Go to confession, let yourself be consoled, pope says

Pope Francis celebrates morning Mass in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae, at the Vatican Dec. 10, 2019. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

By Cindy Wooden 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Anyone who wants to experience the consolation and tenderness of God simply needs to go to confession, Pope Francis said at his morning Mass.

Celebrating the liturgy Dec. 10 in the chapel of his residence, Pope Francis recited an imaginary conversation:

“Father, I have so many sins, I’ve made so many mistakes in my life.”

“Let yourself be consoled.”

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Posted in Vatican

Court won’t take challenge to Ky. law requiring ultrasound before abortion

An American flag flies outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. (CNS photo/Al Drago, Reuters)

Updated Dec. 10

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The U.S. Supreme Court Dec. 9 declined to take up a challenge to a Kentucky ultrasound law that requires a physician or qualified technician to perform an ultrasound on a woman seeking an abortion and show the screen images to her.

The petition to the court did not get the required four justices to sign on to hear an appeal of an April 4 ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturning a lower court decision that the law violated doctors’ freedom of speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment.

The Kentucky Ultrasound Informed Consent Act law can take effect immediately. It was passed in early 2017 by Kentucky’s House and Senate and signed into law by then-Gov. Matt Bevin. A Kentucky abortion provider, EMW Women’s Surgical, filed suit against the law on free speech grounds.

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Posted in U.S.

Communion comes from faith in Christ, U.S. archbishop says

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit concelebrates Mass with bishops from Ohio and Michigan in the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Dec. 9, 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Junno Arocho Esteves 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The traditional visit of bishops to Rome to report on their dioceses is about more than just keeping things in order; rather, it is a manifestation of their communion with Christ and his vicar on earth, the pope, said Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit.

“This is the reality of our communion, not organizational arrangements but faith in Christ Jesus. We live a mystery, we are servants of this mystery, the mystery of faith,” the archbishop said.

Archbishop Vigneron was the principal celebrant and homilist at a Mass Dec. 9 at the tomb of St. Peter with the bishops of Ohio and Michigan, who were in Rome for their visits “ad limina apostolorum” — to the threshold of the apostles — to report on the status of their dioceses.

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Posted in U.S., Vatican

Pope names Cardinal Tagle to lead evangelization congregation

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines, is pictured in Rome May 6, 2018. Pope Francis has named Cardinal Tagle prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In a move that may signal Pope Francis’ plan for the reform of the Roman Curia is close to completion, the pope has named Philippine Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

The 62-year-old cardinal succeeds Cardinal Fernando Filoni, 73, who since 2011 had led the Vatican office overseeing the church’s vast mission territories.

Announcing Cardinal Tagle’s appointment Dec. 8, the Vatican also announced that Cardinal Filoni would become grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Cardinal Filoni succeeds U.S. Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien, 80, as grand master of the organization that supports Catholics in the Holy Land.

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Posted in Vatican

Immaculate Conception is feast of hope for sinners, pope says

Pope Francis leads a prayer service at a Marian statue overlooking the Spanish Steps in Rome Dec. 8, 2019, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Mary, conceived without sin, is a “masterpiece” who reflects “the beauty of God who is all love, grace and self-giving,” Pope Francis said on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Reciting the Angelus prayer with visitors in St. Peter’s Square Dec. 8, Pope Francis focused on the feast day that celebrates how Mary was conceived in the womb of St. Ann without original sin.

Several hours after the noon prayer, the pope joined thousands of people near the Spanish Steps in central Rome to pay homage to the Immaculate Conception at a Marian statue atop a tall column. The statue was erected in 1857 to commemorate Pope Pius IX’s declaration three years earlier of the dogma that Mary was conceived without sin. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Call me ‘Father’: Pope’s priestly vocation is his favorite gift

Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio is pictured cooking in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Pope Francis will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood Dec. 13, 2019. (CNS photo/courtesy of Maria Elena Bergoglio via Reuters)

By Carol Glatz 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In Caravaggio’s painting of Matthew, the sinful tax collector being called by Jesus to “Follow me,” Pope Francis sees the same unexpected, grace-filled moment found in his own call to the priesthood.

A 17-year-old Argentine student headed to a school picnic on Sept. 21, 1953, the feast of St. Matthew, Jorge Bergoglio felt compelled to first stop by his parish of San Jose de Flores.

It was there, speaking with a priest he had never seen before and receiving the sacrament of reconciliation, he was suddenly struck by “the loving presence of God,” who, like his episcopal motto describes, saw him through eyes of mercy and chose him, despite his human imperfections and flaws.

This gift from a “God of surprises,” a God who offers unexpected, unlimited and unmerited mercy, would change the young man’s life.

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Posted in Vatican

Sunday Scripture readings, Dec. 8, 2019: Surprise, surprise

The Catholic News Service column, “Speak to Me Lord,” offers reflections on the Sunday Scripture readings. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

Dec. 8, Second Sunday of Advent

Cycle A
1) Is 11:1-10
Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
2) Rom 15:4-9
Gospel: Mt 3:1-12

By Kevin Perrotta
Catholic News Service

The readings today announce good news that answers some of our greatest desires. But it is surprising in more ways than one. Continue reading

Posted in "Speak to Me Lord", CNS columns