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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:

Memorable moments from Pope Francis' 100 general audiences


Between this welcome message from Pope Francis...

and this one...

One hundred general audiences have taken place, giving us some of the most interesting and tender moments of Pope Francis' pontificate.

General audiences are celebrated almost every Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. The Pope usually arrives around 9:30 a.m., before it gets too hot.

Or too cold.

The audience must go on, even if it's raining in the Eternal City.

And the Popemobile is often showered in gifts as it winds through St. Peter's Square. People have given Pope Francis jerseys, hats, and letters. He often stops to trade his papal hat with someone or even take a sip of traditional Argentine tea.

This group of Legionaries of Christ gave him a cake for his 78th birthday and sang him traditional Mexican songs.

One person even brought a parrot to St. Peter's Square for Pope Francis.

The Popemobile often stops for children and the elderly. The Pope has blessed hundreds of elderly and thousands of babies during his audiences.

March 18, 2015
"Some, when I try to give them a kiss, smile. Others, they see me in white, and they think I'm a doctor and I'll give them a vaccine. They cry spontaneously. Children are like this.”

Pope Francis is the first Pope to invite pilgrims to join him on the Popemobile. For example, the Pope happened to see an Argentine priest in the crowd and invited him to take a ride.

On many occasions the Pope has said he is a fan of the soccer team San Lorenzo, and he often spots their gear from a distance.

The Pope always brings a written speech, typically a catechesis. But he often improvises large chunks of his remarks. It's led to surprising and powerful moments.

May 20, 2015
"To you, separated couples, I advise: Never, never, never, take your child hostage. You are separated by so many difficulties and life has tested you. But children should not carry of the burden of your separation.”

March 4, 2015
"I asked a woman, 'Do your children visit you? She said, 'Yes, yes, they do.' When was the last time they came? She said, 'For Christmas.' We were in August! Eight months without a visit from her children. Eight months of being abandoned! This is a deadly sin. Understood?”

After the catechesis, he often spends more than an hour personally meeting with hundreds of different visitors. To respect protocol, he starts with cardinals and bishops. But immediately afterward, he meets with sick people and the elderly. He spends the majority of his time with them during the audiences.