Iraqi patriarch urges prayer, fasting that Christians remain

Rome, Italy, Feb 27, 2014 / 04:53 pm (CNA).- Archbishop Louis Raphael I Sako, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon, has issued an urgent appeal to mark the beginning of Lent, calling for “prayer and fasting that Christians not leave Iraq.” “Our Christian identity has had profound roots in the history and geography of Iraq for 2000 years,” Patriarch Sako said, according to the Fides news agency. “Our roots and our clear sources are found in our country, and … [Read more...]

Critics say Ariz. bill veto swarmed by misleading rhetoric

Phoenix, Ariz., Feb 27, 2014 / 04:40 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Arizona Catholic Conference has lamented the veto of Arizona religious freedom bill S.B. 1062, noting the “extremely intense, if not misleading rhetoric” surrounding the bill. “Religious liberty is an important concept upon which our country was founded,” the conference said Feb. 27. “Unfortunately, however, threats to religious liberty have become very real in courts across the country and are … [Read more...]

Pope to mother of train crash victim: I weep for you

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Feb 27, 2014 / 02:31 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis sent a letter offering his continued condolences to the mother of one of the victims of a 2012 Argentina train crash that killed dozens of people and injured hundreds more. According to the Argentina Catholic Information Agency (AICA), the letter was read during a recent ceremony at the station where the accident occurred, marking the anniversary of the tragedy. The accident took place Feb. 22, 2012, when the … [Read more...]

Pope: Inconsistency in our actions causes Church scandal

Vatican City, Feb 27, 2014 / 01:11 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In his daily homily Pope Francis spoke of the harm done when Christians don't practice what they preach, noting that this incoherence leads others away from the Church and often brings scandal. “When there is no Christian coherency, and you live with this incoherence, you're giving scandal. And the Christians that are not coherent are giving scandal,” the Pope said in his Feb. 27 Mass. Speaking to those gathered in … [Read more...]

Ukrainian Catholic Church sees growth in south of country

Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb 27, 2014 / 12:21 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A new diocese of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has been established in southern Ukraine, following a decision to divide the former Archiepiscopal Exarchate of Odesa-Krym in two. On Feb. 13, Pope Francis confirmed the decisions of the synod of bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church regarding the Archiepiscopal Exarchate of Odesa-Krym. The exarchate was split into the Archiepiscopal Exarchate of Odesa, and the … [Read more...]

Judge strikes down Texas’ marriage definition amid criticism

Austin, Texas, Feb 27, 2014 / 11:44 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The state of Texas is appealing a ruling from a federal judge that could impose “gay marriage” in the state, as supporters of Texas’ marriage amendment argue that the ruling violates the rights of the state and its citizens. “We've seen a rash of these rulings in recent weeks, all making the same errors about binding Supreme Court precedents relevant to marriage and all issued by activist judges bound and … [Read more...]

Thai bishop’s soccer skills score goals of evangelization

Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, Feb 27, 2014 / 04:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The patronal feasts of parishes in a northeastern Thai diocese unite communities for Mass, prayer, processions – and friendly soccer matches. At the conclusion of the solemn Mass of parish patron, each community in the Diocese of Nakhon Ratchasima partakes of a festive agape-lunch that ends in the  joyous whistles of groups playing a game of futsal -- a variant of soccer played on a relatively small indoor court … [Read more...]