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See you in September, Holy Father: Benedict heads for hilltop villa, Francis trims schedule

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis visited retired Pope Benedict XVI at his Vatican residence June 30 to wish him a happy summer.

Pope Francis chats with retired Pope Benedict XVI during a meeting at the Vatican June 30. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters )

Pope Francis chats with retired Pope Benedict XVI during a meeting at the Vatican June 30. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters )

After a 30-minute visit from Pope Francis, the retired pope then headed off to the traditional papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo outside of Rome. It was the first time the retired pope returned to the villa since spending about two months there after he resigned in early 2013.

The 88-year-old retired pope is expected to remain at the summer villa just two weeks, until July 14. Before he resigned, Pope Benedict, like many of his predecessors since the early 1600s, spent a large portion of the summer months at the 135-acre papal villa to escape Rome’s oppressive heat.

Pope Francis, however, who, even as archbishop of Buenos Aires, is not known to take a full vacation, lightened his schedule just a bit for July.

He will still hold his Angelus prayer and address every Sunday; however, there will be no Wednesday general audience for all July, said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman. The general audience will resume in August in the Vatican’s solar-powered and air-conditioned Paul VI hall.

For the month of July, all audiences with the pope are expected to be suspended, except a meeting with members of the Catholic charismatic renewal movement in St. Peter’s Square July 3.

Pope Francis will not invite groups of Catholics to his residence, the Casa Santa Marta, for his early morning Mass throughout July and August.

Despite the somewhat reduced schedule for July, the 78-year-old pope will visit Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay July 5-12, returning to the Vatican July 13.

He will visit at least seven cities and villages, whose altitudes range from 35 meters (116 feet) to 3,800 meters (12,500 feet) above sea level, and deliver 22 speeches, homilies and greetings. Millions of people are expected to attend the more than 37 scheduled events.

 

Havana to Philly: Pope’s schedule in Cuba and United States highlights families, charity, tolerance

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — In word and deed, Pope Francis will take his vision of a Catholic’s approach to family life, parish life, charity, economics, immigration and good governance to Cuba and the United States during a Sept. 19-27 visit.

Visiting both Cuba and the United States on the same trip not only acknowledges his role in encouraging detente between them, but will give Pope Francis an opportunity to demonstrate that while different political and cultural challenges face Catholics in both countries, the Gospel and its values are the same.

Pope Francis leaves after celebrating Mass marking the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican June 29. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis leaves after celebrating Mass marking the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican June 29. (CNS/Paul Haring)

On June 30, the Vatican published the detailed schedule of Pope Francis’ Sept. 19-22 visit to Cuba and his Sept. 22-27 visit to the United States.

For Pope Francis, one of the key values Catholics in the U.S. and Cuba share is the obligation to “go out,” proclaiming the Gospel and bringing God’s mercy to the poorest and most disadvantaged people.

The standard of living in the United States may be exponentially higher than in Cuba, but in Pope Francis’ vision that only increases the responsibility of U.S. Catholics to reach out and to share. He will demonstrate what he means when he meets homeless people in Washington Sept. 24, children and immigrant families at a Catholic school in Harlem when he visits New York Sept. 25, and prisoners Sept. 27 in Philadelphia.

The closing Mass for the World Meeting of Families will follow the papal meeting with prisoners. The World Meeting of Families international congress Sept. 22-25 and the celebration of families with the pope Sept. 26-27 were the initial reason for the papal visit.

With the Catholic Church’s constant concern for promoting strong families and with the world Synod of Bishops on the family set to start one week after the papal visit, marriage and family life are expected to be topics throughout the pope’s visit to both Cuba and the United States.

Long before the Vatican released the full trip itinerary, it had confirmed certain parts of it: U.S. President Barack Obama will welcome the pope to the White House Sept. 23; that afternoon, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and canonize Blessed Junipero Serra; the pope will address a joint meeting of Congress Sept. 24, becoming the first pope to do so; and Pope Francis will address the U.N. General Assembly Sept. 25. It is thought the pope may bring up some of the points he made in his recent environmental encyclical, “Laudato Si’,” given that world nations will come together just a few months later for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in the hopes of reaching global agreement on reducing greenhouse gases.

