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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 in the Holy Land: Top 10 phrases


Even though it's the Pope's actions that triggered a lot of attention, in his trip to the Holy Land, his speeches were also powerful. Starting with the invitation he made to the president of Israel and of Palestine. 

1. "In this site, where the Prince of Peace was born, I would like to invite you, President Mahmud Abbas, and President Shimon Peres, to come together and join me in intense prayer and asking God for the gift of peace. I offer my home at the Vatican to host this meeting of prayer.”

2. "Never again, Lord, never again!'Adam, where are you?' Here we are Lord, shamed by what mankind, created in Your own image and likeness, is capable of doing. Remember us in Your mercy.”

3. "These are roots of all evil, hatred and greed, for money, for the construction and for the sale of weapons. This should make us all think, who is behind it all? Who is it that gives everyone the weapons to prolong conflicts? Let us, in our hearts, pray for these poor people-the criminals, so that they may have a change of heart.”

He greeted several children, who will become the future of the Middle East. The Pope encouraged them to move forward and look ahead with hope. He also denounced violence against children. 

4. "Don't allow the past to determine your lives. Always look forward. Fight for what you want. You must understand that violence cannot be overcome with violence. Violence is overcome with peace; and peace comes with hard work, dignity and in moving your homeland forward.” 

5. "Still too many children live in exile, as refugees, at times lost at sea, particularly in the waters of the Mediterranean. Today, as we acknowledge this, we are ashamed before God, before God who became a child. Are we perhaps people who use fine and pious words, yet exploit pictures of poor children in order to make money? Are we ready to be there for children, to "waste time” with them? Are we ready to listen to them, to care for them, to pray for them and with them? Or do we ignore them because we are too caught up in our own affairs?” 

After 10 centuries of silence and division between Rome and the Orthodox Church, the leaders of both Churches embraced 50 years ago. Pope Francis and Bartholomew did the same to mark the anniversary. 

6. "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.”

For the first time, they prayed the 'Lord's Prayer' together, in public. 

The three major monotheistic religions have a presence in the Holy Land, so the Pope highlighted the need to strengthen the fraternity among Muslims, Jews and Christians. 

8. "May we respect and love one another as brothers and sisters! May we learn to understand the sufferings of others! May no one abuse the name of God through violence! May we work together for justice and peace! Salaam!”

9. "It is a bond whose origins are from on high, one which transcends our own plans and projects, and one which remains intact despite all the difficulties which, sadly, have marked our relationship in the past.”

As one of the many symbols of this trip, there's this image of the Pope embracing his two good friends from Argentina: one Muslim and one Jew, before the Wailing Wall, where they said 'We did it.”