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Good Friday at St. Peter's Basilica: full text of Father Cantalamessa's homily

(Friday, Apr. 18) Pope Francis presided at the solemn Celebration of the Passion of the Lord at St. Peter's Basilica on Good Friday. As is customary, the preacher of the Papal Household, Father Raniero Cantalamessa,

Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum: full text of meditations

(Friday, Apr. 18) The Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff has released the meditations for the Way of the Cross at which Pope Francis will preside. The Way of the Cross takes place on

Pope Francis: homily at Holy Thursday evening Mass (full text)

(Friday, Apr. 18) “We have heard what Jesus did at the Last Supper: it is a gesture of farewell,” Pope Francis preached during his extemporaneous homily during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at a center for the

Liturgical Calendar: Good Friday

(Friday, Apr. 18) "It is accomplished; and bowing his head he gave up his spirit." Today the whole Church mourns the death of our Savior. This is traditionally a day of sadness, spent in fasting and prayer. The

New Document: Jesus Pain on the Cross Reflects the Pain of Humanity

(Friday, Apr. 18) “When we see children suffer it wounds our hearts: it is the mystery of evil. And Jesus takes all of this evil, all of this suffering upon himself”. In the heart of Holy Week, during the Wednesday

Commentary: Smaller Church, Bigger Faith, 3: Ecclesiastical Discipline

(Thursday, Apr. 17) In the previous installment emphasizing the “impact of grace”, I noted the problematic nature of any kind of institutionalized program to press deficient Catholics to select themselves

Philippine bishops warn faithful against self-crucifixion

(Thursday, Apr. 17) The Catholic bishops of the Philippines have argued strongly against the customs practiced by some zealous believers who scourge or even crucify themselves on Good Friday. Archbishop Socrates

Rape of Catholic woman prompts protests in Bangladesh

(Thursday, Apr. 17) The gang-rape of a Catholic woman by Muslim youths in Bangladesh has provoked angry protests, and complaints that law-enforcement officials are not providing security for the Christian

Coptic Catholic cleric named as Pope's 2nd priest-secretary

(Thursday, Apr. 17) Pope Francis has appointed a Coptic Catholic priest, Father Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, to work as his 2nd personal secretary, Andrea Tornielli of La Stamp reports. Father Lahzi Gaid has been working in

Rome is ready for canonizations, mayor affirms

(Thursday, Apr. 17) The city of Rome is “very ready” for the canonizations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II later this month, Mayor Ignazio Marino has promised. The joint canonization ceremony on April 27 is

Leader of Anglican ordinariate admits interest has waned

(Thursday, Apr. 17) The leader of the new Anglican ordinariate in England has admitted that the number of Anglicans entering the Catholic Church has fallen short of expectations. "We have to be honest and say that

Cardinal to receive France’s highest honor

(Thursday, Apr. 17) While in Rome for the canonization of Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II, Prime Minister Manuel Valls of France will bestow the nation’s highest honor upon Cardinal Roger Etchegaray,

Commentary: Mandatum: Love One Another

(Thursday, Apr. 17)

Bishop kidnapped, released in Central African Republic

(Thursday, Apr. 17) A bishop in the Central African Republic, along with three of his diocesan priests, was abducted on April 17 but then released, according to L’Osservatore Romano. Members of the Islamist Séléka

Chaldean Catholic leader issues Easter message amid ‘worrying situation’

(Thursday, Apr. 17) Describing the situation in Iraq as “worrying,” the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church has issued his Easter message. “We are now in Holy Week, despite the worrying situation that are currently

Leading Egyptian presidential candidates to attend Coptic Easter vigil

(Thursday, Apr. 17) In an apparent attempt to gain Coptic Christian political support, the two leading Egyptian presidential candidates will attend the Easter vigil liturgy celebrated by Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros

Jerusalem’s Christian leaders issue Easter message

(Thursday, Apr. 17) Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant leaders in Jerusalem have issued their annual joint Easter message. “When our Savior died on Good Friday it seemed to his disciples as if their world had come

Pope celebrates Holy Thursday evening Mass at center for disabled

(Thursday, Apr. 17) As previously announced, Pope Francis is celebrating the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper at St. Mary of Providence Center, a rehabilitation center for the disabled operated by the Don Carlo