The pope also is expected to emphasize the contributions of U.S. Catholics to society, defend religious liberty and support the church’s right to uphold its teaching, including in its employment practices. He will use his visit to ground zero in New York as an occasion for an interreligious gathering.

The pope will spend three days in Cuba visiting three different cities, including the popular Shrine of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre.

He will hold the usual meetings with President Raul Castro, young people, families and religious as well as celebrate Mass and vespers all three days. But he also will bless the cities of Holguin and Santiago de Cuba — blessing Holguin from a panoramic hilltop and pilgrimage site called Cross Hill.

It will be his third visit to the Americas after Brazil in 2013 and Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay in July, and his 10th trip abroad since his election in 2013.

Here is the schedule for the trip. All times are local unless otherwise indicated.

Saturday, Sept. 19 (Rome, Havana)

  • 10:15 a.m. (4:15 a.m. EDT), Departure from Rome’s Fiumicino airport for Havana.
  • 4:05 p.m. Arrival ceremony at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport. Speech by pope.

Sunday, Sept. 20 (Havana)

  • 9 a.m. Mass in Havana’s Revolution Square. Homily by pope. Recitation of the Angelus.
  • 4 p.m. Courtesy visit with Cuba’s President Raul Castro in Havana’s Palace of the Revolution.
  • 5:15 p.m. Celebration of vespers with priests, religious and seminarians in Havana’s cathedral. Homily by pope.
  • 6:30 p.m. Greeting to young people at the Father Felix Varela cultural center in Havana. Remarks by pope.

Monday, Sept. 21 (Havana, Holguin, Santiago de Cuba, El Cobre)

  • 8 a.m. Departure by air for Holguin, Cuba.

— 9:20 a.m. Arrival at Holguin’s Frank Pais International Airport.

  • 10:30 a.m. Mass in Holguin’s Revolution Square. Homily by pope.

— 3:45 p.m. Blessing of the city of Holguin from Cross Hill (Loma de la Cruz).

  • 4:40 p.m. Departure by air for Santiago de Cuba.
  • 5:30 p.m. Arrival at Santiago de Cuba’s Antonio Maceo International Airport.
  • 7 p.m. Meeting with bishops at the seminary of St. Basil the Great in El Cobre.
  • 7:45 p.m. Prayer to Our Lady of Charity with bishops and the papal entourage in the Minor Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre.

Tuesday, Sept. 22 (El Cobre, Santiago de Cuba, Washington)

  • 8 a.m. Mass in the Minor Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre. Homily by pope.
  • 11 a.m. Meeting with families in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Assumption in Santiago de Cuba. Speech by pope. Blessing of the city from the outside of the cathedral.
  • 12:15 p.m. Farewell ceremony at Santiago de Cuba’s International Airport.
  • 12:30 p.m. Departure for Washington.
  • 4 p.m. Arrival at Andrews Air Force Base. Official welcome.

Wednesday, Sept. 23 (Washington)

  • 9:15 a.m. Welcoming ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House. Speech by pope, followed by a courtesy visit with Obama.
  • 11:30 a.m. Meeting with U.S. bishops in the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. Speech by pope.
  • 4:15 p.m. Mass and canonization of Blessed Junipero Serra in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Homily by pope.

Thursday, Sept. 24 (Washington, New York)

— 9:20 a.m. Visit to the U.S. Congress. Speech by pope.

— 11:15 a.m. Visit to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and meeting with homeless people. Greeting by pope.

  • 4 p.m. Departure by air to New York.
  • 5 p.m. Arrival at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
  • 6:45 p.m. Celebration of vespers with priests, men and women religious in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Homily by pope.

Friday, Sept. 25 (New York)

  • 8:30 a.m. Visit the headquarters of the United Nations. Greeting and speech by pope.
  • 11:30 a.m. Interreligious meeting at the ground zero 9/11 Memorial. Speech by pope.
  • 4 p.m. Visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Elementary School in East Harlem and meeting with children and immigrant families. Speech by pope.
  • 6 p.m. Mass at Madison Square Garden. Homily by pope.

