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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.”

The final hours of the papacy of Benedict XVI


Pope Benedict XVI decided that February 28, 2013 would be the last day of his pontificate. 

In the morning, he met with cardinals. One hundred and forty-four were in attendance as he thanked them and delivered a message to his successor.

"Among you, in the College of Cardinals, is the future Pope. I promise my unconditional reverence and obedience to him."

Hours later, at five in the afternoon, he took his final journey as Pope through the corridors of the Vatican. His secretary, Georg Gänswein, could not contain his emotions.

He walked slowly, looking weak and using a cane. At the door of his home, hundreds met Pope Benedict XVI to see him as Pope one last time.

The Vatican provided live video of the journey. A car took him through the Vatican gardens and to the heliport.

Then he began his brief trip out of Rome. He planned to spend a few weeks at Castel Gandolfo. Church bells rang throughout Rome for him as he took his final papal flight over the Eternal City.

Thousands of people waited for him as he arrived at his new home.

"Soon I will not longer be Pope. I will simply be a pilgrim in the last stage of his life. I want to pray and meditate for the good of the Church and the world."

When the clock at Castel Gandolfo struck 8:00 p.m., the sede vacante period began, and the Church no longer had a leader.

The gate to the Apostolic Palace was closed. The Swiss Guard ceased to guard it because there was no longer a Pope. Instead, they worked in service of the College of Cardinals.

Many could not contain their emotions. And so ended a pontificate that lasted for 7 years, 10 months and 9 days.