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Egypt, Coptic Orthodox Church agree to new law on church construction

The Egyptian government and the bishops of the Coptic Orthodox Church have agreed to a revision of 1934 regulations governing the construction and restoration of churches. Over the years, local...

Chaldean patriarch calls upon Muslims to repudiate ISIS

The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, has called upon “Muslims and non-Muslim people of good will” to repudiate the...

Federal court backs law removing religious exemption from mandatory vaccinations

A federal judge has ruled that California’s interest in protecting the health of its citizens takes precedence over the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion. US District Court...

Texas: Catholic college president removed for offensive remarks

The governing board of a Catholic college in San Antonio has fired its president of 31 years. The decision to remove Louis Agnese, president of the University of the Incarnate Word, took place...

Philippine bishops welcome peace deal between government, Maoists

Bishops in the Philippines have welcomed a peace agreement signed between the nation’s government and the National Democratic Front, a Maoist insurgency launched in 1969. “I...

Cardinal Tagle: abortion as bad as vigilante killings

Cardinal Antonio Tagle of Manila has called for consistency in defense of human life, reminding his people that abortion involves killing. The cardinal made his point in a radio address on August...

Missionaries of Charity robbed, beaten at home in Argentina

Marauders roughed up several nuns in Mar del Plata, Argentina, on August 25, desecrating their chapel and ransacking their residence. The attack took place at a home where members of the...

Pope promises to visit Italian earthquake victims

"As soon as possible, I hope to come and see you," Pope Francis said on August 29 to survivors of the earthquake that caused more than 200 deaths in central Italy last week. During his...

Murder of Father Hamels was attack on French secularism, says author in Jesuit journal

In an article published in the authoritative Italian journal Civilta Cattolica, a Jesuit scholar argues that the murder of Father Jacques Hamel by Islamic terrorists should be understood as an...

'Vatileaks' convict begins serving 18-month sentence

Msgr. Lucio Vallejo Balda, the former Vatican official who was convicted in the "Vatileaks II" trial, has been taken into custody to begin serving an 18-month prison...

New evangelization will succeed despite current Church weakness, Pope tells ecumenical gathering

In a message to an ecumenical gathering taking place in Thessalonika, Greece, this week, Pope Francis said that "there is clearly the need for a new work of evangelization" in Europe,...

At audience, Pope urges Christians to unite in prayer for environment

During his Angelus audience on Sunday, August 29, Pope Francis called attention to the annual World Day of Prayer for Creation, which will be observed on September 1. The World Day of Prayer for...

Facebook's Zuckerberg meets with Pontiff

Pope Francis met on August 29 with Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and head of Facebook, and his wife. A Vatican statement released after the meeting said that the Pope had spoken with Zuckerberg...

In preface to biography of Benedict XVI, Pope Francis says predecessor continues Petrine ministry

A forthcoming biography of Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI, written by theologian Elio Guerriero, carries a foreward by Pope Francis, in which the Holy Father applauds his predecessor for introducing the...

Mississippi man arrested for murder of nuns

Police in Mississippi have arrested a man and charged him with the murder of two women religious on August 25. Rodney Early Sanders reportedly confessed to killing Sister Margaret Held and Sister...

Conservative clerics move to set up alternate structures within Church of England

Conservative Anglican clerics in England are meeting this week to set up a "shadow synod" that could provide an alternate system of church governance if they break away from the...

Axe-wielding Islamic radical attacks Indonesian priest during Mass

A teenage Islamic radical attacked an Indonesian Catholic priest with an axe during Mass on August 28.  Witnesses report that the assailant rushed at the altar carrying a backpack...

Ugandan archbishop decries culture of domestic violence

Domestic violence is a sad reality for "almost every family" in his region of eastern Uganda, Archbishop Emmanuel Obbo of Tororo has launched a campaign to address the...

Understanding mercy means awareness of sin, Pope tells American bishops

To appreciate God's mercy, one must recognize one's own sinfulness, Pope Francis told an audience of American bishps on August 27. “For all our sins, our limitations, our failings, for all the many times we have fallen, Jesus has looked upon us and drawn near to us," the Pope said. "He has given us his hand and showed us mercy.”  God's mercy, the...

Norcia: 'months, even a year' to repair basilica after earthquake

"The destruction in Norcia is serious," reports Father Cassian Folsom, the prior of the Benedictine monastery in the earthquake-ravaged Italian town. In the monastery itself, the...

Child abuse least frequent in intact families, study shows

A new study by the federal government has found that children are safest from abuse when they are living with their married parents. The Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect...

