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Catholic World News

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Islamic State begins killing hostages; 5,000 Christians flee in Syria CWN - 14 hours ago

The Islamic State has begun killing some of the 150 or more Christians taken hostage after the capture of several villages in northeast Syria, Aid to the Church in Need reports. Meanwhile an...

Syrian Christians feel abandoned, papal nuncio reports CWN - 2 hours ago

Syrian Christians feel abandoned by the world, the apostolic nuncio in Damascus has told Vatican Radio. Archbishop Mario Zenari said that fearful Syrian Christians have seen no improvement in the...

Ukrainian Catholic leader: Ukrainians ‘hurt’ by Pope’s description of war CWN - 13 hours ago

Emphasizing that Ukraine is not experiencing “a local conflict, but an external assault,” the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church said at a press conference that he has told Pope Francis...

US bishops' spokesman welcomes FCC vote on 'internet neutrality' CWN - 2 hours ago

The chairman of the US bishops’ communications committee has welcome a highly controversial vote by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to expand the federal government’s control over the...

House of Lords approves 3-parent babies CWN - 12 hours ago

Following a vote by the House of Lords, the United Kingdom has become the first nation to permit an in-vitro fertilization technique that allows for the production of human embryos with three...

Cardinal Pell on marriage, divorce, and Henry VIII CWN - 2 hours ago

Cardinal George Pell makes a short, powerful argument against changing the Church’s discipline regarding the divorce and remarriage, in a commentary posted on The Catholic Thing. After mentioning...

Vatican foundation announces ‘economy and society’ book prize winners CWN - 12 hours ago

At a Vatican press conference, officials of the Centesimus Annus - Pro Pontifice Foundation announced the winners of the biennial “economy and society” book award. Named after St. John Paul II’s...

Judge sides with Catholic agency, rules ‘polyamory’ is not a protected orientation CWN - 12 hours ago

Siding with a Catholic agency, an Australian judge has ruled that “polyamory,” or having multiple partners, is a behavior rather than a protected orientation under Australian anti-discrimination...

Leading Russian Orthodox official sees Russia as ‘only center of non-enslaved civilization’ CWN - 13 hours ago

Describing much of Europe as “Babylon,” the chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Synodal Department for the Cooperation of Church and Society said that “Russia is the only center of non-[en]slaved...

Profile of homeless man buried in Vatican cemetery CWN - 2 hours ago

Vatican Radio has profiled the late Willy Herteller, the homeless man whose remains have been buried in a Vatican cemetery. Herteller, who often begged outside St. Peter’s basilica, was a regular...

Jerusalem: Orthodox seminary torched, Jewish extremists suspected CWN - 3 hours ago

An Orthodox theological seminary in Jerusalem was torched on February 26, in the latest of a series of attacks on Christian and Muslim institutions. Along with setting fire to a building, the...

USCCB: support Health Care Conscience Rights Act CWN - 13 hours ago

The bishops who chair the chair the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty have called upon members of Congress to...

Homeless man to be buried in Vatican cemetery CWN - February 25

A homeless man will be buried in a Vatican cemetery, in an unprecedented gesture approved by Pope Francis, Italian media report. Willy Herteller, a homeless man of Flemish origin, had frequently...

Indian archbishop thanks prime minister for role in release of kidnapped Jesuit CWN - February 25

Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi has thanked India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his role in the release of Father Alexis Prem Kumar, the Jesuit priest who was freed this week after eight months...

Synod office reportedly blocked delivery of book challenging Kasper proposal CWN - February 25

The Vatican’s Office of the Synod intercepted mail to prevent delivery of a book to bishops participating in last October’s session of the Synod, journalist Edward Pentin reports. Remaining in...

San Francisco archbishop not backing down on policies for Catholic-school teachers CWN - February 25

After the San Francisco Chronicle issued a report claiming that Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone plans to rescind a plan to treat parochial-school teachers as “ministers,” the San Francisco...

Preacher at Vatican Lenten Retreat: face the truths about ourselves CWN - February 25

Reflecting on the example of the prophet Elijah, the preacher at the Vatican Lenten Retreat called upon Pope Francis and the leaders of the Roman Curia to let “the deepest truth about ourselves come...

Filipino bishops split on call for ouster of president CWN - February 25

Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, the retired Archbishop of Cebu, has joined with civil leaders in the Philippines in a “National Transformation Council,” calling for the removal of President Benigno Aquino,...

