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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 opens the Jubilee of Mercy in the CAR: “Bangui is the spiritual capital of the world”


The Jubilee of Mercy began here, in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. It's the third poorest country in the world.

And this is how Pope Francis arrived in the Popemobile at the Cathedral of Our Immaculate Conception in Bangui. There he celebrated Mass for the first Sunday of Advent. But before, he delivered some improvised remarks. He called Bangui the spiritual capital of the world.

"Bangui is the spiritual capital of the prayer for God's mercy. Together let us pray for peace, mercy, reconciliation, forgiveness, love. For Bangui, for all of the Central African Republic and for the entire world and everyone who suffers from war, we ask for us peace. Together we ask for love and peace. Love and peace. Now, with this prayer, we begin the Holy Year, here in this spiritual capital of the world.” 

And with that prayer and gesture, Pope Francis began the Jubilee of Mercy, opening the Holy Door in the Cathedral of Bangui.

In his homily, the Pope spoke about reconciliation and forgiveness. The Central African Republic has been faced with a civil war since 2013, in which two rival factions have pitted Muslims against Christians and other ethnicities and religions.

"One of the essential characteristics of this vocation to perfection is the love of our enemies, which protects us from the temptation to seek revenge and from the spiral of endless retaliation.”

He also spoke about hope and justice for all people who may not see positive signs on the horizon. He reminded them that God is justice and love.

"God is stronger than all else. This conviction gives to the believer serenity, courage and the strength to persevere in good amid the greatest hardships. Even when the powers of Hell are unleashed, Christians must rise to the summons, their heads held high, and be ready to brave blows in this battle over which God will have the last word. And that word will be love!”

And before finishing, he delivered a powerful message to all of those who take up arms against each other.

"Lay down these instruments of death! Arm yourselves instead with righteousness, with love and mercy, the authentic guarantors of peace.”

The final words of the Pope's homily were familiar ones: reconciliation, love, forgiveness, and peace. They received a thunderous applause.

Some 2,500 people attended the Mass, including Imam Kobina Layama, from Bangui's central mosque. He was joined by local leaders and hundreds of pilgrims just outside the cathedral.