Nation and World News

Observers expect Pope Francis to affirm and challenge politicians during visit

Pope Francis prayed the Angelus Aug. 14. Pope Francis is preparing to visit the United States and Cuba Sept. 19-28.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner -- two high-profile Catholic politicians -- the visual of Pope Francis' Sept. 24 address to Congress will signal an evolving narrative.

The improbability of a pope standing before a joint meeting of Congress comes in an era of wider acceptance of the Catholic faith as it intersects with public life and U.S. politics, and indicates a comfort level between the two that wouldn't have been imaginable several decades ago, observers said.

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Woman leaves teaching post to minister in Swaziland

Contemplate, give thanks, protect: Pope Francis prays for creation

At a prayer service to mark World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis prayed that people would learn to contemplate God in the beauty of the universe, give thanks and protect all life.

VATICAN CITY -- Leading prayers for the safeguarding of creation, Pope Francis prayed that people would learn to contemplate God in the beauty of the universe, give thanks and protect all life.

At an evening celebration of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, the pope prayed that God would "enlighten the lords of power and money so they would not fall into indifference, but would love the common good, encourage the weak and care for the world in which we live."

For Year of Mercy, pope extends to priests authority to absolve women of sin of abortion

Pope Francis, seen praying during his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Aug. 26, has issued a letter offering a series of instances in which absolution can be granted during the Year of Mercy.

VATICAN CITY -- In an extraordinary gesture for the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has extended to priests worldwide the authority to absolve women for the sin of abortion and has decreed the full validity during the year of the sacrament of confession celebrated by priests of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X.

Receiving pallium, Archbishop Cupich asks faithful to minister with him

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the U.S., blessed Archbishop Blase J. Cupich of Chicago after vesting him with the pallium Aug. 23 in a special Mass at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago.

CHICAGO -- When Archbishop Blase J. Cupich of Chicago received the pallium on his shoulders Aug. 23, he did so in a demonstration of unity that he said extended from the people in the pews to the bishops who joined him in the sanctuary to Pope Francis.

He was invested with the pallium by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States, after receiving it from Pope Francis in the Vatican on June 29.

Meals program in Washington, D.C., illustrates pope's emphasis on serving poor

Volunteer Kristen Vibbert, left, greeted homeless men and women July 29 at a Catholic Charities-sponsored St. Maria’s Meals Program dinner held every Wednesday evening in the nation’s capital. Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the homeless food initiative Sept. 24 on the Washington leg of his U.S. visit.

WASHINGTON -- The Gospel of St. Matthew records Christ telling His disciples that whatever they do for "the least of these," they do for Him.

One way Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington is serving Christ is by providing hot meals to homeless and other disadvantaged people every Wednesday evening outside the agency's headquarters in downtown Washington, adjacent to St. Patrick in the City Catholic Church.

The St. Maria's Meals program serves between 300 and 500 individuals, with the line beginning around 4 p.m. and wrapping around the building.

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