Parliament defeats bid to outlaw sex-selection abortion in UK CWN - February 25

The British Parliament has voted down a bid to outlaw sex-selection abortion. By a vote of 292- 201, Parliament defeated a measure that would have explicitly banned abortions performed solely to...

Ghana archbishop makes 'daring' suggestion that 'power of the keys' could allow remarriage CWN - February 25

An archbishop from Ghana suggested that the Church might explore using “the power of the keys” to release spouses from their marital vows, in an interview with Aleteia. “It is daring to say what...

Mosque torched near Bethlehem; militant Jews suspected CWN - February 25

A mosque was torched near Bethlehem on February 25, the AsiaNews service reports. Militant Israeli settlers are suspected of the crime. A fire was set in the mosque overnight, and graffiti were...

American missionary kidnapped in Nigeria CWN - February 25

An American Methodist missionary was kidnapped by five gunmen in Nigeria on February 24. Phyllis Sortor, 70, has worked for years to bring clean drinking water to villages. NBC reported that a...

Report finds increasing hostility to religious expression in US CWN - February 25

A report issued by the Liberty Institute found an increase in legal, school-related, and employment-related attacks on religious expression in 2014. The institute, based in Texas, describes...

Chinese authorities still refuse to release body of deceased ‘underground’ bishop CWN - February 25

Nearly a month after Chinese officials said that Bishop Cosma Shi Enxiang was dead, his relatives are still waiting for his remains. “All we want is to be able to bury him,” his nephew said....

Church should present moral teaching with sensitivity, says Dublin archbishop CWN - February 25

Speaking on the hopes and challenges facing the Church in Ireland, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin called for a greater sense of community and for sensitivity in presenting Church...

Ukrainian Catholic leader pays tribute to slain Euromaidan protestors CWN - February 25

One year after Euromaidan protests led to the removal of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church paid tribute to those slain during the...

Thousands of Egyptians flee Libya CWN - February 25

An estimated 20,000 Egyptians have fled Libya for Egypt in the ten days since jihadists from the Islamic State beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, according to the Associated Press. In addition, an...

Report: Islamic State burns down 4 Syrian churches CWN - February 25

While kidnapping residents from Christian villages in northeastern Syria, militants from the Islamic State burned down at least four Christian churches, according to the Assyrian International News...

Vatican issues statement on Pope’s ‘Mexicanization’ comment CWN - February 25

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Holy See Press Office, has confirmed that Pope Francis used the phrase “to avoid Mexicanization” in a recent private note. The use of the term...

Beatification cause opened for former head of Knights of Malta CWN - February 24

A formal cause has been opened for the beatification of the late Fra Andrew Bertie, the 78th Grand Master of the Knights of Malta. Fra Andrew Bertie became the head of the Sovereign Military...

Islamic State destroys public library in Mosul CWN - February 24

The forces of the Islamic State have demolished the public library in Mosul, Iraq, and the thousands of volumes it contained. The library in Mosul had been looted and vandalized after the US...

Coptic Church mobilizing to evacuate Egyptians from Libya CWN - February 24

The Coptic Orthodox Church has established a “crisis unit” to help evacuate all Egypts still living in Libya, the Fides news service reports. The crisis unit, under the direction of the secretary...

Oklahoma priest removed from post after civil marriage CWN - February 24

An Oklahoma priest who was recently removed from his pastoral assignment had entered into a civil marriage. Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City said: “After I removed Father Dan Letourneau...

English bishops urge participation in national elections CWN - February 24

The Catholic bishops of England have encouraged their people to participate in coming national elections, after having carefully considered the moral issues raised in the campaign. In an open...

President Obama issues statement on Lent CWN - February 24

President Barack Obama has issued a brief statement on Lent. “Lent is a season of sacrifice and preparation, repentance and renewal,” he said in his Ash Wednesday statement. “Through...

European bishops’ organization criticizes surrogacy CWN - February 24

A working group of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) has published a document criticizing surrogacy as a “frontal assault on fundamental shared EU...

Mexican government protests reported papal comment on ‘Mexicanization’ CWN - February 24

La Alameda, an Argentine NGO opposed to drug trafficking, published a note attributed to Pope Francis in which the Pontiff reportedly expressed concern about “Mexicanization”-- leading to a protest...

