Small town’s Christmas tree brings splendor to Vatican

Vatican City, Dec 14, 2012 / 04:20 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A young boy named Mario had the honor of lighting a majestic Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square on the evening of Dec. 14.At 5:00 p.m., the lights of the 70-foot silver fir donated by the small town of Pescopennataro, Italy bathed the iconic square in a soft white light."Christmas trees are a sign of God's light, which continues to shine despite attempts to put it out," Pope Benedict XVI told a delegation from … [Read more...]

Italian pro-lifers demand taxpayers not be forced to pay for abortions

Rome, Italy, Dec 14, 2012 / 04:06 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A pro-life group in Italy is calling on government officials in the region of Tuscany to implement a fiscal policy that allows Italians to verify that their taxes are not being used to finance abortion. The organization Scienza & Vita said pro-life Italians want their tax contributions to be used to finance pro-life institutions and assist pregnant women in need before, during and after birth. It also noted that according to the … [Read more...]

Catholic priests respond quickly to Conn. school shooting

Bridgeport, Conn., Dec 14, 2012 / 12:04 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Several priests of the Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport responded quickly to the mass murder of adults and schoolchildren at a Newtown, Conn. elementary school, rushing to the scene to comfort victims and their relatives.Brian Wallace, the diocese’s director of communications, said that priests from St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, the only Catholic parish in Newtown, are actively responding.“The parish is huge and … [Read more...]

Vatican Nativity scene will reflect southern Italy cave setting

Vatican City, Dec 14, 2012 / 11:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- This Christmas season visitors to St. Peter’s Square will get a chance to see a Nativity scene that is set amid a famous city of ancient cave dwellings from southern Italy.“The Nativity Scene reminds us of what is important about the mystery of Christmas,” Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, Secretary General of the Governorate of Vatican City State, told CNA on Dec. 13.“It’s not about a fact that took place in the … [Read more...]

France’s new monitoring policy deemed religious liberty threat

Washington D.C., Dec 14, 2012 / 10:21 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Religious freedom experts are decrying a recent announcement by the French government that it will deport and dissolve groups that are labeled extreme and appear to suffer from “religious pathology.” “It is a gross violation, in fact a negation, of basic religious freedom for the state to determine which religious beliefs are mainstream and which are radical for the purposes of banning the latter,” said Nina … [Read more...]

Catholics see two sides to Michigan’s new union limits

Lansing, Mich., Dec 14, 2012 / 04:14 am (CNA).- Catholic commentators have weighed in on both sides of the controversial “right to work” labor bill in the longtime union stronghold of Michigan, with some warning that the law puts workers’ rights at risk while others say the bill reflects workers’ individual choices.Dr. Maria Mazzenga, an education archivist at the Catholic University of America’s American Catholic History Research Center, said the passage of the … [Read more...]

San Francisco officials accused of discouraging pro-life rally

San Francisco, Calif., Dec 14, 2012 / 02:02 am (CNA).- A move by San Francisco's city officials to support a celebration of the 40th anniversary of legalized abortion in the U.S. has been interpreted by some as an attempt to discourage a local pro-life rally. “San Francisco City government, as well as many local residents, cannot abide the fact that the Walk for Life can attract over 40,000 participants annually to oppose a cause that their worldview holds as gospel,” said … [Read more...]