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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.”

Benedict XVI’s long battle against sex abuse in the Church


Before the year 2001, dioceses were the ones in charge of investigating sex abuse by members of the clergy, not the Vatican. Sometimes, this caused delays and in the end the internal process was slow and produced little results.

As a solution, in 2001, John Paul II assigned the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to investigate all sex abuse allegations. Then, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was the main person supervising sex abuse clean up in the Church.

Ratzinger was criticized at the time for taking quick action against priests in the cases where the evidence was all too clear. In other words, he dismissed those priests without a trial. Since then, this direct punishment rule has been applied to 60% of all 3,000 cases that have reached the Vatican. In fact only 20% of all cases have gone to trial because 10% of priests were immediately dismissed and another 10% resigned.

According to Allen, once pope, Joseph Ratzinger decided one of his priorities was to put a stop to sex abuse.

Even though he faced resistance, during the first year of his pontificate, he condemned two high-profile priests for sex abuse. One of them was Gino Burresi, an Italian priest and founder of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, the other was Marcial Maciel, the Mexican priest and founder the Legionaries of Christ.

Benedict XVI is also the first pope to meet with victims of sex abuse. The first time was in 2008 during a trip to the U.S; followed by another meeting in Australia a couple of months later.

He is also the first pope in history who has confronted clerical sex abuse with a special document: a pastoral letter addressed to Catholics in Ireland in May 2010. In it, the pope said eh felt betrayed by the bishops. The international media praised the letter.

John Allen explains that the sex abuse crisis has two aspects: the priests who committed the crimes; and the bishops covering for them. In his opinion, Benedict XVI policy has lead to a decrease in the number of abuse cases. But there’s still room for more action and measures against bishops who over the years have ignored the norms of the Church.