The National Catholic Review

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  • Watching a Vatican-brokered diplomatic breakthrough in December that may lead to the normalization of relations between the United States and the island-nation of Cuba, Eusebio Mujal-León was hardly a disinterested bystander. A professor and former Chair of the Department of Government at Georgetown University, Mujal-León is the director of the Georgetown reseach initiative, the Cuba XXI Project. But Mujal-León is also Cuban born and as a child fled with his family to the United States from...

  • Ineffective budgetary oversight and "questionable" financial activities have plunged the Order of Friars Minor into significant debt and an extremely serious financial situation, its minister general said.

    Following an internal investigation into the order's finances, U.S. Franciscan Father Michael Perry, the superior, announced to all members of the order that its general curia "finds itself in grave, and I underscore 'grave,' financial difficulty, with a significant burden of debt...

  • Ukrainian Catholic leaders have warned their church is being driven underground again, a quarter-century after it was re-legalized with the end of communist rule.

    "In Crimea and eastern Ukraine, we've already effectively returned to the catacombs," said Father Ihor Yatsiv, the church's Kiev-based spokesman.

    "It's a sad paradox that history is being repeated just as we commemorate our liberation. But after a couple of decades of freedom, we again look set to lose our freedom,"...

  • Pope Francis is being hailed around the world — and criticized by some in the U.S. — for his pivotal role in brokering the historic breakthrough in relations between Washington and Havana, a role attributed to his background as the first Latin American pope and to the special position he occupies.

    “Pope Francis did what popes are supposed to do: Build bridges and promote peace,” Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski said after the announcement on Dec. 17 about the U.S.-Cuba rapprochement.

  • Ending a year that saw the papal visit, a war in Gaza and a resumption of violence in Jerusalem, Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal's Christmas message condemned all instances of violence.

    The patriarch was called to Amman unexpectedly on Dec. 18, so his message was read by Auxiliary Bishop William Shomali.

  • Cubans in South Florida reacted with both joy and skepticism to the news that Cuba and the United States would start working toward normalizing relations and ending the economic embargo imposed by the U.S. 54 years ago.

  • American Alan Gross has been released in an apparent exchange with Cuba that has allowed the United States to proceed with a historic normalization of relations with Cuba after decades of hostility, suspicion and economic embargo that has previously been lamented by Vatican officials as unproductive and harmful to the people of Cuba. The historic shift is the culmination of 18 months of secret talks between the United States and Cuba in Canada, and a pivotal meeting in the fall at the...

  • Nearly five years after one of the most devastating earthquakes ever to rock the Western Hemisphere, more than 85,000 people still live in dozens of tent camps across Haiti's expansive earthquake zone.

    While significant, the number is small compared with the original 1.5 million people who were left homeless and dependent on international agencies for food and shelter in the weeks after the magnitude 7 temblor leveled much of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas...

  • The agreement reached at the end of the most recent round of international negotiations for a new climate-change treaty fails to protect the poorest and most vulnerable countries, Catholic observers said.

    The accord fell far short of a call from Catholic bishops from around the world to take strong measures to reduce global warming, said Meera Ghani, policy and democracy officer for climate justice at CIDSE, an international consortium of Catholic development agencies.

  • The Catholic church in Pakistan has joined the chorus of condemnation of the deadly attack by Taliban on an army school in Peshawar that has left at least 126 children and others dead and 250 injured.

    "This is a barbaric, inhuman and cowardly act," Cecil Chaudhry, executive director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace of the Pakistan Catholic Bishops' Conference, told Catholic News Service after the Dec. 16 attack.

    "It is beyond imagination how innocent children of...