institute is "the world’s most prominent think tank promoting skepticism about man-made climate change.” — The Economist, May 26, 2012

"The Pope is putting his moral authority behind the radical environmental agenda of the United Nations -- and he's doing it after being told only part of the climate story," Jim Lakely, a Heartland spokesman, said in an email interview on Tuesday.

Lakely said Heartland will contact "hundreds of thousands of Catholics" in the United States through mail and email countering the Pope's message and "giving them the truth about climate change."

That may be a difficult task.

More Americans trust Francis almost any other world or U.S. leader as a source of information on global warming, according to a survey conducted by Yale University and George Mason University. Still, the same poll showed that less than 10% of Americans view climate change as a moral issue.

5 key questions about the Pope and climate change

According to a Pew Research Center study released on Tuesday, American Catholics are divided along partisan lines over climate change.

More than 7 in 10 believe the planet is getting warmer, and nearly half attribute global warming to human causes.

A similar number (48%) view it as a very serious problem, according to Pew.

But while more than 80% of Catholic Democrats say there is solid evidence that the Earth is warming, just half of Catholic Republicans agree. And less than a quarter of Catholic Republicans believe that global warming is a man-made or poses a very serious problem.

Christiana Peppard, a professor of ethics at Fordham University, said she is not surprised that more Catholics are unconvinced that climate change presents a moral imperative.

"There's an idea that science exists in a realm separate from the way we live our lives," said Peppard, author of the book "Just Water: Theology, Ethics, and the Global Water Crisis."

But the Catholic Church has long taught that scientific facts, while reliable, don't answer deeper questions about human meaning and morality. "For that, ethical reasoning and contemplation are important," Peppard said.

On the 2016 campaign trail, though, the Pope's eco-encylical seemed to be a tough sell.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who is Catholic, said the Pope should "leave science to the scientists."

At a town hall in New Hampshire this week, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a Catholic convert, said, "I don't get economic policies from my bishops or my cardinals or my Pope. I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting into the political realm."

Other Catholics, though, were eagerly awaiting the Pope's encyclical.

In addition to Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, the Vatican panel presenting "Laudato Si" included Metropolitan John of Pergamon, an Eastern Orthodox priest; John Schellenuber, founding Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research; Carolyn Wo, the Chinese-American director of Catholic Relief Services; and Valeria Martano, an Italian historian and member of the Rome-based lay Catholic Community of Sant'Egidio.

Woo said her assignment is to connect the encyclical's concerns to the business world.

Over the past 20 years, said Woo, former dean of the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business, some corporations have adopted more ethical approaches, and she expects a wave of letters from business leaders this week praising the Pope's initiative.

"The bottom line is that we need business, not just some, but all, to do more," Woo said. "They are the ones on the front lines. We need them on board."

The Pope will also need world leaders to buy into his moral message, which will be key before a U.N.-sponsored climate summit in December, said Pasztor of the U.N.

At the meeting, nations are expected to submit their plans for reducing greenhouse gases, and the Pope will likely repeat the encyclical's entreaties when he speaks at the U.N. General Assembly this September.

"Having such an important person as the Pope talking about this issue will reach a lot of people," Pazstor said, "and at a crucial time."

How a scientist in a parking lot may have influenced the Pope

VIDEO: CATHOLICISM AND THE CHALLENGE OF ECOLOGY

 
Published on Jun 2, 2015 Ahead of the publication of Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment, experts reflect on the history and significance of the church's role in promoting the stewardship of creation. Additional video of Pope Francis was provided courtesy Humanum.it. Category News & Politics License Standard YouTube License CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE


INQUIRER

Pope in Turin: Asylum seekers’ plight moves Pope Francis to tears SHARES: New VIEW COMMENTS @inquirerdotnet Agence France-Presse 12:05 AM June 22nd, 2015


Pope Francis waves as he arrives at the Santa Maria Ausiliatrice Basilica in Turin, Italy, Sunday, June 21, 2015. Pope Francis earlier prayed in front of the Holy Shroud, the 14 foot-long linen revered by some as the burial cloth of Jesus, on display at the Cathedral of Turin. AP PHOTO/LUCA BRUNO

TURIN, Italy–Pope Francis said Sunday the plight of asylum seekers hoping for a new life in Europe was enough to make him cry, condemning those who treat them “like merchandise.”

Speaking during his first pastoral visit to northern Italy, the pontiff slammed hostility toward migrants arriving by boat from Libya, with European countries bickering over who should be forced to provide shelter to the needy.

“It brings tears to one’s eyes to see the spectacle of these days, in which human beings have been treated like merchandise,” he told the crowds.

