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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.

Colombian motorcyclists vist the Pope to ask for the release of hostages


Pope Benedict XVI
“I extend a warm greeting to the Spanish-speaking visitors here today, in particular to the faithful from Colombia.”

Juan Gomez Martinez
Colombian Ambassador to the Holy See

“We asked the Holy Father to greet the motorists that traveled through Spain, France and now Italy to ask the Lord for the liberation of all the hostages around the world.”

One hundred forty motorists made up the caravan. The idea came from a Colombian that’s become the voice of hostages and their families.

Erbin Hoyos

“A few years back I was driving through the streets of Colombia with a group of handicapped men in wheelchairs that were also asking for the liberty of those captured. When I saw them in their wheelchairs putting that superhuman effort forward, crossing the mountains of Colombia, asking for the liberty of the hostages I said, ‘How is it possible that we haven’t done anything with these great motorcycles?’”

In Colombia there are more than 3,000 civilians and 23 military personel being held hostage by the FARC for some 11 years. Twenty three other countries including Mexico, Iraq and Chechnya also have their share of hostages.

Jenny Stefany Mendieta Paredes
Daughter of a general held hostage

“There are people dying that are tied to trees that no one thinks about. No one thinks about the torture of being held captive that still exists. We have to get these people to freedom because they are dying on us.”

Raimundo Malagon Castellanos
Captain of the Colombian Military

“I was held hostage in a region far from my hometown, in a small village in the south of Colombia for ten long years, suffering the torture of captivity. I had precarious difficulties: the circumstances in which the captors keep you, the images that the world sees with barbed wire, the chains, all these things are real. So, you suffered from cruel human treatment, mental torture as well as physical.”

Those who took part in the caravan are asking the international community to become more sensitive to the issue so as to liberate their family members and so no more people are taken hostage. They are living through many years of suffering, waiting for their sons, daughters, parents or brothers to return home. But they still have hope.

Erbin Hoyos

“As long as they’re alive, there is hope that we can free them. The only thing we ask the captors is to keep them alive. We will move Heaven and earth to get them home again.”

The caravan is goin back to Colombia, but they will keep working towards freedom. Their next trip will be to Russia to meet with the patriarch of the Orthodox Church. Then Central America and the United States to meet with President Barack Obama.