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  • Pope entrusts to Mary victims of disasters, conflict, social tension

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In a week in which natural disasters, war and racial conflicts dominated the headlines, Pope Francis prayed that Mary would bring peace to a divided world. After reciting the Angelus prayer on the feast of the Assumption, the pope asked Mary to obtain "for everyone consolation and a future of serenity and harmony."

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  • The history of the Assumption -- and why it's a Holy Day of Obligation

    Washington D.C., Aug 15, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Today, Catholics around the world mark the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, commemorating the end of her earthly life and assumption into Heaven. But while the feast day is a relatively new one, the history of the holiday – and the mystery behind it – has its roots in the earliest centuries of Christian belief.

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  • Venezuelan cardinal rejects U.S. military intervention

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A Venezuelan cardinal rejected the possibility of foreign intervention in the country following U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to pursue a military option. "The crisis we Venezuelans are suffering is so serious that now an external problem arises: the threats of a military option by President Trump," Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas said.

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  • Our Lady of Kazan and Mary's affinity for Russia

    Rome, Italy, Aug 12, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- One hundred years ago, at the height of a cultural about-face in Russia, Mary appeared to three shepherd children in Portugal, predicting and encouraging prayer for Russia's conversion.

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  • Pope prays for Christian victims of violent attacks in Africa

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis called for an end to violence against Christians following deadly attacks in two African countries. The pope led pilgrims in praying a Hail Mary for the victims of a deadly shooting Aug. 6 at St. Philip's Catholic Church in Ozubulu, located in Nigeria's southern state of Anambra. He also prayed for Christians killed following an attack at a mission in Gambo, Central African Republic.

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  • About the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

    On Aug. 15, Catholics and many other Christians celebrate the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This significant feast day recalls the spiritual and physical departure of the mother of Jesus Christ from the earth, when both her soul and her body were taken into the presence of God.

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  • Pius XII saw "Miracle of the Sun"

    ROME (ZENIT) -- According to his own testimony, the Pope who declared the dogma of the Assumption saw the "miracle of the sun" four times. This information is confirmed by a handwritten, unpublished note from Pope Pius XII, which was part of a 2008 public display at the Vatican, "Pius XII: The Man and the Pontificate."

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  • Kenyan bishops urge calm as opposition rejects early results

    NAIROBI, Kenya (CNS) -- Catholic bishops in Kenya called for calm in the East Africa nation, as pockets of violent postelection protests left at least five dead in opposition strongholds. The protests had ignited slums in Nairobi and Kisumu after Raila Odinga, the main opposition candidate, rejected the provisional early results, which showed incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta had taken an early lead in Aug. 8 voting.

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  • Path to peace: Pope's visit aims to help Colombians take next steps

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis had promised to visit Colombia once a peace accord was in place, but his visit Sept. 6-10 is less about congratulations than about consolidation. "He comes to take the first step with us," said the bishops of Colombia in a document designed to prepare people for the pope's visit.

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  • Pope tells Belgian Brothers of Charity no more euthanasia for patients

    MANCHESTER, England (CNS) -- Pope Francis has given a Belgian religious order until the end of August to stop offering euthanasia to psychiatric patients. Brother Rene Stockman, superior general of the order, told Catholic News Service the pope gave his personal approval to a Vatican demand that the Brothers of Charity, which runs 15 centers for psychiatric patients across Belgium, must reverse its policy by the end of August.

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  • Create unity where there is division, pope tells Peruvians

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Preparing for his visit to Peru in 2018, Pope Francis called on the country's people to follow the example of the Peruvian saints who brought unity amid division. "You have so many saints -- and great saints, who marked Latin America; saints who built the church, that is, from separation to unity," the pope said in the message released by the Archdiocese of Lima Aug. 5.

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  • American community finds a new home in Rome

    ROME (CNS) -- After years in exile from the church they had called home for the past 95 years, the American Catholic community in Rome moved to a new church they can finally call their own. Located just a few steps away from the U.S. Embassy to Italy, St. Patrick's Church is the new official "mission for the care of souls for U.S. faithful residing in Rome," said Paulist Father Greg Apparcel, rector of St. Patrick's.

