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A ‘reality check’ for Ireland’s Church – gay marriage vote both challenge and invitation
People have their wedding pictures taken at the papal cross in Phoenix Park in Dublin May 21.  (CNS photo/Cathal McNaughton, Reuters)

People have their wedding pictures taken at the papal cross in Phoenix Park in Dublin May 21. (CNS photo/Cathal McNaughton, Reuters)

By Ann Schneible
Aid to the Church in Need
(via Catholic News Agency)

The Christian message can’t be shaken by a national vote, but Ireland’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage is forcing Catholic leaders to rethink how they have been keeping the faith alive among the nation’s young people.

“This vote has certainly changed the landscape in which the Church ministers in Ireland and the outcome offers it new and brave challenges,” said Dublin native Monsignor John Kennedy, speaking after Friday’s referendum to allow same-sex couples in Ireland to marry. Continue reading

 
Vote to legalize gay marriage poses uncertain future for Ireland
World Youth Day pilgrims from Ireland attend the World Youth Day in Madrid in 2011. (CNA Photo)

World Youth Day pilgrims from Ireland attend the World Youth Day in Madrid in 2011. (CNA Photo)

By Ann Schneible
CNA/EWTN News

As Ireland goes to the polls to vote on whether to legalize same-sex marriage, one Church official warns that the new law could bring yet-unforeseen consequences for future generations.

“The importance of the vote today cannot be underestimated,” said Msgr. John Kennedy, an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in a May 22 email to CNA.

If passed, the Dublin-native said the referendum “would signal a significant alteration in how marriage is understood, appreciated at a societal level and taught to future generations.”

Continue reading

 
Pope says parents must not exclude themselves from children’s lives
Pope Francis greets a baby as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican May 20. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis greets a baby as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican May 20. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Laura Ieraci
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Parents must not exclude themselves from their children’s lives and, despite what some “experts” may say, they must take an active role in their children’s education, said Pope Francis during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square May 20.

“It’s time for fathers and mothers to come out of their exile — because they have exiled themselves from their children’s education — and to fully assume again their educational role,” he said.

Continuing a series of talks about the family, the pope said its “essential characteristic” is its “natural vocation to educate children so that they grow in responsibility for themselves and for others.”

But, faced with numerous experts who tell them how their children should be raised, many parents have withdrawn their involvement in their children’s education, and this is “very grave,” he said. Continue reading

 
Pope Francis: Fear and joylessness are signs of bad spiritual health
Pope Francis reaches out to embrace a little child in the crowd in St. Peter's Square during the Wednesday General Audience on May 13, 2015, the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima. (CNA Photo)

Pope Francis reaches out to embrace a little child in the crowd in St. Peter’s Square during the Wednesday General Audience on May 13, 2015, the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima. (CNA Photo)

By Ann Schneible
CNA/EWTN News

VATICAN CITY — In his daily homily on Friday Pope Francis said that Christian communities become “sick” when they live in fear and fail to be joyful – even when times are difficult.

“When the Church is fearful and when the Church does not receive the joy of the Holy Spirit, the Church is sick, the communities are sick, the faithful are sick,” the Pope said during Mass at the Santa Marta residence May 15. Continue reading

 
Vatican-Palestine accord supports ‘two-state’ solution
Pope Francis prays in front of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican May 13. The statue, which was present for the May 13 feast of Our Lady of Fatima, is a copy of the original in Fatima, Portugal. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano, pool)

Pope Francis prays in front of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican May 13. The statue, which was present for the May 13 feast of Our Lady of Fatima, is a copy of the original in Fatima, Portugal. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano, pool)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Vatican and Palestinian representatives have finalized the text of a formal agreement recognizing freedom of religion in the “State of Palestine” and outlining the rights and obligations of the Catholic Church, its agencies and its personnel in the territory. Continue reading

 
In family relations, good manners are no joke, pope says at audience
Pope Francis gestures toward the crowd as he  points out a statue of Our Lady of Fatima during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican May 13. The pope prayed in front of the statue, present for the May 13 feast of Our Lady of Fatima.  The statue is a copy of the original in Fatima, Portugal. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis gestures toward the crowd as he points out a statue of Our Lady of Fatima during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican May 13. The pope prayed in front of the statue, present for the May 13 feast of Our Lady of Fatima. The statue is a copy of the original in Fatima, Portugal. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY  — The closer two people are to each other, the more care is required in respecting the other’s freedom and feelings, Pope Francis said.

