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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 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 at Casa Santa Marta: Mercy opens horizons, clerical rigidity closes hearts


In his homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis explained that God's mercy opens horizons while clerical rigidity only closes hearts and causes pain.

"How beautiful is the freedom, the magnanimity, the hope, of a man or woman from the Church. But, how bad and how much pain is caused by the rigidity of a woman or a man of the Church, the clerical rigidity that has no hope.”

The Pope added that hope is a gift from God that allows Christians to make it past problems, difficulties, and even sins.

(Source: Vatican Radio)

"Pope Francis said that those who possess this virtue of hope also have the freedom and the strength to see beyond the bad times whether they are to do with bad health or family problems.

And reflecting on the fact that in the Gospel the chief priests question Jesus and ask with which authority does he act, the Pope said: "they have no horizons, they are men who are locked in their calculations, they are slaves to their rigidity”

"Human calculations "– the Pope said – "close hearts and shut out freedom", whilst "hope gives us levity".

Pope Francis remarked on the beauty of freedom, of the hope of men and women of the Church.

On the other hand, he denounced the rigidity of men and women of the Church: "that clerical stiffness that contains no hope”.

"In this Year of Mercy – the Pope said - there are these two paths: one of those who hope in God’s mercy and know that God is the Father; and then there are those who take refuge in the slavery of rigidity and know nothing of God's mercy”. 

Pope Francis concluded his homily by recalling an event which took place in Buenos Aires in 1992 during a Mass for the sick. 

He said he had been confessing for many hours when he received a very old woman "with eyes that were full of hope":

"I said: 'Grandma, are you coming to confession?' Because I was about to leave. ‘Yes’ she answered and I said: ‘you have not sinned’.  She said: 'Father: we have all sinned – But God forgives all’. ‘How do you know?' I asked, and she said: 'Because if God did not forgive all, the world would not exist'.”

So – Pope Francis said: "before these two persons - the free one, the one with hope who brings God's mercy,  and the closed, legalistic slave of his own rigidity, let us remember the words of the old lady and the lesson she gave me: God  forgives all, He is  just waiting for you to get close to Him."