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  • This 110-year-old nun got birthday greetings from Pope Francis

    Florence, Italy, Feb 23, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- She is one of the oldest religious sisters in the world, but this week, she turned 110 years young.  Despite her advanced age, Sister Candida Bellotti retains the enthusiasm of a young woman. On Monday, Feb. 20, she celebrated her 110th birthday and received a special message from Pope Francis.

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  • US anti-Semitism feared to rise if incidents aren't condemned

    Washington D.C., Feb 21, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States must be prosecuted and condemned by the government to curb their rise, a religious freedom expert insists. Regarding recent bomb threats made to Jewish community centers and the desecration of a Jewish cemetery in Missouri, there must be “very vigilant enforcement of the law,” said Prof. Daniel Mark of Villanova University, who serves on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

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  • Vatican, Jewish museum launch first joint-exhibit on the Menorah

    Vatican City, Feb 21, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- The Vatican and the Jewish community in Rome are marking a new step in relations between the two religions by rolling out the first-ever joint exhibition focused entirely on the Menorah – an ancient symbol representing their shared roots.

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  • Cardinal Connell of Dublin dies at 90

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Irish Cardinal Desmond Connell, the retired archbishop of Dublin, died Feb. 21 at the age of 90. A philosopher and strong defender of traditional Catholic values, including regarding divorce, contraception and abortion, Cardinal Connell's accomplishments during his 16 years as head of the Archdiocese of Dublin were overshadowed by the church's sluggish pace in coming to terms with the scope and devastation of clerical sexual abuse scandals.

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  • Populism fueling self-centered rejection of migrants, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Indifference, fueled by populist rhetoric in today's world, fans the flames of rejection that threaten the rights and dignity of migrants, Pope Francis said. Refugees escaping persecution, violence and poverty are often shunned and deemed as "unworthy of our attention, a rival or someone to be bent to our will," the pope told participants of the VI International Forum on Migration and Peace.

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  • Be ashamed when tempted to use church for power struggles, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Whenever one is tempted to use the church for pursuing personal ambitions or to be arrogant, pray to feel ashamed, Pope Francis said. When the competitive bug strikes, reflect whether one can "see my Lord on the cross" and still be capable of wanting "to use the Lord for moving up" the ladder of success, he said Feb. 21 during his early morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

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  • Pope's tip for becoming a saint: Pray for someone who doesn't like you

    ROME (CNS) -- A practical first step toward holiness -- as well as for assuring peace in one's family and in the world -- is to pray for a person who has caused offense or harm, Pope Francis said. "Are you merciful toward the people who have harmed you or don't like you? If God is merciful, if he is holy, if he is perfect, then we must be merciful, holy and perfect as he is. This is holiness. A man or woman who does this deserves to be canonized," the pope said Feb. 19 during an evening parish Mass.

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  • Pope Francis to visit Rome's Anglican community

    Rome, Italy, Feb 17, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Pope Francis will visit All Saints Anglican Church in Rome Feb. 26 to mark the 200th anniversary of the foundation of the Anglican parish community in the heart of the Eternal City.

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  • Catholic theologian urges closer ties with Russian Orthodox

    OXFORD, England (CNS) -- A prominent Catholic ecumenist has urged a better understanding of the Russian Orthodox Church. "Those suspicious of the Russian Orthodox stance should go and see what's happening," said Barbara Hallensleben, a consultor with the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

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  • Italian organist performs with Syrian symphony, 'passionate' musicians

    AMMAN, Jordan (CNS) -- A famed Italian Catholic cathedral organist is believed to have been the first Western musician to perform in Syria since the start of the civil war nearly six years ago. "It has been awesome. It was something unbelievable," Eugenio Maria Fagiani told Catholic News Service by phone of his recent performances in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

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  • Consult, respect indigenous peoples and their land, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Development projects involving indigenous communities must be planned in consultation with them and must respect their traditional relationship to the land, Pope Francis said. Having the "prior and informed consent" of the native communities who could be impacted by development projects is essential for "peaceful cooperation between governing authorities and indigenous peoples, overcoming confrontation and conflict," the pope said Feb. 15 during a meeting with about three dozen representative of indigenous communities.

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  • Even in dark times, never lose hope in God's love, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Christians must never lose hope and should remind themselves that God loves them even at their worst, Pope Francis said. God's love provides "security" both in difficult moments and even when "I have done something terrible and evil," the pope said Feb. 15 during his weekly general audience.

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  • Diocesan phase of Fatima visionary's sainthood cause completed

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Diocese of Coimbra concluded its phase of the sainthood cause of Carmelite Sister Lucia dos Santos, one of the three children who saw Our Lady of Fatima in 1917. Bishop Virgilio Antunes of Coimbra formally closed the local phase of investigation into her life and holiness Feb. 13 in the Carmelite convent of St. Teresa in Coimbra, where she resided until her death in 2005 at the age of 97.

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  • Lack of prayer turns God's word into philosophical idea, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Without spiritual courage and a love for Jesus, the word of God will be proclaimed as just "a good, philosophical or moral idea," Pope Francis said. A preacher "may say something interesting -- something moral, something that will make you feel good, a philanthropic good -- but there is no word of God," the pope said during Mass in the chapel of Domus Sanctae Marthae.

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  • Vatican appoints pastoral envoy to Medjugorje

    Vatican City, Feb 11, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Pope Francis on Saturday appointed Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warszawa-Praga as a delegate of the Holy See to look into the pastoral situation at Medjugore, the site of alleged Marian apparitions in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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  • Pope praises abuse survivor for breaking silence

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The sexual abuse of children by those who have vowed to serve Christ and the church is a horrendous monstrosity that represents "a diabolical sacrifice" of innocent, defenseless lives, Pope Francis said.

