A Christmas with tears – Pope Francis' words to Middle East
“I write to you just before Christmas, knowing that for many of you the music of your Christmas hymns will also be accompanied by tears and sighs,” Pope Francis said in his Dec. 23 message. “Nonetheless, the birth of the Son of God in our human flesh is an indescribable mystery of consolation: 'For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all people.'”
Australian bishops who visited Iraqi Christians see Christ reborn again
"So many of the people we met said, 'We lost our homes, our lands, our jobs, all our possessions -- everything -- but we will not lose our faith," Archbishop Julian Porteous of Hobart told Catholic News Service in Beirut Dec. 19. "You can feel the faith."
Priests facing dangers in Mexico
A study by the Catholic Multimedia Center recorded 47 attacks on Catholic priests in Mexico in the past 24 years. From 1990 to the present, 35 priests (including one cardinal) have been killed, along with a deacon and three religious. In 2014, three priests have been murdered in Mexico, and a layman who was caught alongside a priest in a shootout barely survived.
Only 46% of US children now living with their married parents
A minority of children in the US today are living with their married parents, a new study by the Pew Research Center has found. In 1960, 73% of American children under the age of 18 were living with their married parents. In 1980 the figure had dropped to 62%. But now it is 46%, Pew found, analyzing US Census data and the new American Community Survey.
Vatican veteran on Pope's address: 'nothing like this has ever happened before'
“To be honest, nothing like this has ever happened before,” said Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, who served for years in different Vatican posts before his retirement in 2011. The Italian cardinal said that he understood the need for reform. “For instance,” he said, “on the basis of my experiences of the Curia, I believe that a simplification of procedures would diminish scandals.”
Iraqi Patriach encourages Pope to visit
Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako has urged Pope Francis to visit Iraq, saying that the Pontiff would be safe in the troubled country. "I can give an assurance that nothing would happen to the Pope," said the Iraqi Patriarch. He said that even a quick visit would have "high pastoral and spiritual symbolism," giving needed encouragement to the country's Christians.