Nation and World News

Pope marries couple on flight during Chilean trip

Pope Francis performed an impromptu wedding ceremony for Latam Airlines employees Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriaga, 41, and Paula Podest Ruiz, 39, aboard the pontiff's flight from Santiago, Chile, to Iquique Jan. 18.

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT TO IQUIQUE, Chile -- Love was in the air as Pope Francis performed an impromptu wedding ceremony at 36,000 feet aboard his flight in Chile.

During his flight to Iquique Jan. 18, the pope was approached by LatAm flight steward Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriaga and asked for a blessing for him and his wife, stewardess Paula Podest Ruiz.

The couple were supposed to be married in their home parish in Santiago Feb. 27, 2010. However, tragedy struck when an earthquake destroyed the church. Eight years later, they remained only civilly married.

Ending DACA will lead to ‘humanitarian crisis,’ says L.A. archbishop

Brenda Martinez worries her family will be separated if she is deported due to ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which currently allows her to stay in the United States. She arrived in the United States at the age of 6 and currently lives in Indianapolis, Ind. with her husband and daughters Luna, 4, and Athenea, 5 months, who both are United States citizens.

LOS ANGELES — Congress must separate "the conversation about DACA" from the "larger issues" about U.S. immigration policy, because allowing the program to expire will lead "to a humanitarian crisis," especially in Los Angeles, said Archbishop Jose H. Gomez.

"As a nation, we have a moral and humanitarian obligation to the 'Dreamers.' These young people have done nothing wrong. And their futures hang in the balance of these debates," he wrote in a column. "So, I hope you will join me in urging our leaders in Congress to help them in a spirit of generosity and justice."

Editorial | Break the chain of hate

Almost 40 years ago, the Catholic bishops of the United States wrote a pastoral letter on racism. "Racism is a sin: a sin that divides the human family, blots out the image of God among specific members of that family, and violates the fundamental human dignity of those called to be children of the same Father," the bishops wrote.

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Christians, Muslims join for Christmas Mass in liberated Mosul

Chaldean Christians in Mosul, Iraq, attended Christmas Mass at St. Paul Cathedral Dec. 24. Christians and Muslims attended the Mass in a show of unity just months after the city was liberated from the Islamic State militants.

MOSUL, Iraq — Cries of joy and seasonal hymns once again filled St. Paul Cathedral in Mosul as Christmas Mass was celebrated there for the first time in three and a half years, following the northern Iraqi city's liberation from Islamic State militants.

The Iraqi national anthem opened the Mass as women wailed with emotion. Armored police outside protected the worshippers.

Led by Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad, Christians and Muslims attended the Christmas Mass Dec. 24 in a display of unity.

Congo’s bishops shocked after 8 killed in protests

KINSHASA, Congo — Church leaders in Congo expressed shock after security forces fired on Catholic protesters, leaving at least eight dead and 120 people detained.

The Dec. 31 protest against rule by President Joseph Kabila was organized by the Kinshasa archdiocesan lay coordination committee. At least a dozen priests were among those detained.

"We condemn with utmost vigor this unjustified violence," the Congolese bishops' conference wrote in a statement Jan. 2.

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