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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

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.

November 2014: The Pope builds bridges with the Orthodox Church and Islam


"How are you, Francis? The Argentinian Pope! What a joy.”
"Come in.”
"Thank you. This is my grandson, Ignacio.”
"How are you?”
"It's a pleasure.”

November was a busy month for Pope Francis. He met the president of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in the Vatican. It was a special meeting where she introduced her grandson, who went missing during Argentina's dictatorship. 

The Pope highlighted Ignacio Guido's courage in accepting the truth about his past and  moving forward with his life. 

"Thank you for the courage you have shown.”
"No, I did nothing, it was them.”

In November, he received another important visit, this time from the president of Peru, Ollanta Humala.

"Good morning, Mr. President”
"Your Holiness”
"It's a pleasure”

Besides inviting him to visit Peru, Humala's wife gave him a cookbook.

"So that they can make you something to eat and you can eat delicious food.”

Pope Francis did not confirm whether he plans on visiting Lima, but he did say he will try their fantastic cuisine.

In November, 350 representatives from 14 religions gathered in Rome for an inter-religious conference on how marriage between a man and a woman influences people's lives and society.

The Pope inaugurated the conference, and said a decline in marriages leads to a decline in society.

"This revolution in thought and morals has often flown the 'flag of freedom,' but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.”

The Pope also met with an important association of Italian doctors. In his speech, he denounced the 'false compassion' used to justify abortion and euthanasia.

"The dominant thought sometimes proposes a  'false compassion.' It promotes abortion as a way to help the woman; seeking euthanasia as an act of dignity.”

November was a month of great speeches, in international stages. 

He participated in the International Conference on Nutrition, organized by the FAO, which is the UN's organization in charge of food. There, the Pope strongly criticized the economic speculation behind the food industry.

"It is also painful to see that the struggle against hunger and malnutrition is hindered by 'market priorities,' the 'primacy of  profit', which have reduced food to a commodity like any other, subject to speculation, also of a financial nature. And while we speak of new rights, the hungry remain, in the street corner.”

The Pope described the political and economic pressures to reduce the availability of food in order to increase its price, as unacceptable. He also called for of mother nature. 

The shortest papal trip in history also took place in November. During his trip to Strasbourg, Pope Francis visited the European Parliament and the Council of Europe for a few hours. 

He even saw an old friend from years ago. German Elma Schmidt. The Pope stayed with her family roughly 30 years ago,when he lived in Germany. 

In his speech, Pope Francis invited European leaders to leave the old, tired Europe behind and to revitalize it through the family, employment, and the care for the most vulnerable, immigrants and the environment.

"I would like to reaffirm the centrality of the human person, which otherwise is at the mercy of the whims and the powers of the moment.” 

He even got a standing ovation, which is very unusual in the Parliament, which represents more than 500 million people from various backgrounds.

He also visited the Council of Europe, where he called on the Old Continent to reclaim the values that once made it great. 

"To Europe we can pose this question: 'Where is your vigor? Where is that idealism which inspired and ennobled your history? Where is your spirit of curiosity and enterprise? Where is your thirst for truth, a thirst which hitherto you have passionately shared with the world?”

Three days later, he boarded a plane once again,  to travel to Turkey. This was a key trip as far as the relationship among  Catholics, Muslims and the Orthodox Church.

Pope Francis met with the Turkish president  at his new residence. He then traveled to Istanbul, where he visited the country's most important mosque, the Blue Mosque. 

The Pope followed a tour offered by the Grand Mufti. Then, they prayed together. 

The other great image from the trip was the meeting with the head of t he Orthodox Church, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. 

The Orthodox and Catholic Church separated in the year 1054. For centuries, their relationshipwas pratically non-existant. 

The Pope visited the Church of St. George, which is the Orthodox equivalent of the Vatican, and made a surprising request to the Patriarch.

"As a favor, I will ask you to bless me and the Church of Rome.”

The next day he attended the Divine Liturgy. He explained that he is open to reaching full unity. 

"I want to assure each and every one of you, that to achieve the complete unity we yearn for, the Catholic Church does not intend to impose any requirement.” 

At the end of the visit, the Pope and the Patriarch symbolically gave a blessing together. A gesture meant to unite two Christian Churches that have been divided for almost 10 centuries.

- PR