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  • Vatican publishes schedule for papal visit to Abu Dhabi

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- When Pope Francis travels to the United Arab Emirates Feb. 3-5, he will meet with the international Muslim Council of Elders, participate in an interreligious meeting and celebrate Mass for the local Catholic population, the vast majority of whom are foreign workers.

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  • Shooting in Brazilian cathedral leaves five dead, four injured

    SAO PAULO (CNS) -- A gunman opened fire inside a Brazilian church, killing four people and injuring four others before turning the gun on himself, police said. The shooting occurred Dec. 11 just as parishioners from Our Lady of the Conception Cathedral in Campinas, near Sao Paulo, were leaving a midday Mass.

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  • Our Lady of Guadalupe: Empress of the Americas

    Mexico City, Mexico, Dec 11, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- It would be virtually impossible to travel to Mexico without seeing the colorful, star-cloaked, Satan-snake-crushing image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on street corners, in private homes, on restaurant walls, and certainly in church chapels.

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  • Three cardinals end service on pope's Council of Cardinals

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Three members of Pope Francis' Council of Cardinals have officially ended their service as papal advisers on the reform of the Roman Curia. In September, the council members had asked the pope for a reflection on "the work, structure and composition of the council itself, also taking into account the advanced age of some of its members."

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  • Consolation comes even in martyrdom, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- God sends his consolation to those in need of reassurance, even when they are facing death, Pope Francis said. Just like the early Christian martyrs, who sang as they marched to their deaths in the Colosseum, today's martyrs still give witness to that same joy in the midst of suffering, the pope said in his homily Dec. 11 during morning Mass at Domus Sanctae Marthae.

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  • Surprise! Pope makes several impromptu visits

    ROME (CNS) -- Pope Francis made surprise visits Dec. 7 and 8 to people receiving medical care far from their homes, to a dozen intellectually challenged young people and to the staff of a major Rome newspaper.

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  • Scottish mall refuses to allow nativity scene amid Christmas display

    Edinburgh, Scotland, Dec 8, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Both Catholics and Protestants in Scotland are lamenting a shopping center's decision not to include a nativity scene in its Christmas display. Thistles Shopping Centre in Stirling, fewer than 40 miles northwest of Edinburgh, said it will it not include a nativity scene in its Christmas display this year, noting the mall “prides itself on being religious and politically neutral,” according to The Scotsman, an Edinburgh daily.

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  • Paris archbishop to pray for France as fuel taxes canceled

    PARIS (CNS) -- Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit planned to pray for the country Dec. 7, even as the French government dropped all fuel tax increases for 2019. The government move came after French cities were hit with weeks of violent protests, as French demanded lower fuel taxes and better purchasing power. Images of rampage at the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Elysees during the Dec. 1 weekend have been shown around the world.

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  • Christmas spirit in the air as Vatican unveils Nativity scene, tree

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The annual unveiling of the Vatican's Christmas tree and Nativity scene brought some much-needed warmth to people's hearts as winter approached. Hundreds of people in St. Peter's Square Dec. 7 applauded as white curtains unfurled, revealing a 52-foot wide artistic representation of Jesus' birth made entirely of sand and dubbed the "Sand Nativity."

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  • Cardinal tells COP24 climate needs present 'challenge of civilization'

    The Vatican challenged countries gathered for the 24th U.N. Climate Change Conference to focus on the needs of the present and the future as it worked to take swift action. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, addressed the conference, COP24, in Katowice, Poland, Dec. 3 and told participants, "We are standing before a challenge of civilization for the benefit of the common good."

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  • At Advent, make peace, not war, pope says at morning Mass

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Advent season is a time of preparation for the coming of the prince of peace and not a time of making war with those around you, Pope Francis said. As Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, they must also reflect on what they do in their daily lives to become "artisans of peace," the pope said in his homily Dec. 4 during morning Mass at Domus Sanctae Marthae.

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  • Pope tells kids battling cancer to talk to their guardian angel every day

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- It is not easy living with cancer, but there is always some kind of victory that awaits each person on the horizon, Pope Francis told young oncology patients from Poland. "Your journey in life is a bit difficult, dear children, because you have to get treated and overcome the disease or live with the disease. This is not easy," he told the children, their parents and health care specialists Nov. 30 at the Vatican.

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  • Analysis: What is next for Curial reform?

    Vatican City, Nov 28, 2018 CNA.- The next gathering of the Council of Cardinals, also known as the C9, will take place Dec. 10-12. It will likely be the last meeting of the council as it is presently constituted.

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  • In dispute with Catholic leaders, Duterte tells Filipinos to quit church

    MANILA, Philippines (CNS) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte renewed his attacks on Catholic leaders and urged Filipinos to stop going to church altogether. The president, who earlier this year called God "stupid," suggested in a Nov. 26 speech that people should instead build their own chapels where they can pray, ucanews.com reported.

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  • Japanese museum finds rare scroll from country's early Christians

    Tokyo, Japan, Nov 28, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- A Christian scroll found in a Japanese museum is believed to be from the earliest days of Christianity in the country, researchers have said. The scroll measures about 10.5 feet long and about nine inches high, and depicts 15 scenes from the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The pictures include religious figures wearing traditional Japanese garments, and Latin prayers are spelled out in Japanese phonetic letters throughout the scroll.

