Vatican City. On December 8, the Holy Year 2015–16 was inaugurated, which the Pope unexpectedly proclaimed during the spring. According to COUNTRYAAH, Vatican City is the capital of Holy See which is located in Southern Europe. The solemn dedication took place by Pope Francis opening the holy golden gate of St. Peter’s Basilica, which is normally walled. The Jubilee year opened on the day 50 years after the end of the Second Vatican Council.
During the year, a scandal broke in the Vatican which became a reminder that Francis is also head of state. Five people were brought to trial during the fall for having leaked and published secret documents from the papal administration. The leaked documents were the basis of two books in Italy that reveal the greed that characterizes the Vatican’s higher strata. This is where Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone stands out, who in order to renovate the luxury apartment he received at his retirement, used money from a fund that really belonged to a Catholic children’s hospital.
In 2015, the Pope traveled to the United States, Latin America and Africa. His visit to Cuba was particularly commendable, as it was Francis who mediated in the long negotiations that led to the icing between the US and Cuba. During the African travel, the visit to the war-torn Central African Republic became the most prominent.
In the fall, the Pope convened a bishopric in Rome dedicated to addressing the Church’s relationship with Catholic families around the world. Nearly 300 bishops from 120 countries gathered in Rome to share the pope’s views on sexual morality and family issues. The meeting, which is not decisive, gave the liberal forces a certain feeling that progress had been made, while the Conservatives could at the same time be calm in the assurance that none of the church’s dogmas is in danger.
In addition to the bishop’s meeting, the pope made a couple of personal decisions during the year in the area of family life. Without tapping into the Church’s doctrine, which does not recognize divorce, Francis has made it easier for Catholics to cancel a marriage. A cancellation may come about if the Church leadership in Rome finds that the marriage was invalid from the beginning. During the year, Francis also gave the parish priests permission to forgive women who have had an abortion if the woman expresses her regret during the holy year of jubilee.