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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.

Final Stage of the Synod Explained


The Synod of the Family is on its final stage. Now Bishops are working on the final document which will include all the proposals of the Synod. Bishops will vote on them on Saturday. So, at this point, Bishops are weighing in and sharing their input. 

On Thursday afternoon, the Synod's Secretary will give Bishops a rough draft of the final document. They will have the chance to read it carefully, make suggestions and even corrections.  On Friday, they will turn their suggestions in. 

Synod's Secretary General 
"Bishops taking part in the Synod can also weigh in, either verbally or in writing. There is enough time for one or the other to be carried out.” 

Also on Thursday, the Synod's Council will be elected. It will include 12 Bishops and another three directly appointed by Pope Francis. One of the main goals of the council is to make sure the proposals of the Synod are actually implemented. They will have other responsibilities as well. 

Synod's Secretary General 
"The council will also be in charge of organizing the next Synod. It will be a stable entity that will carry on from one Synod to the next. When the next Synod begins their term will automatically end.” 

On Friday morning, Bishops will have one hour and a half to share their opinions on the final document. Since time is limited, they will also have the chance to send in their impressions or suggestions in writing. 

The Secretary General will have to take note of the suggestions, so they are included in the final document, which will be presented on Saturday. A commission of ten Bishops will make sure that all points of view are reflected on the document. 

Saturday will be key. The Synod's Secretary explains who it will all pan out. 

Synod's Secretary General 
"The final document will be read in the Synod on Saturday morning, so there will still be time for reflections and suggestions. Bishops will have to be prepared to share their input. Then in the afternoon, Bishops will vote on every single point, all the way from the first to the last.” 

If proposals get a two third's majority vote or more, the points will be approved. They will be rejected if they don't get a majority. 

Once the vote is complete, the final document and the voting tally will be given to Pope Francis and he will decide what to do next. There are three main possibilities: To make publish the document and the voting results. To approve the points Bishops approved, or thirdly, to use the document as a base for a future apostolic exhortation. 

Synod's Secretary General 
"This will be entirely up to Pope Francis. Last year, he decided to make the document public. This year, we'll see what he decides. It will be only up to him to make that decision.” 

After three weeks of the Synod of the Family, everything will come to a close on Sunday, when the Pope celebrates a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica to mark the occasion. Pope Francis will of course have the final word on whether the proposals set forth by Bishops are implemented or not.