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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:

October 2015: The Pope participates in the Synod on the Family


The main event of October at the Vatican was the Synod of the Family. From the 4th to 25th of October, 270 bishops, 18 couples, dozens of experts and a baby all came to Rome. Working together, the Church sought answers to the problems of families today. 

"The Synod is not a parliament where a consensus or a common agreement is obtained after some negotiations, pacts, or commitments. The only method of the Synod is to be open to the the Holy Spirit.”

During the Synod thirteen cardinals sent a letter to the Pope insinuating that some organizers were forcing conclusions before the Synod began, and asked that the intention of the Synod be made clear. A spokesman explained the response given to them by the Pope.

Vatican spokesman
"He said that Catholic doctrine related to marriage has not been touched.He has said that we must not leave any conditions or reduce the horizon of work in this Synod to only the problem of whether or not to allow Communion for those who are divorced and have remarried.”

After three weeks of debate, the synod ended with an optimistic and hopeful text that paid tribute to families, asking to improve marriage preparation and remembered that when there are difficulties we must try to resolve them. 

Only three of the 94 points were not approved by an absolute majority. These points were about the situation of divorced Catholics who have since been married civilly. 

For example, they called for a study of the "forms of exclusion, currently practiced in the liturgical, pastoral, education and institutional forum, that can be overcome.” It was referring, for example, to how the divorced are not allowed to be godparents, religious teachers, or representatives of the diocese. 

The document proposes that these situations are valued according to the criteria proposed by Pope John Paul II, how to distinguish between those who have sincerely tried to save the marriage, those who have been unjustly abandoned, or those who have destroyed. 

It also proposes that priests help these people to educate their conscience and discern what their situation is before God. 

The Pope closed with a Mass at St. Peter's where he spoke about being realistic.

"We can walk through the deserts of humanity without seeing what is really there; instead, we see what we want to see. We are capable of developing views of the world, but we do not accept what the Lord places before our eyes.”

In October, the most famous miners in the world traveled to Rome to meet the Pope. They had the world on edge as they spent 70 days underground in a mine in Chile until they were able to be rescued. 

The Pope gave them rosaries and they gave him what best represents them: a mining helmet. In addition, they asked him to celebrate Mass in the mine of San José where they were trapped. 

In October, the Jesuits dedicated a shelter for the homeless to the Pope. And Pope Francis wanted to go personally to meet the new occupants.
"Thank you, Holy Father.” "Welcome.”

"Your Holiness, before, they were under the colonnade, sleeping under thousands of stars. Now they have a two star shelter.” 

"Thank you for accepting this home, our home that you have thanks to the generosity of the Jesuit priests who have donated it.”

Before leaving, the Pope said goodbye one by one with jokes and smiles between and said goodnight.

In October, Pope Francis proclaimed four new saints. These were the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, the first married coupled canonized in the same ceremony; Spanish religious Maria Purísima de la Cruz who died less than 18 years ago; and Vincenzo Grossi, an Italian priest who evangelized in the poorest areas of Lombardy. 

"His answer is an invitation to follow the way of love and service, rejecting the worldly temptation to excel and rule over others. Faced with those who struggle for power and success, the disciples are called to do the opposite.” 

The meeting was more colorful this month with more than 5,000 Gypsies from around the world. They brought their dances...And of course music...

"Dear Gypsy friends. May the Lord be with you! I would like your community to have a fresh start. A new chapter. It's time to erase secular stereotypes, pre-conceived notions and mutual mistrust, that are often the base of discrimination, racism and xenophobia.”

It was just another gesture from the Pope for those living in the peripheries of the world and society. 

- BN