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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:

At the Vatican: Nuncio in Damascus and Aleppo Bishop explain Syrian crisis


The pope is encouraging Catholics to alleviate the crisis in Syria, where all inhabitants are suffering, but around 13 of its 17 million people are experiencing the dramatic consequences of the war in an even more powerful sense.

The nuncio and the country's bishops have come to explain the current situation to humanitarian organizations in Rome.

Apostolic Nuncio in Damascus (Syria)
"The people cannot deal with this anymore. More than 80 percent of the country lives in poverty, and without work. Their factories, hospitals, schools, markets, humanitarian convoys have all been bombed... Their human rights have been bombarded. They have reached their limit. Enough is enough.

Catholic Chaldean Bishop of Aleppo (Syria)
"What we want is peace and reconstruction. Money comes later when you have peace and respect for the dignity of the human person.
From Rome, the pope firmly denounces the atrocities of war and violence, and on the ground, Catholic humanitarian organizations are not left idle.

In Syria and Iraq, between 2015 and the first half of 2016 they have mobilized more than 400 million dollars. The death toll due to war and violence in these two countries is unclear but it is estimated that since 2011 more than 300,000 people have died.

Catholic Chaldean Bishop of Aleppo (Syria)
"The pope said: Those who cause death shall be accountable with their conscience before God. They can respond with violence, but in the end, each side must bear the weight of his conscience and will have to bear responsibility.

The Holy See, however, is also reinforcing its strategy for peace in the Middle East in two main fields: the diplomatic and humanitarian.

On a politically diplomatic and religious level, the Vatican is promoting informal meetings and is also supporting UN initiatives.
They are also promoting humanitarian meetings like this one, organized by the Department "Cor Unum.” There hierarchy and Catholic humanitarian organizations that work in Syria and Iraq exchanged information, strengthened their collaboration and established new guidelines.