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Release Imprisoned Pastor, Congressional Hearing Urges Iran (2311)

Saeed Abedini’s imprisonment shows that U.S. foreign policy must continue to highlight Iran's human-rights and religious-freedom abuses, religious-liberty advocates say.

12/27/2013 Comments (2)

Naghmeh Abedini (c.), wife of Pastor Seeed Abedini, testifies at a Dec. 12 hearing on Capitol Hill.


WASHINGTON — A congressional hearing about Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen imprisoned in Iran, produced more calls for his speedy release and warnings that his situation reflects Iran’s continued poor human-rights record.

“The plight of Pastor Saeed’s imprisonment is not isolated, but is symptomatic of the Iranian regime’s hostility to religious minorities,” warned Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., chair of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa.

She co-sponsored the joint Dec. 12 hearing titled “Iran’s Persecution of American Pastor Abedini.”

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who chairs a House subcommittee that includes global human-rights issues, stressed the...READ MORE

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Philadelphia Priest’s ‘Historic’ Conviction Overturned (12737)

A three-judge panel noted the evidence showed Msgr. William Lynn prioritized the archdiocese’s reputation over the victim’s safety but was not enough to convict him of child endangerment.

12/27/2013 Comments (42)
AP photo/Alex Brandon

Msgr. William Lynn

– AP photo/Alex Brandon

PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia Superior Court has overturned the conviction of Msgr. William Lynn, who was convicted and sent to prison as a felon for his role in reassigning a priest with a history of sexually abusing a minor.

A three-judge panel ruled Thursday that Msgr. Lynn, who served from 1992 to 2004 as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s secretary for clergy, was wrongfully convicted on felony child-endangerment charges. Lynn was the first U.S. Catholic official to be convicted of a crime over his handling of sexual-abuse allegations.

Msgr. Lynn has been serving a three-to-six-year prison sentence, after being found guilty in June 2012 of felony child endangerment for his role in...READ MORE

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L’Osservatore Romano Launches Redesigned Website (3444)

The Vatican newspaper says that, 150 years after it was founded, it is ‘taking on this new adventure in the digital world.’

12/27/2013 Comments (1)

VATICAN CITY — L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s newspaper, unveiled its revamped website Dec. 17, meant to broaden the reach of the paper and make it more friendly to social media.

“More news, more photos, more sharing through social networks,” one of the paper’s journalists, Piero Di Domenicantonio, wrote in an editorial published Dec. 16, saying the publication “renews and broadens its online presence and the information service it offers to the world.”

“With innovative graphics and a substantial improvement in accessibility, the new site marks a turning point in the spread of the newspaper,” he said, adding that articles “can easily be relaunched on Twitter and Facebook.”


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Vanishing Catholics, Christmas Massacre of Christians in Iraq, The Practice of Art and Much More! (5803)

The Best in Catholic Blogging

12/27/2013 Comments (2)

Vanishing Catholics. Follow the link by Fr. William P. Clark, OMI, of Homiletic & Pastoral Review.

Vanishing Catholics by Fr. William P. Clark OMI of Homiletic & Pastoral Review - BigPulpit.com

Christmas Massacre of Christians in Iraq – Mark Movsesian, First Thoughts

So-Called ‘gay marriage’, Catholic Schools, Bigotry & Homophobia – The Motley Monk, The American Catholic

The Space Between: Ritual & the Practice of Art – Angela Cybulski, Aleteia

Being a Better Friend to Atheists Online – Stacy Trasancos PhD

Did St. Joseph Suspect the Virgin Mary of Adultery? – Joe Heschmeyer, Shameless Popery

Warning! Tradition: A Danger To Your Children? via Fr. Z’s Blog - BigPulpit.com

St. Joseph’s Suspicion of Mary, Another View from Early Church Fathers – Michael Barber, The Sacred...READ MORE

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Fear of the Lord Confirms the Virtue of Hope (5853)

COMMENTARY: A Register series on the gifts of the Holy Spirit

12/26/2013 Comments (4)
Wikimedia Commons

Detail of 'The Return of the Prodigal Son,' by Batoni

– Wikimedia Commons

As we have seen in our previous discussions, the paradox of the gift of the fear of the Lord is that it is a fear that does not call us to cringe like slaves, but to rejoice in reverence of our Father as his children.

Jesus feared God, but never cringed before him. Instead, he worshipped and adored him so much that he willingly laid down his life in obedient love toward him for our sakes. And he did so, not in some act of despair, but because he trusted that God would bring abundant life and gladness out of it.

As Hebrews 12:2 says, it was for the joy set before him that he endured the cross, despising its shame. Jesus did not lay down his life because he saw himself as a worthless...READ MORE

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Economist: Christianity Helps India’s ‘Untouchable’ Women Rise Up From Poverty (6139)

A Georgetown University researcher’s pilot study found positive improvements for India’s Dalit women after converting to Christianity.

12/26/2013 Comments (6)
CNA/Hilary Senour

Young professional women walk along the street in Bangalore, India.

– CNA/Hilary Senour

ROME — A researcher at Georgetown University in Washington has found that impoverished women in India are more likely to improve their economic circumstances after converting to Christianity.

“Conversion actually helps launch women on a virtuous circle. A woman feels better; she’s part of an active faith community; she works more; she earns more money: The extra money she earns and saves encourages her to earn more and save more and plan and invest in the future,” said Rebecca Samuel Shah, research fellow at Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs.

Shah presented her initial findings of a pilot study looking at “patterns and directions where conversion had an...READ MORE

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A Look Back at Vatican Reporting With the Late ‘Dean of Vaticanisti’ (2680)

Benny Lai had a long, successful career of covering the Vatican for 60 years.

12/26/2013 Comment


ROME — Benny Lai, known in Italy as “dean of the vaticanisti,” died Dec. 12 at the age of 88, following a lengthy illness. Before his death, he shared with CNA a look back at the past 60 years of covering the Vatican.

Lai was born in 1925, in Aprigliano, in southern Italy, and he started his career as a journalist in 1946.

He was accredited with the Vatican city state press service in 1952, and he long carried with him his first accreditation card as something of a “relic.”

It had been signed by then-Father Giovanni Montini, who was a deputy in the Vatican Secretariat and who would be elected Bishop of Rome in 1963, becoming Paul VI.

In 1952, the Vatican Press Office was located...READ MORE

Filed under blessed john paul ii, catholic faith, catholic media, pope paul vi

Vatican Encourages Renewed Missionary Zeal in Catholic Schools (2869)

A new document from the Congregation for Catholic Education says Catholic schools must foster intercultural dialogue to build a civilization of love for the human person.

12/26/2013 Comments (4)

– ncea.org

VATICAN CITY — A recently released Vatican document is calling for a fresh commitment to Catholic identity within what it calls an increasingly secularized educational system.

At a press conference held Dec. 19, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, said, “The Catholic identity of the school is fundamental.”

Noting the many challenges facing Catholic schools, the cardinal added, “Today one of the greatest problems is when large organizations want to impose gender ideology.”

“Today, due to the advanced process of secularization, Catholic schools find themselves in a missionary situation, even in countries with an ancient Christian...READ MORE

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