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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.”

Find out where modern Christian martyrs are honored in Rome


In his trip to the Holy Land, Pope Francis said there are more Christian martyrs now, than in the early days of the Church. 

Rome's Basilica of St. Bartholomew on the Island proves it. It has six altars and every one of them honors the lives of Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox who were killed, in recent decades, because of their faith. 

From the rosary of Zeferino Giménez Malla, who is the first Gypsy to be declared a Blessed, to the Bible of Shabaaz Bhatti of Pakistan, who as a Christian minister was killed for defending the rights of religious minorities. 

On the altar dedicated to martyrs who died at the hands of Nazis, are letters written by Christians, where they try to reach out to their families. 

Basilica of St. Bartholomew on the Island
"Specifically we have the letter that Paul Schneider, the Protestant pastor, wrote before dying in the Buchenwald prison. He was killed because despite the sanctions, he continued to preach the Gospel.” 

On the altar dedicated to martyrs who were killed under the order of the communism regime, are relics of Polish priest, Jerzy Popieluzsko, who in 1984 was kidnapped and murdered by policemen. 

There's also an altar dedicated to Latin American martyrs

Basilica of St. Bartholomew on the Island
"It's a beautiful altar because in it, we find the Missal of late Archbishop Romero, of El Salvador, who was killed during the country's civil war. Next to the Missal of  Archbishop Romero is the ferula that belonged to Cardinal Posadas Ocampo, Archbishop of Guadalajara, who was killed by drug dealers in Mexico.” 

Honoring these martyrs gained strength under the pontificate of St. John Paul II, who in the year 2000, instituted a new commission and announced that this Basilica would honor the lives of martyrs

That commission completed its work and published a list of martyrs. Even though years have passed, the Community of Sant' Egidio, which cares for the Basilica, continues to collect testimonies of Christian martyrs who have died because of their faith.