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Church giving won't rise unless pastors embrace Jesus' teachings on poor, report says

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Christian researchers tracking decades of decline in charitable giving say the trend will not be reversed until pastors challenge congregants to embrace Jesus' teachings on the poor.

But that, says Sylvia Ronsvalle, one of the authors of the annual "Empty Tomb" reports on Christian giving, will take a different kind of pastor than the counselors and comforters that seminaries and divinity schools have trained for ministry.

Debate emerges on St. John Paul II's early writings on social ethics

Less than six months after St. John Paul II was canonized, questions are being raised about a book of lectures he penned as a young priest in his Polish homeland.

The two-volume "Katolicka Etyka Spoleczna" ("The Catholic Social Ethic") has never been officially published. But it could, some observers said, affect interpretations of the future pope's philosophical development, highlighting a youthful commitment to radical change which sounded, at times, close to Marxism.

Fr. Benedict Groeschel - author, retreat master and preacher - dies

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Fr. Benedict Groeschel, a Franciscan priest whose long beard, gray robes, prolific writings and often controversial views made him a distinctive and popular presence in Catholic media, died Friday at St. Joseph's Home for the Elderly in Totowa, N.J.

Groeschel was 81 and had been in declining health.

Grosechel had been out of the spotlight since 2012, when he made controversial comments that blamed some victims of sexual abuse by priests for inviting the molestation.

What do Americans pray for? Themselves. And maybe a sports team

When Americans aren't busy praying for themselves or their own needs -- and most of them are -- many are seeking divine intervention on behalf of a favorite sports team or the golden ticket in the lottery, according to a new survey.

About 13 percent of Americans who pray say they pray for sports teams, compared with about one in five (21 percent) who say they have prayed to win the lottery, the new survey from LifeWay Research suggests. 

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