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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.

Pope: Being a martyr is not something of the past. Christians are still being persecuted


In his Friday morning Mass, Pope Francis talked about martydrom. He said being a martyr is not something of the past. Even today, he said, there are still men, women and children who are killed because of their Christian faith

"I think of our martyrs. Martyrs of our time. All the men, women and children who are persecuted, hated and forced out of their homes. They are tortured. They are massacred. This is not something of the past. It's still happening today.” 

The victims, he added are often targets of a corrupted authority that hates Jesus and His message. 

(Source: Vatican Radio) 

"The Pope was reflecting on the life and death of John the Baptist, inspired by the Gospel of St. Mark. Referring to him as "John the Great”, the Pope said his life is a parable for the many, many Christians whose blood is spilled today because they proclaim a God whom many people hate.

Pope Francis noted that John the Baptist "never betrayed his vocation", he was "conscious that his duty was only to proclaim" that the Messiah "was close at hand".  John the Baptist was aware that he was "only a voice," because "the Word was Someone else" and he "ends his life like the Lord, with martyrdom”.

John victim of a corrupt king

Pope Francis went on to say that when he ends up in prison at the hands of Herod Antipas,  "the greatest man born of woman" becomes "small, so very small”.  Firstly he is struck by a dark night of the soul, when he doubts that Jesus is the One for whom he prepared the way. Then again, when he meets his end, ordered by a king both fascinated and puzzled by John. An end that gave the Pope pause for thought:

"In the end, after this purification, after this ongoing slide into nothingness, this path towards the total annihilation of Jesus, his life ends. That perplexed king becomes capable of making a decision, but not because his heart was converted, but because the wine gave him courage. And so John ends his life under the authority of a mediocre, drunk and corrupt king, at the whim of a dancer and the vindictive hatred of an adulteress. That's how the the Great Man ends his life, the greatest man born of woman”.

Christians hated today

The Pope said : "When I read this passage I confess I get emotional" and I always think of "two things": "First, I think of our martyrs, the martyrs of our times, men, women, children who are being persecuted, hated, driven out of their homes, tortured, massacred. And this is not a thing of the past: this is happening right now. Our martyrs, who are meeting their end under the authority of corrupt people who hate Jesus Christ. It would do us good to think of our martyrs. Today we remember Paolo Miki but that happened in 1600. Think of our present-day ones!  Of 2015 ".

No one can "buy" their life

The Pope  said "this abasement of John the Great, this ongoing slide into nothingness makes me think that all of us are on this road and we are traveling towards the land, where we will all end up. This makes me think of myself: I too will meet my end. We all will. No one can "buy" their life.  All of us, willingly or unwillingly, are traveling on the road of the existential annihilation of life, and this, at least to me, makes me pray that this annihilation is as similar as possible to that of Jesus Christ, to his annihilation".