Nation and World News

Defend life, equality, unity, pope tells Colombians

Pope Francis greeted young people prior to Mass at Simon Bolivar Park in Bogota, Colombia, Sept. 7.

BOGOTA, Colombia -- Consolidating peace in Colombia will mean overcoming "the darkness" of inequality and a lack of respect for human life, Pope Francis said.

"Here, as in other places, there is a thick darkness which threatens and destroys life," the pope said in his homily at a late-afternoon Mass Sept. 7 in Bogota's Simon Bolivar Park.

Colombian authorities said more than 1.1 million people gathered in the park for the Mass. Many of them were soaked in a rainstorm before the pope arrived, but as Mass began, bits of blue sky began to appear.

Be the first to take a step for peace, pope says at Mass with victims

Pope Francis waved to people upon entering Catama field in Villavicencio, Colombia, Sept. 8. The pope beatified Bishop Jesus Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve of Arauca and Father Pedro Maria Ramirez.

VILLAVICENCIO, Colombia -- If just one victim of Colombia's civil war forgives his or her aggressor, it can set off a chain reaction of hope for reconciliation and peace, Pope Francis said.

Celebrating Mass Sept. 8 in Villavicencio, a city filled with those who fled their homes during the war and with former fighters trying to start over, Pope Francis pleaded for honesty and courage.

Catholic leaders respond to judicial nominee grilled by senators on religious views

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., spurred outrage about possible religious tests for judicial appointees when she questioned a Catholic judicial nominee Sept. 6 about what impact her faith would have on her interpretation of the law.

Reaction from Catholic leaders to the hearing for Amy Coney Barrett, nominee for a seat on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, was swift, with a leading archbishop calling the Senate hearing "deeply disappointing."

Nation and world briefs


Resources offered for 'Day of Prayer for Peace in Our Communities'

Catholic officials applaud Illinois’ new scholarship tax credit program

PEORIA, Ill. — Catholic officials in Illinois are applauding state education funding reforms that include a scholarship tax credit program designed to provide up to $75 million a year in scholarships for qualifying students attending nonpublic schools.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the highly debated reforms Aug. 31 at Ebinger Elementary School in Chicago.

"Today we are making Illinois history," said Rauner, claiming the legislation ensures that "every child in Illinois has an equal chance at an excellent education."

Filipinos form coalition to protest Duterte’s ‘autocratic rule’

A young man in Manila, Philippines, held a placard Aug. 25 at a memorial for Kian Delos Santos, a 17-year-old shot in an escalation of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

MANILA, Philippines — Clergy, academics, lawyers, journalists and artists launched a broad coalition against the "autocratic rule" of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. reported that more than 400 people representing an array of organizations launched the Movement Against Tyranny at the Maryhill School of Theology in Quezon City Aug. 28, just days after more than 1,000 protesters joined the funeral march of a 17-year-old student killed by police.

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