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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 numbers: 829 saints and 677 blesseds in two years


During the two years of his pontificate, Pope Francis beatified 677 people and canonized 829 saints. It will increase to 830 when the Spanish missionary Junipero Serra is beatified during the Pope's trip to the U.S. in September.

The most anticipated canonizations were those of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII on April 27, 2014.

April 27, 2014
"They were priests, bishops and popes of the twentieth century. They felt tragedy but were not overwhelmed. God was stronger in them."

Among the other beatification highlights: Pope Paul VI in October 2014. Pope Francis cites the pontiff often.

October 19, 2014
"When we look to this great Pope, this courageous Christian, this tireless apostle, we cannot but say in the sight of God a word as simple as it is heartfelt and important: thank you!”.

The first blessed to be proclaimed during Pope Francis' pontificate was another Spaniard, Cristobal of Saint Catherine. The next will be the Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero, who was assassinated on March 24, 1980.

Secretary of Msgr. Oscar Romero
"Pope Francis sees Romero as a faithful witness of the Second Vatican Council. He implemented the pastoral changes that the Council wanted. Monsignor Romero knew how to interpret the hearts of his people. He knew how to interpret the longing for justice that they had. He knew, above all, how to break the silence."

The latter was one of the most complicated processes in recent years. Even some within the Vatican warned that the Salvadoran bishop was a strong advocate of liberation theology rather than a strong advocate of the people.

Secretary of Msgr. Oscar Romero
"Liberation theology is intellectuals who have made their interpretations believing that they speak in the name of the people. No. They are two very different things. Msgr. Romero was able to interpret people's faith, devotion. That's why they called him the voice of the voiceless. He assumed the voice of the voiceless. He broke the silence. And this is the first major sin of Romero for politicians: having given a voice to the poor. That was the first great sin he committed for which he was signed off for death."

The beatification of Óscar Romero will take place on May 23. The ceremony will not be led by Pope Francis, however. That's because Pope Benedict XVI revived the custom that the celebration be organized in the diocese of the new blessed.

Pope Francis only presides over beatification rites in some cases. He did so on during trips to Korea and Sri Lanka, two countries where Catholics are a minority.