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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:

Priest in Liberia: Every day, I would hear of another death caused by Ebola


Since March 2014, more than 5,000 people have been infected with Ebola in Liberia. Roughly half of them have died. Msgr. Robert Vitillo stayed in the country for two months. He saw the effects this illness has on communities, families and children. 

Health Adviser, Caritas Internationalis
"I was staying at a local Catholic college and almost everyday another staff person came to say: 'My sister was taken away last night, my aunt died yesterday, my uncle died...' And so these multiple loses, this is a real psychological trauma.”

Now, it's fear that's taking over the country of 4 million people. Infected or not, there's a worry to have any type of physical contact with others. There's also stigma or discrimination, among those who were cured from the disease. 

Health Adviser, Caritas Internationalis
"One priest told me that he was going to visit the Ebola patients, you know, from a distance, not touching them. But his parishioners told him to stop doing that because they were afraid he would get infected and then infect them.”

The effects of Ebola are affecting not just people's health, but also the economy of countries that are already impoverished. Now NGO's, the United Nations and Caritas, are trying to help with the economic hardships of this illness. 

Health Adviser, Caritas Internationalis
"All the schools are closed, many of the hospitals are closed and the clinics are closed. Government workers who are considered non-essential don't work anymore, so they're not making salaries, and people don't have enough money to buy food for their families and help them survive.”

The Catholic Church already manages 18 health centers in Liberia. Msgr. Vitillo says education and prevention should also be a priority in Sierra Leon and Ghana. The more the international community helps, the easier it will be to stop the threat of this deadly disease.