Catholic World News Headlines

News stories are released on weekdays.

Pope lashes out at ‘corrupt’ global system, intolerance of foreigners

Pope Francis said that “no people is criminal and no religion is terrorist,” in a message to a California conference of popular movements. “Christian terrorism does not exist,...

USCCB committee chairmen call on President Trump to protect religious liberty

Four bishops who chair committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have called upon President Donald Trump to enact religious-liberty protections. A draft executive order has...

Welcome cultural changes, diversity, Pope urges Roman university students

“Migrations are not a danger, but a challenge to grow,” Pope Francis said in a February 17 meeting with students at Roma Tre University. During a visit to the Roman institution, also...

Pope receives Special Olympics athletes, speaks of joy of sports

Pope Francis received a group of participants in the Special Olympics World Winter Games and spoke about the joy of athletics. “In a way, at the heart of all sporting activity is joy: the...

Pope urges prayer for peace, laments arms trafficking

In his February 16 weekday Mass homily at Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis preached on the tragedy of war and the importance of prayer and work for peace. “In today’s world there...

Michael Novak, influential Catholic author and teacher, dead at 83

Michael Novak, the American Catholic author, teacher, and political figure, on February 17 at the age of 83 after a battle with cancer. In his most influential work, The Spirit of Democratic...

Egyptian Copt gunned down; Islamic militants suspected

A Coptic schoolteacher was shot and killed in Egypt’s Sinai region on February 16, and officials indicated that a local affiliate of the Islamic State was suspected of orchestrating the...

Denver archdiocese issues caution on blogger’s ‘visions’

The Denver archdiocese has issued a new caution about the work of a blogger who claims to receive messages from the Virgin Mary. The archdiocese released a statement saying that the predictions...

Iraqi Christian refugees call for quicker resettlement

Demanding speedier resettlement, Iraqi Christian refugees took part in a protest outside a UN office in Beirut on February 13. “We understand the frustration of the refugees that are living...

Texas bishop: Trump’s executive order on refugees is ‘draconian’

In a letter read recently at all Sunday Masses in the Diocese of Fort Worth, Bishop Michael Olson criticized President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees. The prelate said that the...

Trump administration keeps Obama’s LGBT envoy

The Trump administration has decided not to eliminate the position of Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons, a position created by the Obama administration in 2015. Randy Berry, the...

Venezuelan leftists disrupt Mass, denounce Church involvement in political crisis

Leftists disrupted Mass at a Catholic church in Caracas, Venezuela on February 11, as tensions escalated between the Catholic hierarchy and supporters of the socialist government. Demonstrators...

Chaldean patriarchate rejects calls for revenge against ISIS, made by militia groups

A militia leader in Iraq who has called for revenge against the Islamic State has no right to “make such statements involving Christians” and “does not represent them in any...

Cardinal Burke asked chancellor of Knights of Malta to resign, order’s interim leader says

The new acting head of the Knights of Malta has said that it was Cardinal Burke, not the order’s ousted grand master, who asked for the resignation of the chancellor, Albrecht von...

Church in Australia has paid over $200 million to sex-abuse victims

The Catholic Church in Australia has paid about $213 million in compensation to sex-abuse victims since 1980, a royal commission has reported. The commissions said that more than 3,000 people...

More essential than ever for Catholic hospitals to maintain distinct identity: Cardinal Burke

Catholic health-care institutions are needed today more than ever, Cardinal Raymond Burke told a conference on Catholic hospitals in Ohio last week. “Our country suffers the scourge of an...

Members of European Parliament condemn Trump’s reinstatement of Mexico City policy

A large majority of members of the European Parliament have supported an amendment condemning President Donald Trump’s decision to ban the use of federal funds to promote abortion...

Pope recalls Saints Cyril and Methodius

Following his February 15 general audience, Pope Francis recalled that the previous day was the liturgical memorial of Saints Cyril and Methodius, apostles of the Slavs and co-patrons of...

