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Vatican, Rome gear up for canonizations of John XXIII, John Paul II

VATICAN CITY - Just over five weeks before the canonizations of Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II, Rome hotels are reporting they are almost fully booked and the Vatican has confirmed the Mass will take place in St. Peter's Square, despite knowing that hundreds of thousands of people will have to watch the ceremony on large video screens.

Before meeting Pope, Vanier talks about joy, tenderness, acceptance

VATICAN CITY - On the eve of meeting Pope Francis, Jean Vanier spoke about the importance of joy, tenderness and practical resistance to the "throwaway" culture.

Thousands of rare Vatican manuscripts to go online

VATICAN CITY - Thousands of rare manuscripts until now accessible only to scholars at the Vatican will go online over the next four years, thanks to help from a Japanese information technology company.

The real challenge in creativity

There are three kinds of performers. The first, while singing a song or doing a dance, are making love to themselves. The second, while performing, are making love to the audience. The third, while on stage, are making love to the song, to the dance, to the drama itself.

True blindness is one who refuses to see

In the blink of an eye, human beings make sweeping judgments about people and situations. We can judge a person’s social class, education, cultural awareness, personality traits and whether we like them or not. First impressions are often useful — who could really operate without them? But the story from Samuel shows us that these outward appearances can be superficial, deceiving and just plain wrong.

Pope Francis to proclaim Canadian church pioneers saints in April

VATICAN CITY - Without a canonization ceremony, Pope Francis will declare three pioneers of the Catholic Church in the Americas saints April 2, according to a Jesuit working on the causes.

Russell Crowe meets Pope Francis but leaves without a Noah endorsement

VATICAN CITY - Russell Crowe, who plays the title character in the new Hollywood blockbuster Noah, lobbied hard for a personal audience with Pope Francis. What he got March 19 instead was a blessing.

Mob threats aside, Pope Francis will pray with victims of organized crime

ROME - The Vatican said March 17 that Pope Francis will preside over a prayer vigil dedicated to victims of mob violence in Italy and their families.

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The struggle with sexual energy

The Church has always struggled with sex, but so has everyone else. There aren’t any cultures, religious or secular, pre-modern or modern, post-modern or post-religious, that exhibit a truly healthy sexual ethos. Every church and every culture struggles with integrating sexual energy, if not in its creed about sex, at least in the living out of that creed.

Faith in Christ will open us to the Spirit

Third Sunday of Lent (Year A) March 23 (Exodus 17:3-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5:1-2, 5-8; John 4:5-42)

When the going gets tough, faith is often the first victim. Negativity, doubt and fear corrode faith and courage like the strongest acid.

Cardinal Dolan: Pope Francis opened door to gay civil unions debate

NEW YORK - Cardinal Timothy Dolan said March 9 that Pope Francis is asking the Catholic Church to look at the possibility of recognizing civil unions for gay couples, although the Archbishop of New York said that he would be “uncomfortable” if the Church embraced that position.