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Worldwide Franciscan order in 'grave' financial distress CWN - 18 hours ago

The worldwide leader of the Franciscans has revealed that the religious order is in “grave” financial difficulties, and that Italian civil officials have been asked to investigate irregularities in...

‘Sports are at home in the Church,’ says Pope CWN - 19 hours ago

Pope Francis spoke to members of Italy’s National Olympic Committee on December 19 and said that sports “are at home in the Church.” “Sport has always favored a universalism characterized by...

Jesus is your ‘best friend,’ Pope tells children CWN - 21 hours ago

Pope Francis met with a delegation of children from Italian Catholic Action on December 18 and told them that Jesus is their “best friend.” The Pontiff offered the young people five pieces of...

Syrian archbishop speaks of hope, joy amid suffering, in Christmas message CWN - 11 hours ago

Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo, Syria, has issued a Christmas message encouraging his people to celebrate the feast joyfully despite their troubles. “The greatest tribulations, war...

Egypt: Islamic leader decries threats against Christians CWN - 19 hours ago

Egyptian Muslim leaders have reacted strongly against online threats to the Coptic Christian community as Christmas approached, the Fides news service reports. Islamic militants have posted...

Malpractice suit brought by Spokane diocese against law firm will go to trial CWN - 19 hours ago

A federal bankruptcy judge has cleared for a trial in a legal-malpractice case brought by Diocese of Spokane against a law firm that handled diocesan bankruptcy proceedings. The diocese has...

Calligraphers protest Vatican decision to print all papal blessing in-house CWN - 11 hours ago

Calligraphers and shopkeepers catering to pilgrims and tourists in Rome are protesting the Vatican's announcement that beginning January 1, all papal blessings will be printed and distributed...

Mideast Christians are genocide victims, says leading Russian Orthodox official CWN - 19 hours ago

A leading Russian Orthodox official told reporters that Christians in the Middle East are undergoing what is “effectively genocide” and that “only Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church are speaking...

Chaldean patriarch urges pre-Christmas fast, subdued Christmas celebration CWN - 22 hours ago

Citing the “heavy cross” borne by Iraq’s Christian refugees, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church has called upon his flock to fast from December 22 to 24, according to a report from the...

Cuban, Miami prelates react to policy change toward Cuba CWN - 22 hours ago

The bishops of Cuba have issued a statement welcoming the announcement of the US policy change toward Cuba. “We thank the Lord, now on the eve of Christmas, that new horizons of hope are...

Vatican Christmas tree features new LED lights CWN - 10 hours ago

The Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square was illuminated on Friday, December 19, in a brief ceremony led by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, the president of the Vatican city-state governorate. The...

Pope thanks Italian cities for Christmas tree, crèche CWN - 19 hours ago

Pope Francis received delegations from the Italian cities of Verona and Catanzaro in the Apostolic Palace on December 19 and thanked them for the gift of the Christmas tree and crèche in St. Peter’s...

Unfertilized ovum is not human embryo, European court rules in stem-cell case CWN - December 18

The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that a corporation can patent human stem cells, provided that they are not derived from an embryo that can develop into a human being. The...

Ancient Iraqi monastery now serving as ISIS prison CWN - December 18

The Islamic State has transformed the historic monastery of St. George into a prison, the Fides news service reports. About 150 prisoners of the Islamic State have been moved into the monastery....

Pope distributes sleeping bags to Rome's homeless CWN - December 18

Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, supervised the distribution of hundreds of sleeping bags to the homeless of Rome, as a gift from Pope Francis, on December 18. Swiss Guards drove a...

USCCB president meets with President Obama, VP Biden CWN - December 18

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, met with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House on December...

Leading Pakistani bishop: the Taliban ‘will stop at nothing now’ CWN - December 18

The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan condemned the Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar and said that the attack showed the Islamic fundamentalist movement “will stop at...

Jerusalem patriarch issues Christmas message CWN - December 18

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem issued his annual Christmas message on December 18 and reflected on the ways in which 2014 was both “the best of times” and “the worst of times.” Among the...

Do not give up on ecumenical dialogue, Pope tells German Lutherans CWN - December 18

Pope Francis received a delegation from the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany and the ecumenical commission of the nation’s Catholic episcopal conference on December 18 and called on...

