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  • Pope advances causes of Canadian nun, Indian 'apostle of Sri Lanka'

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis advanced the sainthood causes of four men and women, including Marie-Elisabeth Turgeon, the Canadian founder of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. The pope also accelerated the sainthood process of Blessed Joseph Vaz, an Indian missionary credited with reviving almost single-handedly the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka during severe persecution by Dutch colonial authorities in the 17th century.

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  • Irish cardinal: 'Peace would not have been delivered' without Paisley

    DUBLIN (CNS) -- Irish Cardinal Sean Brady had paid tribute to a controversial Protestant firebrand-turned-peacemaker who once heckled St. John Paul II as the "antichrist." The Rev. Ian Paisley, 88, who served as first minister in the cross-community power-sharing government in Northern Ireland from 2007 to 2008, died Sept. 12 and was buried after a private family funeral Sept. 15.

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  • Family Life: A Message of Joy and Hope

    TORONTO, September 10, 2014 (Zenit.org) - The Canadian Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) has published its 2014 Message to families entitled, "Families, Christ calls us to sow joy and hope!"

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  • Christian leaders meet Obama, discuss concerns for Mideast minorities

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Eight Eastern Christian leaders spent 40 minutes talking to President Barack Obama about the situation of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East. "We felt how deeply moved he was by what was happening to the Christians there," Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai, Maronite patriarch, said at a Mass later the same day at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church. The Sept. 11 Mass closed the three-day inaugural In Defense of Christians summit. A conference organizer told Catholic News Service an American businessman from the Middle East sent his private jet to transport the Christian leaders to the summit.

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  • Pope appoints Father Oliver as secretary of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis appointed two U.S. priests to top positions at the Vatican for dealing with the sexual abuse of minors. The pope named U.S. Father Robert W. Oliver to be the new secretary of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, and appointed Jesuit Father Robert J. Geisinger to replace Father Oliver as the promoter of justice at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith -- the Vatican's chief prosecutor of sex abuse crimes.

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  • Pope says war is senseless slaughter, can always be avoided

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- War is just "senseless slaughter" and should never be seen as inevitable or a done deal, Pope Francis said. "War drags people into a spiral of violence which then proves difficult to control; it tears down what generations have labored to build up, and it sets the scene for even greater injustices and conflicts," he said in a written message to a world summit of religious leaders.

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  • Couples with kids, cohabitating are among those marrying at papal Mass

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Among the men and women Pope Francis was set to unite in marriage were Catholics who have been living together as well as couples who already have children. The pope, who is the bishop of Rome, will preside over his first wedding ceremony as pontiff during a nuptial Mass in St. Peter's Basilica Sept. 14.

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  • Pope appoints 14 couples to attend Synod of Bishops on family

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- More than 250 participants, including 14 married couples from around the world, were expected to attend October's extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family. In addition to 114 presidents of national bishops' conferences, 13 heads of Eastern Catholic churches and 25 heads of Vatican congregations and councils, the pope appointed 26 synod fathers to take part in the Oct. 5-19 synod.

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  • For some Iraqi Christians, returning to homeland is not an option

    BEIRUT (CNS) -- Uprooted from his home in Iraq by the advance of Islamic State fighters, Nouree sees no future for Christians in his country. "It's like a nightmare," the Chaldean Catholic father of six told Catholic News from a modest apartment in Beirut where he and his family have temporarily resettled after fleeing Iraq. "They just came and took our villages," Nouree said of the militants.

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  • New Irish primate sees role as servant, not like CEO position

    ARMAGH, Northern Ireland (CNS) -- The new primate of All Ireland has pledged to be a "servant leader" whose aim is to bring the Irish Catholic Church through a process of "humble renewal." Archbishop Eamon Martin, 52, succeeded Cardinal Sean Brady as primate of All Ireland, a leadership role that covers the 26 dioceses in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. For nearly 17 months, Archbishop Martin had served as Cardinal Brady's coadjutor in Armagh, and his succession was automatic when Pope Francis accepted Cardinal Brady's resignation Sept. 8.

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  • When Babies Become Commodities

    ROME, September 07, 2014 (Zenit.org) - Several recent cases involving the rejection of babies by people who were using the services of surrogate mothers have drawn attention to the alarming ethical shortfalls of the surrogate industry.

