Pope Francis Condemns the Death of George Floyd

Pope Francis is speaking out against racism…

During a speech from the Vatican on Wednesday, the 83-year-old Argentine pontiff and leader of the Catholic Church, whose full name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio, condemned the death of George Floyd

Pope Francis

He directly addressed “brothers and sisters in the United States,” saying he has “witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days,” following the officer-involved death of Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minnesota.

“My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life,” he said. “At the same time, we have to recognize that the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating.”

Floyd died in policy custody last week after a white officer knelt on his neck, sparking protests across the United States – most of them peaceful. Some demonstrations have turned violent and looting has been seen in cities nationwide. 

The Pope said nothing is gained by violence and much is lost. 

He also lead a prayer for Floyd “and of all those others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism.”

“Let us pray for the consolation of their grieving families and friends and let us implore the national reconciliation and peace for which we yearn. May Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America, intercede for all those who work for peace and justice in your land and throughout the world. May God bless all of you and your families,” he prayed.

Lionel Messi Makes YouGov’s List of the World’s Most Admired Men

The world looks up to Lionel Messi

YouGov has released its annual study detailing which public figures the public looks up to, and the 32-year-old Argentine professional footballer has made the list.

Lionel Messi

Messi, a five-time Ballon d’Or awards winner who is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, comes in at No. 9 on YouGov’s World’s Most Admiredlist of men.

But Messi isn’t the only Latino to make the cut…

Pope Francis comes in at No. 15 on YouGov’s global list of the World’s Most Admired men.

But that’s not all. The 82-year-old Argentine pontiff, the head of the Catholic Churchand sovereign of the Vatican CityState, also appears on the list of America’s Most Admiredlist of men, coming in at No. 9.

He’s actually the only Latino in the Top 10 on the list America’s Most Admired men orwomen.

This year the study expanded to cover the views of people in 41 countries – the most ever – with more than 42,000 people being interviewed to compile the list.

YouGov's World's Most Admired
YouGov's America's Most Admired

Fernando Meirelles to Direct the Pope Francis-Themed Film “The Pope”

Fernando Meirelles is ready to take you to (Catholic) church…

The 61-year-old Brazilian filmmaker is set to direct Netflix’s feature film The Pope, starring Jonathan Pryce as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis.

Fernando Meirelles

Anthony Hopkins is in talks to play his predecessor Pope Benedict.

Meirelles, best known for helming City of God, will direct the film from a script

by Anthony McCarten, who wrote The Theory of Everything about Stephen Hawking.  McCarten adapted his stage play.

The film tells the story of Pope Benedict’s election, and his subsequent resignation from the papacy. That opened the door for Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Argentinian Cardinal who became the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas and the first Pope from outside Europe since the 8th Century.

The drama conveys his reluctance to take the top post in 2013. His humility and devotion to the poor has made him a galvanizing force for tolerance and change.

Filming will begin November in Argentina.

Hayek to Star Opposite Eugenio Derbez in “How to Be a Latin Lover”

Salma Hayek has a new lover

The 49-year-old Mexican actress has joined the cast of Lionsgate and Pantelion Films’ How to Be a Latin Lover, the comedy that marks Eugenio Derbez’s first English-language starring role.

Salma Hayek

Hayek joins Rob Lowe, Kristen Bell, Raquel Welch, Rob Riggle and McKenna Grace in the film being directed by The State alum and Wet Hot American Summer co-star Ken Marino.

The story, written by Chris Spain and Jon Zack, is about an aging Latin lover forced to return to live with his estranged sister and her young son after being dumped by his sugar mama.

Other actors who have also joined are Renee Taylor, Rob Huebel, Michaela Watkins and Linda Lavin.

Latin Lover is a joint venture between 3Pas Studios, Pantelion Films, Lionsgate and Televisa Cinefrom.

Derbez’s previous collaboration with Pantelion Films, Instructions Not Included, became the highest grossing Spanish-language film released in North America, breaking box office records with a combined domestic and international gross of over $99M.

Hayek, who is a filmmaker as well as an actress, just finished Hitman’s Bodyguard starring opposite Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Gary Oldman.

