On climate issue, Catholics urged to ‘feel pain of the planet, the poor’

MIAMI (CNS) — Pope Francis’ right-hand man on the environment and climate change issues urged Catholics attending a local academic conference to let Christian spirituality guide their thinking and actions toward preserving the full range of God’s creation. Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, spoke Feb. 19 in Miami…

Pope says human trafficking is an international responsibility

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Police chiefs and bishops are called to work together to assist the victims of human trafficking and help them find freedom and healing, Pope Francis said. “You … by your mission are called to be near to these victims and to accompany them on a pathway of dignity and freedom,” the…

Polish bishop says synod members trust Holy Spirit, guidance of pope

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Members of the Synod of Bishops trust the Holy Spirit and Pope Francis’ guidance in confronting issues facing today’s families, said Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki of Poznan. “An atmosphere of fear does not exist because we believe in the Holy Spirit. We also believe in the guidance of the Holy Father, who…

With Pan Am Games coming to Toronto, groups push to limit trafficking

TORONTO (CNS) — As Toronto gets set to host the Pan Am Games, rights campaigners are putting their best efforts into ensuring that the city does not become a playground for human traffickers while the multi-sport, billion-dollar event takes place. Led by Catholic religious sisters, a broad coalition is getting ready for the July 10-26…

A tale of slavery in modern-day Italy

By Michelle Hough Caritas Internationalis Sunday is the first International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking. CASERTA, Italy — Jean Konan* speaks five languages. He’s bright, articulate and knows his rights. He’s also been a modern-day slave, working in the fields for just €25 ($29) a day and sometimes for nothing at all….

Religious say helping victims will entail stopping traffickers, demand

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Bringing the light of hope to ending human trafficking means confronting the brutal “darkness” of evil that is driving those who exploit others, said a number of women religious helping victims. Already “thousands and thousands of us are working in networks across the world to dispel this darkness, and it’s not…

114th Congress makes combating human trafficking top priorit

WASHINGTON (CNS) — At a House leadership news conference Jan. 27, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California announced a list of bills to combat human trafficking that he expected would pass the House of Representatives by week’s end. “Human trafficking affects so many of the vulnerable throughout the world,” said McCarthy, so “we have 12…

As nuns face off against traffickers, priests asked to join the fight

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Leaving their habits behind and disguised along with police in regular clothes, a small group of three or four nuns raid brothels in Kolkata, India, at night, snatching young women and girls as young as 12 from the clutches of their captors. In four years, “we have put 30 traffickers in…

Pope, religious leaders pledge to work together to end slavery by 2020

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — As Pope Francis and leaders of other churches and religions signed a declaration pledging to work together to help end modern slavery in the world by 2020, he urged governments, businesses and all people of good will to join forces against this “crime against humanity.” Tens of millions of people are…

First world day against human trafficking set for February

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The first International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking has been announced for Feb. 8, the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese slave who eventually was freed and became a Canossian nun. The day is intended to raise awareness and to encourage reflection on “the violence and injustice…