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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.”

Kenya, Uganda and the CAR: How are the countries the Pope will visit this week?


Pope Francis will travel for five days through three countries into the heart of Africa: Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic. Although each nation has a different socio-economic situation, they all have experienced violence and corruption that makes life hard to live.

Kenya has been a victim of jihadist violence. In April, the al-Shabaab terrorist organization killed more than 140 students at the University of Garissa. The attackers specifically targeted Christians.

Bishop of Muranga (Kenya)
"The situation is mainly out there where the leaders are not. Because the leaders, they understand one another. At least that is what the Muslim leaders make us to know, or to understand. They are working together with us. They are living together with us in a good way.”

Kenya has enacted an ambitious security plan for the Pope's visit, using 10,000 police and another 10,000 members of the national youth service. Thursday's Mass on University of Nairobi's campus will likely be attended by a million and a half pilgrims.

The Pope will also visit Uganda, which ranks 26th in the ranking of corrupt countries. There, political corruption has led to serious poverty and underdevelopment in education and health. 

Priest, Uganda
"Sometimes there are no drugs, medicines, in the hospitals, not because we do not have the resources but because someone has embezzled the funds that should have been used for this purpose...There is political ambition that some Ugandans wants to acquire political power and retain it at all costs.”

Although Uganda is less threatened by terrorism than Kenya, the government has sent 10,000 soldiers to ensure everyone's safety.

The Pope's final stop in the Central African Republic is even more delicate. With a shaky provisional government and a civil war waging for three years between the Seleka and the Anti-Balaka, the Pope's visit will bring a glimmer of hope for the third poorest country in the world. 

Priest, Central African Republic
"The Pope will find a people affected by everything on a daily basis, a people that is facing great difficulty because they have lost their means, their energy, their potential. But they are a people that has not lost their faith nor their hope. Despite the difficulties, they look to the future". 

About 12,000 soldiers of the UN mission to the CAR and 1,500 police will protect the Pope. Things will be especially delicate when he visits the central mosque in Bangui on Monday, November 30th. 

The trip will have deep inter-religious undertones. Thirty-three percent of Kenya's 44 million inhabitants are Catholic. In Uganda almost half of the 32 million are, and in the Central African Republic 38 percent of about 5 million people belong to the Universal Church.

- PR