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  • English cardinal urges debate on family synod to stay out of the press

    MANCHESTER, England (CNS) -- Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster urged priests to end debating the upcoming synod on the family in the press after more than 450 priests published a letter calling on the Catholic Church to retain the prohibition on divorced and remarried Catholics receiving holy Communion.

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  • Pope Francis calls death penalty 'unacceptable,' urges abolition

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis came out squarely against the death penalty once again, calling it "unacceptable" regardless of the seriousness of the crime of the condemned. Pope Francis met with a three-person delegation of the International Commission Against the Death Penalty March 20, and issued a letter on the occasion urging worldwide abolition.

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  • Filipino Cardinal: Catholic Church Cannot Conform Her Teachings on Divorce

    Vatican City (ZENIT) -- Manila Archbishop Emeritus, Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales says the Catholic Church cannot conform her teachings about divorce to the world’s wishes. According to CBCP News, the former archbishop of the Filipino capital stressed that even if a new survey shows that 60 percent of Filipinos want divorce to be made legal, no one can change the teachings of God to suit what people want. Since Church doctrine comes from Divine Law, it cannot be changed, he said.

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  • Papal aide organizes special Sistine Chapel tour for homeless people

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The papal almoner, an archbishop who distributes charitable aid from Pope Francis, planned a special afternoon for about 150 homeless people: a walk through the Vatican Gardens, a visit to the Vatican Museums, private time in the Sistine Chapel and dinner in the museums' cafeteria.

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  • Vatican archives shed light on tragedy of Armenian genocide

    Vatican City, Mar 20, 2015 CNA/EWTN News.- Ahead of Pope Francis’ Mass commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, newly released historic documents confirm the Holy See’s broad commitment to helping the Armenian people at a time when few others would.

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  • Pope accepts cardinal's decision to renounce duties, rights of office

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted Scotland Cardinal Keith O'Brien's decision to renounce all "duties and privileges" associated with being a cardinal. The former archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, who resigned in 2013 after admitting to sexual misconduct, will no longer exercise the role of a cardinal, including by serving as a papal adviser, a member of Vatican congregations and councils, and as an elector of a new pope, the Vatican press office said.

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  • In Holy Year, pope wants to share experience of mercy he had as teen

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis' decision to convoke a special Holy Year of Mercy has its roots in the event that led a teen-age Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the priesthood. Pope Francis has recounted the story several times in the past two years. On one occasion early in his pontificate, he told members of Catholic lay movements about his faith journey, particularly the importance of growing up Catholic and the influence of his grandmother. Then he said:

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  • British traditionalist bishop is excommunicated for illicit ordination

    ROME (CNS) -- A traditionalist bishop who has denied the Holocaust has been automatically excommunicated along with the priest he illicitly ordained a bishop. British Bishop Richard Williamson violated church law when he ordained Father Jean-Michel Faure, 73, a bishop without papal approval during a ceremony in Nova Friburgo, Brazil, March 19, the feast of St. Joseph.

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  • At Lenten penance service, pope announces Holy Year of Mercy

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis announced an extraordinary jubilee, a Holy Year of Mercy, to highlight the Catholic Church's "mission to be a witness of mercy." "No one can be excluded from God's mercy," the pope said March 13, marking the second anniversary of his pontificate by leading a Lenten penance service in St. Peter's Basilica.

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  • Preaching to the pope: Capuchin says it's an exercise in humility

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The first time Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa climbed the steps up to the papal altar in St. Peter's Basilica, he said, "it felt like I was climbing Mount Everest." The intimidating climb 35 years ago was to fulfill a mandate from St. John Paul II, who tapped the Capuchin to preach to the pope and the public on Good Friday 1980.

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  • Welcome children, learn from them, pope says at audience

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Children are a blessing for humanity and for the church, bringing new life and energy to families and society, Pope Francis said. Unfortunately, he said, too often children are society's "great rejected ones, because they aren't even allowed to be born!"

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  • U.N. says Pope Francis will visit morning of Sept. 25

    UNITED NATIONS (CNS) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the announcement that Pope Francis would visit the United Nations the morning of Sept. 25 to address the U.N. General Assembly. In a statement March 18, the United Nations also said the pope would meet separately with the secretary-general and with the president of the General Assembly and would participate in a town hall gathering with U.N. staff.

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  • Pope recognizes miracle needed to declare French couple saints

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis has approved a miracle so that, for the first time, a married couple can be canonized together. The canonization ceremony for Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, is likely to take place during the world Synod of Bishops on the family in October.

