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Pope Francis

Pope to award 2016 Ratzinger Prize to Inos Biffi and Ioannis Kourempeles

October 20, 2016. The winners of this year's Ratzinger Prize will be Inos Biffi and Ioannis Kourempeles. The former, an Italian priest, is an expert in Systematic Theology and History of Medieval Theology. The latter is Greek and an Orthodox. He is an expert in History of Dogmas and Dogmatic Theology. He will be the first Orthodox to be awarded the prize given by the Joseph Ratzinger Foundation, considered by many the Nobel Prize of Theology.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis sends his condolences to Thais after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej

October 14, 2016. Pope Francis has sent a message to the Prime Minister of Thailand to express his condolences for the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He was 88 years old, and his reign spanned seven decades. Pope Francis said he is "deeply saddened” and he expresses his closeness to the members of the royal family and the Thai people.
Pope Francis

Pope sends 100,000 dollars for Hurricane Matthew victims

October 14, 2016. Through the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", Pope Francis will send $100,000 to the victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. The money will fund relief efforts in the first stages of recovery after the devastating effects of the hurricane. With this gesture, the pope wants to express his "closeness of spirit and fatherly support” to everyone in the affected area.
Pope Francis

Pope authorizes new decrees of heroic virtues for four potential saints

October 11, 2016. Pope Francis authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree of heroic virtues to four people, who are being investigated by the Church for possible sainthood. The decrees were given to the following "Servants of God:”
Pope Francis

Pope Francis rejects death penalty on Twitter: #NoDeathPenalty

October 10, 2016. The Pope has has given his support via Twitter to the World Day Against the Death Penalty. The following message can be read in each of his nine accounts, in their respective languages: "Punishment should necessarily include hope! #NoDeathPenalty.”
Pope Francis

Pope Francis announces Synod about youth and vocation

October 6, 2016. It will be held in 2018 under the name "Youth, faith, and vocational discernment.” Preparations for the second Synod of bishops convened by Pope Francis are well underway.

Theme chosen for 2017 World Communications Day

September 29, 2016. The theme for the 2017 World Communications Day has officially been announced. Coming from the book of Isiah, the theme is: "Fear not, for I am with you: communicating hope and trust in our time.”
Pope Francis

Pope will not be able to travel to Israel on Friday to attend the funeral of Shimon Peres

September 28, 2016. Despite the rumors that Pope Francis will travel to Israel to attend Shimon Peres funeral, the Vatican has issued a statement officially announcing a confirmation for the pope's scheduled visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan will remain as planned on Friday. The pope spoke warmly about the former leader and sent out a telegram of condolences:
Pope Francis

Pope's schedule during his trip to Sweden

September 27, 2016. Pope Francis will travel to Sweden next October 31 and November 1, for the occasion of the Lutheran–Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation.This will be the 17th trip of his pontificate.

Third priest found dead in Mexico

September 26, 2016.Mexican priest, Alfredo Lopez Guillen, was found dead this weekend on a rural road about 350 km east of Mexico City, after being allegedly abducted and assaulted in his parish on Monday September 19. This is the third case of violence against priests in Mexico in just one week. On Monday, September 19, Fr. Nabor Jiménez and Fr. José Alfredo Juarez were also kidnapped in the church of Our Lady of Fatima. Hours later they found them lifeless in a ditch in Poza Rica, Veracruz. The Catholic Church wants clarification on the murders, because it is not yet known who could be the alleged perpetrators.
Pope Francis

Holy See adopts UN Convention against Corruption

September 23, 2016. Pope Francis has asked the Vatican to be exemplary in the fight against corruption and meet the set international standards in this regard. Therefore, the Secretary of State has announced that the Holy See will conform to the Merida Convention against Corruption. This requires countries to implement anti-corruption measures concerning its laws, institutions and practices. From now on, the Roman Curia and the Vatican City State will review its administrative procedures to align them to the standards set by the Convention. Through this compliance, the Vatican says it hopes to contribute to increased transparency and proper management of public affairs in the international community.

The rehabilitation of child soldiers is possible


Grace Akallo
Former child soldier (Uganda)

I stayed in captivity for seven months. I was trying to be a soldier, I was giving as a wife to a commando but after seven months I escaped from Sudan , back to Uganda and I get money to back to school. Now I’m doing my master in international development.

Children were often kidnapped in the streets on their way to school, in class or on their way back home. Other times, captors bomb attacked schools and hospitals, and abducted them. This is how they become “child soldiers”. 

Some managed to escape from the armed groups. However, their families and friends often rejected them because they had become just like adult guerrilla fighters. They slept on the streets and would walk 10 kilometers daily searching for food or a safe place to stay.

Given the dramatic situation, many are trying to offer assistance. They include governments and especially Catholic groups like the Santa Monica Center, supported by the Community of St. Egidio.

Rosemary Nyerumbe
Director, Santa Monica Center (Uganda)
They have to walk, every day. Some are walking more than three kilometres to run away from the own homes, to run away from the own parents to look for security because they will be adapted by the revolts. The situation was over whelming the painful to see hungry children who was sleeping on the floor in the cold sometimes when it’s raining.

Radhika Coomaraswamy
Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict

On the one hand we are trying to punish those who recluse children, who have the tortures. On the other hand we are  trying to build up resources and collected fans to trying up popular programs to rehabilitee an reintegrate these child soldiers backing to their communities.

That’s why in the midst of this horror story there’s still hope. Stories like that of Grace Akallo show that with the right help, these children can be reintegrated into society.

According to Grace, who arrived at the community of Santa Monica in 1996, children especially need to be loved. Safety and education are other important factors. For Grace it is essential to help them reconcile with themselves and encourage society to accept them and give them a second chance.

Grace Akallo
Former child soldier (Uganda)
Most of the organizations says: because they are a lost generation, just keep them in a work site but these children they will be leaders on the future, and leaders of the society.

Most child soldiers are found in countries such as Uganda, Burundi, Ivory Coast, the Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Somalia. Worldwide there are more than 300,000 child soldiers. Those who escape often seek that second chance in life that can help them recover and even become lawyers, executives, doctors and architects to contribute to a new society marked by peace.