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Cover penitents with a blanket of mercy, Pope tells Missionaries of Mercy

Pope Francis has called upon priests who will serve as Missionaries of Mercy to cover their penitents with a blanket of mercy, as two of the sons of Noah covered the nakedness of their father. In...

Cardinals discuss curial changes, decentralization

The Council of Cardinals—the body established by Pope Francis in 2013 to assist him in the reform of the Curia—has concluded its thirteenth meeting, which took place on February 8 and...

Pope reflects on Old Testament jubilee year

Continuing his Wednesday reflections on mercy, Pope Francis devoted his Ash Wednesday general audience to the jubilee in the Old Testament. “We learn from Scripture that the Jubilee Year is...

Pope meets with Iraq’s prime minster

Pope Francis met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi at the Vatican on February 10 and discussed the importance of protecting the rights of Christians and other minorities. “During...

Live in relationship with God the Father, Pope tells Pompei’s youth

Pope Francis has sent an audio message to the Territorial Prelature of Pompei in support of its Lenten youth initiative. “Jesus asks us to do good for the sake of good,” he said....

Cardinal Parolin defends clerical celibacy

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, delivered the concluding address at a recent conference on clerical celibacy as a pathway to freedom. Speaking at Pontifical...

Prelate decries North Korean rocket launch

The chairman of the Philippine bishops’ public affairs committee has joined his nation’s government in condemning a North Korean rocket launch. Referring to “the insane minds...

Pope appears in video on monthly prayer intention

Pope Francis has appeared in a video designed to publicize his general prayer intention for February: “that we may take good care of creation-- a gift freely given-- cultivating and protecting...

Gallup diocese has spent $3.5 million in legal fees for bankruptcy

The Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico, has spent $3.5 milion in legal fees and associated costs during its bankruptcy proceedings. The diocese, which filed for federal bankruptcy protection in...

Northern Ireland: Catholic bishops oppose move to allow abortion in cases of severe fetal defect

The Catholic bishops have issued a statement urging lawmakers to reject a proposal that would "permit the direct and intentional killing of unborn children with life-limiting...

Christians boycott Iraqi parliament's 'peaceful coexistence' conference, saying talk produces no action

Iraqi Christians boycotted a conference on "the protection of peaceful coexistence," sponsored by the country's parliament, to protest the lack of effective action to protect...

New undercover video shows National Abortion Federation 'really interested' in proposal for fetal-tissue sales

Undaunted by a federal court’s injunction against release of undercover videos involving the National Abortion Federation (NAF), the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) has released a new video, in...

In new interview, Pope reflects on European malaise

European society needs to re-examine its responsibilities and its cultural roots, Pope Francis said in an interview published February 8 by the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.  The Pope...

'Never tire of forgiving,' Pope urges Capuchin confessors

Speaking on February 9 to Capuchin friars from around the world, Pope Francis exhorted them to be good confessors, and “never tire of forgiving.” At a Mass in St. Peter’s...

Italian group for divorced/remarried Catholics gets special invitation to papal audience

Pope Francis has invited members of an Italian group, devoted to helping divorced Catholics, to attend a papal audience, the Crux news site reports. The Pontiff called Deacon Paolo Tassinari, who...

Prominent US curial official named nuncio

Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Peter Wells, a Tulsa priest who has served as Assessor for General Affairs of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State since 2009, as the apostolic nuncio to South...

Lutheran leaders emphasize ‘quest for unity’ with Catholic Church

The leaders of the Lutheran World Federation have issued a statement welcoming Pope Francis’s upcoming trip to Sweden to commemorate the anniversary of the Reformation. “It is...

Russian Orthodox bishops emphasize that doctrine cannot be changed

In a statement concluding a recent two-day meeting in Moscow, the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church emphasized the immutability of doctrine. The bishops cited Archbishop Seraphim Sobolev...

Film highlights Soviet brutality against Polish nuns

Les Innocentes—a French film being released in the United States as Agnus Dei—premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in late January. Based on a true story, director Anne Fontaine...

Maltese bishop rues ‘privatization’ of Confession

Writing in L’Osservatore Romano, a Maltese bishop called upon confessors to be merciful and to see themselves more as doctors than as judges. Noting that the Second Vatican Council called...

American, Indonesian officials renew push for family planning

Government officials from the United States, Indonesia, and other nations renewed their push for family planning at 2016 International Conference on Family Planning, which recently concluded in...

Outspoken member removed from Pope's sex-abuse commission

An outspoken member of the special papal commission on sexual abuse has been removed from his role—but refuses to step down quietly. The Vatican announced on February 6 that Peter Saunders had taken a leave of absence from his role. But Saunders directly contradicted that statement, saying: "I have not left, and am not leaving my position on the commission." Saunders said that...

