AMMAN, Jordan - Celebrating Mass on his first day in the Holy Land, Pope Francis said hope for peace in a region torn by sectarian conflicts comes from faith in God.

Published in A Holy Land pilgrimage

AMMAN, Jordan - Pope Francis began a densely packed visit to the Holy Land with a call for religious freedom in the Middle East, including respect for the right to change one's religion.

Published in A Holy Land pilgrimage

BETHLEHEM - As workers continue to assemble the stage on which Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in Manger Square, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visited the city of Jesus' birth, leading a procession of Orthodox bishops, priests and officials from the Palestinian Authority into the Church of the Nativity.

Published in A Holy Land pilgrimage

BETHLEHEM - Come Sunday morning about 9,000 Christians who have been granted tickets will form Pope Francis' congregation on Manger Square in Bethlehem. Around, above and behind them will be as many as 800 journalists.

Published in International

The Catholic mayor of Bethlehem, Vera Baboun, has issued a plea for "peace and justice" on the eve of the May 24-26 pilgrimage by Pope Francis to the Holy Land.

Published in International

BETHLEHEM - Catholic priests in the Palestinian Territories want Pope Francis to press Israel to allow greater freedom of movement, especially access to holy sites in Jerusalem, and they expect the issue to be addressed when the Pope meets with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem on May 26.

Published in International

BETHLEHEM - Just like any parish decorating the church for a special occasion, Palestinians are decorating Bethlehem in advance of Pope Francis' visit on May 25. But these decorations are also a message to the world about the plight of Palestinians.

Published in International

VATICAN CITY - Three months after he gave 19 new cardinals their red hats, Pope Francis gave new responsibilities to the 16 who are under the age of 80, including Quebec's Cardinal Gerald Lacroix.

Published in Vatican

The “principle purpose” of the May 24-26 visit of Pope Francis to the Holy Land is not a conventional pilgrimage, as conducted by John Paul II and Benedict XVI. It is to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the meeting between Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I.

Published in Guest Columnists

JERUSALEM - Ahead of Pope Francis’ visit, Jewish religious and nationalist groups plan to demonstrate May 22 to demand that the Israeli government not cede sovereignty or control of the Cenacle, traditionally considered the site of Jesus’ Last Supper.

Published in International

NEW YORK - To hear Cardinal Walter Kasper tell it, he became the Pope’s point man for reform in the Catholic Church thanks to a bit of serendipity, or, if you will, Providence, before anyone knew that Francis was going to be the next Roman pontiff.

Published in International

VATICAN CITY - Canonization week in Rome served as something of an informal annual general meeting. The universal Church was catching up with herself after a momentous year since Conclave 2013, and everyone was talking about our new Holy Father. Over these weeks, I hope to share with readers some of what I heard about Francis’ reforming papacy from those in Rome from around the world.

Published in Fr. Raymond de Souza

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis will be accompanied on his first visit to the Middle East by Argentine Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Muslim leader Omar Abboud — two friends from Buenos Aires.

Published in Vatican

The graffiti which has appeared on the walls of some Jerusalem churches in advance of Pope Francis' visit is nothing new. Which makes in no less ugly and no less crazy.

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Charles Lewis: The papal office deserves a defence 

"I believed that criticism of the papacy was a sport for non-Catholics or perhaps disgruntled Catholics who were always at odds with Church teachings. Then a few things happened," Charles Lewis writes.

Faith

Pope's homily

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Read the latest homily given by Pope Francis.

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