Pope in Morocco: Highlighting Catholic-Muslim ‘dialogue of solidarity’

Migrants are seen before disembarking from a dinghy at Del Canuelo in southern Spain, July 27, 2018. By mid-2018 the number of migrants arriving in Spain, usually from Morocco, had surpassed the number arriving in Italy. (CNS photo/Reuters)

By Cindy Wooden 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis wanted to go to Morocco in December to draw attention to the need for international cooperation in assisting migrants and in alleviating the situations that force people to seek a better life outside their homeland.

Protocol dictated that he could not fly to Marrakech just for the United Nations meeting on migration, so instead migrants will be one group that receives his special attention during a more formal visit to Morocco March 30-31.

His meeting March 30 with migrants at the Rabat archdiocesan Caritas center also will highlight the very practical form Catholic-Muslim relations take in the country of more than 35 million people, almost all of whom are Muslim.

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Posted in Vatican, World

Women in Amazon take more prominent role in environmental protection

Patricia Gualinga, a member of the Kichwa indigenous community of Sarayaku, Ecuador, is seen during a press conference at the Integral Ecology summit at Georgetown University in Washington March 20, 2019. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

By Rhina Guidos 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — In indigenous Kichwa communities, women like Patricia Gualinga have traditionally taken on the role of wife, mother and cultivator of the crops that families use to survive in Ecuador’s Amazonian region of Sarayaku.

In recent years, however, as corporations and other entities looking to extract precious minerals and resources have entered indigenous communities’ ancestral lands in the Amazon, that role has expanded to include community leader and defender of the environment for women like 49-year-old Gualinga.

Women have increasingly participated as leaders at the national and international level in the Amazon’s environmental activist circles, she said, in part because women — in addition to experiencing firsthand environmental degradation and its impact on the family — also experience abuse, exploitation and greater marginalization that has skyrocketed with the exploitation of the environment.

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Posted in U.S., World

Mary inspires, assists those seeking their vocation, pope says

Pope Francis prays inside the Sanctuary of the Holy House on the feast of the Annunciation in Loreto, Italy, March 25, 2019. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Signing his document dedicated to young people, faith and discernment, Pope Francis said Mary, the mother of God, is a source of inspiration and strength for everyone who seeks to understand their vocation and remain faithful to it.

Greeting some 10,000 people, many of them families and young people, in Loreto, Italy, on the feast of the Annunciation, the pope said Mary can help all believers dedicate themselves to “the path of peace and fraternity, founded on welcoming and forgiving, on respect for others and on love as a gift of oneself.”

“Mary is the model of every vocation and the inspiration of every vocational pastoral program: Young people who are seeking or questioning their future can find Mary to be the one who helps them discern God’s plan for them and find the strength to follow it.”

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Prayer, dialogue, enthusiasm are key to making good choices, pope says

Pope Francis meets in the Vatican audience hall with staff, middle school and high school students from Padua’s Barbarigo Institute March 23 , 2019. Answering questions from three of the students, the pope focused on how prayer, dialogue and passion should be part of their process of making important life decisions. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

By Cindy Wooden 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When it comes time for young people to make an important decision in life, if the possibilities do not create excitement and trepidation, “it’s better to go to bed” and think about it some other time, Pope Francis told middle school and high school students.

“Passion in the life of a young person is important. A life without passion is like plain pasta without salt,” the pope said March 23 during a meeting at the Vatican with students and staff from the Barbarigo Institute school in Padua.

Three students were chosen to ask Pope Francis questions, and all three queries had to do with making important choices in life.

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Posted in Vatican

Pope accepts resignation of embattled Chilean cardinal

Chilean Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati leaves the prosecutor’s building in Rancagua Oct. 3 after a hearing over allegations he covered up sexual abuse of minors. Pope Francis accepted his resignation March 23. (CNS photo/Ivan Alvarado, Reuters)

Updated March 25, 2019

By Junno Arocho Esteves 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a Chilean cardinal who has faced widespread criticism for his handling of cases of clerical sexual abuse in the country.

The pope accepted the resignation of Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati of Santiago, the Vatican announced March 23; the Vatican did not give a reason for the cardinal stepping down. All bishops are required to offer their resignations when they turn 75; Cardinal Ezzati is 77.

The cardinal’s is the eighth resignation Pope Francis accepted after almost every bishop in Chile offered to step down in May 2018 after a three-day meeting at the Vatican to discuss the clerical sexual abuse scandal. In each case where he accepted a resignation, the pope named an apostolic administrator to lead the diocese temporarily. For the administrator of Santiago, the pope chose Bishop Celestino Aos Braco of Copiapo, who will turn 74 April 6.

Chile has 27 dioceses and other church jurisdictions led by a bishop. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Pope sends aid to southeast Africa after cyclone

A stranded family sits on top of their home March 21, 2019, in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai outside Beira, Mozambique. Hundreds were feared dead in Mozambique four days after a cyclone slammed into the country, submerging entire villages and leaving bodies floating in the floodwaters, the nation’s president said. (CNS photo/Siphiwe Sibeko, Reuters)

Updated.

By Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — As an immediate sign of his concern and an encouragement to other donors, Pope Francis has sent $50,000 each to Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi to assist with initial emergency relief efforts after a cyclone hit the region and caused massive flooding.

As of March 22, at least 300 people were known to have died, thousands have been injured and hundreds of thousands left homeless, according to the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

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Posted in Vatican, World

Bishop criticizes ‘faith-filled’ Catholics who spread fear of Muslims

Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin, chairman of the Council for Life of the Irish bishops’ conference, is pictured in an undated photo. (CNS photo/Irish Catholic)

By Catholic News Service

DUBLIN (CNS) — An Irish bishop has criticized Catholics who identify as “faith-filled” while spreading fear and mistrust of immigrants, particularly those who are Muslims.

Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin, chairman of the Council for Life of the Irish bishops’ conference, told The Irish Catholic newspaper: “I’ve found that people who would classify themselves in some cases as traditional Catholics and faith-filled people seem to, in relation to migration and care of asylum-seekers and stuff, they’ll say ‘oh well these Muslims are putting our civilization at risk and they pose a threat to us.'”

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Posted in World