The Vatican has announced 5 saints to be canonized this year, including the Missionaries of Charity foundress.
After attributing a second miracle to Mother Teresa in December, Pope Francis has set September 4, 2016 as her official date to be canonized as a saint.
During her life, Mother Teresa worked tirelessly, living among and caring for the poor in Calcutta, India. She made it her mission to serve “all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared-for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone.” Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her efforts.
Her canonization comes 13 years after her beatification and just 19 years after her death, making her one of the quickest to become a recognized saint.
Pope Francis encouraged interfaith dialogue during his visit to Turkey on Friday, November 28. A predominantly Muslim country, Turkey’s perception of the papacy was darkened when Francis’ predecessor called Islam “evil and inhuman.”
Francis not only worked to amend old animosities, but to strengthen relations between peaceful Christians and Muslims to present a united front against ISIS. The radical group currently encroaches across Turkey’s Southern borders with Iraq and Syria.
“Interreligious and intercultural dialogue can make an important contribution to attaining this lofty and urgent goal, so that there will be an end to all forms of fundamentalism and terrorism, which gravely demean the dignity of every man and woman and exploit religion,” the pope said in a televised speech from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s presidential palace.
“Fanaticism and fundamentalism, as well as irrational fears, which foster misunderstanding and discrimination, need to be countered by the solidarity of all believers,” he said.
The pope argued that military response will not be enough to stop ISIS and protect Christians and religious minorities currently in danger.
“In Syria and Iraq, particularly, terrorist violence shows no signs of abating,” the pope said. “In reaffirming that it is licit, while always respecting the international law, to stop an unjust aggressor, I wish to reiterate, moreover, that the problem cannot be resolved solely through a military response.”
Pope Francis called on the international community to address its “moral obligation” to assist Turkey in sheltering displaced refugees. An American-led coalition is currently fighting ISIS militants threatening the country’s borders.
President Erdogan hoped the pope’s visit would inspire new communications between Christians and Muslims.
“We sadly witness Muslims being associated with terror in the Western world, and in the Muslim world, we regret violent attitudes toward Christians,” Erdogan said.
Amidst last week’s progressive announcement that evolution and the Big Bang Theory are compatible with intelligent design, Pope Francis held firm in his conservative pro-life position.
Known as a reformer of traditional religious ideology, Francis previously challenged views on poverty, interfaith relations, and church formality. Nonetheless, he voiced his strong pro-life viewpoint last week.
The pope told the International Association of Penal Law that “all Christians and people of goodwill” should advocate for “the abolition of the death penalty be it legal or illegal, in all of its forms.”
This statement came days after Pope Francis declared that the theories of evolution and the Big Bang are not incompatible with Christianity. In fact, according to Francis, the scientific theory of evolution necessitates divine intervention.
“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” Francis said at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
“The beginning of the world is not the work of chaos that owes its origins to something else, but it derives directly from a supreme principle that creates out of love,” he said. “The Big Bang, that today is considered to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the creative intervention of God; on the contrary it requires it. Evolution in nature is not in contrast with the notion of divine creation.”
Francis’s comments build on the progressive views of his predecessors, Pope Pius XII and John Paul II.