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Pope Francis

Nicolás Maduro meets with the pope in surprise visit to Rome

October 24, 2016. Pope Francis met with Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro. The private visit took place in the midst of the "worrysome political, social, and economic situation the country is going through, which is having serious repercussins in the daily life of the people,” according to a statement from the Vatican.

Holy See and Vietnam begin their 6th bilateral meeting today

October 24, 2016. The sixth meeting between the Holy See and a delegation of Vietnam begins today to improve relations between the two states. The Vatican delegation is headed by Antoine Camilleri, while the head of the Vietnamese delegation is Bui Thanh Son, with Foreign Affairs. The last meeting between the two state delegations was in September 2014.
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:

Egypt refuses to recognize Muslim born, Christian converts


Gregor Puppnick
European Center for Law and Justice

“He’s in hiding, and his family is in danger he’s not allowed to leave his country.”

Mr. Hegazy was born a Muslim in Egypt, but when he turned 16 he turned to Christianity. One of thousands of Muslim born Christian converts in Egypt. The country’s constitution recognizes religious freedom, but the government only allows one way conversions. From Christianity to Islam, not the other way around.  Mr. Hagazy was the first to seek that recognition by taking his case to the Egyptian courts, but in 2008 the courts ruled against him.

Since then, Gregor Puppnick of the European Center for Law and Justice, - Mr. Hegazy’s attorney-, says his client hasn’t been allowed to leave the country. He’s been detained and tortured.

Gregor Puppnick
European Center for Law and Justice

”Today he’s running he’s in hiding he’s had two death threats, his house and family has been attacked he went to jail. 421 he said himself his stay in jail was like a concentration camp with the Nazis.”

So, Mr. Puppnick has sent an urgent appeal to the U.N to launch an inquiry of the state of religious freedom in Egypt, which will put Egypt’s conversion laws into the spotlights. Puppnick hopes it will pave the way for the government to recognize Christian converts.

Gregor Puppnick
European Center for Law and Justice

“We hope to gain the freedom of Christians in Egypt to live freely as Christians.”

Currently there are 10 million Christians in Egypt the majority are Coptic Orthodox. But given increasing Muslim Christian tensions, the numbers are dwindling.

Gregor Puppnick
European Center for Law and Justice
“Like in many countries in the Middle East the radical Islam tries to reduce the number of Christians, and they’re trying to get them to leave the country. The way they try to get them to leave the country is threatening them and sometimes violent killing.”

This June the Human Rights Council will consider, discuss and vote on the findings of Egypt’s conversion laws.

Laws that are keeping Mr.Hegazy’s out of the spotlight and his identity at the center of a long struggle.