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U.S. bishops ask Catholics to accompany migrants and refugees

A woman in New York walked Sept. 16 past hundreds of refugee life jackets collected from the beaches of Greece. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops urged Catholics to “not lose sight of the fact that behind every policy is the story of a person in search of a better life.”

WASHINGTON — The U.S. bishops in a pastoral reflection called all Catholics to do what each of them can "to accompany migrants and refugees who seek a better life in the United States."

Titled "Living as a People of God in Unsettled Times," the reflection was issued March 22 "in solidarity with those who have been forced to flee their homes due to violence, conflict or fear in their native lands," according to a news release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Priests and marriage: Pope’s response not so new after all

Pope Francis greeted a new priest at an ordination Mass April 26, 2015, in St. Peter’s Basilica. In an interview with German newspaper Die Zeit in early March, Pope Francis discussed the possibility of examining whether to allow married men to become priests.

VATICAN CITY — While Pope Francis' recent comments on the subject of married priests made headlines around the world, his response falls clearly in line with the thinking of his predecessors.

In an interview with German newspaper Die Zeit, published in early March, Pope Francis was asked if allowing candidates for the priesthood to fall in love and marry could be "an incentive" for combating the shortage of priestly vocations.

He also was asked about the possibility of allowing married "viri probati" — men of proven virtue — to become priests.

Egyptian priest praises Muslim support of threatened Christians

Displaced Egyptian Christian families, who used to live in the north of the Sinai Peninsula, sat near their belongings after arriving Feb. 24 at a church in Ismailia. Catholic churches in Ismailia, with help from Caritas, have helped Coptic Orthodox fleeing Islamic State attacks in North Sinai.

OXFORD, England — A spokesman for Egypt's Catholic Church praised local Muslims for helping embattled Christians after a series of Islamic State attacks in Sinai.

Father Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Coptic Catholic Church, said Christians must differentiate between ordinary Muslims and extremists.

"Ordinary Muslims are kind and try to help however they can — they're often first on the scene, rescuing the injured and taking them to hospitals," he said March 3, as Christians continued to flee Egypt's North Sinai region.

Catholic leaders react to House bill to repeal, replace health care law

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price gestured at a stack of papers that he said was the Affordable Care Act at a March 7 press briefing. Republicans in the U.S. House have introduced a measure to repeal and replace the federal health care law.

WASHINGTON — Calling health care "a vital concern for nearly every person in the country," the U.S. Catholic bishops said March 8 they will be reviewing closely a measure introduced in the House March 6 to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Abp. Gomez calls on Catholics to ‘show forth image of God’

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez

LOS ANGELES — The answer to society's dysfunctions can be found in one person: Jesus Christ.

That message is at the core of a new pastoral letter by Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez — "For Greater Things You Were Born" — released March 1, Ash Wednesday.

The letter is a 16,000-word meditation on human nature, which the archbishop maintains can only be understood in relation to God.

"Jesus Christ alone knows who we are and He is the one teacher of life," he wrote. "He alone shows us the way to live in order to lead a truly human life."

Promote life by protecting, sharing clean water, pope says

A man filled buckets with drinking water at a public filling area Feb. 3 in Aleppo, Syria. Access to clean drinking water is a basic human right and a key component in protecting human life, Pope Francis said Feb. 24 at a meeting with 90 international experts participating in a “Dialogue on Water” at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

VATICAN CITY — Access to clean drinking water is a basic human right and a key component in protecting human life, Pope Francis said.

"The right to water is essential for the survival of persons and decisive for the future of humanity," the pope said Feb. 24 during a meeting with 90 international experts participating in a "Dialogue on Water" at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Looking at all the conflicts around the globe, Pope Francis said, "I ask myself if we are not moving toward a great world war over water."

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