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  • U.S. Supreme Court weighs in on border shooting of Mexican teenager

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Supreme Court took on a U.S-Mexico border issue Feb. 21 when it examined if the parents of a Mexican teenager can sue the U.S. border agent who shot and killed their son. During the oral arguments, the justices seemed divided over who was responsible for the action. Some of the justices stressed that it was a U.S. concern since the teen was shot by a U.S. agent; other justices said that since the 15-year-old died on the Mexican side of the border, the case should stay out of the U.S. courts.

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  • USCCB committee chairmen applaud decision on transgender directive

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The chairmen of two U.S. bishops' committees Feb. 24 praised President Donald Trump's repeal of the Obama administration's directive on transgender access to bathrooms. The guidance, issued last May by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education, "indicated that public pre-K through 12 schools, as well as all colleges and universities, should treat 'a student's gender identity as the student's sex,'" said the bishops' joint statement.

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  • Australian archbishops to ask Vatican for clarity on confession issues

    SYDNEY (CNS) -- Australia's five archbishops said they would consider asking the Vatican for clarification on concerns raised in a government inquiry into sexual abuse of children in the church. Among those concerns were whether the seal of confession includes only the sins confessed, not other information revealed in confession, and under what circumstances -- specifically concerning an abuser -- a priest could withhold absolution.

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  • Q-and-A about celibacy, chastity, promises and vows

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Three weeks of testimony from Australia's Royal Commission of Inquiry into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse have included many discussions about whether celibacy might be a factor in clergy sexual abuse. Catholic News Service asked Father Michael Fuller, executive director of the Secretariat of Doctrine and Canonical Affairs at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, to explain the difference between celibacy and chastisty, a promise and a vow.

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  • South Sudan bishops condemn atrocities, appeal for help to prevent famine

    MANCHESTER, England (CNS) -- South Sudan's Catholic bishops asked for the world's help to prevent mass starvation that threatens the lives of more than 5 million people. In a separate statement, they also said the looming famine was a man-made catastrophe. They denounced government and rebel troops for attacking the civilian population and at times operating "scorched-earth" policies in defiance of international law.

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  • Iraqi Christians erect large cross in area liberated from ISIS

    Mosul, Iraq, Feb 23, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- After years of darkness, hope has returned to Telekuf-Tesqopa. Located just 17 miles from Mosul, the village is rebuilding after being liberated from ISIS. As a visible sign of the rebuilding, a giant cross was erected on a hill, marking the victory of the Christian faith against the darkness of the jihadists.

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  • Ash Wednesday is more than just ashes

    Walk through any school, supermarket, subway or shopping center next Wednesday and you are likely to find Catholics marked with the sign of the cross in dark ashes on their forehead. Ash Wednesday -- the beginning of the season of Lent.

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  • Lenten sacrifice can help children in the missions

    BRAINTREE -- With Ash Wednesday approaching, the Missionary Childhood Association of the Archdiocese of Boston is hoping schools, parishes, and individuals will use the organization's Mite Boxes to put their Lenten sacrifices to work helping children in the missions.

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  • Gregorian chant enriches liturgy at Waltham parish

    WALTHAM -- Decades ago, it would have been typical to hear Gregorian chant at a Catholic Mass. Today, that's usually not the case; unless, that is, it's a Mass at St. Mary Parish in Waltham. "Other than the choir school Mass at St. Paul's in Cambridge, the monthly Mass we do at St. Mary's in Waltham is the only Novus Ordo liturgy, to my knowledge, that uses Latin Propers," choir director Randolph Nichols told The Pilot Feb. 21. Propers are the portions of the Mass that change depending on the day and are spoken or sung by the choir or the people.

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  • North Region Bishop's office moved

    Effective Monday, Feb. 20, the office of North Region Bishop Mark O'Connell has relocated to St. Theresa of Lisieux Parish in North Reading. The telephone (978-531-1013) and fax number (978-531-5312) remain the same.

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  • From Cardinal Seán's blog

    The following day (2/10) we began our weekend retreats for men considering a vocation to the priesthood. There were two tracks, as it were, one for younger men who would be candidates for St. John's Seminary and another for older men who would be candidates for Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary.

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  • Supreme Court blocks Texas inmate's execution, cites racial bias

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Supreme Court's Feb. 22 decision to block the execution of an African-American inmate on death row in Texas over racially biased testimony in his sentencing hearing is "another stride toward greater justice in our legal system," said a Catholic anti-death penalty leader.

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  • Vatican, al-Azhar ask world to help stop religious extremism, terrorism

    CAIRO (CNS) -- The Vatican and al-Azhar University, Sunni Islam's leading institution of higher learning, called for the world's governments, organizations and leaders to cooperate with each other in countering extremist and violent groups, noting that such groups "have negatively impacted stability and peaceful coexistence among peoples."

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  • Trump draws praise for withdrawing transgender bathroom regulation

    Washington D.C., Feb 23, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- On Wednesday night, the Trump administration withdrew an Obama-era guidance that had directed schools to allow students to use the bathroom or locker room of the gender they currently identify with, not the facilities of their birth or biological sex.

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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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  • We're more likely to jail the mentally ill than get them help

    Washington D.C., Feb 21, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- People with severe mental illness are much more likely to be incarcerated than treated for their disorders, advocates said at a recent panel, and changes need to be made in order to break the vicious cycle of prison and homelessness.

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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 Burke leaves Guam after interviewing witnesses in abuse case

    AGANA, Guam (CNS) -- U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, accompanied by an official from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and three canon lawyers, spent two days in Guam interviewing witnesses and alleged victims in a clerical sexual abuse case against Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron of Agana.

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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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