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In Pakistan, ‘living the faith is a new challenge every day’

Faisalabad, Pakistan, Dec 28, 2014 / 06:03 am (Aid to the Church in Need).- The brutality of the act can hardly be surpassed: in early November, a Christian couple was beaten and burned to death in the Pakistani province of Punjab. Both were in their early 30s, the wife was pregnant. The charge: desecration of the Quran. The background: Article 295 of the Pakistan Penal Code, the blasphemy law, which does more to promote than prevent the arbitrary use of power against persons of different … [Read more...]

Thai bishops declare Holy Year of prayer for a New Pentecost

Bangkok, Thailand, Dec 27, 2014 / 10:31 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Thai Catholic bishops have declared a “Holy Year” aimed at restoring the fervor of a New Evangelization and commemorating the 350th anniversary of the first Synod of Ayutthaya in Thailand. The great jubilee will also mark the opening of the first Plenary Council of the Catholic Church in Thailand under the theme, “The Disciples of Christ Live the New Evangelization,” slated from April 20-25, 2015. The … [Read more...]

Members of Congress: Abortion funding breaks health care law promise

Washington D.C., Dec 26, 2014 / 04:06 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- More than 75 members of Congress have written the Obama administration emphasizing that abortion coverage must be billed separately under the health care law, as it was promised. “The abortion surcharge must be a separate payment. However, the proposed rule brazenly ignores the separate payment requirement in the law and instead specifies that the abortion surcharge may be collected in a single payment and the surcharge does not … [Read more...]

Saint’s martyrdom strips Christmas of false ‘saccharine-sweetness’

Vatican City, Dec 26, 2014 / 10:21 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis marked the feast day of Saint Stephen on Dec. 26, noting that the martyrdom of the early Church saint helps prevent the Christmas season from being reduced to a trivial celebration.“The Gospel of this feast gives a part of Jesus’ discourse to his disciples in the moment in which He sends them on mission. Among other things, He says, 'You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end … [Read more...]

Catholic refugee relief opens hearts in Syria

Beirut, Lebanon, Dec 26, 2014 / 06:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Catholic participation in refugee and humanitarian relief in the Syrian civil war is strengthening a foundation for future peace despite the great difficulties of the region, says an official of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. “The Church is a very big player in the humanitarian efforts,” said Monsignor Giampietro Dal Toso, the pontifical council’s secretary. “The fact that we are helping the whole … [Read more...]

The Pope’s Christmas prayer – deliver children who suffer due to violence

Vatican City, Dec 25, 2014 / 05:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his Christmas “Urbi et Orbi” blessing Pope Francis prayed for all affected by war and conflict, asking that the salvation of the infant Jesus be given above all to children who suffer. "The Child Jesus. My thoughts turn to all those children today who are killed and ill-treated, be they infants killed in the womb, deprived of that generous love of their parents and then buried in the egoism of a culture that does not … [Read more...]

Pope Francis: Christ’s birth more powerful than history of sin

Vatican City, Dec 24, 2014 / 02:59 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The birth of Jesus – a light that shattered the world's darkness on Christmas night – witnesses to God's love for mankind amid a history marked by “violence, wars, hatred and oppression,” Pope Francis said. “Through the course of history, the light that shatters the darkness reveals to us that God is Father and that his patient fidelity is stronger than darkness and corruption,” he emphasized. … [Read more...]