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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.

Pope speaks to Journalists aboard his papal plane


Pope Francis concluded his trip to Latin America with this intense press conference aboard the papal plane.

He explained what he was thinking when Bolivian President Evo Morales handed him a crucifix tied to the universal symbol for communism. 

"We have to look at the context of this time. Fr. Espinal (the designer of the crucifix) was enthusiastic about Marxism,  theology, and combining the two.  And so that piece was made. Also, the poems Espinal composed were of this genre, poems of protest. It was his life, his thought. He was a special man, with creative thoughts.  He fought with good intentions. Looking at it through this context, I understand the design.  For me, it wasn't offensive, once it's seen in context.  I want to make this clear, so there's no confusion.” 

But he discussed much more than just that. He explained why he spoke in front of thousands of people who are involved in Catholic movements and why he didn't mind being used as a spokesperson. 

"What have I done? I gave them the social doctrine of the Church, which is the same I do when I address the business world.” 

Question: Do you believe that the Church will follow you in your outreach to popular movements?

"I follow the Church. I simply preach the Social Doctrine of the Church to the movements. It is not a helping hand to an enemy, not a political event. It's based on the Catechism.” 

The Pope also said he was praying for the success of the peace process between Colombia and FARC rebels and for the bishops in Venezuela who face serious tension in their country.

Question: What are your thoughts about the delicate situations in Latin America, in Venezuela and in Colombia?

"At this moment, I am worried that the peace process in Colombia will stop. I must say this: I hope that it continues. In that sense,  we always are available to help. It would be something terrible if it didn't go forward.”

"In Venezuela, the Episcopal Conference is focused on bringing peace there. But as far as your question, there is no direct mediation.  The case with the  U.S  and Cuba, was the work of the Lord. It was a coincidence, and then it moved forward by itself. As far as Venezuela, I don't know anything.” 

He also answered some more light-hearted questions, like this one about how he finds energy to keep up a long trip.

Question: We've seen your energy these past few days and in the last two years and a half. What's your secret? 

"Do you mean, what's my drug? That's what you really want to know. The drug! Mate tea helps me, but I didn't try any coca leaf tea. I want to make that very clear!” 

It was an hour-long conversations, thousands of miles in the air, in what has become a kind of tradition, where Pope Francis takes questions from journalists at the end of his papal trips.