French court overturns burkini ban-- after official says it should apply to nuns' habits

A French appeals court has overturned a ban on the wearing of the Islamic burkini on beaches. The Council of State said that a burkini ban in the town of Villeneuve-Loubet, on the Riviera, was...

US bishops join Iranian Muslim leaders in call for end to terrorism, weapons of mass destruction

The Catholic bishops of the US have joined with Iranian Muslim leaders in a call for the abolition of weapons of mass destruction and an end to terrorist violence.  "We regard the...

Indian cardinal: victims of anti-Catholic pogrom were martyrs

Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai has said that the Christians killed during a savage burst of religious violence in 2008 in the Kandhamal region deserve to be recognized as martyrs. Speaking to...

Colombia’s bishops call for ‘serene reflection’ on peace agreement

The Colombian Episcopal Conference has issued a statement following the signing of a peace agreement between the nation’s government and FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerilla...

Pope Francis to write message on nonviolence

“Nonviolence: a style of politics for peace” is the theme of the 50th World Day of Peace, which will be celebrated on January 1. “Such a political method is based on the primacy...

2 nuns murdered in Mississippi

Two religious sisters were found stabbed to death on August 25 in their residence in Durant, Mississippi. Sister Margaret Held, a School Sister of St. Francis, and Sister Paula Merrill, a Sister of Charity of Nazareth, worked as nurse practitioners and provided a quarter of the medical care in their rural county, according to the Associated Press. Police have not given any indication of a...

Update from Norcia monks: church has ‘mostly withstood’ tremors

The subprior of the Benedictine monks of Norcia, Italy, said that while most structures in the town appear be intact following a devastating earthquake, there is much underlying structural...

USCCB president: pray a Rosary for victims of natural disasters

The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has invited Catholics in the US to pray a Rosary for victims of recent natural disasters. “Let us join with the Holy Father...

Vatican sex education program significantly flawed: Cardinal Newman Society

In a study released today, the Cardinal Newman Society reported significant flaws in the high school sex education program made available during World Youth Day by the Pontifical Council for the Family. The Society concluded that this program is “not ready” for use in its target market of Catholic high schools, parishes and homes. The program, entitled The Meeting...

Pope laments 'black-and-white' mentality in priest-confessors

Priests should be trained to recognize nuances in their work as confessors, Pope Francis said to a group of Polish Jesuits during his visit there.  The Pope said that "many people leave...

Archbishop of Canterbury to meet with Pope in October

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Justin Welby, will meet with Pope Francis on October 8, the Catholic News Agency reports. The worldwide leader of the Anglican communion will celebrate Vespers...

Mexico City archdiocese decries 'aggressiveness and intolerance' of gay activists

The Archdiocese of Mexico City has denounced the "aggressiveness and intolerance" of homosexual activists who spray-painted slogans on the walls of chancery buildings. The Catholic...

Nigeria: bishops decry government efforts to promote contraception

The bishops of Nigeria’s Ibadan ecclesiastical province have decried efforts by the nation’s health minister to promote abortion and contraception. The bishops said that the health...

Pope appeals for peace in Ukraine

Addressing pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square on August 24, Pope Francis appealed for peace in Ukraine. “In these last weeks, the international observers have expressed concern for the...

States, Catholic hospital network file suit against HHS transgender regulation

A Catholic hospital network, five states, and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations have filed suit against the Department of Health and Human Services over regulations related to persons...

Iranian religious leaders, US bishops condemn terrorism, weapons of mass destruction

Four US bishops met recently in Rome with five Iranian religious leaders and issued a joint declaration condemning terrorism. Bishop Oscar Cantú, chairman of the US bishops’...

Emergency collection for Louisiana flood victims

The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has called upon parishes to take up an emergency collection on September 18 to provide humanitarian assistance to Louisiana flood...

Benedict discusses resignation in new interview

In a newly published interview Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI discloses that "a great weariness" and a realization that he lacked the stamina for travel prompted him to resign. In a...

Irish bishops recognize problems at Maynooth seminary, seek to end anonymous complaints

The bishops who oversee Ireland's national seminary have acknowledged serious concerns about St. Patrick's seminary in Maynooth, and announced a review of policies and an independent audit...

Soros bankrolling efforts to sway US bishops toward 'progressive' policies

Investor/activist George Soros spent $650,000 to subsidize groups that were intent on lobbying American bishops, urging them to support 'progressive' domestic policies, emails made public by...

