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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:

Venezuelans on hunger strike, ask Pope to intercede for release of political prisoners


Their names are Martin Paz and Jose Vicente Garcia. They are two politicians from Venezuela who announced a hunger strike just outside the Vatican. Their goal is clear: They're calling for their president, Nicolas Maduro to release more than 70 political prisoners. 

Their initial hope was for the strike to coincide with the president's Sunday visit with Pope Francis. But Maduro canceled a day before, citing health problems. The group believes the cancellation was due to their protest. 

Politician from Saint Cristóbal (Venezuela)
"We are convinced the cancellation is due to the political pressure we've launched.  It's not just here in the Vatican. We're calling for our government to release political prisoners back home.  But we are also asking Pope Francis, respectfully and with faith, to intercede for political prisoners and human right violations in Venezuela. We're hoping to have the opportunity to speak with senior Vatican officials so we can explain what is really going on in our country.” 

At first, they planned on launching the hunger strike in their home country, but eventually they decided to travel to Rome. Even though this will surely pose a risk when it's time to go back home. 

Politician of Saint Cristóbal (Venezuela) 
"We made a decision. We left our families, children and wives in Venezuela. We all have children. Martin has a six month old baby. My boy is 15 months old. They are babies, but to put things into perspective, they don't have access to the food they need. We can't get the milk they need, we can't buy diapers. We don't have access to anything and this is why we decided to come here. We're here for them.” 

They are calling on their government to free political prisoners like Leopoldo López, Daniel Ceballos and Antonio Ledezma, the mayor of Caracas. In fact, his daughter came to Rome to show support. 

Antonio Ledezma's Daughter 
"My father is imprisoned right now for thinking differently than the government. They are violating his human rights.” 

To check up on their health, the protesters have a nurse on standby for regular tests on their blood pressure and to make sure they don't face dehydration. 

Along with these two politicians, another 36 people have joined in the hunger strike in Venezuela. They say they're desperate and it's the last resort they have in hoping Maduro's government will listen to their pleas.