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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.

What do Cardinals look for in the next Pope?


"I want to tell you that I will continue to be very close to you in prayer, especially in the following days, so that you may be completely open to the Holy Spirit as you elect the next Pope. May the Lord show you what He wants.”

Before actually voting, the Cardinals take a vow, which says: "With Christ our Lord, who will judge me, as my witness, I hereby vote before God, for the person whom I believe should be elected.”

In fact, the vow of secrecy and all the security measures that are carried out before and during the conclave are meant to avoid any external pressures. The goal of course is for cardinals to freely elect the right person to lead the Church.

But the question is, what type of leader are the cardinals looking for?

Pontifical University of the Holy Cross
"A Shepard who can make decisions. I think that  Benedict XVI saw that with his limited strength, he couldn't make specific and big decisions for the Church. The decisions don't have to be 'traumatic' so to speak, but even so they can set a change of direction.”

In addition to this, Cardinals are also looking for a Pope who leads a strong life of prayer, since he will be the spiritual leader to more than 1 billion people.

The Papacy is perceived as a service to the Church. Promoting oneself for the job is considered counterproductive. It's said that a person who openly wants to be Pope, doesn't necessarily understand the nature of the job and the sacrifice that comes with it.

Pontifical University of the Holy Cross
"The next Pope has to follow the line of Benedict XVI, not only with his thinking but also in his teaching.  Benedict XVI is a great theologian.”

Most recently, the Church focused on the connection between faith and reason. Benedict XVI emphasized that these two notions feed off from one another. So the next Pope must further this train of thought through his teachings.

Pontifical University of the Holy Cross
"The mere fact that the Pope can resign and has resigned could influence the vote of the cardinals. They could choose the person who they believe is the best person for that very moment.”

The Pope is an international figure, who must have good communication skills, since in essence, he speaks to the world. Understanding the dynamics of the media will be key.

Benedict XVI once said that the Church itself is not of this world, but it is in this world. Since the Vatican is actually a country, its leader must also be able to manage its government and its diplomatic aspects.

Prefect, Emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
"The Pope must be prepared and willing to face the fundamental problems in today's society. The challenges of our Church and of contemporary society.”

Being Pope is no easy task of course. The Pontiff must take on long grips, keep up with a rigorous schedule, meetings, speeches and religious celebrations.

Electing a Pope is taken quite seriously by the cardinals, but they say that ultimately it will be the Holy Spirit who has the final say.