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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 Pope in Santa Marta: Those who follow fortune tellers do not follow Jesus


In his homily at Casa Santa Marta, the Pope recalled the parable in which Jesus is compared to a good shepherd who leads his sheep.

"Those who follow Jesus do not go astray. 'Yes, Father, but things are difficult...Many times I cannot clearly see what to do...They told me that there was a fortune teller and I went there; I went to a fortune teller and he read my cards...' If you do this, you aren’t following Jesus! You are following someone else, who gives you another, different path. Jesus told us: 'There will be others who will say: 'the path of the Messiah is this, this...' Do not listen! Do not listen to them. I am the way!'” 

The Pope has given three tips to find out if someone's life leads to Jesus: He says it should match the Beatitudes, with the Works of Mercy and the Lord's Prayer.

(According to Vatican Radio) 
The liturgy of the day offers a sort of "echo of the readings” of the Fourth Sunday of Easter, which is called "Good Shepherd Sunday, in which Jesus presents himself as the ‘Good Shepherd.’

Commenting on this theme in the Gospel of John, the Pontiff highlighted "three realities” on which he chose "to reflect on: the door, the path, and the voice.”

First the "door.” The Gospel passage presents Jesus’ words: "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.” This is the first image, Francis emphasized: "He is the door: the door by which to enter the sheepfold is Jesus. There is no other way.” It is worth noting, the Pope said, that Jesus always spoke to the people using "simple images.” Indeed, "those people all knew what a shepherd’s life was, because they saw it everyday.” Therefore those who heard him understood very well: "The sheepfold is entered only through the door.” Those who would rather enter the fold "through the window or by some other means are criminals.” The Gospel defines them as thieves and a robbers. 

Thus, it is all very clear: "One cannot enter eternal life through another way which is not the door, that is, which is not Jesus.” The Pontiff added, the Lord "is the door of our life— not only of eternal life, but also of our daily life.” Thus, for example, any decision can be made "in the name of Jesus, through the door of Jesus.” Or, to use "simple language,” one can make it by "smuggling.” But the Lord "speaks clearly.” The sheepfold is entered "only through the door, which is Jesus.”

The Gospel of John continues, and the words of the Lord offer another important element: that of the "path.” Indeed, we read that the gatekeeper opens the door to the shepherd, "the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him.”

Here, Francis offered a second key word: "path: following Jesus.” This too involves everyday life: indeed, we speak of the "path of life, of everyday life,” which "is following Jesus.” Here too, the direction is clear: "Do not go astray!”, the Pope advised. It is Jesus "who is the door through which we enter and through which we exit with him to take the path of life.” It is Jesus who "shows us the way.” 

"Those who follow Jesus do not go astray.” 'Yes, Father, but things are difficult...Many times I cannot clearly see what to do...They told me that there was a fortune teller and I went there; I went to a fortune teller and he read my cards...' If you do this, you aren’t following Jesus! You are following someone else, who gives you another, different path.” 
"Jesus told us: 'There will be others who will say: the path of the Messiah is this, this...' Do not listen! Do not listen to them. I am the way!” If we follow him we are not mistaken.

Finally the third word: "voice.” The sheep follow Jesus "because they know his voice.” The Pontiff expanded on the concept to prevent any misunderstanding: "Know the voice of Jesus! Do not imagine that I am speaking about an apparition, that Jesus will come and say to you: ‘Do this.’ No, no!” Someone might ask: "Father, how can I recognize Jesus’ voice? And also protect myself from the voice of those who are not Jesus, who come in through the window, who are robbers, who destroy, who deceive?” Once again the recipe is simple, with three instructions. First, Francis suggested, "you will find Jesus’ voice in the Beatitudes.” Therefore, those who teach "a path contrary to the Beatitudes are those who have entered through the window: they are not Jesus!” Then, Jesus’ voice can be recognized in those who "speak to us about the works of mercy. For example, in Chapter 25 of St Matthew.” Thus, the pope clarified, "if someone tells you what Jesus says there, it is the voice of Jesus.” Last, the third indication: "you can recognize the voice of Jesus when they teach you to say ‘Father,’ that is, when they teach you to pray the Our Father.”

"Christian life is this simple! Jesus is the door. He leads us on the path and we recognize his voice in the Beatitudes, in the works of mercy and when he teaches us to say ‘Father.’” The Pope added a prayer: "that the Lord help us to understand this image of Jesus, this icon: the shepherd, who is the door, points to the path and teaches us to hear his voice.”

- BN