National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Vatican City

Vatican security always on high alert, chief says after Islamic State threats

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The head of Vatican security said Islamic State militants have threatened the Vatican, but there are no indications of any planned attack.

The Vatican gendarmes, Swiss Guards and the Italian state police that patrol the perimeter of Vatican City State are always on high alert, said Domenico Giani, the commander of the gendarme and the pope's chief bodyguard.

Pope Francis: Profit is tool for measuring success, but people come first

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Profit must never be a Christian's god, although it is one of the tools for measuring the effectiveness of business choices and the ability of a company to help workers feed their families, Pope Francis said.

"Money is the devil's dung," the pope said Saturday, quoting St. Francis of Assisi. "When money becomes an idol, it dictates people's choices."

Papal palates: Swiss Guard cookbook to hit shelves by summer

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A cookbook featuring favorite dishes of the three most-recent popes and their elite military corps will be available this summer in English.

Buon Appetito, Swiss Guard was written by 24-year-old David Geisser, who had worked as a chef and published two popular cookbooks in his native Switzerland before joining the Swiss Guard nearly two years ago.

"Many people do not know about the Swiss Guard," said Geisser, whose commander conceived of the coffee-table-size book as a means to make the Guard better known.

During Lent, pope offers handy tips for preparing for confession

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As Catholics are encouraged to make going to confession a significant part of their lives during Lent, Pope Francis offered some quick tips to help people prepare for the sacrament of penance.

After a brief explanation of why people should go to confession -- "because we are all sinners" -- the pope listed 30 key questions to reflect on as part of making an examination of conscience and being able to "confess well."

Carmelite draws from life of Elijah for pope, Curia's Lenten retreat

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The Lenten journey of conversion requires Christians to rediscover the "deepest truth" about themselves, cast off their masks and take on the courage to live truth, a prominent Carmelite priest told the pope and Vatican officials.

In the first days of Lenten spiritual exercises for the Roman Curia, the church's central administration, Carmelite Fr. Bruno Secondin drew from the life of the prophet Elijah to invite Vatican officials to reflect on whether their hearts "really belong to the Lord" or whether they rely on external gestures.

Pope Francis names St. Gregory of Narek a doctor of the church

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A 10th-century Armenian monk has been named among the doctors of the church.

Pope Francis approved the designation for St. Gregory of Narek during a meeting Saturday with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes.

The church confers this designation on saints whose writings are considered to offer key theological insights for the faith.

St. Gregory of Narek is considered one of the foremost figures of Armenian theology and thought, and many of his prayers are included in the Armenian Divine Liturgy.

Ukrainian Catholic leader invites pope, says visit could bring peace

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The head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church invited Pope Francis to visit the war-torn nation, saying it would help bring peace.

"It would be a prophetic gesture that would show the power of prayer and Christian solidarity, give us courage and hope and build a better future for everyone," said Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of Kiev-Halych.

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