Pope plans to visit Sweden to commemorate Reformation anniversary

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis will visit Sweden in October to participate in an ecumenical service and the beginning of a year of activities to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Leaders from the Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation had already been set to meet Oct. 31, 2016, for the…

Pope: Six mission dioceses in Canada will transition to normal status

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis has decided that six dioceses in Canada, previously considered mission territories under the jurisdiction of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, will transition to normal status. The dioceses of Keewatin-Le Pas, Churchill-Hudson Bay, Moosonee, Grouard-McLennan, Mackenzie-Fort Smith and Whitehorse now fall under the normal, or “common law” status,…

March for Life marks 43rd anniversary of Roe decision legalizing abortion

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Catholic admonitions about inclusion mixed with strong political language before the March of Life got underway Jan. 22 in Washington. At a Jesuit-sponsored Mass for life at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Church that morning, Father Paddy Gilger’s homily reminded a small group of students that because Jesus made an effort to be inclusive…

Blizzard won’t stop march, but safety concerns cancel some trips to D.C.

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Sometimes being pro-life means making difficult decisions. Because of a predicted snowstorm in Washington, the St. Louis archdiocesan Catholic Youth Apostolate canceled its Generation Life pilgrimage to the March for Life. About 2,200 teens, adult chaperones, volunteers and staff were expected to participate in the 43rd annual march Jan. 22. The youth…

Foot-washing ritual not limited to men, Vatican says in new decree

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Following a request by Pope Francis, the Vatican issued a decree specifying that the Holy Thursday foot-washing ritual can include “all members of the people of God,” including women — a practice already observed by the pope and many priests around the world. In a letter dated December 2014 and addressed…

Don’t be afraid to show concern, fight poverty, pope tells global leaders

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Don’t be afraid of acting fairly and compassionately toward the poor, Pope Francis said in a written message to global business leaders attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. And do not let the sweeping innovations in robotics, science and technology “lead to the destruction of the human person —…

Dialogue, remembrance, peace highlighted as pope visits synagogue

ROME (CNS) — While the Catholic Church affirms that salvation comes through Jesus, it also recognizes that God is faithful and has not revoked his covenant with the Jewish people, Pope Francis said. Interrupted repeatedly with applause at Rome’s main synagogue Jan. 17, the pope said the church “recognizes the irrevocability of the Old Covenant…

Supreme Court rules Florida’s death penalty system unconstitutional

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The U.S. Supreme Court Jan. 12 said the state of Florida’s death penalty system is unconstitutional because it allows judges, rather than juries, to determine whether a convicted criminal should get a death sentence. Michael B. Sheedy, executive director of the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops in Tallahassee, said the conference was…