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  • Missionary priests killed in Peru remembered for commitment to faith

    WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- Two Polish Conventual Franciscan missionaries killed by insurgents in Peru in 1991 are challenging Catholics to renew their faith commitment, said a Franciscan spokesman. The priests, Father Zbigniew Strzalkowski and Father Michal Tomaszek, offer the faithful examples of "exemplary lives and vivid testimonies," Franciscan Father Jan-Marie Szewek told Catholic News Service from the order's Krakow offices.

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  • Australian prelate maintains innocence after charges of hiding abuse

    ADELAIDE, Australia (CNS) -- Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide has been charged with concealing child abuse by a priest, but maintained he is innocent of violating the law. Charges were filed March 17 by New South Wales Police Force after an investigation by a team of detectives set up specifically to investigate allegations of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle in the 1970s by Father Jim Fletcher.

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  • Archbishop Georg Gaenswein Interviewed By Italian Publication

    Vatican City (ZENIT) -- George Gaenswein has given an extensive interview to the Italian publication Oggi. In the interview which the prefect of the Papal Household and private secretary to Pope Benedict XVI granted yesterday, he discusses his experiences under both pontificates, and speaks specifically on Pope Francis’ pontificate, the Pope Emeritus’ health and the Vatileaks scandal.

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  • Pope's Morning Homily: We Are in God's Heart and Mind

    Rome (ZENIT) -- God never forgets us; he thinks about us and wants us to be joyful. These were the words of Pope Francis during his morning homily at Santa Marta today. According to Vatican Radio, the Holy Father reflected on the first reading from the prophet Isaiah. In it, God says that he "will rejoice in Jerusalem and exult in my people. No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there, or the sound of crying."

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  • For Israeli Christian voters, security, economy are biggest concerns

    JERUSALEM (CNS) -- As Israelis head to the polls March 17, the two main concerns for most Christian voters are the economy and the security situation in the entire Middle East. Shukri Abed, a Catholic from the northern Israeli all-Melkite Catholic village of Mi'ilyah and director of Al Quds University's Center for Jerusalem Studies in East Jerusalem, noted most Israeli Christian Arabs live within a triple axis of identities -- Israeli, Catholic and Palestinian -- which influences their voting pattern.

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  • Euthanasia threatens improvements in end-of-life care, experts say

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Legalizing euthanasia risks undermining people's access to loving, holistic care as they face the natural end of their life, many experts at a Vatican conference said. As more parts of the world, like in Quebec last year, pass right-to-die legislation allowing the terminally ill to request lethal drugs, euthanasia is being treated as if it were a legitimate form of medical care, said a bishop from the province.

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  • Religious Persecution in Middle East at Core of UN Joint Statement

    Vatican City (ZENIT) -- Those being persecuted due to their faith in the Middle East require the attention of the international community. Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, underscored this today, when reflecting on the just-released joint statement, titled "Supporting the Human Rights of Christians and other Communities, particularly in the Middle East." 

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  • Bishops urge people to pray for those who face religious persecution

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Leaders of the U.S. bishops' conference invited people to pray for "those facing the stark reality of religious persecution in the Middle East and elsewhere." In a statement, the bishops' Administrative Committee also called on people to work to protect those who are marginalized and persecuted.

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  • Italian bishops' newspaper: Archbishop Romero to be beatified May 23

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero will be beatified in San Salvador May 23, according to the newspaper of the Italian bishops' conference. Italian Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the postulator or chief promoter of the archbishop's sainthood cause, was expected to officially make the announcement March 11 during his visit to San Salvador, Avvenire reported.

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  • Historic cemetery inside Vatican walls is 'little piece of paradise'

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A small, inconspicuous cemetery inside the Vatican walls made headlines recently with the burial of a Belgian homeless man, Willy Herteleer. "The pilgrims' tomb" is a common grave, just a few yards from the tombs of bishops, royalty and intelligentsia. Herteleer is buried there, his name engraved on the tombstone of plot No. 106, along with five other pilgrims.

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  • How did the Vatican respond to the sinking of the Lusitania during WWI?

    Vatican City, Mar 10, 2015 / 04:01 am (CNA/EWTN News) -- The 1915 torpedoing of the passenger liner RMS Lusitania, which galvanized anti-German sentiment in the US during World War I, was much-discussed at the top of the Vatican's ranks, revealing the Holy See's approach to current events and its place in international diplomacy.

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  • Let Jesus cleanse you of your sins, pope urges

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Christian faith and a moral life are responses to God's mercy and not the result of "titanic" human effort, Pope Francis said. In meetings and Masses March 7-8, the pope repeatedly returned to the theme of the church as an agent of God's mercy and to the benefits of returning to confession during Lent.