EU bishops’ commission: integrate migrants into a ‘cohesive and welcoming’ society

The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE), joined by Caritas Europa and eight other Christian organizations, has called upon EU policymakers to give greater...

South Sudan: bishop demands justice after nun’s murder

Nine months after a Slovak missionary nun was slain in South Sudan, a bishop has demanded information from the government. “We demand [for] justice,” said Bishop Erkolano Lodu Tombe...

British prelate: ‘safely reduce’ prison population

Responding to a speech on prisons by a government official, the English bishops’ liaison to prisons called for a reduction in the prison population. “Prisons play an important role in...

Arab bishops discuss migration, other challenges

The Conference of Latin Bishops of the Arab Regions has concluded a three-day meeting in Jordan. According to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the prelates heard “poignant...

Historic cathedral transferred back to Russian Orthodox Church

A century after the Bolshevik Revolution, officials in Saint Petersburg, Russia, have returned St. Isaac’s Cathedral to the Russian Orthodox Church. The church, built in 1858 in what was...

Syrian Orthodox bishops assail Patriarch for reverencing Qu’ran

Six bishops of the Syrian Orthodox Church have accused their Patriarch Ignatius Ephem II of “betrayal of the faith,” after the Patriarch made a gesture of respect for the Qu’ran...

Cardinal suggests joint commission to study historical Catholic-Orthodox disputes in Ukraine

The president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity has suggested the creation of a joint commission to resolve historical disputes between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the...

Friar chosen to lead Lenten Retreat for Vatican officials

Father Giulio Michelini, a Franciscan who teaches Biblical theology, has been chosen by Pope Francis to lead the annual Lenten Retreat for the Roman Curia. Father Michelini, who teaches at the...

Anglican bishop in South Sudan accuses government troops of atrocities

An Anglican bishop has reported widespread rape of civilian women by troops of South Sudan’s army. Anglican Bishop Paul Yugusk of Lomega said that soldiers stationed at a military outpost near the...

Venezuela: Pope has offered to meet with leaders to help resolve crisis

Pope Francis has indicated a willingness to meet personally with representatives of both the Venezuelan government and the political opposition, in order to re-start talks to address the country’s...

Vatican worried by populism, nationalism, Secretary of State says

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, said that “all the issues that Italy and the Holy See hold dear were tackled” during bilateral talks this week, marking the anniversary of...

Trump administration has not requested meeting with Pontiff

The White House has not yet requested a papal audience with President Donald Trump, Vatican sources have disclosed. President Trump will be in Rome in May for meetings of the G7 industrial leaders....

Vatican announces awards for Catholic social thought

The Vatican today announced the winners of the 3rd annual “Economy and Society” awards, which recognize efforts to promote Catholic social teaching. The awards, which will be...

Council of Cardinals weighs reorganization of Vatican tribunals

At meetings in Rome this week, the Council of Cardinals began to study the prospect for reform of the Vatican’s tribunals. The Council also continued its examination of the offices of the...

Cardinal Burke sent to Guam for sex-abuse trial of archbishop

Cardinal Raymond Burke has traveled to Guam, to take testimony in the canonical trial of Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Agana. Archbishop Apuron, who has been accused of molesting a number of young...

Pope Francis: indigenous peoples should give informed consent to development projects

Pope Francis received participants in an Indigenous Peoples’ Forum convened by the International Fund for Agricultural Development. “You have come together to identify ways of giving...

Boast of grace and afflictions, Pope says in reflection on St. Paul and hope

Continuing his weekly series of catechetical addresses on Christian hope, Pope Francis devoted his February 15 general audience to a text from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Rom....

Kenya’s bishops warn of famine

Some Kenyans are dying of hunger brought on by drought, the chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops said at a recent press conference. Bishop Philip Anyolo spoke of “tales of...

Korean missionaries expelled from China

The Chinese government has expelled 32 South Korean Christian missionaries from the country. The missionaries were based in Yanji, and many of them have worked in China for over a decade,...

