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  • True faith means loving others to the extreme, pope tells Egypt's Catholics

    CAIRO (CNS) -- The only kind of fanaticism that is acceptable to God is being fanatical about loving and helping others, Pope Francis said on his final day in Egypt. "True faith," he told Catholics, "makes us more charitable, more merciful, more honest and more humane. It moves our hearts to love everyone without counting the cost."

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  • Text of common declaration on baptism, by Pope Francis, Pope Tawadros

    CAIRO (CNS) -- Here is the text of the common declaration on baptism between Pope Francis and Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II, signed April 28. 1. We, Francis, bishop of Rome and pope of the Catholic Church, and Tawadros II, pope of Alexandria and patriarch of the See of St. Mark, give thanks to God in the Holy Spirit for granting us the joyful opportunity to meet once more, to exchange a fraternal embrace and to join again in common prayer. We glorify the Almighty for the bonds of fraternity and friendship existing between the See of St. Peter and the See of St. Mark. The privilege of being together here in Egypt is a sign that the solidity of our relationship is increasing year by year, and that we are growing in closeness, faith and love of Christ our Lord. We give thanks to God for this beloved Egypt, the "homeland that lives inside us," as His Holiness Pope Shenouda III used to say, the "people blessed by God" (cf. Is 19:25) with its ancient Pharaonic civilization, the Greek and Roman heritage, the Coptic tradition and the Islamic presence. Egypt is the place where the Holy Family found refuge, a land of martyrs and saints.

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  • Pope, Coptic patriarch honor martyrs, urge unity for peace

    CAIRO (CNS) -- Placing flowers, lighting a candle and praying at the site where dozens of Coptic Orthodox Christians were killed by an Islamic State militant last year, Pope Francis and Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II paid homage to those who were killed for their faith.

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  • Knights of Malta asked to elect temporary leader

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Members of the Knights of Malta about to elect a new permanent leader were asked instead to consider electing a lieutenant who would temporarily take the reins of the order. The request was sent by the order's leadership in an email reported by the National Catholic Reporter April 26 and confirmed by the order's press office in Rome.

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  • In TED talk, pope urges people to make real connections

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- While searching for a connection today often means looking for Wi-Fi, Pope Francis said real connections between people are the only hope for the future. "How wonderful would it be if the growth of scientific and technological innovation would come along with more equality and social inclusion," he said in a video talk played April 25 for 1,800 people attending TED 2017 in Vancouver, British Columbia, and posted online with subtitles in 20 languages.

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  • Australian bishops: Assisted suicide is the opposite of health care

    Melbourne, Australia, Apr 25, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Proposals to legalize euthanasia in the Australian state of Victoria are based on “misplaced compassion,” the local bishops said. “Euthanasia and assisted suicide are the opposite of care and represent the abandonment of the sick and the suffering, of older and dying persons,” the bishops said April 18.

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  • Court rules Saskatchewan cannot fund non-Catholics in Catholic schools

    REGINA, Saskatchewan (CNS) -- A judgment in a 12-year-old court case has sent shock waves through Saskatchewan's Catholic education community and left Regina Archbishop Donald Bolen "disheartened." Queen's Bench Justice Donald Layh ruled April 21 that the government of Saskatchewan is violating a section of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by funding non-Catholic students who attend Catholic schools.

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  • Mercy opens the door to understanding the mystery of God, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Mercy is a true form of knowledge that allows men and women to understand the mystery of God's love for humanity, Pope Francis said. Having experienced forgiveness, Christians have a duty to forgive others, giving a "visible sign" of God's mercy, which "carries within it the peace of heart and the joy of a renewed encounter with the Lord," the pope said April 23 before praying the "Regina Coeli" with visitors gathered in St. Peter's Square.

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  • Spokesman: Tight security is 'new normal' as pope heads to Egypt

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Despite the ongoing risk of terrorism, Pope Francis planned to travel to Egypt as a sign of being close to the people there, said Greg Burke, Vatican spokesman. Heightened security is part of the "new normal" in many countries, but even in the wake of the Palm Sunday attacks in Egypt, it is the pope's desire "to go ahead, to also be a sign of his closeness" to those affected by violence and all the people of Egypt, Burke told journalists April 24.

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  • Portuguese businessman sends free Fatima statues throughout world

    CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) -- Every time Jose Camara thinks his ministry is completed, somebody else needs a statue of Our Lady of Fatima to spread the devotion. Camara, a retired Portuguese businessman, has donated more than 1,000 of the statues, handmade in Fatima, to parishes around the world since January 2013. He even covers the cost of transport, including to South Africa, Madagascar, Australia and the United States.

