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  • European bishops welcome EU classification of Islamic State 'genocide'

    MANCHESTER, England (CNS) -- A European bishops' commission has welcomed a move by the European Parliament to classify atrocities and religious cleansing by the Islamic State as genocide. Father Patrick Daly, general secretary of COMECE, the Commission of the Bishops' Conference of the European Community, said the designation represented progress in halting the persecution of Christians and other minorities in Syria and Iraq.

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  • Orthodox say pope-patriarch meeting not an 'all-clear' sign

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Russian Orthodox officials said the planned meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow is not a signal that decades of tension have been resolved, but emphasizes the need to work together on behalf of persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

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  • Pope, Russian Orthodox patriarch to meet in Cuba, Vatican announces

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- After almost three decades of tense Catholic-Russian Orthodox relations, Pope Francis will meet Patriarch Kirill of Moscow Feb. 12 in Cuba on the pope's way to Mexico. It will be the first-ever meeting of a pope and Moscow patriarch, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters Feb. 5.

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  • Pope calls for concrete acts of mercy this Lent

    Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) -- In his 2016 Lenten message, Pope Francis called the faithful to place special emphasis on the spiritual and corporal works of mercy this Lent, taking into account the current Jubilee Year of Mercy.

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  • Turkey reinstates ambassador to Vatican after yearlong recall

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Turkey reinstated its ambassador to the Vatican nearly a year after recalling him to Ankara. The diplomat had been called back to Turkey "for consultations" April 12 -- the same day Pope Francis used the term "genocide" in reference to the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians during their forced evacuation by Ottoman Turks in 1915-18. Turkey rejects accusations of genocide and disputes the number of Armenians who died.

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  • God wants to save you; will you let him? pope asks

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- God doesn't want to condemn anyone; he wants to save every person in the entire world, Pope Francis said. "The problem is letting him enter one's heart" to transform one's life, the pope said during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square Feb. 3.

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  • Hundreds of thousands attend 'Family Day' as Italy debates same-sex unions

    Rome, Italy, Jan 30, 2016 CNA.- Rome’s Circus Maximus was the site of a massive rally against a proposed law which would allow same-sex unions across the country of Italy. 

    Hundreds of thousands are estimated to have gathered for ‘Family Day’ at the historic site in the capital city a week ahead of a vote which could allow same-sex couples to legally enter into civil unions. 

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  • U.S. scholar: Bible texts taken out of context lead to fundamentalism

    TORONTO (CNS) -- Most people have never heard a homily preached on Deuteronomy 20:10-18. It's kind of difficult to apply these God-given rules of war to daily life in the 21st century. The part about enslaving the women and killing all the men and boys if the village resists attack has little application when asking a boss for a raise or negotiating a mortgage renewal.

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  • Former garbage picker challenges eucharistic congress to help poor

    CEBU, Philippines (CNS) -- Maria Georgia "Maggie" Cogtas of Cebu told of a childhood without playing, only tough work as a garbage picker at dumpsites, construction sites and on the streets. Cogtas, 21, also told more than 12,000 people at the 51st International Eucharistic Congress about the massive celebration two weeks ago commemorating the child Jesus, who has been venerated in Cebu for hundreds of years.

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  • Doctrinal congregation must work collegially, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Diversity in the Catholic Church springs from its reality as a communion of different people with different gifts, and a collegial approach to facing challenges ensures that those differences strengthen communion rather than harm it, Pope Francis told members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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  • Pope Francis meets Leonardo DiCaprio at the Vatican

    Vatican City, Jan 28, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- On Thursday Pope Francis met briefly with actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio, who recently won an award for his efforts environmental protection at the World Economic Forum.

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  • Muslim leaders reiterate support for minority rights in Islamic nations

    MARRAKESH, Morocco (CNS) -- Muslim leaders from around the world adopted a declaration defending the rights of religious minorities in predominantly Muslim countries. Participants said the Marrakesh Declaration, developed during a Jan. 25-27 conference, was based on the Medina Charter, a constitutional contract between the Prophet Muhammad and the people of Medina. The declaration said the charter, instituted 1,400 years ago, guaranteed the religious liberty of all, regardless of faith.

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  • The Angel of Dachau: Pope Francis declares concentration camp priest a martyr

    Vatican City, Jan 26, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- Fr. Engelmar Unzeitig, a young priest with Czech roots serving in Germany and Austria, was arrested by the Nazis on April 21, 1941.

    His crime? Preaching against the Third Reich from his pulpit, particularly against their treatment of the Jewish people. He encouraged his congregation to be faithful to God and to resist the lies of the Nazi regime.

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  • English cardinal warns teachers against Islamic State recruitment

    MANCHESTER, England (CNS) -- It can take just one month to turn a disenfranchised teenage Catholic student into fanatical Islamic terrorist, an English cardinal planned to warn Catholic teachers. Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster planned to tell delegates at a London conference to guard against the Internet recruitment of vulnerable secondary school students by the Islamic State.

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  • Pope tells Iran's president he has 'high hopes' for peace

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the Vatican, Pope Francis told him he had high hopes for peace. And while Pope Francis usually asks those he meets for their prayers, the Shiite cleric pre-empted the pope's request and said, "I ask you to pray for me."

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  • Christianity 'running on fumes,' U.S. bishop tells eucharistic congress

    CEBU, Philippines (CNS) -- Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron said popular culture's message of individuals being "infinitely right" is "repugnant to (Catholics') eucharistic faith." But he also said Christianity is "running on fumes" as it tries to counter the trend of people leaving the church or staying away from the Eucharist.