Saturday, Sept. 26 (New York, Philadelphia)

  • 8:40 a.m. Departure by air to Philadelphia.
  • 9:30 a.m. Arrival at Philadelphia’s International Airport.
  • 10:30 a.m. Mass with Pennsylvania’s bishops, priests, men and women religious at Philadelphia’s Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul. Homily by pope.
  • 4:45 p.m. Meeting for religious liberty with the Hispanic community and immigrants at Philadelphia’s Independence Mall. Speech by pope.
  • 7:30 p.m. Festival of Families and prayer vigil at Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Speech by pope.

Sunday, Sept. 27 (Philadelphia)

  • 9:15 a.m. Meeting with bishops taking part in the World Meeting of Families at the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. Speech by pope.
  • 11 a.m. Visit with prisoners at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility. Speech by pope.
  • 4 p.m. Closing Mass of the VIII World Meeting of Families at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Homily by pope.
  • 7 p.m. Greeting to the organizing committee, volunteers and donors at Philadelphia’s International Airport. Speech by pope.
  • 7:45 p.m. Farewell ceremony.
  • 8 p.m. Departure for Rome.

Monday, Sept. 28 (Rome)

  • 10 a.m. (4:45 a.m. EDT). Arrival at Rome’s Ciampino airport.

 

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Pope to archbishops: Be brave, convincing witnesses for church

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The church wants pastors who are unafraid of persecution, are angels of hope and charity, and are convincing witnesses with a life rooted in prayer and the Gospel, Pope Francis told new archbishops.

“It’s quite simple, because the most effective and authentic witness is one that does not contradict, by behavior and lifestyle,” what one preaches and teaches, he said during a Mass celebrating the feasts of Ss. Peter and Paul June 29.

Archbishops bless themselves as Pope Francis celebrates Mass marking the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican June 29. Among those pictured are Archbishops Eamon Martin of Armagh, Northern Ireland, Anthony Fisher of Sydney and Blase J. Cupich of Chicago.(CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Archbishops bless themselves as Pope Francis celebrates Mass marking the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican June 29. Among those pictured are Archbishops Eamon Martin of Armagh, Northern Ireland, Anthony Fisher of Sydney and Blase J. Cupich of Chicago.(CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Forty-six archbishops representing 34 countries, who were named over the course of the last year, were invited to come to Rome to concelebrate the feast day Mass with Pope Francis.

Among those invited to concelebrate were Archbishops John C. Wester of Santa Fe, New Mexico; Blase J. Cupich of Chicago; Denis Grondin of Rimouski, Quebec; Anthony Fisher of Sydney; Eamon Martin of Armagh, Northern Ireland; and Kieran O’Reilly of Cashel and Emly, Ireland.

This year, however, the pope set aside an element that had been part of the Mass for the past 32 years, by no longer conferring the pallium on new archbishops during the liturgy.

The archbishops were to be present for the pope’s blessing of the palliums in order to underline their bond of unity and communion with him. But the actual imposition of the woolen band was to take place in the archbishop’s archdiocese in the presence of his faithful and bishops from neighboring dioceses.

The change was meant to better “highlight the relationship of the metropolitan archbishops with their local churches, giving more faithful the possibility of being present for this significant rite,” Msgr. Guido Marini, papal master of liturgical ceremonies, said in January.

During his blessing of the palliums, Pope Francis said the woolen bands that will be worn over their shoulders symbolize the “yoke” of the Gospel as well as their call to be shepherds dedicated to the pastoral care of their people.

During his homily, the pope said the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles recalled the harsh persecution faced by the early Christians.

“However, I do not wish to dwell on these atrocious, inhuman and incomprehensible persecutions, sadly still present in many parts of the world today,” often happening right in front of everyone’s eyes and meeting with complete silence, he said.

Instead, the pope said he wanted to “pay homage to” these courageous Christians who evangelized fearlessly in a pagan culture; they are, he said, models for Christians today, and a “powerful call to prayer, to faith and to witness.”

A church rooted in prayer is strong, solid and moves forward, while Christians who pray are protected and never alone, he said.

It is through prayer that believers express their faith and trust in God, and directly experience his closeness, especially when he sends angels of hope, the pope said.

“How many angels he places on our path” to offer comfort, aid and enlightenment, he said; yet fear, skepticism and distractions, or “euphoria” keep people from recognizing them or letting them into their life.

