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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 most important messages during Holy Week


During Holy Week, Pope Francis has evoked the drama of the Passion of Jesus also to face two great challenges of humanity: the refugee crisis and  terrorist threats.

On Palm Sunday, in line with the physical and moral humiliation that Jesus suffered, he lamented that even today nations with Christian foundations ignore many refugees.

"Jesus also experienced indifference, because nobody wanted to assume responsibility for his destiny. I think now in many people, in so many immigrants, many refugees, in so many migrants, those of which many do not want to assume responsibility for their destiny.”

On Tuesday, March 22 , three terrorist attacks occurred in Brussels, known as the heart of Europe, leaving 28 dead and over a hundred injured.

During Wednesday 's general audience, the Pope prayed for all those affected, and also for the terrorists.

"Ask the Lord, during this Holy Week, to comfort the afflicted hearts and convert the hearts of these people blinded by the cruel fundamentalism.”

On Holy Thursday, the Pope kneeled before 12 men and woman, who are asylum seeking refugees. Among them were Catholics, but also Muslims and a Hindu. Pope Francis kneeled  before their pain and fear from being expelled from Europe.

"Three days ago, an act of war, of destruction in a European city, by people who do not want to live in peace. But behind that gesture, just as behind Judas, there were others. Behind Judas there were those who gave the money so that Jesus would be handed over. Behind "that" gesture, there are manufacturers, arms dealers who want blood, not peace; they want war, not brotherhood."
"We are different, we are different, we have different cultures and religions, but we are brothers and we want to live in peace."

At the ceremony, there were nearly 900 forced migrants and refugees who have crossed the Mediterranean in small boats in search of a better life. Before leaving, the Pope greeted them one by one. A gesture that perhaps no one has had with them since they fled their homes.

On Friday night, the Pope prayed at the Stations of the Cross near the Colosseum in Rome. He read a moving prayer on the crosses of our time, including terrorism.

"O Cross of Christ, today too we see you raised up in our sisters and brothers killed, burned alive, throats slit and decapitated by barbarous blades amid cowardly silence. O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in expressions of fundamentalism and in terrorist acts committed by followers of some religions which profane the name of God and which use the holy name to justify their unprecedented violence.”

On Holy Saturday, during the Easter Vigil in St. Peter's, the Pope went further and recalled that with the resurrection of Jesus, Catholics believe that evil never has the last word.

"May the Lord free us from this trap, from being Christians without hope, who live as if the Lord were not risen, as if our problems were the centre of our lives.”

And in the Urbi et Orbi blessing on Easter Sunday, he reminded Europe of the fact that terrorism harbors a much more serious wound outside its borders.

" ... The recent attacks in Belgium, Turkey, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Iraq.”

Despite the alleged fear of a terrorist attack in Rome, it proved to be one of the busiest events of Holy Week, drawing in many pilgrims. 

Perhaps, this is proof that fear does not have the last word.

- PR