At Holy Thursday Chrism Mass, Pope Francis preaches on the joy of the priesthood

(Thursday, Apr. 17) Pope Francis reflected on priestly joy during his homily at the Mass of Chrism on Holy Thursday morning. During the Chrism Mass-- typically celebrated on Holy Thursday morning, sometimes

Liturgical Calendar: Holy Thursday

(Thursday, Apr. 17) The last three days of Holy Week are referred to as the Easter or Sacred Triduum (Triduum Sacrum), the three-part drama of Christ's redemption: Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Holy

New Document: Anoited with the Oil of Gladness

(Thursday, Apr. 17) Pope Francis delivered the homily at the Chrism Mass of the Rome diocese on Holy Thursday morning, April 17, 2014, in St. Peter's Basilica. The Chrism Mass is the traditional liturgy, during the

Commentary: The Holy Spirit and Evangelization: A Primer

(Wednesday, Apr. 16) One thing I have come to realize over the past few years, especially during the reign of Pope Francis, is that in a culture hostile to religious orthodoxy, it is easy for Catholics to fall into the

Commentary: Journey to the Sun: A Strange Biography of Junípero Serra

(Wednesday, Apr. 16) Gregory Orfalea’s biography of the great missionary to California, Junípero Serra, is exceedingly strange. In the good sense of the word, it is genuinely foreign and fascinating. The

Restructuring of Roman Curia next on agenda for Pope, Council of Cardinals

(Wednesday, Apr. 16) Having resolved questions about Vatican financial affairs, Pope Francis and his 8-member Council of Cardinals will now turn their attention to a restructuring of the Roman Curia, writes Andrea

Chaldean prelate, in Easter message, asks peaceful future for Iraq

(Wednesday, Apr. 16) Iraq’s leading Catholic prelate has issued an Easter prayer for “an end to the suffering of our people.” Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako urged the faithful to keep their eyes fixed

Oregon priest arrested following luring incident

(Wednesday, Apr. 16) A priest who has served in the Archdiocese of Portland since 1998 has been arrested on charges of attempting to lure a 14-year-old girl into his car in Vancouver, where he maintains a second

Chicago priest returns to ministry; archdiocese, county found abuse charges unfounded

(Wednesday, Apr. 16) A Chicago priest has been restored to active ministry after an investigation concluded that abuse charges against him had been unfounded. Father Michael O’Connell was suspended from ministry last

Accused killer at Kansas City Jewish centers could face hate-crime charges

(Wednesday, Apr. 16) The man who shot and killed three people at Jewish community centers in Kansas City is likely to face hate-crime charges because of his animus against Jews, although all three victims were

El Al will furnish plane for Pope's return after visit to Israel

(Wednesday, Apr. 16) El Al, the Israeli national airline, will furnish a plane for the return flight after Pope Francis visits the Holy Land in May. The El Al plane, which will take the Holy Father from Tel Aviv to

Cuba makes Good Friday a national holiday

(Wednesday, Apr. 16) Cuba has declared Good Friday a national holiday, to be observed every year. After years of official atheism, Cuba recognized Good Friday as a holiday in 2012, in response to a special request

Indian court recognizes 'third gender,' calls for special treatment

(Wednesday, Apr. 16) India’s top court has ordered the federal government to grant privileged status to transgendered people, recognizing them as a third gender, the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN) service

Dublin's archbishop condemns 'Maria Divine Mercy' messages

(Wednesday, Apr. 16) A self-proclaimed visionary who has attracted an internet following under the pseudonym “Maria Divine Mercy” has been firmly condemned by Archbishop Diamuid Martin of Dublin, Ireland. The Dublin

Myanmar: archbishop sees 'streaks of hope' after decades of dictatorship

(Wednesday, Apr. 16) In an Easter message to his people, Archbishop Charles Bo of Yangon, Myanmar speaks of the “excruciating pain” his country has suffered under military rule, and calls for national reconciliation to

Commentary: Russia's demographic recovery + US demographic decline = danger

(Wednesday, Apr. 16) In a quiet development, unnoticed by the major media, the the birth rate in Russia has inched higher than in the US. Thirty years ago the Soviet Union

Commentary: James Carroll strikes (at the Church) again

(Wednesday, Apr. 16) In the years since he deserted the priesthood, James Carroll has contributed dozens of op-ed columns attacking the Church in the pages of the Boston Globe. Like an angry young man who posts

