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Sr. Maria Odete Pereira, center, of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, gives thanks before the distribution of food baskets to residents of the Our Lady of Fatima community just outside of Manaus, Amazonas state, Brazil. (Photo courtesy of Sr. Roselei Bertoldo)

As COVID-19 rages in Brazil, sisters in the Amazon fight hunger and isolation

By Global Sisters Report — March 8, 2021

Distributing food and aiding those afflicted by unemployment, hunger and despair, the religious women working in Brazil’s Amazonas state have been a driving force in coping with the pandemic.

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Pope Francis visited the ancient Mesopotamian city of Ur on Saturday, March 6, 2021, on the second day of his historic visit to Iraq (March 5-8). There he joined religious leaders for an ecumenical prayer calling for peace and tolerance in the country. Photo courtesy of Vatican Media

At ancient city of Ur, Pope Francis makes heartfelt appeal for fraternity of faiths

By Claire Giangravé — March 6, 2021

(RNS) — Earlier on Saturday, Pope Francis had a historic meeting with the Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, the Iraqi Shiite leader.

Members of the Uyghur community living in Turkey hold banners while protesting against China, in Istanbul, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. More than a million Uyghurs and other largely Muslim minorities have been swept into prisons and detention camps in China, in what China calls an anti-terrorism measure. Uyghurs, a Turkic group native to China's far west Xinjiang region, have sought refuge in Turkey for decades because of their shared cultural ties with the country. (AP Photo/Omer Kuscu)

As genocide designation becomes a political football, Uyghur activists push for action

By Joseph Hammond — March 5, 2021

(RNS) — Advocates for the Uyghurs say they expect the Biden administration to proceed on the understanding that China’s actions amount to genocide.

Pope Francis, center, delivers a speech during a meeting with bishops and priests, at the Sayidat al-Nejat (Our Lady of Salvation) Cathedral, in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, March 5, 2021. Pope Francis has arrived in Iraq to urge the country's dwindling number of Christians to remain and help rebuild the country after years of war and persecution, brushing aside the coronavirus pandemic and security concerns. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

On first day in Iraq, Pope Francis pays tribute to Christian martyrs

By Claire Giangravé — March 5, 2021

VATICAN CITY (RNS) — Visiting the Assyrian Catholic cathedral in Baghdad, Francis rallied Iraqis in the face of the challenges of the pandemic and the ravages of war and terrorism over the past two decades.

Adamo Tadolini's statue of St. Paul stands in front of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Photo by AngMoKio/Creative Commons

How Catholicism became a breeding ground for conspiracy theories

By Claire Giangravé — March 5, 2021

(RNS) — A perfect storm of institutional crises, the polarization of perceived winners and losers and an influx of evangelicals has made Catholicism fertile ground for conspiracy theories.

Pope Francis walks down the steps of an airplane as he arrives at Baghdad international airport, Iraq, Friday, March 5, 2021. Pope Francis heads to Iraq to urge the country’s dwindling number of Christians to stay put and help rebuild the country after years of war and persecution, brushing aside the coronavirus pandemic and security concerns. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Pope arrives in Iraq to rally Christians despite pandemic

By Nicole Winfield, Samya Kullab — March 5, 2021

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s foreign minister said Iraqis were eager to welcome Francis’ ‘message of peace and tolerance’ and described the visit as a historic meeting between the ‘minaret and the bells.’

Rosaleen Norton is played by actress Kate Elizabeth Laxton in “The Witch of Kings Cross.” (Photo by Edward Gill ©Black Jelly Films)

‘The Witch of Kings Cross’ finds the woman behind the scandal

By Antonio Pagliarulo — March 4, 2021

(RNS) — Norton is a figure who may offer a few lessons for society today, when radical personalities and movements abound.

Red Square in Moscow. Photo by Vlad Vasnetsov/Pixabay/Creative Commons

Pope Francis’ encyclical now available in Russian thanks to Muslim translators

By Claire Giangravé — March 3, 2021

(RNS) — It is not uncommon for papal encyclicals to be translated into multiple languages, including Russian, but they are rarely recognized officially by the Vatican.

Myanmar riot police with shields move forward during a protest against the military coup in Mandalay, Myanmar, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. (AP Photo)

Catholic nun’s kneeling protest in Myanmar praised as ‘model for church leaders’

By Claire Giangravé — March 3, 2021

(RNS) — A Catholic nun kneeling in front of government troops in Myanmar became a symbol of democratic resistance after a military coup seized the country last month.

In this Nov. 2, 2016, file photo, leaders of the Jewish Reform and Conservative movements carry Torah scrolls as they march to the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray in Jerusalem's Old City. Israel's Supreme Court on Monday, March 1, 2021, dealt a major blow to the country's powerful Orthodox establishment, ruling that people who convert to Judaism through the Reform and Conservative movements in Israel also are Jewish and entitled to become citizens. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File)

Israel’s high court broadens acceptance of non-Orthodox Jews, setting up political battle

By Michele Chabin — March 2, 2021

(RNS) — The US Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly said in a statement that the ruling ‘was a very long time coming. Not swift justice, but sweet and righteous just the same.’

Iraqi security forces pass by Iraqi and the Vatican flags, and posters announcing the upcoming visit of Pope Francis, in a street in Qaraqosh, Iraq, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. (AP/Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Vatican defends pope’s Iraq visit as ‘act of love’

By Claire Giangravé — March 2, 2021

VATICAN CITY (RNS) — Despite safety concerns due to recent terrorist attacks and COVID-19, Francis’ historic visit will proceed with hopes of promoting peaceful coexistence in the struggling Middle Eastern nation.

A pro-LGBTQ poster at Bosphorus University in Turkey with the image of the mythical creature Şahmeran. Image via Twitter

What the mythical figure of Şahmeran in Turkey represents and why activists use it

By Christiane Gruber — March 1, 2021

(The Conversation) — At the center of recent protests over civil liberties and religious sensibilities in Turkey looms a half-woman, half-snake figure known as Şahmeran.

Brooks Brunson, left, passes a bottle of formula to his husband, Gregg Pitts, as they prepare their son, Thomas Brunson-Pitts, 6 months old, for bed at their home in Washington on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. Originally from Texas and Ohio, they were married in the District of Columbia in November 2013. Brunson and Pitts always knew they wanted to have a family together and were delighted when they were able to start the adoption process for their son shortly after beginning to look for a match in 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Bethany Christian Services to allow LGBTQ couples to adopt, foster children

By Yonat Shimron — March 1, 2021

(RNS) — The change lowers the temperature on a hot culture-war topic pitting faith-based adoption and foster care agencies and civil liberties groups against one another.

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