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  • Pope thanks women as dozens gather in Vatican to share faith stories

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- On International Women's Day, Pope Francis thanked women, "who in thousands of ways, witness to the Gospel and work in the church." The pope's comments March 8 preceded a five-hour celebration in the Vatican of the ways Christian women minister to their sisters who are poor, sick, excluded from education, victims of human trafficking and exploitation.

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  • Investigation of stolen Michelangelo notes underway after ransom demand

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A top Vatican official received a ransom demand for the return of Renaissance-era documents by the artist Michelangelo. Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica, "received a proposal to recover such documents at a certain price," said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman.

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  • As Islamic State steps up attacks, Christian leaders call for help

    AMMAN, Jordan (CNS) -- Christian leaders again called for help for Assyrian Christians as Islamic State militants stepped up their attacks against their towns in northern Syria. Syria's northeast Hassakeh province is emerging as the new battlefield in the fight against extremist group. Analysts say Hassakeh province, which extends like a thumb into neighboring Iraq and Turkey, could become the fault line of a new multifront and lengthy war between Islamic State militants and Christians allied with Kurdish fighters.

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  • Euthanasia supporters in Chile accused of exploiting sick teen

    Santiago, Chile, Mar 7, 2015 / 04:32 pm (CAN/EWTN News).- Proponents of a euthanasia bill in Chile are exploiting a sick young girl for political purposes, the girl's father has charged. Fourteen-year-old Valentina Maureira suffers from cystic fibrosis -- a degenerative and incurable illness. The teen garnered national attention when she taped a video asking to meet with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to ask her to authorize an injection that would allow her to "go to sleep forever."

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  • Pope Francis' Address to the Neocatechumenal Way

    Vatican City (ZENIT) -- Today, Pope Francis met in the Paul VI Audience Hall with the Neocatechumenal Community, on the occasion of the sending out of missio ad gentes families. Here is a translation of the Pope’s address to those present at the meeting.

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  • Ignoring, abandoning the elderly is a sin, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Seeing the elderly only as a burden "is ugly. It's a sin," Pope Francis said at his weekly general audience. "We must reawaken our collective sense of gratitude, appreciation and hospitality, helping the elderly know they are a living part of their communities" and sources of wisdom for the younger generations, the 78-year-old pope said March 4 at his weekly general audience.

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  • Rules for Vatican finance offices include protection for whistleblowers

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- New rules governing the guidance, oversight and control of Vatican financial and administrative activities include the power to levy sanctions and take "civil or criminal action" in cases of "damage to assets," as well as providing protection for whistleblowers raising red flags about "anomalous activity."

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  • Bishops-Friends of Focolare Movement Meet with Pope Francis

    Vatican City (ZENIT) -- Prior to meeting with the faithful in St. Peter's Square for his weekly General Audience, Pope Francis met with the Bishops-Friends of the Focolare Movement.  The prelates share in the movement's charism, the principal point of which is promotion of unity.

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  • Vatican security always on high alert, chief says after IS threats

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The head of Vatican security said Islamic State militants have threatened the Vatican, but there are no indications of any planned attack. The Vatican gendarmes, Swiss Guards and the Italian state police that patrol the perimeter of Vatican City State are always on high alert, said Domenico Giani, the commander of the gendarme and the pope's chief bodyguard.

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  • Willy's Story - the homeless man buried in the Vatican

    Vatican City, Feb 27, 2015 CNA.- Willy Herteleer, a homeless man who lived on the side streets outside St. Peter’s Basilica, made headlines after his death, when he received a special burial in the Vatican’s Teutonic Cemetery. The following is an account of his story as told by Msgr. Amerigo Ciani, a canon of St. Peter’s Basilica and painter who had become friends with Willy.

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  • "The Vocational Adventure Does Not End on the Day of Ordination"

    Rome (ZENIT) -- The Seminary is not a University where one only learns professional or theoretical concepts; it is an experience of life. Moreover, the vocational pastoral ministry includes concrete support and discernment, says Mexican Archbishop Jorge Carlos Patron Wong, Secretary for Seminaries of the Congregation for the Clergy, an office he has held for just over a year. He arrived in Rome in November 2013, directly from the diocese of Papantala. ZENIT interviewed him to learn more about his work over the past 14 months, his vision of life in the Seminaries and the way the Pope helps priests in their mission.

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  • 'Who, me? Yes, you.' Fess up to sins, stop judging others, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Drop the innocent look and the habit of judging others, Pope Francis said; recognizing one's own faults and failings is the first requirement of being a good Christian. In fact, paradoxically, one finds peace and relief in judging one's own sins, being merciful toward others and saying, "Who am I to judge?" he said March 2 during his homily at a morning Mass celebrated in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.

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