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  • Irish bishop calls nun's death in Ecuador quake 'loving sacrifice'

    LONDONERRY, Northern Ireland (CNS) -- Bishop Donal McKeown of Derry told hundreds of mourners at the funeral of an Irish missionary nun that "a life given in loving sacrifice is never wasted." Family, relatives and friends of Sister Clare Crockett gathered in St. Columba's Church Long Tower May 2 to remember the 33-year-old sister killed in Ecuador during an April 17 earthquake.

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  • Archdiocese urges Mexico to resolve case of students missing since 2014

    MEXICO CITY (CNS) -- An Archdiocese of Mexico City editorial called on the Mexican government to finally determine the fates of 43 missing students and said the often-questioned official investigation was unconvincing, demonstrated the worst shortcomings of the country's judicial institutions and deepened social discontent in the country.

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  • Pope to celebrate Mass, welcome homeless on pilgrimage to Rome

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis will welcome several thousand homeless and vulnerable people from all over Europe when they make a pilgrimage to Rome in November. European organizations that help the homeless are invited to participate in the European Festival of Joy and Mercy, which will take place Nov. 11-13. The event organizers -- the Fratello association -- are inviting 6,000 homeless, vulnerable and marginalized people to take part.

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  • U2's lead guitarist rocks Sistine Chapel in concert for a cure

    Vatican City, May 3, 2016 CNA.- Lead guitarist The Edge from Irish rock band sensation U2 played “the most beautiful parish hall in the world” this weekend – the Sistine Chapel. The performance, the first-ever rock concert in the historic chapel, was given for about 200 doctors researchers who attended a conference at the Vatican last week on regenerative medicine. The conference discussed the use of adult stem cells to cure difficult and rare diseases such as cancer.

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  • Northern Ireland bishops urge voters to ask about abortion, poverty

    DUBLIN (CNS) -- Northern Ireland's Catholic bishops urged Massgoers to support candidates opposed to legalizing abortion in elections to the region's power-sharing assembly May 5. In a wide-ranging pastoral statement ahead of the polls, the bishops also urged Catholics to lobby lawmakers about issues as diverse as climate change and the right of church-run organizations to receive government funding.

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  • Stop violence in Syria, punish child abusers worldwide, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Intensify dialogue, not violence, in order to push for peace in Syria, Pope Francis said. "I urge all parties involved in the conflict to respect the cease-fire and strengthen talks underway -- the only path that leads to peace," he said after reciting the "Regina Coeli" prayer with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square May 1.

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  • Blood-red Trevi fountain a wake-up call on Christian persecution

    Vatican City, Apr 30, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- Illuminated by the red light that spilled across Rome’s Trevi fountain, voices from persecuted Christian communities across the world shared the stories of friends and loved ones killed for the faith, and urged the world to take greater action in putting the violence to an end.

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  • Suspects arrested in alleged plot against Vatican, Israeli embassy

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Italian authorities arrested six suspects who allegedly received orders from the Islamic State terrorist group to attack the Vatican and the Israeli embassy in Rome. The arrests made in Lombardy and Piedmont April 28 were the result of a joint operation coordinated by the district attorney of Milan and the Italian anti-terrorism agency.

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  • True believers serve others, pope says at audience

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To ignore the suffering of another person is to ignore God, Pope Francis said. And going to church does not automatically make someone love their neighbor, the pope said April 27 as he reflected on the Gospel parable of the good Samaritan during his weekly general audience.

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  • Could reconciliation with the SSPX arrive with ease?

    Vatican City, Apr 26, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- Pope Francis may soon offer the Society of Saint Pius X regular canonical status within the Church, without requiring the acceptance of certain texts of the Second Vatican Council with which they disagree.

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  • Pope names Camaguey archbishop, who helped rebuild church, to Havana

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis named Archbishop Juan Garcia Rodriguez, who has worked quietly to help rebuild the Cuban church, physically and spiritually, to be the new archbishop of Havana. He succeeds 79-year-old Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino of Havana, whose retirement was accepted by the pope the same day. The Vatican made the announcements April 26.