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  • Pope 'saddened' after shooting in Nigerian church

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis sent his condolences to the victims and survivors of a deadly shooting that occurred during Mass Aug. 6 at a parish in Nigeria. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, expressed the pope's sentiments in a message dated Aug. 7 to Bishop Hilary Odili Okeke of Nnewi.

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  • What makes Vivaldi unique among composers? He was a priest.

    Venice, Italy, Aug 6, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- While Antonio Vivaldi's “Four Seasons” echoes in concert halls and elevators around the world, for some, his greatest masterpieces are not the scores resonating spring, summer, fall and winter, but rather his sacred music.

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  • Vatican urges Venezuela to suspend Constitutional revision

    Vatican City, Aug 4, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- As tensions and deaths continue to rise in Venezuela due to the government's push to write a new constitution, the Holy See has urged the country's leaders to hold off on the revision, focusing instead on alleviating the nation's crippling humanitarian crisis.  

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  • Why the drafting of 'Humanae Vitae' matters, 50 years later

    Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) -- As its 50th anniversary approaches, the story of how Blessed Pope Paul VI arrived at the final text of "Humanae Vitae" will be a main focus of discussion. Paul VI issued his encyclical in 1968, after a commission of theologians and experts spent four years meeting to study in-depth whether the Church could be open to the contraceptive pill or other artificial forms of birth control.

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  • Ancient order, modern times: Order of Malta focuses on renewal

    ROME (CNS) -- For more than 900 years, the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta has seen its fair share of victories, defeats and institutional changes. However, those challenges did not prepare them for the intense media scrutiny that followed a very public crisis in the order at the beginning of the year.

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  • Why Cardinal Parolin's trip to Russia matters

    Vatican City, Aug 3, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- The Vatican Secretary of State's visit to Russia later this month comes at a crucial juncture for the country, and is packed with both political and religious significance.  

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  • U.S. Catholic communications expert is first woman to be Signis president

    BRUSSELS (CNS) -- U.S. communications expert Helen Osman has begun a four-year term as the new president of Signis, the World Catholic Association for Communication, based in Brussels. An internationally recognized journalist, writer and communications professional, Osman is the first woman and first North American to be president of Signis.

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  • Quebec bishop gets Vatican OK for nun to officiate at wedding

    OTTAWA, Ontario (CNS) -- When no priests were available, the bishop of the Quebec Diocese of Rouyn-Noranda sought and received Vatican permission for a local nun to officiate at a recent wedding. While the story has been portrayed around the world as a sign that Pope Francis is changing the role of women in the church, Bishop Dorylas Moreau said the wedding was carried out according to a long-established provision of canon law.

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  • Ottawa archbishop surprised by negative reaction to robotic spider on cathedral

    OTTAWA, Ontario (CNS) -- The archbishop of Ottawa expressed regret that several Catholics were shocked at the sight of a giant robotic spider perched on Notre Dame Cathedral. Archbishop Terrence Prendergast said he was surprised by the negative reaction to an artistic initiative after critics called the spider's placement "sacrilegious," "demonic," and "disrespectful" of a sacred space.

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  • Cardinal says Venezuela must take blame for 10 election-related deaths

    CARACAS, Venezuela (CNS) -- Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino said the nation's government must take the blame for at least 10 deaths related to a controversial election. "This is the responsibility of the president of the republic, the high command, and the ministers," Cardinal Urosa told the Caracas newspaper El Nacional July 31. "They will have to explain this to God" and the courts.

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  • Pope leads prayers for victims of 'perverse plague' of trafficking

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Human trafficking is "brutal, savage and criminal," Pope Francis said, but often it seems like people see it as a sad, but normal fact of life. "I want to call everyone to make a commitment to seeing that this perverse plague, a modern form of slavery, is effectively countered," the pope said July 30, the U.N.'s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

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  • Who are the martyrs Pope Francis will beatify in Colombia?

    Rome, Italy, Jul 28, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- During his six-day visit to Colombia in September, Pope Francis will beatify martyrs Bishop Jesús Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve and Fr. Pedro María Ramírez Ramos, who provide a potent testimony as the country heals from decades of conflict.