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  • Irish Vincentians hand over Jackie Kennedy's letters to family

    DUBLIN (CNS) -- Letters between former U.S. first lady Jacqueline Kennedy and a Dublin-based priest have been handed over to the Kennedy family. In a statement issued Sept. 5, the Vincentians said the order wished "to confirm that private letters, written by the late Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy to our deceased confrere, Father Joseph Leonard, have been transferred to the Kennedy family."

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  • In Google Hangout, pope helps launch worldwide social network

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The wisdom of "It takes a village to raise a child" has been lost as kids are either overprotected by permissive parents or neglected, Pope Francis said. "The educational partnership has been broken" as families, schools and society are "no longer united together for the child," he said Sept. 4 after holding his first Google Hangout -- a live video conversation -- across five continents with teenagers who belong to the international network of "Scholas occurentes," uniting students of all faiths and cultures.

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  • Peres: Pope Francis is only leader respected enough to end today's wars

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Former Israeli President Shimon Peres asked Pope Francis to head a parallel United Nations called the "United Religions" to counter religious extremism in the world today. "In the past, most wars were motivated by the idea of nationhood. Today, however, wars are incited above all using religion as an excuse," Peres told the Catholic magazine, Famiglia Cristiana, ahead of the papal meeting Sept. 4.

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  • Pope: Iraq's persecuted Christians are true, bold witnesses of Christ

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Iraqi Christians are true and courageous witnesses of Christ's message of hope, forgiveness and love, Pope Francis said. "The church suffers with you and is proud of you, proud to have children like you," he said Sept. 3, in a greeting to Arabic-speaking pilgrims, especially those from Iraq.

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  • Mafia boss threatens anti-mob activist priest

    ROME (CNS) -- The Italian bishops' conference has sent a message of solidarity to Father Luigi Ciotti, founder of Libera, a network of Italian anti-Mafia associations, following an apparent threat to his life from a Sicilian Mafia boss.

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  • Scottish archbishops urge Catholics to vote in independence referendum

    MANCHESTER, England (CNS) -- Scotland's archbishops have encouraged Catholics to vote in the forthcoming referendum on independence -- and to pay attention to the issue of religious freedom. The Sept. 18 ballot will decide whether Scotland will break away from union with England and Wales after more than 300 years.

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  • Sex-Selective Abortions in India

    ROME, August 31, 2014 (Zenit.org) - The ratio of female to male infants continues to decline in India and a recent report by the United Nations warned that urgent action is needed to reverse the trend.

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  • Catholic aid agencies seek funds to assist minorities in Iraq, Syria

    RYE, N.Y. (CNS) -- Catholic organizations in the United States have launched public appeals to fund assistance to Christians and other religious minorities displaced in Iraq and Syria. The Catholic Near East Welfare Association, Jesuit Relief Service, Knights of Columbus, Catholic Relief Services and Aid to the Church in Need are among Catholic agencies seeking funds.

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  • Chinese priests, nuns spend years in U.S. to prepare for leadership

    RONKONKOMA, N.Y. (CNS) -- As Pope Francis' plane was cruising through Chinese airspace in mid-August en route to his first visit to the Far East, 20 Chinese priests and nuns were assembling halfway around the globe at a retreat house in the United States, preparing to begin a week of quiet prayer and reflection.

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  • Pope phones family of slain U.S. journalist

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Pope Francis phoned the bereaved family of James Foley, a U.S. journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Syria. In an Aug. 22 interview on NBC's "Today" show, John and Diane Foley briefly described the previous day's discussion with the pope, in which they spoke of shared grief at the death of loved ones.

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  • Catholic aid groups hope latest Israeli-Hamas cease-fire holds

    JERUSALEM (CNS) -- Catholic aid organizations are hopeful that the most recent cease-fire between Israel and Hamas will hold as they begin to assess the needs in Gaza after 50 days of war. "This is a window of opportunity," said Sami El-Yousef, Catholic Near East Welfare Association's regional director for Israel and the Palestinian territories. "(We hope) the unity government will take the lead. A lot of people here think the stage is set (for) a meaningful resumption of negotiations. Now it is up to leaders on both sides to make it happen, to move beyond (the same political hurdles.)

