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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.

Overwhelming response to Vatican petition for proposals to fight human trafficking


The Vatican ended the first of two seminars, leading to a four-day conference, on how to do away with human trafficking. The two day event addressed the state of 29 million people worldwide considered to be modern slaves. 

Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences
"This was an explicit petition from Pope Francis to the Vatican academies to analyze this topic and come up with solutions. We received 49 proposals from the participants, and we hope to draft a statement on behalf of our academies."

The Vatican will sort the proposals and complete a statement in the coming weeks. However, it probably wont include concrete steps like the creation of a DNA registry, because they said it would only address a small part of the problem.

During the workshop, participants discussed challenges in fighting human trafficking. The biggest, is that, since it's an illegal activity, the extent of the problem is not well known, yet. Plus more challenges arise as times change.

President, Pontifical Academy of Sciences
"In future times, probably unqualified labor work will be much less demanded for. I feel that in long term, that increases unemployment, which will create another big problem of social behavior.” 

Unemployment, along with poverty and education, emerged as big risk factors that lead to human trafficking. In addition to the well known aspects like forced labor or sexual exploitation, participants also spoke about newer trends.

Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences
"There are children who are forced to beg on behalf of criminal groups. There are children worse off who are forced to sell drugs. They're turned into users, then into dealers. And there have been many deaths of teens that have wanted to leave this groups."

The two day event included approximately 80 participants, major players from across the world in the fields of science, including social and medical sciences.

Another seminar will take place next year. Both events will help organizers put together a four-day mega conference at the Vatican, in 2015. Pope Francis is then expected to take direct action to address human trafficking.

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