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  • Dinner and a warm place to sleep: How Rome is reaching out to the homeless

    Rome, Italy, Jan 15, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- As colder weather settled over Rome last week, two area charities have found ways to reach out to those without food or shelter during the cold winter nights: one by turning a church into a temporary shelter, another by partnering with a newly-opened McDonald’s near the Vatican.

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  • Christian witness requires action, pope says during parish visit

    ROME (CNS) -- Being a real Christian does not mean being a saint, but giving witness to Jesus in word and, especially, deed, Pope Francis told members of a parish on the eastern edge of Rome. Spending more than three hours Jan. 15 at the parish of St. Mary in the Setteville neighborhood, Pope Francis had the same basic message for the children and youths as he did for the parish as a whole: "Christian witness is done with three things: words, the heart and the hands."

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  • Middle East peace center of meeting between Francis, Abbas

    Vatican City, Jan 14, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited the Vatican Saturday before inaugurating his country’s new embassy to the Holy See, where he met with Pope Francis for a discussion focused largely on peace efforts in the Middle East.

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  • New embassy a sign of pope's love for Palestine, President Abbas says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas thanked Pope Francis for his support of the country's new embassy to the Holy See. "This is a sign that the pope loves the Palestinian people and loves peace," Abbas told the pope Jan. 14 before heading to the inauguration of the Palestinian embassy to the Holy See in Rome.

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  • Upcoming synod needs young people's voices, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis asked young people to tell him, their bishops and pastors about their hopes and struggles and even their criticisms. In preparation for a meeting of the Synod of Bishops focused on youth, the pope wrote a letter to young people, saying the church wants "to listen to your voice, your sensitivities and your faith, even your doubts and your criticism."

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  • English bishop: Speaking about sexual morality like talking to alcoholic

    LONDON (CNS) -- Trying to preach sexual morality in Britain has become "like arguing with an alcoholic" because of the angry reaction in the face of reason, an English bishop said. "After a while, they won't argue with you on grounds of reason, they just become furious and respond that way," Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth told Catholic News Service Jan. 11. "There is something in our culture increasingly like that."

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  • What's behind Pope Francis' meeting with the Palestinian president

    Vatican City, Jan 11, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Pope Francis' private audience with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas this Jan. 14 will be a delicate diplomatic moment for the Holy See.   Mahmoud Abbas heads to Rome to inaugurate the new Palestinian embassy to the Holy See, one year after the Holy See-Palestine agreement took effect and made official the Holy See's recognition of the State of Palestine.

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  • Vatican ambassador predicts Trump will drop campaign rhetoric

    Vatican City, Jan 11, 2017 CNA.- Ken Hackett is preparing to wrap up his term as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See as Donald Trump's presidential inauguration looms next week. And while he says no one can predict what Trump will do in office, he expects the fiery campaign talk to simmer down once the “reality of governing” sets in.

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  • Order of Malta questions legitimacy of commission established by pope

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The leadership of the Order of Malta denied the legality of a Vatican investigation into the forced resignation of the group's former grand chancellor, but the commission established by Pope Francis said it "is completely legitimate and authorized" to investigate the matter and inform the pope.

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  • Mexican church calls for calm amid gas-price protests

    MEXICO CITY (CNS) -- Mexican Catholic officials called for calm as angry protests over hikes in the government-set gasoline price consume the country. Senior clergy also called for federal officials to show sensitivity toward the plight of millions of poor and middle-class Mexicans, struggling to make ends meet, as the country's sinking currency erodes their purchasing power and higher prices for gasoline could increase costs for basics such as food and transportation.

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  • Guard the faith, make it grow, pope tells parents at baptism

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Parents are charged with guarding the faith given to their children at baptism and helping them become true witnesses by example rather than just rules, Pope Francis said. By asking the church for faith for their children through the sacrament of baptism, Christian parents have the task of helping their children to grow so that they "may be witnesses for all of us: also for us priests, bishops, everyone," the pope said during a Mass in the Sistine Chapel.

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  • What an Italian bishop saw at his first exorcism

    Rome, Italy, Jan 8, 2017 CNA.- Archbishop Erio Castellucci has a response to those who think the devil is not real: “they’re mistaken.” “All you have to do is witness an exorcism to understand that evil is a specific entity, as well as a reality,” he told the Italian daily Il Resto del Carlino.  

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  • Fix overcrowded prisons unfit for human life, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In the wake of a deadly riot in a Brazilian jail, Pope Francis called for all prisons to offer dignified living conditions and be places for true rehabilitation. He expressed his sorrow and concern over the "massacre" in the Amazon city of Manaus, "where a very violent clash between rival gangs" resulted in at least 56 deaths.

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  • When a mother loses a child, reach out with tears, not words, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In the depths of despair, when no words or gestures will help, then cry with those who suffer, because tears are the seeds of hope, Pope Francis said. When people are hurting, "it is necessary to share in their desperation. In order to dry the tears from the face of those who suffer, we must join our weeping with theirs. This is the only way our words may truly be able to offer a bit of hope," he said Jan. 4 during his weekly general audience.