‘Kiss the crucifix,’ advises Pope, as he reflects on Christ’s humiliation

(Wednesday, Apr. 16) Pope Francis devoted his Wednesday general audience to Christ’s humiliation, beginning with his betrayal by Judas for 30 pieces of silver. In the Passion of Christ, we see “the divine response to

Brazilian prelate recounts conversation with Pope on ordination of married men

(Wednesday, Apr. 16) An Austrian-born missionary bishop in Brazil recounted a recent conversation with Pope Francis on the ordination of married men to the priesthood. The bishop met with the Pope on April 4. “I told

Archbishop Gomez renews call for immigration reform

(Wednesday, Apr. 16) Local Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders joined Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles at an interfaith gathering on behalf of immigration reform. “These are human souls, not statistics,” the

Denver archbishop protests pro-abortion legislation

(Wednesday, Apr. 16) Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver led hundreds of people in prayer at the state capitol to protest the Reproductive Health Freedom Act. The Colorado Catholic Conference stated that the

Cardinal Parolin celebrates Mass for modern martyrs

(Wednesday, Apr. 16) Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, offered Mass at the Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere on April 15 for Christians who have recently died for their faith. “In various

4 candidates advance on path to sainthood

(Wednesday, Apr. 16) In an audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis approved the publication of decrees on miracles attributed to the intercession of two

Liturgical Calendar: Wednesday of Holy Week

(Wednesday, Apr. 16) Wednesday is known as Spy Wednesday because on this day Judas made a bargain with the high priest to betray Jesus for 30 silver pieces (Matt 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:1-6). In Poland, the

Child killed, dozens hurt as missile strikes Catholic school in Damascus

(Tuesday, Apr. 15) One child was killed and 61 people injured when a missile struck a Catholic school in Damascus, Syria, on April 15, the Fides news service reports. The missile hit the Armenian Catholic school in

Commentary: Smaller Church, Bigger Faith, 2: The Impact of Grace

(Tuesday, Apr. 15) I suggested in the previous installment that the Church’s membership ought to consist not just of anybody who happens to have acquired the name of “Catholic” but of sinners who

Malta approves civil unions

(Tuesday, Apr. 15) The heavily Catholic island nation of Malta has allowed for legal recognition of same-sex unions, and adoption of children by homosexual couples. The new legislation, despite opposition from the

New Irish bill, mandating reporting of abuse, renews concerns about confessional seal

(Tuesday, Apr. 15) The Irish government has published the Children First Bill, which requires professionals—including members of the clergy—to report any concerns about child abuse to appropriate law-enforcement

Pope will visit Roman jail, distribute pocket-sized Gospels

(Tuesday, Apr. 15) Pope Francis will visit the Regina Caeli prison in Rome on April 16—the Wednesday of Holy Week—and distribute pocket-sized copies of the Gospels to inmates there. The Pope has recommended that

Vatican confirms plans to testify before UN committee on torture

(Tuesday, Apr. 15) The Vatican has acknowledged that it will make a report to the UN’s committee monitoring implementation of the Convention against Torture. Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican

International survey finds wide variance in acceptance of contraception

(Tuesday, Apr. 15) People all around the world are generally consistent in condemning extra-marital affairs as immoral, a new Pew Research study finds. But attitudes on contraception vary widely. In the 40

Vatican survey on family not intended for public release, says spokesman for English bishops

(Tuesday, Apr. 15) A survey on marriage and family, distributed by the Vatican in preparation for the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops, was not intended for public release, according to a spokesman for the

Greek Orthodox prelates denounce Catholicism as heresy

(Tuesday, Apr. 15) In a harsh 89-page letter addressed to “Francis, head of state of the Vatican City,” two Greek Orthodox prelates have denounced Catholicism as a heresy and urged the Pope to repentance. In their

Embryo switch rouses fears in Roman assisted-fertility treatment

(Tuesday, Apr. 15) Reports that a woman was implanted with another couple’s twin embryos have caused fears among Italian couples seeking fertility treatment. Sandro Pertini Hospital in Rome, where the problem

Irish columnist fears for safety after being called 'homophobic'