The early Christians call people today to be people of faith, who understand that God does not remove people from the world or evil, “but he does grant them the strength to prevail.”

“How many forces in the course of history have tried, and they still do, to destroy the church, from without as well as within, but they themselves are destroyed and the church remains alive and fruitful,” the pope said.

“Only God remains,” while everything else — like, empires, cultures, ideologies and nations — passes.

“The church does not belong to popes, bishops, priests or the lay faithful; the church in every moment belongs solely to Christ,” he said, and this is how, despite the many “storms” in time and sins of its members, the church is able to remain “ever faithful to the deposit of faith shown in service.”

It is by acting only in the name of Christ, not on one’s own behalf, that Christians have shown that no power can defeat those who have the power of faith, he said.

“Only the one who lives in Christ promotes and defends the church by holiness in life, after the example of Peter and Paul,” he said.

In fact, the call to be firm witnesses is key, the pope said, because without witness, the church and its members are sterile and dead – “like a dried up tree that produces no fruit, an empty well that offers no water.”

Evil is overcome by “the courageous, concrete and humble witness,” he said.

Pope Francis then told the archbishops that he hoped the pallium, which is meant to symbolize both their unity with pope and their authority and responsibility to care for the flock entrusted to them, would also remind them of this call to prayer, faith and witness.

“The church wants you to be men of prayer,” faith and witness, who can show people that “liberation from all forms of imprisonment is uniquely God’s work and the fruit of prayer” as well as teach people “to not be frightened of the many Herods” who persecute them.

“For those most in need, may you also be angels and messengers of charity,” the pope told the new archbishops.

The pope asked that they be courageous, “convinced and convincing” witnesses, whose lifestyles matched the Gospel message and their preaching, and who “are not ashamed of the name of Christ and of his cross, not before the roaring lions, or before the powers of this world.”

As is customary, an Orthodox delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople attended the Mass for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the patrons of the Vatican and the city of Rome.

After the liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis walked side-by-side with Metropolitan John of Pergamon, head of the delegation, down the stairs under the main altar to pray together over St. Peter’s tom

 

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Supporters of pope’s ecology encyclical march to St. Peter’s Square

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Environmentalists from around the world and from different faiths were among the tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered for the Angelus with Pope Francis June 28.

Environmental activists hold a banner as they pose for photos after attending Pope Francis' Angelus at the Vatican June 28. Some 1,500 people marched to the Vatican in support of Pope Francis' recent encyclical on the environment. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Environmental activists hold a banner as they pose for photos after attending Pope Francis’ Angelus at the Vatican June 28. Some 1,500 people marched to the Vatican in support of Pope Francis’ recent encyclical on the environment. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

They marched a little more than a mile through Rome’s city center, ending in St. Peter’s Square, to demonstrate their support for the pope and his encyclical on the environment, “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” published 10 days earlier. Once in the square, they gave other pilgrims there leaf-shaped posters with excerpts from Laudato Si’, as well as quotes on care for creation from other religious leaders.

The march was endorsed by the United Nations and a number of Catholic organizations, including Catholic Action and the Global Catholic Climate Movement; the theme was “One Earth, One Human Family.” Marchers also urged the adoption of a new global climate change agreement at the U.N. conference in Paris in December.

Pope Francis greeted the marchers after the Angelus prayer, encouraging “collaboration among people and associations of different religion for the promotion of an integral ecology.”

Among the marchers were participants at an international interfaith climate change conference held in Rome, which the pope noted. The June 29-July1 conference was organized by Our Voices, an international and interfaith climate change movement, which gathered about 100 “emerging leaders” in environmental matters under the age of 40.

On the heels of this conference, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the Catholic International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity were also to hold a conference on the encyclical in Rome, July 2-3.

 

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U.S. bishops’ president calls Supreme Court ruling on marriage ‘tragic error’

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WASHINGTON — The president of the U.S. bishops’ conference called the Supreme Court’s June 26 marriage ruling “a tragic error” and he urged Catholics to move forward with faith “in the unchanging truth about marriage being between one man and one woman.”

