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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.”

American reporter and pianist performs for Benedict XVI's brother


She is best known for her work in front of the cameras, as a reporter for Fox News Channel. But unbeknownst to many, Lauren Green is also a distinguished pianist. 

And there's not bigger distinction than playing for the piano for Benedict XVI. The invitation arrived months ago.

Reporter and Pianist
"It was amazing. Just to get that I... are you really? Are you certain? This is really going to happen right? This is... really?”

Sworn to secrecy, Green practiced when she wasn't at work. She was one of three musicians, and along with a tenor, they would perform for the 90th birthday celebration for Georg Ratzinger, the Pope emeritus' brother.

When the day finally came, Green can only describe it as "nerve-wracking.” Benedict XVI is well-known for his love of music. And he too plays the piano.

Reporter and Pianist
"I'm a pianist and so are they, and that was a lot of stress, to play as beautifully as I could possibly play.”

Needless to say, the performance flowed smoothly. Once finished, both Georg and Benedict greeted the performers. But for this journalist, who's usually so composed in front of the cameras, that moment did not play out as planned.

Reporter and Pianist
"I had my piano hat on, and I was a performer and nervous about how he was going to react to my performance. And he was the Pope, and I was not, for those few minutes a journalist. I was just a performance who had just performed.”

The one-of-a-kind opportunity ended with an equally rare photo opp. And Green had the chance to sit next to Benedict XVI. 

It wasn't until the concert ended, that the journalist in her kicked in. And though she lost her chance to ask her questions, there was one observation she couldn't miss.

Reporter and Pianist
"One of the things I noticed about him was that he seemed less frail, that before he resigned. It's almost as if weight of the Catholic Church was finally off his shoulders, although he constantly prays for the Church.”

The birthday celebration for Georg Ratzinger started a few hours earlier. An orchestra played a few songs, as the two brothers look on side by side. Once they finished playing, they even presented Georg with a chocolate cake to celebrate.