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  • Curia reform: Pope Francis reorganizes Vatican Secretariat of State

    Vatican City, Nov 20, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Pope Francis has established a third section, or department, of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, which reportedly began its operations Nov. 9. The new section is named “Section for the Diplomatic Staff,” and is tasked with overseeing the Holy See’s diplomatic corps, stationed around the world.

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  • Science, humanities must overcome 'tragic division,' pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Science, technology, religion and the humanities need to work together for their mutual benefit and to safeguard humanity, Pope Francis said. A broader, more holistic approach is needed to "overcome the tragic division between 'two cultures' -- the humanistic-literary-theological and the scientific, which leads to mutual impoverishment, and to encourage greater dialogue," including between the church and the scientific community.

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  • Pope Francis calls Benedict's teaching 'precious heritage'

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The theological work and papal teaching of retired Pope Benedict XVI "continue to be a living and precious heritage for the church," Pope Francis said. The pope met Nov. 18 with the winners of the 2017 Ratzinger Prize, named for the retired pope to honor those who make significant contributions to theology and culture.

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  • Pope names Brazilian cardinal to be relator general of upcoming synod

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis has chosen Brazil's Cardinal Sergio da Rocha to serve as relator general of next year's Synod of Bishops on youth. The nomination of the 58-year-old archbishop of Brasilia was announced at the Vatican Nov. 18. The relator is responsible for providing a comprehensive outline of the synod's theme at the beginning of the meeting and for summarizing the speeches of synod members before work begins on concrete proposals for the pope.

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  • 'Invest in love,' pope says on first World Day of the Poor

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- People have a basic choice in the way they live: either striving to build up treasures on earth or giving to others in order to gain heaven, Pope Francis said. "What we invest in love remains, the rest vanishes," the pope said in his homily Nov. 19, the first World Day of the Poor.

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  • Spirit of communion needed in church, world, pope tells priests

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Sincere, harmonious unity is needed in the world and in the church, Pope Francis told an international association for Catholic priests. "It's very sad when we find in a presbyterate that this unity doesn't exist," and, instead, gossip and backstabbing are the rule, he said.

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  • Chinese officials pay poor to swap religious images for portraits of Xi

    HONG KONG (CNS) -- Officials in China's eastern Jiangxi province have replaced religious images displayed by Christian families with portraits of the country's leader, Xi Jinping. Ucanews.com reported that, on Nov. 12, pictures were uploaded to the popular social messaging service WeChat account of Huangjinbu town government, showing officials removing images of the cross and other religious subjects in Yugan County.

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  • Spaghetti Bowl: Fitness, camaraderie part of U.S. seminary life in Rome

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A seminary is not typically known for its emphasis on physical activity and fitness, but many seminarians see it as an integral part of daily life. Andrew Auer, Joseph Caraway and his cousin, Michael Caraway, are just a few of the seminarians at the Pontifical North American College in Rome who find value in sports and physical activity.

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  • Priest mediates between Zimbabwe generals, Mugabe

    CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) -- A Catholic priest is mediating between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and generals who seized power. Father Fidelis Mukonori, parliamentary liaison officer for Harare Archdiocese, is trying to mediate a graceful exit for the 93-year-old president, who has led Zimbabwe for 37 years.

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  • Mass is a time of silence and prayer, not idle chitchat, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Mass is the highest form of prayer and not an appropriate moment for small talk, Pope Francis said. At church, Catholics should spend their time in silence before Mass, preparing "to meet with Jesus" instead of engaging in "chitchat," the pope said Nov. 15 during his weekly general audience.

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  • If you died today, are you ready? Pope Francis asks

    Vatican City, Nov 12, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- On Sunday Pope Francis encouraged people not to wait to reflect on their lives, but to ask themselves: If this was my last day on earth, am I prepared? Am I cooperating with God’s grace?

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  • At home and abroad: Bishops' conferences show collegiality, solidarity

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The role of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other bishops' conferences around the world is "catholic" -- working together to promote the church's mission, but also "to support peacebuilding and human development throughout the world," said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state.

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  • Pope sends letter to blind Colombian veteran he met

    BOGOTA, Colombia (CNS) -- Pope Francis sent a handwritten letter to a Colombian soldier who lost his sight during the country's civil war. The pope met Edwin Restrepo, a retired marine, during his September visit to Colombia. On Nov. 9, Restrepo received the letter, in which the pope thanked him for his sacrifice during Colombia's armed conflict. The pope also told the veteran he was still holding on to his "touching" gift.

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  • Peace, dialogue held hostage by nuclear weapons threat, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The existence of nuclear weapons creates a false sense of security that holds international relations hostage and stifles peaceful coexistence, Pope Francis said. "The threat of their use as well as their very possession is to be firmly condemned," the pope told participants at a conference on nuclear disarmament hosted by the Vatican.

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  • Pope recognizes martyrdom of sister killed in Somalia in 2006

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis formally recognized the martyrdom of an Italian Consolata sister murdered in Somalia in 2006 and the martyrdom of a 25-year-old priest in Hungary in 1957. The Vatican announced the pope's decisions Nov. 9, along with news that he had declared Pope John Paul I "venerable" and had advanced five other sainthood causes.

