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Tuesday, December 6, 2016
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First US-born martyr on path to sainthood
First US-born martyr on path to sainthood


Pope Francis has recognised the martyrdom of Fr Stanley Rother, a priest from Oklahoma City who served in Guatemala. Fr Stanley was murdered in July 1981 by a death squad believed to have been made up of right wing extremists. He is the first martyr to have been born in the United States. During his audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Pope also approved decrees for: The heroic virtue of Mother Catherine Aurelia of the Precious Blood, foundress of the first contemplative community founded in Canada.

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Fatima centenary celebrations
Fatima centenary celebrations

Next year will be 100th anniversary of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three shepherd children at Fatima in Portugal. To celebrate this anniversary many events will be taking place at the shrine. It has now been confirmed that the Pope Francis will visit Fatima on the 13th May. He will be in Lisbon the day before and Braga the day after. The story of Fatima actually starts in 1916, when three children where visited by the Angel of Portugal. The three children Lucia, and her two cousins, the brother and sister, Francisco and Jacinta, were visited three times by the Angel.

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Archbishops from Iraq and Syria refused visas to attend cathedral consecration in London
Archbishops from Iraq and Syria refused visas to attend cathedral consecration in London

HM the Queen sent a personal message, while Prince Charles was the guest of honour.... Prime Minister, Rt Hon Theresa May, sent a letter to be read out to the congregation in which she spoke of how "the appalling violence that has afflicted so many areas of the Middle East reminds us how fortunate we are to live in a country where different religious beliefs are not only tolerated, but welcomed." Yet that welcome did not extend to Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, Archbishop of Mosul or to Timothius Mousa Shamani, Archbishop of St Matthew's...who were refused UK visas to attend the cathedral's consecration in

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Pope: God does not take away our freedom, but gives us true happiness
Pope: God does not take away our freedom, but gives us true happiness

"The Kingdom of God is at hand and is indeed in the middle of us - this is the central message of all Christian mission," Pope Francis told the crowds in St Peter's Square during his Angelus address for the Second Sunday of Advent. In the day's Gospel reading, John the Baptist issues the invitation to "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". The Holy Father explained that with these same words Jesus will start his mission in Galilee and it is an announcement that will "bring the disciples on their first missionary experience."

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DR Congo: Franciscan nun killed
DR Congo: Franciscan nun killed

A Franciscan nun was killed in DR Congo last week. Sr Marie-Claire Kahambu was killed in Bukavu as she worked in her office at a girls' training centre that she was running. According to Jimmy Ndumba of 'Beni Lubero Online', two men wielding knives, on the afternoon of 29 November, scaled the wall of the Mater Dei Parish, burst into the office of Sr Marie Claire and stabbed her several times before running away with some money belonging to the centre. The attack was described as an"odious crime committed against a peaceful and defenceless servant of God."

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Holy Land: Christian cemetery in Galilee desecrated
Holy Land: Christian cemetery in Galilee desecrated

The Christian cemetery of the village of Kfar Yassif in Galilee, northern Israel, was desecrated on Thursday, December 1, 2016. Blasphemous and obscene graffiti, written in Arabic, were found on several graves and funerary plaques as well as on the outer walls of the cemetery. The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, in communion with all the Churches of the Holy Land, has strongly condemned this act of vandalism and expressly asked the police to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice as soon as possible.

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US Bishops announce day of prayer & solidarity with refugees and migrants
US Bishops announce day of prayer & solidarity with refugees and migrants

A Day of Prayer with a focus on the plight of refugees and migrants will take place across the United States on December 12, 2016, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. "It will be a time to place before a merciful God the hopes, fears, and needs of all those families who have come to the US seeking a better life," the Bishops say in a statement. "As Christmas approaches and especially on this feast of Our Lady, we are reminded of how our saviour Jesus Christ was not born in the comfort of his own home,

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Pope Francis meets global business leaders forum
Pope Francis meets global business leaders forum

..."When we ignore the cries of so many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world, we not only deny them their God-given rights and worth, but we also reject their wisdom and prevent them from offering their talents, traditions and cultures to the world," - he continued - "In so doing, the poor and marginalized are made to suffer even more, and we ourselves grow impoverished, not only materially, but morally and spiritually." Pope Francis challenged the business leaders to respond to global levels of injustice by promoting a local - "and even personal" - sense of responsibility

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Egypt: Christian community attacked by mob
Egypt: Christian community attacked by mob

Buildings belonging to the Coptic community of Al-Nagameesh village in the Sohag governorate, Upper Egypt, were attacked on 25 November by a mob that thought a community centre was being used as a church. A crowd emerged from the local mosque, after noon prayers and proceeded to the Coptic community, setting ablaze the four storey building they believed was being used as a church. The Coptic community had applied for permission to build a church; however, the building in question was used as a care home for the elderly and a nursery.