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  • What the Holy See told the UN about Middle East Christians

    New York City, N.Y., Jul 28, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- The Middle East needs peace, human rights, and the continued presence of Christians, a Holy See diplomat told the U.N. Security Council Tuesday. “Christian communities have existed for over two thousand years in that region and have peacefully coexisted with the other communities. The Holy See urges the international community, through the Security Council, not to forget them,” Monsignor Simon Kassas, interim chargé d’affaires of the Holy See’s permanent observer mission to the United Nations, said July 25.

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  • Kenyan Catholic bishops urge peaceful vote

    NAIROBI, Kenya (CNS) -- Kenyan Catholic bishops have urged the citizens to prepare to vote peacefully in the Aug. 8 general elections. "We need to create a peaceful environment to demonstrate our patriotism for our wonderful country and ensure that all parts are in peace," said Bishop Philip Anyolo, chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a statement delivered at a news conference July 28. "We are calling on all Kenyans to seize this opportunity to exercise our constitutional right and give ourselves leaders of integrity."

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  • Cardinal Pell will plead not guilty to abuse charges in Australia

    VATICAN CITY (CAN/EWTN News) -- In a brief hearing in a court in Melbourne July 26, Cardinal George Pell said he will be pleading not guilty to charges of multiple counts of sexual abuse. Cardinal Pell did not address the court, but his lawyer, Robert Richter, QC, told the Melbourne Magistrates Court July 26 that "for the avoidance of doubt...Cardinal Pell will plead not guilty to all charges, and will maintain the presumed innocence that he has.

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  • 'We are bridge builders': Maronite Catholic youth gather in Lebanon

    BEIRUT (CNS) -- They came from around the world, from Australia, South America, Europe and the United States. Some came from Africa, and some from nearby countries in the Middle East. They clapped and ululated, creating a celebratory atmosphere as nearly 500 young people from other countries joined 1,000 Maronite Catholic youths from Lebanon for World Maronite Youth Days.

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  • Our Lady of Czestochowa to receive a new crown

    Czestochowa, Poland, Jul 27, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Three hundred years ago this September the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa was crowned Queen and Protector of Poland by Clement XI. Nearly 200 years after that, in 1909, the golden, bejeweled crowns of the image – one for Mary and one for the Christ Child– were stolen, along with a pearl "robe" also belonging to the image.

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  • Priest horrified at exorcist film showings in abandoned church

    Belfast, Northern Ireland, Jul 27, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- An Irish priest has decried a film festival's plans to screen two horror films in an abandoned church next month. The Belfast Film Festival plans to show two horror movies – The Exorcist and The Omen – at Holy Rosary Church in Belfast, a landmark church that has been abandoned since 1980 and is no longer owned by the Catholic Church.  

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  • Court to decide if Charlie Gard's parents can take him home

    London, England, Jul 26, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- After ending their legal fight to seek further treatment for their 11-year-old son, the parents of Charlie Gard are now in a dispute with Great Ormond Street Hospital over whether they may take the boy home to live out his final days.

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  • Vatican conference aims to build momentum for nuclear disarmament

    Vatican City, Jul 25, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Nuclear disarmament will be the focus of a Vatican conference this Nov. 10-11, following recent progress toward international bans on nuclear weapons. Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi told CNA that “the Holy See is working to create a public opinion convinced that the world is safer without nuclear weapons, rather than with them.”

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  • CRS worker: Churches attacked, crisis worsens in Central African Republic

    OXFORD, England (CNS) -- A Catholic aid worker warned of a worsening crisis in the Central African Republic, as church centers are attacked and more armed groups fight over territory and resources. "Perhaps the situation is better in Bangui, the capital, but elsewhere conditions are deteriorating dramatically as conflicts multiply," said Christophe Droeven, country representative for the U.S.-based Catholic Relief Services.

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  • How a college mission trip inspired a coffee business

    Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Jul 24, 2017 CNA.- When Matt Hohler was in college in 2010, he was a reluctant Catholic - and not a coffee drinker.  That year, his mom gave him a trip to a college Catholic conference as a Christmas gift. It was a conference with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, which annually draws several thousands of college students seeking to know more about their faith. 

