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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:

Nobel prize winner Oscar Arias criticizes hawkish foreign policy, pushes for ceasefire in Syria


Two-time president of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Oscar Arias lashed out against the leading world leaders willingness to use military force, rather than peaceful means to solve conflict.  

He presented his remarks at Rome's Community of St. Egidio. During his speech, the former president expressed his disappointment with fellow Peace Prize recipient Barack Obama, and his push for limited strikes against the Syrian government.

Former president of Costa Rica
"In any strikes, there will be deaths of innocent civilians. I find it very cynical the use of the term collateral damage.”

The Nobel committee awarded Arias with the Peace Prize in 1987, one year after the start of his first term as Costa Rican president. He launched an initiative to stop the continued bickering, that at times led to war, among Central American countries. He argued that his experience showed that building peace is not an easy process, but it can be done without the use of force.
Dr. Arias also supported the recent diplomatic breakthrough that would place Syria's chemical weapons under international control. But he added that he wants to see the United Nations take further steps to stop the violence.

Former president of Costa Rica
"I hope that the resolution will not just focus on having the Syrian government give up their chemical weapons, but also to reach a ceasefire that will put an end to the civil war as soon as possible.”

Whether that will happens remains to be seen. But Arias added that the task will remain very difficult as long weapons keep making their way to the Syrian government and the rebels.

He noted that the five permanent Security Council members are also the top weapon makers and dealers.

Former president of Costa Rica
"In the end, it all depends on the values of each government. Up until today, they place their interests above their values. There will come a day when values will be placed over the interests of weapon manufacturers.”

During his second term as president of Costa Rica, Arias introduced the Arms Trade Treaty, an international agreement to limit and oversee the lucrative sale of weapons. During his speech, Arias said that even though the treaty will not impact the war in Syria, it could help in future conflicts. 

The United Nations adopted the treaty in April 2012, with an overwhelming majority, 153 countries, in favor. So far, only four have ratified the treaty. It'll go into effect once 50 countries have ratified the agreement.