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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.

Petition to take concrete steps against the Islamic State garners 130,000+ signatures


Throughout his pontificate, Pope Francis has repeatedly prayed for people suffering in the Middle East, especially Christians. The Pope has urged concrete steps be taken to help refugees.

September 6, 2015
"Faced with the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees who flee death from war and hunger, and who have begun a journey moved by vital hope, the Gospel calls us to be 'neighbors' of the weakest and the abandoned. To give them concrete hope. It’s not enough to say, 'Take heart. Be patient.'”

While he has called on the international community to help refugees, Pope Francis also believes it's important to solve the root cause of the problem. 

One organization is working to ensure that the United Nations moves beyond rhetoric. They've launched a global petition calling on the UN Security Council to develop a plan to protect religious freedom and human rights in Syria and Iraq; adopt a legal framework to sanction the Islamic State; and approve measures to stop people who fund the terrorist group.

Novae Terrae Foundation
"We're hoping that they will approve finally something real. Not only good words, not only good disappointment, but also something very positive, very practical and concrete to defend these Christians and these religious minorities in these martyrized countries.”

The petition already has more than 130,000 signatures from throughout the world, and their goal is to reach 200,000.

While it's important for the government to act, he said the Church can also make a big difference in helping people until real change comes.

Novae Terrae Foundation
"Other churches, other bishop conferences around the world could move, could act to prepare some national plans to receive these people that have had their lives destroyed. Many of them, a part of their family are killed on the way. So it's an urgent act. It's a clear sign that the Catholic Church is not only a spiritual Church but practical really, wanting to lead and to save people.”

After years of stalling, time is running out in the fight against the Islamic State. Christians have abandoned parts of the Middle East where they had lived for thousands of years. Soon, there may not be any Christians left in the birthplace of their religion.