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    How Low Sunday became Divine Mercy Sunday

    The Sunday after Easter was once called Low Sunday, but now we celebrate it as Divine Mercy Sunday. The reason is that after a long 20th century, the human family is in tremendous need of healing and hope, of both receiving mercy and sharing compassion with one another.

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    If Pope wants to honor martyrs, fast-track their sainthood causes

    Though anti-Christian persecution around the world is a widespread and growing problem, popes can't just wave a magic wand and make police states, armed gangs and terrorists disappear. What they can do, however, is deploy their unique authority to fast-track sainthood causes for new martyrs, and Pope Francis has a looming chance to do just that when he visits India.

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    Pope Francis says devil is behind anti-Christian persecution

    Leading a prayer service in memory of the Christian martyrs of the 20th and 21st centuries, Pope Francis also spoke about a woman whose name he doesn't know, but who "looks down on us from heaven.” He got to know her through her husband, a Muslim refugee who Francis encountered in Greece. The woman, whom the pope described as a martyr, was a Christian beheaded by terrorists after refusing to throw away a cross she was wearing.

Pope Francis travels to Egypt April 28-29, a trip that takes him to Al-Azhar mosque and university, the most prestigious center of learning in the Sunni Muslim world. It’s a high-wire act, one in which terrorism, Christian/Muslim relations, ecumenism, and the fate of persecuted Christians all will be front-and center. Crux’s John L. Allen Jr. is the papal plane, and click here for our comprehensive coverage.

Latest Stories

Latest From John L. Allen Jr.

  • Francis poses both/and approach to fighting anti-Christian persecution

    Francis poses both/and approach to fighting anti-Christian persecution

    • April 21, 2017

    Most activists in the fight against global anti-Christian persecution are inclined to go on the offensive, calling out offenders, demanding sanctions, and in general not taking things lying down. Pope Francis appears to prefer the carrot over the stick, but it’s possible to see this contrast as both/and — by reaching out so incessantly, Francis may be providing others the chance to push back.

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Latest from Inés San Martin

  • New martyrs whose deaths meet the old test of ‘hatred of the faith’

    New martyrs whose deaths meet the old test of ‘hatred of the faith’

    • April 21, 2017

    Pope Francis is set to visit Rome’s Church of St. Bartholomew on Saturday to shine a spotlight on the Church’s new martyrs. Yesterday, Crux presented a sampling of new martyrs killed ‘in odium amoris,’ or ‘hatred of love’; today, we look at several new martyrs whose deaths seem to meet the classic test of being killed ‘in odium fidei,’ or ‘hatred of the faith.’

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Latest from the Vatican

  • Vatican decries “genocidal scourge” of terrorism in the Middle East
    Vatican decries “genocidal scourge” of terrorism in the Middle East
    • April 21, 2017

    The chief Vatican diplomat to the United Nations said “there is no greater antidote to violence and hatred than dialogue and encounter” during a debate on the situation in the Middle East taking place at the UN Security Council. Archbishop Bernardito Auza also called on religious leaders to speak out against terrorism, especially when it’s done in the name of God.

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Latest from the Church in the US

  • Reading ‘Amoris Laetitia’ in the New Light of Easter
    Reading ‘Amoris Laetitia’ in the New Light of Easter
    • April 21, 2017

    Jesuit Father James F. Keenan says Easter week is the perfect time to re-read Pope Francis’s ‘Amoris Laetitia’ – or read it for the first time. He says for Christians, newness is not a contradiction of the past; it’s born from it. The newness of ‘Amoris Laetitia’ brilliantly brings the tradition into the present, for the sake of the future.

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Latest from the Global Church

  • On Earth Day Catholics prepare to show mercy for the planet
    On Earth Day Catholics prepare to show mercy for the planet
    • April 21, 2017

    The #Mercy2Earth Weekend is being organized by the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) to mark the fact that Earth Day (April 22) and Divine Mercy Sunday (April 23) are happening on the same weekend. The organizers say “both Catholics and non-Catholics are certainly listening to Pope Francis’s eco-message.”

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Latest Interviews

  • Is Fertility Awareness a natural alternative to the Pill?
    Is Fertility Awareness a natural alternative to the Pill?
    • April 19, 2017

    Catholic feminist Anna Keating says that beginning to see one’s fertility and biology, not as an enemy to be eradicated, but as an indicator of health to be understood, is a huge shift. Fertility Awareness gets people to think of themselves as fundamentally relational, and allows them to start thinking about what they want those relationships to look like.

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