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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 at meeting with the elderly: “Violence against the elderly is inhuman”


Thousands of grandparents and elderly people participated in a meeting with Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square. There was also one very special guest: Benedict XVI, who was affectionately greeted by Pope Francis. 

"I'm especially grateful for the presence of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. I have said many times I am so happy that he lives here at the Vatican because it is like having the wise grandfather at home. Thank you”.

The Pope heard the testimonies of various elderly people. Among them was a couple from Qaraqosh, Iraq, an area where Christians were massacred by militants from the Islamic State.

Mubarak and Aneesa, grandparents of 12 grandchildren, brought the sound of churchs bells, which can no longer be heard in Iraq.

"In the name of all of us, persecuted fugitives, from those places, we greet you with the sound of the bells from the Church of Alqosh.”

Br. Sebastiano, an 87 year old Capuchin friar gave an emotional testimony on his work in caring for the elderly, especially those suffering with Alzheimers.

"It is important to be close to the sick where, as we know very well in our hospitals, there are many elderly people. Like Raffaele, who walks around the rooms of his house that he doesn't recognize anymore, lost. And he never sleeps...”

Eighty-two year old Antonia explained to the Pope that she felt herself a victim of the "throwaway culture”.

"I felt useless. What helped me to go forward, to not destroy myself, was prayer.”

In his address, Pope Francis explained that elderly people can transmit their history and life experiences. He also denounced the neglect and violence against them. 

"Violence against the elderly is inhuman. Just like it is against children. God does not abandon you, He is with you!”

Pope Francis asked Christians to work towards a more inclusive society, that does not throw away the weak. He also reminded them of the good the elderly do in society.

"A people that does not care for its grandparents, that does not treat them well, are  people that have no future! Why do they not have a future? Because they lose their memory and tear from their roots.”

For the Pope, to be with an elderly person does much good to society and brings joy. They also bring one of the most beautiful things to life. 

"One of he most beautiful things in the life of a family, of our lives, is to caress a child and tolet them be caressed by a grandfather or grandmother.”

Lastly, the Pope reminded them that there are elderly people who have no family and live in retirement homes. He asked that these institutions be true homes and not "prisons”.