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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.

6,609 convictions for human trafficking in the year 2015 and roughly 20 million victims


Trafficking in Persons continues to be a major threat to Human Rights, according to the annual report published by the US Department of State. Last year, there were 6609 convictions for trafficking in persons, whereas the report estimates that there are 20 million victims of this crime.

Human trafficking encompasses a wide range of illegal activities, such as sex trafficking, forced labor and unlawful recruitment and child soldiers. The report, presented by Secretary of State John Kerry, aims to raise awareness of practices.

US Secretary of State
"When we talk about human trafficking, we're talking about slavery. Modern day slavery, that still today claims more than 20 million victims, on any given time."

The report also divides countries into three tiers according to the extent of these practices within its borders, and what their governments are doing to prevent them.

Susan Coppedge, Ambassador-at-Large to Combat and Monitor Trafficking in Persons, who has championed the report, praised the work that was done in the Vatican Summit for Human Trafficking in the month of June.

US Ambassador-at-Large to Combat and Monitor Trafficking in Persons
"The summit explored the need for victim supported services, instead of punishments for crimes committed under duress. While Pope Francis has a unique ability to gather and rally diverse groups, leaders across communities, businesses, governments, and NGO's can likewise demonstrate the power of collaboration in fighting the scourge of modern slavery.”

The summit was attended by high-ranking officials from the United States, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Great Britain. Mexican and Italian prosecutors also participated.

The report also recognized the work of several organizations, including the Santa Marta Group, named after the Pope's residence. The group was formed in Rome during April 2014, when police chiefs and religious leaders came together, in the presence of Pope Francis, to sign a declaration committing themselves to a partnership to eliminate human trafficking in all its forms. 

US DEPT of State