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  • 13 planning attacks on Christians arrested in Egypt

    Cairo, Egypt, Apr 20, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Egyptian police on Sunday arrested 13 people who were planning attacks against Christians and public institutions in the country. The April 16 arrests take on greater importance as Pope Francis prepares to visit Egypt at the end of the month.

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  • Closed hearts unable to be surprised by the Resurrection, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Christian faith is a grace and can be perceived only in the hearts of those willing to be surprised by the joy of the Resurrection, Pope Francis said. "A closed heart, a rationalistic heart" is incapable of understanding the Christian message which has God's love -- manifested in Christ's victory over death -- at its center, the pope said at his weekly general audience April 19.

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  • How the church determines a true Marian apparition

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- When it comes to Marian apparitions, the Catholic Church takes a prudent approach that focuses more on the message than the miracle. Supernatural phenomena, like the alleged miracle of the sun in Fatima, Portugal, nearly 100 years ago, are not the primary factors in determining an apparition is worthy of belief.

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  • Pope Benedict celebrates birthday with Bavarian guests, beer, pretzels

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A bit of Bavaria, including German beer and pretzels, came to the Vatican to help celebrate retired Pope Benedict XVI's 90th birthday. "Thank you for bringing Bavaria here," he told his guests, commenting on the beauty of gathering together under a blue Roman sky with white clouds -- colors that "recall the white and blue flag of Bavaria" and how "it's always the same sky" no matter where one finds oneself in the world.

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  • Vatican releases itinerary for papal trip to Egypt

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis will meet with the leader of one of the world's leading Sunni Muslim institutions, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church and representatives of the Catholic Church on a two-day trip to Cairo.

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  • French archdiocese opens beatification inquiry for martyred priest

    ROUEN, France (CNS) -- The Archdiocese of Rouen has opened a formal inquiry into the cause for beatification of Father Jacques Hamel, who was killed while celebrating Mass in July 2016. Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen announced the opening of inquiry at the end of the chrism Mass April 13.

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  • Pope washes feet of 12 prison inmates at Holy Thursday Mass

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In a gesture of service toward marginalized people, Pope Francis washed the feet of 12 inmates, including three women and a man who is converting from Islam to Catholicism. Although in Jesus' time, washing the feet of one's guests was performed by slaves, Jesus "reverses" this role, the pope said during the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper April 13 at a prison 45 miles from Rome.

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  • The Gospel is never gloomy, but joyful, Pope tells priests

    Vatican City, Apr 13, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- During his annual Chrism Mass for Holy Week Pope Francis told priests to always convey the truth and mercy of the Gospel with joy, saying the “Good News” brought by Jesus can never be rigid or presumptuous, but is rather meek and humble.

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  • Pope to priests: Never separate truth, joy, mercy from the Gospel

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Always preach the whole truth of the Gospel with humility and respect and never be afraid to offer that truth just "one sip at a time," Pope Francis told the world's priests. The Gospel is truth, "brimming with joy and mercy. We should never attempt to separate these three graces of the Gospel: its truth, which is non-negotiable; its mercy, which is unconditional and offered to all sinners; and its joy, which is personal and open to everyone," he said April 13 during the chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

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  • Nigerian bishop says Boko Haram needs fought in spiritual realm, too

    LAGOS, Nigeria (CNS) -- The Catholic bishop of a diocese at the center of the Boko Haram insurgency said the militants need to be fought on several levels. "The battle against Boko Haram should not be limited to the physical realm, but it needs to be fought in the spiritual realm for it is a demonic attack," Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of Maiduguri told reporters.

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  • In Syria, Franciscan superior sees devastation, but also signs of hope

    ROME (CNS) -- Fifteen Franciscan friars continue to live and work in Syria; two of the friars minister in towns controlled by Islamic State forces. Father Michael Perry, minister general of the Franciscans, visited most of the friars the first week of April, but he could not enter areas controlled by Islamic State or by forces opposed to the government of President Bashar Assad.

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  • Global bishops unite in prayer following Egypt church bombings

    Washington D.C., Apr 10, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Following the murder of Christians in Egypt through two bombings during Palm Sunday liturgies, bishops around the world joined Pope Francis in prayer. “We also pray for our Coptic Orthodox sisters and brothers who continue to be resilient in the face of ongoing and escalating attacks, and who resist the urge to react vengefully or reciprocally,” said Bishop Angaelos, general bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom.

