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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.”

The Pope's seven most powerful gestures from his first 1,000 days


After one thousand days on the job, Pope Francis has shown that he speaks with more than just words. His gestures are often as powerful as his most eloquent speeches.

Just hours after he was elected pontiff, when he was introduced to the world, the Pope made a gesture that would come to define his pontificate: He asked people to pray for him.

"I would like to bless you...but before I'd like to ask all of you for a favor. Before the bishop blesses his flock, I ask that you pray to the Lord, so that He blesses me. The prayer of the people, asking for the Bishop's blessing.”

A few days later, during the Mass to begin his pontificate, the Pope did this:

He stepped off the Popemobile to greet Cesar. This was the first of many times he would step off the Popemobile or bring someone along with him, as he did with this Argentine priest and these Spanish children.

But the way he handles himself on the Popemobile isn't the only way the Pope makes a statement with his transportation. He is known throughout the world for his simple taste in cars.
Another one of his favorite gestures are surprise phone calls. He called these Spanish nuns, but they didn't answer. So the Pope left an affectionate message for the them.

"What are the nuns doing that they can't answer the phone? I am Pope Francis, I wish to greet you as the year comes to a close. I'll see if I can call you back later. May God bless you.”

The Pope is used to living in a community. That means he doesn't like eating alone. And he often takes meals with the most marginalized people. When he visited the Caritas soup kitchen in Florence, Italy, he sat and ate with 60 poor people. And he did the same at a prison in Naples.

Pope Francis is known to ditch his plans and improvise. He often does this with prepared speeches during foreign trips or during other events. During his visit to a church on the outskirts of Rome, he first stopped by a neighborhood where poor immigrants live.

"Oh God! How exciting!”

"An applause.”

He did the same thing while visiting these workers at a Roman fair.

And before one of his trips abroad, he stopped by an optometrist to get new lenses.

Pope John Paul II famously said that it's important to "build bridges rather than erect walls.” Pope Francis takes this seriously. One of his most significant gestures was to pray in front of the wall that separates Israel and Palestine.

But as the Pope believes in the culture of encounter, he took it one step further: He led a prayer at the Vatican with the presidents of Israel and Palestine.

Pope Francis was also the first Pope to have visited a Waldensian church. He apologized to members of the Protestant denomination for the damage the Catholic Church had done to them.

"I ask for forgiveness for the non-Christian attitudes and behaviors, some even inhumane, that we carried out against you. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, forgive us.”

And as he thinks it is possible dialogue with everyone, one of his most recent gestures was this visit to a mosque in the Central African Republic. The mosque's head imam joined him on the Popemobile afterward.