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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.

Eight questions about the Jubilee of Mercy you were afraid to ask


A Holy Year is one of the most important times in the Catholic Church. But since they typically happen just once every quarter century, they're often misunderstood. Given that this year's Jubilee of Mercy is an extraordinary one, it's even more confusing.

Here are answers to some of the most common questions about the Jubilee of Mercy.

1. What is a Holy Year?

Jewish tradition inspired the Catholic Church to start celebrating the Jubilee, or Holy Year. (The words are interchangeable.) The Catholic tradition was started in the year 1300 by Pope Boniface VIII.

A Holy Year is a general forgiveness, open to all. It is a special proposal to approach God and others. 

2. What's the difference between an ordinary Jubilee and an extraordinary Jubilee?

There are ordinary Jubilees and extraordinary Jubilees.

Since 1475, the ordinary Jubilee has been celebrated once every 25 years. Extraordinary ones are called only for special occasions.

Until now, there have been 24 ordinary jubilees and four extraordinary. The Jubilee of Mercy, convened by Pope Francis, will be the fifth.

The last extraordinary was imposed by Pope John Paul II in 1983. He also imposed the last ordinary one, the Jubilee of the Year 2000.

3. Why did the Pope call the extraordinary Jubilee?

The Pope announced the Jubilee of Mercy in March, and made the decision official when he read the Bull of Indiction in April. At the time, he explained his rationale. 

April 11, 2015
"Why a Jubilee of Mercy now? Simply because the Church at this moment of great historical changes, is called to offer with greater intensity the signs and presence of God's closeness. This is not a time for distractions.” 

The organizer of the Jubilee explained further its spiritual importance.

Organizer, Jubilee of Mercy 
"It should make us understand that the fundamental meaning of this anniversary is to return to ourselves understanding that we have a deep need for God.”

4. How long will this Holy Year last?

Holy Years do not necessarily last 365 days. The Jubilee of Mercy will be less than a year long. It begins on December 8th and lasts until November 20, 2016. 

5. How many people will come to Rome?

The Jubilee of the Year 2000 attracted about 25 million pilgrims to Rome. It's estimated that about the same number will come during the Jubilee of Mercy. 

There will be huge crowds throughout the year at St. Peter's Basilica and other churches in the area. Shop owners near the Vatican say they are bracing for a busy year. 

6. What events will take place?

It will be an incredibly busy year. Once the Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica is opened on December 8th, other Holy Doors throughout the city will also be opened.

The events will be centered around the concept of mercy. That means special care will be taken to make Confession a key part of the Jubilee.

Organizer, Jubilee of Mercy 
"Certainly, the sacrament of reconciliation will have a central place in every day of the Jubilee, but there will be some special churches, three churches nearby St. Peter's, that will be dedicated to the celebration of the sacrament of penance.”

There will be a prayer vigil to "dry the tears” in May and a Jubilee for prisoners in November. Visit www.im.va for more information about all of the upcoming events.

7. What is the Holy Door?

The first rite of the Jubilee of Mercy is the opening of the Holy Door. 

During his trip to Africa, Pope Francis opened the Holy Door in the Cathedral of Bangui, in the Central African Republic. It was a powerful gesture to show that the Jubilee of Mercy is open in all parts of the world.

But the Pope will also open the better known Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica. Normally, it is opened just once every 25 years. In fact, a brick wall is built to cover it until it is torn down for the next Jubilee.

Because this is an extraordinary Jubilee, the Holy Door is being opened early (just 15 years after it was closed).

The Holy Door symbolizes the extraordinary way that Catholics can open themselves up to their faith. For pilgrims, the highlight of their journey is walking through the Holy Door.

8. Is it safe to visit Rome?

Following the terrorist attacks in Paris, security has been increased throughout Europe. Because of its place as the center of Universal Church, Rome has been considered a possible target for a future terrorist attack.

The upcoming Jubilee has further heightened concerns about a possible attack. Military patrols and Italian police are a constant presence at all major tourist sites, especially the Vatican and St. Peter's Square.

However, most Romans are more concerned about whether the city's unreliable public transportation system will hold up with more tourists than they are about the possibility of a terrorist attack.