Germany cannot accept so many refugees: Cardinal Marx

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich has called for "a reduction in the number of refugees" entering Germany. Although he has said that Europe should welcome refugees, Cardinal Marx-- the...

In video message to Mexico, Pope anticipates visit with 'great joy'

In a message to the people of Mexico, released less than the week before his arrival there, Pope Francis says, “I feel great joy” at the prospect of the visit. “I want to come as a missionary of...

Australian abuse panel will take Cardinal Pell's testimony by video link

The head of an Australian royal commission investigating the sex-abuse scandal has agreed to take testimony from Cardinal George Pell by a video link. Cardinal Pell, who has already given...

Maronite Patriarch sees Lebanon empty presidency pushing Lebanon toward collapse

Maronite Catholic Patriarch Beshara al Rai has warned that Lebanon is "on the brink of collapse" because of a long political stalemate that has blocked the election of a new president, the...

European bishops’ commission welcomes European Parliament’s condemnation of ISIS

The Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) has welcomed the European Parliament’s use of the word “genocide” in condemning atrocities committed...

182 madrasas closed in Pakistan for promoting extremism

Since December 2014, the Pakistani government has closed 182 madrassas, or Muslim schools, for promoting extremism, according to an AsiaNews report. The closings have followed the Peshawar school...

Patriarchs call for prayer, fasting for suffering Church in Syria, Iraq

The heads of the Chaldean Catholic Church and the Melkite Greek Catholic Church have called upon Catholics to pray and fast for the suffering Christians of Syria and Iraq, especially on Ash...

Zambia’s bishops decry ‘political hooliganism,’ warn priests against partisanship

Decrying “political hooliganism” and repression, Zambia’s bishops recently issued a statement surveying the state of the nation as elections approach in August. “The...

Papal condolences following Taiwan earthquake

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has sent a message of condolence following an earthquake that killed dozens in Taiwan. “The Holy Father was saddened to...

Papal appeals for Syria, respect for human life from conception to natural death

Following his February 7 Angelus address, Pope Francis issued an appeal for Syria. “I follow with deep concern the dramatic fate of civilian populations involved in heavy fighting in Syria...

Pope Francis: Christ and the Church ‘fish’ for men and women

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading (Lk. 5:1-11), Pope Francis told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his February 7 Angelus address that the mission of Christ and the...

Prayer unlocks the heart of God, Pope tells Padre Pio prayer groups

Thousands of members of Padre Pio prayer groups, in Rome for the veneration of the relics of St. Pio of Pietrelcina and St. Leopold Mandic, gathered in St. Peter’s Square on February...

Zambia's president meets with Pontiff

Pope Francis met on February 5 with President Edgar Chagwa Lungu of Zambia. A Vatican statement released after the meeting indicated that the conversation had centered on Church-state relations,...

Long lines of pilgrims to venerate relics of Padre Pio in Rome

Tens of thousands of pilgrims have lined up in Rome to venerate the remains of St. Pio of Pietrelcina—Padre Pio—and St. Leopold Mandic. Relics of the two saints will be exposed for veneration at...

New bishop for Anglican ordinariate means 'we're here to stay'

The ordination of the first bishop to lead the Anglican ordinariate in the United States means "we're here to say," Msgr. Harry Entwistle, who leads the Anglican ordinariate in...

Latin American prelates decry push for abortion as response to Zika virus

Catholic prelates in Latin America have reacted strongly against a drive to promote abortion as a response to the spread of the Zika virus. Because the Zika virus is connected with severe birth...

Former Salvadoran colonel faces extradition, trial for 1989 murder of six Jesuits

A court in North Carolina has approved a request for the extradition of a former Salvadoran army officer, so that he can face trial in Spain on charges connected with the 1989 murder of six Jesuit...

Pope, Russian Orthodox Patriarch schedule unpredecented meeting

Pope Francis will meet with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow on February 12, in Cuba. The Vatican and the Moscow patriarchate announced plans for the historic meeting on February 5. The meeting will be held at José Marti airport outside Havana. Patriarch Kirill is visiting Cuba next week, while Pope Francis will make a stop in Havana as he flies to Mexico for a pastoral...

Pope visits curial offices

On February 4, Pope Francis paid a surprise visit to the offices of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, and the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New...

Pontifical council, World Council of Churches discuss Christian witness in multi-faith world

Officials from the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue met in Geneva on February 3 and 4 to discuss their 2011 document, “Christian Witness in a...

Sierra Leone prelate speaks out against abortion

Lawmakers in Sierra Leone, sometimes ranked as the world’s poorest nation, have passed a law legalizing abortion, and the bill awaits the president’s signature. Joining other...