He was speaking as Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi met his French counterpart Francois Hollande in Milan to discuss the immigration crisis which has seen hundreds of migrants blocked on the border between the two countries.

The head of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics was in the industrial city in the northwest of the country for a two-day visit which saw him spend time with the poor, sick and marginalized, including prisoners and migrants.

Francis, whose father grew up in the city, was in Turin to pray before the mysterious shroud, believed by Christians to be the burial cloth of Jesus but held by skeptics to be a medieval fake.

READ MORE...

Sitting before it in silence in the city’s cathedral, Francis remained with his head bowed in prayer before rising to contemplate up close the linen cloth which bears the faint image of a man who appears to have died by crucifixion.

‘Faces of those who suffer’

Radiocarbon dating in 1989 declared the 14-by-4-foot cloth, which has traces of blood and DNA on it, to be around 700 years old. But if it is a fake, international experts have failed to discover how it was made.

The Church sidesteps the issue by calling the venerated cloth a religious icon.
The shroud “encourages us to consider the faces of everyone who suffers and is unjustly persecuted,” the pontiff said during his Angelus prayer.

In Italy, criminal networks have been preying on refugees, exploiting them to pocket government subsidies, while the northern regions in particular have begun closing their doors to asylum seekers.

Francis warned people not to blame those fleeing war and famine for economic difficulties, insisting that “if immigration increases competition (for jobs), they cannot be blamed because they are victims of injustice… and wars.”

Nor should locals turn their backs on their own poor, elderly and unemployed, he said, pointing out that 10 percent of the region lives in poverty, while 40 percent of young people are jobless and the elderly feel abandoned.

“We are called to say ‘no’ to the idolatry of money,” which pushes people to try by any means to get rich despite the crisis, “without caring for the many getting poorer, sometimes to the point of hunger,” he said.

Back to his roots

The trip will have a special personal element for Francis, who is set to meet members of his extended family for lunch on Monday.

The pope’s grandfather Giovanni Bergoglio and grandmother Rosa Margherita Vasallo lived in Turin before moving to Buenos Aires in 1929 when their son, Francis’s father Mario, was 20 years old.

During a Mass in the city’s vast Vittorio Square, the Argentine’s voice caught with emotion when he cited verses by Nino Costa from the poem Rassa Nostrana–which speaks of Piedmontese people who emigrate–which were taught to him by his grandmother in the local dialect.

His prayers for “this blessed land, of which I am a grandson” were met by huge cheers from the 60,000 or so faithful present, many of whom whooped with excitement as Francis set off around the square in his open-topped pope mobile.

The pontiff is expected to meet with disabled people and the young before the end of the day, while Monday will be largely dedicated to visiting his relatives.–Jean-Louis De La Vaissiere/Ella Ide in Rome


CNN (RELIGION)

The Pope's 10 commandments on climate change By Daniel Burke, CNN Religion Editor Updated 2:54 PM ET, Thu June 18, 2015 | Video Source: CNN

(CNN)Pope Francis released a sweeping statement about the environment on Thursday, calling for "cultural revolution" to change our lifestyles -- from our addiction to technology to our treatment of the poor.

The document is very long -- 184 pages in English. But here are 10 quick commandments the Pope says everybody can follow to stop the "disturbing warming" of our planet.

1. Think of future generations.

2. Embrace alternative energy sources.

3. Consider pollution's effect on the poor.

4. Take the bus!

5. Be humble.

6. Don't become a slave to your phone.

7. Don't trade online relationships for real ones.

8. Turn off the lights, recycle and don't waste food.

9. Educate yourself.

10. Believe you can make a difference.


AMERICAN CATHOLIC DOT ORG

St. Francis of Assisi: Why He's the Patron of Ecology Photo story by Jack Wintz, O.F.M.


Seated on “Sister Earth,” near San Damiano, a bronze Francis contemplates “Brother Sun” as he looks out over the plain below Assisi toward Little Portion.

The saint who composed the Canticle of the Creatures, preached to the birds and prayed in the woods can teach us about caring for creation.

PERHAPS THE MOST popular sculptured image of Francis of Assisi is that of the bearded little man standing on a birdbath.

This figure is so universal that you can find it as readily in an Episcopalian’s backyard or a Buddhist prayer garden as at a Franciscan retreat center.

READ MORE...

To those who complain, “This birdbath art is too lowbrow and sentimental!” I say, “Relax, it’s not always inferior art. Besides, Francis belongs to the popular arts (e.g., key chains, fridge magnets and the like), as well as to the fine arts.”

To set Francis on a birdbath or in a flower garden or to depict him with birds circling his head is simply a popular way of saying, “This man had a special link with all God’s creatures, and it’s just like him to be standing there humbly among them.”

