The year 2014 saw the number of U.S. states recognizing same-sex marriages nearly double over the previous year — an expansion so profound it had some clergy wondering if they should perform any civil marriages at all.
The crying of Baby Jesus is not the only cry people should hear on Christmas; many children around the world are crying because of war, maltreatment and abuse, Pope Francis said.
Pope Francis’ Christmas greeting to the Vatican bureaucracy this year was an extended warning against a host of spiritual ills to which he said Vatican officials are prone, including “spiritual Alzheimer’s,” “existential schizophrenia,” publicity-seeking, the “terrorism of gossip” and even a poor sense of humor.
The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace said acts of torture outlined in a Senate Intelligence Committee report “violated the God-given human dignity inherent in all people and were unequivocally wrong.”
Pope Francis expressed his joy over the historic turning point in U.S.-Cuba relations as the two countries agreed to restore diplomatic ties after half a century. The pope credited the breakthrough to the consistent, constant efforts of the nations’ ambassadors and the “noble” task of diplomacy.
A massive, detailed Vatican-ordered investigation of U.S. communities of women religious ended with a call to the women themselves to continue discerning how best to live the Gospel in fidelity to their orders’ founding ideals while facing steeply declining numbers and a rapidly aging membership.
Preceded by a procession of flags from the nations of the Americas and the recitation of the rosary in Spanish, Pope Francis and thousands of Catholics from across the Atlantic celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Vatican.
To help set the agenda for the 2015 Synod of Bishops on the family, the Vatican is sending the world’s Catholic bishops’ conferences a list of questions on a range of topics, including matters of marriage and sexuality that proved especially controversial at the 2014 family synod.
The Little Sisters of the Poor aren’t seeking special privileges — they just want the same exemption from the federal contraceptive mandate offered to others, the order’s mother provincial said Dec. 8.