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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.”

Middle East patriarchs fight for peace


The Patriarch of Antioch for the Melkite Greek in Syria said that if the international community created Israel then they also must bring peace there.  He noted that peace in the Middle East will contribute to improved relations across the world.

Gregorios Laham III
Patriarch of Antioch of the Melkite Greek (Syria)
"We need to help Israel today for peace. Israel can not make peace because it maintains  dual ideals. One is religious, that Israel is the Promised Land, and they should stay there, and the second is its national ideas."

Gregorios Laham stressed that Jerusalem is the center of faith for Christians, Jews and Muslims. Because of this he suggested that the political capital be moved to another city.

For his part, the Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt, said both the Churches and governments are doing everything possible to end the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Antonios Naguib
Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts (Egypt)
"The Holy See, our local churches, the Ecumenical Council of the Middle East and the governments of our countries, especially in Egypt, are doing everything to bring the two parties together to consider the positive aspects of their people and have the courage to make difficult decisions to achieve a just and lasting peace."

The patriarchs also spoke of religious freedom in the Middle East.

Gregorios Laham III said that Saudi Arabia is the only country with no freedom of worship. In addition, the Patriarch Naguib said there is still no freedom of conscience in the Middle East.

Gregorios Laham III
Patriarch of Antioch of the Melkite Greek (Syria)
"There is freedom of worship throughout the Arab world except Saudi Arabia. All at different levels, because the situation in Lebanon is different from Syria, Jordan or Egypt. "

Antonios Naguib
Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts (Egypt)

"Freedom of religion is generally secured, but freedom of conscience is much less secure. For this reason the Synod emphasized the importance of adapting to freedom, respect for the freedom of others and to overcome religious interests in favor of greater justice and equality. "

The Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians and Lebanese said that religious freedom must be guaranteed to all minorities living in the Middle East.

Youssif Ignace Younan III
Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians (Lebanon)
"The majority religion should allow religious freedom, especially that of conscience, for all minority religions, not just Christians."

All patriarchs have said that in recent years relations have improved with Muslims, and they are increasingly willing to talk. This is an important start to reach the desired peace in the Middle East.