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Holy See confirms investigation of Order of Malta

January 17, 2017. The Holy See has issued a statement Tuesday in response to "attempts by the Order of Malta to discredit” the new group established by the Vatican to conduct the investigation of why the Chancellor of the Order of Malta was asked to step down.

Pope sends condolences for victims of Turkish cargo jet crash

January 16, 2017. On Monday morning, a Turkish cargo plane has tragically crashed in Kyrgyzstan, killing dozens and hospitalizing many others. Many homes and vehicles in the small village are also destroyed. As a result, Vatican Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin has sent a message of condolences to the victims of the disaster on behalf of Pope Francis.

Pope Francis to meet with Palestinian president on Saturday

January 11, 2017. Pope Francis will meet with Palestinian president, Mahmud Abbas on Saturday, January 14, at the Vatican to inaugurate the new Palestinian embassy to the Holy See.

Former Director of the Vatican's school for diplomats, Justo Mullor dies

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Pope Francis

Pope approves new decrees for the Causes of Saints

December 22, 2016. On Wednesday, December 21, Pope Francis authorized the following decrees for the Causes of Saints:

Card Saraiva: John Paul II and Paul VI also considered stepping down


Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
"When I received the news I was very serene, very calm. It's quite clear that he made the decision freely. He even explained the reasons why he came to this conclusion, so it wasn't something spontaneous. He simply recognized that in the last few months, his physical energy had diminished. He decided that the best thing to do for the Church was to resign.”

Even though the news was unexpected the Cardinal says that Paul VI and even John Paul II also considered the possibility of stepping down. 

Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
"If we take a look at his predecessors, they also considered leaving office. Paul VI thought about it and even created a commission of Canon Law experts, to study the possibility. They advised him not to, because they thought a resignation could  have a psychological effect on his successor and vice versa.  John Paul II also thought about stepping down, but he was advised not to and he didn't.”

Even though a resignation is unheard of in modern times, Canon Law does allow it. Cardinal Saraiva says it's part of the logic of the Church. 

Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
"The idea of having a Pope resign isn't new.  Benedict XVI's predecessors decided not to resign, because they thought it wasn't the best thing for the Church at that time. But Canon Law does allow it.”

So with his decision, at the end of February. Benedict XVI will become the fourth Pope in history to step down. The last one to do so was Gregory XII, roughly 600 years ago.