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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:
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.

Pope Francis in Assisi: "Peace alone, and not war, is holy!"


After each praying in their own tradition, the religious leaders once again gathered outside the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

The 500 participants heard the testimony of this woman who escaped from the war in Syria. She is from Aleppo, and recalled how before the war Muslims and Christians lived in peace.

"Aleppo, when I pronounce this name, my heart shrinks. I remember where I was born, where I grew up and where I married..."

The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople said this meeting was not a simple commemoration of what took place 30 years ago, but is a renewed commitment for peace.

Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
"There can be no peace without respect and mutual recognition. There can be no peace without justice."

Other speakers included: Rabbi David Brodman, who survived the Holocaust; Muslim Din Syamsuddin Mullah from Indonesia, the country with the most Muslims in the world, and also Buddhist Morikawa Tendaizasu.

The pope was the last religious leader who delivered a speech. First, he explained the meaning of this meeting.

"Our religious traditions are diverse. But our differences are not the cause of conflict and provocation, or a cold distance between us. We have not prayed against one another today, as has sometimes unfortunately occurred in history. Without syncretism or relativism, we have rather prayed side-by-side and for each other."

Then, he warned thousands of people of faith about the danger of a special paganism, which infiltrates between religions: through indifference to the suffering of others.

"It is a virus that paralyzes, rendering us lethargic and insensitive, a disease that eats away at the very heart of religious fervour, giving rise to a new and deeply sad paganism: the paganism of indifference."

The pope pledged that no tragedy would be forgotten. He said that religious leaders give a voice to those who suffer, to those who have no voice or are not listened to. He also asked that religion is not used to justify war.

"We must never tire of repeating that the name of God cannot be used to justify violence. Peace alone, and not war, is holy! Our future consists in living together. For this reason we are called to free ourselves from the heavy burdens of distrust, fundamentalism and hatred."

Attendees shared in a moment of silence for all the victims of wars, and then participated in signing a declaration for peace in the world.

It was a commitment that was given to this group of children, because the future that is built today, will be their present tomorrow.

- BN