Obama, at mosque, defends religious liberty

Speaking at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, President Barack Obama defended religious liberty, compared anti-Muslim sentiments to anti-Catholicism and anti-Semitism, and called on Muslim leaders...

Australia’s religious speak out against Pacific trade deal

Catholic Religious Australia, which represents the nation’s male and female religious orders, has joined a coalition opposing swift ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade...

As ambassador reinstated, Turkish, Armenian governments differ over Vatican statement

Turkey reinstated its ambassador to the Holy See because of the wording of a recent Vatican statement, according to the Turkish foreign ministry. Turkey recalled its ambassador in April after...

French leftists press for universal ban on surrogacy

Decrying the exploitation of women, especially those in impoverished nations, a coalition of self-described leftists in France, including pro-abortion and lesbian organizations, is pressing for an...

Kenyan bishops pleased with government's decision to withdraw proposed regulations of religious bodies

The Catholic bishops' conference of Kenya has applauded the decision by President Uhuru Kenyatta to withdraw a proposal for the regulation of the country's religious bodies. The bishops...

Australian churches offer sanctuary for immigrants facing deportation

Some Christian churches in Australia are offering to provide sanctuary for immigrants, after a court ruling that the government is authorized to deport the immigrants to Nauru. About 260 people, of...

Turkey returns ambassador, who was recalled after Pope spoke of Armenian genocide

The government of Turkey has returned its ambassador to the Holy See, who had been recalled last year in protest after Pope Francis spoke about the Armenian genocide. The Pontiff incurred the...

Pope meets with Argentine cross-cultural educational group

Pope Francis met on February 3 with members of the Scholas Occurrentes foundation, an Argentine group that promotes educational projects to bring together young people from different...

European Parliament condemns Islamic State 'war crimes' against Christians

The European Parliament has approved a resolution that classifies the Islamic State's campaign against Christians as war crimes. The resolution states that the Islamic State's killings of...

Syrian refugees need more aid, says Vatican 'foreign minister'

The Vatican's top foreign-policy official has called for better funding for Syrian refugees. Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Secretary for Relations with States, told a London audience that...

Canadian cardinal urges lawmakers to protect conscience rights in assisted-suicide legislation

Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto made a plea for the conscience rights of health-care workers in February 3 testimony before Parliament about a proposal to allow physician-assisted...

Leading Orthodox theologian: forthcoming council is ‘extraordinary and exceptional event’

A leading Eastern Orthodox theologian has offered an overview of the upcoming Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church. Writing in First Things, Archdeacon John Chryssavgis said that the...

Objections raised to Anglican-Presbyterian agreement

The Church of England and the Church of Scotland have agreed to the Columba Declaration, an ecumenical statement that calls for closer cooperation between the two bodies and permits clergy to...

Cardinal Parolin meets with religious, inaugurates nunciature in Slovenia

The Vatican’s Secretary of State began a three-day journey to Slovenia on February 2. At a Mass in Ljubljana Cathedral marking the end of the Year of Consecrated Life, Cardinal Pietro...

Holy Land Custos calls on Muslim clerics to confront extremism, Christians to stay in Syria

Stating that it is impossible for jihadists “to control such large parts of Syria and Iraq for such a long time without support from the general population,” the Custos of the Holy Land...

Vote to stay in EU, European bishops’ official urges UK

The general secretary of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) has urged voters in the United Kingdom to choose to remain in the European Union. A...

Delaware judge: priest-penitent privilege may be unconstitutional

A Delaware superior court judge has questioned the constitutionality of a state law that protects the secrecy of sacramental confession. State law mandates the reporting of suspected child abuse...

UNESCO confirms Jordan site as place of Christ's baptism

With a formal ceremony on February 2, the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has acknowledged Al Maghtas, Jordan, as the site of Christ’s Baptism, declaring it as a...

Mexico's violence, corruption, is not Our Lady's plan, Pope says on eve of visit

“I come to Mexico as a pilgrim, to look for something among the Mexican people,” Pope Francis said in an interview with a Mexican news service as he prepares for his visit to the country next...

Russian Patriarch discourages high expectations for pan-Orthodox council

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has warned against what he regards as unrealistic expectations for the outcome of the pan-Orthodox council that is scheduled to be held in Crete in June. The...

Vatican newspaper denounces UK approval of ‘gene-editing’ of human embryos

The United Kingdom’s Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority has approved a request by scientists to genetically modify and then destroy human embryos conceived through in vitro...

Vatican statement: religious violence is ‘particularly heinous’

At the conclusion of Pope Francis’s February 3 general audience, Rinaldo Mirmara, a historian and president of Caritas Turkey, presented the Pope with a copy of his new history of the Battle...

Pope reflects on God’s mercy and justice

Continuing his Wednesday reflections on mercy, Pope Francis devoted his February 3 general audience to God’s mercy and justice. “The Sacred Scriptures present God as infinite mercy,...

