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  • All wars begin in a jealous heart; let go of pride, envy, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- All wars begin in the human heart -- a heart that is jealous and bitter and tears apart communities through misunderstandings and marginalization, Pope Francis said. "How wonderful if we would remember more often who we are, what Jesus Christ did with us: We are his body," members of the church filled with the Holy Spirit's gift of new life in Christ and united in fellowship and love, he said at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square Oct. 22.

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  • Cardinal Wuerl says family synod came to 'real consensus'

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington said the Oct. 5-19 Synod of Bishops on the family came to a "real consensus" after two weeks of animated debate, and that its final report will serve as a solid basis for the world synod on the family in 2015.

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  • Family synod's dynamics recalled the Second Vatican Council

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Even before the start of the Oct. 5-19 Synod of Bishops on the family, observers were likening it to the Second Vatican Council of 1962-65. In both cases, an innovative and charismatic pope called an assembly in the first months of his pontificate, seeking to preach the Gospel in terms of contemporary culture and apply Catholic teaching with what St. John XXIII called the "medicine of mercy."

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  • Archbishop Kurtz urges more transparency at next family synod

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, said the October 2015 world Synod of Bishops on the family should return to the practice of previous synods in publishing participants' interventions, for the benefit of their discussions and the information of the outside world.

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  • Pope Paul VI Declared Blessed

    VATICAN CITY, October 19, 2014 (Zenit.org) - "By our apostolic authority we declare that the Venerable Servant of God Paul VI, Pope, shall henceforth be called Blessed…" With these words, Pope Francis beatified Paul VI at the closing Mass of the Synod of Bishops. The celebration comes at the conclusion of a two week meeting where the Pope, along with Bishops and Cardinals from around the world, discussing the challenges of the family.

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  • Synod ends by affirming tradition, leaving controversial questions open

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- After several days of animated debate over its official midterm report, the Synod of Bishops on the family agreed on a final document more clearly grounded in traditional Catholic teaching. Yet the assembly failed to reach consensus on especially controversial questions of Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried and the pastoral care of homosexuals.

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  • Synod of Bishops sends message of encouragement to traditional families

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- On its last day of business, the Synod of Bishops on the family approved and released a three-page message expressing solidarity with Christian families around the world. The message, released Oct. 18, is distinct from the synod's final report, which the assembly was scheduled to vote on later the same day.

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  • Message of the Synod Assembly on the pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization

    Vatican City, 18 October 2014 (VIS) -- This morning a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the Message of the Third Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, dedicated to the "Pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation" (5-19 October). The speakers were Cardinals Raymundo Damasceno Assis, archbishop of Aparecida, Brazil, delegate president; Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and president of the Commission for the Message and Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, India. The full text of the message is published below:

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  • Polish church: Pray for priest kidnapped in Central African Republic

    WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- Poland's Catholic Church has urged "constant prayers" for one of its missionary priests after he was kidnapped by rebels in the Central African Republic. "We still await news of his fate," Lidia Rutkowska of the Tarnow Diocese's mission office told Catholic News Service Oct. 17. "In the meantime, we've called on all Catholics to be united in prayer for him, and to join solidarity marches after Mass on this Mission Sunday."

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  • Paul VI was pope of firsts, a pope of dialogue, cardinal says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Italian Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, who comes from the same diocese as Pope Paul VI did and worked for him in the Vatican Secretariat of State, described the late pope as a man rich in spirituality, a thinker and a pastor "very sensitive to the challenges of the modern world."

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  • Family synod midterm report stirs controversy among bishops

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The official midterm report from the Synod of Bishops, which uses strikingly conciliatory language toward divorced and remarried Catholics, cohabitating couples and same-sex unions, has proven highly controversial inside and outside the synod hall, with some synod fathers saying it does not accurately reflect the assembly's views.

