Pope Francis releases new universal law on abuse reporting

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis' latest effort to help the Catholic Church safeguard its members from abuse and hold its leaders accountable came in the form of a new universal law, "Vos estis lux mundi" ("You are the light of the world"), which takes effect June 1.

God's Word on Sunday: Spiritual insight exposes a deeper reality

Ascension of the Lord, June 2 (Year C) Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47; Ephesians 1:17-23; Luke 24:44-53

Human expectations and God’s plans are seldom identical. The followers of Jesus had an agenda — Jesus was to expel the Romans and re-establish the kingdom of Israel. After the Resurrection, they were constantly tugging at His sleeve and asking if this was the moment. 

Cardinal Farrell: Church must promote pastoral approach to human life

VATICAN CITY -- To fight a throwaway culture that pressures women to view abortion as the only alternative to a difficult pregnancy, the Catholic Church must be ready to assist, accompany and care for expectant mothers and their families, said U.S. Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell.

Pope Francis tells new ambassadors to foster brotherhood, solidarity

VATICAN CITY -- Nations, like individuals, have a "solemn duty" to care for the poor and to work together to promote development, Pope Francis told a group of ambassadors beginning their service at the Vatican.

Pope Francis prays for Spanish missionary murdered in Central African Republic

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis led thousands of pilgrims in prayer for a Spanish missionary sister killed in Central African Republic.

While greeting French pilgrims attending his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square May 22, the pope said he was saddened to hear of the brutal murder of Daughter of Jesus Sister Ines Nieves Sancho, a 77-year-old Spanish missionary who was killed May 20 outside her convent in Nola, Central African Republic.

Sister Nieves, the pope said, before bowing his head in silence, "was yet another woman who gave her life for Jesus in the service of the poor."

After several minutes of silent prayer, the pope led the faithful in praying a "Hail Mary" for the slain missionary.

According to L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, the Daughter of Jesus missionary sister had dedicated her life to teaching children, especially girls, to sew in order to learn a trade and make a better life for themselves.

Authorities believe the missionary was murdered and mutilated precisely in the room where she taught the children, the Vatican newspaper reported.

In an interview May 21 with COPE, the Spanish Catholic radio station, Spanish-born Bishop Juan Aguirre Munoz of Bangassou said that Sister Nieves was "dragged out of her bed and on Monday she was found almost decapitated. We don't know why."

Authorities currently have no suspects or motive for the brutal killing but suspect that it was possibly carried out by people involved in human trafficking or searching for diamonds in a sadistic ritual meant to bring good fortune.

However, Bishop Aguirre told COPE that the political situation in Central African Republic is tense not only for Christians but for the entire population.

"It is a country where 80 percent of its territory has been conquered by 14 warlords who have trampled it underfoot," the bishop told COPE. "It is a very delicate situation."

- - -

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju

Fight fake news with humble search for truth, Pope Francis tells journalists

VATICAN CITY -- The task of journalism is to seek the truth, which requires humility and freedom of the press, Pope Francis told foreign correspondents working in Italy.

God's Word on Sunday: Heavenly Jerusalem resides within us

Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 26 (Year C) Acts 15:1-2, 22-29; Psalm 67; Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23; John 14:23-29

There are two approaches to life that make our world more “interesting.” The first seeks to build walls, erect barriers and gates, and control access. The second builds bridges, opens doors and levels the playing field. These two opposing attitudes battle it out in politics, education, business and, yes, religion. 

Jesus is always ready to help free people from evil, pope says

VATICAN CITY -- Christians recognize life's great paradox that so much evil and temptation exist in the world, but that God is always present, too, ready to help and give people the strength to persevere, Pope Francis said.

Martyred Romanian bishops symbolize church's 'resurrection from darkness'

WARSAW, Poland - A cardinal incarcerated for 18 years after refusing to abandon his church and a bishop thrown in an unmarked grave after starving to death in an "extermination prison" are among seven communist-era martyrs who will be beatified by Pope Francis during his upcoming visit to Romania.

Pope advances sainthood causes, including Brazil's 'Mother Teresa'

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis advanced the sainthood causes of four men and four women, including Blessed Dulce Lopes Pontes, the "Mother Teresa" of Brazil.

Pope saddened by church attack in Burkina Faso, Vatican spokesman says

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis expressed his closeness to and prayers for the victims of a shooting at a Catholic Church in Burkina Faso, which claimed the lives of six people.