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NEW YORK — With “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (Disney) (PG-13), the most popular series in film history resurfaces after a 10-year hiatus. This is the seventh installment in the franchise as well as the first feature in a planned third trilogy. Like its predecessors, it’s essentially a family-friendly piece of entertainment,

IMAGE: CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec By Nancy Wiechec NOGALES, Mexico (CNS) — Kenia Salas, about to play the role of Mary in a Christmastime commemoration popular across Mexico, said she imagines Mary as a woman of strength. “I think she was worried about her baby,” Salas, 17, said before participating in

IMAGE: CNS photo/Alberto Pizzoli, pool via Reuters By Carol Glatz VATICAN CITY (CNS) — If Pope Francis sees the church as a field hospital after battle, then his annual Christmas address to the Roman Curia often looks like the triage tent, with him holding the charts. Instead of a typical

IMAGE: CNS photo/Joshua Roberts, Reuters By Angela Cave NEW YORK (CNS) — There are still unanswered questions about the legal implications of June’s Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling, but analysts agree religious institutions face big challenges in the months and years to come. The landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges

IMAGE: CNS photo/Disney By Junno Arocho Esteves VATICAN CITY (CNS) — “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” broke box office records and restored a new hope in the franchise to the delight of fans worldwide with a few exceptions, including the Vatican’s newspaper. Emilio Ranzato, author and frequent movie critic for

IMAGE: REUTERS By Tom Tracy WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CNS) — The explosive global refugee crisis — likely the top debate-generating news story of 2015 — seems destined to dominate domestic and foreign politics for years to come at a time when Pope Francis has been calling for a compassionate

IMAGE: CNS/Nancy Phelan Wiechec By Junno Arocho Esteves VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis appointed a U.S. media adviser as the vice director of the Vatican press office and an Irish prelate known for revolutionizing the Vatican’s approach to social communication as bishop and adjunct secretary of the Pontifical Council

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring By Carol Glatz VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Seeing baby Jesus in the Nativity scene reminds people that Christ uses humility and love to save the world, not impressive force or a magic wand, Pope Francis said. “God does not love powerful people’s imposing revolutions in history, and

IMAGE: CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec By Carol Glatz VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis has approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Teresa of Kolkata, thus paving the way for her canonization. Pope Francis signed the decree for Blessed Teresa’s cause and advanced three other sainthood causes Dec. 17,

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring By Carol Glatz VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When Pope Francis established the Year of Mercy, a full slate of Jubilee events were slotted into his already packed calendar for 2016. A typical “business as usual” year for a pope is already full with meetings, liturgies and foreign