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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.

What did the Pope say to the country's leaders? Check out his speech


Dear Friends,

I am pleased to be with you, men and women who represent and advance the social, political and economic life of this country. 

As I entered this church, the Mayor of Quito gave me the keys to the city.  So I can say that here, in Saint Francis of Quito, I feel at home.  His expression of affectionate closeness, opening your doors to me, allows me to speak, in turn, about a few other keys: keys to our life in society, beginning with family life.

Our society benefits when each person and social group feels truly at home.  In a family, parents, grandparents and children feel at home; no one is excluded.  If someone has a problem, even a serious one, even if he brought it upon himself, the rest of the family comes to his assistance; they support him.  His problems are theirs.  Should it not be the same in society? 

 Our relationships in society and political life, though, are often based on confrontation and the attempt to eliminate our opponents.  My position, my ideas and my plans will move forward if I can prevail over others and impose my will.  Is this the way a family should be?  In families, everyone contributes to the common purpose, everyone works for the common good, not denying each person’s individuality but encouraging and supporting it. 

 The joys and sorrows of each are felt by all.  That is what it means to be a family!  If only we could view our political opponents or neighbors in the same way we view our children or our spouse, mother or father!  Do we love our society?  Do we love our country, the community which we are trying to build?  Do we love it in the abstract, in theory?  Let us love it by our actions more than by our words!  In every person, in concrete situations, in our life together, love always leads to communication, never to isolation.

This feeling can give rise to small gestures which strengthen personal bonds.  I have often spoken the importance of the family as the primary cell of society.  In the family, we find the basic values of love, fraternity and mutual respect, which translate into essential values for society as a whole: gratitude, solidarity and subsidiarity. 

Parents know that all their children are equally loved, even though each has his or her own character.  But when children refuse to share what they have freely received, this relationship breaks down.  The love of their parents helps children to overcome their selfishness, to learn to live with others, to yield and be patient.  In the wider life of society we come to see that "gratuitousness” is not something extra, but rather a necessary condition of justice.  Who we are, and what we have, has been given to us so that we can place it at the service of others.  Our task is to make it bear fruit in good works.

The goods of the earth are meant for everyone, and however much someone may parade his property, it has a social mortgage.  In this way we move beyond purely economic justice, based on commerce, towards social justice, which upholds the fundamental human right to a dignified life.  The tapping of natural resources, which are so abundant in Ecuador, must not be concerned with short-term benefits.  As stewards of these riches which we have received, we have an obligation toward society as a whole and towards future generations. 

 We cannot bequeath this heritage to them without proper care for the environment, without a sense of gratuitousness born of our contemplation of the created world.  Among us today are some of our brothers and sisters representing the indigenous peoples of the Equatorial Amazon.  That region is one of the "richest areas both in the number of species and in endemic, rare or less protected species…  it requires greater protection because of its immense importance for the global ecosystem… it possesses an enormously complex biodiversity which is almost impossible to appreciate fully, yet when [such woodlands] are burned down or leveled for purposes of cultivation, within the space of a few years countless species are lost and the areas frequently become arid wastelands” (cf. Laudato Si’, 37-38).  

 Ecuador – together with other countries bordering the Amazon – has an opportunity to become a teacher of integral ecology.  We received this world as an inheritance from past generations, but also as a loan from future generations, to whom we will have to return it!

 Out of the family’s experience of fraternity is born solidarity in society, which does not only consist in giving to those in need, but in feeling responsible for one another.  If we see others as our brothers and sisters, then no one can be left out or set aside.

Ecuador, like many Latin American nations, is now experiencing profound social and cultural changes, new challenges which need to be faced by every sector of society.  Migration, overcrowded cities, consumerism, crises in the family, unemployment and pockets of poverty: all these factors create uncertainty and tensions which threaten social harmony.  Laws and regulations, as well as social planning, need to aim at inclusion, create opportunities for dialogue and encounter, while leaving behind all forms of repression, excessive control or loss of freedom as painful past memories.  Hoping in a better future calls for offering real opportunities to people, especially young people, creating employment, and ensuring an economic growth which is shared by all (rather than simply existing on paper, in macroeconomic statistics), and promoting a sustainable development capable of generating a solid and cohesive social fabric

Finally, the respect for others which we learn in the family finds social expression in subsidiarity.  To recognize that our choices are not necessarily the only legitimate ones is a healthy exercise in humility.  In acknowledging the goodness inherent in others, even with their limitations, we see the richness present in diversity and the value of complementarity.  Individuals and groups have the right to go their own way, even though they may sometimes make mistakes. 

 In full respect for that freedom, civil society is called to help each person and social organization to take up its specific role and thus contribute to the common good.  Dialogue is needed and is fundamental for arriving at the truth, which cannot be imposed, but sought with a sincere and critical spirit.  In a participatory democracy, each social group, indigenous peoples, Afro-Ecuadorians, women, civic associations and those engaged in public service are all indispensable participants in this dialogue.  The walls, patios and cloisters of this city eloquently make this point: rooted in elements of Incan and Caranqui culture, beautiful in their proportions and shapes, boldly and strikingly combining different styles, the works of art produced by the "Quito school” sum up that great dialogue, with its successes and failures, which is Ecuador’s history.  Today we see how beautiful it is.  If the past was marked by errors and abuses – how can we deny it! – we can say that the amalgamation which resulted radiates such exuberance that we can look to the future with great hope.

The Church wishes for her part to cooperate in the pursuit of the common good, through her social and educational works, promoting ethical and spiritual values, and serving as a prophetic sign which brings a ray of light and hope to all, especially those most in need. 

Thank you for being here, for listening to me.  I ask you please to carry my words of encouragement to the different communities and groups which you represent.  May the Lord grant that the civil society which you represent will always be a fitting setting for experiencing and practicing these values of which I have spoken.