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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' 10 major messages in Poland


The lives of hundreds of thousands of young people have changed during this past week in Poland at World Youth Day. The youth have witnessed others from around the world striving to live out the faith, and have heard the demanding, but the inspirational advice of Pope Francis.

The first papal advice was in his first Mass, with the country's patron saint, Our Lady of Czestochowa. There he stated that God is no stranger to the lives of people.

"The Lord does not want to be feared like a powerful and aloof sovereign. He does not want to remain on his throne in Heaven or in history books, but loves to come down to our everyday affairs, to walk with us."

Each day after dinner, he looked out this window, where he improvised intense speeches as a way to close the day. One example was this speech about the volunteer who died of cancer a few weeks before WYD began.

"The faith of this man, our friend, who worked so much for this World Youth Day has led him to Heaven, and is now with Jesus, and he watches over us all. This is a grace. A round of applause for our companion!"

One afternoon in Krakow, Pope Francis parked the Popemobile ... and traveled by tram. He went to Blonia Park, where thousands of young people were waiting to welcome him.  He responded to them with this advice.

"What do you want? Empty thrills or the power of fulfillment? What do you want? I can hardly hear you... Define fulfillment: to gain new strength, there is a way. It is a response that cannot be bought or sold. It is not a thing or an object. It is a person and He is alive and His name is Jesus Christ. A round of applause for the Lord."

He also visited Auschwitz. It was a visit without any words, yet the Pope's silence spoke louder than any speech he could have given. He prayed in the cell where Fr. Maximilian Kolbe was tortured and saluted the survivors who experienced this horror.

In the afternoon, he visited a pediatric hospital to greet terminally-ill children and their families.

"I would like to draw near to all children who are sick, to stand at their bedside, and embrace them. I would like to listen to everyone here, even if for only a moment, and to be still before questions that have no easy answers. And to pray."

As nightfall was approaching, he presided over the Stations of the Cross. He said God is not nonchalant about the pain and suffering of people, but has created men and women so their generosity is the response to pain.

"In welcoming the outcast who suffer physically and sinners who suffer spiritually, our credibility as Christians is at stake. It's not in ideas, it's there."

As WYD revolved around the theme of mercy, he could not miss a visit to the shrine of Saint Faustina Kowalska, where he recalled that Jesus loves humanity unconditionally.

"Let's never turn away from Jesus, even if we think that our sins and our faults are the worst. He prefers us as we are, as such His mercy pours out on us."

The big event of WYD was the Saturday night prayer vigil. There, he urged young people not to confuse happiness with being comfortable.

"We didn’t come into this world to "vegetate,” to take it easy, to make our lives a comfortable sofa to fall asleep on. No, we came for another reason: to leave a mark. It is very sad to pass through life without leaving a mark."

That night, one million six hundred thousand young people remained and slept on the "Field of Mercy.” In the morning, the Pope returned to celebrate Mass and asked them to aim for the best.

"Don’t let your soul grow numb, but aim for the goal of a beautiful love which also demands sacrifice. Say a firm "no” to the narcotic of success at any cost and the sedative of worrying only about yourself and your own comfort.”

After Mass, the Pope invited the youth to meet again in three years to celebrate another WYD, in a different part of the world.

"That's why, I announce with joy that the next World Youth Day, after the two held at the diocesan level, will be in 2019 in Panama.”

With only a few hours before the Pope was to leave, he made it a priority to first thank the volunteers and prepare the crowd for the next encounter.

"I do not know if I will be in Panama but I can assure you one thing: that Peter will be in Panama and Peter will ask you if you have spoken with your grandparents, if you have spoken to your elders in order to have memory; if you have had the courage and bravery to face situations and plan things for the future. And  you will answer to Peter. Is that clear?”

So, with heavy rain falling to the tune of "We are the Champions" by the rock band, Queen, Poland said goodbye to Pope Francis.