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  • Religions that do not pursue peace are a contradiction, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Religions, which are meant to build bridges, contradict their very nature if they stop pursuing the path of peace, Pope Francis said. "Our differences, therefore, must not pit us one against the other; the heart of a true believer seeks to open paths of communion always and everywhere," the pope said in a written message to an annual international gathering of religious and cultural leaders.

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  • Relics offer physical reminder that saints were real people

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis and many people attending the canonization Mass in St. Peter's Square were alive when St. Paul VI and St. Oscar Romero were alive, but the new saints' relics and those of five other people canonized Oct. 14 still were present at the Mass as reminders that the saints were flesh-and-blood people who lived holy lives.

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  • Pope expels two Chilean bishops from priesthood

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In an unprecedented move, Pope Francis removed from the priesthood two Chilean bishops accused of sexual abuse. In a statement released Oct. 12, the Vatican said 84-year-old Francisco Jose Cox, the former archbishop of La Serena, and 53-year-old Marco Antonio Ordenes, the former bishop of Iquique, were dismissed from the clerical state by the pope and there would be no appeal.

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  • Pope accepts Cardinal Wuerl's resignation as Washington archbishop

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl as archbishop of Washington but did not name a successor. When the pope's decision was announced Oct. 12, the Archdiocese of Washington released a letter from Pope Francis to the cardinal, making clear his support for Cardinal Wuerl's ministry and leadership, but also praising the cardinal for putting the good of the church first.

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  • U.K. court rules for bakers refusing to make cake with gay marriage slogan

    MANCHESTER, England (CNS) -- The United Kingdom's Supreme Court has upheld the right of a bakery to refuse to make a cake emblazoned with a slogan in support of same-sex marriage. In a unanimous ruling, five judges overturned a series of decisions by the lower courts to conclude that "nobody should be forced to have or express a political opinion in which he does not believe."

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  • Who are the Chinese bishops received back into ecclesial communion?

    BANGKOK (CNS) -- Bishop Joseph Guo Jincai, one of two Chinese participants attending the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican, concelebrated Mass with St. John Paul II twice in 1995. Although he was a member of the government-approved Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association -- not recognized by the Vatican -- it was only after his illicit ordination as a bishop of the Chinese-designated Diocese of Chengde that he was automatically excommunicated.

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  • St. John Paul II still challenges Catholics to be holy, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The teachings, life and holiness of St. John Paul II can help guide and protect people on their daily journey toward Christ, Pope Francis said. Greeting Polish pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Krakow, which Pope John Paul led from 1964 until he was elected pope in 1978, Pope Francis thanked God for this "great pope" who led the church into the new millennium. The group was in Rome to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their countryman's election as pope Oct. 16, 1978.

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  • Pope Francis: Abortion is like hiring a hitman

    Vatican City, Oct 10, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- In his general audience Wednesday, Pope Francis said that abortion “suppresses innocent and helpless life in its blossoming.” “Is it right to take a human life to solve a problem? It's like hiring a hitman,” Pope Francis said in St. Peter’s Square Oct. 10, in a departure from his prepared remarks.

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  • Bishop Barron gives insight into youth synod process

    Vatican City, Oct 9, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- From his perspective inside the Vatican’s youth synod, Bishop Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, told CNA that participating bishops have real opportunities - through the unique process used during the meeting - to shape the final document produced by the meeting.

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  • Reports: President will pass along invitation for pope to visit North Korea

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The South Korean president's office said that when the president meets Pope Francis Oct. 18, he will pass on an invitation for the pope to visit North Korea. The Vatican confirmed Oct. 9 that South Korean President Moon Jae-in would meet the pope Oct. 18 at the Vatican. The evening before the meeting, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, will celebrate a Mass for peace on the Korean peninsula in St. Peter's Basilica, and Moon will attend.

