Category: National and International

Shooting in Brazilian cathedral leaves five dead, four injured

SAO PAULO | A gunman opened fire inside a Brazilian church, killing four people and injuring four others before turning the gun on himself, police said. The shooting occurred Dec. 11 just as parishioners from Our Lady of the Conception Cathedral in Campinas, near Sao Paulo, were leaving a midday Mass. “I conducted the Mass… Read more »

Don’t be afraid to ask for things from God in prayer, pope says

VATICAN CITY | No one should be afraid to turn to God with prayer, especially in times of great doubt, suffering and need, Pope Francis said. Jesus does not want people to become numb to life’s problems and “extinguish” those things that make them human when they pray, the pope said Dec. 12 during his… Read more »

Church will spare no effort to end abuse, pope tells Curia

VATICAN CITY | Acknowledging the gravity of the clerical sexual abuse crisis, Pope Francis told members of the Roman Curia that the church’s strength does not depend on its members’ perfection, but on the willingness to recognize its failings and correct them. “Let it be clear that before these abominations, the church will spare no… Read more »

U.S. bishops, others mourn death of Guatemalan girl near border

WASHINGTON | Three U.S. Catholic bishops Dec. 18 joined their voices in mourning the death of a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl shortly after she crossed the U.S.-Mexico border with her father and they turned themselves in to U.S. Customs and Border Protection seeking asylum. The girl, who was identified by the Guatemalan government as Jackeline Caal,… Read more »

West Bank residents work to ensure tourists spend time with locals

BEIT SAHOUR, West Bank | Bethlehem and the neighboring towns of Beit Jala and Beit Sahour depend economically on tourism, but traditionally have struggled with keeping visitors in the area for more than half a day. Although the hotels are fully booked for Christmas this year, that does not necessarily mean it will translate into… Read more »

High court won’t hear states’ appeals over defunding Planned Parenthood

WASHINGTON | Pro-life leaders said they were disappointed the U.S. Supreme Court declined Dec. 10 to hear appeals from Kansas and Louisiana on lower court rulings that have stopped the states from blocking Medicaid funds going to Planned Parenthood. “Complicated legal arguments don’t take away from the simple fact that a majority of Americans oppose… Read more »

Pope: God’s Christmas wish isn’t buying-frenzy, feast, but gift of self

VATICAN CITY | Christmas will not be authentic if people get caught up in a frenzy of shopping, presents and meals, all while ignoring the poor and forgetting who the celebration is really all about, Pope Francis said. “If Christmas ends up as just a beautiful traditional holiday,” where everything revolves around “us and not… Read more »

Advent calendars: Old tradition and modern commercialism, same message

WASHINGTON | The Advent calendar with one tab or box to open each day for 24 or 25 days taps into something people really like: countdowns. It also highlights the anticipation that is at the heart of the four-week liturgical season of Advent. These calendars, which are religious in nature, hence always with the name… Read more »

Pope to make historic visit to United Arab Emirates in February

VATICAN CITY | Pope Francis will visit the United Arab Emirates next year, becoming the first pope to visit the Arabian Peninsula, the Vatican announced. In a Dec. 6 statement, the Vatican said the pope will “participate in the International Interfaith Meeting on ‘Human Fraternity’” after receiving an invitation by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan,… Read more »

At Advent, make peace, not war, pope says at morning Mass

VATICAN CITY | The Advent season is a time of preparation for the coming of the prince of peace and not a time of making war with those around you, Pope Francis said. As Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, they must also reflect on what they do in their daily lives to… Read more »