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  • Family synod midterm report: Welcome homosexuals, nonmarital unions

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In strikingly conciliatory language on situations contrary to Catholic teaching, an official midterm report from the Synod of Bishops on the family emphasized calls for greater acceptance and appreciation of divorced and remarried Catholics, cohabitating couples and homosexuals.

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  • Synod working groups emphasize beauty of marriage, church teaching

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family must put greater focus on the beauty of the Christian vision of marriage and not let an approach of "welcoming" and mercy override the church's duty to call people to turn away from sin, according to a number of reports from the synod's small groups.

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  • Cardinal Pell: Synod says no to 'secular agenda'

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Cardinal George Pell said working-group reports from the Synod of Bishops on the family finally give a true picture of the assembly's views, counteracting what he characterized as a misleading midterm report.

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  • Archbishop Kurtz hopes synod's final report will 'refine and clarify'

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, said he hoped the final report of the Synod of Bishops on the family would improve on the assembly's midterm report in celebrating exemplary families, encouraging missionary outreach and emphasizing that the church's pastoral efforts must be grounded in Scripture and Catholic teaching.

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  • Faith leads to generous love, not fake facades, hypocrisy, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Faith is not about appearances and superficially following the laws with a heart that resists detaching itself from greed and evil, Pope Francis said in a morning homily. God wants to see a faith that inspires action and is "working in charity," making sacrifices for others, the pope said Oct. 14 during his morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae where he lives.

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  • Synod's history: Bishops gather to discuss faith, morals, discipline

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The word "synod" derives from the Greek word "synodos," meaning "to walk together." In the early church, especially in the East, the word was used to describe any special gathering of bishops to decide important matters of faith, morality and church discipline. Synods always have been a privileged place for the development of the local churches in Eastern Christianity. Still today the election of Eastern Orthodox bishops takes place in synods.

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  • Look to the East for canonical-spiritual balance, synod members say

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- By tapping into its Eastern theological and spiritual traditions, the Catholic Church could find an appropriate way to minister to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics and others in situations the church considers irregular, the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church said.

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  • Cardinal Pell: Mercy Is Neither Tolerance Nor Relativism

    VATICAN CITY, October 08, 2014 (Zenit.org) - "We must work to avoid a repetition of what happened after the promulgation of Humanae Vitae in 1968", said Cardinal George Pell Friday night at the presentation of the book: 'The Gospel of the Family: Going Beyond Cardinal Kasper's Proposal in the Debate on Marriage, Civil Re-Marriage and Communion in the Church' (published by Ignatius Press).

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  • Pope recalls another key anniversary in his life: his first Communion

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Unable to resist telling the world about a personal event that is dear to his heart, Pope Francis said that 70 years ago to the day, he celebrated his first Communion. "They say that you shouldn't talk about personal things, but I can't resist the temptation," he said at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square Oct. 8.

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  • Real-life experience can strengthen church teaching, bishops tell synod

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- When Catholics see couples who are patient, kind, never jealous or rude, they "behold the beauty and simplicity and strength of married love," but the church also must learn to help and to heal those whose dreams for lifelong love have been shattered, said Scottish Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow.

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  • Vatican's abuse panel plans to include more experts, another survivor

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A papal commission on child protection will be expanding its nine-member panel to include more experts and another survivor of clerical abuse. The Commission for the Protection of Minors, which Pope Francis established last December, is now awaiting the pope's approval of members' latest efforts as they aim to lay out a pastoral approach to helping victims and prevent future abuse.

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  • Give glory to God by being honest about sins he forgave, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Giving glory to God for what he has done in one's life means being absolutely honest about one's sins and failures, Pope Francis said in a morning homily. "The practice of remembering our histories is not very common. We forget things; we live in the moment," the pope said Oct. 7 during his morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae where he lives.

