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Cuba, US: how the Holy See was behind the scene for 50 years

Cuba, US: how the Holy See was behind the scene for 50 years

VATICAN, Dec 19, 2014–The announcement that the US and Cuba will enjoy warmer relations follows more than 50 years of Vatican diplomacy, which was ramped up by St. John Paul II during his 1984 visit to nearby Puerto Rico. The Church’s commitment for Cuba has a twofold path: on one side, the relations that bishops, [...]

WASHINGTON D.C., Dec 18, 2014–Catholic bishops in the U.S. and Cuba rejoiced at the historic announcement of a new relationship between the countries, while some U.S. leaders warned the policy shift could have negative consequences. “Engagement is the path to support change in Cuba and to empower the Cuban people in their quest for democracy, [...]

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WARSAW, Poland, Dec 18, 2014–Ukrainian Catholic leaders have warned their church is being driven underground again, a quarter-century after it was re-legalized with the end of communist rule. “In Crimea and eastern Ukraine, we’ve already effectively returned to the catacombs,” said Father Ihor Yatsiv, the church’s Kiev-based spokesman. “It’s a sad paradox that history is [...]

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BANGUI, Central African Republic, Dec 18, 2014–The Catholic Church in the Central African Republic continues to work for peace and reconciliation within the country, with its leading bishop visiting and reaching out to displaced Muslims. Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga, the president of the bishops’ conference and archbishop of the capital city of Bangui, recently visited a [...]

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For Archbishop Chaput, Holy Family holds lesson on immigration

PHILADELPHIA, Pa., Dec 16, 2014–Faithful Catholics “need to remember that the Holy Family too was once a family of immigrants and refugees,” Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia said on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He stressed: “we need to treat the undocumented among us with the mercy and justice we expect for [...]

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WASHINGTON D.C., Dec 16, 2014–Christmas carols echo reality for most Americans, who believe in the historical accuracy of several Gospel descriptions of the birth of Jesus Christ. The Pew Research Center’s survey, published Dec. 15, found “widespread belief in the Biblical Christmas story.” About 73 percent of all respondents said they believe Jesus Christ was [...]

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WASHINGTON, Dec 16, 2014–U.S. women religious welcomed the conciliatory tone of a Vatican report on religious life and appreciated acknowledgement of the important ministry that they practice day in and day out in the life of the church. They also said the report, released Dec. 16, opens a new beginning for women religious, who have [...]

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WABAG, Papua New Guinea, Dec 15, 2014–A bishop in Papua New Guinea last week condemned the witch hunts which take place in the country, where many residents believe in sorcery and those accused of practicing it – mostly women – are attacked and murdered by mobs. “I encourage all our citizens not to get into [...]

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Mexicans observe Our Lady of Guadalupe feast amid dire challenges

MEXICO CITY, Dec 13, 2014–Dressed in green T-shirts and clutching statues of Our Lady of Guadalupe covered in plastic, a group of pilgrims from Guerrero prayed, posed for photos in front of the basilica dedicated to the national patroness, set out on a march to their hometown in the hills south of Mexico City. They [...]

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LOS ANGELES, Calif., Dec 13, 2014–More than 25,000 people – including many young people – attended an outdoor Mass in Los Angeles honoring the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Scores of young boys dressed as miniature Juan Diegos and little girls donning multi-colored hair ribbons and traditional Mexican-style dresses marched beside Aztec and [...]

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NEW YORK, Dec 13, 2014–The day after a grand jury decided it would not indict a New York police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner on Staten Island, the New York City Commission of Religious Leaders asked that any protests arising from the matter be peaceful. “We all agree that these protests must [...]

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LIMA, Peru, Dec 12, 2014–Latin American church leaders apologized for historical complicity with colonial atrocities in the Amazon and called for a church with an “Amazonian face” in a pastoral letter issued as negotiators from around the world met for a climate summit here. “The exploitation of the Amazon through mining, the expansion of farming [...]

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MANCHESTER, England, Dec 12, 2014–Young Africans are being seduced into modern slavery by the promise of a dream that never comes true, an English cardinal told a conference on human trafficking. Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster said “there seems to be no enticement that isn’t being used” by human traffickers to entrap children. The cardinal [...]

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A silver lining from World War I? Restored ties between UK, Holy See

VATICAN CITY, Dec 7, 2014–A Mass was said on Wednesday at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls to mark 100 years of restored diplomatic relations between Britain and the Holy See, a relationship first broken amid the English Reformation. The UK’s ambassador to the Holy See, Nigel Baker, was present at the Dec. [...]

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ROME, Dec 5, 2014–Catholic, Anglican, Sunni and Shiite leaders vowed to do all they can to combat “ugly and hideous” distortions of religion, and to involve more women — often the first victims of violence — in official interreligious dialogues. Holding the third Christian-Muslim Summit in Rome Dec. 2-4, the leaders said that while more [...]

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WASHINGTON D.C., Dec 5, 2014–A new art exhibit in Washington, D.C., hopes to revive a sense of womanhood exemplified in the Virgin Mary, as depicted by Renaissance and Baroque artists. “I think one of the messages that the exhibit communicates to all viewers – irrespective of religion or lack of religious interest and commitment,” explained [...]

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