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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:
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.

The years of Tarcisio Bertone: Pope Benedict XVI's main collaborator


As Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone played a key role in the Vaticans international affairs, especially during Benedict XVIs eight year pontificate.  

The fifth of eight children, he was born near the Italian city of Turin in 1934. As a young boy, he spent most of his time at the city's Valdocco oratory, famous for once being the home of St. John Bosco. He was ordained a Salesian priest at the age of 26. He was a theology professor for 20 years and was later rector of Rome's Salesian university. In 1991 he was appointed bishop of Vercelli, in northern Italy.

Only two years later he was named second-in-command at the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. At the time, the Congregation was lead by then cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. That was the start of a long cooperation and friendship.

April 2008
"You could say that I’ve been with the Pope since he arrived at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. I wasn’t a secretary of that dicastery at that time, but at first a consulter, an expert. It was he himself who nominated me as a consulter, and so you could say we’ve known each other for 24 years. And we’ve lived here and have seen each other regularly.”

In 2002, Pope John Paul II appointed  Bertone as archbishop of Genoa and later Cardinal. But his most important task came when Benedict XVI chose him as Secretary of State on June 22nd, 2006. Since then, the two have been close collaborators in governing the Catholic Church. 

April 2008
"He’s a very friendly man, benevolent and simple.  In terms of governing, he gives reasons for each rule. And when it comes to taking decisions, he states the problem clearly, the "status quaestionis”, as he once said.”

But Cardinal Bertone's six years as Vatican Secretary of State haven't always been free of trouble. Often, Bertone has had to endure criticism about his way of governing the Roman Curia. 

But Benedict XVI's trust in him was always made clear.  Back when he was Pope, he even refused Bertone's resignation in 2010, when the Cardinal turned 70, which marks the official retirement age according to canon law.

Since Ratzinger's own resignation last February, Cardinal Bertone has continued to exercise his role as Secretary of State. During the Sede Vacante, and as Camerlengo of the College of Cardinals, Tarcisio Bertone was in charge of  making preparations for the conclave. 

When Pope Francis was elected as Pontiff back in March, Cardinal Bertone kept his office until Pope Francis chose to appoint a new Secretary of State.