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  • Kidnapped priest in Nigeria released, doing well

    Benin City, Nigeria, Oct 18, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Fr. Maurizio Pallù, an Italian missionary who was kidnapped in southern Nigeria last week, was freed Tuesday. He was freed late in the evening of Oct. 17, according to authorities, and is doing well.

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  • Benedict XVI's secretary denies rumors that he is close to death

    Vatican City, Oct 17, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Archbishop Georg Ganswein, the personal secretary of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, has rejected reports that the former pontiff is nearing death. Rumors of Benedict XVI being close to death circulated on social media following a quote attributed to Ganswein, which reads, “Pope Benedict is like a candle that fades slowly. He is serene, at peace with God, with himself and the world. He can no longer walk without help and can no longer celebrate Mass.”

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  • Faith brings hope even at moment of death, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Christians can find hope even at the hour of death, which faith teaches is not a closed door but a wide-open passage to a new life with Christ, Pope Francis said. While all men and women are "small and helpless in front of the mystery of death," Jesus' victory over death assures Christians of the joy of the resurrection, the pope said Oct. 18 during his weekly general audience.

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  • Minister general: Pilgrims imitate Franciscans' Holy Land hospitality

    JERUSALEM (CNS) -- Franciscans serving in the Holy Land have had an impact on Christian pilgrims, said Franciscan Father Michael Perry, minister general of the order. "The Franciscans' care for pilgrims, their attention to detail, their efforts to demonstrate the love of God, the mercy of God through different religious services and ... how they welcome people in hospitality houses, these become elements that people themselves, Christians and others, take back to (their) countries," said Father Perry.

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  • Italian priest kidnapped in Nigeria freed

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Italian Father Maurizio Pallu, who was kidnapped by several gunmen in Nigeria and held captive for nearly a week, was freed Oct. 17. Father Pallu, a 63-year-old missionary affiliated with the Neocatechumenal Way, and a group of pilgrims were on their way to Mass in Benin City Oct. 12 when they were ambushed.

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  • Franciscans in Holy Land sow peace, fraternity, respect, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Franciscans assisting the Christian minority and caring for the churches and shrines in the Holy Land are "ambassadors" of all the people of God, Pope Francis said. Marking the 800th anniversary of the order's presence at the places where Jesus was born, lived and died, the pope sent a letter to the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, an administratively autonomous province of the Franciscan order.

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  • Italian Catholic priest kidnapped in Nigeria

    Abuja, Nigeria, Oct 16, 2017 ACI Prensa.- An Italian Catholic priest, who is a member of the Neocatechumenal Way, was kidnapped on Thursday by armed men in Benin City, Nigeria, according to media reports.

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  • New saints inspire Christians to build peaceful world, bishop says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The church's newest saints represent a diverse group of people who offer encouragement and hope to Christians today through their example, a Brazilian bishop said. Saints like the "Martyrs of Natal," Brazil, offer a "new opportunity, hope and a renewal of faith" that can bring peace to a world battered by injustice, war and violence, Archbishop Jaime Vieira Rocha of Natal told journalists Oct. 13 during a press briefing.

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  • Bishop says decline of faith in West hurts Nigerian church

    LIVERPOOL, England (CNS) -- A Nigerian bishop said the Catholic Church in his country is beginning to lose its public influence partly because of the decline of religious faith in the West. Bishop Matthew Kukah of Sokoto accused European and American politicians and diplomats of publicly "pandering" to Islam at the expense of Christianity.

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  • Pope Francis: Death penalty is contrary to the Gospel

    Vatican City, Oct 11, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- In an Oct. 11 speech to members of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, Francis said the topic of the death penalty should have “a more adequate and coherent space” in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

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  • Have courage, pray fervently, pope tells churches facing persecution

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- No matter how much suffering Christians face in the world, God never forgets those who trust in and serve him, Pope Francis told leaders of Eastern Catholic churches. The courage to "knock at the door" of God's heart and "the courage of faith (are) needed when you pray -- to have faith that the Lord is listening," the pope told patriarchs, metropolitans, bishops, priests and lay members of the Eastern churches during his homily in Rome's St. Mary Major.

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  • Death penalty is 'contrary to the Gospel,' pope says

    The death penalty, no matter how it is carried out, "is, in itself, contrary to the Gospel," Pope Francis said. Marking the 25th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church at the Vatican Oct. 11, Pope Francis said the catechism's discussion of the death penalty, already formally amended by St. John Paul II, needs to be even more explicitly against capital punishment.

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  • Moved by priest's martyrdom, French businessman returns to the faith

    Paris, France, Oct 10, 2017 ACI Prensa.- Patrick Canac was baptized, but like so many others, drifted away from the Church over time. In recent months, however, the successful French businessman has had a change of heart, returning to the Catholic Church and even making a large donation for the construction of a new seminary in Avignon, France.

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  • Facebook, Microsoft try to keep up with vast scale of online abuse

    ROME (CNS) -- Two giants in the digital world presented some key ways they are trying to keep up with the vast scale and increasing sophistication of the abuse and exploitation of minors online. Representatives from Facebook -- the largest social media site in the world -- and Microsoft -- the world's biggest software company -- called for increased cooperation among businesses, governments and law enforcement to develop, share and utilize digital tools to prevent and stop abuse and bring perpetrators to justice.

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  • Church more aware of crime, harm of child abuse, Vatican official says

    ROME (CNS) -- Child abuse is not only a crime, it is sacrilege, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said at a world congress promoting the protection of children online. "The church has become increasingly aware of the harm experienced by victims, of their suffering and of the need to listen to them," he told an international assembly of more than 100 top experts and leaders in government, law enforcement, nonprofit organizations and technology, who are working in child protection.