Italian bishops issue guidelines to prevent theft of religious art CWN - December 18

Following the nighttime theft of a Guercino painting from a church in Modena, the Italian bishops’ conference, joined by Italy’s culture ministry and national military police, has issued guidelines...

USCCB: prelate welcomes policy change toward Cuba CWN - December 18

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a statement welcoming the change in US policy toward Cuba as well as the release of an American imprisoned in Cuba for five years. “Our...

Diplomacy consists of ‘small steps,’ says Pope CWN - December 18

Pope Francis received 13 new ambassadors to the Holy See and said in brief remarks that diplomacy consists of “small steps” that “sow brotherhood among peoples.” Referring to developments in...

Top UK court denies 'conscience clause' protection to pro-life midwives CWN - December 17

The highest court in the United Kingdom has ruled against two midwives who refused to cooperate in abortions. Overruling the decision of an appeals court in Edinburgh, the Supreme Court ruled...

Church of England appoints first female bishop CWN - December 17

Rev. Libby Lane has been chosen to become the first female bishop of the Church of England. Rev. Lane, who is currently a vicar in the Chester diocese, will become the Bishop of Stockport. Her...

Pope celebrates 78th birthday CWN - December 17

Pope Francis celebrated his 78th birthday on December 17 with a cake, a cup of the traditional Argentine maté tea, and impromptu tango dancing by couples in St. Peter’s Square. During his regular...

Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - December 17

Pope Francis played a key role in mediating talks between the US and Cuba, resulting in an exchange of prisoners and opening the way for the first direct talks between the neighboring countries in more than 50 years. At a December 17 news conference in Washington, President Barack Obama acknowledged the importance of the papal intervention: “I want to thank Pope Francis, whose moral example...

Pope speaks on family, prays for victims of terrorism CWN - December 17

Pope Francis devoted his December 17 general audience to the family. According to the Vatican Radio synopsis of the audience, the Pontiff called the family a “great gift of the Lord to the world,...

Pope Francis names members of Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors CWN - December 17

Nearly nine months after he instituted the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and named eight members, Pope Francis has named nine new members to the commission, thus completing its...

Spanish diocese criticized for not publicizing cathedral’s Islamic past CWN - December 17

Stating that tourism is being harmed, the government of the southern Spanish region of Andalusia has criticized the Diocese of Córdoba for not doing more to highlight the Islamic past of its...

Russian patriarch: Islamic State ‘demonizes’ Islam CWN - December 17

During a recent meeting in Moscow with Turkey’s leading Muslim cleric, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church made comments about the Islamic State and the persecution of Christians. “I cannot...

Cardinal Schönborn laments Russian aggression in Ukraine CWN - December 17

Returning from a visit to Ukraine, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna decried the Soviet-induced Ukrainian famine of the 1930s and lamented current Russian actions. “Stalin created this...

‘Christmas in an Iraqi refugee camp’ CWN - December 17

The Daily Mail has published a photographic overview of life in an Iraqi refugee camp. The camp’s Christian inhabitants fled the advance of the Islamic State, and the overview includes several...

Pakistan: 59 in custody for horrific murder of Christian couple CWN - December 17

Six weeks after a Pakistani Christian husband and wife were detained by a mob for two days, had their legs broken, and were burned to death in a brick kiln, 59 people are in custody and 79 are at...

USCCB: bishop rues opening of immigrant detention center CWN - December 17

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration decried the opening of a family detention center-- the largest of its kind-- for those who have entered the...

German bishops ready to change policy, allow divorced/remarried and homosexual employees CWN - December 16

The Catholic bishops of Germany will soon approve a change in policy allowing people in irregular marital arrangements to work for Church agencies, reports Edward Pentin in the National Catholic...

Catholic relief agency in Jordan strains to help Iraqi Christian refugees CWN - December 16

The Catholic relief agency Caritas Jordan has warned that it will soon run out of supplies to serve 7,000 Christian refugees from Iraq, the Fides news agency reports. Wael Suleiman, the director...

Olympic competition on Vatican grounds? CWN - December 16

Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins has suggested some Olympic events could be held at the Vatican if Rome wins a bid to host the Olympic Games in 2024. The Portuguese cardinal, who is now retired,...

