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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:

Ecuador Ambassador to the Holy See: It won't be just Ecuadorians who come to see the Pope


Pope Francis will start his trip to Latin America in Ecuador on July 5th. It's a deeply Christian nation, in which 80 to 90 percent of the population identifies as Catholic.

The trip to Ecuador will be followed by stops in Bolivia and Paraguay. All three countries are relatively small and do not have much power in global affairs.  

But visiting a country like Ecuador is consistent with Pope Francis' policy of reaching out to the Church's peripheries. 

Vatican's Spokesperson 
"He wanted to visit these three countries that aren't considered very important when evaluated with geopolitical criteria.”

Ecuador's president keeps a photograph of the Pope on his desk and is known to attend Mass. The socialist leader is also allied with the Church on gay marriage, abortion, and many economic issues. 

The Ecuadorian ambassador to the Holy See said his country is aligned with the Church's preferential option for the poor.

Ecuador's Ambassador to the Holy See 
"The Holy Father is going not only to encourage these countries, but to also impel them to continue with the 'preferential option for the poor' policy. We are doing this in all three countries, so I think that is the why the Holy Father has chosen us.”

The Catholic Church has been a large part of Ecuador's history long before it was a country. The Archdiocese of Quito dates back to the 16th century, and today there are 11 dioceses and four archdioceses. Millions from the country of 18 million are expected to attend papal events.

Ecuador's Ambassador to the Holy See 
"We calculate, in Guayaquil, at least a million and a half will attend. In Quito, there can be much more, because people from Colombia and other countries could come. We are looking forward to the visit, but we do not want to break records. We aren't trying to do that. But I believe that at least two million will arrive in Quito.”

The ambassador said that because the Pope is Latin American, he has a deep love for the region, as well as an understanding of its political, economic, and social issues. The admiration is mutual.

Ecuador's Ambassador to the Holy See 
"It's always very emotional to meet with the Holy Father. Imagine what it means for the Catholics, and for people in general, to meet the head of the Church, a man so charismatic, a man who has really won the hearts.”

While in the country, Pope Francis will hold a Mass for Latin American families; meet with the president; visit a senior center; and take part in other events during several busy days.