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  • Retired pope corrects 'false insinuation' by German theologian

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI sent a letter correcting a German theologian who implied that the former pontiff encouraged the evangelization of the Jewish people as a mission. In a message sent to the German monthly, "Herder Korrespondenz," Pope Benedict responded to an article in which Michael Bohnke, the theologian, criticized the pope and accused him of advocating proselytism.

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  • Pope: Idolatry empties lives, ruins hearts, which only Christ can revive

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Every heart enslaved by false idols and evil desires needs a "transplant" with a heart filled with love, joy, goodness, hope and generosity, Pope Francis said. "How does this 'heart transplant' happen? From an old heart to a new heart? Through the gift of new desires," the pope said Nov. 28 during his weekly general audience in the Vatican's Paul VI hall.

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  • Woman religious in war-torn Syria focuses on rebuilding, healing

    WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Sister Annie Demerjian has seen a lifetime of suffering in Aleppo, Syria, over the past seven years. Now, as conflict is beginning to die down, her ministry is no longer about getting emergency supplies to those in need as buildings collapsed and food, water and electricity were scarce. The current challenge is to help people begin to rebuild their lives.

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  • Vatican official: Prohibit 'killer robots' now before they become reality

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Fully automated and autonomous lethal weapons systems must be banned now before they become a reality in tomorrow's wars, a Vatican representative said. The development of robotic weapons or "killer robots" will provide "the capacity of altering irreversibly the nature of warfare, becoming more detached from human agency, putting in question the humanity of our societies," Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic told a group of experts at the United Nations in Geneva.

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  • Everyone's hour will come, so be prepared for Judgment Day, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- People would be wise to think about Judgment Day and wonder what God will see when he examines their lives, Pope Francis said. "If the Lord were to call me today, what would I do? What will I say? What harvest will I show him?" the pope asked during Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae Nov. 27.

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  • Catholic migrant advocates have mixed reaction to Tijuana border events

    MEXICO CITY (CNS) -- The chaotic scene in Tijuana Nov. 25 -- when migrants, including women and children, were repelled from the U.S. border with tear gas -- prompted the closure of one of the world's busiest border crossings. It also showed the increasing impatience and despair of thousands of caravan participants, who could spend months in an uncomfortable camp as they wait to present asylum claims to U.S. officials.

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  • Clericalism is ugly perversion, pope tells seminarians

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Priests must always keep in mind that their mission is to serve others and not claim superiority over the people entrusted to their care, Pope Francis said. Meeting with seminarians from the Sicilian coastal city of Agrigento Nov. 24, the pope and told them that priests must never forget their roots and that God chose them from among their people to serve.

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  • French court convicts priest and retired bishop

    Orleans, France, Nov 23, 2018 CNA.- A French court has sentenced a priest to two years in prison, with a third year suspended, for the sexual abuse of minors. At the same time, the court also handed down a suspended sentence against his former bishop for failing to report an allegation against the priest to civil authorities.

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  • Vatican, World Youth Day officials release pope's Panama itinerary

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- When Pope Francis visits Panama for World Youth Day in January, he will meet with young people not able to attend the festivities: some in jail and with some living with HIV. He also will dedicate the altar of Panama's newly renovated 400-year-old cathedral, meet with bishops from Central America and have lunch with some of the young people attending the youth day gathering, according to the schedule released by the Vatican Nov. 20.

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  • Church, world need cloistered nuns' guiding lights of prayer, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis asked people to give thanks to God for the gift of so many men and women living a cloistered life of total dedication to prayer. "May these communities not lack affection, closeness and support," including material support, from the entire church, he said, marking World Day of Cloistered Life, Nov. 21, at the end of his general audience in St. Peter's Square.

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  • Berlin Archdiocese hosts banquet for the poor

    The Archdiocese of Berlin took Pope Francis's call to participate in World Day of the Poor to a new level by hosting a festive banquet for the city's poor in St. Hedwig's Cathedral. In honor of World Day of the Poor, Archbishop Heiner Koch opened the doors of the cathedral on Sunday at noon to an estimated 300 guests and 140 helpers from local parishes, including needy, ill, elderly and homeless people.

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  • Simple Christians: Ordinary Trappist martyrs gave extraordinary witness

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- After Islamic terrorists stormed the Algerian monastery he called home, Trappist Father Christian de Cherge felt compelled to put pen to paper and write down his testament. Father de Cherge, prior of the Monastery of Notre Dame de l'Atlas, said he held no ill will to those who would eventually kill him. In his letter, written between Dec. 1, 1993, and Jan. 1, 1994, he said he knew extremists in the country followed a "caricature of Islam" and urged his loved ones to not confuse Muslim "religious tradition with the all-or-nothingness of the extremists."

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  • Helping the poor is not a papal fad, but a duty, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As the rich get richer, the increasing misery and cries of the poor are ignored every day, Pope Francis said. "We Christians cannot stand with arms folded in indifference" or thrown up in the air in helpless resignation, the pope said in his homily Nov. 18, the World Day of the Poor.

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