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With new ministry of catechist, Pope Francis widens role for lay Catholics

By Claire Giangravé — May 11, 2021
(RNS) — The latest motu proprio signals a continued, albeit timid, effort to answer a growing demand for agency from rank-and-file Catholics.
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Violence at Al-Aqsa Mosque leads to rocket fire, air strikes between Hamas and Israel

By Michele Chabin — May 10, 2021
JERUSALEM (RNS) — Reports of 20 dead in Gaza, hundreds injured as skirmishes over Jewish-Arab land claims threaten to ignite regional violence in the Middle East.

German Catholics to bless gay unions despite Vatican ban

By Kirsten Grieshaber — May 10, 2021
BERLIN (AP) — Germany's Catholic progressives are offering same-sex blessings at services in about 100 churches this week in defiance of a recent Vatican pronouncement against them.

US hosts Ethiopian Orthodox Church head after Tigray warning

By Cara Anna — May 10, 2021
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — It was not clear whether the patriarch requested protection from the U.S. and the embassy did not comment on that.

President Trump failed to challenge India on religious freedom. Will Biden follow suit?

By David Curry — May 10, 2021
(RNS) — Biden the candidate promised to protect religious freedom. But Biden the president seems to have chosen a similar approach to India as his predecessor.

Palestinians, Israel police clash at Al-Aqsa Mosque; 53 hurt

By Joseph Krauss — May 7, 2021
JERUSALEM (AP) —The clashes erupted when Israeli police deployed heavily as Muslims were performing evening prayers at Al-Aqsa during the holy month of Ramadan.

Vatican prelate says individual bishops have final say on Communion

By Claire Giangravé — May 6, 2021
VATICAN CITY (RNS) — ‘It’s not up to bishops in general to make these decisions. It’s the bishop of the person,’ said Cardinal Michael Czerny. But at least one canon lawyer argues that when it comes to Communion for heads of state, it should really be up to the pope himself.

Vatican denounces UK laws regulating immigration, calls for ‘a wider we’

By Claire Giangravé — May 6, 2021
VATICAN CITY (RNS) — During a news conference announcing the 107th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, speakers criticized recent moves made by United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson to regulate the influx of immigrants in the country.

Germany celebrates a historic milestone of Jewish culture — while looking forward

By Ken Chitwood — May 6, 2021
BERLIN (RNS) — As their community turns 1,700 this year, Germany’s Jews want to cast off the bleak history of the Holocaust in favor of a ‘living Judaism.’

Pope Francis invites faithful to monthlong rosary marathon for end of pandemic

By Claire Giangravé — May 5, 2021
VATICAN CITY (RNS) — Thirty sanctuaries located all over the world and dedicated to the Virgin Mary will take part in reciting the rosary in unison throughout the Marian month of May, each one in turn leading the prayer.

To break Ramadan fast, many Muslims turn to apricot drink with ‘lunar’ name

By Joseph Hammond — May 4, 2021
(RNS) — In the Arab world, an apricot juice drink known as Qamar al-Din, or ‘moon of the religion,’ satisfies the requirements for breaking the daily fast.

Indians are forced to change rituals for the dead as COVID-19 rages

By Natasha Mikles — May 4, 2021
(RNS) — Families want their loved ones cared for quickly, but there is a shortage of people who can do the funerals.

As COVID-19 swamps India, decision to allow Kumbh Mela’s crowds is scrutinized

By Bhavya Dore — May 3, 2021
MUMBAI (RNS) — As COVID-19 infections rise, the local and national governments' decision to allow the Kumbh Mela is being scrutinized as a sign of the BJP-led government favoring Hindu beliefs over safety.
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