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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.

Pope Francis' Full Speech to Polish Authorities


Mr President,
Honourable Authorities, 
Distinguished Members of the Diplomatic Corps, 
University Rectors, 
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I offer a respectful greeting to His Excellency the President, and I thank him for his gracious welcome and kind words. I am pleased to greet the distinguished members of Government and Parliament, the University Rectors, the regional and municipal Authorities, as well as members of the Diplomatic Corps and the other authorities present. This is my first visit to central-eastern Europe and I am happy to begin with Poland, the homeland of the unforgettable Saint John Paul II, originator and promoter of the World Youth Days. Pope John Paul liked to speak of a Europe that breathes with two lungs. The ideal of a new European humanism is inspired by the creative and coordinated breathing of these two lungs, together with the shared civilization that has its deepest roots in Christianity.

Memory is the hallmark of the Polish people. I was always impressed by Pope John Paul’s vivid sense of history. Whenever he spoke about a people, he started from its history, in order to bring out its wealth of humanity and spirituality. A consciousness of one’s own identity, free of any pretensions to superiority, is indispensable for establishing a national community on the foundation
of its human, social, political, economic and religious heritage, and thus inspiring social life and culture in a spirit of constant fidelity to tradition and, at the same time, openness to renewal and the future. In this sense, you recently celebrated the 1,050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland. That was indeed a powerful moment of national unity, which reaffirmed that harmony, even amid a diversity of opinions, is the sure path to achieving the common good of the entire Polish people.

Similarly, fruitful cooperation in the international sphere and mutual esteem grow through awareness of, and respect for, one’s own identity and that of others. Dialogue cannot exist unless each party starts out from its own identity. In the daily life of each individual and society, though, there are two kinds of memory: good and bad, positive and negative. Good memory is what the
Bible shows us in the Magnificat, the canticle of Mary, who praises the Lord and his saving works.

Negative memory, on the other hand, keeps the mind and heart obsessively fixed on evil, especially the wrongs committed by others. Looking at your recent history, I thank God that you have been able to let good memory have the upper hand, for example, by celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the forgiveness mutually offered and accepted between the Polish and German episcopates, following the Second World War. That initiative, which initially involved the ecclesial communities, also sparked an irreversible social, political, cultural and religious process that changed the history of relationships between the two peoples. Here too we can think of the Joint Declaration between the Catholic Church in Poland and the Orthodox Church of Moscow: an act that inaugurated a process of rapprochement and fraternity not only between the two Churches, butalso between the two peoples.

The noble Polish nation has thus shown how one can nurture good memory while leaving the bad behind. This requires a solid hope and trust in the One who guides the destinies of peoples, opens closed doors, turns problems into opportunities and creates new scenarios from situations that appeared hopeless. This is evident from Poland’s own historical experience. After the storms and dark times, your people, having regained its dignity, could say, like the Jews returning from Babylon, "We were like those who dream... our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongues with shouts of joy” (Ps 126:1-2). An awareness of the progress made and joy at goals achieved, become in turn a source of strength and serenity for facing present challenges. These call for the
courage of truth and constant ethical commitment, to ensure that decisions and actions, as well as human relationships, will always be respectful of the dignity of the person. In this, every sphere of action is involved, including the economy, environmental concerns and the handling of the complex phenomenon of migration.

This last area calls for great wisdom and compassion, in order to overcome fear and to achieve the greater good. There is a need to seek out the reasons for emigration from Poland and to facilitate the return of all those wishing to repatriate. Also needed is a spirit of readiness to welcome those fleeing from wars and hunger, and solidarity with those deprived of their fundamental rights, including the right to profess one’s faith in freedom and safety. At the same time, new forms of exchange and cooperation need to be developed on the international level in order to resolve the conflicts and wars that force so many people to leave their homes and their native lands. This means doing everything possible to alleviate the suffering while tirelessly working with wisdom and constancy for justice and peace, bearing witness in practice to human and Christian values.

In the light of its thousand-year history, I invite the Polish nation to look with hope to the future and the issues before it. Such an approach will favour a climate of respect between all elements of society and constructive debate on differing positions. It will also create the best conditions for civil, economic and even demographic growth, fostering the hope of providing a good life for coming generations. The young should not simply have to deal with problems, but rather be able to enjoy the beauty of creation, the benefits we can provide and the hope we can offer. Social policies in support of the family, the primary and fundamental cell of society, assisting underprivileged and poor families, and helping responsibly to welcome life, will thus prove even more effective. Life must always be welcomed and protected. These two things go together – welcome and protection, from conception to natural death. All of us are called to respect life and care for it. On the other hand, it is the responsibility of the State, the Church and society to accompany and concretely help all those who find themselves in serious difficulty, so that a child will never be seen as a burden but as a gift, and those who are most vulnerable and poor will not be abandoned.

Mr President,

As throughout its long history, Poland can count on the cooperation of the Catholic Church, so that, in the light of the foundational Christian principles that forged Poland’s history and identity, the nation may, in changed historical conditions, move forward in fidelity to its finest traditions and with trust and hope, even in times of difficulty. In expressing once again my gratitude, I offer heartfelt good wishes to you and all present, for a serene and fruitful service of the common good.

May Our Lady of Czestochowa bless and protect Poland!