Would-be assassin wants to visit tomb of St. John Paul II CWN - December 16

Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who shot and wounded St. John Paul II in 1981, now says that he wants to visit the grave of the late Pontiff. Agca, who spent 19 years in Italian prisons...

Critic protests renovations at Chartres cathedral CWN - December 16

Writing in the New York Review of Books, Martin Filler laments a renovation project already underway in the cathedral of Chartres, in which the interior walls are being painted in “bright whites and...

Indian archbishop worried by rumors about Christmas school days, mass conversions CWN - December 16

Archbishop Anil J. T. Couto of Delhi has voiced concern over reports that schools will be open on Christmas Day. The archbishop decried reports that Hindu militants plan a ceremony for the...

Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16

Expressing “profound gratitude” for the “dedicated and selfless service of women religious,” the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life has issued its long-awaited Final Report on the Apostolic Visitation of Institutes of Women Religious in the United States of America. “This Congregation asks the members of each institute to evaluate their actual...

Ukrainian Catholic leader: the Pope is on Ukraine’s side CWN - December 16

At a recent prayer vigil, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), an Eastern-rite church in full communion with the Holy See, said that “the Pope is on the side of Ukraine and its...

Pope receives leader of Bosnia and Herzegovina CWN - December 16

Pope Francis received Dragan Covic, the Croat member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the Apostolic Palace on December 15. Covic also met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s...

Catholic group laments ‘weak’ results of Lima climate conference CWN - December 16

Stating that the world is now poised for “4-degree warming,” an alliance of 17 Catholic development agencies strongly criticized the “weak” results of a major climate conference in Lima. A...

Heightened security at Nigerian churches CWN - December 16

Churches in Nigeria have heightened their security in response to the continued terrorist activity of the Islamist militant organization Boko Haram. In Kano, a city of 2.1 million in northern...

Pope laments rigidity, praises Pius XII for mitigating Eucharistic fast CWN - December 16

In his December 15 homily at Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis decried the rigidity and lack of principle of the chief priests in the day’s Gospel reading (Mt. 21:23-27) and praised Venerable Pius...

Inaccurate prenatal tests prompt more abortions, study shows CWN - December 15

Prenatal screening for fetal abnormalities is prompting many women to abortion their children, even though the test results are unreliable, the Boston Globe reports. The New England Center for...

British agency says Catholic school could foster extremism; Church official protest CWN - December 15

Church officials in Britain are protesting a decision by the government’s assessment agency to downgrade a Catholic school for failing to promote “British values.” Ofsted—the Office for Standards...

Avoid 'sins of the media,' Pope urges Italian TV personnel CWN - December 15

Catholics in the media should have the “courage to speak directly, telling the turth and working to “preserve it from all that distors and twists it for other purposes.” That was the message of Pope...

Al Azhar rejects jihadist claim that other Muslims are 'infidels' CWN - December 15

Terrorists should be condemned, but not labelled as “infidels,” Egypt’s Al Azhar University has proclaimed. Al Azhar, the most influential institution in the world of Sunni Islam, hosted a...

Chaldean Patriarch asks pre-Christmas fast for Iraqi Christian refugees CWN - December 15

The Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church has asked his people to undertake a pre-Christmas fast for the needs of Christian refugees in Iraq. Patriarch Raphael Louis Sako suggested fasting...

Vatican representative says she faced resistance in probe of US women's religious orders CWN - December 15

Mother Mary Clare Millea, who was appointed by the Vatican to conduct an apostolic visitation of women’s religious orders in the US, has acknowledged that she faced lively resistance to her...

US Sec, Kerry, Cardinal Parolin speak about Middle East, Guantanamo inmates CWN - December 15

John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, met on December 15 with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, his Vatican counterpart, for a discussion that centered on the Middle East. During the conversation, the...

Closeness to God brings joy, Pope says in Angelus address CWN - December 15

Pope Francis devoted his Gaudete Sunday Angelus address to the theme of joy. “The heart of man desires joy,” he said. “All of us aspire to joy. Every family, every people aspires to happiness....

Pope preaches homily on joy, speaks about babies crying in church CWN - December 15

Pope Francis visited the suburban Roman parish of San Giuseppe all’Aurelio on December 14 and celebrated an evening Mass after meeting with parish groups. “The Church is with you, she welcomes...