(Tuesday, Apr. 15) A leading Irish newspaper columnist has reported that he has trouble sleeping, has lost weight, fears for his safety, and may move out of Dublin because of harassment and threats he has suffered

Chilean fire victims receive papal message of condolence

(Tuesday, Apr. 15) Pope Francis has sent a message of condolence to the victims of a fire that spread through Valparaiso, Chile, killing at least 12 people and driving 10,000 from their homes. In a message conveyed

Nigerian prelate deplores ‘aimless’ violence of Boko Haram

(Tuesday, Apr. 15) A Nigerian prelate has decried the increasingly destructive attacks committed by the Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram. Boko Haram “continues to kill people like animals,” Archbishop

New Scottish bishop lives in low-income housing area

(Tuesday, Apr. 15) A newly installed Scottish bishop has taken up residence in a parish house in a low-income housing area, rather than in the more opulent episcopal residence. “[Pope] Francis dreams, and so do I,

Caritas appeal for Senegal

(Tuesday, Apr. 15) Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies, has issued an appeal on behalf of Senegal. “Recent poor harvests, climatic factors, natural disasters and a

Ecumenical Patriarch exhorts Ukrainians to unity

(Tuesday, Apr. 15) Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, who holds a primacy of honor in Eastern Orthodoxy, issued a Palm Sunday message to civil and Church leaders in Ukraine. “The Holy Mother and Great Church of

Melkite patriarch welcomes Syrian government’s victory in historic Christian town

(Tuesday, Apr. 15) The head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church has welcomed the Syrian government’s victory over rebel forces in the historic Christian town of Ma'loula. Rebel forces seized the town in December

Venezuelan cardinal decries trend toward ‘Cubanization’

(Tuesday, Apr. 15) In a television appearance, Venezuela’s leading prelate criticized socialism and denounced trends toward “Cubanization,” the Fides news agency reported. Referring to officials f the government of

President Obama reflects on meeting with Pope Francis

(Tuesday, Apr. 15) In remarks delivered at the annual White House Easter prayer breakfast, President Barack Obama reflected on his recent meeting with Pope Francis. After lamenting the murder of three people at a

South Sudan’s Christian leaders appeal for peace

(Tuesday, Apr. 15) Warning of a humanitarian catastrophe, South Sudan’s Catholic and Protestant leaders urged the parties in the nation’s four-month-old conflict to stop fighting. “We called on the warring parties

Liturgical Calendar: Tuesday of Holy Week

(Tuesday, Apr. 15) "False witnesses have stood up against me, and my enemies threaten violence; Lord, do not surrender me into their power!" Our Lord calls upon His heavenly Father to shield Him against His enemies.

Task force finds major flaws in handling abuse complaints in Minnesota archdiocese

(Monday, Apr. 14) A special task force has reported “serious shortcomings” in the handling of sex-abuse complaints in the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese. The Safe Environment and Ministerial Standards Task

Commentary: Smaller Church, Bigger Faith? The Problem of the New Evangelization

(Monday, Apr. 14) It seems to me that the Church faces a critical obstacle to the New Evangelization, an obstacle which arises inescapably because this is in significant part a re-evangelization. I am referring to

Newark archbishop under fire for planned addition to residence

(Monday, Apr. 14) More than 22,000 people have signed a petition protesting plans by Archbishop John Myers of Newark, New Jersey, to build an expensive new addition to his personal residence. Archbishop Myers

Vatican dismisses abuse charge against Puerto Rican bishop

(Monday, Apr. 14) The Vatican has dismissed sex-abuse charges made against a Puerto Rican bishop. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith examined a complaint against Bishop Daniel Fernandez Torres of

SSPX leader rips Cardinal Kasper's proposal on Communion for divorced/remarried Catholics

(Monday, Apr. 14) The head of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) has denounced a proposal by Cardinal Walter Kasper for allowing the reception of Communion by Catholics who are divorced and

Pakistani woman's appeal on blasphemy charge postponed once again

(Monday, Apr. 14) For the 4th time in the past two months, a court in Pakistan has postponed a hearing on the appeal of Asia Bibi, the Christian woman who was convicted of unsupported blasphemy charges. The High