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  • Pope: Being envious, mean-spirited may be human, but it's not Christian

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Envy, jealousy and meanness are human instincts, but they are not Christian, since the division they cause among believers is the work of the devil, Pope Francis said. "Instead, God wants us to grow in the ability to come together, forgive each other and love each other in order to be ever more like him," he said at his weekly general audience Aug. 27.

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  • Why We Are Reaching Out to Anglicans Longing For Unity

    LONDON, August 26, 2014 (Zenit.org) - November this year will mark the 50th anniversary of the solemn promulgation of the Second Vatican Council Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio. It still remains the authoritative document of the Catholic Church setting out the principles of ecumenical dialogue, though much of its teaching was expounded by St John Paul II in his encyclical Ut Unum Sint (1995).

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  • The Economic Impact of Aging

    ROME, August 24, 2014 (Zenit.org) - The dramatic aging of the world's population will impose a "demographic tax" on economic growth over the next two decades, warned a recent report published by Moody's Investors Service.

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  • U.S. missionary visits North Korea as silent 'apostle of peace'

    SEOUL, South Korea (CNS) -- Since the end of the Korean War in 1953, no Catholic priest has resided in the North of this divided peninsula, where autonomous religious activity is effectively forbidden. And no enemy of the communist regime there is more detested or fiercely denounced than the United States.

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  • Pope calls on Catholics to dialogue with China, other Asian societies

    SEOUL, South Korea (CNS) -- Speaking at the execution site of anonymous Korean martyrs, Pope Francis told Catholic bishops and young laypeople from across Asia to evangelize their continent through dialogue and openness, even with others suspicious or intolerant of the church. But he also urged them to challenge aspects of their cultures incompatible with Christian values.

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  • 800,000 watch as pope moves 124 Korean martyrs closer to sainthood

    SEOUL, South Korea (CNS) -- Pope Francis placed 124 Korean martyrs on the last step toward sainthood in a beatification Mass Aug. 16 that brought elation to the 800,000 people in attendance. The sun was searing as Bishop Francis Ahn Myong-ok of Masan, president of the commission for the beatification, asked the pope to pronounce the martyrs blessed. After hearing a brief collective biography of 124 of the original founders of the Korean Catholic Church, Pope Francis pronounced the formula of beatification.

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  • Pope talks airstrikes in Iraq, his health, possible U.S. visit

    ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM SEOUL, South Korea (CNS) -- Pope Francis said the use of force can be justified to stop "unjust aggressors" such as Islamic State militants in northeastern Iraq, but he declined to endorse U.S. military airstrikes against the militants and said such humanitarian interventions should not be decided on by any single country.

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  • Pope thanks people for prayers for his family after deadly crash

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis, in mourning for the deaths of his nephew's wife and two small children, thanked people at his weekly general audience Aug. 20 for their prayers. After each of the priests who translate the pope's words offered him condolences for the tragedy that struck his family, Pope Francis explained to the people: "The pope has a family, too. We were five siblings, and I have 16 nieces and nephews. One of these nephews was in an accident. His wife died along with his two small children -- one who was 2 years old and the other several months."

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  • Cardinal, patriarch call for international action to liberate Iraq

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis' personal envoy to the suffering people of Iraq joined the Chaldean Catholic patriarch in launching an appeal to the international community Aug. 18, pleading for help to liberate villages controlled by the Islamic State terrorists and to provide the displaced with international protection.

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  • Elderly Iraqi Christians defy terrorists, flee to camp

    MANCHESTER, England (CNS) -- A group of 11 sick, disabled and elderly Iraqi Christians --including an 80-year-old woman with breast cancer -- defied terrorists who ordered them to convert to Islam or be beheaded, saying they preferred death to giving up their faith.

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  • Former sex slave says she still feels impact of meeting with pope

    SEOUL, South Korea (CNS) -- A day after Pope Francis left South Korea, a former sex slave who spent a few minutes with the pontiff said she still felt the impact of their meeting. In an interview with Catholic News Service, Kim Bok-dong, 88, said through an interpreter she told Pope Francis she wished for "a world without war." And then she asked him to urge the Japanese government, "'Please apologize to the victims and then resolve the comfort women issues.'"

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