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  • Suspended audit reveals power struggle at the Vatican

    Vatican City, Apr 25, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- The recent suspension of an audit of Vatican finances by a major accounting firm shed light on a lively debate within the Sacred Walls about the balance of power between the Secretariat of State and the Secretariat for the Economy.

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  • Pope says pastors must 'serve, not use' laypeople

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Clericalism is a danger to the Catholic Church not only because on a practical level it undermines the role of laity in society, but because theologically it "tends to diminish and undervalue the baptismal grace" of all believers, whether they are lay or clergy, Pope Francis said.

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  • Was Shakespeare a secret Catholic?

    Rome, Italy, Apr 23, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- April 23 marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, the playwright, poet, and actor widely considered to be the most influential literary figure in the English language.

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  • Pope hears confessions at Jubilee event for teens

    Vatican City, Apr 23, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- Pope Francis on Saturday heard the confessions of young people in St. Peter's Square as part of this weekend's Jubilee for Boys and Girls, an event which is expected to draw tens of thousands of teenagers from around the world.  

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  • JRS hoping to answer call to mercy with education for more refugees

    TORONTO (CNS) -- Jesuit Refugee Service has a very specific answer to Pope Francis' call to put mercy on the leading edge of a church reaching out to the peripheries. The answer is education. With a campaign called "Mercy in Motion," JRS is trying to raise US$35 million this year so that by 2020 it can educate an additional 100,000 refugees per year.

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  • New nuncio to U.S. says he's ready to listen and learn

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the new nuncio to the United States, said he is ready to learn about the Catholic Church in the country and will try his best to be Pope Francis' emissary, particularly in promoting a church that is close to those who suffer.

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  • Vatican suspends outside audit while reviewing contract

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Four months after announcing it had hired the firm PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct an external audit of its finances, the Vatican has suspended the work underway. "Issues have emerged regarding the meaning and scope of certain clauses of the contract (with PwC) and their methods of implementation," said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, in a statement April 26.

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  • Dominican nuns keep hope alive among displaced in northern Iraq

    IRBIL, Iraq (CNS) -- When the Islamic State group rolled across Iraq's Ninevah Plain in 2014, tens of thousands of Christians fled for their lives to Kurdish-controlled areas of the country. They still wait in limbo in crowded camps, facing an undefined future. The only certainty they enjoy is knowing that whatever happens to them, a group of Dominican nuns will be at their side.

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  • Look at your own sins before judging others, pope says at audience

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Christians must look to their own sins and failings and not fall into the temptation of hypocrisy that causes them to believe they are better than others, Pope Francis said. "The relationship of salvation" with God cannot move forward if people justify themselves and look at the mistakes of others instead of fixing their gaze on the Lord, he said at his weekly general audience April 20.

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  • Refugees are not a problem, they are a gift, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Refugees, often perceived by society as an added cost or a problem, are a gift and a reflection of the face of God, Pope Francis said. People who escape oppression, war, pollution or "the unjust distribution of the planet's resources are a brother and sister with whom to share bread, home and life," he said in a video message to the Centro Astalli, the Jesuit Refugee Service center in Rome.

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  • Words and deeds can't be separated, pope tells new priests

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- What you say and how you live always go hand in hand, building up the church and the people of God, Pope Francis told new priests. "Therefore, may your doctrine be nourishment to the people of God, joy and supporting those faithful to Christ (be) the fragrance of your life, because the word and example go together," he said.

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  • Pope prays for refugees, brings 12 Syrians back to Rome

    MYTILENE, Greece (CNS) -- Pope Francis' five-hour visit to Greece ended with him offering safe passage to Italy to 12 Syrian Muslims, half under the age of 18. The Vatican had kept secret the pope's plan to invite the members of three Syrian families to fly back to Rome with him April 16. Rumors began swirling in the Greek media a couple hours before the flight took off, but it was confirmed by the Vatican only as the 12 were boarding the papal plane.