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  • Vatican investigates former Chilean archbishop

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican is investigating an accusation of abuse against a controversial Chilean archbishop, the Schonstatt Fathers confirmed. In a statement released Oct. 6, Schonstatt Father Fernando Baeza, the order's provincial superior in Santiago, Chile, said an accusation of abuse that occurred in Germany in 2004 against retired Archbishop Francisco Jose Cox was reported in 2017.

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  • Church must answer abuse survivors' thirst for justice, archbishop says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Responding to clerical sexual abuse demands truth and justice, not just admitting a sin was committed, said Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna of Malta. When he speaks with survivors, "I find a great thirst and a great hunger for justice, which I share," he told reporters at a synod briefing Oct. 8.

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  • Pakistan court rules on Catholic's blasphemy charge, defers announcement

    CHESTER, England (CNS) -- A court in Pakistan has reached a decision on whether a Catholic woman will become the first person to hang to death under the country's controversial blasphemy laws. A special bench of the Supreme Court, sitting in Islamabad, reached a verdict Oct. 8 on the fate of Asia Bibi, but publication has been deferred until a later, unspecified date, according to the British Pakistani Christian Association.

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  • McCarrick case: Vatican starting to acknowledge mistakes

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis, Cardinal Marc Ouellet and an official Vatican statement seem to be laying the groundwork for an admission that mistakes were made in handling allegations that Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick engaged in sexual misconduct and even abuse.

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  • Baldisseri reproves Chaput, says abuse crisis won't stop synod success

    Vatican City, Oct 1, 2018 CNA.- The secretary general of an upcoming synod of bishops said Monday he thinks the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church will not be a hindrance to the success of the meeting. He also criticized the recent decision of an American archbishop to publish a theologian’s critique of the synod’s working document.

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  • 5 bishops who could move the youth synod

    Vatican City, Oct 1, 2018 CNA.- This week the Synod of Bishops begins its fifteenth ordinary general session, convoked to discuss the themes of young people, the faith, and vocational discernment. The session will take place over three weeks, from October 3-28, and include bishops and other delegates gathered from around the world.

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  • Synod aims to renew the church to help young Catholics, cardinal says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To strengthen and support young people in the faith, members of the Synod of Bishops will need to listen to their real-life stories, interpret what they hear in the light of the Gospel and make decisions that will lead to an authentic renewal of the Catholic Church, said Brazilian Cardinal Sergio da Rocha.

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  • Church's problems are caused by its own members, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The barque of the church is being buffeted by strong winds of scandal created by its own members, Pope Francis told a group of priests from France. When the church is "hit by opposing and violent winds, especially because of grave sins committed by some of its members," the pope said Oct. 1, Catholics should not forget "the humble daily fidelity" of "the vast majority of those who have given their lives to the church as priests."

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  • Update: Pope expels Karadima, notorious Chilean abuser, from priesthood

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis expelled from the priesthood a Chilean who gained notoriety for sexually abusing young men in his parish. In a statement released Sept. 28, the Vatican said that Fernando Karadima was dismissed from the clerical state by the pope, who "made this exceptional decision in conscience and for the good of the church."

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  • Reach out to unmarried couples, support newlyweds, pope urges

    ROME (CNS) -- The Catholic Church must reach out to couples living together without being married, Pope Francis told those involved in family ministry in the Diocese of Rome. The church's outreach should extend "also to those young people who choose to live together without marrying. We must witness to them the beauty of matrimony," the pope said Sept. 27 during an evening meeting at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral of the Rome Diocese.

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  • Chinese Catholics outside mainland divided over Sino-Vatican agreement

    HONG KONG (CNS) -- Catholics in Macau, Taiwan and Hong Kong are divided over the provisional agreement between China and the Vatican on the appointment of bishops. Some believe it will lead to better diplomatic relations, but others question how Beijing's clampdown on religious freedom is compatible with a fruitful relationship with the Catholic Church, reported ucanews.com.

