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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.

Pope Francis and Bartholomew appeal for respect for all Christians


Their embrace was the culmination of their pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The Apostle Peter reunited with his blood-brother, the Apostle Andrew. 

Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew walked down the halls of Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They kissed and prayed before to the Stone of the Anointing.

"The holy places are the common refuge of humanity and they shine with the brightness of the true light, a beacon of peace and spiritual refreshment for all.”

Sitting side by side near the altar, Pope Francis and Bartholomew presided a celebration, alternating the liturgy between Greek and Latin.

During the ceremony, Bartholomew addressed Pope Francis, talking about how the Resurrection of Christ redeems all those suffering today.

Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
"Rest assured – all of you who are crucified in this life – that, just as in the case of Christ, the Resurrection follows the cross.”

The spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodox Church said that the empty tomb shows that humanity does not control its history, but should submit to the will of God. He also talked about Jesus' command to love each other.

Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
"Religious fanaticism already threatens peace in many regions of the globe, where the very gift of life is sacrificed on the altar of religious hatred. In the face of such conditions, the message of the life-giving Tomb is urgent and clear: love the other, the different other, the followers of other faiths and other confessions.”

In a show reverence to the Ecumenical Patriach, Pope Francis kissed Bartholomew's hand, before taking the podium. In his remarks, the Pope acknowledged the centuries-old divisions that "continue to exist” among the disciples of Jesus. But he added that they should not frighten them.

"We need to believe that, just as the stone before the tomb was cast aside, so too every obstacle to our full communion will also be removed.”

The Pope said the work of their predecessors, 50 years ago, showed that it's possible to take steps towards unity. But he added that violence and persecution around the world today also force Christians to come together. 

"There is born an ecumenism of suffering, an ecumenism of blood, which proves particularly powerful not only for those situations in which it occurs, but also, by virtue of the communion of the saints, for the whole Church as well. Those who, in hatred of their faith, kill and persecute Christians, don't ask if they are Orthodox or Catholic. They are Christians, and Christian blood is the same.”

For the first time, the Pope and the Patriarch publicly said the Lord's Prayer together, first in Italian, then in Greek.

The successors to Peter and Andrew then headed down the Holy Sepulchre. They entered the small chapel, where they kissed and prayed before the Tomb of Jesus, each one lighting a candle before stepping out.

Next, the Patriarch led the Pope to Golgotha, an area within the Church under the custody of the Greek Orthodox. They took turns kneeling down and touching the Rock of the Cavalry, the site of the Crucifixion.

As they made their way out, Pope Francis and Bartholomew greeted pilgrims and officials along the way. The two spiritual leaders will meet again on Monday for a private audience at the Garden of Gethsemane.