She was honored only a week ago by Pope Francis with the Olive Medal for her work in the arts, and for the responsible use of her celebrity to promote unity and peace.

Hayek Receives Olive Medal of Peace from Pope Francis

Salma Hayek has been extended a new olive medal…

Pope Francis has honored the 49-year-old Mexican actress, awarding her the Olive Medal of Peace at a Vatican event to promote the Scholas Occurrentes foundation.

Salma Hayek

In addition to Hayek, Richard Gere and George Clooney and Salma Hayek with the Olive Medal of Peace in an event.

Hayek and her fellow honorees have agreed to work as ambassadors for the foundation’s arts projects, said The Hollywood Reporter.

According to its website, Scholas is an International Organization founded in 2013 and operating under the auspices of the Vatican, which “connects technology with arts and sports in order to promote social integration and the culture of encounter for peace.”

Hayek was joined by husband Francois-Henri Pinault and daughter Valentina.

“Important values can be transmitted by celebrities,” said Lorena Bianchetti, an organizer of the event.

Pope Francis Opens Instagram Account

Pope Francis is expanding his social media network…

The 79-year-old Argentine pontiff, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has joined Instagram gaining 325,000 followers in a matter of two hours.

Pope Francis

In his first post on the photo-sharing application, the 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, who holds the username @Franciscus, wrote “I am beginning a new journey, on Instagram, to walk with you along the path of mercy and the tenderness of God I want to walk with you along the way of God’s mercy and tenderness.”

He also shared an image of himself kneeling, bedecked in his white robe with the caption “Pray for me” in nine languages.

Pope Francis

Instagram is the second social media channel that the beloved Catholic leader has joined.

In 2013, Pope Francis took over both the Papacy from Pope Benedict XVI and his Twitter account (@Pontifex), which has 8.89 million followers.

He also shared the news of his most recent account on Twitter, informing his followers, “I am beginning a new journey, on Instagram, to walk with you along the path of mercy and the tenderness of God.”

Pope Francis to Make Cameo Appearance in Faith-Based Film “Beyond the Sun”

Pope Francis is ready for his close-up…

The 79-year-old Argentine pontiff, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is set to appear in the family adventure film Beyond The Sun from AMBI Pictures.

Pope Francis

It’s the first time in cinematic history that the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church will play himself in a big screen feature.

The casting came about after the pope asked the filmmakers to make a movie for children that communicates the message of Jesus.

All profits from the faith-based film will be donated to two charities, El Almendro and Los Hogares de Cristo, which help aid at-risk children and young adults in need, and are located in the Pope Francis’ home country.

The inspirational story of Beyond The Sun is based on the Gospels and told in several tales. It will focus on children from different cultures who emulate the apostles while searching for Jesus in the world around them. The filmmakers say it is intended to “spiritually engage and encourage audiences of all ages to transmit Jesus’ words, to understand them and integrate them to live a better life, make good choices and help others.”

Graciela Rodriguez wrote the screenplay. The producers are currently out to directors.

“Our excitement and gratitude toward His Holiness, Pope Francis participating in this film is beyond words. This is not just a movie for us, it’s a message, and who better to have on your side to deliver an important societal and spiritual message than the Pope… This movie will provide funds to support extremely worthwhile causes that we take very seriously. This message and cause are very dear to the entire AMBI family and we are honored and inspired by the level of collaboration from the Vatican,” says AMBI Group co-founders Andrea Iervolino.

Principal photography is slated to begin in early 2016 in Italy.

Pope Francis to Visit Colombia in 2017

Pope Francis is planning to visit Colombia next year…

The 79-year-old Argentine pontiff, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, will travel to the South American country in 2017, the president of Colombia’s Episcopal Conference, Luis Augusto Castro, announced after meeting with the pontiff at the Vatican.

Pope Francis

“The conclusions (of the meeting) are not so extraordinary but they are certain. The first is that the pope will definitely go to Colombia. He simply reaffirmed his pleasure at visiting us in Colombia,” he said.

He said the second conclusion of the meeting is that the Pope’s visit to the Latin American nation “will only be possible in the first or second quarter” of 2017, because “his agenda this year is full.”

