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(Vatican Radio)  A referendum was held on Monday in the Republic of Azerbaijan on proposed constitutional changes regarding presidential powers and term limits, just days ahead of Pope Francis' Apostolic Journey to the country.Listen to Devin Watkins' report: The proposed changes to the Azerbaijani constitution included raising presidential term limits from five to seven years and granting the president the right to disband parliament.Voting on Tuesday wrapped up at 7 pm and initial counting showed a high turnout of around 70 percent of eligible voters.Azerbaijan’s Central Election Commission chief, Mazahir Panahov, said that with nearly three-quarters of the ballots counted, over 90 percent of voters supported the extension of the presidential term.President Ilham Aliyev assumed the top office in October of 2003 and is the 4th president of the country since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.Officials say referendum results will be announced by Octo...
Washington D.C., Sep 27, 2016 / 06:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A U.N. resolution against further nuclear weapons tests drew praise from the U.S. Catholic bishops, who repeated their support for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in the wake of North Korean weapons tests.The U.S. bishops’ conference “welcomes the action of the U.N. Security Council as encouraging this important step toward a world without nuclear weapons,” Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, N.M. said Sept. 23.The prelate, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, said the U.S. bishops have long supported ratification of a comprehensive test ban.On Friday, the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution that called on countries to refrain from nuclear weapons testing. It presented the avoidance of nuclear weapons testing as an international norm.The resolution, proposed by the United States, passed with 14 votes and the abstention of Egypt. The Wall S...
Archbishop Antonio Ledesma  of Cagayan de Oro, Philippines said the archdiocese has joined a multisectoral group to help in preventing and treating drug abuse. He said that the archdiocese will collaborate with the government in providing a faith-based drug rehabilitation programme. He said the “Coalition for a Drug-free Society” was formed with the city government of Cagayan de Oro, the Department of Health, and various civil society groups.The prelate added that the coalition has three main advocacies composed of prevention, intervention, and community support.“So the Church will [take part in] the community support because we do not have the facilities for scientific rehabilitation,” Ledesma told Radio Veritas Tuesday.“But we can give community support in terms of counseling, spiritual healing, and also making available our parish halls and formation centers,” he said.The Jesuit archbishop has earlier called on the clergy to open th...
Mexico City, Mexico, Sep 26, 2016 / 02:15 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Some 400,000 people filled the streets of Mexico City on Saturday to protest the Mexican government’s attempt to redefine marriage as anything but a union between one man and one woman.Juan Dabdoub Giacoman, president of the Mexican Council of the Family, which helped organize the event, told CNA on Sept. 10 that the march was “historic” and an “example of the awakening of Mexico.”“It is a march to express to politicians and leaders of the country that this is really what Mexican society is searching for, which is not what gender ideology and the international LGBT movement is promoting.” After Mass on Sept. 25, Pope Francis voiced his support of the Mexican bishops’ role in supporting the march, and their efforts for society “in favor of family and life, which at this time require special pastoral and cultural attention throughout the world.”The size and r...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis offered prayers for slain Mexican priests on Sunday, and put his support behind the ongoing pro-family and pro-life efforts of the Mexican Bishops.Speaking with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, following Mass to mark the Jubilee of Catechists celebrated as part of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, and ahead of the traditional noonday Angelus prayer, Pope Francis said, “I am very happy to associate myself with the Bishops of Mexico, in supporting the commitment of the Church and of civil society in favor of the family and of life, which in this time require special pastoral and cultural attention in all the world.”The Holy Father went on to say, “I assure my prayer for the dear Mexican people, that the violence, which has in recent days reached even several priests, might cease.”Two priests were abducted and murdered in Poza Rica, Veracruz state.Their abductions and murders took place at a time ...
ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) -- An imam spoke against violence and in support of law enforcement during the first Friday prayer service since a local man was charged in last weekend's New Jersey and New York City bombings....
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday held an audience with the “Hospital Sisters of Mercy,” and encouraged them in their mission despite challenges posed by secular culture.Listen to Ann Schneible’s report: Delivering his address in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall, Pope Francis expressed his gratitude to the sisters, and said they are “a concrete sign of how to express the Father’s mercy”.He recalled how Servant of God Teresa Orsini Doria Pamphili Landi, a noble lay woman who was supported by two priests, established the congregation in accord with Jesus’ call to care for the sick.In the face of the weakness brought about by illness, “distinctions of social status, race, language, and culture cannot exist,” the Pope said. “All of us become weak, and we must entrust ourselves to others.”Pope Francis stressed the Church’s commitment and responsibility towards those who suffer, and reflected on the partic...
WASHINGTON (AP) -- War crimes investigators collecting evidence of the Islamic State group's elaborate operation to kidnap thousands of women as sex slaves say they have a case to try IS leaders with crimes against humanity but cannot get the global backing to bring current detainees before an international tribunal....
Phoenix, Ariz., Sep 24, 2016 / 12:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A Catholic-run conference aims to help clergy, lay ministers, and medical and mental health professionals provide better support for people who experience same-sex attraction or confusion about sexual identity.Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix and Father Paul Check, the executive director of Courage International, invited to the conference clergy, vowed religious, lay ministers and other relevant professionals in a Sept. 15 letter.“The ‘Truth and Love’ project endeavors to bring the clarity and charity of Catholic teaching to challenging questions, while never losing sight of individual people,” they said. The event aims to offer “sound practical and pastoral guidance.”The Truth and Love Conference, now in its third edition, will be held Jan. 9-11, 2017 in Phoenix, Ariz. at St. Paul Catholic Church. The conference’s sponsors are the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, the Catholic apostola...
World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO) Vice President for Africa, Rosaline Nganku Menga has praised the role played by women in the Church. “Women in Africa support vocations with prayer and with material resources. They raise funds to support diocesan Bishops with the training of priests; they assist the religious; they are catechists, heads of parish councils, members of justice and peace committees and so on,” Rosaline Nganku Menga, a Cameroonian national told Vatican Radio’s English language service for Africa in an interview.Early this month, WUCWO Africa held its 9th Africa regional assembly and golden jubilee celebrations in Malawi’s Capital, Lilongwe. The meeting took place under the theme “Women of Africa Proclaimers of God’s Mercy: “Come and See the man who told me everything I did. Could this be the Messiah?” Malawian President, Peter Mutharika along with the first lady, Gertrude, joined thou...
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