Italian prime minister meets with Pope CWN - December 15

Pope Francis met with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on December 13. The Pontiff and the 39-year-old leader, who has been in office since February, discussed “the current context of...

Learn from the example of St. Lucy, Pope tells the visually impaired CWN - December 15

In a December 13 audience, Pope Francis called upon members of a non-denominational Italian blind persons’ association to learn from the example of St. Lucy, the patron saint of the visually...

Pope encourages works of mercy for the poor CWN - December 15

Pope Francis met with members of two French charitable organizations on December 13 and encouraged them in their work of assisting the homeless. “Your founder, Gabriel Rosset, had heard the cry...

1st meeting between Pope, Salvation Army leader CWN - December 15

For the first time, a Pope has met with the leader of the Salvation Army, the Protestant group founded by William Booth in 1865. “Catholics and Salvationists, together with other Christians,...

Papal preacher devotes 2nd Advent sermon to ‘peace as a duty’ CWN - December 15

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the Capuchin Franciscan friar who has served as preacher to the papal household since 1980, reflected on “peace as a duty” in his December 12 Advent sermon to the Pope...

Guadalupe apparition was like a ‘new visitation,’ says Pope CWN - December 15

On December 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pope Francis celebrated a Spanish-language Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica and compared the 16th-century Marian apparition to her visitation to St....

Kenyan Christian leaders appeal for Islamic community efforts to stop terror attacks CWN - December 12

Christian leaders in Kenya have called upon their Muslim counterparts to take action to discourage terrorist attacks by Al Shabaab, the Fides news service reports. Pointing to more than 20...

Papal greetings for Rome summit of Nobel laureates CWN - December 12

Pope Francis has sent a message of greetings to the Nobel Prize laureates who have gathered in Rome this week. The papal message—conveyed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State, lauds...

Papal encouragement for Syriac Church, serving endangered Christians in Iraq and Syria CWN - December 12

At a December 12 meeting with the bishops of the Syriac Catholic Church, Pope Francis sent a message of support to the Christians “who are living through a time of great suffering and fear” in Syria...

Council of Cardinals concludes session; no decisions yet on reform of Roman Curia CWN - December 12

The Council of Cardinals completed its 7th meeting on December 11 without reaching any final decision on the restructuring of the Roman Curia. Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the...

New secretary of Pontifical Biblical Commission CWN - December 12

Pope Francis has named an Italian Jesuit as the new secretary of Pontifical Biblical Commission. Father Pietro Bovati, 64, is a professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute and was first...

‘Put an end to the fossil fuel era,’ say bishops at climate conference CWN - December 12

A group of bishops attending an international climate-change conference in Peru called upon the international community “to keep the global temperature increase below 1.5 degree Celsius, relative to...

Australia: Church report suggests celibacy discipline may be factor in clerical abuse CWN - December 12

The Truth, Justice and Healing Council, which is coordinating the response of the Church in Australia to a government investigation into the sexual abuse of minors, stated in a new report that...

Maronite priest: Western bombing of Islamic State could worsen situation CWN - December 12

The general secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches warned against the bombing of the Islamic State by Western forces could worsen the situation. Father Michel Jalakh, a Maronite...

Ukrainian, Australian leaders pray at cathedral CWN - December 12

Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia and President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine visited Melbourne’s Ukrainian Catholic cathedral and prayed for the victims of a Malaysia Airlines flight that was...

Cardinal Marx: Pope’s Strasbourg speech was a ‘jolt to the Church’ CWN - December 12

In a front-page L’Osservatore Romano article, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich described Pope Francis’s recent speech to the European Parliament as a “message of hope and encouragement for all...

Pope Francis: evangelize Europe’s youth CWN - December 12

Pope Francis called upon participants in the 4th European Congress on Youth Pastoral Ministry “not to ever tire of proclaiming the Gospel, with your life and word.” “Youth ministry is called to...

New disciplinary action looming for Father Pavone? CWN - December 11

Father Frank Pavone, the founder of Priests for Life (PFL), once again faces possible disciplinary action because of his refusal to allow episcopal oversight of his organization’s finances. New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan has revealed, in a letter to the bishops of the US, that the Vatican conducted an apostolic visitation of Priests for Life last year. After that investigation, the...