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  • Russia's Catholics ponder 'historic lessons' on revolution anniversary

    WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- As preparations get underway for this year's 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, the country's small Catholic Church is keeping a low profile. However, because some Russian Catholics support the policies of President Vladimir Putin, the church is looking to remain neutral and focus on prayer services and discussions of the church's history of the last century.

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  • Health care is not a business, but a service to life, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A nation's health care system cannot be run simply as a business because human lives are at stake, Pope Francis said. "If there is a sector in which the 'throwaway culture' demonstrates its most painful consequences, it is the health care sector," the pope told patients, medical professionals, pastors and volunteers attending a meeting sponsored by the Italian bishops' national office for health care ministry.

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  • Hong Kong cardinal: Consensus on bishops helps solve other issues in China

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- China and the Vatican have reached consensus on the appointment of bishops, which will lead to the resolution of other outstanding problems, said Hong Kong Cardinal John Tong. "From now on, there will be no more the crisis of a division between the open and underground communities in the Church in China," the cardinal said. "On the contrary, these two communities will gradually move toward reconciliation and communion on the aspects of law, pastoral care and relationships. The church in China will work together to preach the gospel of Jesus on the soil of China."

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  • Pope: Speechless before horror of Holocaust, pray it never happen again

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Anti-Semitism is absolutely contrary to Christianity, and the church has a duty to denounce and repel such hatred, Pope Francis said. There are no words, however, that could ever adequately address "the horrors of cruelty and sin" of the Holocaust, he added. There is only prayer "that God may have mercy and that such tragedies may never happen again."

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  • Celebrating marriage: Newlyweds look to pope for blessings, strength

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Each week dozens of newlyweds, dressed again in their wedding gowns and tuxedoes, come to the Vatican to receive a special papal blessing as they begin their lives together. "It's always been a dream of mine, since I was little, to come to the audience and see the Holy Father and see the newlywed couples. It's always been a very special way to celebrate a marriage," newlywed Kelly Michelle Byrne told Catholic News Service.

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  • Samurai martyr beatified in Japan

    Tokyo, Japan, Feb 8, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- A 17th century Catholic Samurai and martyr was beatified during a Mass in ‎Osaka, Japan on Tuesday. Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Vatican’s ‎Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided over the Beatification Mass of Justo Takayama Ukon, who was declared a martyr by Pope Francis in January last year.

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  • Vatican releases updated guidelines for bioethical questions

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To offer clearly and accurately the Catholic Church's positions on abortion, contraception, genetic engineering, fertility treatments, vaccines, frozen embryos and other life issues, the Vatican released an expanded and updated guide of the church's bioethical teachings.

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  • Australian abuse commission begins 'Catholic wrapup,' lists total stats

    SYDNEY (CNS) -- Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse kicked off a three-week "Catholic wrapup," expected to discuss the church's theology and doctrine, structure and governance, including the role of the Vatican and canon law, and issues like celibacy, confession and more.

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  • Pope Francis explains why your money won't save you

    Vatican City, Feb 4, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Pope Francis warned of the “hidden victims” of capitalism, the idolatry of money and false philanthropy, telling a Saturday gathering of entrepreneurs they must act to change a system that creates victims, not simply help people after the fact.

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  • Pope names top official as 'exclusive spokesman' to Order of Malta

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis named Archbishop Angelo Becciu, Vatican substitute secretary of state, as his special delegate and sole spokesman to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. "Until the end of your mandate, that is until the conclusion of the extraordinary chapter, which will elect the grand master, you will be my exclusive spokesperson in all matters relating to relations between the Apostolic See and the order," the pope wrote in a letter to Archbishop Becciu Feb. 2.

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  • 'Amoris Laetitia' not up for personal interpretation, cardinal says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican's doctrinal chief said some bishops are interpreting Pope Francis' document on marriage and family in a way that is not in accordance with Catholic doctrine. "I don't like it. It is not correct that many bishops are interpreting 'Amoris Laetitia' according to their own way of understanding the teaching of the pope. This is not in line with Catholic doctrine," said Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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  • Global refugee crisis is complex, says head of Caritas Internationalis

    BEIRUT (CNS) -- Many Western nations forget that their countries were built on migrants, said the president of Caritas Internationalis. The global crisis of refugees is "a complex problem," Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines, said during a visit to Lebanon, "but we can't close our eyes to some of the good things they are giving to the countries that receive them, if they are given a chance."

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  • Jesus sought the people, not popularity, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Jesus did not come into the world seeking popularity, but rather to be close to those in need, Pope Francis said. The large crowds that would gather around Jesus wherever he went "had their eyes fixed on him and he had his eyes fixed on the people," the pope said Jan. 31 during Mass in the chapel of Domus Sanctae Marthae.

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  • Religious, political leaders condemn shooting at Quebec mosque

    QUEBEC CITY -- Faith and political leaders condemned a shooting at Quebec's main mosque that left at least six people dead. Vigils were scheduled Jan. 30 in Quebec City and Montreal, the evening after two men entered the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center and opened fire, killing at least six men who were praying and injuring 19 more. Police later said they had arrested one suspect in the attack, the motive for which remained unclear.

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  • Surrounded by 'family,' U.S. cardinal takes possession of titular church

    ROME (CNS) -- Flanked by the parishioners and well-wishers he called his "new family," Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, celebrated Mass at his titular church in Rome. The cardinal formally took possession of the Church of St. Mary of the Graces Jan. 29. The church is located just a short distance from St. Peter's Basilica.

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