2014 was a year full of ups and downs. And that same rule applies to the Vatican. Here's a quick list of some of the stories that triggered controversy, or that simply broke people's hearts.
First and foremost, it's persecuted Christians in the Middle East. With the rise of ISIS, hundreds of thousands of Christians were forced to leave their homes, or be killed. Pope Francis often expressed his closeness, calling these Christians an inspiration for the rest of the Christian community.
"You are in the heart of the Church. The Church suffers with you and the Church is proud of you. It's proud to have sons and daughters like you.”
NUNCIO TO DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
One of the most shocking stories of 2014, was the case of Jozef Wesolowski. A Vatican nuncio or ambassador in the Dominican Republic, accused of sexually abusing minors. The Vatican launched an investigation in 2013. The former Polish Archbishop, was laicized and is still awaiting trial. In September 2014, he was detained inside Vatican walls, where he remains under house arrest.
Health alarms sounded in all corners of the world, when the Ebola outbreak became an international concern. The highly contagious disease claimed the lives thousands of people in Liberia. A few missionaries and health care workers in the U.S and in Europe were also infected. Even though the threat seems to have tamed down on an international scale, the disease is still very much alive in many West African nations. The Pope repeatedly made a call to the international community, to respond appropriately to the crisis.
The Pope's health made headlines, when it was reported that he repeatedly canceled several of his appointments. Most notably he canceled a visit to the Gemelli Hospital in Rome, the very day he was scheduled to appear. The Pope didn't make a big deal out of it. He acknowledged that he hadn't been feeling well and jokingly told the press, that he would keep up his workaholic pace, because as he put, he only had a few years left.
"One of these neuroses is that I am a bit too attached to my habitat. (…) I do always take a vacation – really – but in my habitat; I change pace. I sleep more; I read the things I want; I listen to music; I spend more time praying… And this makes me relax.”
The last time the Pope took a vacation was in 1975 in Argentina.