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  • Pope meets with Bolivian president

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican, Bolivian President Evo Morales discussed social policy and the economic situation facing his country. Morales met the pope April 15 before attending a two-day conference dedicated to St. John Paul II's 1991 social encyclical "Centesimus Annus." The meeting was jointly sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies.

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  • Pope Francis asks for prayers ahead of visit to Lesbos

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis asked Christians to pray for him before embarking on a one-day visit to the Greek island of Lesbos. "I will go together with my brothers," Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Orthodox Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and all of Greece, "to express our closeness and solidarity to the refugees, the citizens of Lesbos and to all the Greek people who have been so generous in welcoming them," the pope said April 13 at his weekly general audience.

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  • Pope: Living out one's faith is useless without a repentant heart

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Without a repentant heart, Christians can risk living out their faith superficially and fail to live out God's desire for "mercy, not sacrifice," Pope Francis said. Instead, Jesus' love for sinners shows that the church is not "a community of perfect people, but disciples on a path who follow the Lord because they recognize themselves as sinners and in need of his forgiveness," the pope said at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square April 13.

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  • Father Spadaro: Amoris Laetitia Is a Jesuit Document

    According to Director of La Civiltā Cattolica, Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation Is an Important Step in Church's Historical Journey, in Which Attention to Salvation of Souls Is Central There is no change in doctrine, however, there is an evolution in the understanding of the Gospel and in the understanding of the doctrine itself. Commenting in the heat of the moment on the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, the Director of the Jesuit Magazine La Civilta Cattolica, Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, identified in Pope Francis' document a distinctly Jesuit approach, which puts before everything the personal relation with God of every individual believer, with all the process of discernment that stems from it.

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  • Cardinal Schönborn: Amoris Laetitia is a great catechesis

    Cardinal Schönborn says Pope Francis' Amoris Laetitia is a great catechesis on marital and familial love. In an interview with ZENIT and other journalists following the widely-anticipated document's presentation in the Vatican on Friday, the archbishop of Vienna spoke on the Pope's apostolic exhortation on the joy of love in the family and his conviction that pastors can use this document to help families.

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  • No, Pope Francis isn't saying your 'conscience' trumps doctrine

    Washington D.C., Apr 12, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- In his apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia Pope Francis is helping priests to be better pastors, not giving individual consciences the ultimate authority to decide their spiritual state, a moral theologian and a canon lawyer both maintain.

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  • New U.S. nuncio worked in Mexico during a difficult period

    MEXICO CITY (CNS) -- Archbishop Christophe Pierre represented the Vatican in Mexico for nearly a decade, a time defined by a drug war, a delicate period of domestic politics and the election of a pope whose pastoral approach and church vision appears at odds with many in the Mexican Catholic hierarchy.

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  • Help end death penalty, debt burden, war, pope tells activists

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis urged additional support in abolishing the death penalty worldwide and eradicating the external debt of developing countries. Working to build dialogue, peace and justice in "our complex and violent world" is a huge and difficult task that requires seeking the common good, he said in a written message to participants at a conference in Rome.

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  • Pope: Beware of 'polite persecution' disguised as culture, progress

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Christians must beware of a "polite" persecution that is cloaked in a disguise of "culture, modernity and progress," Pope Francis said. Those who suffer this kind of persecution are not persecuted "for confessing Christ's name, but for wanting to have and manifesting the values of the son of God," he said April 12 during the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

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  • Pope Francis' Instagram success: a model for Catholic social media?

    Vatican City, Apr 12, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- Social media can be a place for evangelization. The proof? The giant audience for Pope Francis’ new Instagram profile. More than 1 million people followed his “Franciscus” account in the first 12 hours after its March 19 launch. As of April 11, he has over 2.2 million followers on the photo-centered network.