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'The most important diseases you have never heard of'
'The most important diseases you have never heard of'

In 1014 Byzantine Emperor Basil II defeated the Bulgarian army and captured 15,000 prisoners. He could have killed them but he had a different idea - he wanted to weaken his opponents for decades to come. He ordered 99 out of every 100 prisoners to be blinded while the 100th was spared one eye in order to guide the others back home forcing their communities to care for them for the rest of their lives. Today humans are subject to an attack just as cynical as the Emperor's by a group of super villains known as Neglected Tropical Diseases

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Calais: A new chapter starts
Calais: A new chapter starts

I set off to drive to Dover on the last day of November to make my first visit to Calais since the destruction of the 'Jungle' camp. The temperature was permanently below zero as I headed East along the A2 and M2, with the blinding morning sun ahead of me. I had already packed goods from a variety donors into the car and met up with Ben and his son to add an even larger quantity principally collected by the people of St Aidan's church in Coulsdon. Ben also handed over a large amount of cash which had been raised in recent weeks to support the continuing work in Calais.

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Pope Francis' December prayer intention calls for end to child soldiers
Pope Francis' December prayer intention calls for end to child soldiers

Pope Francis' prayer intention for December is for the End to Child-Soldiers: That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
The Apostleship of Prayer has produced the Pope's Video on this prayer intention.... In this world, which has developed the most sophisticated technologies, weapons are sold that end up in the hands of child soldiers.

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China: Christian prisoner of conscience dies
China: Christian prisoner of conscience dies

Peng Ming, a long-term political prisoner, has died in prison in Hubei, China, but doubts have been cast over the lack of official information concerning his death. In other news, Jiang Tianyong, another human rights defender, remains missing and may be at risk of torture. Peng Ming died in prison on 29 November while serving a life sentence for engaging in 'terrorist activities'. However, in November 2005, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had adopted an Opinion that Peng's detention was arbitrary. In the 1980s and 1990s Peng, a Christian, established organisations and publications

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World Aids Day: Pope calls for solidarity and treatment for all
World Aids Day: Pope calls for solidarity and treatment for all

Pope Francis has appealed to all persons to act in a responsible manner to prevent the spread of HIV-Aids. Speaking during the weekly general audience in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope recalled that on Thursday, 1st December, we mark World Aids Day which is promoted by the United Nations. "Millions of people live with this illness and only half of them have access to life-saving therapies" he said. The Pope invited all to pray for them and for their families and promote solidarity so that "also the poor can benefit from adequate diagnosis and treatment.

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Pope Francis. True Christian humility is 'childlike' not 'theatrical'
Pope Francis. True Christian humility is 'childlike' not 'theatrical'

Pope Francis said yesterday that true Christian humility is the virtue of the childlike and is never a 'theatrical humility'. His words came during his morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Reflecting on the day's readings in his homily, Pope Francis said God reveals himself to the humble and childlike rather than the wise and learned as recounted in the gospel of Luke. He noted that the first reading from the book of Isaiah is also full of references to little things such as the small shoot that "shall sprout from the stump of Jesse" rather than an army that will bring about liberation.

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Exclusive eyewitness report from #Standing Rock
Exclusive eyewitness report from #Standing Rock

More than 15,000 Native Americans and their supporters are currently camped in sub-zero temperatures in a peaceful effort to stop the construction of the North Dakota Access Pipeline, cutting through their ancestral homes and burial grounds, protected by treaty, and threatening to pollute the Missouri River which supplies water to 17 million people. Tomorrow prayer vigils will be taking around the world to appeal to the US government to stop this. We have just been sent this eyewitness report from a family from Wisconsin who joined the vigil.

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Sierra Leone: CAFOD honours work of  community faith leaders on first Ebola-free anniversary
Sierra Leone: CAFOD honours work of community faith leaders on first Ebola-free anniversary

One year since Sierra Leone was declared officially Ebola free by World Health Organisation, UK aid agency CAFOD are honouring the community faith leaders who played a vital role in tackling the deadly outbreak which claimed almost 4,000 lives. CAFOD worked across several parts of Sierra Leone, including the northern town of Kambia, alongside its local partner, Caritas Makeni, to ensure victims' bodies were buried safely and with dignity. However at the time burying the dead caused anger amongst villagers, who were upset loved ones were denied proper funerals, traditional burial

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Brussels: EU bishops join discussion on migration and European values
Brussels: EU bishops join discussion on migration and European values

