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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 hears testimony from two priests and a nun who were tortured


People lined the streets and sang for Pope Francis as he made his way to the Cathedral of Sarajevo on the Popemobile.

As the Pope entered the Cathedral alongside the cardinal from Sarajevo, priests and nuns snapped photographs and waved to him. The smiling Pope stopped to talk, shake hands, and even hug. 

Cardinal Vinko Puljic received this chalice from Pope Francis. In return, he gave the Pope this painting.

Afterward, the Pope heard testimony about the persecution of Catholics during the war. The conflict ended 20 years ago and some 250,000 people died.

This nun worked as a nurse in a civilian hospital, but foreign troops arrested her, a priest, and several lay people.

"The militants forced the pastor, Father Vinko, to put my rosary under his shoes. He refused to do so. One of the militiamen, unsheathing his sword, threatened to hit me if he did not trample and desecrate the rosary. Then I said to the pastor: "Father Vinko, let them kill me, but, for the love of God, do not trample our sacred object!”

This priest was arrested and beaten badly. He had to receive six blood transfusions.

"I forgive with all of my heart those that do evil and I pray for them and for a merciful God to forgive them and that they convert to the path of good.”

In 1992, this Franciscan friar was taken to a concentration camp with many of his parishioners.

"We lived without basic hygiene. We were not able to wash, shave, or cut our hair. We were physically abused every day, beaten, tortured for fun. They used different tools, their hands, and their feet. God sent me his help, in the form of food from a Muslim woman, Fatima, and her family, who now live in America.

Visibly moved, Pope Francis set aside his prepared remarks and spoke about what he had just heard. 

"You have no right to forget your history. Not for revenge, but to make peace. Not to look at them as something strange, but to love as they have loved.”

The Pope said that the three religious who spoke are martyrs. He was impressed that the word "forgiveness” had been repeated so many times.

"There is a word that has been in my heart. It's... 'sorry.' A man who is dedicated to serving the Lord but does not forgive, he does not serve.”

He also expressed appreciation for the Muslim woman's gesture. He said that she looked beyond their differences and did good by feeding the priest. 

Before leaving, he gave the audience an assignment: to pray for the families who have many children and to pray that many of them turn their lives over to God.

- BN