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said June 26 that, “Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable." (CNS/Tyler Orsburn)

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said June 26 that, “Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable.” (CNS/Tyler Orsburn)

“Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky.

“It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage,” he said.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court June 26 said same-sex marriage is constitutional nationwide.

“Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over 40 years ago,” when it legalized abortion in the U.S. virtually on demand, Obergefell v. Hodges “does not settle the question of marriage today,” Archbishop Kurtz said.

“Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail,” he added.

The court had several marriage cases to consider and bundled them under the title of the Ohio case, Obergefell v. Hodges. That case arose after the October 2013 death of John Arthur of Cincinnati. He and his longtime partner, Obergefell, had married earlier that year in Maryland. When the local Ohio registrar agreed to list Obergefell as the surviving spouse on Arthur’s death certificate, which is key to a range of survivor’s benefits, the state attorney general challenged the status because Ohio law bars same-sex marriages.

The other cases included: Tanco v. Haslam, the Tennessee case, and Bourke v. Beshear, the Kentucky case, which similarly challenge those states’ refusal to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, and DeBoer v. Snyder, the Michigan adoption case.

“The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female,” Archbishop Kurtz said in his statement. “The protection of this meaning is a critical dimension of the integral ecology that Pope Francis has called us to promote.

“Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home.”

The archbishop said the U.S. bishops will continue to teach as Jesus did. Christ taught with great love and “unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman,” he added.

Archbishop Kurtz encouraged Catholics “to move forward with faith, hope, and love: faith in the unchanging truth about marriage, rooted in the immutable nature of the human person and confirmed by divine revelation; hope that these truths will once again prevail in our society, not only by their logic, but by their great beauty and manifest service to the common good; and love for all our neighbors, even those who hate us or would punish us for our faith and moral convictions.”

He urged all people of goodwill to join the Catholic Church “in proclaiming the goodness, truth, and beauty of marriage as rightly understood for millennia, and I ask all in positions of power and authority to respect the God-given freedom to seek, live by, and bear witness to the truth.

 

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Court rules same-sex marriage legal nationwide

June 26th, 2015 Posted in Featured Tags: ,

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — In a landmark ruling, a divided Supreme Court June 26 said same-sex marriage is constitutional nationwide.

“The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the 5-4 majority. “This is true for all persons, whatever their sexual orientation.” Read more »

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Health care subsidy ruling hailed by many, but criticism continues

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WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling that upheld federal subsidies to keep health insurance premiums affordable regardless of whether the state or federal government runs the exchange system was welcomed by the president as well as by several religious organizations and stockholders in health care systems.

The June 25 decision in King v. Burwell said that “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” and upheld the federal tax breaks that have made it possible for an estimated 6.4 million people in the 34 affected states to be able to afford health insurance because of subsidies averaging $272 a month. Read more »

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Bishop Malooly on ‘Laudato Si’’ — God, humanity and nature

June 25th, 2015 Posted in Featured, Uncategorized Tags: ,

By

Dialog Editor

 

“I like that it talks about the covenant between humanity and the environment,” Bishop Malooly said last week after Pope Francis’ encyclical on ecology, “Laudato Si’, On Care for Our Common Home,” was published June 18 by the Vatican.

“This is what God expects of us,” the bishop said, “much as we have a significant relationship with God the Father through Jesus, we have one in our humanity with the environment because both are God-given.” Read more »

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Supreme Court upholds health care subsidies in states with federal exchanges

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Writing that “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” a 6-3 majority of the Supreme Court June 25 upheld tax subsidies for participants in health care exchanges run by the federal government in states that refused to create them.

In the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts disentangled what he said was “more than a few examples of inartful drafting” in how the 2010 law was written that contributed to the interpretation that federal subsidies for people with lower income should only be available to residents of states that created their own health care exchanges. Read more »

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Pope tells parents to be mindful of children’s suffering

June 24th, 2015 Posted in Featured, Uncategorized

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The deep hurts that spouses inflict on each other cause great suffering to their children and, in some cases, lead to a separation that is “morally necessary” to protect spouses and children from more serious forms of violence, Pope Francis said during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square June 24.

Continuing a series of talks about the family, the pope reflected on the hurts family members cause each other, calling this type of behavior “the ugliest thing.” Read more »

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