Church is a ‘house of joy,’ Pope stresses on Gaudete Sunday

Vatican City, Dec 15, 2013 / 10:24 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his Angelus address on the third Sunday of Advent, Pope Francis emphasized the joy of the Christian message and community. “The Christian message is called the ‘gospel,’ that is, ‘good news,’ an announcement of joy for all people; the Church is not a shelter for sad people, the Church is the house of joy!” he exclaimed to the crowds filling St. Peter’s Square on Dec. 15. “Christian … [Read more...]

Pope addresses Marxism accusations, women cardinals

Vatican City, Dec 15, 2013 / 09:07 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In an interview published Dec. 14 in the Italian newspaper La Stampa, Pope Francis has responded to several questions touching controversial topics that have arisen in his papacy. When asked by Italian Vatican analyst Andrea Tornielli about the accusations of Marxism from “ultra-conservative Americans,” who took issue with certain passages of the Pope’s recent apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, the Pontiff was … [Read more...]

New devotional app delivers Christian content to any device

Denver, Colo., Dec 15, 2013 / 06:02 am (CNA).- A new multi-device content delivery system has been hailed as a “game-changer” for the way Christians receive devotional materials to help grow their faith. “The amount of Christian content available through iDisciple is unparalleled,” said Mike Kendrick, president and CEO of iDisciple. “But even though iDisciple is so robust, the user experience is simple and straightforward. When people dive into the app, … [Read more...]

Hymn-writing competition announced for Chinese Catholics

Manila, Philippines, Dec 14, 2013 / 05:37 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- An international competition launching next month will invite Mandarin Chinese-speaking Catholics throughout the world to compose devotional religious hymns for use in ministry. “Music is an influential means to promote the Christian values,” said Fr. John Mi, the coordinator of the event. He told CNA on Dec. 7 that among Chinese Catholics, there has been little composition of music for Mass and prayer gatherings. … [Read more...]

Ecumenism with Orthodox is near to Pope’s heart, cardinal says

Rome, Italy, Dec 14, 2013 / 05:25 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The relationship between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches is very important to Pope Francis, said the president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. “I think the ecumenical issue and the ecumenical challenge is very close to his heart,” Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch told CNA on Dec. 13. From Dec.14-19, Cardinal Koch will travel to Russia to meet with leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church. He will … [Read more...]

Pope Francis visits Vatican children’s clinic

Rome, Italy, Dec 14, 2013 / 09:32 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On the morning of Dec. 14, Pope Francis paid a visit to patients and workers of the pediatric dispensary of Santa Marta, who surprised the Pontiff with a small birthday celebration. Pope Francis, who turns 77 on Dec.17th, expressed his gratitude for the gesture. After they had finished singing the traditional Italian birthday song, the Pope blew out the candles, and said, “Thank you for the love you have, the joy of these children, … [Read more...]

Bishop: Christ’s love conquers sorrow of Sandy Hook

Newtown, Conn., Dec 14, 2013 / 08:58 am (CNA/EWTN News).- One year after the murder of 20 school children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the local Catholic bishop says that Jesus Christ’s love can be victorious, even over such “profound” sorrow. Despite the bitterness of loss, the Christian faith offers “the victory of Christ’s love over any and all suffering and pain,” Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport … [Read more...]