Nation and World News

Jesuits denounce threats against outspoken Honduran priest, activists

MEXICO CITY — The Society of Jesus has denounced threats made against an outspoken Honduran Jesuit who has highlighted accusations of widespread irregularities in the Central American country's recent presidential election.

For New Year, pope urges help for refugees, respect for life

Young Rohingya refugees played soccer Dec. 10 at the Kutupalong refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Specially established centers in the camps help child refugees with basic education, recreation and counseling services. Before reciting the Angelus Jan. 1, the pope said of migrants and refugees: “Let’s not extinguish the hope in their hearts; let’s not suffocate their hopes for peace.”

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis began the New Year praying the world would demonstrate a marked increase in solidarity and welcome for migrants and refugees.

"Let's not extinguish the hope in their hearts; let's not suffocate their hopes for peace," the pope said Jan. 1 before reciting the Angelus with a crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square.

For the New Year's celebration of World Peace Day and the feast of Mary, Mother of God, Pope Francis had chosen to focus on migrants and refugees and their yearning for peace.

Popularity of Gregorian chant has flourished in recent years

Elizabeth Black, assistant director of music at St. John the Beloved Church in McLean, Va., directs choir members as they sing Gregorian chant during Mass Oct. 8. Gregorian chant is the singing of the liturgy and its texts are almost entirely scriptural.

WASHINGTON (CNS) — James Senson grew up in the Virginia Beach, Virginia, area in the 1980s and his exposure to music in his home parish sounded remarkably similar to the tunes played on popular radio stations in the region.

"You know, there was nothing really special about the music, nor did it really say something about the church to me in it," said Senson, a Filippino-American who's had a passion for music since he was a child.

Senson had drifted away from religion by the time he was a college-age adult, but his love of music flourished.

Nation and world briefs

U.S.

Oral arguments heard in suits on religious exemption to mandate

Vatican renews call for peace, negotiated solution on Jerusalem

Palestinians burned a U.S. flag while protesting amid clashes with Israeli troops near the West Bank city of Ramallah Dec. 7. The protest followed U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

VATICAN CITY — Following days of violence and backlash after U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Vatican appealed for "wisdom and prudence" to prevail.

The Holy See "reiterates its own conviction that only a negotiated solution between Israelis and Palestinians can bring a stable and lasting peace and guarantee the peaceful coexistence of two states within internationally recognized borders," the Vatican wrote in a statement Dec. 10.

Study: Number of Americans who view Christmas as religious keeps eroding

WASHINGTON — The percentage of Americans who see Christmas as a religious holiday continues to slide across nearly all demographic lines.

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