WCR This Week

Turkish leader, pope denounce religious persecution, prejudice

Istanbul's grand mufti Rahmi Yaran

December 15, 2014
FRANCIS ROCCA
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

ISTANBUL – A day after hearing Turkish leaders demand the West show more respect for Islam, Pope Francis prayed alongside a Muslim cleric inside Istanbul's most famous mosque. At the Blue Mosque, Istanbul's grand mufti Rahmi Yaran led Pope Francis to the mosque's "mihrab," a niche indicating the direction to the holy city Mecca. Then, as the grand mufti continued speaking, the pope fell silent and remained so for several minutes, with head bowed, eyes closed and hands clasped in front of him.

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N.B. gov't plans to loosen abortion restrictions

December 15, 2014
EVAN BOUDREAU
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

New Brunswick's Liberal government is removing restrictions to make access to abortion easier in the Maritime province. "As one newspaper headline said today, it is a monumental shift in public policy on abortion here in New Brunswick," said Peter Ryan, executive director of Right to Life New Brunswick. "For many years New Brunswick and (Prince Edward Island) have stood apart from the rest of Canada in that we have not had a policy on tax-funded abortion on demand. Now that has changed."

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Grandma Europe is weary and losing its soul, pope says

Pope Francis

December 15, 2014
CINDY WOODEN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

The European Parliament should value the continent's faiths to rejuvenate Europe's social, political and economic life, Pope Francis told the body Nov. 25. "In many quarters we encounter a general impression of weariness and aging, of a Europe which is now a 'grandmother,' no longer fertile and vibrant," the pope said. In too many cases, he said, the Judeo-Christian values and the humanist ideals that inspired the continental drive toward unity seem to have been replaced by "the bureaucratic technicalities of its institutions."

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Pope wants to open doors for divorced

December 15, 2014
FRANCIS ROCCA
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Pope Francis said the Catholic Church must find new ways to integrate divorced and civilly remarried people into the life of the Church and to make it easier for Catholic families to accept their homosexual members. In an interview with an Argentine newspaper, the pope answered several questions about the October 2014 Synod of Bishops on the family, which considered a controversial proposal to allow some divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion even without an annulment of their first, sacramental marriages. By Church law, such Catholics may not receive Communion unless they abstain from sexual relations, living as "brother and sister" with their new partners.

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Francis urges Council of Europe to walk 'royal road of peace'

December 15, 2014
CINDY WOODEN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

STRASBOURG, FRANCE – The project of European unity and cooperation, and ensuring peace on the continent, requires a commitment to dialogue and respect for others, Pope Francis said. The pope told council members that a "great toll of suffering and death is still being enacted on this continent." Visiting in Strasbourg Nov. 25, the pope marked the 65th anniversary of the 47-member Council of Europe. The council was formed to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Europe after the Second World War.

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Popular Mary's Veil drama returns to St. Albert

Photo from Mary's Veil

December 15, 2014
COLLEEN SOETAERT
SPECIAL TO THE WCR

Back by popular demand, Sandra Brenneis and St. Peter's choir in Villeneuve will again present their popular musical drama Mary's Veil. When asked why the show was coming back after six years, Brenneis responded, "When I talk to people they always ask, 'When is Mary's Veil coming back?' "To be honest, I had no intention of doing Mary's Veil this year. I felt that I was too busy, many of the cast could not return and I knew that if we did it, I would want to rewrite some of the music.

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N.S. priest's frustration spurs Catholic sponsorship program

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December 15, 2014
MICHAEL SWAN
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

What Father Pat Cosgrove started in anger is ending in communion. Chalice, the Catholic Canadian child sponsorship agency, has matured into a real partner to help feed poor communities in Africa, Latin America, Asia, Haiti and Ukraine. In Kenya, Chalice has launched a program that gathers small groups of people into support communities where they can learn to farm better and receive outside help to put what they learn into action. The program is called eRoots. It provides resources and training to help communities grow their own food and develop sustainable small farms. So far in Kenya, 165 "community development groups" have been helped, which translates into about 9,600 people working towards self-reliance.

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Catholic who knew his faith stumped a Bible thumper

December 15, 2014
DEBORAH GYAPONG
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS

Catholic apologist Tim Staples used to love stumping Catholics with Bible verses when he was a Pentecostal. Then he met a Catholic who stumped him. Speaking in Ottawa Dec. 6, the director of apologetics and evangelization for Catholic Answers said he used to think, "You have to be brain dead to be Catholic." Raised a Southern Baptist, Staples joined the Assemblies of God as an adult. He became especially fond of Bible verses he called "zingers" that he believed proved the Catholic faith was wrong.

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A vast far-flung nation of the hungry

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December 15, 2014
MICHAEL SWAN
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

I've lived in Toronto most of my life, studied in New York and my beautiful wife is from São Paulo. I have also visited London, Paris, Rome, Beirut, Beijing, Hong Kong, Jerusalem and Nairobi. All of these places are famous in some way for their food. But my most unforgettable meal was about 15 years ago in a village whose name I can't remember. It was in the hilly interior of Nicaragua, in a school building that had lost its roof, windows and doors to a hurricane that had flattened the village.

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Two children's views of Christmas

Picture by Jake Mangio

December 15, 2014

More than 150 children in the Evergreen Catholic School Division entered the district's fourth annual Christmas artwork contest. Here are two of the entries.

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