Talk to new bishops does not change guidelines on abuse, Vatican says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A talk given to new bishops during a Vatican-sponsored course does not represent new guidelines on the church’s response to abuse against minors by religious, a Vatican spokesman said. A 44-page report authored by French Msgr. Tony Anatrella and just published by the Vatican publishing house “is not in any way…

El Paso Diocese gets ready for rendezvous with Pope Francis

EL PASO, Texas (CNS) — Two days before Pope Francis’ main event in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, the Diocese of El Paso was coordinating the final touches to its own two main papal events. While the Diocese of Juarez’s chancery was bustling with church officials obtaining their papal Mass credentials, El Paso Bishop Mark J. Seitz…

Mexican politicians eager to show themselves meeting Pope Francis

MEXICO CITY (CNS) — Shortly after arriving in Mexico City Feb. 12, President Enrique Pena Nieto introduced Pope Francis to most of his Cabinet and senior staff. The next morning, he introduced the pope again to his team at the National Palace in central Mexico City, where presidents and leaders have projected power to the…

In crime-plagued periphery, pope preaches conversion

ECATEPEC, Mexico (CNS) — Pope Francis began his travels to Mexico’s “peripheries” by visiting an overcrowded, sprawling settlement known internationally as a hunting ground for girls to force into prostitution and for boys to enlist in the drug trade. Ecatepec, on the northern edge of Mexico City, also has tidy gated communities and a new…

Pope makes long-awaited visit to Our Lady of Guadalupe

By Junno Arocho Esteves¬† Catholic News Service Pope Francis fulfilled his much-desired wish to pray in silence before the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe After celebrating the first Mass of his papal trip to Mexico Feb. 13, the pope made his way to the “camarin” (“little room”) behind the main altar of the…

Pope Francis tells Mexican bishops be unified, speak out on tough issues

MEXICO CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis demanded forceful denunciations of drug violence in Mexico from the country’s bishops, who have preferred timid pronouncements instead of speaking prophetically on a tragedy that has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past 10 years and left an another 25,000 Mexicans missing. Speaking Feb. 13 to an audience…

Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court justice, dies

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the longest-serving justice on the Supreme Court, died of apparent natural causes at a resort in West Texas Feb. 13. He was 79. Scalia, a Catholic, was appointed in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan. Five of the remaining eight justices also are Catholic. In a statement, Texas…

Pope expresses joy after meeting Russian Orthodox patriarch

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM HAVANA (CNS) — Though their differences are recognizable and real, Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow emphasized their obligation as Christians and as bishops to encourage collaboration among Christians and charity for all who suffer. “I felt an interior joy that truly came from the Lord,” the…

Surge in Zika virus rekindles abortion debate in Brazil

SAO PAULO (CNS) — The president of the Brazilian bishops’ conference criticized a proposal by the U.N. Human Rights Commission that countries allow abortion in cases in which the mother was infected with the Zika virus. “Abortion is not the answer for the Zika virus,” Archbishop Sergio da Rocha of Brasilia told reporters during a…

Cookies, sombrero and a shoe shine: Even reporters give pope gifts

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT TO HAVANA (CNS) — Making his 12th trip abroad, Pope Francis was accustomed to collecting interview requests, notes and gifts from the journalists who travel on the plane with him. But his flight to Cuba Feb. 12 had a unique moment. Noel Diaz, who lives in Los Angeles and was covering…