Philippine archbishop calls for president’s removal CWN - February 24

A Philippine prelate has been accused of sedition after calling for the removal of President Benigno Aquino III. “We are asking him to step down because we think he is not entitled to that...

At least 100 Christians seized in Syria after Islamic State offensive CWN - February 24

Militants of the Islamic State have abducted at least 100 Christians from Syrian villages. The Reuters news service reported that Kurdish forces, assisted by US airstrikes, are battling with...

New Zealand’s bishops welcome decision to send troops to Iraq CWN - February 24

New Zealand’s bishops have welcomed Prime Minister John Key’s decision to send troops to Iraq. “Pope Francis has said that it is ‘licit to stop an unjust aggressor,’” said Cardinal John Dew. “If...

ISIS militants ‘demonize Islam,’ says Russian patriarch CWN - February 24

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of the largest Orthodox church, met with the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Antioch and said that Islamic State militants “demonize Islam in the eyes of the whole...

Ukraine’s leading Latin-rite prelate discusses meeting with Pope CWN - February 24

Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki of Lviv, Ukraine’s leading Latin-rite prelate, reflected on recent meetings with Pope Francis and curial officials that took place during the Ukrainian bishops’...

British lawmaker raps European bishops' group, defends nationalist parties CWN - February 23

A British lawmaker has reacted angrily to a statement from a group of European Catholic bishops who denounced the rise of nationalist parties. Steven Woolfe, a member of the European Parliament,...

Iraqi Patriarch: Libyan conflict is a 'trap;' Europe should stay out CWN - February 23

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako has warned that the spreading violence in Libya is a “trap” set by the Islamic State, and said that Italy should resist the temptation toward military...

Ukrainian Church leader: 'we expect the whole Christian world to take our side' CWN - February 23

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk has insisted that the struggle in Ukraine is the result of “direct aggression and invasion,” and not a civil war. The leader of the Byzantine-rite Ukrainian...

Egyptians returning from Libya report forced labor, torture by Islamic militants CWN - February 23

Egyptian laborers returning from Libya have said that they were kidnapped and forced into slave labor by Islamic militants, the AsiaNews service reports. Some of the returning Egyptians said that...

Armenian saint named Doctor of the Church CWN - February 23

St. Gregory of Narek, an Armenian Catholic monk who lived in what is now Turkey and died in 1005, has been named by Pope Francis a Doctor of the Church. Born in Narek in 950, St. Gregory spent...

Syrian Orthodox priest released CWN - February 23

A Syrian Orthodox priest detained by Kurdish forces in Syria on February 16 has been released. The detention of Father Gabriel Daoud and at least 11 other Syrian Christians “would appear to be...

Indian Jesuit freed from captivity in Afghanistan CWN - February 23

Father Alexis Prem Kumar, who was kidnapped in June while visiting a school for refugee children in Afghanistan, has been released from captivity. Father Kumar served as Afghanistan director for...

Pope, Curia begin Lenten retreat CWN - February 23

Pope Francis and members of the Roman Curia have begun their Lenten retreat, which is taking place from February 22 to 27 at a retreat house in Ariccia, a small city near the outskirts of...

Lent is a time of spiritual combat, Pope emphasizes CWN - February 23

Emphasizing that Lent is a time of “spiritual combat against the spirit of evil,” Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel account of the temptation of Jesus during his Sunday Angelus address of...

Egypt’s leading Muslim cleric condemns killing of Christians CWN - February 23

The grand mufti of Egypt, Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam, has strongly condemned the murder of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya by Islamic State militants, according to regional news...

Poverty, Ukraine, among topics of meeting between Pope, Merkel CWN - February 23

Pope Francis received Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany in audience on February 21 and discussed “poverty and hunger, the exploitation of human beings and the rights of women, and the challenges...

Pope calls for public conversion of those involved in organized crime CWN - February 23

Pope Francis received pilgrims from an Italian diocese he visited in June and renewed his call for the conversion of those involved in organized crime. “External gestures of religiosity that are...

Archbishop Cordileone responds to legislators, defends school policy CWN - February 20

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has released an open letter, responding to eight California lawmakers who joined in criticizing his new policy requiring Catholic high-school teachers to show respect...

