Rome’s near-abandoned Guadalupe shrine marks feast

Rome, Italy, Dec 12, 2013 / 03:38 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Several hundred yards from the heart of the ancient forum, devotees are gathering in the run-down Basilica of San Nicola in Carcere today where one of the first copies of the Virgin of Guadalupe is on display. “Practically, this icon of our lady isn't the original but the second icon of Our Lady that was brought with some difficulty to Italy,” recounts Fiorella Silvestri after the 11a.m. Mass. She's one of several … [Read more...]

Man with disfigured face recalls warmth of encounter with Pope

Rome, Italy, Dec 11, 2013 / 12:29 pm (CNA).- Oreste Tornani, a man with a severely disfigured face who was blessed by Pope Francis at a recent General Audience, says he felt very close to the Holy Father at their encounter. The two met briefly on Nov. 20 following the Pope's address in St. Peter's Square, as the Roman Pontiff spent several minutes greeting the sick who were in attendance. “The Pope speaks very simply, cordially and with a warm voice, and it's nice to hear … [Read more...]

European Parliament rejects notion of abortion as human right

Strasbourg, France, Dec 11, 2013 / 12:03 am (CNA).- Members of the European Parliament have rejected a report which suggested that abortion be defined as a “human rights and public health concern.” The rejection of the report affirms the ability of the individual nations in the European Union to promote their own approach to sexual education and abortion policies. "The formulation and implementation of policies on sexual and reproductive health and rights and on sex … [Read more...]

Sinners, sex and NFP: My conversation with Simcha Fisher

Rome, Italy, Dec 10, 2013 / 04:07 am (CNA).- “The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning” has 95 percent five-star reviews on Despite its growing popularity and critical acclaim, however, the book's author humbly describes herself as “a housewife with a bunch of blogs.” I found myself curious to speak with the woman who writes this message to married Catholic couples in her introduction: “ love each other, but your sex life is … [Read more...]

Migration policies must respect families, European bishops say

Valletta, Malta, Dec 10, 2013 / 04:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Care for persons and families should be at the forefront of policies regarding migrants and refugees, the European bishops said in a recent meeting. “The European policy and the policy of the individual Member States can only be based on respect for the individuals, and the recognition of the value and importance of the family,” they said in a concluding statement of a Dec. 2-4 meeting held in Malta. Representatives of … [Read more...]

Children at ‘Pope’s Hospital’ counting down to Pontiff’s Christmas visit

Rome, Italy, Dec 8, 2013 / 08:02 am (CNA).- The children at the Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital in Rome – known locally as the “Pope's Hospital” – are enthusiastic about Pope Francis' Christmas visit, scheduled for December 21. In statements to CNA, the president of the hospital, Giuseppe Profiti, said news of the visit has been “joyfully welcomed by the personnel and has spread quickly among the young patients and their families as well.” The … [Read more...]

Reforms aim to show ‘true face of the Church,’ says Vatican official

Rome, Italy, Dec 7, 2013 / 04:19 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis’ style and ongoing reforms are intended to encourage Catholics to be more missionary, in order to bring the Gospel to all people, said Archbishop Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State. “It’s very easy to work with Pope Bergoglio. There is a lot of agreement, and this is great hope for the future,” Archbishop Parolin said. He emphasized the Holy Father's desire for reforms that “show … [Read more...]