Castro added that “the pope wants to meet with the largest possible number of Colombians who want to hear him and be with him.”

“We’re not going to pick a sanctuary in some little private place. No. He wants to be accessible to the greatest number of Colombians possible,” he told the press.

He added that it is “almost certain” he will visit Quibdo in the western province of Choco.

“He wants to meet with ethnic minorities, with those of African descent. So I believe that is settled. The rest has to be worked out,” said the head of the Episcopal Conference, who is also the archbishop of Tunja.

“The Pope wants to do so much; he told us he also wants to visit other places. He said ‘Brazil is waiting for me and Argentina is yelling.’ But Colombia is the priority,” he laughed.

As for the peace process between the Colombian government and the guerrillas, Castro Quiroga said “the pope is very interested in the matter,” but “the peace process won’t influence his visit.”

Taking part in the papal audience besides Castro were the archbishop of Bogota, Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez; Msgr. Oscar Urbina Ortega, the archbishop of Villavicencio and vice president of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia; and the secretary general of the conference, Jose Daniel Falla Robles, bishop of Calama and auxiliary bishop of Cali.

Juanes to Perform for Pope Francis at World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia

Juanes is about to have an experiencia religiosa

The 42-year-old Colombian superstar will perform for Pope Francis as part of the World Meeting of Families on September 26.

Juanes

The event, which takes place every three years, will mark the first time Pope Francis visits the United States during his papacy.

Juanes joins a roster that includes Andrea Bocelli and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

“Our most important mission in this voyage of life is learning how to love, and what better way to do it than through family,” said Juanes. “I’m deeply honored to sing for Pope Francis.”

The World Meeting of Families is a triennial event that seeks to strengthen family bonds globally. In choosing who would perform at the Festival, the notion was to “bring together performers that represented the world,” said executive director Donna Crilley Farrell.

Performing for the pope has been a big goal for many acts through the years, particularly acts from predominantly Catholic Latin America.
Those who’ve performed for popes in recent memory include Gloria Estefan (for Pope John Paul II in 1995), Argentina’s Diego Torres (In 2003 for John Paul II) and Mexico’s Lucero (also for Pope John Paul II in 1997).

Last year, Argentine Martina Sotessel, who plays Violetta in the popular music-minded Argentine soap opera, sang for Pope Francis in Rome.

Pope Francis is the Subject of an Upcoming Biopic

It may be easy to learn more about Pope Francis’ story without flipping a single page…

Entitled Llamenme Francisco, an upcoming biopic is currently being filmed in Buenos Aires. It will trace the life of Jorge Mario Bergoglio from his youth in the Argentine capital all the to his election as Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Pope Francis
“We want to tell the human journey of this man who today is the greatest spiritual leader of our time,” Italian director Daniele Luchetti said during the presentation of the project.

Llamenme Francesco begins in 1963 with Bergoglio in his late 20s, depicts his life during turbulent times in Argentina, including the 1976-1983 military dictatorship and the country’s devastating 1998-2002 economic depression, and charts his rise to archbishop of Buenos Aires and eventually the papacy.

The Spanish-language film will look back at Bergoglio’s youth, showing “his path, his doubts, his mistakes, his strong points,” Luchetti said.

Rodrigo De la Serna, an Argentine actor best known for his role as Alberto Granado, future revolutionary Che Guevara’s traveling companion, in The Motorcycle Diaries, will star as the young Bergoglio in what he calls a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Argentine actress Mercedes Moran, for her part, will portray Esther Ballestrino, an exiled Paraguayan communist who – despite their differences – strikes up a friendship with Bergoglio during the dictatorship.

“The figure of the pope takes on a very human and very real dimension, and the film provides … a look at a really special historical period for us,” Moran said.

Chilean actor Sergio Hernandez, who depicts Bergoglio in the latter stages of the film, said his role is “a really big challenge.”

Argentina’s Martin Salinas wrote the screenplay, which is based on the bestselling book Francisco. El Papa de la gente by his countrywoman, journalist Evangelina Himitian.