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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:

How the pope got things ready before his resignation


Director, I.Media Agency

"Greg Burke's nomination was the final decision taken by the Secretariat of State, probably by English-speaking persons. Many say Peter Wells chose to appoint someone inside the Vatican that's familiar with the media, that's a journalist and knows how journalists react. Someone to avoid having the Holy See always on the defensive, but also to counterattack, as they say in soccer.”

Benedict XVI, up until the end, tried to heal the most recent schism within the Church, the one with lefebvrians. In June, he reached out and made them an offer, which they ultimately turned down. Now, this becomes a task for the next Pope.

Near the end of the summer, he made his last foreign visit, to Lebanon. He called for peace in the Middle East, pushed for dialogue with Muslims, and urged Christians to remain in the Holy Land.

Director, I.Media Agency

"To me it seemed very brave, because for several months the situation in Syria had become a serious conflict, and the Pope chose to go there. He was brave because later we learned there was threats made against him, which he knew about and the Vatican knew about.”

Before stepping down, the Pope who was also a professor, finished his most important work: A  theological description of Jesus of Nazareth. He wrote it between his free time and finished it in the summer. It was published in November in nine languages and distributed in 50 countries.

He will also be remembered for his Synod on the New Evangelization, the main challenge for the Catholic Church. Nearly 300 bishops from across the globe exchanged ideas about how to spread the word of God to a world that doesn't seem very interested in listening.

In November, he surprisingly created six new cardinals, none of them from Europe, in a bid to diversify the group that will choose the next Pope. Many believe, he was likely thinking about the dynamics within the upcoming conclave.

Director, I.Media Agency

"It seemed a small consistory that the Pope made before Christmas and that was his decision alone. But today we can read into it differently. The Pope created this small consistory and nominated Msgr. Gaenswein as prefect of the Papal Household. He wanted to leave things in order before leaving office. He knew about it and was very clear about what he was doing.”

Something important is also his first tweet. The Pope has issued several messages, hoping to reach every cell phone and computer screen in the world. He will leave behind his account with more than two million followers.

He also declared former pontiff Paul VI venerable.

In December, he named his personal secretary Georg Gaenswein as the prefect of the Papal Household, ensuring that he will continue working for the next Pope.

Director, I.Media Agency

"When he was named archbishop, we all thought it was a great display of loyalty towards him during an intense 2012, with the Vatileaks case, and to give him job security because Benedict XVI is leaving but Gaenswein will remain with the next Pope.”

All of these efforts paved the way for his resignation, and the arrival of his successor.

BR – JMB /Rcarr   @javierMbrocal