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  • Pope calls abortion, euthanasia, IVF sins 'against God the creator'

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis denounced a "false compassion" that would justify abortion, euthanasia, artificial reproduction technologies and medical research violating human dignity. And he urged medical doctors to "go against the current" and assert "conscientious objection" to such practices, which he called sins "against God the creator."

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  • Islam, ecumenism and regional conflict on pope's agenda in Turkey

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Almost every papal trip abroad is a complex mix of the religious and political, and that will be especially true of Pope Francis' Nov. 28-30 visit to Turkey. Given the country's crucial geographic position straddling Europe and Asia, its historic importance for both Christianity and Islam and the wars now raging in neighboring Syria and Iraq, Pope Francis will have to address a variety of urgent topics during his three-day visit. Here are five of the biggest issues that await him:

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  • Feed the world, safeguard the planet, pope tells international leaders

    ROME (CNS) -- Every human being has a right to food, and no business plan or economic policy can override that right, Pope Francis told world leaders gathered in Rome. "The struggle against hunger and malnutrition is hindered by 'market priorities' and the 'primacy of profit,' which have reduced foodstuffs to a commodity like any other, subject to speculation, also of a financial nature," the pope said Nov. 20 in an address to the Second International Conference on Nutrition.

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  • Pope Francis warns against a 'spirituality of ease'

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Christians must guard against a "spirituality of ease" and putting up appearances, and respond to the constant call of Jesus to conversion, said Pope Francis. The pope described the thinking behind a spirituality of ease: "I do things as I can, but I am at peace as long as no one comes to disturb me with strange things. I lack nothing. I go to Mass on Sundays. I pray sometimes. I feel good. I'm in the grace of God. I'm rich. I don't need anything. I'm fine."

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  • 25 years later, the Salvadoran Jesuits' legacy lives on

    SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (CNS) -- The legacy of six murdered Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter lives on in El Salvador. Jesuits from Central America and other parts of the world, along with hundreds of parishioners, commemorated the 25th anniversary of the murders. For demanding social justice in a country marked by abject poverty, and in the midst of a civil war, the six Jesuits were considered the left's ideologues by the right-wing sectors of the country.

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  • New Pew survey shows Latin Americans leaving Catholicism

    MEXICO CITY (CNS) -- Increasing numbers of Catholics in Latin America are abandoning the church in favor of evangelical congregations or nonreligious life, according to a new survey, making Pope Francis' calls for renewed evangelization efforts in the region ever more urgent.

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  • Philippines prepares for pope with messages on spirituality, crowds

    MANILA, Philippines (CNS) -- Philippine church and government leaders are preparing the country for Pope Francis' visit with spiritual guidance for the faithful and precautions about crowd control. Manila Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle announced details of the pope's Jan. 15-19 itinerary, which includes his arrival late Jan. 15, after just over two days in Sri Lanka. The itinerary was released simultaneously at the Vatican.

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  • Give your children the best: your faith, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Faith always has been transmitted best through example, but with young people constantly bombarded by images of all kinds, living models of a commitment to truth and love are more important than ever, Pope Francis said.

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  • A Priest Remembers His Attack in 2008 in Orissa, India

    NEW YORK, November 14, 2014 (Zenit.org) - Last August marked the anniversary of the 2008 massacre of more than 100 Christians at the hands of a Hindu mob in Kandhamal district in Orissa (Odisha) State, India--and the culprits, though most of them have been identified, have yet to be tried. Eight years later, a Catholic priest who narrowly escaped a most gruesome death and lived to testify against his attackers, finds himself at a parish in New York, at a safe remove. Father Thomas Chellan's memories of the tragedy, however, have not faded. His testimony takes on fresh urgency in light of the recent attacks on Indian Christians by Hindu fundamentalists. This is his story:

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  • Pope removes Cardinal Burke from Vatican post

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis removed U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, 66, as head of the Vatican's highest court and named him to a largely ceremonial post for a chivalric religious order. Cardinal Burke, formerly prefect of the Apostolic Signature, will now serve as cardinal patron of the Knights and Dames of Malta, the Vatican announced Nov. 8.