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  • Mexican bishops don't see explosion as attack on church

    MEXICO CITY (CNS) -- The Mexican bishops' conference does not believe an explosive device detonated outside its offices -- adjacent to the country's most visited religious site, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe -- is an attack on the Catholic Church.

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  • Vatican shuts down fountains as Rome deals with drought

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- While Rome reels from one of its worst droughts in decades, the Vatican is doing its part to conserve water by shutting down the city-state's 100 fountains. The office governing Vatican City State announced July 25 that the drought has "led the Holy See to take measures aimed at saving water" by shutting down fountains in St. Peter's Square, throughout the Vatican Gardens and in the territory of the state.

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  • Pope, others pray as parents of Charlie Gard end legal struggle for help

    MANCHESTER, England (CNS) -- Pope Francis is praying for the parents of Charlie Gard after a U.S. doctor told them nothing could be done to help their son. Chris Gard and Connie Yates announced in London's High Court July 24 that they had ended their legal struggle to take their baby overseas for treatment after a U.S. neurologist, Dr. Michio Hirano, said he was no longer willing to offer Charlie experimental nucleoside therapy after he examined the results of a new MRI scan.

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  • Chinese official indicates Beijing to retain tight grip on church

    HONG KONG (CNS) -- The Chinese Communist Party's top leader in charge of religion has made it clear that Beijing intends to retain a tight grip on the Catholic Church. Yu Zhengsheng, a member of the elite seven-man Politburo Standing Committee and chair of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, told members of the open church community "to ensure that the leadership of the Chinese Catholic Church is held firmly in the hands of those who love the nation and the religion," reported ucanews.com.

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  • Pope's visit to Cartagena to highlight inequality in Latin America

    LIMA, Peru (CNS) -- When Pope Francis visits Colombia in September, he will take his message of mercy and reconciliation to Cartagena, a city that still bears scars of its painful history as a slave port. And he will walk the streets where another Jesuit, St. Peter Claver, put that message into practice four centuries ago.

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  • Church leaders in China remain open to dialogue with Vatican

    Fuzhou, China, Jul 19, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- As the Catholic Church in China journeys toward a normalized relationship with the Holy See, one priest in dialogue with Chinese bishops has seen vast improvement in openness and dialogue on the part of leaders, both in the patriotic and underground Churches.

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  • Bishops plea for two priests abducted in DRC

    Butembo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jul 19, 2017 CNA.- Gunmen have abducted two Catholic priests in the Democratic Republic of Congo, prompting the country’s bishops to plead that the captives not be harmed.

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  • Father Giacomo Morandi promoted to CDF secretary

    Vatican City, Jul 18, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Pope Francis on Tuesday appointed Father Giacomo Morandi secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Italian priest had been a subsecretary in the dicastery since 2015.

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  • Vatican commission agrees to disagree on Cardinal Stepinac

    Vatican City, Jul 18, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- A commission of Catholic and Orthodox leaders tasked with examining the wartime record of Bl. Aloysius Stepinac concluded their final session last week, agreeing to disagree about the Croatian cardinal’s cause for canonization.

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  • Indian church leaders protest vigilante killings to protect sacred cows

    COCHIN, India (CNS) -- The Catholic church in India criticized growing intolerance and mob violence targeting religious minorities over cow protection. "The vast majority of the people of India of all communities (have) been shocked at the lynching in various states on the pretext of protecting cows," said a statement issued by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India after a July 16 meeting in New Delhi. About 40 religious leaders -- Christians along with Baha'i, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh -- attended the meeting.

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  • Trial begins for ex-Vatican officials accused of stealing hospital funds

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Two former top Vatican hospital officials appeared before a Vatican court for a pretrial hearing on allegations of embezzlement. Giuseppe Profiti, who was president of Bambino Gesu hospital from 2008 to 2015, and Massimo Spina, the former treasurer, appeared with their lawyers before Vatican magistrates July 18 in a nearly two-hour preliminary hearing, led by the presiding Vatican judge, Paolo Papanti-Pelletier.

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