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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.
Pope Francis

Holy See adopts UN Convention against Corruption

September 23, 2016. Pope Francis has asked the Vatican to be exemplary in the fight against corruption and meet the set international standards in this regard. Therefore, the Secretary of State has announced that the Holy See will conform to the Merida Convention against Corruption. This requires countries to implement anti-corruption measures concerning its laws, institutions and practices. From now on, the Roman Curia and the Vatican City State will review its administrative procedures to align them to the standards set by the Convention. Through this compliance, the Vatican says it hopes to contribute to increased transparency and proper management of public affairs in the international community.

Pope's Mass: The Church is our Mother. She cleanses us of our sins


In his Thursday morning Mass, Pope Francis talked about the mystery of death. He explained that despite our sins, dying in the heart of the Church, is a gift. 

"It's a gift from God and we must pray for it. To say, 'Lord, grant me the gift of dying at my spiritual home, in the heart of the Church.' We are sinners! All of us are. But we're not traitors. No! We are not corrupt. No! We stay on the inside! The Church, our Mother loves us so, despite our sins, the Church cleanses us. She's our Mother.” 

The Pope then added that every Christian should make an effort to leave a Christian legacy behind, once they pass away.  

(Source: Vatican Radio) 

Speaking at Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday, Pope Francis reflected on the mystery of death, inviting us to ask God for the grace to die in hope, in the heart of the Church and in the knowledge that we have left a legacy of Christian witness behind us. Pope Francis based his homily on the first reading of the day which tells the story of the death of King David. Though he is a sinner, the Pope noted, he is not a traitor and he remains to the end in the heart of his people, the people of God. We too, Pope Francis continued, should ask God for the grace to die in our spiritual "home”, within the heart of the Church. We are all sinners, he said, but the Church is like a mother who takes us just as we are, even with our stains, and makes us clean.

The second observation the Pope made is that David dies in peace, certain that after death he will be with his ancestors. This is another grace we can ask for, to die in hope that in the afterlife our home and our family will be there waiting for us. Pope Francis recalled St Therese of Lisieux who, when she was approaching death, experienced the struggle between good and evil and heard the devil telling her there was nothing but darkness waiting for her. The devil did not want her to trust in God. but we too know that life is a struggle and must ask God for the grace to die in hope. To do this, the Pope said, we must start by trusting God in the big and small daily difficulties we encounter, so that our hope grows and we become accustomed to trusting in the Lord.

Thirdly, the Pope reflected on the legacy that King David left after 40 years of governing and strengthening his people. He left this legacy to his son, telling him to keep the law of the Lord, following his ways and observing his commands. Pope Francis recalled a popular proverb which says the best legacy for every person is to leave a child, plant a tree and write a book. What legacy will we leave behind, the Pope asked? Have we brought life, wisdom, and planted a tree? Have we done so much good that people want us as a father or a mother? Our legacy, he said, is the Christian witness we give to others, just as the Saints boldly lived out the Gospel and have left us a path to follow in our own lives.