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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.”

August 1978: the summer that changed the history of conclaves


With temperatures high up in the thermometer, August in Rome can be very unpleasant. Because of that its earned its nickname, ferragosto, due to the intense heat that sets in. And precisely 35 years ago, cardinals had to endure one of the most intense summers the Church has gone through in recent memory.   

They had not one, but two conclaves, about a month apart. The first elected John Paul I, while the second chose John Paul II. Casa Santa Marta did not yet exist, and so the cardinals experience some unique struggles. 

"Some of them stayed in a small room, and so they at least had a bathroom. But others had to use basins and pitchers. And, of course, they were locked in. To be inside with this Roman heat, this humidity... well it must have been torture.” 

Their rooms were not very comfortable, and there are hundreds of stories about the cardinals' experience in those days.  

"There are stories like Belgian Cardinal Suenens, who had nothing more than a basin and a pitcher with water, and he approached one of the other cardinals saying, 'Your Eminence, for the love of God, let me bathe here since you have a tub and I don't.'” 

Soon after the conclaves, it was John Paul II who decided to do away with those struggles by having the Casa Santa Marta built. He also wrote the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, addressing lodging for the conclaves. The document also set in stone the election process for new Popes. 

Vatican Insider 
"They did away with the option to elect by acclamation, which was a sort of compromise. They would all stand and say who their candidate for Pope was, as a compromise. It was an old way to carry out the conclave. So all that remains now is the scrutiny system with the two thirds majority vote.” 

Despite all the struggles the cardinals went through in 1978, they helped shape the way that this past conclave, and all the ones in the future, will take place.