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  • Debate emerges on St. John Paul II's early writings on social ethics

    WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- Less than six months after St John Paul II was canonized, questions are being raised about a book of lectures he penned as a young priest in his Polish homeland. The two-volume "Katolicka Etyka Spoleczna" ("The Catholic Social Ethic") has never been officially published. But it could, some observers said, affect interpretations of the future pope's philosophical development, highlighting a youthful commitment to radical change which sounded, at times, close to Marxism.

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  • Blessed married couples, St. Therese of Lisieux, highlighted at synod

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The first two married couples beatified as couples and St. Therese of Lisieux were being honored during the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family. The relics of St. Therese, her parents Blessed Louis and Marie Zelie Guerin Martin, and Blessed Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi, were to be in Rome's Basilica of St. Mary Major for the duration of the synod Oct. 5-19.

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  • Synod members called to seek unity in diversity, cardinal says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Greek root of the word "synod" means "to walk together," which is exactly what bishops and other members of the Synod of Bishops are called to do as they seek to apply the Gospel and church teaching to the challenges facing family life today, said the gathering's general secretary.

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  • Vatican summit says extremists must be stopped with sanctioned force

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Extremist groups in the Middle East, including the "Islamic State," must be stopped with sanctioned military force and through dialogue, said a Vatican statement. "One cannot be silent, nor (can) the international community remain inactive, in the face of the massacre of persons," said the statement issued Oct. 4 at the end of a three-day Vatican summit on the plight of Christians in the Middle East.

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  • Euthanasia Extends Its Scope

    ROME, October 05, 2014 (Zenit.org) - Restrictions on the use of euthanasia are increasingly bent or simply eliminated. The most recent example of this is in Belgium. Prison inmate Frank Van Den Bleeken is now cleared for assisted suicide. In prison for nearly 30 years, Van Den Bleeken asked to die as he is unable to overcome his psychological problems that have led him to commit a series of violent crimes, the Associated Press reported September 16.

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  • On eve of family synod, pope prays for 'open and fraternal' debate

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Hours before opening a Synod of Bishops whose members have already started a public debate over Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality, Pope Francis prayed the bishops would express themselves and listen to each other openly, trusting in God to reconcile their differences.

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  • Getting to Know the Vatican Gendarmerie

    VATICAN CITY, September 30, 2014 (Zenit.org) - There are two armed corps in Vatican City State. One is the Swiss Guards, famous for their colourful uniforms. The other is the Vatican Gendarmerie, with the blue uniform.

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  • Church suffers from bishops choosing ill-suited priests, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Many of the problems in the church today come from accepting men who are unsuitable for the priesthood, Pope Francis told the Congregation for Clergy. The vocations crisis and lack of priests have meant that "we bishops are tempted to take in, without discernment, the young men who present themselves. This is bad for the church," he told those taking part in the congregation's plenary assembly meeting at the Vatican.

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  • Cardinal says synod will have open discussion, even on sensitive topics

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The "freedom of expression" that characterized preparations for the Synod of Bishops on the family -- especially in responses to a Vatican questionnaire -- "will also characterize the synod assembly, which certainly will take place in a climate of respect for every position, mutual charity and an authentic sense of constructiveness," said the head of the synod.

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  • Pope: Tiny voice in your head? Don't ignore it; it's a guardian angel

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Guardian angels are not the stuff of fantasy; they are really present as wise travel companions helping people navigate life's journey, Pope Francis said. Don't ignore the inner voice that says, "Well, you should do this." "That's not right." "Watch out!" the pope said in a morning homily Oct. 2, the feast of the Guardian Angels.

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  • Pope: People must open hearts to migrants who face closed borders

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- People need to open their hearts to the many people who are forced to migrate as they face enormous difficulties and sometimes tragedy, Pope Francis said. "I pray for closed hearts that they may open. And everything I have available to me, is available to you," he told a group of young Eritreans who survived a deadly shipwreck off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa.

