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VATICAN CITY – Because his cassock doesn't have a breast pocket, Pope Francis said he wears a cloth pouch under his white robes to carry the crucifix he took from a deceased priest. Meeting March 6 with pastors of Rome parishes, Pope Francis said that while he was vicar general of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires he went to pay his last respects to a Blessed Sacrament priest, an extremely popular confessor, who had died in his 90s.
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Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast's decree no longer allowing eulogies during Catholic funeral Masses has created a stir, but he says he is happy for the teaching opportunities. Reaction, both positive and negative, began when the decree was announced last fall in Catholic Ottawa, the diocesan newsletter. After the decree was published in January and came into effect in February, however, the subject of eulogies at funerals became national news.
Pope Francis suggested the Catholic Church could tolerate some types of nonmarital civil unions as a practical measure to guarantee property rights and health care. He also said the Church would not change its teaching against artificial birth control but should take care to apply it with "much mercy." Pope Francis' words appeared in an interview published March 5 in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.
VATICAN CITY – Less than a week before he was to take top Vatican officials and head out of town for a week-long Lenten retreat, Pope Francis said retreats should renew the faith of participants, transforming their ministry and their relationships with others. "Those who live a retreat in an authentic way," the pope said, "experience the attraction and fascination of God and return renewed and transfigured in their daily lives, their ministry and their relationships."
The Catholic Church needs to find a way to offer healing, strength and salvation to Catholics whose marriages have failed, Cardinal Walter Kasper told the world's cardinals. Some way is needed to help those couples who are committed to making a new union work and who long to do so within the Church and with the grace of Communion, Kasper said in a Feb. 20 talk.
Edmonton Pro-Life is hopeful that the milder spring-like weather will motivate more people to participate in this year's 40 Days for Life. This year's peaceful, prayerful campaign goes from March 5 to April 13. Volunteers pray outside of the Women's Health Options (formerly known as the Morgentaler Clinic) at 12409-109A Ave. during the Lenten campaign.
Unprecedented meetings between Catholic and Evangelical Christians in Calgary helped prepare for more local conversations about how people from divergent Christian traditions can work together to proclaim and witness the Christian mission, says Paulist Father Thomas Ryan. Increased contact between Evangelicals and Roman Catholics "is relatively recent and notably eye-opening, given the past unitive efforts by Evangelicals stopped well short of Roman Catholic doors," Ryan said at a unique ecumenical conference.
The Church is nothing other than the fellowship of holy people who live authentic Christian lives, says Father Joseph Komanchak. The Church is not something outside ourselves, something extraneous to us, Komonchak said in delivering the annual Anthony Jordan Lecture series, March 7-8. Komonchak, a leading theologian who taught at The Catholic University of America for 32 years and was the English-language editor of the five-volume History of Vatican II, delivered three lectures on St. Augustine's understanding of the Church.
Twenty-five years on, the case that began the world-wide Catholic sexual abuse scandal is still crawling through the court system and still on the minds of Newfoundland Catholics. Three years after the Christian Brothers of Ireland filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States, 422 survivors of abuse at schools and orphanages operated by the brothers will begin receiving cheques this month. Included among them will be 90 former Newfoundland victims from the 1950s and '60s.
ROME – Lent is meant to wake up Christians and help them see that God can give them the strength to change their lives and their surroundings, Pope Francis said. Before receiving and distributing ashes at an evening Mass March 5, Ash Wednesday, Pope Francis gave a homily focused on a line from the prophet Joel: "Rend your hearts, not your garments."