In historic speech, Pope Francis focuses on dignity of human life
By Tracy Jan and Lisa Wangsness
SEPTEMBER 24, 2015
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis, speaking to the Congress on Thursday, challenged lawmakers to use their power to protect the world’s most vulnerable people, … Invoking the golden rule he said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
The pontiff urged the United States to open its arms to refugees fleeing strife, as well as to those seeking to cross borders for better economic opportunity….”Americans, he said, should not be “fearful of foreigners.”
“In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities.”
Francis said. “The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.”
And of the family he could not hide his concern. “The family is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family….’
And finally, he said, “we need to prevent violent conflict, hatred, and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. [For] No one religion is immune to fundamentalism and everyone must be attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind.”
Hajj stampede near Mecca leaves more than 700 dead
By Ben Hubbard
SEPTEMBER 25, 2015
(Saudi emergency workers lined up the bodies of some of those who died in a stampede during their Hajj pilgrimage.)
BEIRUT — In streaming ribbons of white, great masses of Muslim pilgrims made their way between cities of air-conditioned tents toward the next stop on their holy tour of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Then something went disastrously wrong, trapping the crowds in narrow streets, touching off a mass panic and crushing stampede that left the asphalt covered with lost sandals, crumpled wheelchairs, and piles of white-robed bodies.
It was the deadliest accident during the hajj pilgrimage in a quarter-century, with at least 717 pilgrims from around the world killed and more than 860 injured. And it posed yet another challenge for the country’s new leader, King Salman, who is already facing low oil prices, a war in Yemen, and an increasingly fierce rivalry with Iran.
Khalid Saleh, a Saudi government employee who rushed to the site when he heard screams and sirens, said he had found “huge numbers of people on the ground either dying or injured.”
Major General Mansour al-Turki, a spokesman for the Saudi Interior Ministry, told reporters that large groups of pilgrims had run into each other and started shoving, causing the stampede, which was exacerbated by heat and fatigue.