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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 Francis creates 19 new cardinals. Calls on them to evangelize with courage


There was an unexpected guest in this consistory. Benedict XVI attended his first public ceremony as Pope Emeritus, sitting in the front row of St. Peter's Basilica. Wearing his white coat, he stood out amid all the cardinals wearing red. 

Pope Francis arrived a few minutes afterwards Breaking protocol, he walked over to Benedict XVI and hugged him. 

Pietro Parolin, who serves as Secretary of State, and who is also among the 19 new cardinals, greeted Benedict XVI. 

Holy See's Secretary of State 
"With the same affection and reverence, we greet our Pope Emeritus, His Holiness Benedict XVI. We're glad you're here with us.” 

In his speech, the Pope outlined what the Church expects and needs from the new cardinals. 

"The Church needs your courage, to proclaim the Gospel at all times, both  in season and out of season, and to bear witness to the truth. The  Church needs your compassion, especially at this time of pain and suffering for so many countries throughout the world.” 

He also talked about those who are persecuted and discriminated against, because of their religious beliefs. 

"The Church needs us to pray for them, so they may be firm in their faith and capable of responding to evil with good. May this prayer extend to all men and women who suffer from injustice because of their religious convictions.” 

This marks the Pope's first consistory. Pope Francis blessed the new cardinals before placing the traditional red beretta over them. At first he seemed somewhat solemn then more relaxed. 

Historically, since all Cardinals were in Rome, the Pope entrusted each one of them with a local Church in the Eternal City. That tradition still stands today. The Archbishop of Buenos Aires,  Marco Aurelio Poli, was assigned the same parish Pope Francis had before he was elected.

From the Ivory Coast, Cardinal Jean-Pierre Kutwa came in a wheelchair, so the Pope walked over to him, to give him his beretta and ring. 

With this ceremony, the number of Cardinal electors stands at 122. There are another 96 cardinals who are over the age of 80, meaning they can't vote in a conclave. 

It wasn't just cardinals who attended the ceremony, Brazil's president, Dilma Rousseff  was also there along with the President of Haiti Michel Martelly

Even the music had some symbolism. For the first the Sistine Chapel choir sang along with the choir of Westminster Cathedral

As the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Day of St. Peter's Chair, the Basilica was set up accordingly. The Chair of St. Peter, designed centuries ago by Bernini, was surrounded with candles. And the statue of St. Peter stood amid the Basilica with papal vestments. 

In fact, towards the end Pope Francis first thanked Benedict XVI for attending. Then he walked towards the statue of St. Peter and prayed before it for a few moments. 

- BN
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