National Catholic Reporter

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Peace & Justice

Boston Marathon bomber prayerfully apologizes to victims; judge orders death penalty

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Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev apologized in court Wednesday for "the suffering that I've caused" in the April 2013 attack that killed three people and wounded hundreds.

Tsarnaev said in a shaky voice that he was guilty and that he prays for the victims.

"I am sorry for the lives that I've taken, for the suffering that I've caused you, for the damage that I've done -- irreparable damage," he said, breaking more than two years of public silence.

"I pray for your relief, for your healing," he added.

Faith impels us

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Kurt Vonnegut is quoted as saying, "People say there are no atheists in foxholes. A lot of people think this is a good argument against atheism. Personally, I think it's a much better argument against foxholes."

That thought might offer a good start for us as we meditate on the question of a good God and suffering, an underlying theme of today's readings.

Juneteenth celebration resonates in wake of Charleston, S.C., tragedy

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Two days after Dylann Roof allegedly opened fire inside an historic black church in a city with deep black historical roots, the country is poised Friday to celebrate black empowerment and freedom from slavery.

Based on comments floating through social media and on editorials from news organizations, Juneteenth will have particular significance in Charleston, S.C., the community where nine people died after being shot during a prayer meeting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a house of worship founded by slave revolt organizer Denmark Vesey and others.

Senate adopts anti-torture amendment backed by Catholics, evangelicals

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The U.S. Senate in a bipartisan vote Tuesday approved a measure that would prohibit all U.S. government agencies and their agents from using torture as an interrogation technique.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, sponsored the anti-torture amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2016.

God gives the growth

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In his first letter to the believers in Corinth, Paul offered his perspective concerning the growth and development of the community: "I planted the seed and Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. This means that neither he who plants nor he who waters is of any special account, only God who gives the growth" (1 Corinthians 3:6-7).

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Pope: God offers everyone his mercy as safe haven, door to salvation

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God offers his mercy to everyone, showing his deep desire that everyone be saved, Pope Francis said.

Divine mercy is a safe and certain "shelter for whoever is weak and does not presume to save himself on his own," the pope said Friday, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Addressing the World Seminar for Catholic Civil Aviation Chaplaincies at the Vatican, the pope said airports are like "cities within cities" where chaplains meet people from many nations, cultures and religions.

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