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  • U.S. Catholic leaders visiting Iraq challenged to go home, work for peace

    IRBIL, Iraq (CNS) -- A delegation of U.S. Catholic leaders visiting northern Iraq was challenged to go home and work for peace in the troubled region. "You have come to listen to your brothers and sisters in Iraq who are suffering. The situation is very hard. We cry out with one voice, 'Don't forget us,'" Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni of Baghdad said during a Mass in the small village of Inishke, near Dahuk.

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  • Defendant in 'VatiLeaks' trial denies giving documents to reporters

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The man who served as executive secretary of a commission Pope Francis established to study Vatican finances said he never gave documents of any kind to Italian journalists and, in fact, met the two reporters only when he and they entered a Vatican courtroom to face charges connected to the leaking of the documents.

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  • Pope urges kidnappers to release captives, including Salesian in Yemen

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis appealed for the release of all people being held captive in the world's battle zones, including Salesian Father Thomas Uzhunnalil, who was abducted in Yemen. "I renew my appeal for the liberation of all people kidnapped in areas of armed conflict," the pope said after praying the "Regina Coeli" with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square April 10.

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  • Pope to visit Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan

    Vatican City, Apr 9, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- Pope Francis will journey this summer to Armenia, and will visit Georgia and Azerbaijan later in the year, the Vatican announced Saturday. The visit to Armenia will take place June 24-26, following the invitation of Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, Karekin II, the nation's civil authorities, and the Catholic Church, according to the April 9 statement from the Holy See press office.

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  • How Pope Francis thinks we should change marriage prep

    Vatican City, Apr 10, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- Among the less-noticed passages of Pope Francis’ new exhortation was a lengthy section on marriage preparation, a subject that the pontiff has repeatedly spoken on, calling for additional focus at the diocesan and parish levels.

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  • Integration requires conversion: reflections on Amoris laetitia

    Washington D.C., Apr 9, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- Reflecting on Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation on love in the family, two professors at the John Paul II Institute have emphasized the close ties between integration and conversion, as well as the importance of the Church's established teaching.

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  • A little bit country: Pope looks at the nitty-gritty of family life

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis' hymn to love and family life is more like a country song than a Disney tune. In "Amoris Laetitia" ("The Joy of Love"), Pope Francis' postsynodal apostolic exhortation on the family, there is passion and devotion, but also heartache and sweat. The "magic" he wrote about is not momentarily sparkly, but the result of prayer, grace, hard work and a willingness to apologize -- time and time again.

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  • Pope Francis: Children are always gifts, even in tough circumstances

    Vatican City, Apr 8, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- Pope Francis’ latest writings on the family include a strong affirmation of the need to welcome children even in difficult circumstances. He praises large families and adopted families, rejects abortion as “horrendous,” reflects on the errors of “gender ideology,” and advises pastoral care for people with same-sex attraction.

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  • At Vatican trial, former consultant denies leaking financial documents

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A former consultant to a pontifical commission vehemently denied giving private documents regarding the Vatican's financial reform to two journalists. Francesca Chaouqui, a member of the former Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See, replied, "absolutely not" when asked by a Vatican prosecutor if she gave documentation to Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi.

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  • Mary's 'yes' to God changed history, Pope Francis says

    Vatican City, Apr 4, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- Pope Francis marked the Feast of the Annunciation on Monday by reflecting on the power of Mary’s “yes” to God. “Mary’s ‘yes’ opens the door to Jesus’ ‘yes’: I have come to do Your will, this is the ‘yes’ that Jesus carries with him throughout his life, until the cross,” he said in his April 4 homily.

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  • Ireland's Pioneers say more youths look for alternative to drinking

    DUBLIN (CNS) -- Young people in Ireland are increasingly looking for an alternative to the drinking scene, with up to 8,000 teenagers signing up to the Pioneer Association last year. The temperance group, known formally as The Pioneer Total Abstinence Association, said school visits by their representatives are increasingly paying off, with more and more students pledging to abstain from alcohol until they turn 18 and to keep away from illicit drugs for life.

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