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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.

Pope Francis' strategy to influence international politics


Every time Pope Francis becomes more involved with international politics, he gains even more acclaim. The reopening of Cuba and the United States' embassies in their respective countries was directly linked to the Pope, though he has downplayed his role.

Now, Pope Francis has inserted himself into the fight to address climate change. And he's brought an even more bold strategy. His goal is to influence the upcoming climate change summit in Paris. "Laudato Si” was the opening move, and a Vatican conference with some of the world's most important mayors was the next step.

President, Agency of Environmental Protection (Argentina)
"In recent years the cities have become a dynamic part of the discussion about climate change. And there is a reason for this. When a city suffers flooding due to more severe storms, the flooded resident will not complain to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) or the United Nations for the delay in negotiations. The resident will seek answers from the local government.”

In addition to addressing climate change, the conference also dealt with the difficult issue of human trafficking. He said the two are interlocked, because people become susceptible to exploitation when environmental problems make them more vulnerable.

July 21, 2015
"There is a relationship of mutual incidence between the environment and the person and how the person treats the environment.”

In order to influence the powerful, Pope Francis is using an unusual method: he is giving a voice to people who have been marginalized by human trafficking and climate change, along with those who directly represent them.

Mayor of Villa Maria (Argentina)
"We believe it's necessary for the U.N. to fundamentally determine that human trafficking is a crime against humanity and they are resisting that.”

Popular Movements (Spain)
"There are real barriers that we must identify and overcome. If we don't work on the local level, it doesn't make sense on the universal level. And if we don't have that universal dimension, the local work is restricted.”

One of the most powerful moments from Pope Francis' trip to Latin America was his meeting with extremely poor people. He delivered one of his most powerful social speeches to them and again made the world focus on the most excluded. The question that remains to be seen is whether powerful leaders will embrace this way of doing politics.