Catholic schools give high marks to sweeping new federal education law

December 11, 2015 WASHINGTON (CNS) — When President Barack Obama signed the sweeping bipartisan legislation Every Student Succeeds Act Dec. 10, he described it as a “Christmas miracle.” “This is an early Christmas present. After more than 10 years, members of Congress from both parties have come together to revise our national education law,” he…

Pope Francis’ 2015: Family, ecology, but mostly mercy

December 10, 2015 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…

Attendees at vigil pray for shooting victims, for healing in community

December 9, 2015 SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (CNS) — Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral was dark as men and women of different faiths walked down the center aisle of the mission-revival-style church. The names of the 14 victims of the Dec. 2 shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino were read by an…

Pope Francis: The church needs this Holy Year of Mercy

December 9, 2015 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,…

Holy Year is a reminder to put mercy before judgment, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — On a cloudy, damp morning, Pope Francis’ voice echoed in the atrium of St. Peter’s Basilica: “Open the gates of justice.” With five strong thrusts, the pope pushed open the Holy Door, a symbol of God’s justice, which he said will always be exercised “in the light of his mercy.” The…

Vatican officials to be called to testify at ‘VatiLeaks’ trial

December 7, 2015 VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Vatican judges have granted a request by one of the defendants to have several prominent Vatican officials take the stand and testify in the so-called “VatiLeaks” trial regarding the leaking and publication of confidential documents. Following deliberations Dec. 7, Giuseppe Dalla Torre, the presiding judge, along with three…

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

December 7, 2015 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…

Judge’s ruling frozen embryos must be destroyed called ‘tragic case’

December 7, 2015 LEVITTOWN, Pa. (CNS) — A California state judge’s ruling that a now-divorced couple’s five frozen embryos must be destroyed is an example of doing something that technology allows without considering all its aspects, according to medical ethicists. Christopher White, director of research and education for the California-based Center for Bioethics and Culture,…

Civil war, terrorism — and now politics — affecting Syrian refugees

December 4, 2015 WASHINGTON (CNS) — The trickle of refugees that left Syria when that country’s Arab Spring-styled protests morphed in late 2011 into civil war, turned to a flood and then a torrent this year as hostilities escalated when euphemistically termed “outside actors” got more deeply involved. With the government of President Bashar Assad…