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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.”
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.

Cardinal Castrillón: Pope always sought reconciliation with lefebvrians



Prefect Emeritus, Commission Ecclesia Dei 
"It was a terrible contrast, an unexpected blow. None of us, the cardinals, there was about 20 or 25 of us at the consistory and it surprised all of us. Very few knew about it.” 

Though he said it was unexpected, Cardinal Castrillón says he was not too surprised since the Pope himself had talked openly in the past about the possibility of stepping down. 

Prefect Emeritus, Commission Ecclesia Dei 
"Personally, I had heard him say one day, and not because of challenges as Pope, but the challenges of one certain priest, 'I personally think that I would retire to a monastery to have some time to reflect and to pray.'” 

Cardinal Castrillón knows Joseph Ratzinger from many years ago. When he was still a cardinal, the two lived in the same building on Piazza Citta Leonina, not far from the Vatican. 

Afterward, as Pope, they worked together on the Commission Ecclesia Dei, the group in charge of bringing the traditionalist lefebvrians back into full communion with the Catholic Church.A task that remains pending. 

Prefect Emeritus, Commission Ecclesia Dei
"He was generous enough to see the bishops involved in this matter at Castel Gandolfo. The Holy Father has followed, step by step, I would say with a love for Christ, and the Church. The problem that the bishops of the Society of Saint Pius X had was the ordination of bishops without the Pope's permission, without a pontifical mandate. That was the only cause for excommunication. Another matter was cause for suspension. He analyzed this with much confidence, coldness within the Commission Ecclesia Dei, and we looked at this issue, and the Pope did not doubt for one second, as Pope, for the love of the Church, to open his arms towards reconciliation.” 

Cardinal Castrillón is over 80 years old and will therefore not vote in the next conclave. However, he says even though it pains him to see Benedict XVI resign, when the fumata bianca appears and a new Pope is chosen, he will "bow his head and give thanks for the Church's new leader in this time of uncertainty.”