Coptic Catholics, remembering martyrs in Libya, dedicate new church in Sinai CWN - February 20

Coptic Catholics paid tribute to the 21 Copts killed in Libya, as they dedicated the first Catholic church to open in Sinai. “The Church in Egypt has been strengthened by the murder of our...

Pope backs peace in Ukraine, avoids criticism of Russia, in meeting with country's bishops CWN - February 20

Pope Francis expressed his solidarity with the people affected by continued violence in Ukraine, but stopped short of condemning Russian-backed separatists, in meetings with the country’s bishops on...

Newark archdiocese removes reference to archbishop in title of annual fundraising appeal CWN - February 20

The Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, has removed a reference to Archbishop John Myers from an annual fundraising appeal, perhaps responding to criticism that the archbishop received over reports...

Venezuelan government 'trampling rule of law,' archbishop charges CWN - February 20

A Venezuelan archbishop has said that the arrest of a leading political figure is evidence of dictatorial control, and the destruction of democratic rule in Venezuela. Archbishop Roberto Lückert...

Police in Delhi promise special patrols to protect Christian churches CWN - February 20

Police in Delhi, India, have announced plans to monitor security daily at Christian churches and schools, in response to a series of attacks on Church properties. After a series of break-ins,...

Vatican pension fund is solvent, auditors assure CWN - February 20

The managers of the Vatican pension fund have issued a public assurance that the fund is on a solid financial footing, counteracting fears that arose after Cardinal George Pell revealed that the...

Vatican initiative encourages Confession, making priests available in churches on March 13 CWN - February 20

The Vatican has announced plans for a worldwide initiative to encourage Catholics toward sacramental Confession and Eucharistic adoration. Pope Francis will lead the initiative, entitled “24...

European bishops' conference lament rise of nationalist parties, skepticism about EU CWN - February 20

An organization of European Catholic bishops has issued a statement lamenting the recent success of nationalist political parties in Europe. COMECE, the Commission of Episcopal Conferences of the...

Report: 30% of Kenyan vaccine samples contained sterility-inducing antigen CWN - February 20

A report issued by the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops has found that 30% of tested tetanus vaccine samples included a sterility-inducing antigen. The vaccine, funded by the World Health...

India: bishops’ conference calls for action on religious toleration CWN - February 20

A spokesman for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India has welcomed a call for religious toleration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a member of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata...

Prelate emphasizes: Ukraine conflict is invasion, not civil war CWN - February 20

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church emphasized that Ukraine is not experiencing a civil war but a foreign invasion. “We have an aggression of a foreign country against the Ukrainian...

Cardinal Bergoglio on the celebration of the Mass CWN - February 20

L’Osservatore Romano has published comments made by the future Pope Francis on the celebration of the Mass. The March 2005 address was delivered during a meeting of the Congregation for Divine...

Ecumenical Patriarch: Orthodoxy is the ‘green Church par excellence’ CWN - February 20

As he received an honorary degree at a Turkish university, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople reflected on peacemaking, ecology, and the economy. “Orthodoxy is committed to ecology; it is...

France: over 200 cemeteries vandalized in 2014 CWN - February 20

Over 200 cemeteries in France were vandalized or desecrated in 2014, according to a French television report. Citing the nation’s interior minister, the report stated that 206 Christian...

Judge rules against florist in same-sex wedding case CWN - February 20

A judge in the State of Washington has ruled that a Christian florist violated a state anti-discrimination law when she refused to arrange flowers for a same-sex wedding. The Associated Press,...

Cardinal Bertone, in interview, defends record, comments on Vatican policies CWN - February 19

In a lengthy interview with the Huffington Post (!), Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the former Vatican Secretary of State, defends his record in that office and rebuts claims that he is now living in a...

South Sudan: bishop welcomes postponement of elections CWN - February 19

A Cathoilc bishop in South Sudan has welcomed the postponement of elections that had been scheduled for June. In a radio interview, Bishp Edward Hiiboro Kusala of Tombura-Yambio said that the...

Without God, successful life can be total failure, Pope says CWN - February 19

“A person can earn everything, but in the end become a failure,” Pope Francis reminded his congregation at daily Mass on February 19. In his homily the Pope remarked that Lent is a good time to...

New York Times recounts sex-abuse scandal in Spanish archdiocese CWN - February 19

The New York Times news service carries a report from the Archdiocese of Granada, Spain, where a sex-abuse investigation resulted in criminal indictments of 10 Catholic priests. The investigation...

