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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 Francis

Holy See adopts UN Convention against Corruption

September 23, 2016. Pope Francis has asked the Vatican to be exemplary in the fight against corruption and meet the set international standards in this regard. Therefore, the Secretary of State has announced that the Holy See will conform to the Merida Convention against Corruption. This requires countries to implement anti-corruption measures concerning its laws, institutions and practices. From now on, the Roman Curia and the Vatican City State will review its administrative procedures to align them to the standards set by the Convention. Through this compliance, the Vatican says it hopes to contribute to increased transparency and proper management of public affairs in the international community.

July 2014: Six victims of sexual abuse attend Pope's Mass at Casa Santa Marta


Pope Francis held an emotional meeting with victims of clergy sex abuse. He invited them to his morning Mass at Santa Marta where he asked forgiveness to them for the suffering caused by those they trusted most. 

July 7th, 2014
"Before God and his people I express my sorrow for the sins and grave crimes of clerical
sexual abuse committed against you. And I humbly ask forgiveness. I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of Church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members, as well as by abuse victims themselves.”

After the Mass, he met with six victims from around the world, individually, for over three hours. They were also accompanied by members of the newly formed Commission for the Protection of Minors.

During the month of July, the plight of persecuted Christians and other religious minorities around the world continued to worry the Pope. 

July 13th, 2014
"Let us hear the cries of our fellow countrymen, who ask us to transform our weapons into instruments of peace. Our fear into trust, our tension into forgiveness. Amen.” 

One of the most well-known cases that sparked an international outcry was that of Meriam Ibrahim. While pregnant with her second child, Meriam was sentenced to 100 lashes and death by hanging in Sudan for converting from Islam to Christianity. 

She was eventually released from prison and her death sentence was overturned. Shortly after her release, she traveled to Italy and met with Pope Francis on July 24th. 

"I want to thank you for your Christian testimony. Thank you for being an example to us all.” 

The Pope seemed visibly moved after spending several moments in private while they recalled their ordeal. 

At the end of the month, Pope Francis visited the southern Italian city of Caserta. While he originally intended to visit privately with an  Evangelical Christian pastor, he also visited the faithful, choosing to come back two days after. 

On Saturday, July 26th, he celebrated Mass with over 200,000 people in front of the Royal Palace of Caserta. 

The Pope addressed the needs of the people, who suffered greatly by the mafia. They used the city as an illegal dump site, polluting the local environment.

"...This is particularly important in your beautiful land, which needs to be look after and preserved, it needs the courage to say no to any type of corruption or lawlessness. We all know the names of these forms of corruption and lawlessness.”

Two days later, he visited his friend as well as the Evangelical community he leads. The Pope took the opportunity to pray with them, as well as asking them for forgiveness for the persecution of Pentecostal Christians by Italian Catholics. 

The gesture was greeted by a similar apology by the World Evangelical Alliance, ending the month of July with a conciliatory tone.