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Vatican

Church supports World Leprosy Day to raise awareness, stop stigma

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While the global rate of new infections of Hansen's disease, or leprosy, continues to decline, the stigma associated with the disease has not, and that often is the focus of annual church statements marking World Leprosy Day.

For the past 60 years, Christians around the world have marked the last Sunday of January as a day to pray for those with Hansen's disease, to raise awareness about it and to thank ministers and health care workers -- many of them Catholic -- who offer treatment, therapy and support to patients.

Pope baptizes, welcomes babies into a personal relationship with Jesus

The Sistine Chapel sounded a bit like a nursery Monday as Pope Benedict XVI baptized 20 babies, whose crying provided a constant accompaniment to the two-hour Mass on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

Referring to the day's reading from the Gospel of St. Luke, which recounts the baptism of Jesus by St. John the Baptist, Pope Benedict said that in choosing to receive the sacrament, Jesus showed he "was really immersed in our human condition; he lived it to the utmost -- although without sin -- and in such a way that he understands weakness and fragility."

Pope Benedict completes 'ad limina' visits with world's bishops

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It took more than seven years, but Pope Benedict XVI has hosted the formal visits of bishops from every country in the world and will begin the cycle all over again by meeting the heads of Italy's 227 dioceses in 2013.

The Code of Canon Law calls for the heads of every diocese in the world to make their formal visit ad limina apostolorum ("to the threshold of the apostles") every five years, but there are now almost 2,900 dioceses in the world and the 85-year-old pope also has other obligations as well.

'God's blunder'

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Pope Benedict’s World Day of Peace remarks, including his critique of “unregulated financial capitalism” were most welcomed. His words, coming out of Catholic social teachings, are not likely to go down well with ideologues of the free market.

It was unfortunate, however, he linked his otherwise timely remarks with another slap at gays and lesbians. Why must a treatise on the economy contain reflections on the “natural structure of marriage”? 

Vatican official thanks mothers of priests, asks for their prayers

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The mothers of priests and seminarians deserve the thanks of the whole church for raising their sons in the faith and supporting them in their vocations, said Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy.

Writing on the feast of Mary, Mother of God, on Tuesday, the cardinal said having a priest-son requires a new form of motherhood, one that involves a "discreet, but very effective and invaluably precious accompaniment in prayer."

Piacenza's letter was posted, in Italian, on the website of the clergy congregation.

Vatican works to stop Sunday shopping in Italy

The Roman Catholic Church, trade unions and small business associations have joined forces in a bid to save Sundays.

In a bid to spur economic growth, outgoing Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti backed a new law that allows shops to stay open on the Sabbath.

But Sunday traditions are strong in the European nation, and the change provoked strong resistance from religious and secular groups.

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September 12-25, 2014

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