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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.

The seven major changes made by Pope Francis


Throughout these three years of his Pontificate, Francis has shown that he does not address problems through laws, but by "initiating processes” involving many people.

Instead of cutting straight to the chase, he faces the long-term crisis with symbolic gestures. As a result, he has launched an irreversible cultural change.

Of the hundreds of gestures and words with which he is changing the world and the Church, we are left with these seven:


On his first day as pope, he personally collected his luggage and paid for his own hotel room. That demonstrated that everyone should take responsibility for themselves, and that the age of privileges was over.


He settled in "Casa Santa Marta." The Pope does not want to live in an ivory tower. He wants to know the problems first-hand and not with intermediaries; he wants the people to have easy access to him.


In a world that puts economic benefit first, and classifies people based on how much they earn or how much they are able to produce, the Pope appeals to the infinite value of every human being, and he shows it by hugging and smiling with those displaced in society.


He says reality is understood from the outskirts. He has not visited the parishes in the center of Rome, but instead has gone to the marginalized churches. Out of all of Europe, he has only traveled to Albania and Bosnia Herzegovina.

During his trip to Mexico, he went where a pope has never been before: places like Chiapas, Chihuahua and Michoacan.

At Easter, he celebrates Holy Thursday Mass at places experiencing pain, such as a juvenile prisons or hospices.

This has opened the eyes of many people to situations they did not even know existed.


When large meetings include testimonies, the Pope does not read his prepared speech, but changes it based on what he has heard.

Just as he did in Sarajevo, when he heard how they had beaten a priest.

"I forgive with all of my heart those that do evil.

When he was in Kenya, Emmanuel spoke to him about the plight of young people who join radical militias.

"Speak to the youth with tenderness, with sympathy, with love. And with patience invite them to a game or to hang out or to be together. Don't leave them alone.” 

Or in the Philippines, when this homeless girl told him they were abandoned and no one seemed to care.

"Why does God allow this to happen? Children are not to blame.”


On each trip, he faces press conferences on the plane without fear or censorship. He answers questions freely, without fear of being wrong, and is unafraid to confront sensitive issues, such as the corruption in the Church, sexuality or what he holds in his heart.


He has made concrete and difficult decisions to simplify the Vatican's structure.

He has created a council of 9 Cardinals that help him govern and ensure that any bishop has direct access to the Pope. He has instituted a commission to prevent sexual abuse cases; and he has refined the Vatican bank.


Although it is not a change, what Pope Francis is doing cannot be understood, without mentioning he is a mystic who has complete trust in God. When faced with an imminent bombing in Syria, he called for a 4 hour prayer vigil in St. Peter's Square.

The word most often repeated during these years is what he uses to define God: "Mercy." A word that contains the slogan and the strength of his Pontificate.

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up: JMB