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  • With Academy for Life, experts urge greater access to palliative care

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A group of physicians and other health care experts are working with the Vatican to promote what they see as a sorely needed form of "advanced medical care" -- palliative care, which is centered on pain relief and emotional, spiritual and social support of patients with chronic, progressive diseases.

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  • The pope and the martyr: New saints offer youths a road map to holiness

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Catholic Church has its share of young saints who gave witness through their lives that holiness can be attained even at a young age. Others, like Blesseds Paul VI and Oscar Romero, show that the path to holiness begins early. The two will be declared saints Oct. 14 during the Synod of Bishops on young people and discernment.

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  • Free app reveals the wonders of Lebanon's variety of religions

    BEIRUT (CNS) -- From its high majestic mountains, picturesque villages and coastal towns to its bustling cities, Lebanon is rich in breathtaking scenery, cultural diversity and religious sites. Now the land of the cedars mentioned in the Bible 96 times is accessible virtually, via a free app in English -- called Holy Lebanon -- aimed at promoting religious tourism.

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  • German bishops apologize formally, release sex abuse data

    The head of the German bishops conference formally apologized for sexual abuse in the church, saying it "has been denied, turned away from and covered up for far too long." "Sexual abuse is a crime," Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising told a news conference Sept. 25 in Fulda, Germany. "And whoever is guilty of it must be punished by law."

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  • God's love in charity exists even in most secularized places, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- During times of freedom or persecution, the Gospel is needed to bring meaning, fullness and hope to life, Pope Francis said. Speaking about his Sept. 22-25 visit to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, the pope said he visited these Baltic nations as they celebrated the 100th anniversary of their declarations of independence.

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  • On plane, pope discusses sex abuse, corruption of cover-up, China pact

    ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT TO ROME (CNS) -- The Catholic Church has grown in its understanding of the horror of clerical sexual abuse and of the "corruption" of covering it up, Pope Francis said. Returning to Rome from a trip Sept. 22-25 to the Baltic nations, Pope Francis was asked about his remarks to young people in Tallinn, Estonia, when he said young people are scandalized when they see the church fail to condemn abuse clearly.

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  • Next step toward artificial reproduction violates human fundamentals, ethicist warns

    Washington D.C., Sep 25, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Artificial human reproduction appears to be on the horizon with Japanese scientists’ claim to have created immature human eggs from stem cells, but the technique could result in power that would cross the bounds of ethics and serve as a “profound violation” of marriage and marital love, a bioethicist has warned.

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  • The Jesuit who survived the KGB

    Vilnius, Lithuania, Sep 24, 2018 CNA.- When Pope Francis visited a former KGB building in Vilnius, Lithuania Sept. 23, Archbishop Sigitas Tamkevicius was the only bishop to accompany him there. Now housing the Museum of the Occupation and Freedom Fighters, the site was once used for the detention and execution of thousands of Lithuanians. Tamkevicius had personal experience as a prisoner there.

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  • Stay close to the suffering, forgive one another, pope tells Latvians

    AGLONA, Latvia (CNS) -- What would Mary do? was the question Pope Francis, in effect, asked Latvian Catholics gathered at their nation's popular Marian shrine. Celebrating Mass Sept. 24 at the Basilica of the Assumption, a shrine holding a beloved icon of the Mother of God in Aglona, 60 miles from the Russian border, Pope Francis insisted Marian devotion was about more than just pilgrimages; it means imitating Mary by staying close to those who suffer, acknowledging situations of injustice, forgiving offenses and promoting reconciliation.

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  • Find strength in tolerance, solidarity, pope tells Lithuanians

    VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- In Lithuania, a nation that experienced invasions, atrocities and persecution, Pope Francis began his visit with a plea to break down walls of suspicion and fear. "If we look at the world scene in our time, more and more voices are sowing division and confrontation -- often by exploiting insecurity or situations of conflict -- and proclaiming that the only way possible to guarantee security and the continued existence of a culture is to try to eliminate, cancel or expel others," the pope said Sept. 22.