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  • Indian church shocked over sterilization-related deaths

    THRISSUR, India (CNS) -- The church in India has expressed shock over the deaths of more than a dozen young mothers in government-run sterilization camps in central Chhattisgarh state. "This is terrible," Archbishop Prakash Mallavarapu, chairman of the health care commission of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, told Catholic News Service Nov. 12 from his Visakhapatnam Archdiocese.

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  • Pope sets up new body to speed handling of sex abuse appeals

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis has established a special body within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to speed up the process of hearing and ruling on appeals filed by priests laicized or otherwise disciplined in sexual abuse or other serious cases.

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  • Poland's Ambassador to the Holy See Speaks on Fall of the Berlin Wall

    Rome, November 10, 2014 (Zenit.org) -- The Berlin Wall collapsed on Nov. 9, 1989; it was the beginning of the end of the Soviet empire. Twenty-five years after this historic event, ZENIT spoke with Piotr Nowina Kokopka, Poland's ambassador to the Holy See. The ambassador talked about how he lived this event, and how St. John Paul II was a key figure in giving back hope to the Polish people.

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  • German church commemorates 25th anniversary of fall of Berlin Wall

    WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The president of the German bishops' conference praised Catholics who helped bring down the Berlin Wall, but also urged the church to look ahead to its future mission. "Without the prophetic power of St John Paul II and many dissidents, the miracle of European unification wouldn't have happened," said Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich-Freising during a symposium sponsored by the bishops' conference Nov. 8.

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  • Religious leaders call for calm at holy site in Jerusalem

    JERUSALEM (CNS) -- Attachments to holy places should not be a cause of bloodshed, hatred or violence, said the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land. Council members, who include Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders, said in a statement Nov. 9 that they were concerned about increased violence around the site in the Old City known as Haram al-Sharif by Muslims and that Jews refer to as the Temple Mount.

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  • New Vatican financial rules increase transparency, centralization

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican's new rules for budgeting and financial reporting, which will go into effect Jan. 1, call for heightened transparency and consistency in the church's central administration and underscore the oversight powers of two economic bodies Pope Francis established in February.

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  • Pope names Liverpool native to be Vatican's new foreign minister

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis named the 60-year-old nuncio to Australia, Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, to be the Vatican's new foreign minister. The position, formally known as the secretary for relations with states, was held by the Morocco-born French Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, who was named Nov. 8 the new prefect of the Apostolic Signature, the Vatican's highest court.

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  • Growing in Holiness With Schoenstatt

    ROME, November 06, 2014 (Zenit.org) - The Schoenstatt Movement just celebrated its 100th anniversary, with celebrations in Germany where it was founded, and an audience with the Pope in Rome. Maria Elena Vilches from Ecuador has belonged to the movement for more than 20 years, participating with the Schoenstatt Girls' Youth and later the Schoenstatt Family of Guayaquil.

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  • How Human Rights Are Becoming 'Post and Trans-Human Rights'

    PARIS, November 07, 2014 (Zenit.org) - Gregor Puppinck, PhD, Director of the European Centre for Law and Justice explains how human rights are becoming "trans-humans rights" under the influence of individualism, skepticism and biotechnologies. Human rights courts are currently redefining the "new man" through the creation of post and trans-humans rights.

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  • Catholic charities -- and a U.S. physician -- respond to Ebola

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Dr. Timothy Flanigan, professor of medicine at Brown University School of Medicine and permanent deacon for the Diocese of Providence, R.I., said he left his wife and five kids in August and traveled to Liberia because "I thought I could make a difference."

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  • Irish archbishop decries comments critical of pope following synod

    DUBLIN (CNS) -- Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin decried comments from clerics and others who said Pope Francis caused confusion in his calls for an open discussion on how the church should reach out to those who are marginalized, hurt and wounded in their lives during the recent Synod of Bishops on the family.

