Time for forgiveness has begun, pope says as holy doors open worldwide

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — With the opening the Holy Door at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Pope Francis declared that the time for tenderness, joy and forgiveness had begun. As holy doors around the world were opened at city cathedrals, major churches and sanctuaries Dec. 13, the pope said this simple gesture of opening…

Climate activist, once a negotiator, lobbies for change in Paris

PARIS (CNS) — She’s been sidelined and downgraded, but climate activist Maria Theresa Nera-Lauron has refused to be silenced. The stakes, she said, are just too high. “I am in Paris because I know it is a very important moment in the world’s history … for humanity itself,” Nera-Lauron said near the French capital’s Place…

Mexican nun wins nation’s top human rights award

MEXICO CITY (CNS) — A Catholic nun was awarded Mexico’s top human rights award Dec. 10 for her work with the families of missing persons. Sister Consuelo Morales, a member of the Congregation of Our Lady: Canonesses of St. Augustine, has advocated for and accompanied families whose loved ones disappeared in violence or problematic security…

Pope reaffirms new annulment reforms as they come into effect

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — As reformed rules for marriage annulment cases came into effect, Pope Francis said the new norms are to be adhered to in order to help bring healing to failed marriages. With the release of two papal documents in September, the pope rewrote a section of canon law with the aim of…

Catholic schools give high marks to sweeping new federal education law

WASHINGTON (CNS) — When President Barack Obama signed the sweeping bipartisan legislation Every Student Succeeds Act Dec. 10, he described it as a “Christmas miracle.” “This is an early Christmas present. After more than 10 years, members of Congress from both parties have come together to revise our national education law,” he said. The other…

Pope Francis’ 2015: Family, ecology, but mostly mercy

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — At the Vatican and on five continents in 2015, Pope Francis continued to encourage and demonstrate a style of evangelization that emphasizes walking with people, listening to them and showing them God’s mercy. From the heart of the universal church to the heart of Africa, the pope showed how Christians with…

Attendees at vigil pray for shooting victims, for healing in community

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (CNS) — Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral was dark as men and women of different faiths walked down the center aisle of the mission-revival-style church. The names of the 14 victims of the Dec. 2 shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino were read by an unseen woman, with…

Pope Francis: The church needs this Holy Year of Mercy

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Catholic Church needs the extraordinary Holy Year to become an effective witness of God’s divine mercy, Pope Francis said. “The jubilee is a favorable time for all of us, so that in contemplating divine mercy, which surpasses every human limitation and shines in the darkness of sin, we may become…

Holy Year is a reminder to put mercy before judgment, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — On a cloudy, damp morning, Pope Francis’ voice echoed in the atrium of St. Peter’s Basilica: “Open the gates of justice.” With five strong thrusts, the pope pushed open the Holy Door, a symbol of God’s justice, which he said will always be exercised “in the light of his mercy.” The…