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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.

Pope in Santa Marta: Mercy does not enter into hardened and closed hearts


The Pope said that the first step in receiving God's mercy is by recognizing ourselves as sinners. It was during his homily on Thursday at Casa Santa Marta. "Closed hearts do not let the voice of the loving father, our Lord in,” he said.

"Listen to the voice of the Lord today. Do not harden your heart! The Lord always speaks so tenderly father also tells us: 'Come back to me with all your heart, for I am merciful and gracious'. But when the heart is hard this is not understood. God's mercy can only be understood if you are able to open your heart, so you can come.”

Pope Francis recalled that those who always seek an explanation for not understanding the message of Jesus fail in their loyalty and forget the word forgiveness.

(Source: Vatican Radio)

"This unfaithfulness of God's people,”  warns the Pope,  is  "also ours.” It is "our own infidelity [which] hardens the heart, closes the heart!"

"It does not allow [us to hear] the voice of the Lord who, as a loving father, always asks us to open ourselves to His mercy and His love. In the Psalms, the Pope adds, we all pray  together: 'Hear now the voice of God. Do not harden your hearts! ' The Lord always speaks with us in this way, also with the tenderness of a father who says: 'Return to me with all your heart, for I am compassionate and merciful.’But when the heart is hardened, you don’t understand this. God’s mercy can only be understood when you are able to open your heart to let it enter." 

"This is the story, the story of this failed fidelity. The story of closed hearts, of hearts that do not let in the mercy of God, which have forgotten the word forgiveness:  'Forgive me Lord!' - simply because they do not [see themselves as] sinners [but see themselves as] judges of others. A story lasting centuries.”  And Jesus, the Pope continues, explains this failed fidelity very clearly - to combat the discourse of such hypocrites:  ‘He who is not with me is against me.' "It’s clear! Or are you faithful, with your heart open to God who is faithful to you, or you are against Him: 'He who is not with me is against me!'"

"We ask the Lord for the grace of fidelity.  And the first step on this path towards fidelity is to admit you are a sinner,” adds Pope Francis. "If you do not feel sinful, you have begun badly. We ask for grace so that our hearts do not harden - that they are open to God's mercy - and for the grace of faithfulness. And when we find ourselves unfaithful, for the grace to ask for forgiveness."