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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.

October 2014: Synod on the Family and Beatification of Paul VI


The family was the great protagonist of  October's biggest event at the Vatican. Pope Francis gathered 191 Cardinals, Bishop and Patriarchs, in addition to twelve married couples, for a Synod on the challenges families face today.

Before the inauguration, he assisted a vigil in Saint Peter's Basilica. This family spoke about the difficulties they faced after being separated for 6 years.

"We are finally living together once again after so many years of separation and distance. I am finally with Antonella and my family. Today I feel confirmed in my vocation as husband, and I am completely happy. I am conscious of my limitations and daily challenges. However, with the help of our Lord, I try to take care of Antonella and of our relationship everyday.”

Pope Francis was present during the two weeks of meetings, but only spoke during the first and last sessions.

"This is a basic general condition: speak clearly. Do not say: 'I cannot say this, if I do they will think badly of me.' Speak freely of everything you believe.” 
"At the same time, one must listen with humility and take in the words of our brothers with an open heart.”

For Pope Francis, one of the purposes of this Synod was to get a clear picture of the situation of families. On October 2015, another Synod will meet to propose solutions.

The final report was voted point by point in order to show the consensus regarding the debated ideas. The 62 points were approved by the majority, but three received less support, since they didn't count with a third of the participant votes.

These two points propose continuing the discussion about whether divorced couples who remarry can take Communion or not, and another refers to the pastoral care of homosexuals.

Vatican spokesperson
"It is not a doctrinal document, but rather a reference for reflection and work for the next year.”

After the vote, the Pope gave a speech, which received a standing ovation for four minutes. He said the differences of opinion are a positive sign. However, he mentioned some temptaions, such as the deceptive mercy of accepting any position regardless of whether it is good or bad, or  the inflexiblity of traditionalism.

"This is wanting to close oneself within the written Word and not allowing oneself  to be surprised by God, by the Spirit of surprises.” 

A day later, along with all the participants, Pope Francis beatified the Pope who instituted the Synod, Paul VI. It was a special ceremony because Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI attended.

...Ut Venerabilis Servus Dei Paulus VI, papa, Beati nomine in posterum appelletur.

"We declare that the Venerable Servant of God Paul VI, Pope, shall henceforth be invoked as Blessed...”

"Thank you. Thank you to our dear and beloved Pope Paul VI. Thank you for your humble and prophetic testimony of the love of Christ and his Church.”

Paul VI was an intellectual Pope, and also the first one to travel outside of Italy, visiting 19 countries.

He led the Church for 15 years until 1978, and he was one of the strongest voices of his time in favor of peace and the defense of human life.

Taking advantage of the presence of many Cardinals in Rome, Pope Francis met with them to denounce the persection of Christians in the Middle East.

October 20th - "The latest events, particularly in Iraq and Syria are very worrying. We are witnessing a phenomenon of terrorism of previously unimaginable dimensions. Many of our brothers and sisters are being persecuted and forced out of their homes in a brutal way.”

Patriarch of Antioch and all the East of the Syrians for the Syriac Catholic Church
"Our small Syriac Catholic Church of Antioch has been hit the hardest these past four months in Iraq. I went to visit refugees in Kurdistan and if those refugees had not fled, it would have been a genocide.” 

Maronite Patriarch of Antioch 
October 13, 2014
"What hurts the most is that some Middle Eastern countries and even some in the West, support these fundamentalists with weapons, money and political protection.”

The cultural event of the month was the Sistine Chapel's new illumination. Seven thousand LED allow visitors to enjoy it even more: livelier colors, cleaner details and more expressive figures.

Although Michelangelo finished the Sistine Chapel on October 31st 473 years ago, to those who visit it today it might seem as if the paint was still fresh.

- PR