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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:
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.

Religious Freedom is major concern at the Vatican


The countries are: Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Uzbekistán, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Vietnam.

The Holy See’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is very much aware of this list and is working to promote religious freedom in these countries and others by engaging in action-oriented studies, social teachings and dialogue.

Msgr. Anthony Frontiero of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace says he believes freedom of religion is the second most important right, after the right to life, and that it is a fundamental human right.

Msgr. Anthony Frontiero
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
“We share the concern of every nation where religious freedom is deprived, institutionally or even just because of certain factions. It’s very well known that we are concerned about problems with Christians in the Holy Land right now. The Christians there are being persecuted and many of them are leaving just to be able to live in safety.”

Several religious men and women worldwide face suppression and violence because of their beliefs. The Church has seen an increase in restrictions on people practicing their faith in public.

Msgr. Frontiero says even developed countries such as the United States face this issue.

Msgr. Anthony Frontiero
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

“We’re seeing now this new surge of an attitude that says well we believe in freedom from religion where religion is being marginalized. We’re being told you can believe in anything as long as you keep it to yourself. Where the voice of religion in the public square is being pushed aside.”

The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace works towards human rights with others such as the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

While international organizations play a big role in securing rights, Msgr. Frontiero says Catholics can also help by promoting religious freedom daily.

Msgr. Anthony Frontiero
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

“If we but have the courage to step out of this notion that our faith is just so private, that it has nothing to say to the quote unquote real world, if we can step out of that mentality and as our Lord said put out into the deep and recognize that our witness in Christ and our belief in Him is meant for all.”

While religious freedom enables the Church to evangelize, Msgr. Frontiero says no matter the faith, religious freedom can help all of us.

Msgr. Anthony Frontiero
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

“When religions are rescued from ideological distortions and are allowed and enabled to articulate and embrace the authentic values, the spiritual values and human values of these traditions and beliefs, then the world is a better place.”

He also says religion offers a spiritual unity and solidarity that helps us understand one another and compels us to work for justice and the common good.