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  • Update: Vatican signs provisional agreement with China on naming bishops

    VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- For the first time in decades, all of the Catholic bishops in China are in full communion with the pope, the Vatican announced. Pope Francis lifted the excommunications or irregular status of seven bishops who had been ordained with government approval, but not the Vatican's consent, the Vatican announced Sept. 22. A few hours earlier, representatives of the Vatican and the Chinese government signed what they described as a "provisional agreement" on the appointment of bishops.

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  • Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

    MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In a letter dated Sept. 20, the Cardinal Oswald Gracias, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, said Bishop Franco Mulakkal would be temporarily relieved of his pastoral duties for the Diocese of Jalandhar.

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  • Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope Francis said. "Among us there is also the habit of saying awful things, even profanity. Please, never, never, never insult other people's parents. Never! Never insult a mother, never insult a father," the pope said Sept. 19 during his weekly general audience.

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  • Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

    HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media outlets. Vatican spokesmen have said only that talks are ongoing. But a Vatican source told America magazine, the New York-based weekly published by the Jesuits, that the deal is due to be signed in Beijing before the end of September, but the report said the text of the agreement will not be made public even after the signing.

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  • Cardinal Marx says mistakes were made, calls for change in German church

    Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German church's handling of sex abuse of minors and said he anticipates change in the church. Speaking out for the first time Sept. 16 regarding the contents of a leaked document on church sexual abuse in Germany, Cardinal Marx attributed the abuse to the church "lacking attentiveness, lacking sensitivity, through the absence of love."

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  • Archbishop McCarrick's unofficial role in Vatican-China relations

    Vatican City, Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Following reports that the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China could be about to sign an agreement on the appointment of bishops in the country, attention has turned to the role of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick in fostering Vatican-China relations over the last two decades.

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  • Bishop takes a (sky) dive to get pilgrims to Lourdes

    HOVE, England (CNS) -- "The Moth has landed," tweeted the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The tweet Sept. 14 and a similar post on the diocesan Facebook page was meant to assure people that 60-year-old Bishop Richard Moth of Arundel and Brighton had fulfilled his pledge to go skydiving and had completed the task successfully and unharmed.

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  • Words, promises are not enough to prevent abuse, archbishop says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Inviting presidents of the world's bishops' conference to the Vatican to discuss abuse prevention reflects an understanding that "lovely" words and promises are not enough -- concrete, concerted action by the whole church is needed, said Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta.

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  • Pope praises Capuchin order's charism of authenticity, simplicity

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Capuchins are called to be men of peace, reconciliation and prayer and to be close to all people, Pope Francis told members of the order. "You are men who are able to resolve conflicts, to make peace (using) that wisdom that comes precisely from being close" to people, particularly those most in need, he told the group Sept. 14. The order was holding its general chapter in Rome Aug. 27-Sept. 16.

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  • What is the pontifical secret?

    Vatican City, Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Following the allegations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò about the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, many have called for official Vatican files on the former cardinal to be released. While this may seem like the easiest way of assessing the truth of Viganò’s claims, many of the documents in question could be protected by the “pontifical secret.” But what is that?

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  • Pope Francis warns priests against living a double life

    Palermo, Italy, Sep 15, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- During a day trip to Sicily Saturday, Pope Francis told priests and religious to fight their vices and strive to live a consistent witness of morality. “One cannot live a double morality: one for the people of God and another in their own home,” the pope told a group of priests, religious and seminarians in Palermo, Italy, Sept. 15.

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  • Catholic workers say U.S. aid cuts to Palestinians could be disastrous

    JERUSALEM (CNS) -- The U.S. budgetary cuts to humanitarian aid institutions helping Palestinians could lead to long-term disastrous consequences, said Catholic aid workers in the region. "There is concern that the humanitarian situation in Gaza, which is already dire, will be made worse," Hilary DuBose, who represents Catholic Relief Services in Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza, told Catholic News Service. "These massive budget cuts being made will impact CRS programs, though it is difficult to estimate (at this point) what that will be."

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