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  • Pope puts John Paul I on path to sainthood, declares him 'venerable'

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis recognized that Pope John Paul I, who served only 33 days as pope, lived the Christian virtues in a heroic way. The Vatican announced Pope Francis' decision Nov. 9. It marks the first major step on the path to sainthood for the pope who died in 1978 at the age of 65, shocking the world and a church that had just mourned the death of Blessed Paul VI.

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  • Pope bans cigarette sales at the Vatican

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Concerned by the damage caused by smoking, Pope Francis has banned the sale of cigarettes in Vatican City State. Starting in 2018, the Vatican "will cease to sell cigarettes to employees," Greg Burke, Vatican spokesman, said in a Nov. 9 statement.

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  • Stop taking smartphone snapshots during Mass, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Mass is not a show, but a beautiful, transformative encounter with the true loving presence of Christ, Pope Francis said. That is why people need to focus their hearts on God, not focus their smartphones for pictures during Mass, he said.

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  • Pope names women as undersecretaries of office for laity, family, life

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis named a bioethics expert and a seasoned canon lawyer, both women, as undersecretaries of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life. The appointments of Gabriella Gambino, a bioethics professor at Rome's Tor Vergata University, and Linda Ghisoni, a judge on the regional tribunal of the Diocese of Rome, were announced Nov. 7 at the Vatican.

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  • Pope offers prayers for victims of Texas shooting

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Calling the mass shooting in a Texas Baptist church Nov. 5 an "act of senseless violence," Pope Francis asked the local Catholic archbishop to convey his condolences to the families of the victims and to the injured.

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  • Irish association to offer sessions for priests falsely accused of abuse

    DUBLIN (CNS) -- Irish priests who have been falsely accused of sexually abusing children are being offered group therapy sessions in a bid to improve their mental health. Ireland's Association of Catholic Priests will run its first so-called "Circle of Healing" later in November in Cork, as part of an innovative new move to help innocent churchmen who have been affected by past abuse scandals.

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  • Book says nuns found John Paul I dead, could help on path to sainthood

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Two women may hold the key to clearing up questions still surrounding the death of Pope John Paul I and to overcoming the first hurdle on his path to canonization. Stefania Falasca, a journalist for Avvenire, the Italian Catholic daily newspaper, is the vice postulator of the sainthood cause of the pope, whose pontificate lasted only 33 days in 1978. Although it no longer is unusual for a woman to serve as official promoter of a cause, she is the first to be vice postulator of a pope's sainthood cause.

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  • Christianity can survive in Iraq but not without your help

    Santiago, Chile, Nov 2, 2017 ACI Prensa.- “Iraq needs aid now, or it will be without Christians,” said Fr. Luis Montes, a missionary priest has been serving in the Middle East and the Holy Land for more than 20 years. His current mission is a refugee camp in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, that houses 120,000 people.

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  • English Catholic, Anglican leaders: Palestinian homeland needed for justice

    LONDON (CNS) -- Recognition of a national homeland for Palestinians is required to achieve justice and reconciliation in the Holy Land, English Catholic and Anglican leaders announced Nov. 2. They used the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, in which Britain declared its support for a Jewish state, to press for a two-state solution to decades of strife between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.

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  • Pro-lifers laud US Senate's confirmation of judicial nominee

    Washington D.C., Nov 1, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- Catholic and pro-life groups are welcoming the Senate's confirmation on Tuesday of Amy Coney Barrett to the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. Barrett had faced hostile questions about her Catholic faith during her confirmation hearing.

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  • Religious from other countries minister to Turkey's Latin-rite community

    ISTANBUL (CNS) -- At 10 a.m., Franciscan Father Dominic Ko walked to the altar to begin Mass in Korean, his native tongue. "Amen," replied the 30 people in attendance, all of them also Korean. The Church of St. Mary Draperis is in the heart of Istanbul, where Father Dominic landed 10 years ago to tend to the country's Korean community. He is the only Korean priest in Turkey but, as a religious from a foreign country, he is not alone. He is one of the 125 Latin-rite Catholic religious from more than 20 nations. It is a tiny yet very diverse community for a country with very few Latin Catholics. Accurate numbers are not available, although the Istanbul Vicariate estimates they number about 5,000; Eastern Catholics number about 20,000.

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  • Assassin happy for beatification of Indian Clarist nun

    BANGALORE, India (CNS) -- An Indian nun stabbed to death in 1995 will be beatified Nov. 4, and one of those who will celebrate is her assassin. Clarist Sister Rani Maria Vattalil, 41, was stabbed in front of more than 50 bus passengers on a remote jungle track in Madhya Pradesh state as she was on her way home to Kerala state to visit.

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  • European church leaders: Populist fervor doesn't present whole truth

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Healthy patriotism is different from nationalist, populist fervor that manipulates people for political ends, said two top church leaders. "When you have the idea that your nation is higher, is better than other nations, that is not Christian, that is not according to the Christian faith," said German Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, president of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE).

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