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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:

Synod: Bishops discuss Communion for divorced and civilly re-married Catholics


The issue of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics and whether the Church should allow them to receive Communion, is now being looked at by Bishops in the Synod of the Family.

Bishop of Poznan (Poland)
"It's not an easy issue, but I wouldn't say that there's an ambiance of fear. We believe the Holy Spirit and Pope Francis will guide us.”

Many Bishops were given the open floor to express their viewpoint on the issue...what's quite evident is that opinions vary

Some argue that allowing divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion is based on false charity that goes against Church Doctrine.

Bishop of Poznan (Poland)
"In the Bishops Conference of Poland things were very clear. For us annulments were always part of the process.” 

Those who favor a more flexible stance say that a so called 'penitential path' should be more widely considered as a means to allowing divorced to receive Communion. 

But the issue goes beyond receiving the Eucharist. It includes what the Church can do to help people in those irregular situations. 

Archdiocese of Tlalnepantla (Mexico)
"If the first marriage failed, it's a matter at looking at why it failed, so looking at the root causes.” 

A so called 'penitential path' would include an in depth examination of one's conscience and also a reflection of how the divorce may have harmed others, including one's former spouse and the children.   

The issue in play is also about passing on the faith to children and the challenge this poses when parents don't have an annulment for their previous marriage, and therefore cannot receive Communion. 

The Synod of the Family will conclude on October 25th. The issue of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics and whether they should be allowed the receive Communion is a topic that's been debated in the first phase and now, in the second phase of the Synod.