Catholics

4:07am

Sun March 25, 2012
Latin America

Pope Visits Cuba To Recharge Faith, Urge Reform

Parishioners stand outside a Catholic church in a poor Santiago suburb on Saturday in Cuba. Pope Benedict XVI is in Mexico but will head to Cuba next for a three-day visit.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

The preparations for Pope Benedict XVI's three-day visit to Cuba have produced some unusual sights and sounds there lately.

A church van with a megaphone drove around one Havana neighborhood recently, calling Cubans out of their homes to a gathering in a nearby park, with the message that God loves them.

The number of churchgoing Catholics on the island is growing again, but it remains less than 10 percent, and the call to gather was a rare exception to the Communist government's ban on public acts of religious proselytism.

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3:54am

Sat March 24, 2012
Latin America

Pope Encounters A 'Wounded, Depressed' Mexico

Originally published on Sat March 24, 2012 7:49 pm

Pope Benedict XVI listens to a speech during his welcome ceremony in Mexico.
Gregorio Borgia AP

Crowds of people dressed in white and waving yellow flags lined the highway outside the Leon airport in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato to welcome Pope Benedict XVI. They cheered wildly when the grinning, 84-year-old pontiff sped past in his glass-sided popemobile.

The pope began his weeklong trip to Latin America on Friday afternoon. He's spending the weekend in Mexico before heading to Cuba.

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3:44pm

Fri March 23, 2012
Religion

Thousands Rally For Religious Freedom Nationwide

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 4:50 pm

Protesters rally for religious freedom in front of Philadelphia's Independence Hall on Friday. Rallies took place nationwide to protest the mandate that some religious organizations cover the cost of contraception.
Alex Brandon AP

Across the country, thousands of people skipped lunch Friday to protest what they see as a threat to religious liberties in the United States.

The protesters' specific complaint was the birth control mandate in the new health care law, but the discontent runs far deeper.

It didn't take much for the Rev. Pat Mahoney, an evangelical minister, to warm up the crowd in Washington. He gazed out at hundreds of people who filled the plaza in front of Kathleen Sebelius' office at the Department of Health and Human Services.

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1:06am

Fri March 23, 2012
Religion

Pope Expected To Address Drug Violence In Mexico

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 10:24 am

Pope Benedict XVI is expected to speak out against drug violence during his visit to Mexico, which begins Friday. Here, an actor is shown in front of a poster announcing the pope's visit Wednesday in the Mexican city of Leon, Guanajuato state.
Hector Guerrero AFP/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI begins a visit Friday that takes him to Mexico, a country with around 100 million Catholics, and to Cuba, a place where church leaders have played an increasingly active role in seeking change.

There are sensitive issues in both countries that the pope is likely to address in some form. In Mexico, it's the brutal drug war that has claimed roughly 50,000 lives over the past five years.

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2:07pm

Wed March 21, 2012
The Two-Way

Dutch Catholic Church Is Accused Of Castrating Boys

Dutch lawmakers are calling for a parliamentary hearing, today, after new allegations of abuse by the Catholic Church surfaced over the weekend. This time, an investigation by the newspaper NRC Handelsblad found that Catholic-run institutions had surgically castrated young boys.

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