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By Catholic News Service

cns-logoWASHINGTON (CNS) — The Supreme Court Jan. 16 agreed to hear four cases over the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, tackling the questions of whether the 14th Amendment requires states to allow such marriages and whether it requires them to recognize same-sex marriages licensed in other states.

In brief orders, the court accepted petitions from Tennessee, Michigan, Kentucky and Ohio, consolidating them into one hearing that will be held probably in late April, meaning a decision would likely come before the end of the term in late June. The court allotted an unusually lengthy period of time for oral arguments, two and a half hours, compared to a typical 60-minute period. Continue Reading »

By Francis X. Rocca
Catholic News Service

Pope Francis accepts a gift from Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena during a visit in a presidential office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Jan. 13. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis accepts a gift from Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena during a visit in a presidential office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Jan. 13. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CNS) — Arriving in Sri Lanka, a country recovering from two-and-a-half decades of ethnic and religious civil war, Pope Francis said reconciliation would require its people to explore their painful recent history and accept persistent differences within their multicultural society.

“The process of healing also needs to include the pursuit of truth, not for the sake of opening old wounds, but rather as a necessary means of promoting justice, healing and unity,” the pope said Jan. 13 at an arrival ceremony at Colombo’s international airport.

Pope Francis addressed his words to Sri Lanka’s new president, Maithripala Sirisena, who was elected Jan. 8 and sworn in the next day. During his campaign, Sirisena promised an independent investigation into war crimes allegedly committed during the 26-year struggle between government forces and rebels belonging to the country’s Tamil minority. Continue Reading »

Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero is pictured in a 1979 photo in San Salvador. A panel of theologians advising the Vatican's Congregation for Saints' Causes voted unanimously Jan. 8 to recognize the late Salvadoran archbishop as a martyr, according to the newspaper of the Italian bishops' conference. (CNS photo/Octavio Duran)

Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero is pictured in a 1979 photo in San Salvador. A panel of theologians advising the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints’ Causes voted unanimously Jan. 8 to recognize the late Salvadoran archbishop as a martyr, according to the newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference. (CNS photo/Octavio Duran)

By Chaz Muth
Catholic News Service

NOTRE DAME, Ind. (CNS) — Scholars who have studied the life of murdered Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero say a reading of the tea leaves suggest advancement of his sainthood cause is imminent.

The new is being met with jubilation by many Romero researchers and with mixed emotions by Salvadorans.

Supporters of the cause for Romero’s canonization have been frustrated for years by what they view as a stalled effort.

However, the cause now appears to have momentum, and a soon-to-come beatification or sainthood announcement “would be a great day for us,” said Damian Zynda, an Archbishop Romero researcher who is a faculty member with Christian Spirituality Program at Creighton University.

Zynda was among several scholars Catholic News Service interviewed during the annual International Conference on Archbishop Oscar Romero at the University of Notre Dame in September. Continue Reading »

cns-logoBy Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The morning after 12 people were shot to death and 11 others injured at the Paris office of a satirical weekly newspaper, Pope Francis dedicated his early morning Mass to the victims and their families.

At the beginning of the Mass Jan. 8, he told the small congregation that the attack in Paris Jan. 7 was a reminder of “the cruelty man is capable of. Let us pray at this Mass for the victims of this cruelty — there are so many! And, we pray also for the perpetrators of such cruelty that the Lord will change their hearts.”

French police were searching for two heavily armed men believed to be those who burst into the offices of Charlie Hebdo weekly during an editorial meeting. Among the dead were the weekly’s editor and four cartoonists, who have been criticized in the past by Muslim groups for their caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Continue Reading »

Pope Francis carries his crosier after celebrating Mass on  the feast of the Epiphany in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Jan. 6. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters) See POPE-EPIPHANY Jan. 6, 2015.

Pope Francis carries his crosier after celebrating Mass on the feast of the Epiphany in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Jan. 6. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters) 

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In every age and in every culture, people seek God just as the Three Kings did and, in every age, with the help of the Holy Spirit, they find him in the surprising humility of a baby born in a manger, Pope Francis said.

“Led by the Spirit, they come to realize that God’s criteria are quite different from those of men, that God does not manifest himself in the power of this world, but speaks to us in the humbleness of his love,” the pope said Jan. 6, the feast of the Epiphany.

Before beginning the Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis and two families — each with two small children — paid homage to the newborn Lord by kissing a statue of Baby Jesus that had been placed in front of the main altar on Christmas Eve. Continue Reading »

By Francis X. Rocca
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican secretary of state said he expects Pope Francis to visit New York City and Washington, D.C., during his September trip to the United States.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who as secretary of state is considered the highest Vatican official under the pope, spoke to reporters Jan. 6, following a ceremony to dedicate a new building at the Pontifical North American College, the U.S. seminary in Rome.

Asked if Pope Francis would visit the United Nations in New York in September, Cardinal Parolin replied: “I think so, I think so, but no official announcement has been done. But everybody is speaking of that.” Continue Reading »

WASHINGTON—Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, decried the opening of a 2,400-bed detention center in Dilley, Texas, constructed to house, among others, families fleeing persecution in Central America.

The detention center, located southwest of San Antonio and operated by a private, for-profit group, was inaugurated Dec. 15.

“It is inhumane to house young mothers with children in restrictive detention facilities, as if they are criminals,” Bishop Elizondo said December 16.  “Already traumatized from their journey, these families are very vulnerable and need care and support, not further emotional and psychological harm.”

Studies have shown that detention has a harmful psychological impact on children.  Continue Reading »

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