Pecks, passion, prayer can strengthen marriage

April 18, 2016
JUNNO AROCHO ESTEVES
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

VATICAN CITY - Simple gestures such as a kind look or a morning kiss and family prayer can strengthen couples in living out their vocation to marriage, Pope Francis said in his apostolic exhortation. Released April 8, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), on Love in the Family, not only addresses major themes discussed during the 2014 and 2015 meetings of the Synod of Bishops, but also delves deeper into the Church's teachings on true love and the family. It also highlights the importance of sexuality and passion as a manifestation of true love as a gift.

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Dreams inspire Catholic artist

April 18, 2016
DEBORAH GYAPONG
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS

Kiki Smith grew up in a Catholic home dominated by art because her father Tony Smith was an acclaimed American minimalist sculptor who worked in large geometric sculptures. In a public conversation March 31 at the National Art Gallery, Smith said she and her sisters would help her father make the geometric scale models or "maquettes" of his work out of cardboard. "All he did was art," she said. They had no television and little exposure to other information outside of the art world. Her mother was an opera singer and actress.

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Selfish desire for money is the enemy of true harmony, pope says

April 18, 2016
JUNNO AROCHO ESTEVES
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

VATICAN CITY - True harmony within a Christian community ensures that none of its members are left wanting and places the needs of others before the selfish desire for money, Pope Francis said. "The true 'harmony' of the Holy Spirit has a strong relationship with money. Money is the enemy of harmony, money is selfish," the pope said April 5 during his morning Mass. The pope reflected on the day's First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles (4.32-37), which said the first Christian communities were "of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common."

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Pope an instant record-setter on Instagram

April 18, 2016
CINDY WOODEN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

With a simple tap, Pope Francis joined Instagram and quickly set a record for gaining one million followers. The launch of the Franciscus account March 19, the feast of St. Joseph and the third anniversary of the formal inauguration of his papacy, was preceded by huge media coverage. But still, he hit the million-follower mark in just 12 hours, making his "our fastest growing account on Instagram to date," said Stephanie Noon, an Instagram spokeswoman.

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Pope Francis calls Annunciation the feast of saying 'yes' to God

April 18, 2016
CINDY WOODEN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

VATICAN CITY - When people do not want to say "yes" to God, they usually don't say "no," they just hide like Adam and Eve did after they sinned, Pope Francis said. "Today is the feast of 'yes,'" the pope said during his early morning Mass April 4, the transferred feast of the Annunciation. The Latin-rite church usually celebrates the Angel Gabriel's annunciation to Mary March 25, but transfers the feast when it occurs during Holy Week.

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World's nations seek ways to slow global drug trade

April 18, 2016
EZRA FIESER
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Heroin and painkillers plague the streets of North American cities and towns. Mexican drug cartels have turned swaths of that country into battle zones. In South Africa, young people are getting hooked on a drug made from a medication meant to fight HIV. Around the globe, a worldwide addiction to illicit drugs is fueling violence, human trafficking, a proliferation of guns, organized crime and terrorism, the Vatican has said. Now, as the UN General Assembly prepares to meet April 19-21 for a special session on the issue, the Church is calling on governments and civil society groups to address a problem that has existed for decades but continues to change and pose new threats.

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College worried about impact of physician-assisted death

April 18, 2016
SPECIAL TO THE WCR

Through its student life and campus ministry teams, as well as some members of the academic faculty, St. Joseph's College dedicates significant resources to suicide intervention and prevention. These resources are made available to all staff and students who require them and not just those who reside or take courses at the college. Although most University of Alberta students might not meet the Supreme Court of Canada test, namely, "a competent adult person who 1) clearly consents to the termination of life and 2) has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition," our concern is that legislation permitting physician-assisted death (hereafter PAD) may have the unintended social-psychological effect of "normalizing" suicide.

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Church-sponsored conference seeks end to human trafficking

Holy See Mission to the UN Logo
April 18, 2016
BETH GRIFFIN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Human trafficking is a $150-billion annual business that affects every country on earth, speakers at an April 7 United Nations conference said. Human trafficking encompasses slavery and includes recruitment and transportation of vulnerable people using force, deception or coercion for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labour or service, servitude or the removal of organs. The Holy See mission to the United Nations and the Santa Marta Group co-sponsored the forum on Ending Human Trafficking by 2030.

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Church must heal broken families with balm of God's mercy

WCR Logo
April 18, 2016

Christopher Lasch, the American historian who was the first to describe contemporary culture as narcissist, titled his book on the family, Haven in a Heartless World. Sometimes, however, the family is not even that. The human condition being what it is, even the best families introduce dysfunction as well as wholeness into their children's lives. In some instances, one's family can be even more heartless than "the heartless world." It is no small contributor to the despair, lost potential and dis-ease that affect young people. St. John Paul II once said, as the family goes, so goes the society. The pope was correct. Yet, the opposite is also true - as society goes, so goes the family. The family is not a cocoon immune to the hurricane forces blowing through society and, thanks to mass media, right into the home.

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Ritual can help us when there's nothing one can do

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
April 18, 2016

In the movie based upon Jane Austen's classic novel, Sense and Sensibility, there's a poignant scene where one of her young heroines, suffering from acute pneumonia, is lying in bed hovering between life and death. A young man, very much in love with her, paces back and forth, highly agitated and frustrated by his helplessness to do anything of use. Unable to contain his agitation any longer, he goes to the girl's mother and asks what he might do to be helpful.

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