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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 Vatican prepares new measures to combat sex abuse


The measures will be part of the Church’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy on sex abuse.

The goal is to implement the norms adopted by the Catholic Church in the U.S. in 2002, world wide. Those measures have been credited with decreasing the number of new sex abuse cases. They’ve also helped to teach 6 million students how to recognize and report abuse and are the reason why anyone who works with children in the Church must go through a background check first.

Similar measures have been implemented in the United Kingdom and will soon be adopted in Germany and Austria.

According to the Italian press, Archbishop Luis Ladaria, the Secretary for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, is in charge of crafting the new rules. The new rules will include a fast path to defrock priests guilty of abuse.

The rules will also include temporarily suspending priests who are under investigation. Reporting cases to law enforcement will also be mandatory along with the handing over of any documents needed for the investigation.

But unlike civil law, the Church will not establish a statue of limitations, therefore guilty priests can be punished even after many years have gone by since they committed the crimes.

But to get to the root of the problem, seminarians will face a more rigorous screening process which will include psychological tests on their affectivity and human maturity.

The new measures are also intended for all Episcopal conferences to take responsibility in preventing and combating abuse.

The Vatican will be in charge of making sure all bishops follow the rules, and for those who cover up cases or don’t implement the rules in a timely manner, they will be held accountable.

The new rules will be an addition to the ones that are already in place to fight sex abuse. Currently the disciplinary department of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is in charge of investigating severe cases, but the department is only made up of 10 people.

Over the last 9 years, they’ve looked into 3,000 cases involving priests who allegedly committed crimes during the last 50 years.

While the clean up in the Church is moving forward, the number of reported cases is declining. In the past two years, 250 cases were reported annually world wide. But there could actually be more since the disciplinary department says in some countries like Italy, a “culture of silence” still exists. A culture, the Church hopes fades into history.