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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.

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.

Middle East Latin bishops thank Pope for peace efforts, push for dialogue in Syria


The Conference of Latin Bishops of the Arab Regions closed off their yearly gathering in Rome. They discussed many important issues. But perhaps the most pressing were the Arab Spring and the situation in Syria.   

Patriarchal Vicar for Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Israel 
"Unfortunately the bishop of Egypt and the bishop of Syria were not with us, which is already very evocative of the problems that we're living at this time.” 

With the gathering, the bishops celebrated 50 years since the foundation of the episcopal conference solely for the bishops of the Latin, or Roman Catholic, rite in the Middle East and East Africa. 

The bishops discussed their unique pastoral challenges; as well as their work with other Catholic and Christian communities. Bishops also talked about the need for dialogue with other religions. But the biggest issue on hand was the Syrian conflict and the effect it has on their respective countries. 

Patriarchal Vicar for Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Israel 
"The influx of Syrians into these countries has called the Church to give a very particular witness to Caritas, to a real care for those refugees coming. And through the Caritas agencies much work is being done in order to alleviate the suffering of those coming in.” 

Caritas, the Catholic Church's aid agency, plays an active role in helping out refugees of any religion. The Latin bishops agreed to support Caritas as much as they can. But they also called on the international community to promote dialogue in Syria

In their statement, the bishops thanked the Pope for his continued efforts in supporting peace in the Middle East. 

Patriarchal Vicar for Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Israel 
"His call for a day of fasting and prayer for us in a certain sense seemed miraculous, when we think that before that day everybody was talking about just war, and after that day, everybody started talking about the need to have dialogue between the two parties.” 

The Latin bishops also asked "people of good will” to pray for the Middle East and the Syrian conflict. The Conference of Latin Bishops of the Arab Regions was founded in 1963. It's currently made up of 14 members representing Roman Catholics in the Middle East and East Africa. 

RR/Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem