National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Vatican City

Pope Francis: Marriage is brave promise to love like Jesus, not showy ceremony

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A Christian marriage isn't just a big ceremony held in a church with nice flowers and everyone wearing fancy clothes and taking lots of pictures, Pope Francis said.

Marriage is an act of faith between a man and woman who are both fragile and limited, but courageous enough to follow Christ and seek to love each other as he loves them, the pope said Wednesday during his general audience in St. Peter's Square.

Pope Francis signs decrees in causes for Junipero Serra, married couple, martyrs

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Although he already has said he will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra in Washington in September, Pope Francis formally approved a sentence by members of the Congregation for Saints' Causes recommending the move.

The sentence was presented to the pope during a meeting Tuesday with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, the Vatican announced the next day. During the same meeting, the pope signed decrees relating to the sainthood causes of another 12 men and women.

Pope Francis to meet Cuban president Raul Castro on Sunday

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Pope Francis will meet Cuban President Raul Castro in a "strictly private" meeting on Sunday, only four months before the pontiff will travel to the Caribbean Island nation, the Vatican has announced.

Vatican spokesman Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi announced the visit in a brief statement late Tuesday evening, saying: "I confirm that Sunday May 10, in the course of the morning, the Holy Father will receive in a strictly private way the President of the Republic of Cuba, Mr. Raul Castro Ruz."

Deal imports American bottom-line accounting to Italy's Catholic churches

A number of Catholic parishes in Italy are set for a management overhaul following a new training program launched on Tuesday between the Villanova School of Business and the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.

The deal signed between the two universities will see Villanova bring educators from its Center for Church Management and Business Ethics to the classroom in Rome.

Mideast's future depends on dialogue, Christians, Vatican official says

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The future of the Middle East will depend on nations coming together to promote dialogue and development in the region and on local Christians staying active in society and politics, a top Vatican official said.

The international community cannot remain "inert or indifferent before the dramatic situation" unfolding in the Middle East because it has a special responsibility to "guarantee the presence of Christians and other minorities" in the region, said Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican's foreign minister.

Pope Francis defends Junipero Serra, prays for missionary zeal in Americas

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People seem to enjoy finding the shortcomings of candidates for sainthood like Blessed Junipero Serra, but they should ask themselves if they would have his generosity and courage to leave everything behind to care for the poor and bring them the Gospel, Pope Francis said.

Visiting the Pontifical North American College, the U.S. seminary in Rome, Pope Francis said Serra fits into a host of saints who shaped the history and culture of the Americas, particularly by spreading Christianity, caring for the poor and defending the oppressed.

Pope Francis names new commission to implement reform of Vatican media

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Pope Francis has set up a five-person committee -- which includes Irish Msgr. Paul Tighe -- to find ways to implement recommendations for streamlining and modernizing the Vatican's many communications structures.

When the pope met with his Council of Cardinals in April, the cardinal advisers suggested he name a new commission to implement a reform plan drafted by a previous 11-member papal commission.

Pope Francis: Being Christian is service, not 'makeup' for a pretty soul

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Being Christian is humbly serving others, not applying "makeup" to your soul to make it prettier, Pope Francis said.

"To be Christian is to do what Jesus did -- serve," he said in a homily Thursday during Mass in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Thinking about oneself and being self-centered "is a sin, it's a habit we have to break," he said, according to Vatican Radio. Just ask for forgiveness and pray "that the Lord convert us," he added.

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