Two Bishops of COMECE (Commission of Bishops Conferences of the European Community) participated in the High-level religious leaders meeting with the EU. This year it was dedicated to the theme "Migration, Integration, European values: from words to action". COMECE welcomes the open and constructive dialogue which took place on 29 November at the seat of the EU Commission with the Commission's First Vice-President Frans Timmermans. The First Vice-President of COMECE, Mgr Jean Kockerols, outlined the concerns, facts and convictions of the Catholic Church in the

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Pope encourages scientists to work on sustainable development
Pope encourages scientists to work on sustainable development

Pope Francis received participants in the Plenary Session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Monday. The gathering of leading scientists from a broad spectrum of fields is exploring how scientific advances affect the sustainable development of human societies and their environments. The eminent physicist Stephen Hawking was one of the first speakers on Saturday. He gave a presentation on his No-Boundary proposal concerning the beginnings of the universe. In his address on Monday, the Pope said: "It falls to scientists, who work free of political, economic or ideological interests,

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Over 1500 faith leaders urge Republican lawmakers to reject Trump's 'Cabinet of Bigotry'
Over 1500 faith leaders urge Republican lawmakers to reject Trump's 'Cabinet of Bigotry'

More than 1,500 interfaith leaders are calling on Republican members of Congress to reject President-elect Donald Trump's 'Cabinet of Bigotry' that includes Senator Jeff Sessions, Alt-Right leader Steve Bannon, and Lt Gen Michael T Flynn, and to appoint advisers who understand that forging a more tolerant, united and inclusive America is the best way forward. Prominent Catholic, Protestant, Sikh, Muslim and Jewish faith leaders have endorsed a national petition stating that white supremacy has no place in the West Wing or any other rung of leadership.

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 CAFOD welcomes revised Colombia peace deal - with reservations
CAFOD welcomes revised Colombia peace deal - with reservations

Whilst the signing of a new peace deal to end Colombia's armed conflict is welcome, the country must urgently address the rise in killings of human rights defenders, says aid agency CAFOD. On 24 November 2016 the Colombian Government and largest guerrilla group, the FARC, signed a revised peace deal, which has been submitted to Congress for approval. The previous deal was rejected in a popular vote on 2 October. CAFOD's Head of Region for Latin America, Clare Dixon, said: "We welcome the news that the Colombian Government and FARC have

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London: Prayer vigil for Zimbabwe
London: Prayer vigil for Zimbabwe

A candlelit vigil was held outside the Zimbabwean Embassy in the Strand, London, on Saturday afternoon to pray for those who have lost their lives or been abused in the struggle against the Mugabe regime. The Zimbabwe Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy at 429 The Strand, takes place every Saturday from 2-6pm to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. Started in October 2002 the vigil attracts several hundred participants each week and includes prayers, music, dancing, occasional guest speakers and a regular information stall.

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 South Korean bishops renew campaign against capital punishment
South Korean bishops renew campaign against capital punishment

The Catholic bishops' conference of South Korea, is renewing its opposition to the death penalty with an awareness-raising campaign utilizing media, education and cultural events. The Subcommittee for the Abolition of Capital Punishment held its annual plenary and talked about how to further promote the church's stance on the death penalty to Korean society. The subcommittee will campaign against capital punishment by publishing op-eds and articles by respected individuals from the church and other organizations including secular ones.

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Pope Francis: Advent calls us to enlarge our horizons
Pope Francis: Advent calls us to enlarge our horizons

Pope Francis marked the beginning of the new liturgical year during the Angelus on the First Sunday of Advent. On this day, the Pope said, the Gospel introduces us to one of the most "evocative" themes of the Advent season: the visit of the Lord to humanity. Pope Francis pointed out three visits of the Lord: the first, in the past, with the Incarnation, and Birth of Jesus at Christmas; the second, in the present, as Jesus visits us continually, every day; and the final visit, in the future, when Jesus "will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead." Advent encourages us to reflect on the contrast between

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Pope addresses winners of Ratzinger Prize
Pope addresses winners of Ratzinger Prize

Pope Francis addressed the winners of the 2016 Ratzinger Prize on Saturday - Mgr Inos Biffi and Ioannis Kourempeles, in the Vatican's Clementine Hall. Awarded by the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation, the Ratzinger Prize is given as a sign of the Church's gratitude to scholars and professors who have stood out for their scientific research in the theological field. Mgr Biffi, a professor, and internationally renowned theologian and liturgist, was awarded the prize for his Opera Omnia, a collection of his writings, most of which are on theology and medieval philosophy.

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Displaying Articles 1 - 25 of 7037
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