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  • Pope: Live your faith during Lent, perform works of mercy

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Lent is a time of conversion and a time to deepen one's faith, demonstrating and sharing it through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, Pope Francis said. "Faith finds expression in concrete everyday actions meant to help our neighbors in body and spirit," the pope said in his message for Lent, which begins Feb. 10 for Latin-rite Catholics.

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  • Papal envoy opens eucharistic congress by declaring war on poverty

    CEBU, Philippines (CNS) -- The 51st International Eucharistic Congress kicked off with Pope Francis' representative, Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon, Myanmar, declaring war on poverty. "The Eucharist calls for ... a third world war against poverty," said Cardinal Bo, "a third world war against the cruelty of dogs getting fed with sumptuous, organic food, while poor children scramble for scraps from the table."

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  • Nix being 'normal,' selfish, slaves of success, pope tells seminarians

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis told a group of seminarians that seeking a so-called "normal" life in the priesthood would turn them into pastors who were "mediocre or worse." A priest who is tempted to live the way most people live today "begins to settle for getting some attention, judges his ministry on the basis of his achievements and eases into seeking what he likes -- becoming lukewarm and without any real concern for others," he said.

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  • U.S. priest laments destruction of Iraq's oldest Christian monastery

    AMMAN, Jordan (CNS) -- Catholic clergy lamented the destruction of Iraq's oldest Christian monastery, St. Elijah, and urged the international community to do more to stop such assaults. "I had the same emotional and perhaps spiritual experience as I did when I was standing over the bodies of fallen soldiers," Father Jeffrey Whorton told Catholic News Service after seeing pictures of the monastery's destruction.

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  • Church leaders condemn new vandalism at two Christian sites in Jerusalem

    JERUSALEM (CNS) -- Two teenagers were arrested in connection with the vandalism of two Christian sites next to the Old City. Because of their age, 16 and 15, authorities released few details about the incidents in which anti-Christian slogans in Hebrew were discovered scrawled on the walls of the Benedictine Dormition Abbey monastery and the neighboring Greek Orthodox seminary, both located on Mount Zion next to the walls of the Old City.

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  • 490 priests later: A rector reflects on forming good men

    ROME (CNS) -- The addition of a $7 million, 10-story building was the most visible change at the Pontifical North American College during Msgr. James F. Checchio's tenure as rector. But more than the concrete and glass legacy, the monsignor takes satisfaction in having shepherded hundreds of men toward the priesthood.

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  • No saint has a sin-free past, no sinner is hopeless, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- There is no saint without a past and no sinner without a future, Pope Francis said in his morning Mass. In his homily during Mass Jan. 19, the pope reflected on the day's first reading (1 Sm 16: 1-13), which recounts Samuel's anointing of David as king of Israel.

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  • Judges drop corruption charge, find monsignor guilty of slander

    ROME (CNS) -- A Rome court dropped charges of corruption against an Italian monsignor, yet found him guilty of slander and gave him a two-year suspended sentence. Msgr. Nunzio Scarano, a former accountant in a Vatican office overseeing property and investments, remains accused of money laundering and illegal lending in two other separate trials in Salerno in southern Italy.

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  • Anglican leaders sanction Episcopalians over same-sex marriage

    MANCHESTER, England (CNS) -- Because of the U.S. Episcopal Church's moves to unilaterally change canon law to allow same-sex marriage, Anglican leaders voted to suspend Episcopalians from positions representing the Anglican Communion and from participating in some Anglican bodies.

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  • Politics of mercy: Pope knows 'welcoming the stranger' is controversial

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Italian comedian talking about a new Pope Francis book was not joking when he said being a minister of God's mercy can have social and political implications. The corporal works of mercy of feeding the hungry and clothing the naked might not be controversial, but they are socially relevant actions. None of the corporal works, though, is as politically charged in the West today as "welcoming the stranger," particularly if that stranger is a Muslim.

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  • Pope to teens: Don't fall for hate, fearmongers; find nice friends

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Don't fall for hate and fearmongering from others; make new friends instead and always help and show concern for others, Pope Francis told the world's teens. "Be brave and go against the tide, be friends of Jesus, who is the prince of peace," he said in a written message for the Jubilee of Mercy for Young People, scheduled to be celebrated in Rome and dioceses around the world April 23-25.

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  • Papal almoner organizes a day at the circus for Rome's poor

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Poor residents, the homeless, refugees and some prisoners were offered a special treat by the Vatican: a circus show. The papal Almoner's Office announced that the Rony Roller Circus in Rome made all 2,000 seats in their big top venue available for a free show Jan. 14.

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  • Faithfulness in mercy is God's way of being, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- God's mercy is constant and limitless; he is faithful in his mercy for his children, even when they are unfaithful, Pope Francis said. The greatness and power of God unfolds in his "love for us, who are so small, so incapable," he said at his weekly general audience Jan. 13.

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  • Church's credibility found in showing mercy, pope says in new book

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Being ministers of God's mercy, church members overcome "prejudice and rigidity," taking risks like Jesus did in order to heal and to save, Pope Francis said. In Jesus' day, lepers were cast out of the community "to avoid contamination: the healthy needed to be protected," but Jesus, at his own risk, "goes up to the leper and he restores him, he heals him," Pope Francis said in a new book-length interview on mercy.

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  • What's the plan for reforming Vatican communications?

    Vatican City, Jan 9, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- Amid the lengthy process of reforming Vatican communications, the Secretariat of State has stated that the Holy See press office's administrative and human resources branches are to be handed over to the new Secretariat for Communications.

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