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  • Terminally ill army sergeant, who used military grit to meet pope, dies

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Cheryl Tobin, a former master sergeant with the Army who used her military might to flag down the pope for a blessing, died in her sleep New Year's Eve. She was 48. Terminally ill with a rare form of cancer, Tobin went on a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi in May thanks to the generosity, prayers and assistance of many people who wanted to help her fulfill her dream.

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  • New Year calls for courage, hope; no more hatred, selfishness, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Whether the new year will be good or not depends on us choosing to do good each day, Pope Francis said. "That is how one builds peace, saying 'no' to hatred and violence -- with action -- and 'yes' to fraternity and reconciliation," he said Jan. 1, which the church marks as the feast of Mary, Mother of God and as World Peace Day.

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  • Top-down turned around: Child protection goes global from the ground up

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Some parts of the world see swift attention paid to victims of sexual abuse and others still experience delays or a mishandling of allegations. This imbalance, one Jesuit expert has said, reflects how years of papal pleas and Vatican mandates have not been received or implemented consistently everywhere.

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  • Vatican says 3.9 million pilgrims visited during Jubilee year

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- More than 3.9 million pilgrims visited and attended papal events, liturgies or prayer services during the Holy Year of Mercy in 2016, the Vatican said. The Prefecture of the Papal Household, the Vatican office that coordinates the audiences and distributes the free tickets to papal audiences and liturgies, said a total of 3,952,140 people attended a papal event at the Vatican. The Vatican released the statistics Dec. 29.

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  • Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko named archpriest of Rome basilica

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Cardinal Santos Abril Castello, the Vatican's former vice chamberlain, has retired as archpriest of the Rome Basilica of St. Mary Major, the Vatican announced. Pope Francis named Polish Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, to the post, according to a Vatican news release Dec. 28.

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  • Palestinian family spends Christmas together for first time in 26 years

    BETHLEHEM (CNS) -- For the first time in 26 years, Lilian and Nadeem Aqleh had all six of their children with them to celebrate Christmas. "This is the happiest day of my life," said Lilian, 70, who is Catholic, as she celebrated the holiday with her children and grandchildren, some of who traveled from the United States and Canada. "It is hard having your children so far away. I want my children with me. At Christmas we remember the birth of Christ and the meaning of Christmas is to share it with family."

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  • Kidnapped priest appeals for Pope's help

    Aden, Yemen, Dec 26, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- A Salesian priest kidnapped in Yemen on March 4 personally appealed for Pope Francis’ help in a video posted to YouTube Dec. 26. “Dear Pope Francis…as a father, please take care of my life,” Father Tom Uzhunnalil said. “My health is deteriorating; I am in need of hospitalization soon. Please come to my help quickly.”

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  • Pope Francis lays out 12 guiding principles for reform of the Roman Curia

    Vatican City, Dec 22, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- In a lengthy, in-depth speech to members of the Roman Curia Thursday, Pope Francis dug into what he said are the key guideless of his ongoing reform, which in his view ought to focus primarily on conversion, unity and streamlining the old process in order to meet modern needs.

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  • World scarred by war, greed must welcome prince of peace, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The song of the angels that heralded the birth of Christ urges men and women to seek peace in a world divided by war, terrorism and greed, Pope Francis said. "Today this message goes out to the ends of the earth to reach all peoples, especially those scarred by war and harsh conflicts that seem stronger than the yearning for peace," the pope said Dec. 25.

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  • Reform is more than just a face-lift, pope tells Curia

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The reform of the Roman Curia is not a mere face-lift to rejuvenate an aging body but a process of deep, personal conversion, Pope Francis said. Meeting with cardinals and the heads of Vatican offices for his annual Christmas greeting, the pope warned that "it is not wrinkles the church should fear" but rather the stains that impede its growth and relevance in the world.

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  • Pope orders early prison release for priest convicted in VatiLeaks II

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis granted clemency to a Spanish monsignor who had been sentenced to 18 months in prison for leaking confidential Vatican documents. Msgr. Lucio Vallejo Balda, former secretary of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, was given "conditional freedom" with his early release from a Vatican prison cell, said the Vatican press office in a written statement late Dec. 20.

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  • Pope Francis pleads for end to 'homicidal madness' of terrorism

    Vatican City, Dec 20, 2016 CNA/EWTN News.- What are being called two major acts of terrorism in just the past 24 hours have prompted Pope Francis to again beg for an even stronger commitment to putting such bloody attacks, which have marred many parts of the world over the past 18 months, to an end.

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  • Pope names first woman to head Vatican Museums

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis has chosen, for the first time, a woman to head the Vatican Museums. Barbara Jatta, 54, is an Italian art historian and graphic arts expert, who had been serving as vice-director of the museums since June.

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