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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.

Pope to French bishops: explain the reasoning behind the Church's Doctrine to politicians


The Pope went on to say that bishops have a responsibility to explain the reasoning behind the  Church's stance on matters like marriage, the protection of life and bioethics. The Pope gave his speech on Saturday, when roughly 100,000 people held protests to oppose a bill that would legalize same sex marriage in France. The bill would also allow same sex couples to adopt children.

"Your nation has a long and rich Christian history that cannot be ignored or diminished, which bears eloquent witness to truth", said the Pope in his address to prelates from the Episcopal Conference of France on their five-yearly ad limina visit.

"The Year of Faith helps us to grow in confidence in the intrinsic strength and richness of the evangelical message", observed the Pope. "How many times have we seen that it is precisely the words of faith, those simple and direct words filled with the wisdom of the Divine Word, that best touch our hearts and minds, and best illuminate our decisions? … The Divine Word contains those words, basic convictions and ways of thinking which alone are able to bring hope to the world.

"In society's key debates, the voice of the Church must make itself heard ceaselessly and with determination. This must be achieved with full respect for the French tradition regarding the distinction between the respective spheres of competence of Church and State. It is precisely in this context that the harmony between faith and reason gives you special reassurance: the message of Christ and His Church is not merely a religious identity that demands to be respected as such; it carries also the wisdom that permits us to provide concrete answers to the pressing and sometimes troubling questions of our times. In continuing to exercise the prophetic dimension of your ministry, as you do at present, you bring to these debates the indispensable word of truth, which frees our hearts and opens them to hope".

The Pope went on to praise the many French intellectuals, believers and non-believers, who "are aware of the enormous challenges of our age, where the Christian message is an irreplaceable point of reference", and recalled the vitality of religious and especially monastic communities which "enrich the whole of society, not only the Church" in France.

 He also mentioned the liturgy and its "contribution to the civilising work" of the Church, emphasising how "respect for its established norms expresses love and fidelity to the faith of the Church. The beauty of her celebrations, far more than innovations and subjective adjustments, constitutes a durable and effective form of evangelisation".

Benedict XVI also turned his attention to the question of transmitting the faith to the young generations. "You are well aware of the challenges in that field", he told the bishops. These challenges include "family and social difficulties associated with the transmission of received faith, those associated with a faith adopted by people as they enter adulthood, or with a break in transmission as when several generations drift away from living faith. There is also the enormous challenge of living in a society which does not always share the teachings of Christ and at times ridicules and marginalises the Church in the attempt to confine her to an exclusively private sphere. To face these immense challenges, the Church needs credible witnesses".

"While remaining aware of the importance of example, you must also find the necessary words and gestures to encourage the faithful to incarnate the 'unity of life'", continued the Pope. "They must feel involved in their faith, that it represents liberation and not a burden, that its coherence is a source of joy and fruitfulness. This also applies to their observance of the moral teaching of the Church, for example in demonstrating the courage to adhere to their Christian convictions - devoid of arrogance but with respect - in the various environments in which they live. In this context, those who are engaged in public life bear special responsibility. Along with bishops, they must be wary of planned legislation which threatens marriage between a man and a woman, the protection of life from conception to death, and the correct guidance of bioethics in harmony with magisterial documents. It is necessary, more than ever, for Christians to follow the path of the common good and to deepen their awareness of the social doctrine of the Church.”