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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 election of Benedict XVI: “Lord, do not do this to me”


When Pope John Paul II died, the Dean of the College of Cardinals celebrated his funeral in St. Peter's Square. It was the first time the world closely watched Joseph Ratzinger.

Aside from presiding over the funeral, he was also responsible for leading the College of Cardinals as they chose a successor to Pope John Paul II. It would not be easy. Finding someone with the courage to rule the Church after the popular pontiff was difficult.

The conclave began on Monday, April 18th with a Mass to ask for help from the Holy Spirit. Cardinal Ratzinger, who had already become a strong candidate, celebrated the Mass.

"In this hour, we insistently ask the Lord that after the great gift of Pope John Paul II, we again receive a pastor with his strength of heart.”

The 115 cardinals under the age of 80 entered the Sistine Chapel at 4:00 p.m. They swore they would vote unencumbered by pressure and would keep secret what happened there.
A few hours later, the first message from the Sistine Chapel came: Black smoke.

There wasn't a new pope the morning April 19th either. After three ballots, the cardinals had not yet come to a consensus.

However, by mid-afternoon, the situation changed. White smoke colored the sky of Rome. And so the people received the news.

Joseph Ratzinger had just become the 265th successor of St. Peter. With just four ballots, it was one of the fastest conclaves in history.

"Dear brothers and sisters after the great Pope, John Paul II, the cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble worker in the Lord's vineyard. The fact that the Lord can work and act even with insufficient means consoles me, and above all, I entrust myself to your prayers.”

The first thing he did was visit his colleagues in what had been his office of 23 years: the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

"Holiness, welcome among us and thank you for this visit."

"Still I can not believe I'm now somewhere else. What the Lord has said to Peter has been done: There will come a day where you will be guided where you do not want to go.”

They gave him a cake. It was already prepared, because four days earlier he had turned 78.

A few days later, the Pope told German pilgrims how he felt.

"When, little by little, the trend of the voting led me to understand that, to say it simply, the axe was going to fall on me, my head began to spin...With profound conviction I said to the Lord: Do not do this to me! You have younger and better people at your disposal who can face this great responsibility with greater dynamism and greater strength.”

He also started his new life without his extensive library. The professor Pope needed his books, and so he left the Vatican to go to his old home and prepare his first speeches in his library.

Unbeknown to him, word spread quickly and hundreds of people waited to see him at his door.

He never got used to fame. But with his shyness, Pope Benedict XVI won over those who were able to see him up close.

- PR