By Junno Arocho Esteves | Catholic News Service | twitter:@arochoju
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis asked young people to tell him, their bishops and pastors about their hopes and struggles and even their criticisms.
In preparation for a meeting of the Synod of Bishops focused on youth, the pope wrote a letter to young people, saying the Church wants "to listen to your voice, your sensitivities and your faith, even your doubts and your criticism."
"Make your voice heard," the pope told young people. "Let it resonate in communities and let it be heard by your shepherds of souls."
VATICAN CITY — Last year, more than 13 million people around the world watched Pope Francis explain one of his specific prayer intentions each month.
The 90-second, personal explanations in "The Pope Video," first launched in January 2016, encouraged people to join an estimated 50 million Catholics who already had a more formal relationship with The Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network — better known by its former title, the Apostleship of Prayer.
By Mark Pattison | Catholic News Service | twitter: @MeMarkPattison
WASHINGTON — The U.S. abortion rate is down to its lowest level since the Supreme Court made abortion legal virtually on demand in 1973, and the rate is half of its early-1980s peak.
According to a study issued Jan. 17 by the Guttmacher Institute, the abortion rate for U.S. women ages 15-44 is 14.6 per 1,000 in 2014, the last year for which statistics are available. The figure represents a 14 percent decline from the 2011 numbers, and less than half of the 1981 rate of 29.4 abortions per 1,000 women of child-bearing age.
By Cyndi Wooden | Catholic News Service | twitter: @Cindy_Wooden
VATICAN CITY — When a group of German Christians was asked in 2014 to prepare materials for the 2017 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, their choice of a "wall" as a symbol of sin, evil and division explicitly referred to the Berlin Wall.
The German reflections on the power of prayer to bring down walls and the Gospel call to reconciliation were adopted by the World Council of Church's Faith and Order Commission and the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and proposed to Christians worldwide for the Jan. 18-25 octave of prayer.