Increased security at Cologne cathedral

Stating that “people should have no anxiety when they go to the cathedral,” police officials have announced heightened security measures at Cologne Cathedral. The measures, which will...

Valentine’s Day banned in Islamabad

On February 13, a Pakistani court ruled that St. Valentine’s Day could not be promoted in the media or celebrated publicly in Islamabad, the nation’s capital. The celebration of...

USCCB urges senators to support Conscience Protection Act

The chairmen of two committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have called upon senators to pass the Conscience Protection Act of 2017 (S. 301), sponsored by Sen. James Lankford...

Russian Orthodox clerics sees joint effort with Catholic Church to help persecuted Christians

The Russian Orthodox Church plans to work closely with the Vatican to call attention to the plight of persecuted Christians. Metropolitan Hilarion, the chief external-affairs spokesman for the...

Georgian Orthodox priest accused in plot to poison Patriarch

A Georgian Orthodox priest has been arrested and charged with a plot to murder the Orthodox Patriarch Ilia II. Father Georgy Mamaladze, who handles real-estate affairs for the Georgian...

Vatican launch for cardinal’s book defending German/Maltese bishops’ reading of Amoris Laetitia

The Vatican press has published a short book by Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio arguing that Amoris Laetitia allows for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the Eucharist in some...

EU bishops’ commission: ‘preemptive peacebuilding’ should complement defense efforts

Representatives from the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) took part with EU and NATO representatives in a conference devoted to...

Christian cemetery vandalized in Tunisia

A Christian cemetery has been vandalized in Sfax, a city of 330,000 in Tunisia. The Vatican newspaper infrequently covers such acts of vandalism, but its editors published a report on the...

Leading Russian Orthodox official speaks of Ukrainian Catholics’ ‘enmity and hatred’

The chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations delivered an address in Fribourg, Switzerland, to mark the first anniversary of Pope Francis’s historic...

Cardinal Marx welcomes election of Germany’s new president

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the head of the German Bishops’ Conference, welcomed the election of Frank-Walter Steinmeier as the nation’s president. The German president has a largely...

Catholic Charities: fundraising campaign to assist migrants, refugees

Catholic Charities USA, the network of diocesan charitable agencies, has launched a four-month, $8-million fundraising campaign to assist “immigrants and refugees of all faiths who are already...

USCCB: prelates express solidarity with Middle East’s Christians, other religious minorities

The chairmen of three committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, joined by the chairman of the board of Catholic Relief Services, expressed solidarity with the Middle...

Historic church in Holy Land, damaged by arson in 2014, reopens

The Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, has reopened, more than two years after it was severely damaged by arson. The church—set on the...

Vatican disciplines Peruvian founder of lay movement, bars contact with group

Luis Fernando Figari, the Peruvian founder of the Sodality of Christian Life has been barred from contact with the group, after a Vatican-ordered investigation. Figari, who founded the Sodality...

Cardinal Nichols raps UK restriction on Syrian refugees

England’s leading Catholic prelate has criticized the government’s decision to restrict the number of refugees from Syria. Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced that the government...

To combat terrorism, reject ‘unfettered pursuit of profit,’ Vatican envoy tells UN

Addressing a UN session on terrorist attacks on societal infrastructure, the Vatican’s representative called for international action to protect civilians from the deadly...

Jerusalem patriarchate denounces Israeli law on seizure of Palestinian property

The Latin-rite Catholic Patriarchate of Jerusalem has issued a statement decrying a new Israeli law that retroactively legalizes the seizure of Palestinian lands in the West Bank for Jewish...

In homily, Pope warns against conflicts within hierarchy

In his homily at a morning Mass on February 13, Pope Francis said that in the absence of a true sense of brotherhood, conflicts can fester and lead to destruction. The Pope spoke about how Cain...

Australian archbishop decries eugenic approach to abortion

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, has condemned a proposal to liberalize abortion laws in Queensland, and especially the notion that women should be free to abort children who are...

