VATICAN CITY - The Vatican has banned an Italian journalist from the papal plane during Pope Francis’ trip to the United States as punishment for his newspaper’s role in breaching the embargo on the pontiff’s hotly anticipated encyclical.

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PHILADELPHIA - The first stop for Pope Francis when he visits Philadelphia the morning of Sept. 26 will be the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul to celebrate a special Mass for the people of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

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Growing conservative disaffection with Pope Francis appears to be taking a toll on his once teflon-grade popularity in the United States, with a new Gallup poll showing the pontiff’s favourability rating among all Americans dropping to 59 per cent from a 76-per-cent peak early last year.

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WASHINGTON - A video of a Planned Parenthood physician describing her procedures for keeping fetal organs intact during an abortion is "horrifying and heartbreaking," said U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Missouri.

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WASHINGTON - A sign at the entrance to the exhibit warns of the shocking nature of the images beyond — photos smuggled out of Syria that show emaciated and grotesquely mutilated victims of dictator Bashar Assad’s prisons and torture chambers.

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NEW ORLEANS - While the annual number of abortions in the U.S. has dropped from a high of 1.6 million in 1990 to about 1.06 million today, the number of chemical abortions through the use of RU-486 has increased and now represents about 25 per cent of all abortions.

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Most of today’s American Catholic parents don’t go to Mass, provide any Catholic education for their children or stress the basic sacraments beyond baptism.

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CANTERBURY, England - Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, head of the Anglican Communion, has expressed deep concern about the stress that the Episcopal Church’s vote on gay marriage might cause to some in the 80 million-member worldwide Anglican Communion.

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When the massacre at Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., took place, I was in the United States. I heard the news from another priest who, clearly devastated by the bloodshed in the house of God, added quickly thereafter a comment about the debate over gun control. I was struck at how even such a great wickedness was seen so quickly through the prism of politics. And indeed, in the days after the massacre, the talk shifted to political debates over gun laws and the confederate flag. The pastor of Mother Emmanuel, Clementa Pickney, murdered in his own church while leading a Bible study, was also a member of the South Carolina state senate, a pastor holding political office.

Published in Fr. Raymond de Souza

The Vatican has released details of Pope Francis’ itinerary for his Sept. 22-27 United States visit, his first, and it shows how this “pope of the people” wants to avoid becoming a prisoner of the East Coast “power corridor” during his five days in Washington, New York and Philadelphia.

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VATICAN CITY - In word and deed, Pope Francis will take his vision of a Catholic's approach to family life, parish life, charity, economics, immigration and good governance to Cuba and the United States during a Sept. 19-27 visit.

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On June 30, the Vatican released details of Pope Francis’ itinerary for his Sept. 22-27 visit to the United States, his first to this country.

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WASHINGTON - In a landmark ruling, a divided Supreme Court June 26 said same-sex marriage is constitutional nationwide.

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Americans have less confidence in organized religion today than ever measured before — a sign that the Church could be “losing its footing as a pillar of moral leadership in the nation’s culture,” a new Gallup survey finds.

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NEW YORK - Syriac Catholic Archbishop Yohanna Moshe of Mosul, Iraq, called on the world's government to oust Islamic State militants from northern parts of the country so thousands of displaced Christians can return home.

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