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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.

Priests from Iraq and Syria: ISIS is committing genocide


Two priests from Iraq and Syria said that Christians in their country are becoming the martyrs of this century. Their remarks came during the Rimini Meeting, which is organized by the Communion and Liberation Movement. They had been invited to share testimony about what life is like in two of the most dangerous countries in the world. 

Douglas Al-Bazi is a parish priest in Erbil, Iraq. Thousands of refugees who fled from the Islamic State in Mosul and other parts of Iraq have joined his parish. He speaks eloquently about what his flock is going through.

Erbil (Iraq)
"Someone who still thinks that ISIS does not represent Islam is wrong. ISIS represent Islam, 100 percent. If someone says that, 'No we have Muslims that are nice.' Yes they are nice here. But there they are killers.”

Thousands of people fled from the Islamic State and are left with nothing. He says that there isn't a war happening in Iraq. Instead, people in his country call it something else.

Erbil (Iraq)
"And what happens now to my people is another a genocide. So I beg you. Don't call what happens in my country a conflict. It is genocide.”

The Islamic State has also devastated parts of Syria. Father Ibrahim Alsabagh is a parish priest in Aleppo, which has been torn by the civil war.

Aleppo (Syria)
"It seems as if we are in the Book of Revelation. I read and think about it every day. Because for us Christians in the Middle East, I speak especially about Aleppo, it is an apocalyptic environment.”

Dozens of militant groups have torn apart the city, where few buildings are left standing and it's difficult to acquire even the most basic necessities.

Aleppo (Syria)
"It is very difficult to eat meat, very difficult to think about drinking milk, to eat cheese or butter. FLASH For a month and a half, there has been no water. And some jihadists bomb the city's water supplies while others shoot at the river, so no one can drink.”

These are the conditions that Syrian Christians live under. He explains that it is, of course, hard to convince them to stay in the country. Still, he says that his testimony is strong because it is rooted in the same land where Christianity was born.

Meeting Rimini