Text for Stations of the Cross will examine human suffering

(Monday, Apr. 14) In meditations written for the Way of the Cross, to be read on Good Friday during the traditional observance at the Roman Coliseum, Archbishop Giancarlo Bregantini of Campobasso-Boiano, Italy calls

Dutch diocese says abuse charges against former bishop are valid

(Monday, Apr. 14) The Diocese of Roermond, in the Netherlands, has disclosed that complaints of sexual abuse by the late Bishop Johannes Gijsen were “well-founded.” Bishop Frans Wiertz, the current leader of the

Another UN committee plans to question Vatican officials on abuse

(Monday, Apr. 14) Another UN committee is planning to interrogate Vatican officials about the Church’s response to sexual abuse. The UN’s committee monitoring implementation of the Convention Against Torture will

Rome is top choice for 'religious tourism' in Italy

(Monday, Apr. 14) The Vatican is an increasingly popular destination for Italian vacationers, according to tour guides, who attribute the trend to the popularity of Pope Francis. Among Italians traveling for

Capital campaign falls short in Philadelphia archdiocese

(Monday, Apr. 14) A major fundraising Archdiocese of Philadelphia has fallen short of its goal, due in part to an unusually high level of unfulfilled pledges. The archdiocesan capital campaign, designed to raise

Passover greetings from Pope to Rome's Jewish community

(Monday, Apr. 14) Pope Francis has sent a message of best wishes for Passover to Rome’s Jewish community. In his message, which was addressed to Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, the Pope expressed the hope that the

Become shepherds, not bureaucrats, Pope tells seminarians

(Monday, Apr. 14) In an April 14 address to seminarians from the Pontifical Leonine College, Pope Francis told the young men that if they are not prepared to dedicate themselves to serving the faithful, they should

President Obama names delegation to canonization Mass

(Monday, Apr. 14) President Barack Obama has announced the names of the members of the presidential delegation to the April 27 Mass of canonization of Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II. John Podesta,

Pope reflects on suffering of children, asks doctors to care for souls as well as bodies

(Monday, Apr. 14) In an April 12 address to participants in an Italian Society of Oncological Surgery conference, Pope Francis told physicians that they should “not lose sight of the human person, created in the

Historical study important for Church of today, says Pope

(Monday, Apr. 14) In an address to members of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, Pope Francis said that the study of history is important for discerning “what the Holy Spirit wants to say to the Church

Focus on World Youth Day during Sunday Angelus address

(Monday, Apr. 14) In his brief Sunday Angelus address, delivered at the conclusion of Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis greeted 250 World Youth Day delegates, and Brazilian youth consigned the

In Christ's Passion, who am I like? Pope asks in Palm Sunday homily

(Monday, Apr. 14) In his homily at Palm Sunday Mass, Pope Francis told those assembled in St. Peter's Square that “we might well ask ourselves just one question: Who am I? Who am I, before my Lord?” “We have just

Msgr. Marini confirmed as Pope's master of liturgical ceremonies

(Monday, Apr. 14) Pope Francis has confirmed Msgr. Guido Marini in his position as Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations, according to a notice in L'Osservatore Romano. Pope Benedict XVI appointed Msgr.

British academic named head of Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences

(Monday, Apr. 14) Pope Francis has named Margaret Archer as president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Archer succeeds Mary Ann Glendon, 75, the Harvard law professor who has served as president of the

Liturgical Calendar: Monday of Holy Week

(Monday, Apr. 14) "Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom my soul delights. I have endowed him with my spirit that he may bring true justice to the nations. He does not cry out or shout aloud, or

New Document: A Treasure Hunt

(Monday, Apr. 14) On March 31, 2014, Pope Francis gave this interview to a group of youth from Flanders, Belgium, accompanied by Bishop Luc Van Looy of Ghent, in the Vatican. Aged between 18 and 27 years, in turn

New Document: The Church Has an Important Role in Reconciliation in Rwanda

(Monday, Apr. 14) National reconciliation and the role the Church may play in this task twenty years after the genocide that devastated the nation were the central themes of Pope Francis' April 3, 2014, address to

New Document: Who Are We before Jesus Who Triumphs and Before Jesus Who Suffers?

(Monday, Apr. 14) On April 14, 2014, in St. Peter's Square Pope Francis began the rites of Holy Week with the solemn liturgical celebration of Palm Sunday and the Passion of the Lord. The ceremony began with the

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