The trial, originally set for August, makes Guatemala the first country in history to try a former head of government for genocide in its own courts.
Salvadoran clergy are hopeful that the canonization of Archbishop Oscar Romero, killed while celebrating Mass on March 24, 1980, during El Salvador's civil war, will move forward under the church's first Latin American pope.
"We are in the best of circumstances. The time is ripe for a final verdict," Auxiliary Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chavez of San Salvador told Catholic News Service, referring to Pope Francis, who as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, until he was elected pope March 13.
Although the early reaction to Pope Francis has been tremendously positive, it's largely based on matters of style and personality. The extent to which his expressed dream of a "poor church for the poor" will be translated into a program of governance remains to be seen.
So far, there have been two hints that the new pope sees himself as a genuine reformer, not just in words but also in deeds.
Cardinals who spoke to NCR on background following the conclave said what turned long shot Jorge Mario Bergoglio into pope was the intersection of three basic forces.
A growing number of young people in Mexico are using music as a platform to raise their voice against a culture of violence.
With Passover just three weeks away, the timing of a massive infestation of locusts in Egypt is striking many Israelis as downright biblical.
Millions of the grasshopper-like insects swarmed Israel's southern neighbor, damaging crops. Some have since made their way to southern Israel.
On the eve of Passover, which this year begins at sundown March 25, Jews around the world will recall the Exodus story and the 10 plagues that befell Egypt.
Hugo Chavez, a socialist president who transformed Venezuela while acting as chief protagonist in what was one of the worst Catholic church-government relationships in Latin America, died Tuesday. He was 58.
Chavez died of complications from a respiratory infection almost two years and four surgeries after his cancer diagnosis was made public. He flew to Cuba for his fourth surgery in early December and developed post-surgical complications, including bleeding and a lung infection, doctors said.
For the first time in history a former head of state, Guatemala's Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt, is on trial for genocide in the country where the crime occurred. Two hundred thousand died over 36 years of armed conflict in the Central American nation, mostly Maya indigenous noncombatants at government hands. The unfolding judicial process has global repercussions, strengthening possibilities for prosecution of other prominent human rights cases.
When Benedict XVI announced his resignation Feb. 11, he filled front pages across his German homeland as media commentators assessed his eight-year pontificate and tributes came in from public figures.
Yet some say enthusiasm for the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger never reached a high level in Germany, where relations between the pope and his own countrymen always remained complex.
"I think many Germans had trouble from the outset with the idea of a German pope," said Stefan Forner, spokesman for the German church's Berlin archdiocese.
Authorities say thieves in search of money to fund a drug habit murdered Father Jose Flores Preciado, an octogenarian known for hearing afternoon confessions in the cathedral of the coastal state of Colima.
The Diocese of Colima and its leader, Bishop Jose Amezcua Melgoza, responded with a call for silent marches Feb. 17 and 18 -- heeded by an estimated 10,000 residents in three cities hit hard by Mexico's crackdown on drug cartels and organized crime.