Swiss Guard ready to counter Islamic threat, new commandant says CWN - February 19

The new leader of the Swiss Guard has said that his men are prepared to defend Pope Francis from Islamic terrorists. Colonel Christoph Graf, who was appointed earlier this month as commandant of...

Rival Ukrainian Orthodox groups at odds over government's battle with separatists CWN - February 19

Two groups competing for leadership of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine are in open conflict over the government’s battle with separatists, the AsiaNews service reports. Patriarch Filaret, who...

Christians in Middle East living the Way of the Cross, Melkite Patriarch says CWN - February 19

Christians in the Middle East are experiencing “the fifth year of the Way of the Cross,” Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregory III Laham said in his Lenten message. The Melkite Patriarch said that...

New approach to intellectual-property rights needed in medical field, Vatican delegate tells UN CWN - February 19

The Vatican’s representative at UN offices in Geneva has argued that a “creative and innovative approach” to intellectual-property rights is needed in order to ensure that medicines and medical...

Cardinal Marx questions Cardinal Pell's statement on Vatican assets CWN - February 19

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich has questioned the wisdom of Cardinal George Pell’s recent announcement that the Vatican has $1.5 billion in previously unreported financial assets. Cardinal...

Pope emphasizes need for reverence in liturgy, at meeting with priests of Rome CWN - February 19

Pope Francis concentrated on the need for reverence in the sacred liturgy, as he met on February 19 with priests of the Rome diocese. After being introduced by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the...

Cardinal Kasper: Pope Francis is a ‘radical,’ not a ‘liberal’ CWN - February 19

L’Osservatore Romano has published excerpts from a new book by Cardinal Walter Kasper on Pope Francis. Pope Francis, writes the retired president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian...

India’s prime minister calls for religious toleration CWN - February 19

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a member of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, called for religious toleration in a February 17 address honoring the recent canonization of two...

Mexican bishops decry corruption CWN - February 19

Stating that “the gravity of the problem demands radical and immediate solutions,” the Mexican Episcopal Conference has issued a statement denouncing corruption. “The poor are those who pay the...

Holy See diplomat weighs in on UN’s post-2015 development agenda CWN - February 19

Archbishop Bernardito Auza, apostolic nuncio and permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, took part in a recent UN discussion on the body’s post-2015 development agenda. The...

Southern African bishops denounce human trafficking CWN - February 19

The bishops of South Africa, Botswana, and Swaziland have issued a pastoral letter denouncing human trafficking. After quoting statements by the last three popes, the president of the Southern...

Nuncio: Russian annexation of Crimea is ‘gross violation’ of law CWN - February 19

In an interview with La Stampa’s Vatican Insider and in a post on his blog, Archbishop Thomas Gullickson, the apostolic nuncio in Ukraine, appealed for aid to Ukraine and lamented Russia’s...

Return to the Lord, Pope says in Ash Wednesday homily CWN - February 19

Pope Francis took part in a penitential procession on Ash Wednesday and celebrated Mass at the Basilica of Saint Sabina at the Aventine. “To return to the Lord with all one’s heart means taking...

Detroit archdiocese completes move to new headquarters CWN - February 18

The Detroit archdiocese has completed relocation of its chancery offices to a building in the Capitol Park district. The central offices of the archdiocese, with 183 employees, now occupy leased...

Islamic State harvesting human organs for revenue? CWN - February 18

Iraq's ambassador to the UN has charged that leaders of the Islamic State (ISIS) are harvesting human organs as a source of revenue. Mohamed Alhakim told the Security Council that in mass graves...

Brazilian bishops open annual Lenten campaign CWN - February 18

The Catholic bishops of Brazil have opened the 52nd annual Campaign for Fraternity, a program that is run each year during Lent. In a message to the Brazilian bishops, welcoming the annual...

Cologne archdiocese discloses assets of over $3.8 billion CWN - February 18

The Archdiocese of Cologne, Germany, has reported financial assets of €3.5 billion ($3.82 billion) in a first-ever public accounting of its wealth. The Cologne archdiocese has long been...

Boston archdiocese, in real-estate deal, seeks income stream from unused property CWN - February 18

The Boston archdiocese has signed an agreement with a real-estate developer who plans to build a high-rise apartment building on the site currently occupied by the parking lot of the archdiocesan...

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