Broad worldwide public approval for Pope Francis CWN - December 11

Pope Francis enjoys great popularity all around the world, but especially in Catholic countries, a new survey by the Pew Research Center shows. The Pew study finds a median of 60% favorable...

Dalai Lama hints Chinese influence thwarted meeting with Pontiff CWN - December 11

The Dalai Lama has hinted that he did not meet with Pope Francis during a trip to Rome this week because Vatican officials feared that a meeting would upset Chinese government officials. The...

Vatican reform plans shift into high gear in February CWN - December 11

February 2015 will be a busy month for the leadership of the Roman Curia, marked by a meeting of the Council of Cardinals, the first full meeting of a new pontifical commission on child abuse, a...

Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February CWN - December 11

Pope Francis has called a consistory for February 2015, at which he will elevate new members to the College of Cardinals. The consistory will be held on February 14 and 15. The names of the new cardinals have not been revealed. Traditionally the Vatican identifies the prelates who will receive red hats about a month before the consistory takes place. There are currently 208 living members...

Papal message on climate change CWN - December 11

Pope Francis has written a message to Manuel Pulga Vidal, Peru’s environment minister, on the occasion of an international climate change conference in Lima. “The time to find global solutions is...

Papal letter on World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia CWN - December 11

Pope Francis has written a letter to Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, on the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. “The mission of...

Report: Islamic State beheads 4 children who refused to convert to Islam CWN - December 11

An Anglican cleric popularly known as the “vicar of Baghdad” said that forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant beheaded four children who refused to convert to Islam. According to a...

Report: 4,000 Indian Christians to reconvert to Hinduism CWN - December 11

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a large Hindu nationalist organization in India, has announced that 4,000 Christians and 1,000 Muslims will reconvert to Hinduism on Christmas Day, according to a...

USCCB awards $2.9M to projects in Eastern Europe CWN - December 11

The Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has awarded nearly $2.9 million to fund 79 pastoral projects in formerly...

Vatican newspaper lauds new Nobel laureates CWN - December 11

In a brief front-page article, L’Osservatore Romano welcomed the selection of Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India as winners of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Describing the...

English bishops threatens libel action against lay critic CWN - December 10

A bishop in England threatened to sue a layman who charged that the bishop did not read his own mail. The threat prompted an apology from the bishop’s critic. Philip Bannister had written an open...

Chicago's mayor, city council honor Cardinal George CWN - December 10

Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel presented retired Cardinal Francis George with the Chicago Medal of Merit, the city’s highest honor, at a meeting of the city council on December 10. Cardinal George...

Jesuits to meet, select new leader in October 2016 CWN - December 10

The Society of Jesus will hold a general congregation to elect a new leader beginning on October 2, 2016. Father Adolfo Nicolas, the current superior general of the Jesuit order, had announced in...

US bishops' representative condemns use of torture in interrogations CWN - December 10

Responding to revelations about interrogation techniques used by the US in the war on terror, the chairman of the US bishops’ committee on justice and peace said that the uses of torture “violated...

Opening weekly series on family, Pope speaks of open debate at Synod CWN - December 10

At his public audience on December 10, Pope Francis began a new series of weekly talks on the subject of the family, in preparation for the October 2015 meeting of the Synod of Bishops, which is...

In peace message, Pope calls for worldwide effort to end slavery CWN - December 10

The Holy See Press Office has released the full text of Pope Francis’s message for the World Day of Peace, which takes place annually on January 1. In the message, entitled “No Longer Slaves, but Brothers and Sisters,” the Pontiff called for an end to indifference to human trafficking. Sin “disrupts human fraternity and constantly disfigures the beauty and nobility of our being brothers...

UK: Church, police officials join in conference on human trafficking CWN - December 10

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster joined leading British criminal justice officials for a conference on combating human trafficking. Between 10,000 and 13,000 persons in the United Kingdom...

Fired employee files federal discrimination complaint against Chicago parish CWN - December 10

A Chicago parish’s former music director, who was fired after he announced his same-sex wedding plans on Facebook, has filed federal and local discrimination complaints with the Equal Employment...

Holy Land bishops: save Cremisan Valley from Israeli security wall CWN - December 10

The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land appealed to the international community to take action to prevent Israel from extending its Israeli West Bank barrier into the largely Christian...

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