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Pope Francis

Nicolás Maduro meets with the pope in surprise visit to Rome

October 24, 2016. Pope Francis met with Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro. The private visit took place in the midst of the "worrysome political, social, and economic situation the country is going through, which is having serious repercussins in the daily life of the people,” according to a statement from the Vatican.

Holy See and Vietnam begin their 6th bilateral meeting today

October 24, 2016. The sixth meeting between the Holy See and a delegation of Vietnam begins today to improve relations between the two states. The Vatican delegation is headed by Antoine Camilleri, while the head of the Vietnamese delegation is Bui Thanh Son, with Foreign Affairs. The last meeting between the two state delegations was in September 2014.
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.

Paul Batthi: Attack against Christians in Pakistan was because of government acts against radicals


On Easter Sunday, a radical of the Pakistani branch of the Islamic State self-detonated himself in a public park in Lahore, where dozens of Christian families were celebrating the Resurrection of Christ.

Former Pakistani minorities minister
"This park was not protected because, for the authorities, the churches were the sensitive points and this is why the police were there. They did not think they would attack the parks. It has happened there because there were more Christians than usual.”

Paul Batthi's brother was Shahbaz Batthi, former Minister of minorities in Pakistan, who was assassinated in 2011 for being a Christian and defending Christians. Unfortunately, they are still second-class citizens in a country where they barely make 2 percent out of a population of 180 million.

Former Pakistani minorities minister
"It is something we are fighting alongside with political leaders, many of them Muslims. The day of the attack shocked me because many Muslims, including journalists, declared that moving forward the idea of a Pakistan branded as a second-class citizen would be no more.”

It further solidifies that the attack, like the one in Lahore, are a consequence of the incipient but effective way the Pakistani government is facing with radical extremists.

Former Pakistani minorities minister
"The attack took place because the government has taken steps against radicals: They have closed many religious schools, cut their funding, destroyed the factories where they produced explosives and hide weapons... The Prime Minister has said, and I share, that the attack was a desperate measure.”

Although even Christians in Pakistan are victims of discriminatory laws and the anti-blasphemy law, often used as a tool for personal vengeance rather than as a way to preserve respect for Islam. This happened to Asia Bibi, who was imprisoned for nearly six years. Paul Batthi says that soon there will be updated news about her case.

Former Pakistani politician
"My feeling, and I've said this repeatedly, is that her liberation is near.”

Paul Batthi participated in the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, on a series of lectures on the persecution of Christians. He called on the suffrage of many who immigrate, also from Pakistan, looking for a future of peace and prosperity, only to find indifference and neglect.