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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:
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's Mass: The Church shouldn't close Her doors to the Holy Spirit


In his Monday morning Mass, the Pope emphasized that the Holy Spirit is the force that guides the Church. So, Christians, he said, should pray so that they're open to the Spirit.   

"The Holy Spirit is the living presence of God in the Church. He keeps the Church going, keeps the Church moving forward. More and more, beyond the limits, onwards. The Holy Spirit with His gifts guides the Church . You cannot understand the Church of Jesus without this Paraclete.” 

He then asked, who are we to close the doors on the Holy Spirit? He warned against the temptation of taking inspirations, but applying them in the wrong direction. 


"Who are we to close the doors " to the Holy Spirit? This was the question that Pope Francis repeated this morning during his homily at Mass at Casa Santa Marta, a homily dedicated to the conversion of the first pagans to Christianity. The Holy Spirit, he reiterated , is what makes the Church to go "beyond the limits, go ever forward".

The Spirit blows where it wills, but one of the most common temptations of those who have faith is to bar its path and drive it in one direction or another. A temptation that was not alien even in the early days of the Church, as the experience of Simon Peter in today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles shows. A community of pagans welcomes the announcement of the Gospel and Peter is an eyewitness to the descent of the Holy Spirit on them. First hesitates to make contact with what he had always considered "unclean " and then he suffers harsh criticism from the Christians of Jerusalem, shocked by the fact that their leader had eaten with the "uncircumcised" and had even baptized them. A moment of internal crisis that Pope Francis recalls with a hint of irony:

"That was unthinkable. If – for example - tomorrow an expedition of Martians came, and some of them came to us, here ... Martians, right? Green , with that long nose and big ears, just like children paint them... And one says, 'But I want to be baptized! ' . What would happen ? ".

Peter understands his error when a vision enlightens him to a fundamental truth: that which has been purified by God cannot be called "profane" by anyone. And in narrating these facts to the crowd that criticized him, the Apostle, calms them all with this statement : " If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to be able to hinder God? ".

"When the Lord shows us the way, who are we to say, 'No, Lord, it is not prudent! No, lets do it this way ' ... and Peter in that first diocese - the first diocese was Antioch - makes this decision: ‘Who am I to admit impediments?'. A nice word for bishops, for priests and for Christians . Who are we to close doors? In the early Church, even today, there is the ministry of the ostiary [usher]. And what did the ostiary do? He opened the door, received the people, allowed them to pass. But it was never the ministry of the closed door, never".

Again Pope Francis repeated, God has left the guidance of the Church "in the hands of the Holy Spirit". "The Holy Spirit - he continued - as Jesus said, will teach us everything" and "remind us what Jesus taught us":

"The Holy Spirit is the living presence of God in the Church. He keeps the Church going, keeps the Church moving forward. More and more, beyond the limits, onwards. The Holy Spirit with his gifts guides the Church . You cannot understand the Church of Jesus without this Paraclete, whom the Lord sends us for this very reason. And he makes unthinkable choices, but unimaginable! To use a word of St. John XXIII : it is the Holy Spirit that updates the Church: Really, he really the updates it and keeps it going. And we Christians must ask the Lord for the grace of docility to the Holy Spirit. Docility in this Spirit, who speaks to us in our heart, who speaks to us in all of life’s circumstances, who speaks to us in the Church's life, in Christian communities, who is always speaking to us.” 

Up: KLH