Even Jesus knocks at the door of a person’s heart awaiting permission to enter, he said May 13 at his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square.

“Intimacy does not authorize you to take everything for granted,” he said, starting a series of audience talks he said would look at the “real life” of families today.

The audience was held on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. The pope began the gathering by praying silently before a statue of Mary and, after a Portuguese aide summarized his talk, the pope asked him to lead the Hail Mary in Portuguese. The aide complied, his voice breaking with emotion at the surprise request. Continue reading

 
Vatican approves statutes for papal commission for protecting minors

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, head of the Pontifical Commission for Child Protection, speaks at a news conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome Feb. 16. At right is Sheila Hollins, professor emeritus of psychiatry of disability at St. George's University of London. The news conference was held to officiall inaugurate the launch of the Center for Child Protection, (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service 

VATICAN CITY — The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors received temporary approval of its first set of statutes.

U.S. Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston — one of the pope’s top cardinal advisers and president of the pontifical commission — had submitted a draft of the statutes, which were approved “by mandate of the supreme pontiff” April 21 by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state.

The Vatican released a copy of the approved statutes May 8. Their approval is good for three years. Continue reading

 
Vatican releases details of pope’s trip July 5-12 to South America

Pope Francis smiles as he leads an audience with the Italian Tennis Federation in Paul VI hall at the Vatican May 8. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis’ July 5-12 visit to Latin America will not take him to his native Argentina, but it will put him closely in touch with his Jesuit roots and with one of the main characteristics of his ministry as archbishop of Buenos Aires: direct contact with the poor, the sick and those striving to bring the Gospel to bear on social inequalities.

The pope will begin his three-nation South America tour in Ecuador before moving on to Bolivia and Paraguay, the Vatican announced May 8 when it published a detailed itinerary for the visit. Continue reading

 
Vatican unveils logo, prayer, details of Holy Year of Mercy

This is the logo for the Holy Year of Mercy, which opens Dec. 8 and runs until Nov. 20, 2016. (CNS/courtesy of Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization)

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service 

VATICAN CITY — The Holy Year of Mercy will be an opportunity to encourage Christians to meet people’s “real needs” with concrete assistance, to experience a “true pilgrimage” on foot, and to send “missionaries of mercy” throughout the world to forgive even the most serious of sins, said Archbishop Rino Fisichella.

The yearlong extraordinary jubilee also will include several individual jubilee days, such as for the Roman Curia, catechists, teenagers and prisoners, said the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, the office organizing events for the Holy Year of Mercy. Continue reading

 
Pope to Lutherans: In Christian unity, don’t be afraid of the tough issues

Martin Luther, a German monk, is depicted in this painting at a church in Helsingor, Denmark. His 95 theses posted on a church door in Wittenberg, Germany, in October 1517 called for reform in the Catholic Church, which set off a series of debates and led to his excommunication and the start of the Reformation about four years later. (CNS photo/Crosiers)

By Ann Schneible
CNA/EWTN News 

Christians in pursuit of unity should not be afraid to broach potential areas of disagreement such as marriage, family, and sexuality, Pope Francis said in a meeting with the head of Sweden’s Lutheran church.

“All Catholic faithful” are invited “to take up, recognize the signs of the times, the way of unity for overcoming divisions among Christians,” the pontiff said during the private audience with Lutheran archbishop Uppsala Antje Jackelen.

Division, he said – speaking in reference to the Vatican II decree on ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio – is not only in opposition “to the will of Christ, but is also a scandal to the world and causes damage to the holiest of causes: the preaching of the Gospel to every creature.” Continue reading