National Catholic Reporter

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Vatican City

Ukrainian archbishop sees lingering threat of war, but signs of hope

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The three months of protests in Ukraine that ended with government snipers killing dozens of people strengthened the commitment to democracy of many Ukrainians, but also left the country vulnerable to further violence and division, said the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

"The danger that our neighbor (Russia) will provoke a civil war has not passed," Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych told reporters in Rome Feb. 25, adding that the protests have solidified the Ukrainian people's commitment to independence, freedom and democracy.

Vatican starts hiring freeze, forbids overtime in effort to cut costs

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The Vatican announced an immediate end to new hires, wage increases and overtime in an effort to cut costs and offset budget shortfalls.

Pope Francis, with input from the Vatican's central accounting office, also determined that volunteers could be used to help provide the labor needed to make up for the hiring freeze and eventual attrition.

Cardinal-designate Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, sent a letter dated Feb. 13 to the heads of all Vatican offices, institutions and agencies.

Pope: Professing the faith without good works is just spouting hot air

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Understanding God's commandments and church doctrine is useless if those truths aren't put into practice, Pope Francis said.

"A faith without bearing fruit in life, a faith that doesn't bear fruit in works is not faith," the pope said in a Mass homily, focusing on the day's first reading from the Book of James (2:14-24).

Professing the faith without giving a witness makes the Gospel "words and nothing more than words," he said Friday during his early morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.

Pope: By taking care of elders, families show world all life has value

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Pope Francis said the worst thing about growing old is not becoming weaker or infirm, but the "abandonment, the exclusion, the deprivation of love" in today's "throwaway culture."

The pope's remarks came in a written message sent to bioethicists, scientists, healthcare professionals, religious, theologians and other experts attending the Pontifical Academy for Life's workshop Thursday and Friday on "Aging and Disability."

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