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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 asks monasteries not to "recruit" foreign nuns to avoid closing their monastery


Pope Francis updates Church standards for the monasteries of cloistered nuns. He does so with an apostolic constitution called "Seeking the face of God."

It was presented by the number two person from the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in the Vatican.

In the legal text, it is clear that if a monastery should experience a lack of vocations, they should not "recruit" candidates from other countries in order to ensure their continuance and survival.

Secretary,  Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life
"It does not mean closing the door to foreign candidates, but it means 'discerning.' When a monastery asks for vocations from other continents, one must ask: Why am I doing this? Because if it's just to keep the establishment, this is not an evangelical justification. If a nun goes to another continent, they should ask themselves: Why am I going? These two questions would clarify many things, and they are not often asked." 

Another point of the Pope's signed text is the request to the superiors to foster a "joy-filled environment of freedom and responsibility," so that religious communities can speak calmly about "what each member does, thinks and feels."

According to José Rodriguez Carballo, the news is that monasteries are invited to form a federation and collaborate with each other in the formation of new vocations or in decisions affecting its closure. This is so the religious responsible for training can also study outside the monastery for a time, to be better prepared so the legal autonomy of the monastery is strengthened and that each community decides which form of cloister it wishes to embrace.

Secretary, Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life
"The fact that each monastery should reflect on how cloistered they want to live is a great responsibility for the monastery, and a gesture of great confidence."

The new rules are already in force, so the Vatican has asked each monastery to update its own rules based on this new law.

There are 43,500 cloistered nuns in the world in 4,000 cloisters. More than half of them live in Europe, especially throughout Spain and Italy.

The three most numerous are the Poor Clares, the Carmelites and then the Benedictines.

- BN