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Vaticaleaks-2: Court charged five people for “procuring and revealing” confidential material
November 21, 2015. A Vatican Court formally charged a pair of journalists, two officials, and a secretary to one of the officials for "procuring and revealing” confidential documents and information. They are Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, -who recently wrote books regarding mismanagement in the Vatican-, as well as the Msgr. Lucio Ángel Vallejo Balda, Francesca Chaouqui and Vallejo’s secretary, Nicola Maio. While all five are charged with criminal misappropriation and misuse of Vatican confidential documents; Vallejo, Chaouqui, and Maio, are charged with criminal conspiracy "to divulge information and documents concerning the fundamental interests of the Holy See and the State”. A hearing has been scheduled for next November 24th, 2015 in the Vatican criminal court.
New archbishop in Barcelona (Spain)
November 6, 2015. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Lluís Martínez Sistach as Archbishop of Barcelona (Spain). He has named Monsignor Juan Jose Omella in his place. He was until now Bishop of the Diocese of Calahorra and La Calzada-Logroño.
Vatican arrests two people for allegedly leaking confidential documents
November 2, 2015. The Vatican Police have arrested two people, reportedly linked to the leak of confidential Holy See documents. They are: Msgr. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda and Francesca Chaouqui, both of whom were members of COSEA, which stands for the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organization of the Economic Administrative Structure of the Holy See. After her arrest, Francesca Chaouqui was released, after giving her testimony to the Vaticans District Attorneys office. But Msgr. Vallejo Balda is still in custody. He is accused of leaking secret Vatican documents. His arrest comes just days before the release of a book which allegedly contains private conversations between the Pope and COSEA officials. The Holy See describes the release and publication of the documents as a violation of the Popes trust. The Vatican continues to investigate the source of the document leaks. It also adds that if needed, it will seek the assistance of international entities to clarity the allegations. The Vatican also adds that leaking documents in no way helps the mission of the Church or that of the Pope.
Vatican sends condolences to Putin and Russian people after plane crash
November 2, 2015. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, has sent a telegram on behalf of Pope Francis to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He offers his condolences for the recent plane crash in which more than 200 Russians died. The full text is here: Having learned with sadness of the tragic crash of the Russian airline in the Sinai Peninsula, His Holiness Pope Francis conveys his condolences to you and the Russian people. He offers the assurance of his prayers for all who have died and for those who mourn their loss. Upon the nation and all involved in the recovery efforts His Holiness invokes the strength and peace of Almighty God.

Pope Francis meets with family of an Argentine death row inmate


During his General Audience, Pope Francis greeted an Argentine couple, whose son sits behind bars as a death row inmate in Texas. After 17 years behind bars, and exhausting legal options, their hoping Pope Francis can save their son's life.


"I believe it's important because he's a Pope that takes interest in the problems of the world. And he has a lot of influence because the world listens to him.”

A Texas court convicted Victor Saldaño of killing another man in 1995. His trial resulted in a death sentence. But in 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down, saying the testimony against Saldaño was tainted by racial discrimination.


Family lawyer

"By any international standard, that would have been enough to set Saldaño free. Instead, he faces a new trial.”

The second trial ended like the first, a jury sentenced Saldaño to the death penalty. At that point, after seven years on death row, his family and lawyer argued he developed mental health problems, and that he should be released.


The state of Texas has shown little signs of changing its mind. A lawsuit filed against the U.S. government at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights is also stalled. With the Catholic Church's vocal opposition to the death penalty, they turned to Pope Francis.



"I hope, truthfully, that he asks for clemency on behalf of my son, so that he's not given the death sentence.”

Saldaño's mother said the Pope did not commit to anything when she brought up her request. But with his constant emphasis on mercy, she's hopeful he'll take action.


Giving her additional hope is that fact that Texas hasn't scheduled Saldaño's execution. But after 17 years, it's not much comfort. Until, and if, the Pope intervenes, she says she keeps her bags ready, to go her son's side, at a moment's notice.