Vatican Secretary of State offers reassurances on talks with China

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, has confirmed that the Holy See is actively engaged in diplomatic talks with China, but promised that the Vatican would not strike a bargain...

Earthquake damage drives monks from Norcia monastery

The powerful earthquake that ripped through Italy, leaving more than 120 people dead, had its epicenter near Norcia, the home of St. Benedict, and drove monks there to seek temporary safety in...

Nigerian mob kills Muslim who saved Christian from lynch mob

Eight people died when a group of militant Muslims burned down the home of a man who had intervened to stop the lynching of a Christian convert. The violence began when a young man-- a...

Syria's Christian leaders urge end to international sanctions

Three patriarchs of Damascus have issued an appeal for an end to international sanctions on their country, saying that they have increased the suffering of the civilian population, "especially...

Pope postpones general audience, leads Rosary for earthquake victims

Setting aside the prepared text of his weekly Wednesday general audience, Pope Francis asked the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square to join him in praying the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary for victims of a 6.2-magnitude earthquake that struck central Italy. “I cannot fail to express my heartfelt sorrow and spiritual closeness to all those present in the zones...

Vatican newspaper article: Pope’s apostolic exhortation is magisterial teaching

Writing in the Vatican newspaper, a Spanish ecclesiology professor said that Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia is part of the non-definitive ordinary Magisterium of the...

Nigerian Christians, Muslims open peace center in strife-torn region

Nigerian Christian and Muslim leaders gathered on August 19 in the strife-torn state of Kaduna for the inauguration of the International Centre for Inter-Faith Peace and Harmony. Cardinal John...

9th consecutive year of membership decline for Southern Baptists

The Southern Baptist Convention, the United States’ largest Protestant denomination, has experienced its ninth consecutive year of membership decline. Membership fell from 15.5 million to...

US bishops’ Labor Day statement focuses on crises of work, family in middle America

Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, discussed the crises in...

Conventional arms can be 'weapons of mass destruction,' Vatican envoy reminds UN

Speaking on August 23 to a UN session on controlling weapons of mass destruction, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican's permanent observer, made the point that conventional arms can have the...

South Africa: Bishops welcome election results

The Catholic bishops of South Africa have welcomed the results of munipal elections that took place without incident on August 3, noting that all parties have accepted the results as...

Court rules against SNAP for refusing to disclose information in abuse case

A federal judge in Missouri has chastised the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) for its "deliberate and willful refusal" to comply with a court order to release...

Pope wants more lay leadership in Rome, Archbishop Farrell says

"The Holy Father would like to see lay people much more involved in the administration of the Church in Rome," says the newly appointed prefect of the dicastery for Laity, Family, and...

Cardinal Burke, in interview, says Pope Francis encouraged his candor

In an interview with the Religion News Service, Cardinal Raymond Burke strongly rejects the notion that he is an opponent of Pope Francis. "I have never been, and I am not presently, the...

China's Catholic population hitting plateau after years of rapid growth

After a period of rapid growth, the Catholic population in China has reached a plateau, and the number of new priestly and religious vocations is dropping, a leading researcher...

Papal message thanks Poland's Catholics for World Youth Day welcome

Pope Francis has sent a message to Church leaders in Poland, expressing his gratitude for World Youth Day and "your warm welcome and the zeal with which my visit was...

Relic of Cross stolen from San Francisco church

A relic of the true Cross was stolen recently from a parish in San Francisco. Father Michael Hurley, OP, of St. Dominic’s Church said during Sunday Masses on August 21 that the relic had...

Former NY cathedral offers burial plot for $7M

In an effort to raise funds for a church restoration, the Basilica of Saint Patrick's Old Cathedral in New York is offering a six-person burial plot in its crypt in return for a donation of at...

Ayatollah welcomes papal remarks on Islam and violence

A leading Iranian religious figure welcomed Pope Francis’s recent comments in which he denied that Islam is tied to terrorist violence. Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi, 89, said on...

Morocco’s king condemns terrorism in the name of Islam

King Mohammed VI of Morocco said in a recent speech that “those who engage in terrorism in the name of Islam are not Muslims.” “I strongly condemn the killing of innocent...

Court halts enforcement of Obama administration’s transgender directive

A federal district judge has issued a nationwide injunction temporarily barring enforcement of the Obama administration’s recent directive on transgendered students and public schools as a...

US bishops hire new spokeswoman

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced the appointment of Judy Keane as its director of public affairs. Keane, whose writings have been published by Catholic Exchange and...

No scientific evidence to support gender ideology, scholars argue

There is no compelling scientific evidence to support the theory that some people may be programmed at birth to identify with the opposite sex, two leading scholars argue in a new journal...

Oklahoma appeals court overturns conviction for blocking building during Black Mass

An Oklahoma appeals court has overturned the conviction of a veteran Catholic activist who was jailed for praying the rosary outside a government building where a Black Mass was occurring. Joan...

At Rimini meeting, exhibiter covered statue of Virgin because of fears of Islamic attacks

At the annual Rimini meeting organized by Communion and Liberation, a bookseller reports that she placed a cloth over a statue of the Virgin Mary "to avoid clashes" because of the fears of...

Former Benedictine abbot, wanted on abuse charges, arrested in UK after 5-year manhunt

British police have arrested a former Benedictine abbot who had been the subject of a 5-year international manhunt after he fled the country to avoid facing sex-abuse charges. Father Laurence...

Brazil's president, battling impeachment, receives personal message from Pontiff

Pope Francis has written a personal mesage to Brazil's embattled President Dilma Rousseff. "Pope Francis wrote me a letter, but I will not divulge the content," Rousseff disclosed....

South Sudan’s Christian leaders pray for peace

Christian leaders in South Sudan gathered at the Anglican cathedral in Juba, the nation’s capital, on August 18 to pray for peace in the strife-torn land. The Catholic archbishop of the...

Papal telegram for Waldensian synod

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has sent a message expressing best wishes to the synod of the Waldensian-Methodist Church as it meets in Torre Pellice, Italy. The...

Liturgical week message: penitents should be encouraged to show compassion

Pope Francis has consigned to an Italian bishop a message written by the Vatican’s Secretary of State for the 67th national liturgical week, which is taking place in Gubbio. In the message,...

Nuncio: Pope would like to visit Belarus

Archbishop Gábor Pintér, the new apostolic nuncio to Belarus, arrived in Minsk to begin his diplomatic mission and said that Pope Francis would like to visit the Eastern European...

Papal prayers for Turkey following terrorist attack

Following the recitation of the Angelus on August 21, Pope Francis invited the crowd in St. Peter’s Square to pray a Hail Mary for “dear Turkey.” Referring to a terrorist attack...

Pope Francis: the door to salvation is narrow and open

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading (Lk. 13:22-30), Pope Francis emphasized during his Angelus address of August 21 that the door to salvation is narrow but open. “Jesus himself is...

Islamic radicals target Christians in Democratic Republic of Congo

Islamic radicals have stepped up their attacks on Christian villages in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Islamic Allied Democratic Forces, having failed in an effort to oust the...

Cardinal Marx under fire for handling of abuse charge

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, Germany, has come under fire for his handling of a sex-abuse case in the Trier diocese, which he led from 2001 to 2007.  Then-Bishop Marx reportedly allowed...

Indian bishop, priests arrested for withholding evidence in woman's death

Bishop Thomas Aquinas Lephonse of Coimbatore, India, has been arrested, along with three priests of the diocese, and charged with withholding information about the suspicious death of a young...

Indian cardinal asks faithful to tone down feast-day celebrations

Cardinal George Alencherry, the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, has asked for moderation of church festivals. The Indian cardinal said that extravagant feasts and displays...

Louisiana flooding 'historic,' bishop reports

Bishop Robert Muench of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, says that flooding in that state has become "a life-changing event." More than 40,000 homes have been damaged by the flood waters, and...

Papal message for Communion and Liberation gathering

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has written a message in Pope Francis’s name on the occasion of Communion and Liberation’s annual gathering in Rimini,...

New leader of Chemin Neuf community

The leadership of the Chemin Neuf community has passed from its founder to a close collaborator. Father Laurent Fabre, a French Jesuit, founded the Catholic ecumenical community in 1973 with the...

Sisters of Charity file $50M suit against hospital system

The Sisters of Charity have filed a $50 million suit against a Columbia, South Carolina, hospital system, according to a local newspaper report. The sisters, who once owned a hospital in the...

Wisconsin parish defaced with swastika

A Catholic parish in the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, was defaced with a swastika on the night of August 17. The words “black lives matter” were also painted on the doors of St....

German priestly ordinations fall to record low

Only 58 men were ordained in Germany in 2015-- down from 500 in 1965 and 122 in 2005, and a record low, according to a CNA report. The number of new seminarians also fell to a record low of 96 in...

Italian bishop raps French 'burkini' ban

The secretary-general of the Italian bishops' conference has criticized the ban on the Islamic "burkini" at beaches in France.  "The fear around Islamic clothing seems to...

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