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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.”
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:

The Vatican defrocked 848 priests from 2004 to 2013, for cases of sexual abuse



In a meeting with the UN's Committee Against Torture, the Vatican released information about its handling of sex abuse cases

The Holy See's representative, Msgr. Silvano Tomasi said that in the last decade  3,420 cases of abuse were investigated. Most of the cases though happened decades ago, between the 1950's and 80's. 

From 2004 to 2013, a total of 848 priests were defrocked. Last year, 401 credible cases were reported.

When it comes to jurisdiction, Tomasi said that the Holy See doesn't have legal power to hold trials against pedophiles outside the walls of the Vatican City State. 

In cases where a priest or religious sexually abuses a child in a different country, the Vatican carries out an ecclesiastical process, but it does not interfere with the local investigation or legal procedure.  

Once the case has been investigated, he said the Vatican can punish the priest under Canon Law, where the highest punishment is defrocking.

Msgr. Tomasi presented this information on Tuesday, during his second meeting with the UN Committee on Torture. All member states are required to testify before the panel. 

In its hearing, the Vatican City State was represented primarily as a country.  Catholics who don't live within its borders, must be held accountable in the country where the crime was committed. 

Msgr. Tomasi also responded to a question about the Vatican's prison cells. Benedict XVI's former butler was jailed in one of them for releasing private documents. Despite his complaints, Tomasi said that an engineer and an ophthalmologist approved its conditions. 

The Holy See's nuncio also talked about abortion, after the UN panel questioned the Vatican's stance against it. Tomasi said that the Vatican is against torture and that includes violence against the unborn.  

As part of its final report, on May 23rd,  the UN panel will give the Holy See a series of recommendations.

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