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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.

Pope Francis talks to press about Benedict XVI, Vatican Bank and 'gay lobby'


While on his way to Brazil,  Pope Francis promised journalists, a press conference on his way back to Rome.  Despite being tired, he kept his promise.  For an hour and  22  minutes, he held a press conference, where nothing was off limits. For the  first  time he talked about controversial issues like the role ofwomen  in the  Church, the Vatican Bank and he even talked  about the  so called gay lobby.  

"Quite a lot has been published about the gay lobby. I have yet to find someone who introduces himself at the Vatican, with a 'gay ID card.' In these situations, it's important to distinguish between a gay person and a gay lobby, because having a lobby is never good. If a gay person, is a person of good will who seeks God, who am I to judge? The catechism of the Church explains this very beautifully. It outlines that gays should not be marginalized.”

"I don't know how the Vatican Bank will turn out. Some say the best thing is to have a bank, others say it should be a relief fund, others recommend it be closed down. We hear about these options all the time. For now, I trust the work the IOR team is doing. We should seek the best option, but whether it's a bank, a fund, or whatever, it should be based on transparency and honesty. That's how it should be. Thank You."

"As far as the ordination of women, the Church has already spoken out and the answer is no. John Paul II made the Church's stance definitive. The door is closed. But let me tell you something, Our Lady, was more important than the apostles,  bishops, deacons and priests. Women play a role that's more important than that of bishops, or priests. How? This is what we have to explain better publicaly.”

The press also learned that the Pope took immediate action, when a priest, whom he appointed to a high ranking position in the Vatican's Bank, was accused of being  previously expelled from a nunciature in Latin America, for allegedly engaging in scandalous conduct. 

"Regarding Bishop Ricca. I did what I had to do under Canon Law, which involves an investigation. The investigation didn't find anything connected to what's been printed. We found nothing. But let me add something about this. So very often, when we look at cases like this, we highlight the sins of youth and make them public. But any person, lay, priests or nun, if any person commits a sin and then asks the Lord for forgiveness, they are forgiven. When the Lord forgives, He forgets. This is very important for our lives. I'm not talking about crimes, that's something different. Child abuse is a crime, but I'm talking about sins.”

He also talked about his working relationship with Benedict XVI and he talked about the date when John Paul II will be canonized, which will most probably be on April 27th and not December 8th as was previously believed.

"It's like having a grandfather at home. A very wise grandfather. In a family, a grandfather is at home, he is honored, loved and he is listened to. Benedict XVI is a man of great caution ... He doesn't get involved in issues. I've told him many a times, 'Your Holiness, continue with your life, meet with people, come along with us.' He did agree to come to the inauguration of the new St. Michael statue. I think that phrase sums it up: It's like having a grandfather at home. He's like a father. If I'm in a  bind, or if  I'm faced with something I don't understand, I can call him.”

Just months after becoming Pope, he says he misses the city of Buenos Aires, adding that he would love to go out and walk on the streets. But he says he respects the limits of the Vatican's police.

But in any case, when he does go out, it's quite obvious that he is among the people, up close and personal. He added he's not afraid of attacks, explaining that he thinks it's crazy to be afar from people, to prevent an attack.

The Pope made  it clear that he's not afraid of using simple and clear words to get his message across and that will surely give much to talk about in the future.

- BN