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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.

Synod calls for divorced and re-married to be 'more integrated' in the Church


The Synod on the Family is officially over and along with it, a document with 94 paragraphs that reflects the discussions held during the three week Synod. For the most part, there was a consensus among the majority of Bishops. 

Vatican Press Office
"Perhaps some of you could say, well three of those paragraphs, or four did not receive very high numbers—that would be one way of looking at it. Another would be in the context of what Pope Francis is doing for the Church. An image that Pope Francis has used from the beginning of his pontificate is that the the Church is a field hospital. It’s a very beautiful expression and it means that the Church has to be there in all those areas where there is great difficulty.”

One of the points where there is disagreement is the issue of divorced and civilly re-married Catholics. 

Those who voted against that possibility, state that a so called false charity, could dilute the indissolubility of marriage. 

The Synod describes the divorced as brothers and sisters. It calls for Bishops to look at 'forms of exclusion, currently practiced in the liturgical, pastoral, education and institutional forum, that can be overcome.' One example of this, could be be the issue of how some dioceses do not allow the divorced to be godparents, religion teachers or representatives of a dioceses. 

The final document calls for these situations to be reviewed under the guidelines set forth by John Paul II, which marks the distinction of those who abandoned their spouse--- and those who were abandoned, for example. 

The Synod reflections also call on priests to help the faithful in educating their conscience and to recognize what their situation is before God. 

It adds "The conversation with the priest, in the internal forum, contributes to the formation of having the faithful use their correct judgment over what could become an obstacle in living the life of the Church in full.” It adds that in the priests discernment, the Gospel and the truth, cannot be set aside.

Vatican Press Office 
"Pope Francis has revived the synod of bishops. He speaks about collegiality about synodality and those are the two things we experience in spades.”

The Synod document gives concrete proposals and it has a positive tone that gives hope to families. It shows that what is broke can indeed be healed. 

- BN