VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis' decree to beatify two Colombian martyrs from two troubled eras in the South American country's history underscores his call for courageous witness amid violence and persecution.

Catholic charities want people to hear migrants' stories

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VATICAN CITY – No matter the position one takes on national migration policy, Pope Francis, Caritas Internationalis and national Catholic charities across the globe want Catholics to meet a migrant or refugee and listen to his or her story.

Aspiring religious delay entry to pay off debt

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WASHINGTON – For some aspiring priests and religious, the biggest obstacle to pursuing their vocation is student debt.

Catholic cartoonist draws inspiration from fantasy classics, family life

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FRONT ROYAL, Va. – As many parents know, all kids come into the world ready to draw, but as the years pass, each child reaches a point where they make a choice – to draw or not to draw.

Pope's visit to Cartagena to highlight inequality in Latin America

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LIMA, Peru – When Pope Francis visits Colombia in September, he will take his message of mercy and reconciliation to Cartagena, a city that still bears scars of its painful history as a slave port. And he will walk the streets where another Jesuit, St. Peter Claver, put that message into practice four centuries ago.

New research: Shroud of Turin bears blood of a torture victim

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TURIN, Italy – New research indicates that the Shroud of Turin shows signs of blood from a torture victim, and undermines arguments that the reputed burial shroud of Jesus Christ was painted.

A Franciscan friar trades a field of dreams for an empire for the poor

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SONSONATE, El Salvador – His Boston Red Sox baseball hat is almost as big a part of him as his brown Franciscan habit. Anywhere Franciscan Father Flavian Mucci goes in El Salvador, he's known not only for his love of baseball, but more importantly, for the only thing he loves more than the game: the poor.

Despite Melinda Gates’ hopes, Pope can’t change teaching on contraception

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WASHINGTON – Pope Francis cannot change Church’s long-standing teaching on contraception, despite the hopes of Melinda Gates, says a theology and ethics professor.

Attending church is good for your health. Now what?

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The latest in a long line of studies, now numbering in the hundreds, if not thousands, shows that church attendance is good for your health.

'The Art of Dying' gets a facelift 600 years later

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LONDON, England – In the 14th century, approximately one third of the population of Europe - or anywhere from 75 million to 200 million people - was wiped out due to what became known as the Black Death.

Reformed churches endorse Catholic-Lutheran accord on key Reformation dispute

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PARIS – Amid ceremonies this year marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, one of Protestantism’s leading branches has officially said it now agrees with the Vatican on the main issue at the root of its split from the Roman Catholic Church half a millennium ago.