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  • Ask God for courage to follow him to the cross, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Obedient to his father, Jesus was patient with his sinning, fearful disciples throughout his lonely journey toward the cross, Pope Francis said. When Jesus set out to go to Jerusalem, he knew he would face humiliation, suffering and death there, as his disciples would each fall away and not accompany him, the pope said Oct. 3 during morning Mass at Domus Sanctae Marthae.

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  • Pope Francis' retooling of the JPII Institute shows his modus operandi

    Vatican City, Oct 2, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- The September 19 re-establishment of the Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute for Science on the Family and Marriage is a good object lesson in the modus operandi of Pope Francis. It offers observers some helpful lessons about the Roman Pontiff’s leadership style.

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  • After contentious Catalan secession vote, bishops plead for peace

    Barcelona, Spain, Oct 2, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Catholic leaders voiced pleas for peace after a Catalonian regional referendum vote on secession from Spain drew a strong police reaction. “The situation of violence we have experienced today in Catalonia is deplorable,” Cardinal Juan Omella of Barcelona said Oct. 2. “We need to find a peaceful and democratic solution to our situation. Let us entrust this situation to the God of peace.”

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  • Pope names Cardinal Burke a judge on Vatican supreme court

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis has named U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke a member of the Apostolic Signature, the church's supreme court, which the cardinal headed as prefect from 2008 to 2014. Members of the Apostolic Signature serve as judges in the cases, which mainly involve appeals of lower-court decisions or of administrative decisions by other offices of the Holy See.

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  • Pope zeroes-in on 'fake news' for next communications day

    Vatican City, Sep 29, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- With social platforms increasingly targeting so-called “fake news,” Pope Francis has decided to weigh-in, dedicating his message for the 2018 World Day of Social Communications to eliminating the spread of false information and providing the truth.

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  • Cardinals lead re-consecration of Canada to Mary

    OTTAWA, Ontario (CNS) -- To celebrate Canada's 150th birthday and to mark the 70th anniversary of its consecration to Mary, Canada's three cardinals led the nation's bishops in a ceremony Sept. 26 to re-consecrate the nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

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  • 'Share the journey,' embrace migrants, refugees, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Christ calls believers to welcome migrants and refugees "with arms wide open, ready to give a sincere, affectionate, enveloping embrace," Pope Francis said, launching the "Share the Journey" campaign of Catholic charities around the world.

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  • Cardinal Ouellet denounces 'alarmist' interpretations of 'Amoris Laetitia'

    CORNWALL, Ontario (CNS) -- Cardinal Marc Ouellet denounced the "alarmist" and "unfaithful" interpretations of the Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation on the family, "Amoris Laetitia." The Canadian cardinal, who serves as the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, told Canadian bishops the document does not signal "changes to doctrine or to sacramental discipline," but represents a pastoral approach that takes into consideration "the good of the person," according to his or her circumstances.

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  • Holy Land Christians frustrated by lack of legal action against vandals

    JERUSALEM (CNS) -- Christians in the Holy Land, including Catholic leaders, have expressed frustration with lack of legal action against cases of desecration and vandalism of sacred places. Even as the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land issued a statement condemning the Sept. 20 desecration and vandalism of a Catholic shrine in Israel, some people criticized the statement's "weak language" and asked, "How long will we be tolerant?"

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  • Vatican responds to allegations that ex-auditor was ousted

    Vatican City, Sep 24, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- The Vatican has issued a response to allegations made by former auditor general Libero Milone, who, three months after mysteriously stepping down in the middle of a five-year mandate, has said he was “threatened” into resignation by an “old guard” opposed to his work.

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  • Vatican, former Vatican auditor give differing accounts of resignation

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The first person to serve as the Vatican's independent auditor said he was forced to resign after opponents of Pope Francis' financial reforms mounted a campaign against him. But the Vatican press office responded Sept. 24, saying Libero Milone, "going outside his competencies, illegally hired an external company to undertake investigative activities about the private lives of representatives of the Holy See."

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  • Church-based charities provide earthquake relief in Mexico

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In the aftermath of two earthquakes in the span of two weeks in Mexico church-based relief agencies have been on the ground providing food, shelter and repairs. The magnitude 7.1 quake that hit near Mexico City Sept. 19 killed more than 230 people and injured more than 2,000 in the crumbling wreckage. The earthquake was just on the heels of the magnitude 8.1 earthquake Sept. 7 off the coast of south-eastern Mexico that killed at least 90 people and destroyed thousands of homes.

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  • 'Pontifical secret' in abuse cases needs review, advisers tell pope

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors believe they have done important work over the past three years, but, because there is so much more to be done, they presented Pope Francis with a list of suggestions, including changing the way confidentiality is imposed during church investigations of child sexual abuse.

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  • Pope says church was late fighting abuse, promises 'zero tolerance'

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis has endorsed an approach of "zero tolerance" toward all members of the church guilty of sexually abusing minors or vulnerable adults. Having listened to abuse survivors and having made what he described as a mistake in approving a more lenient set of sanctions against an Italian priest abuser, the pope said he has decided whoever has been proven guilty of abuse has no right to an appeal, and he will never grant a papal pardon.

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  • Bishop, Caritas staffer say situation in Mexico serious, much aid needed

    MEXICO CITY (CNS) -- A Catholic bishop and a Caritas worker in Mexico said the situation was extremely serious after the Sept. 19 earthquake, and much aid would be needed. "The situation is complicated, because the first earthquake (Sept. 7) had already affected thousands of people in Chiapas and Oaxaca," Alberto Arciniega, head of communications for Caritas Mexico, told Catholic News Service Sept. 20. "The church is continuing to assist those dioceses, but with what happened yesterday, the emergency situation is being re-evaluated to get a more exact assessment of the aid that is needed."

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