By Francis X. Rocca Catholic News Service

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CNS) — Canonizing Sri Lanka’s first saint, who ministered to Catholics under persecution three centuries earlier, Pope Francis proclaimed what he called the “fundamental human right” of religious freedom.

“Each individual must be free, alone or in association with others, to seek the truth, and to openly express his or her religious convictions, free from intimidation and external compulsion,” the pope said Jan. 14, before a congregation of more than 500,000 in a beachfront park on the Indian Ocean.

Born in Barcelona, Spain, St. Raymond of Penafort was the third Superior-General of the Domincan Order. He is famous for his work in the freeing of slaves. He wrote five books of Decretals which are now a valuable part of the Canon Law of the Church. The Summa Casuum, which is about the correct and fruitful administration of the Sacrament of Penance, is the most notable of his works.

Read more at… Jan. 7 Optional Memorial of St. Raymond of Penafort, priest; St. Andre Bessette, religious (Can), Opt. Mem.

Courtesy of CatholicCulture.org Liturgical Year

By Francis X. Rocca Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis condemned the killings of at least 12 people at the Paris offices of a satirical weekly newspaper Jan. 7 and denounced all “physical and moral” obstacles to the peaceful coexistence of nations, religions and cultures.

“The Holy Father expresses the firmest condemnation of the horrible attack,” said a statement from the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, who added that the killings had deeply disturbed “all persons who love peace, well beyond the borders of France.”