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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 to Presidents of Israel and Palestine: Peace takes more courage than war


It was a meeting where politics was set aside, and priority was given to prayer. Pope Francis invited the Presidents of Israel and Palestine to pray for peace. 

Each president arrived separately and the Pope personally greeted each one of them.  Then, both presidents, exchanged a few words. 

"I call him Holiness, but he's been a  good friend for a long time”

"He is to blame for this”

"Against all the norms ...”

Also there, was Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, who leads the Orthodox Church, which has a strong presence in the Holy Land. 

Together, all four of them, got in the same car, and made their way to the Vatican Gardens to pray for peace. 

Since music can often express what words cannot-a list of moving melodies were played out before all delegations. 

The prayer session lasted over an hour. In chronological order, first it was the Jewish representatives, then Christians and finally Muslims. 

Each delegation gave thanks to God for creation and for humanity. Then came an apology for not always respecting one another. They asked for forgiveness, for their sins against God and their fellow brothers and sisters. Ultimately they prayed for the gift of peace. 

Along the way, music from these three religions intensified the atmosphere of prayer. 

It was a specifically a prayer meeting, but it's expected to have political consequences. Addressing both leaders, the Pope said it takes more courage to engage in peace than war. He then asked them to respect their accords and to avoid provocation. He also talked about those who have lost their lives in this conflict. 

"Many, all too many, of those children have been innocent victims of war and violence, saplings cut down at the height of their promise. It is our duty to ensure that their sacrifice is not in vain. The memory of these children instils in us the courage of peace.”

President of Israel 
"I was young, now I'm old. I experienced war. I tasted peace. Never will I forget the families, parents and children who paid the cost of war. All my life I shall never stop to act for peace.” 

President of Palestine
"We want peace for ourselves and for our neighbors. We want prosperity and thoughts of peace for us and for others. Lord, listen to our prayers. Give victory to our requests, because You are the most just and merciful, God of all worlds.” 

Together they prayed, asking for a miracle. It may not trigger immediate results, but it shows a willingness to negotiate. They also planted an olive tree,  as a symbol of peace, to mark the day. 

The Pope then walked them to the Vatican's Casina Pio IV Hall, where both presidents spoke in private. 

The process will be long, with the Pope is hoping that Jews, Christians and Muslims will begin a new chapter of peace in the Holy Land...a region, that for generations has seen conflict.