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Pope’s 2015 World Peace Day message will focus on human trafficking

Pope Francis waves as he leads his weekly audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Aug. 20. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Human trafficking destroys the lives of millions of children, women and men each year, making it a real threat to peace, the Vatican said as it announced Pope Francis‘ 2015 World Peace Day message would focus on the phenomenon. Continue reading

 
Prayer source of strength for slain U.S. journalist, family

American journalist James Foley, who was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in November 2012 in Idlib, Syria, is pictured in an undated photo. Foley, a freelance war correspondent from New Hampshire and Marquette University alum, was killed at the hands of the Islamic State militant group. (CNS photo/Nicole Tung, courtesy GlobalPost via EPA)

By Catholic News Service

ROCHESTER, N.H. — In April 2013, the parents of slain U.S. journalist James Foley attended a prayer vigil at Marquette University in Milwaukee to pray for their son, who at that time had disappeared in Syria. Continue reading

 
Pope talks airstrikes in Iraq, his health, possible U.S. visit
Pope Francis, still wearing a yellow pin commemorating the victims of last April’s ferry disaster, walks down the aisle to answer questions from journalists aboard the papal flight from Seoul, South Korea, to Rome Aug. 18. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See POPE-PLANE Aug. 18, 2014.

Pope Francis, still wearing a yellow pin commemorating the victims of last April’s ferry disaster, walks down the aisle to answer questions from journalists aboard the papal flight from Seoul, South Korea, to Rome Aug. 18. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Francis X. Rocca
Catholic News Service

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM SEOUL, South Korea — Pope Francis said the use of force can be justified to stop “unjust aggressors” such as Islamic State militants in northeastern Iraq, but he declined to endorse U.S. military airstrikes against the militants and said such humanitarian interventions should not be decided on by any single country. Continue reading

 
In South Korea, pope calls for peace, democracy and social justice

Pope Francis arrives for a meeting with the bishops of South Korea at the headquarters of the Korean bishops' conference in Seoul Aug. 14. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Francis X. Rocca
Catholic News Service

SEOUL, South Korea — Starting his first visit to Asia, Pope Francis urged South Korean political and civic leaders to seek peace on their divided peninsula and strengthen their nation’s commitment to democracy and social justice.

“Peace is not simply the absence of war, but the work of justice,” the pope said Aug. 14 in a speech at Seoul’s Blue House, the official residence of President Park Geun-hye. Continue reading

 
Vatican calls on Muslim leaders to condemn Islamic State

Volunteer Iraqi Shiite militia members near Hibhib stand guard against Islamic State militants Aug. 11. The Vatican called on Muslim leaders to condemn the "barbarity" and "unspeakable criminal acts" of Islamic State militants in Iraq, saying a failure to do so would jeopardize the future of interreligious dialogue. (CNS photo/EPA)

By Francis X. Rocca
Catholic News Service 

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican called on Muslim leaders to condemn the “barbarity” and “unspeakable criminal acts” of Islamic State militants in Iraq, saying a failure to do so would jeopardize the future of interreligious dialogue. Continue reading

 
Christian patriarchs denounce silence on persecution in Mideast

Christian refugees march against persecution by Islamic State fighters outside the U.N. compound near the airport in Irbil, Iraq, July 24. Christians braved temperatures as high as 122 degrees Fahrenheit to make their voices heard. (CNS photo/Sahar Mansour)

By Doreen Abi Raad
Catholic News Service 

BEIRUT — Mideast Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs denounced the “total international silence” on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and called for Muslim religious authorities to issue fatwas, or legal edicts, banning attacks against Christians and “other innocents.” Continue reading

 
Pope to send envoy to Christians forced from their homes in Iraq
Displaced people are seen resting on the ground at an area in Duhok, Iraq, Aug. 7. Given the "grave situation in Iraq," Pope Francis has asked Cardinal Fernando Filoni,  prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, to travel to the region to meet church and government officials, but especially to meet Christians chased from their homes by militants of the Islamic State. (CNS photo/courtesy Christian Aid Program) See MIDEAST-PATRIARCHS, POPE-IRAQ and IRAQ-PRAYER Aug. 8, 2014.

Displaced people are seen resting on the ground at an area in Duhok, Iraq, Aug. 7. Given the "grave situation in Iraq," Pope Francis has asked Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, to travel to the region to meet church and government officials, but especially to meet Christians chased from their homes by militants of the Islamic State. (CNS photo/courtesy Christian Aid Program)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Given the “grave situation in Iraq,” Pope Francis has asked Cardinal Fernando Filoni to travel to the region to meet church and government officials, but especially to meet Christians chased from their homes by militants of the Islamic State. Continue reading

 
Pope’s Korea trip seen as chance to for Catholics to renew their faith

A Catholic ceremony takes place at the historic Chon Jin Am site in Gwangju, South Korea, June 24. The country is set to host about 30 countries for a five-day Asian Youth Day event that is focused on formation and spiritual life, particularly for youth leaders. The event will coincide with Pope FrancisÕ visit to that country, where he is scheduled to beatify 124 Korean martyrs. (CNS photo/YONHAPNEWS via EPA)

By Elizabeth Wong Barnstead
Catholic News Service 

NORTHVILLE, Mich. — When St. John Paul II canonized 103 Korean martyrs in 1984 in Seoul, South Korea, Dr. Alexius Hong was there to attend the canonization Mass.

“This will be the second pope who visits Korea,” said Hong of Pope Francis’ plans to visit South Korea from Aug. 14-18. “It’s very, very exciting.” Continue reading

 
Vatican says Sign of Peace to stay put in Mass

People exchange sign of peace during Mass for the feast of the Assumption of Mary Aug. 15, 2013 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The sign of peace at Mass has not always led to serenity among liturgists or within the congregations gathered each Sunday in Catholic churches around the world. Continue reading

 
Changing needs, changing names: Reform of Curia is Vatican tradition
Pope Francis made his international advisory panel on church governance, unofficially dubbed the "Group of Eight" or "G-8," a permanent council of cardinals. He was scheduled to meet for the first time with the panel Oct. 1. The eight are from top, left to right: Italian Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, Chilean Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias, German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Congolese Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, U.S. Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, Australian Cardinal George Pell and Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga. (CNS photos) (Sept. 30, 2013) See POPE-CARDINALS Sept. 30, 2013.

Pope Francis made his international advisory panel on church governance, unofficially dubbed the "Group of Eight" or "G-8," a permanent council of cardinals. He was scheduled to meet for the first time with the panel Oct. 1. The eight are from top, left to right: Italian Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, Chilean Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias, German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Congolese Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, U.S. Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, Australian Cardinal George Pell and Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga. (CNS photos)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis and his international Council of Cardinals continue to study the most effective and efficient way to organize the Roman Curia, a large bureaucracy with a long history of expansions and a few, short-term, attempts at consolidation. Continue reading