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(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis on Thursday paid a surprise visit to the offices of three dicasteries of the Roman Curia: the Congregation for Oriental Churches and the Pontifical Councils: Cor Unam and for the New Evangelisation. During his visit, the Pope agreed to answer a number of questions put to him by the staff of the three organisations.In an interview afterwards, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Council for promoting the New Evangelisation said they were deeply grateful for this visit by Pope Francis. Archbishop Fisichella said the Pope had given them valuable advice on how best to promote the new evangelization, especially when it comes to the question of pastoral conversion and the catechesis. He also spoke about the important role model of the two saints, Pio of Pietrelcina, better known as Padre Pio, and Leopold Mandic, both of whose relics will be taken in a procession to St. Peter’s Basilica on Friday.   
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, concluded a visit to Slovenia on Thursday by visiting a reception centre for refugees in Dobova, on the Croatian border, where tens of thousands of immigrants arrived at the height of last autumn’s migration crisis.During his three day visit, the cardinal on Wednesday inaugurated new premises for the Apostolic Nunciature to Slovenia, in the capital Ljubljana and celebrated Mass to mark the close of the Year of Consecrated Life in Ljublijana Cathedral.Speaking at a joint press conference on Tuesday at the start of his visit, Cardinal Parolin and Slovenia’s prime minister Miro Cerar called for a “humane and solidarity-based” resolution to the refugee crisis.During his visit to the reception centre in Dobova, the Vatican Secretary of State met with volunteers and said he was impressed by the “great sense of solidarity” with migrants which must be the starting point for any las...
(Vatican Radio) The European parliament on Thursday passed a resolution that labelled as ‘genocide’ the systematic mass murder of religious minorities by the so-called Islamic State (IS) militant group in Iraq and Syria. Passed overwhelmingly by a show of hands, the resolution urged the international community to take action to protect all religious and minority groups against IS attacks. Lars Adaktusson from Sweden is the member of the European parliament (MEP) who spearheaded this debate and resolution and speaking after it was passed he explained to Susy Hodges why it is so important to classify the atrocities of the IS group as ‘genocide.’ Listen to the interview with the MEP Lars Adaktusson:  A Swedish Christian Democrat and member of the European Peoples’ Party, Adaktusson said passing this resolution was a very important move because by labelling IS’s atrocities as ‘genocide’, it will help the international community...
(Vatican Radio) A new film produced by Sony Pictures is looking to tell the story of the days immediately following the Passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.Told through the eyes of the fictional Clavius (Joseph Fiennes), a high-ranking officer in the Roman Army tasked by the Prefect of Judaea, Pontius Pilate, with the recovery of the – presumably – stolen remains of the man executed as King of the Jews, Risen follows Clavius and his aide Lucius (Tom Felton) as they attempt to locate the missing body in order to prevent an uprising in Jerusalem.Part detective story, part political thriller, the film explores great themes ranging from the nature of faith to the possibilities and limits of politics to satisfy basic human desires.Vatican Radio’s Chris Altieri attended a closed screening of the film for critics and journalists this week in Rome, and spoke with actor Joseph Fiennes, who portrays the Tribune, Clavius.Click below to hear our report “I think he...
(Vatican Radio)  Officials from more than 70 countries are meeting in London Thursday at a donor’s conference aiming to help Syrians displaced by war and to try to slow the exodus of refugees to Europe.The United Nations and regional countries now hosting millions of Syrian refugees say they need to raise $9 billion in aid this year alone.  The aid is needed for educational and economic projects to assist the some 4.6 million Syrians who have sought refuge in Jordan, Lebanon and other neighboring countries.Fadi Hallisso, co-founder and CEO of the Beirut-based charity, Basmeh Zeitooneh, is attending Thursday’s conference.  He explains how the non-profit organization – a mostly Syrian start-up in its fourth year - has been providing income-generating skills training, psychological support and educational services to some 35,000 refugees and locals across Lebanon. With the help of international funding, Basmeh & Zeitooneh employs 110 refugees full...
The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate reached a milestone in the history of the congregation last week on Jan. 25 - the 200 years of their foundation.  The story of the OMI begins amidst the ashes of the great upheaval of the French Revolution which has had repercussions worldwide.  It was an era when the Catholic Church in France was devastated and held in contempt and ridicule.  Nevertheless, on Feb. 25, 1816 in Aix-en-Provence in southern France near Marseille, a handful of zealous priests headed by their leader St. Eugene de Mazenod, committed themselves to serving the lost, the least and the last, bringing them the Good News of Jesus.   To know about the OMI, we talked to Sri Lankan Oblate Father Shanil Jayawardena, the director of communications of the OMI at the order’s headquarters here in Rome.  Last week, in the first part of the interview, Fr. Jayawardena explained the simple but meaningful way they marked the bi-centenary of thei...
WASHINGTON-The Office of General Counsel of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, February 1, on behalf of USCCB, the Texas Catholic Conference and several Christian partners in support of a Texas law mandating health and safety standards protecting women who undergo abortions. Other groups joining the brief include the National Association of Evangelicals, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. The case is Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, currently before the U.S. Supreme Court."There is ample evidence in this case that hospital admitting privileges and ambulatory surgical center requirements protect women's lives and health," said the brief. "When such requirements are not enforced, abuses detrimental to women's lives and health arise."The brief noted that some abortion clinics have decla...
 WASHINGTON-Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York called on everyone "concerned about the tragedy of abortion" to recommit to a "vision of life and love, a vision that excludes no one" on January 14. His statement marks the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. Cardinal Dolan chairs the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops."Most Americans oppose a policy allowing legal abortion for virtually any reason - though many still do not realize that this is what the Supreme Court gave us," wrote Cardinal Dolan. "Most want to protect unborn children at later stages of pregnancy, to regulate or limit the practice of abortion, and to stop the use of taxpayer dollars for the destruction of unborn children. Yet many who support important goals of the pro-life movement do not identify as 'pro-life,' a fact which should lead us to examine how we present our pro-life vision to others.""Even as Americans rema...
LONDON (AP) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has found a surprising ally - a little known United Nations panel that has decided he has been unfairly detained in Britain while seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden to answer allegations of sexual misconduct....
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Infuriating members of Congress, a smirking Martin Shkreli took the Fifth at a Capitol Hill hearing Thursday when asked about his jacking up of drug prices, then promptly went on Twitter and insulted his questioners as "imbeciles."...
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