Holy Spirit gives the seal of eternal life, Pope Francis reflects

Vatican City, Oct 17, 2014 / 12:55 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In his Mass on Friday, Pope Francis said eternal life begins when we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, and cautioned attendees against “dulling down” this identity by being hypocritical in our faith. “The Holy Spirit has sealed our hearts, and more, walks with us … this Spirit does not only give us identity, but it is also a down-payment of our inheritance. With him heaven begins.” the Pope said during his … [Read more...]

Synod small groups want more positivity, less ambiguity

Vatican City, Oct 17, 2014 / 11:46 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The synod’s small groups released their conclusions regarding the meeting’s mid-term report on Thursday, calling for clarification of several phrases and a more positive look at the family in light of scripture. Among other topics, three common and primary themes appeared to be of more immediate concern to the synod fathers: the absence of any reference to the Gospel of the Family, and more widely to Gospel references, in the … [Read more...]

Amid criticism, Cardinal Marx supports synod’s midterm report

Vatican City, Oct 17, 2014 / 11:22 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Even though the Synod on the Family's midterm relatio was widely criticized by the bishops' small groups, Cardinal Reinhard Marx affirmed it only needs to be balanced, while speaking at Friday's synod press briefing. The Archbishop of Munich and Freising also noted the importance of the document's openings regarding the Church's praxis toward homosexual persons and the divorced and remarried. “There are those … [Read more...]

Fertility treatments fall short of expectations

Washington D.C., Oct 17, 2014 / 04:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Tech giants’ new policies offering egg freezing options as a work benefit overlook the technique’s “highly problematic” failure rates and risks to potential children, says a leading ethicist in the field. “What the rationale seems to be is you don’t have to stop your career to have your children. You can bank your eggs and have them to use down the road,” said Jennifer Lahl, founder and … [Read more...]

From bad to worse – religious persecution growing in China

Washington D.C., Oct 17, 2014 / 02:09 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The state of religious freedom in China is moving from bad to worse, said U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), responding to a new report by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. “There’s a huge gulf now” between China and the Catholic Church, Smith stated during an Oct. 9 conference call with reporters. He acknowledged that “the underground church has been brutally persecuted in China, both Protestant … [Read more...]

Latvia turns heads in synod with strong witness of marriage

Vatican City, Oct 17, 2014 / 12:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In synod discussions last week, the Baltic nation of Latvia caught the attention many synod fathers, who were keen to hear why the number of divorces among their Catholic population is so low. “In Latvia, it is a pity, but we have the highest number of divorces: 86 percent of marriages are divorced civil marriages. But when our civil mass media started to check how it is in the Church, they discovered that we just have 16 percent, … [Read more...]

Asia Bibi’s death sentence sparks outrage from Pakistan’s Christians

Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Oct 16, 2014 / 05:29 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Lahore High Court's rejection on Thursday of Asia Bibi's appeal against her death sentence, passed by a lower court, has dismayed Christians and others in Pakistan.Bishop Rufin Anthony of Islamabad-Rawalpindi said Oct. 16 that the decision was “heartbreaking.” Bibi, a Christian, was convicted under Pakistan's strict blasphemy laws in 2010. She allegedly made derogatory comments against Muhammad … [Read more...]