Pope appoints, confirms members of bishops’ congregation

Washington D.C., Dec 17, 2013 / 06:32 pm (CNA).- On Dec. 16 Pope Francis made appointments at the Congregation for Bishops, confirming as its prefect Cardinal Marc Ouellet, a position he has held since 2010. He also appointed Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., as a member of the congregation. Cardinal Wuerl currently serves on several pontifical councils, as well as committees of U.S. bishops. He also served as relator general for the October 2012 Vatican Synod of Bishops on the New … [Read more...]

NY judge orders first permanent block against HHS mandate

New York City, N.Y., Dec 17, 2013 / 06:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A federal judge in New York has issued the first permanent injunction against the federal contraception mandate, a ruling that religious freedom advocates are praising as a major victory. “There is no way that a court can, or should, determine that a coerced violation of conscience is of insufficient quantum to merit constitutional protection,” wrote Judge Brian Cogan of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn in a Dec. … [Read more...]

Pope Francis declares sainthood of early Jesuit, Peter Faber

Vatican City, Dec 17, 2013 / 04:07 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis recognized the sainthood of early Jesuit Peter Faber on Dec. 17 after holding a private audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The decision, “enrolling in the catalogue of Saints” one of the co-founders of the Society of Jesus, was announced through the Holy See press office. The announcement said the Pope had “extended to the Universal Church the … [Read more...]

Green Bay priest appointed bishop of Marquette, Mich.

Marquette, Mich., Dec 17, 2013 / 12:42 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis has named Father John F. Doerfler of the Diocese of Green Bay as the next bishop of Marquette, Mich. Bishop-designate Doerfler, who has cross-country skied in the area before, said he was first attracted to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula by “its natural beauty.” “I now have the opportunity to experience the beauty of the people of faith in this diocese,” he said Dec. 17. Bishop David L. … [Read more...]

Pope Francis’ 77th birthday marked with simple celebration

Vatican City, Dec 17, 2013 / 08:59 am (CNA/EWTN News).- December 17 is the 77th birthday of Pope Francis, who wanted to celebrate the day in the familial setting of his St. Martha residence. The Pope asked that those who live and work at the residence join him for the daily 7 a.m. mass there. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, concelebrated mass with the Pontiff on behalf of the entire College. During the homily he preached on today’s gospel reading containing … [Read more...]

Holiness means ‘letting God write our history,’ preaches Pope

Vatican City, Dec 17, 2013 / 05:52 am (CNA).- Pope Francis’ daily homily focused on the importance of allowing God to be active and present in our daily lives. “This is holiness: to let God write our history. And this is a Christmas wish for every one of us, that the Lord writes your history and that you let him write it.  May it be so!” he preached on Dec. 17 in the chapel of the Saint Martha guesthouse. God’s joy “was to live his life with us,” … [Read more...]

Release abducted nuns, Orthodox bishop urges Syrian rebels

Homs, Syria, Dec 17, 2013 / 04:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- An Orthodox bishop in Syria has called for the release of 12 nuns kidnapped by Islamist rebels, saying they “have done no harm to anyone.” “We’ve now reached the point where even nuns are being abducted. What have they done wrong? It’s a crime. The abductors want to demonstrate that they show no mercy,” Bishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh, Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Homs and Hama, told Aid to the … [Read more...]