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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.

The Synod on the Family kicks off in the Vatican


The Synod of the Family will run from October 4th to the 25th. Already more than 300 participants who will take part have made their way to Rome. 

Bishops, married couples and experts will look into what the Church can do to address modern day challenges families face. 

A so called working document that was given to those taking part, highlights four main points. They include analyzing why more young couples are choosing not to get married. Helping those who do want to get married with top notch preparation, helping parents communicate with their children, especially amid the obsession with technology and attention to broken families. 

It's all based on pastoral approaches, not on changing Church Doctrine. 

"Marriage is indissoluble when it's a Sacrament. This cannot be changed by the Church. It cannot be changed. It's doctrine.” 

Pontifical Council for the Family 
"The Synod is not about condemnation. The Synod is about finding all the medications that can cure the ills of families.”

The Synod will tackle many thorny issues though, like divorced and civilly remarried couples and whether they can receive Communion under extraordinary circumstances. But the discussion will also go beyond that. 

"I think it's a bit simplistic to think that Synod...to say that the solution for these couples is to receive Communion. This is not the only solution.” 

Pope Francis has highlighted time and time again that addressing some of the challenges in society, can first start with addressing issues faced by the family. 

"A society grows strong, firm, beautiful and with honesty when it's built upon the base of a family.” 

The Pope will give an opening and closing statement during the Synod.  He will be present during the meetings, but he does not plan on addressing the issues publicly, so as to not influence the direction of the discussions. 

October 6, 2014 (Start of Synod) 
"This is a basic condition: Speak clearly. No one can say: 'That cannot be said, because they will think badly of me.' Speak your mind.” 

The Synod does not have any decision making powers. The group of Bishops gets together every time they are convened by the Pope to do so, specifically to address issues he wants to delve into. From the recommendations of the Synod, Popes have included items in magisterial documents.