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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.

Lasers reveal spectacular frescos from ancient Roman catacomb


It is a fresco depicting the Adoration of the Magi. This is the Virgin Mary, her Son, and two of the Wise Men. But don't worry, the third wasn't forgotten. Experts say that the artist who painted the catacomb of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter did so for reasons of symmetry.

A year of meticulous laser restoration has unveiled what was hidden behind a thick layer of black lime and dirt. They are paintings that speak of the transition from the Roman pagan world to Christianity.

President, Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology
"Firstly, they speak to us about the importance of dialogue between the classical Roman world and the Christian world that was born. In fact, Christ is represented in the catacombs by the image of Orpheus attracting souls as a way to establish a bridge of dialogue between different cultures, very important in our time.”

Frescos like these are proof of this transition. A woman, Sabina, offers wine to her guests who are reclining on a triclinium. There's no type of religious reference; it's just a scene of everyday ancient Roman life.

A few meters down is Orpheus, a pagan symbol who converted to Christianity and who represents Christ himself.

The catacomb is an authentic, early Christian art gallery. It has regained all of its splendor, oddly enough, thanks to the contribution of Azerbaijan, a country primarily consisting of Shiite Muslims.

President, Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology
"It's a big deal today when you see Islam and Christianity at odds due to fundamentalism. And what we see here is a great example of collaboration.”

Saint Marcellinus and Peter is one of the oldest catacombs of Rome, and also, one of the most unknown. It dates back from the 1st century AD and was in use until the ninth century. Therefore, it covers an area of about two hundred acres and several floors. Its paintings, labyrinthine corridors, and galleries, are some of the best testimonies of the rich, ancient presence of Christianity in the Eternal City.