Francis was in awe of the swallow, the cricket and the wolf. “Where the modern cynic sees something ‘buglike’ in everything that exists,” observed the German writer-philosopher Max Scheler, “St. Francis saw even in a bug the sacredness of life.”

Another reason Francis should remain on the birdbath or in the garden is that his being there helps us recognize, as Francis himself did, that the world of God and the world of nature are one.

Francis did not build an artificial wall between the natural world and the supernatural, the secular and the sacred.


PHILSTAR

US to abandon Chinese-owned Waldorf-Astoria at UN assembly By AP (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 20, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


UN logo

WASHINGTON – The US State Department will abandon decades of tradition this fall at the annual UN General Assembly by setting up shop in a hotel other than New York’s Waldorf-Astoria, which was purchased last year by a Chinese company.

Officials said Wednesday the department would base its UN operations at the New York Palace Hotel instead of the famed Waldorf. The officials did not give a reason for the switch, which will affect hundreds of American diplomats and support staff who travel to New York for the General Assembly each September and usually stay and hold meetings on two secured floors at the Waldorf.

However, officials pointed to Hilton Worldwide’s sale of the Waldorf-Astoria to China’s Beijing-based Anbang Insurance Group for $1.95 billion last year, a deal that prompted security concerns. Terms of the sale allow Hilton to run the hotel for the next 100 years but also call for “a major renovation” that officials say has raised eyebrows in Washington, where fears of Chinese eavesdropping and cyber-espionage run high.


The Waldorf Astoria in New York City

The US suspects China-linked hackers were behind a recent massive breach of federal personnel records that compromised the data of millions of government workers.

READ MORE...

Both the White House and the State Department declined to comment on the hotel choice for the UN General Assembly.

READ MORE....

At the time of the October 2014 sale, officials said it could have implications for the US government’s longstanding relationship with the hotel. They said decisions about the relationship would be made on cost, Anbang’s plans, the government’s needs and security concerns with an eye on the renovation project.

The State Department routinely warns US diplomats in China about physical and electronic surveillance and tells American citizens in the country to be aware of similar risks, notably in hotels.

“Hotel rooms (including meeting rooms), offices, cars, taxis, telephones, Internet usage and fax machines may be monitored onsite or remotely, and personal possessions in hotel rooms, including computers, may be searched without your consent or knowledge,” the department’s travel advice for China says.

“Business travelers should be particularly mindful that trade secrets, negotiating positions and other business-sensitive information may be taken and shared with local interests,” it says.


Lobby at The New York Palace Hotel

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FLASHBACK FROM THE GUARDIAN (UK) OCTOBER 2014

New York's Waldorf Astoria hotel sold to Chinese company for nearly $2bn Jessica Glenza in New York @JessicaGlenza Monday 6 October 2014 16.19 BST Last modified on Monday 6 October 2014 22.09 BST


Debutantes and their escorts fill the dance floor of the Grand Ballroom at New York’s famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

Arbang Insurance Group snatches up glamorous New York City hotel but Hilton will continue to manage it for the next 100 years waldorf astoria.

A Chinese insurance company is buying one New York’s most glamorous hotels – the Waldorf Astoria in midtown Manhattan.

Anbang Insurance Group Co Ltd is purchasing the Waldorf for $1.95bn from a subsidiary of Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. Anbang will pay Hilton a $100m deposit, and is expected to pay off the hotel’s $525m mortgage as part of the deal. Hilton will continue to manage the hotel for the next 100 years.

“We are very excited to be entering into this long-term relationship with Anbang, which will ensure that the Waldorf Astoria New York represents the brand’s world-class standards for generations to come,” said Christopher J Nassetta, Hilton Worldwide CEO.

The new owners are slated to renovate of the Art Deco building, restoring it to its “historic grandeur”. The 60,000 square foot hotel was opened in 1931, in its second location. The hotel was first was built before the turn of the century on what is now the site of the Empire State building. The Waldorf was famously called “the greatest of them all” by Conrad Hilton, founder of the Hilton hotel company.

Hilton purchased the Waldorf in 1949. In December, Hilton raised $2.35bn in the largest ever initial public offering by a hotel company. The majority of Hilton is now owned by Blackstone Group LP, a private equity firm. Hilton plans to use cash from the Waldorf’s sale to buy more hotels across the US, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Closing is scheduled for New Year’s Eve, though it could take until 31 March 2015 to finalize the sale.

Andang is a Beijing-based life, health and property insurance company with 20 million customers and 30,000 employees, according to a Hilton press release. The company has $113bn in assets.

