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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.

The mystery of the Holy Shroud


Even though a Pope has never officially recognized this linen cloth as the one that covered the body of Jesus after his Crucifixion, the Holy Shroud is nonetheless the most prized relic of the Catholic Church and one of the most intriguing objects in the world. 


It's dimensions are 14.3 feet long and 3.7 feet wide. It's a linen cloth and it has a pattern that coincides with the way other cloths were woven in the early centuries, especially in Syria. 

"We've found cloths similar to this one in the tombs of wealthy people. This one covered the body of someone who was crucified. So the question is, 'Who was this person?' Typically, people who were crucified were left in mass graves, since they were usually poor or criminals. But Jesus was taken to a grave fit for a rich person, which belonged to Joseph of Arimathea. He wrapped Jesus in a beautiful cloth.” 


The Holy Shroud depicts the body of a man who endured wounds consistent with a Crucifixion. Investigators say, the man was between 30 and 40 years old and weighed about 175 pounds. More than likely, he was involved in manual labor. 


The man depicted in the Shroud suffered roughly 720 wounds, and at least 120 lashes. From the wounds depicted in the Shroud, the whips probably had six strings and were bound together by a sharp object. 

He was beaten violently on his face and more than likely he had a head cover of thorns. This because forehead and neck show traces of blood dripping from the top of the head. He carried a heavy object on his left shoulder and had wounds on his knees. 

Institute of Science and Faith, Regina Apostolorum
"The person depicted in the Shroud suffered wounds that are consistent with the descriptions of the Gospel. From lashes, to a crown of thorns and the Crucifixion.” 

His left wrist shows a nail puncture and bloodstains show that the right wrist endured a similar wound. The left side of the man's torso was also punctured with what seems to be a spear. 


The Shroud doesn't show any traces of brushstrokes and is indelible. That's why one of the biggest mysteries is how it actually came about. Italian scientists have their own theory on what could have happened. 

"It shows dehydration. A very superficial oxidation of cellulose. It's identical to the ultraviolet radiation that we would get from the use of a laser. The only possible explanation I see, is that a great current of light was released from the body when it was wrapped in the sheet. So, for those who believe in the Resurrection, this means quite a lot.” 


There are traces of myrrh and aloe on the Shroud. These two materials were widely used in burials in the Middle East. It also has pollen from 58 different plants. Thirty eight of them are not European and 17 of them can be traced back to Jerusalem.  

The blood stains on the Holy Shroud are AB, with large traces of bilirubin which is a sign of someone who suffered a violent death. 

"The blood has not moved or even been smeared on the Shroud. It's as if the body disappeared within the linen cloth.”

The Shroud is like a photographic negative. Unlike other average photographs though, it looks clearly when seen as a negative, and not the other way around. 


But nevertheless, a Carbon 14 test carried out back in 1988 concluded that the fabric is from Medieval times, around the year 1260. Some experts say the tests were not carried out properly and the samples, they argue, were probably contaminated. 

"The Shroud has some patches and the sample they used in that study has traces of cotton. That right there brings up a lot of doubts.” 

Institute of Science and Faith, Regina Apostolorum
"Many studies have been carried out to determine if the techniques to develop the image on the Shroud actually existed in Medieval times. Many hypothesis have come about, but in the end, they show that the results don't add up. They have no explanation for how the image was imprinted on the Holy Shroud.” 

Centuries have passed, but the Holy Shroud continues to be one of the most intriguing objects in Christianity...and perhaps physical proof of the Resurrection. 

- PR