Pope delivers Christmas Urbi et Orbi message

Pope Francis this Christmas day delivered his Urbi et Orbi message, (to the city and the world) from the central loggia of St Peter’s Basilica. In it he prayed that recent U.N.-backed peace agreements for Syria and Libya would quickly end the suffering of their people. He also spoke about the “brutal acts of terrorism” that struck…

Pope: Let us gaze upon the Child Jesus, the Son of God

Pope Francis has celebrated Christmas Mass at St Peter’s Basilica. Below, you can find the prepared text of the Holy Father’s homily for the Holy Mass of the Nativity of the Lord “during the Night”: Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis Christmas Midnight Mass 24 December 2015 Tonight “a great light” shines forth (Is 9:1);…

Number of refugees, displaced people at highest since World War II

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CNS) — The explosive global refugee crisis — likely the top debate-generating news story of 2015 — seems destined to dominate domestic and foreign politics for years to come at a time when Pope Francis has been calling for a compassionate world response. Early in 2015, Pope Francis again called attention…

Pope to visit marginalized communities in Mexico in February

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis will visit some of the most marginalized communities in Mexico and seek to bring hope to a country deeply suffering from crime, corruption and inequality when he visits in February. The Vatican announced Dec. 12 details about the pope’s Feb. 12-17 trip to Mexico, during which he will stop…

Pope Francis will venerate Mary at Mexico shrine next year

VATICAN CITY (CNS) –- On the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pope Francis announced that he would travel to the Marian shrine in Mexico City and pray to Mary so that Christian communities “may become oases and rivers of mercy.” “To ask her this, in a strong way, I will travel to venerate her…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Pope: Stopping climate change, poverty go hand-in-hand

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Heads of states at the U.N. climate change conference in Paris must do everything possible to mitigate the effects of both climate change and poverty “for the good of our common home,” Pope Francis said. “The two choices go together: to stop climate change and curb poverty so that human dignity…