Pope Francis arrives to lead a mass to mark the World Day of Peace in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Jan. 1, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi
 

Pope Francis described migrants and refugees as the world's "weakest and most needy" on Monday, using his traditional New Year's address to "give voice" to people he has urged leaders to do more to help.

Image via Osservatore Romano/Handout/Reuters.

Francis, leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, urged people to see the defenseless baby Jesus in the children who suffer the most from war, migration, and natural calamities caused by man today.

Katie Kirk 12-22-2017

Image via Reuters/Marvin Gentry

“I am so pro-protest and call-out and raising hell. I feel it coming,” one Auburn graduate and Alabama native, who recently moved to Minnesota, told me.

"I think the opportunities to act on these convictions for the good of others will continue opening. I hope they do. I’m ready for them.”

the Web Editors 12-22-2017

2. Bringing Light to Our Nation’s Very Dark Night

“We feel the chill in our souls. We taste the darkness all around us. It’s important to remember: It’s only temporary. The light is still there – dimmed but never extinguished, ready to warm and lead us all over again, if we let it.”

3. The Postman of Lofoten

A gorgeous photo essay featuring Bjorn Nilsen, the man who drives 125 miles every day to deliver mail to the residents of the isolated Lofoten Islands. “Among older residents, who suffer most from isolation, he might be the only person they see for days."

the Web Editors 12-22-2017

Retired engineer John Wider, 59, is greeted by a supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump as he holds up a sign reading "Welcome Refugees" at the international arrivals terminal at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, U.S. on June 29, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

The U.S. State Department announced that it will drastically cut down the number of refugee resettlement offices across the country since the Trump administration's plans to sharply reduce refugee admissions into the U.S., according to a Reuters report. 

Dec. 21, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
 

The successors of St. Francis of Assisi, who invented the nativity scene, craft a different scene each year outside the basilica in the Italian hill city of Assisi, the burial place of the 13th-century patron saint of peace and the environment.

Image via Nadin Panina / Shutterstock

Kevin L. Ladd, a professor of psychology at Indiana University South Bend, said it makes sense that, as society grows less religious in the traditional sense, fewer people are turning to prayer.

Image via Foreign and Commonwealth Office / Flickr

Mullally’s gender pleases those seeking evidence of growing equality for women in the church — her predecessor Richard Chartres did not ordain women priests. But while she supports traditional church teaching on marriage being between a man and a woman, she is also said to be supportive of greater equality for gay people.

U.S. Boston Cardinal Bernard Law gestures as he arrives at Rome's Fiumicino Airport April 22, 2002. REUTERS/Paulo Cocco/File Photo

When it comes time for Law’s funeral, Casteix said, “Every single Catholic should ask Pope Francis and the Vatican “why?” Why Law’s life was so celebrated when Boston’s clergy sex abuse survivors suffered so greatly? Why was Law promoted when Boston’s Catholic children were sexually abused, ignored, and pushed aside time and time again?”

Image via RNS / SilenceIsNotSpiritual.com

 

It’s important for the church to get involved, it says, because Christians believe all people are created in the image of God, meaning violence against women is violence against God.

the Web Editors 12-20-2017

FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Capitol building is lit at dusk ahead of planned votes on tax reform on Dec. 18, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo
 

In the early morning hours, the Senate on Wednesday passed the Republican tax bill by a party-line vote of 51-48, with holdout Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) ultimately falling in line.

Paul Ryan speaks at a news conference Dec. 19, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
 

The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives approved sweeping, debt-financed tax legislation on Tuesday, sending the bill to the Senate, where lawmakers were due to take up the package later in the evening.

Roshid Jan, a Rohingya refugee who said she is not sure of her age, cries holding her son Muhammad Gyab at their shelter at the camp for widows and orphans inside the Balukhali camp near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Dec. 5, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
 

The international community is demanding that the Rohingya be allowed to go home in safety, and Bangladesh and Myanmar have begun talks on repatriation, but huge doubts remain about the Rohingya ever being able to return in peace to rebuild their homes and till their fields.

Image via Adelle M. Banks / RNS

“We’re all born to live, to love and to die,” he said. “Between the birth and the dying the question is what do we make of it?"

Helen Salita 12-18-2017

On Dec. 12, members of the Washington, D.C., community gathered at St. Peter’s Catholic Church for a Mass celebrating the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of the Americas. Bishop Mario Dorsonville-Rodriguez used the homily to remind the congregation of the legacy of Our Lady, and also that Christ calls Christians to be the voice for the voiceless and the face to the faceless. And that in this current climate, that means standing with our immigrant sisters and brothers, and fighting for their safety and rights. He urged the U.S. to protect Dreamers and pass a Clean Dream Act before the end of 2017.

the Web Editors 12-18-2017

U.S. President Donald Trump casts a shadow as he waves and approaches the press to make remarks as he returns from a weekend at the presidential retreat at Camp David to the White House, Washington, U.S., December17, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Theiler

“U.S. leadership is indispensable to countering an anti-growth, energy agenda that is detrimental to U.S. economic and energy security interests. Given future global energy demand, much of the developing world will require fossil fuels, as well as other forms of energy, to power their economies and lift their people out of poverty."

the Web Editors 12-14-2017

Net neutrality advocates rally in front of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ahead of Thursday's expected FCC vote repealing so-called net neutrality rules in Washington, U.S., December 13, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

"You and I and everyone else who uses the Internet for personal use will see some changes in pricing models. For most of us, I expect we will pay more. Service bundles (e.g., social media package, streaming video package) will likely be bolted on to basic transport for things like web surfing and email," Glenn O'Donnell, an industry analyst at the research firm Forrester, wrote in an email. 

A church member listens to Democratic Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Doug Jones during his visit to the Progressive Union Missionary Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama, U.S. December 10, 2017. REUTERS/Marvin Gentry

Moore lost in large part because African-Americans — and particularly African-American women — voted overwhelmingly for Jones. In all, 96 percent of African-Americans supported Jones; that’s similar to the level of support they extended to then-President Obama in 2012.

the Web Editors 12-13-2017

Image via Fibonacci Blue / Flickr

The study “highlights how policies can have effects far beyond, perhaps, the individuals that are targeted by those policies,” Samantha Artiga, director of Kaiser’s Disparities Policy Project and co-author of the study, said. “We really hear how those feelings of fear and uncertainty have impacts on their health.”

Jewish worshippers taking part in the priestly blessing during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, at the Western Wall. Oct. 8, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo

"This is my city – my blood, my life," added a 70-year-old Palestinian, walking through the pilgrim-packed courtyard of Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, revered by Christians as the site of Jesus's tomb

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