More than 4,200 properties in 93 countries are under the Hilton company’s control. Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts is a subsidiary of Hilton that owns the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York. The subsidiary owns another 27 hotels around the world.

•This story was amended on 6 October to correct that Hilton purchased the Waldorf in 1949.


PHILSTAR

China releases photos of projects on Fiery Cross Reef By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated June 20, 2015 - 11:45am 9 734 googleplus5 0


Screengrab of some photos released on Chinese online news site Sina.com showing activities in the reclaimed area on Fiery Cross (Kagitingan) Reef in the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea. Sina sources most of its content from state-owned media companies Xinhua and People's Daily.

MANILA, Philippines — A Chinese website has released photos from the Fiery Cross (Kagitingan) Reef showing vegetable gardens, animals and female soldiers in an apparent effort to brush off criticisms against its reclamation projects in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

A slideshow with 17 photos showing China's facilities and activities in the reef was uploaded by online media company sina.com.cn a few days after the Philippines launched a documentary about the West Philippine Sea dispute.

The website described as "gratifying" the results of construction efforts on Fiery Cross, which China calls Yongshu Reef.

Fiery Cross is part of the disputed Spratlys archipelago and is one of the sites of China's much-criticized reclamation projects. China is also building structures on Panganiban (Mischief), Zamora (Subi), Kennan (Chigua), Mabini (Johnson South), Burgos (Gaven) and Calderon (Cuarteron) Reefs, areas that are also being claimed by the Philippines.

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The slideshow showed photos of fruit trees, flowers, vegetable greenhouses, fat pigs in a sty and a dog. Other photos showed Chinese uniformed personnel watering plants and female soldiers posing in front of markers and break walls.

The slide show, however, did not have photos of military structures and radar that were captured in recent satellite photos.

The photos were released amid concerns that China is militarizing the West Philippine Sea to assert its dominance in maritime area, one of the world's busiest sea lanes.

The Philippines has slammed China's reclamation, saying it is causing "irreversible and widespread damage to the biodiversity and ecological balance of the sea.

The Philippine government claimed that the Chinese activities have destroyed 300 acres of coral reef systems and has led to yearly economic losses worth $100 million.

The international community, including the industrialized countries that constitute the G7, have opposed the reclamation and have called for rules-based order in the South China Sea.

China, however, insists that the construction projects are being conducted in its territory. It also claimed that the projects are for scientific research and search and rescue operations.

Chinese officials recently said the reclamation would be completed in a few days.


INQUIRER

Filipino cuisine is world’s 2nd best–CNN poll SHARES: 92 VIEW COMMENTS By: Yuji Vincent Gonzales @inquirerdotnet INQUIRER.net 05:24 PM June 16th, 2015


No. 2 Philippines: 1,526 votes (FB users)-- This version of Filipino fave adobo was created by Chef Claude Tayag who is credited with exporting awareness of his country's cuisine to the world. (Cropped) Screengrab from CNN.com

CNN features the Philippines’ adobo in its listing of best food destinations in the world.

In the same manner that “a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” the way to get to know a nation’s culture better is through its cuisine.

This was CNN’s message in its latest listing of culinary hotspots, where the Philippines was hailed the second best food destination in the world.

Garnering a total of 1,528 votes from Facebook users, Filipino cuisine ranked behind topnotcher Taiwan, which recorded 8,242 votes.

“Blessed with an abundance of seafood, tropical fruits and creative cooks, there’s more to Filipino food than the mind-boggling balut (duck embryo),” CNN said in its report on Monday.

The CNN report highlighted the world-famous adobo, which it said was originally Mexican that Filipinos devised as a cooking method.

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“Adobo, for instance, is an ubiquitous dish whipped up in every household in the Philippines. It’s Mexican in origin, but Filipinos found that cooking meat (often chicken and pork) in vinegar, salt, garlic, pepper, soy sauce and other spices, was a practical way to preserve meat without refrigeration,” the report said.

CNN also cited festival mainstay lechon or roasted pig: “Lechon, meanwhile, is the Philippines’ most popular party guest.

An entire pig is spit-roasted over coals, with the crisp, golden-brown skin served with liver sauce, the most coveted part.”

Among other featured dishes from other countries were Taiwan’s famous beef noodles, Italy’s parmigiano-reggiano, Thailand’s fried chicken, Japan’s Kobe beef sushi, Hong Kong’s steamed soup dumplings, India’s Bengali food platter, Greece’s skewers of grilled kebab on pita bread, and Vietnam’s cruncy spring rolls.

Eight of ten countries in the list are from Asia.

“Filipino food isn’t as well known as the other cuisines on this list, but with more than 7,000 islands and a colorful history, this archipelago has some delicious dishes of its own,” the news website added. RC


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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