World News

Latin America’s growth industries can be matter of life and death

LIMA, Peru (CNS) -- The gas, oil, minerals and timber that have spurred economic growth in Latin America over the past decade are becoming a matter of life and death in remote communities, church workers say.

Pope, Bolivian president discuss poverty, discrimination, Middle East

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The problems of poverty, discrimination and conflict in the Middle East took center stage in private talks between Pope Francis and Bolivian President Evo Morales at the Vatican. During the 32-minute meeting in the pope's library Sept. 6, the two leaders held "cordial talks" concerning Bolivia's "social-economic and religious situation" as well as "the promotion of peace in Syria and the Middle East," said a written statement released by the Vatican.

Writing to Putin, pope leads diplomatic push against strikes on Syria

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis asked leaders of the world's 20 largest economies to "lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution" to the Syrian civil war and promote instead a "peaceful solution through dialogue and negotiation." The pope's words appeared in a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, host of the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, Sept. 5-6. The letter was dated Sept. 4 and released by the Vatican the following day, as U.S. lawmakers prepared to vote on President Barack Obama's proposal for a military attack on Syria.

Mexican bishops’ ministry urges action after derailment kills migrants

MEXICO CITY (CNS) -- The Mexican bishops' ministry for people on the move called for prayer, reflection and action after a train carrying northbound Central Americans derailed in southern Mexico, killing 11 migrants. "Let us act so that this situation may be resolved; that people have the right to free transit; sufficient security to reach their destination; (and) ... in their own nation, possibilities for development, security and peace," said the statement, signed by Bishop Guillermo Ortiz Mondragon of Cuautitlan, director of the ministry.

With future uncertain for Syria, U.S. cardinal says prayer is needed

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As threats of military intervention against Syria escalate and the country's future remains uncertain, a U.S. cardinal said that, no matter what transpires, prayer is urgently needed. Cardinal Edwin F. O'Brien, grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, said that "whatever happens, if there is going to be peace in Syria and anywhere, prayer has to be a part of it."

Lebanon’s Maronite bishops: Intervention in Syria poses ‘grave dangers’

BEIRUT (CNS) — Lebanon’s Maronite Catholic bishops warned against military intervention in neighboring Syria. “The bishops denounce the use of chemical weapons in Syria, but they call for being aware of the risks of a potential military strike,” the bishops said in a statement following their monthly meeting Sept. 4. The bishops said foreign intervention […]

Pope’s Syria appeal has special urgency for Catholics in Mideast

JERUSALEM (CNS) -- Pope Francis' appeal to pray for peace in Syria has a particular urgency for Catholics in the region, who say their countries are most likely to suffer the brunt of any attacks on Damascus. In Bethlehem, West Bank, Father Marwan Di'ides said parishioners at St. Catherine Church would offer special prayers of peace during all eight Masses over the weekend of Sept. 7.

Romanians flock to beatification of ‘major apostolic vagabond’

BUCHAREST, Romania (CNS) -- A pavilion designed for trade fairs became Eastern Europe's biggest church when more than 10,000 people participated in the beatification of Msgr. Vladimir Ghika, tortured to death at age 80 in 1954. As believers from across the country flowed into the massive, round hall, volunteers greeted each with a scarf to wear, printed with the martyr's serene face and signature white beard.

Pope Francis to lead prayer vigil for peace in Syria

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- On the evening of Sept. 7, days before U.S. lawmakers vote on President Barack Obama's proposal for a military attack on Syria, Pope Francis will lead thousands in St. Peter's Square in a prayer vigil for peace.

Reverting to tradition, pope names veteran diplomat as Vatican’s No. 2

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Although Pope Francis has not hesitated to break with convention during his brief pontificate, in appointing a seasoned member of the diplomatic corps as the top Vatican official, he resumed a long-standing tradition. The pope appointed Archbishop Pietro Parolin, 58, a longtime official in the Vatican secretariat of state and nuncio to Venezuela since 2009, to be his secretary of state.