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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:

Priest in Syria: There is a real genocide against Christians


Now his mission is to tell the whole world  that there is an ongoing genocide against Christians in the Middle East. He knows this because he lived in Aleppo for three and a half years and witnessed the systematic killing of people in his parish, for being Christians.

Priest, Institute of the Incarnate Word
"The experience is extreme. No person in the world is prepared for a war, regardless of the causes. You see how the whole population is disappearing, all the material structure is disappearing, and the heinous crimes committed. It touches us dearly, particularly genocide against Christian communities. It is a true and documented genocide."

Father Rodrigo Miranda arrived in Syria a few months before the start of the war in 2011. He has lived under the bombs as a Syrian without leaving the community entrusted to him.

Priest, Institute of the Incarnate Word
"I always say that I learned to be a priest in Syria. I remember a phrase from the day of my ordination, and it is: 'No one has greater love than the one who gives his life for his friends.' That phrase was really true in Syria when you literally had to give life, in every way."

The outbreak of war he says forcefully is a foreign conflict, not born from Syrian society. He says that while the Syrian government also committed atrocities, nothing ravaged the country like that for over 5 years.

According to some sources, 470,000 people have died from bombs. Many other people were injured or suffered psychological scars for life.

Priest, Institute of the Incarnate Word
"Finding resources and benefactors to rebuild a country is possible. Therefore it is possible to reconstruct a country in structure, but there is another problem: who reconstructs a soul?"

Radical Islam, represented by its bloodiest Daesh end, relentlessly pursues religious minorities. In Syria Christians suffered even before the arrival of ISIS, facing no opposition from the international community. Father Miranda says that Christians also feel abandoned by the Church itself.

Priest, Institute of the Incarnate Word
"Some individuals and communities experience pain and abandonment from within the Church. They expect more from us. They are our neighbors. He is a that brother dies, it is the same mystical body of Christ's suffering."

Combining this suffering, the European Union has extended a year embargo on the government of al-Assad that, it affects civilians by depriving them of the basics like medicine or food.