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  • Papal almoner opens laundry service for the poor

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The office charged with coordinating Pope Francis' acts of charity announced the opening of a laundromat for the poor and homeless of Rome. The "Lavanderia di Papa Francesco" ("Pope Francis Laundry") is a free service "offered to the poorest people, particularly the homeless, who will be able to wash, dry and iron their clothes and blankets," the Papal Almoner's Office announced April 10.

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  • Pope: Scientists must defend creation from distorted use of biotech

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Scientists working in the field of biotechnology are called to use science to protect creation and to prevent methods that seek to control it, Pope Francis said. The responsible use of the "enormous and growing" power of science is a "fundamental cornerstone" of humankind's actions in promoting the development of plant, animal and human life, the pope told a committee charged with establishing scientific norms for the Italian government.

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  • Egypt's attacks won't stop pope's visit for peace, says Vatican official

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Despite recent and repeated terrorist attacks against Egypt's minority Christian communities, Pope Francis will not cancel his visit to Egypt. "The pope's trip to Egypt proceeds as scheduled," Greg Burke, Vatican spokesman, told Catholic News Service by email April 10. The pope is scheduled to meet governmental and interfaith leaders during an April 28-29 visit to Cairo.

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  • Love Jesus in all who suffer, pope says on Palm Sunday

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Jesus does not ask that people only contemplate his image, but that they also recognize and love him concretely in all people who suffer like he did, Pope Francis said. Jesus is "present in our many brothers and sisters who today endure sufferings like his own -- they suffer from slave labor, from family tragedies, from diseases. They suffer from wars and terrorism, from interests that are armed and ready to strike," the pope said April 9 as he celebrated the Palm Sunday Mass of the Lord's Passion.

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  • Bishops seek input from youth ahead of 2018 synod

    Vatican City, Apr 8, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- An international conference this week in Rome is seeking feedback from young people on the upcoming 2018 Synod of Bishops, as preparations are also underway for the 2019 World Youth Day in Panama.

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  • Global Catholic population tops 1.28 billion; half are in 10 countries

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Taken together, the 10 countries with the most Catholics account for almost 56 percent of the world's Catholic population, the Vatican reported. The 2017 "Annuario Pontificio," or Vatican yearbook, and a new edition of the Vatican Statistical Yearbook report that the countries with the most Catholics are, in order: Brazil, Mexico, Philippines, United States, Italy, France, Colombia, Spain, Congo and Argentina.

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  • Make room for kindness, not hopeless 'mafia' mentality, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Hope cannot remain hidden within but must break free to overcome vengeful, mafia-like mentalities with mercy and humility, Pope Francis said. Christians must give witness to hope through their lives as Jesus did and make room for him in their hearts to fight evil by doing good to others, even their enemies, the pope said at his weekly general audience April 5.

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  • Pope Francis condemns deadly attacks in Syria, Russia

    Vatican City, Apr 5, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- On Wednesday Pope Francis expressed his horror at a chemical weapon attack in the province of Idlib in Syria on Tuesday, also expressing his sorrow for the victims of an attack April 3 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

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  • Forced abortion in China cost a UN agency millions in US funds

    Washington D.C., Apr 4, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- The United States has ended funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), saying the agency's support for Chinese population control programs violates an amendment banning funds for partners of coercive abortion or sterilization programs.

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  • Pope horrified by 'unacceptable massacre' in Syria

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis strongly condemned a shocking chemical attack in Syria that left some 70 people, including at least 10 children, dead. "We are horrified by the latest events in Syria. I strongly deplore the unacceptable massacre that took place yesterday in the Idlib province, where dozens of civilians, including many children, were killed," the pope said April 5 before concluding his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.

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  • Pope Francis meets Britain's Prince Charles at the Vatican

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the duchess of Cornwall, met April 4 with Pope Francis at the Vatican. The pope and the British royals spoke privately for 27 minutes. The Vatican did not issue a statement about the topics covered in the private conversation.

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  • Chaldean patriarch supports Holy Week peace march in Iraq

    IRBIL, Iraq (CNS) -- The Chaldean Catholic patriarch is supporting a more than 80-mile peace march during Holy Week to urge an end to violence in his homeland and throughout the Middle East. The Chaldean Catholic Church has dedicated 2017 as the Year of Peace. For the patriarch, Holy Week culminating in the Easter celebration offers a fresh hope to breathe new life into prayer and reflection, reconciliation and dialogue.

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  • Pope: Don't dwell on suffering, let Jesus heal you

    Vatican City, Apr 2, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Sunday, Pope Francis said that each of us carries some kind of tomb inside our heart, whether from sin or suffering, and we can either stay bogged down in misery, focusing only on ourselves, or we can allow Jesus to come into that place and heal it. 

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