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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

Holy See adopts UN Convention against Corruption

September 23, 2016. Pope Francis has asked the Vatican to be exemplary in the fight against corruption and meet the set international standards in this regard. Therefore, the Secretary of State has announced that the Holy See will conform to the Merida Convention against Corruption. This requires countries to implement anti-corruption measures concerning its laws, institutions and practices. From now on, the Roman Curia and the Vatican City State will review its administrative procedures to align them to the standards set by the Convention. Through this compliance, the Vatican says it hopes to contribute to increased transparency and proper management of public affairs in the international community.

Four key themes of the upcoming Synod on the Family


On October 4th, the Synod on the Family will begin. There will be representatives from the world's episcopal conferences in the Vatican. In addition, 18 married couples will attend at the Pope´s request.

During the three weeks, the main focus will be on the modern day challenges families face. The working document identifies these four points

1) Fewer marriages among the young

For younger generations, it's challenging to make definitive decisions. That includes getting married. 

Less couples are getting married, while divorce and separations are on the rise. 

"We must reflect profoundly on why today's youth do not want to get married, despite there being a desire for affectionate security and a stable marriage. Along with other reasons, there is a fear in the young, of being wrong and failing. This fear blocks them from trusting in Christ's promise of marriage.”

2) Helping marriages

The Catholic Church wants to find ways to better prepare individuals for marriage. Amid jokes, Pope Francis said that young adults spend more time  studying for exams than preparing for marriage. 

The Pope wants to have married couples help those who are just starting out. It will be a way for  newlyweds to learn the power of forgiveness and love. 

May 13, 2015
"If you have fought, do not end the day without peace. How, you ask? On the knees? No. One small gesture is enough. Harmony can return to the family.”

3) Connecting with children

Raising kids is a challenge in any continent. Many parents highlight just how difficult it is to reach out and get through to their kids. There is an "invasive environment due to technology and social media.”  Children continue to be influenced by smartphones and computers.

May 20, 2015
"If family education rediscovers the pride of its leadership, many things will change for the better, for uncertain parents and for disappointed children. It is time for fathers and mothers to return from their exile — for they have exiled themselves from their children’s upbringing — and to fully resume their educational role.”

4) Broken families

It concerns the Pope that broken families do not feel included by the Catholic Church. He asks Catholics to treat broken families with mercy and offer spiritual support. 

Some churches do not allow those who are divorced to be Baptism godparents or teach catechism. The Synod will reconsider this.

Some bishops have asked for it to be possible for divorced Catholics who remarry and receive the Sacraments. 

August 5, 2015
"We must differentiate between those who have suffered separation and those who provoked it. If we look at the new union from a child's perspective, we can see the urgency in welcoming these families into the church. After all, how can we ask parents to raise children in the Christian faith, if they themselves are excluded from the church?”

As Pope Francis said, there is a search for a solution to emergencies reflecting these four aspects of marriage: indissolubility, unity, fidelity and openness to life.

This will be the challenging task of the Synod. 

- PR