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Syrian War Especially Hard on Christians, Priest Notes (3374)

In the ten years since the invasion of Iraq, the country’s Christian population has plummeted.

03/22/2013 Comments (2)
Aid To the Church in Need

Syrian refugees in February 2013 take shelter in El Kaa village, Baalbek-Hermel state, Lebanon, close to the Syrian border

– Aid To the Church in Need

DAMASCUS, Syria — The Syrian civil war, which has now begun its third year, has “totally destroyed” a quarter of the country with local Christians particularly hard hit by the fighting, says a missionary priest.

“Christians are suffering so much. ‘Please don’t forget us’ is a very clear message,” Father Andrzej Halemba, a Polish diocesan priest who is Aid to the Church in Need’s projects coordinator for the Middle East, told EWTN News.

The Syrian conflict marked its second anniversary last week. On March 15, 2011, demonstrations sprang up nationwide, protesting the rule of Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s president and leader the country’s Ba’ath Party.

In April of that year, the Syrian...READ MORE

Filed under faith, islam

‘Reproductive Health’ Law Delayed in Philippines (3711)

The country’s Supreme Court issues a temporary stay against the law, which provides government funds for widespread dissemination of contraceptives.

03/22/2013 Comments (3)

MANILA, Philippines — Pro-family forces in the Philippines won a temporary victory when the nation’s Supreme Court issued a stay “status quo ante” on the much-contested reproductive-health law that was due to go into effect at the end of this month.

Passed by the Philippines Legislature and signed by President Benigno Aquino shortly before Christmas last year, the law provides government funds for widespread dissemination of contraceptives, which are classified as normal health care, including those that may cause early abortions. The law also mandates sex education in public grade schools and targets poor people for family-planning education.

The nation’s highest court issued the...READ MORE

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Spiritual Poverty Threatens World Peace, Pope States (3676)

Pope Francis emphasized that building real brotherhood requires the contributions of faith.

03/22/2013 Comment

Pope Francis meets with the diplomatic corps in Regia Hall on March 22.


VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis invited the diplomats accredited to the Holy See to join him in fighting both material and spiritual poverty, which contribute to the lack of peace in the world.

“Fighting poverty, both material and spiritual, building peace and constructing bridges: These, as it were, are the reference points for a journey that I want to invite each of the countries here represented to take up,” Pope Francis said.

The Pope met this morning in the Regina Hall of the Apostolic Palace with representatives from the more than 180 countries, sovereign orders and international organizations that have formal relations with the Vatican.

After a message of welcome and thanks from...READ MORE

Filed under faith, pope francis, vatican

Priest Kidnapped in Argentina Clears Pope of Accusations (4363)

Father Francisco Jalics was detained by officials who thought he was a Russian spy.

03/22/2013 Comments (1)
File Photo/CNA

Fr. Francis Jalics

– File Photo/CNA

Clarifying previous comments, a priest who was kidnapped during Argentina’s dictatorship in the 1970s is emphasizing that Pope Francis was not responsible for his detainment.

In a statement published on the official website of the Jesuit order in Germany, Father Francisco Jalics said that while he once believed his 1976 kidnapping was due to a denunciation by then-Father Bergoglio, he realized some 20 years ago that this belief was incorrect.

Following the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to the papacy on March 13, several media reports attempted to connect the new Pontiff to the Argentine dictatorship of Rafael Videla. At the time of the dictatorship, Father Bergoglio had been...READ MORE

Filed under catholic, pope francis

U.S. Help for Jailed Iran Pastor ‘Woefully’ Inept, Congressmen Charge (2848)

Six members of Congress urged the State Department to use the full resources of the U.S. government to free the Christian pastor.

03/22/2013 Comments (4)
American Center for Law and Justice.

Imprisoned pastor Saeed Abedin with his family.

– American Center for Law and Justice.

WASHINGTON — Six members of Congress say the U.S. State Department is not doing enough to help Pastor Saeed Abedini, an imprisoned U.S. citizen being held in an Iranian prison because of his Christian beliefs.
“To date, the State Department’s posture on this case has been woefully inadequate, especially given that the life of an American citizen hangs in the balance,” their March 20 letter said.
“Both the European Union and the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Iran have advocated publicly for Pastor Saeed — the same cannot be said of this administration.”
Those who signed the letter to Secretary of State John Kerry included Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., co-chair of the...READ MORE

Filed under catholic, congress, religious freedom

Bishops Say HHS Mandate Still Threatens Religious Liberty (3085)

USCCB legal analysis states that the Obama administration’s latest accommodation proposal is inadequate.

03/22/2013 Comments (11)

WASHINGTON — Despite proposals to modify the federal contraception and abortion mandate, the U.S. bishops said that the regulation is still unacceptable due to its narrow view of religion and resulting violations of religious liberty.

“The identity of the person or group having the religious-freedom objection should not matter; what should matter instead is whether the person or group faces government coercion to violate conscience,” said a document filed on behalf of the U.S. bishops.

“Religious freedom is for all who face this threat, not just some,” the March 20 statement declared. 

The document was written by Anthony Picarello and Michael Moses, general counsels for the U.S....READ MORE

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Pope Francis Reveals Secret of Priestly Celibacy; On Listening to Good Music and Much More! (6359)

The Best in Catholic Blogging

03/22/2013 Comment

In 2012 interview, Pope Francis Reveals Secret of Celibacy. Follow the link via Aleteia to read more.

In 2012 interview, Pope Francis Reveals Secret of Celibacy via Aleteia - Big Pulpit

On Listening to Good Music – Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, Corpus Christi Watershed

Protestant Bridges Catholic-Evangelical Gap – Ryan Eggenberger, Ignitum Today

The Devil Hates Priests – Christopher Check, Catholic Answers

Brave New World – Paul Zummo JD, The American Catholic

The Trouble With Evangedating – Lisa Cotter, Focus Blog

Should We Be “Desirable”. . .or “Sexy”? – Anthony S. Layne, Catholic Stand

The Veils of Lent – Jacob Tawney, Roma Locuta Est

Is It Okay to Have a Spiritual Director Not Advanced in Prayer? – Daniel Burke, Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction

12 Steps Up Mountain of...READ MORE

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Poll: Most American Catholics Pleased With Pope Francis (3198)

Among weekly Mass attendees, almost 90% are happy with his selection.

03/21/2013 Comments (4)

WASHINGTON — A new survey shows that U.S. Catholics are overwhelmingly content with the election of Pope Francis, with 73% of Catholics expressing happiness with the new Holy Father.

The poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center less than a week after the Pope’s March 13 election, also reports a subset of 31% of Catholics who say they are very happy with his election.

Though reported happiness was high, about 24% of Catholic respondents told the Pew Research Center they have not heard enough about the Pope to make a judgment.

However, only 2% said they were unhappy with the cardinals’ choice.

Among weekly Mass attendees, almost 90% are happy with his selection, compared to only...READ MORE

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