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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.

Gustavo Vera: Argentine president will have a lot of explaining to do to Pope Francis


Pope Francis has made fighting against human trafficking one of the centerpieces of his pontificate. One of his closest collaborators in the struggle is Gustavo Vera, the leader of the Alameda Foundation. The Argentine organization has worked for years to end the scourge of human exploitation in the Pope's home country.

The two met in 2008, when the foundation was going through a critical period.

Alameda Foundation
"It was a very important year for us, because we were attacked by many of the criminal groups we had denounced. We had already been attacked 18 times on our premises. The victims were people who had testified against criminal groups in various courts.”

Since then, the two saw each other often and developed a friendship. Then-Cardinal Bergoglio celebrated Mass on the fifth anniversary of a tragic fire that killed at least six people in an underground factory in Buenos Aires.

March 27, 2011 (Source: Alameda Foundation)
"And do not be afraid in this fight for justice. We can repeat it again today: justice for the so many men and women subjected to trafficking is long overdue.”

Organized crime in Argentina has grown in recent years. According to the United Nations, the South American country could become the third largest producer of cocaine in the world. Vera attributes this problem to corruption.

Alameda Foundation
"Pope Francis is concerned, certainly, by the growth of the drug trade in Argentina. He is concerned that now the country is no longer just a transit hub, but also a consumer. And we also have evidence that production is happening. He is concerned about the level of corruption, which makes drug trafficking easier in the country.”

In late February, Vera published a private email from the Pope, in which he expressed concerned that Argentina would soon face many of the problems that Mexico has in recent years.

Alameda Foundation
"This is a mafia state, where organized crime is blending with the government, which enables crime. And this is generating a process that can lead to situations like the one in Mexico.”

Vera said that he expected Pope Francis and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to discuss corruption when they meet in June.

Alameda Foundation
"There are issues that come from the Church and from Pope Francis, for which Cristina Kirchner will have to provide an explanation. She will have to answer about levels of drug trafficking and money laundering in the country.”

The meeting will also take place just months before the country's general election, which is scheduled for October 25th.

MG / RR / Alameda Foundation