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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 to meet with victims of sexual abuse at the Vatican in June


Pope Francis will meet for the first time with eight victims of sexual abuse committed by priests at Casa Santa Marta. Boston Card. Sean O'Malley will join him for the private meeting, which will take place in the first days of June

In a press conference on board the return flight from the Holy Land, the Pope reiterated the Church's zero tolerance policy, and denied that some clerics enjoy certain privileges.  He also revealed that three bishops are currently under investigation for allegedly covering up abuse.  

"A priest that does this betrays the body of the Lord, because these priests need to lead this boy, this girl, this young man, this young woman, to holiness. And this boy, this girl, they trust him. And this priest, instead of leading them to holiness, abuses them. This is very serious. It's like... I'll give you a comparison: it's like a Satanic Mass. You have to lead them to holiness, and instead you give them a problem that lasts their entire life.” 

Pope Francis also addressed financial scandals within the Vatican. He said there will always be scandals, because humans are also sinners. But he added that honesty and transparency are the key to good economic management. 

When asked about married clergy, the Pope explained that celibacy in the priesthood is not a "dogma,” but a "rule of life,” which he said he appreciated greatly and considered it to be "a gift for the Church.” But he admitted that there are other priorities. When asked if he'd consider stepping down, like Benedict XVI, Pope Francis said he would listen to God's will. 

"Seventy years ago bishop emeritus did not exist. Today we have so many. What will happen with Popes emeritus? I think we should look at it as an institution, that he opened the door to, that of Popes emeritus. Will there be more? Only God knows. But the door is open.”

On the topic of divorced and remarried Catholics, the Pope said they should not be treated as "strangers.” He added that they will address this complex issue during the Synod of the Family, looking into several aspects like communion and the current process for marriage annulments.  

Speaking about other challenges that the Church faces today, Pope Francis denounced yet again the current economic crisis, and the "throw away culture” it creates. But in addition to the elderly and defenseless, he talked about its effect on the large number of youth employment worldwide.

"This means that there is an entire generation of young people that do not study and do not work, and this is very serious. En entire generation of young people is cast off. This throw away culture is very serious.”

During the press conference, Pope Francis insisted that dialogue is the only way to achieve peace in the Holy Land. He added that this dialogue should also decide on the status of Jerusalem, which he said should be the capital of the three major monotheistic religions.

Lastly, the Pope also confirmed he will travel to Asia not only in August, but early next year. He will visit South Korea in a few months. Meanwhile in January, he will travel to Sri Lanka and the Philippines, where he will tour several areas destroyed by the typhoon last year. 

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