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  • At Madrid climate talks, Catholics work to provide 'moral perspective'

    OXFORD, England (CNS) -- Catholic campaigners at U.N. climate talks welcomed support from Pope Francis and vowed to bring a "firm moral perspective" to intergovernmental negotiations. Chiara Martinelli, a senior adviser to CIDSE, a network of 17 Catholic development agencies in Europe and North America, noted the importance of Catholic organizations at the talks, since more and more private sector and commercial companies attend.

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  • Vatican unveils Nativity scene, lights Christmas tree

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican unveiled the Nativity scene and lit the Christmas tree with energy-saving lights in St. Peter's Square during a late afternoon ceremony Dec. 5. The 85-foot-tall spruce tree came from the forests of the Veneto region in northeast Italy and another 20 smaller trees were donated by communities in the region's province of Vicenza.

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  • Top Catholic leaders in Hong Kong have backed street protesters

    HONG KONG (CNS) -- Catholic leaders in Hong Kong have widely supported nearly seven months of anti-government protests, except when they turned violent. Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, retired bishop of Hong Kong and a longtime supporter of anti-government protests, and Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing have been involved in both the protests and actively supporting protesters. Cardinal John Tong Hon, once retired but serving as acting bishop since January, also has shown support.

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  • Trust in Christ, not in psychics, sorcerers, pope says at audience

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis scolded people who consider themselves practicing Christians, but who turn to fortunetelling, psychic readings and tarot cards. True faith means abandoning oneself to God "who makes himself known not through occult practices but through revelation and with gratuitous love," the pope said Dec. 4 during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.

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  • Bishop Malone resigns; Albany bishop named apostolic administrator

    BUFFALO, N.Y. (CNS) -- Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone told Catholics Dec. 4 he asked Pope Francis to allow him to retire early so the people of the diocese "will be better served" by a new bishop who is "perhaps better able" to bring about "reconciliation, healing and renewal" in addressing the abuse crisis.

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  • Beatification for Archbishop Sheen postponed

    PEORIA, Ill. (CNS) -- Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria said Vatican officials have told him that the upcoming beatification of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen has been postponed. A news release from the Diocese of Peoria said it was informed Dec. 2 that Vatican had decided to postpone the Dec. 21 ceremony "at the request of a few members" of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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  • From abuse to 'nones,' U.S. bishops share concerns with pope

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The timing of the U.S. bishops' "ad limina" visits to the Vatican was a matter of Pope Francis' schedule and the regular rhythm of his meetings with the world's bishops. But for Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, it also was "providential."

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  • Defend dignity of persons with disabilities, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The dignity and rights of people with disabilities are increasingly threatened by a society that discriminates and views them as a burden, Pope Francis said. In a letter marking the U.N.'s International Day of Persons with Disabilities Dec. 3, the pope said that humanity needs to "develop antibodies against a culture that considers some lives as class A and others as class B; this is a social sin!"

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  • Teen dedicates Scout project to unborn children, including four siblings

    RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- Their names were Gabriel, Angela, Faith-Marie and Lucy Hodge. They were each loved by their family, but none survived to meet the family outside the womb. Now their names are etched on a plaque at the Tomb of the Unborn Child, a memorial for miscarried and stillborn children located at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Richmond.

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  • Mideast Catholic leaders call for peace, stability in region

    CAIRO (CNS) -- Amid deadly protests in Iraq, a people's uprising in Lebanon and continued suffering in Syria, Catholic leaders of the Middle East called upon officials of their homelands to "ensure safety, peace and tranquility and stability for their citizens."

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  • Australia's bishops protest national move to force priests to reveal confessions

    Canberra, Australia, Dec 2, 2019 CNA.- Australia’s Catholic bishops support “nationally consistent” reporting standards for the abuse of minors, but cannot support new national legal standards that would force priests to report real or suspected child abuse learned under the strict confidence of sacramental confessions, the bishops have said.

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  • Evangelizers are like angels, bringing good news to the world, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A thirst for God and for his true and undying love is rooted in the heart of every human being, Pope Francis said. So, in order to evangelize, all it takes is someone who can help revive that longing and be a messenger -- an angel -- of hope, bringing the good news of Christ, he said Nov. 30.

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  • Archbishop Lori: Bishops must focus on poor, not seek personal gain

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The example of St. Peter and the teaching of his successor encourage bishops to serve their flocks "willingly and generously," Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said. Archbishop Lori, who was appointed earlier this year to investigate allegations of sexual and financial improprieties made against Bishop Michael J. Bransfield, former bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, said Pope Francis also "warns us against using our ministry for financial gain or personal comfort."

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  • Pope returns part of relic of Jesus' crib to Holy Land

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As Advent approached, Pope Francis gave a small fragment of Jesus' crib back to Catholics in the Holy Land. In Bethelehem, West Bank, Franciscan Father Rami Asakrieh of St. Catherine Church welcomed the relic's return and called it "a great blessing."

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  • Duluth bishop dies after heart attack; he was 'greatly loved' by all

    ST. PAUL, Minn. (CNS) -- Bishop Paul D. Sirba of Duluth, Minnesota, died at Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth Dec. 1. He was 59. According to a statement from the diocese's vicar general, Father James Bissonette, Bishop Sirba suffered cardiac arrest at St. Rose Catholic Church in Proctor and was rushed to the medical center where lifesaving measures were unsuccessful.

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