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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.

Key players in the conclave to choose the next Pope


Prelates from the United States and Canada command the considerable leadership that Benedict XVI seeks in his predecessor. His top five are all from these two North American countries.

One of the most admired and praised by other cardinals is Sean O'Malley, the archbishop of Boston, a Capuchin friar, and a strong supporter of the New Evangelization. Among the list, you will also find Timothy Dolan, the optimistic and greatly charismatic archbishop of New York, as well as Cardinal Donald Wuerl from Washington, D.C., author on faith and mediator between the Church and American politicians.

Two other key figures hail from Canada. Marc Ouellet from Montreal served as a missionary in Colombia and is now prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, as well as an expert on dialogue with Orthodox and Protestants. Meanwhile, Thomas Collins, the archbishop from Toronto, is known for his simplicity and charisma.

The country with the most cardinals will be in Italy. They represent an important and vocal block. Among their leaders is the highly revered Archbishop of Milan Angelo Scola, intellectual disciple of Benedict XVI, whom the Pope has visited twice. Genoan Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy is widely regarded for his mediating skills.

They will also take into consideration Gianfranco Ravasi, the cardinal that will lead the last spiritual exercises of Benedict XVI as Pope.

A candidate for continental Europe is the archbishop of Budapest, Peter Erdö, always smiling, optimistic, frank, active, and an evangelizer who has urged his priests to meet personally with the millions of people within his archdiocese.

The first of the two leading candidates from Latin America is Honduran Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, a pilot who also plays the saxophone. The second is Brazilian Odilo Scherer, Archbishop of San Paolo, a simple and discrete man but with a great reputation back home.

The only cardinal from Oceania is Australian George Pell. He is admired in Rome and is one of the few prelates Benedict XVI would seek advice on delicate matters. Two years ago, he publicly debated atheist Richard Dawkins on religion.

The main African representative is John Onaiyekan, archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria. He has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize along with a Muslim leader for their commitment to peace. Benedict XVI created him cardinals during the most recent conclave.

From Asia, the three leading papal electors include Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai, who monitors closely the aid to Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and who, along with Onaiyekan, represents Christians persecuted because of their faith. One of the youngest cardinals is the Archbishop of Manila Luis Antonio Tagle, 55. He is a theologian admired by the media in the Philippines, as well as by Joseph Ratzinger. Among them you will also find Oswald Gracias, the archbishop of Bombay, India, and the newly chosen president of the India's bishops conference.

It is very likely one of them will come out of the conclave as Pope, or, at the very least, chosen with their help. However, it is a decision that is entirely up to the 117 cardinals that will enter the conclave. And not one of them have said who their leading candidate will be.

JMB @javierMbrocal /RCarr
u: KLH