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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.

Church Up Close: Seminar gives Journalists a crash course in covering the Vatican


Fr. John Wauck
Church Up Close,  Pontifical University of the Holy Cross

"What they get is an opportunity to visit the places in Rome where decisions are made, the key points in the life of the Church. They go into the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith for instance, meet with officials who work in the Vatican, hear their side of the story, get a sense of who's who.”

Father John Wauck is the president of the conference that has brought together journalists from secular media like the New York Times, and the Times of London, to religious newspapers such as the Catholic Herald.

Wauck says the interaction between these two diverse groups is a learning experience by itself.

Fr. John Wauck
Church Up Close, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross

"It's a very interesting mix of journalists actually that are coming and of course interacting with each other. They are talking with each other about the challenges of covering the Church and getting a perspective, the religious journalists are getting a perspective of the secular journalists, the secular journalists are hearing how the Catholic journalists see things, but also there is the international perspective.”

That international perspective will include journalists from every continent, all of whom will bring their own style of covering the Vatican.

But one area of the Church that all of them seem to cover is when the Vatican is trying to deal with a scandal that has broken out.

Fr. John Wauck
Church Up Close,  Pontifical University of the Holy Cross

"We've talked about the hot issues of the day, whether it was the sex abuse scandals earlier, or its a question about Vatican finances or now its a question of the Vatileaks, the leaks within the Vatican, and all these things will be talked about.”

This September, the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross will hold it's third seminar that will host around 30 journalists. They have started to cap off the number of participants in order to ensure that each journalist gets a good amount of face time with Vatican officials. It's a way for those who cover the Catholic Church from a distance to become an expert, or a so called "vaticanista”, in the span of a week.