Pope concludes Year of Consecrated Life with call to encounter, wonder, gratitude

Calling upon consecrated persons to live lives characterized by gratitude, wonder, and an encounter with the Lord and others, Pope Francis concluded the Year of Consecrated Life with Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica on February 2. Since 1997, February 2, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, has also been observed as the World Day of Consecrated Life. “May the Lord Jesus,...

France: mixed reactions to new law on end-of-life care

French lawmakers have passed legislation on end-of-life care that rejects euthanasia but permits “terminal sedation” and the withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration for the...

Iraqi Jesuit saved 1,000 manuscripts

An Iraqi Jesuit estimates that he saved 1,000 ancient manuscripts, including biblical and liturgical books, from the advance of the Islamic State. “If Daesh burns down a church we can...

Canadian nun recounts ordeal as captive in Cameroon

A Canadian nun held captive for two months in Cameroon—likely by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram—has discussed her ordeal. Initially, “they were laughing and humiliating...

USCCB files brief in support of regulation of abortion clinics in Texas

Joining with other Christian organizations that oppose abortion, the Office of General Counsel of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court)...

Rome relaxes Jubilee Year ban on concession carts

The city of Rome has relaxed a ban on carts and trucks selling food and souvenirs around St. Peter's Square. The ban, introduced for the Jubilee Year of Mercy, had been imposed to ease...

Italian cardinal speaks out against civil-union proposal

Cardinal Velasio Di Paolis has said that a proposal for legal recognition of same-sex unions would be "fundamentally against the Italian constitution." The retired president of the...

Pope speaks of 'great respect' for Chinese culture

”The Chinese people are moving forward, and this is their greatness,” Pope Francis told an interviewer for the Asia Times, observing that China, like all societies, moves “through...

New Orleans archdiocese goes silent on social media to dramatize danger of human trafficking

The Archdiocese of New Orleans, Louisiana observed a "day of fasting" from social media on February 1, in a gesture designed to draw attention to the fight against human...

Bishop Schneider: 'semi-heretical' Church leaders lead the faithful astray

Bishop Athanasius Schneider charges that many “semi-heretical” Church leaders are misleading the faithful, in a provocative interview for the Rorate Caeli website. Bishop...

Vatican dismisses rumor that Pope will act in movie

The prefect of the Vatican’s new Secretariat for Communications has dismissed reports that Pope Francis will make his acting debut in a forthcoming movie. The Pontiff will make an appearance in...

Catholic theological institute to open in Vietnam

Vietnam’s bishops have announced that a theological institute will open in Ho Chi Minh City this coming September. The institute will offer courses in biblical and dogmatic theology. When...

‘The Son of God was not an anarchist,’ Pope tells consecrated persons

Over 4,000 consecrated persons who had gathered in Rome for a conference concluding the Year of Consecrated Life met with Pope Francis in the Paul VI Audience Hall on February 1. Setting aside...

Strong track record of priestly vocations in Seoul

Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul will ordain 20 men to the priesthood on February 5, according to a report from the Fides news agency. The South Korean archdiocese has a strong track record...

Pontifical Theological Academy considers human dignity

The Pontifical Theological Academy held its biennial conference on January 28 and 29 at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. The conference’s topic was the transcendent dignity of man...

4,000 religious gather in Rome as Year of Consecrated Life concludes

Over 4,000 consecrated persons have gathered in Rome for a five-day gathering to mark the conclusion of the Year of Consecrated Life. All forms of consecrated life—the Order of Virgins,...

Cardinal Sarah emphasizes importance of silence in the liturgy

Writing in L’Osservatore Romano, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has stressed the importance of moments of silence in the...

Swiss Bishops’ Conference opposes ballot measure on deportation of immigrants

Swiss voters will go to the polls on February 28 to decide whether to approve a ballot initiative that would lead to the automatic deportation of foreigners convicted of any crime. The justice...

Cardinal Marx urges Europe to remain unified on accepting migrants

Cadrinal Reinhard Marx of Munich is urging German leaders to "stand together" in the face of popular protests against the government's decision to accept one million applicants for...

UK researchers given green light for genetic modification of human embryos

A London-based research institution has received authorization to modify the genes of human embryos. The Francis Crick Institute was given permission by Britain's Human Fertilisation and...

Some priests decline appointment as bishops, Vatican cardinal confirms

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, has revealed that priests today are more likely than in the past to decline appointment as a bishop. "Nowadays you have...

Vermont diocese to open on-line Catholic high school

The diocese of Burlington, Vermont, plans to open an on-line Catholic high school for the next academic year, the National Catholic Register reports. The new school-- which will offer courses...

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