The National Catholic Review

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  • Pope Francis pleaded for the international community to take stronger, coordinated steps to "annihilate" the Ebola virus and help the millions of people impacted by the disease.

    "As the Ebola virus epidemic worsens, I want to express my deep concern for this relentless illness that is spreading particularly on the African continent and especially among populations that are already disadvantaged," the pope said Oct. 29 at the end of his weekly general audience.

  • While the Nigerian government negotiates with the Islamic militant group Boko Haram for the release of 200 abducted schoolgirls, some church leaders in the country’s conflict-ridden north are expressing doubts about any impending resolution.

    Nearly two weeks ago, the government announced a cease-fire with the militants. It set Oct. 24 as the date for the girls’ release, but that failed to happen.

  • Pope Francis urged an international gathering of grassroots social activists to struggle against the "structural causes" of poverty and inequality, with a "revolutionary" program drawn from the Gospels.

    "The poor no longer wait, they seek to be protagonists, they organize, study, work, demand and, above all, practice that special solidarity that exists among those who suffer, among the poor," the pope said Oct. 28, to a Vatican-sponsored World Meeting of Popular Movements.

  • Burials that are dignified and safe are urgently needed for Ebola victims in West Africa, where corpses are frequently left unattended for days and then thrown into graves without ceremony, a U.S. church aid official said.

    "So many people are dying that there has not been the capacity to respond" to burial needs in an appropriate way and "we are now making this a priority," Michael Stulman, regional information officer for the U.S. bishops'...

  • The Big Bang theory and evolution do not eliminate the existence of God, who remains the one who set all of creation into motion, Pope Francis told his own science academy.

    And God's existence does not contradict the discoveries of science, he told members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Oct. 27.

  • More than 100 Muslim leaders—clerics and laypeople alike—have signed on to a letter criticizing the Middle East Muslim military group ISIS, short for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

    In the 17-page letter, the leaders quote extensively from the Quran, the Muslim scriptures, to rebuke ISIS' tactics and actions.

    Since the letter was issued Sept. 19, more than 125 Muslim leaders around the world have signed the letter. Twenty of them come from the United States, where the...

  • Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster asked Catholics to recognize the "real goodness" in the lives of many cohabiting couples and those who have divorced and civilly remarried.

    He said the two-week Synod of Bishops on the family, which concluded at the Vatican on Oct. 19, called the faithful "to walk alongside people in difficult or exceptional situations" and to "see clearly and with humility all the good aspects of their lives."

  • Looking ahead to the October 2015 world Synod of Bishops on the family, Cardinal George Pell said the task for Catholics "over the next 12 months" is to explain "the necessity of conversion, the nature of the Mass," and "the purity of heart the Scriptures require of us to receive holy Communion."

    The cardinal's comments came days after the conclusion of the 2014 extraordinary synod on the family, which debated making it easier for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive...

  • Religious groups are battling the state of California over whether employee health insurance plans require them to pay for abortions and some forms of contraception that some find immoral.

    So is the state forcing churches to pay for abortions? It depends on who you ask.

  • If you’re dismayed that one in five Americans (20 percent) are “nones” — people who claim no particular religious identity — brace yourself.

    How does 38 percent sound?

    That’s what religion researcher David Kinnaman calculates when he adds “the unchurched, the never-churched and the skeptics” to the nones.

    He calls his new category “churchless,” the same title Kinnaman has given his new book. By his count, roughly four in 10 people living in the continental United States...