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  • When puppets meet refugees, healing begins for children

    BEIRUT (CNS) -- Syrian children who have seen their houses bombed and families members killed are using string, glue, socks, beads and other odds and ends to help put their lives back together. Counselors, teachers and volunteers are being trained to help the children process their trauma through the use of puppets.

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  • Church protests beating deaths of Christian couple accused of blasphemy

    THRISSUR, India (CNS) -- Catholic leaders in Pakistan protested the Nov. 4 beatings and burning of a young Christian couple accused of desecrating the Quran. "The government has absolutely failed to protect its citizens' right to life," said the National Commission for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Pakistan in a statement Nov. 5.

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  • Pope says annulment process should be cheaper and more efficient

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis said the church's marriage annulment process should be more efficient and perhaps even free of charge, and he decried any attempts to exploit it for profit. "Some procedures are so long and so burdensome, they don't favor (justice), and people give up," the pope said. "Mother church should do justice and say: 'Yes, it's true, your marriage is null. No, your marriage is valid.' But justice means saying so. That way, they can move on without this doubt, this darkness in their soul."

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  • Vatican approves amended constitutions for Legionaries of Christ

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Marking a significant step in an extensive process of the reform of the Legionaries of Christ, the Vatican approved the congregation's amended constitutions. The approval of the final constitutional text Oct. 16 by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life was part of a Vatican-led effort to help the religious community clarify and better define its fundamental norms and charism. The Legionaries published news of the approval and the new constitutions on their website Nov. 1.

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  • Bishop Grech: 'There Is a Need for Spreading the Gospel of the Family'

    VATICAN CITY, October 28, 2014 (Zenit.org) - At the end of the Synod in which he participated, Bishop Mario Grech returned to Gozo, Malta, where he is the diocesan bishop and also has the position of president of the Maltese Episcopal Conference. During the last few years as bishop of this island, he has worked on certain aspects later considered by the synod, particularly the development of pastoral practice for the family "required by a society that is continually changing". It is a "continuous development" that requires from the Church "deep discernment", Bishop Grech said, more so during this year in the lead-up toward the next Synod. In this ZENIT interview, the prelate gives the first indication of this necessary discernment.

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  • Did Pope Francis get what he wanted from the synod?

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Since the end of the Oct. 5-19 Synod of Bishops on the family, news outlets have portrayed the outcome as a "setback" or "loss" for Pope Francis -- even a "rebuke" to him. Journalists have pointed to the absence, in the synod's final report, of an earlier version's strikingly conciliatory language toward people with ways of life contrary to Catholic teaching, including those in same-sex unions and other non-marital relationships. Commentators have also noted the relatively low support, as measured by bishops' votes on the final document's relevant sections, for continued discussion of whether to make it easier for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion.

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  • Cardinal Pell calls for 'no doctrinal back-flips' at next family synod

    ROME (CNS) - Looking ahead to the October 2015 world Synod of Bishops on the family, Cardinal George Pell said the task for Catholics "over the next 12 months" is to explain "the necessity of conversion, the nature of the Mass," and "the purity of heart the Scriptures require of us to receive holy Communion."

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  • Pope Francis says Pope Benedict was a 'great pope'

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI is a perfect example of how intellectual knowledge and scientific curiosity do not lead a person further from God, but can strengthen their love for God and for his human creatures, Pope Francis said.

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  • Be ready with God's weaponry; devil is real, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Christian life is a constant battle against the devil, who is not the stuff of legend, but really exists, Pope Francis said in a morning homily. Battling the devil will not be easy because the evil one's traps and temptations are many, and "the devil is not tossing flowers at us," but "flaming arrows" aimed to kill, the pope said Oct. 30 during his morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae where he lives.

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  • Bright lights, cool air protect Sistine Chapel from visiting hoards

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican is not promising visitors to the Sistine Chapel more elbow room, but it is guaranteeing a cooler experience. Marking the year of the 450th anniversary of Michelangelo Buonarroti's death, the Vatican Museums hope the brand new air conditioning system and the 7,000 new LED lights will preserve the Renaissance artist's masterpiece for generations to come.

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