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The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended on May 1 that President Obama consider Venezuela and Cuba among the countries that should be monitored closely for violations of religious freedom. • Preparing to visit the Holy Land, Pope Benedict XVI on May 3 asked for prayers for his trip, for peace in the region and for the suffering Palestinian people. • The University of Notre Dame announced on April 30 that it will not award the Laetare Medal during its May 17 commencement ceremony. Mary Ann Glendon, former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, was to receive the medal but declined the honor in the wake of controversy over the university’s decision to grant an honorary degree to President Barack Obama. The 1984 recipient of the medal, Judge John T. Noonan Jr., will speak at the commencement. • President Barack Obama said on April 29 that the Freedom of Choice Act is not an important legislative priority and that he is instead focusing on reducing unwanted pregnancies.

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Indigenous people walk past Pope Francis after presenting offertory gifts during the pope's celebration of Mass at the Maquehue Airport near Temuco, Chile, Jan. 17. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis appealed to the Mapuche, who have suffered “great injustices,” to totally reject violence “which can make a just cause turn into a lie.”
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 17, 2018
Dolores O'Riordan, former lead singer of The Cranberries, performs on stage during a concert in 2007 in Tirana, Albania (CNS photo/Arben Celi, Reuters).
She was Dickensian, if Dickens had written a Gaelic warrior-waif, a hero with a voice that could thrill and comfort.
Cameron Dezen HammonJanuary 17, 2018
The Persistence of Memory, Salvador Dalí, 1931.
The God who is coming is the God who is already here.
Terrance KleinJanuary 17, 2018
Pope Francis dove head-first into Chile's sex abuse scandal on his first full day in Santiago.