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  • Pope: Life means nothing to terrorists, arms trade root of Mideast woes

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis opened a three-day summit on the violence and persecution underway in the Middle East, saying arms trafficking was the root cause of many problems in the region. The pope convened the Vatican summit Oct. 2-4 because of his growing concern and desire to do something about "the dramatic situation" Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities are facing in the Middle East, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said Oct. 2.

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  • Pope: Use gifts to benefit church, not create division, envy, annoyance

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Everyone has a special gift to offer the whole church, just make sure it is used to serve everyone and not to puff up one's own pride or to create division, Pope Francis said. "It is a gift that God has given to someone not because he or she is a better person than someone else or because she or he deserves it," the pope said at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square Oct. 1.

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  • Opus Dei leader, Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, beatified in Madrid

    MADRID (CNS) -- A Spanish bishop who worked as an engineer before becoming first prelate of the Opus Dei movement has been beatified in his native Madrid. Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Saints' Causes, said Bishop Alvaro del Portillo was known for his "prudence and rectitude in evaluating events and people, his justice in respecting the good name and freedom of others, his fortitude in facing up to physical or moral difficulties, and the temperance shown in his sobriety and interior and exterior mortification."

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  • English Catholic bishop resigns, admits affair with woman

    HOVE, England (CNS) -- An English Catholic bishop has resigned after admitting that he has been "unfaithful to his promises as a Catholic priest." Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton, chairman of the Department of Evangelization and Catechesis of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, said in a statement that he would step down "with immediate effect."

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  • Debate Over Use of Marijuana Continues

    ROME, September 28, 2014 (Zenit.org) - The question of whether to permit the use of marijuana to help people with serious illnesses continues to divide opinions. In Australia the premier of the state of New South Wales, Mike Baird, announced mid-September that the police would be given discretion not to charge terminally-ill adults who use marijuana for pain relief.

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  • For new Sydney archbishop, bioethical challenges call for dialogue

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Archbishop Anthony Fisher, whom Pope Francis named to lead the Archdiocese of Sydney Sept. 18, has a highly varied resume, including degrees in civil law and philosophy and experience coordinating World Youth Day 2008. But if his ministry has been characterized by concern with a particular issue, it is the morality of modern medicine.

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  • Syrian refugees' reactions mixed to airstrikes against Islamic State

    AMMAN, Jordan (CNS) -- Ask Syrian refugees sheltering in neighboring Jordan about the advent of U.S.-led strikes against Islamic State militants in their homeland, and the reactions will be mixed. Some welcome the surprise military intervention, saying it could lead to ending the nearly 4-year-old war in Syria and diminish the power of Islamic State fighters and other terrorist groups operating in the country.

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  • Traditionalist leader meets at Vatican to discuss reconciliation

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The leader of a breakaway group of traditionalist Catholics met with Vatican officials Sept. 23 for the latest in a long series of reconciliation talks. Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, met for two hours with Cardinal Gerhard L. Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican said in a statement.

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  • Vatican puts former nuncio accused of sex abuse under house arrest

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican has placed a laicized papal ambassador under house arrest as he awaits a criminal trial for sexually abusing young boys. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, released a statement Sept. 23 regarding the case of former Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, a Pole who served as nuncio to the Dominican Republic until August 2013.

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  • Pope calls for unity among Paraguay's Catholics as he dismisses bishop

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- After a Vatican investigation, Pope Francis removed a Paraguayan bishop from his post as head of the Diocese of Ciudad del Este because of "serious pastoral reasons." Bishop Rogelio Livieres Plano, 69, was told to step down as head of the diocese effective Sept. 25. Bishop Ricardo Valenzuela Rios of Villarrica del Espitiru Santo will temporarily administer the diocese.

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  • Pope calls for 'globalization of charity' to protect migrants

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis called for the "globalization of charity" through an international network to fight human trafficking and ensure the rights of migrants and refugees. The pope's words appeared in his annual message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which in 2015 will be observed Jan. 18. The Vatican released the pope's message, "Church Without Frontiers, Mother to All," Sept. 23.

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