Pope writes preface for abuse victim’s book

Pope Francis has written the preface for a new book by a sex-abuse victim. Sexual abuse is “an absolute monstrosity, a horrendous sin,” the Pope writes, introducing the boko by Daniel...

Statistics show marriages more likely to survive if couples had no other lifetime sexual partners

Federal government statistics show that the prospects for an early divorce are minimal among American couples who have never had any sexual partners other than their spouses, and increases with the...

Chinese official: underground bishops cannot be recognized

A top Chinese official has cautioned that the Beijing regime has not reached an agreement with the Vatican on the appointment of bishops, and dismissed any possibility that bishops of the...

Council of Cardinals gives Pope Francis a vote of confidence

The Council of Cardinals has relased a statement pledging “its full support for the Pope’s work,” in a highly unusual expression of confidence in the Roman Pontiff. The statement, issued by the Vatican press office without explanation, also voiced the Council’s “adhesion and loyalty to the figure of the Pope and to his Magisterium.” The release of a...

Coalition targets jihadist who inspired attack on French priest

The coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq targeted a jihadist who inspired the 2016 murder of Father Jacques Hamel while celebrating Mass at his parish in St.-Étienne-du-Rouvray,...

Cardinal: proclaim to young people the beauty of priestly, religious vocations

In an article that appeared on the front page of February 12 edition of L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia reflected on the 2018 synod, which will be devoted to young...

USCCB committee chair welcomes court decision blocking Trump executive order

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration has issued a statement welcoming an appellate court ruling that halts implementation of portions of...

Pope Francis: the Sermon on the Mount calls us to a ‘higher justice’

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel at Mass (Mt. 5:17-37), Pope Francis said during his February 12 Angelus address that Christ calls us to a “higher justice” beyond...

Pope names special Medjugorje envoy

Pope Francis has named Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warszawa-Praga, Poland, as his special pastoral envoy for Medjugorje, the town in Bosnia-Herzegovina that has been the site of alleged Marian...

Pope sees both promise and danger in health-care industry

The health-care industry presents “a situation with lights and shadows,” Pope Francis said in a February 10 address to the health-care commission of the Italian bishops’...

Colombian missionary nun kidnapped in Mali

A Colombian religious working in Mali was kidnapped on February 8, reportedly by Islamic jihadists. Sister Gloria Cecilia Narvaez was one of four sisters present in a residence in Karangasso when...

Ohio city bans conversion therapy

In a 12-0 vote, the city council in Toledo, Ohio, has made it a crime for a mental health provider to “engage in sexual orientation or gender identity change efforts with any...

Background: World Day of the Sick

February 11 is the 25th World Day of the Sick, a commemoration instituted by St. John Paul II that takes place each year on the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes. The title of Pope Francis’s...

Nigerian bishop decries violence, corruption

A Nigerian bishop has decried widespread corruption and violence in Africa’s largest nation, according to the Lagos-based Guardian. Archbishop Augustine Akubeze of Benin City urged...

Aleppo described as ‘post-apocalyptic’

The spokesman for Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies, described the situation in east Aleppo as “post-apocalyptic” and...

Anti-Defamation League welcomes Pope’s condemnation of anti-Semitism

Following a February 9 audience with Pope Francis, the Anti-Defamation League welcomed the Pope’s denunciation of anti-Semitism. “We know you understand and share our concern about...

Europe must ‘rediscover soul,’ Cardinal Bagnasco says

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa has said that the European community must recover its spiritual and moral bearings or face social disaster. Speaking to reporters on February 9, the...

Israeli seizure of Palestinian land offends against justice, bishop says

A new Israeli law that retroactively legalizes the seizure of Palestinian land for Jewish settlements is an offense against justice, said Bishop William Shomali, the patriarchal vicar for...

Women bring harmony to family, Pope says

The distinctive role of woman is to bring harmony into the world, Pope Francis said in his homily at a morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae on February 9. “Without the woman there is...

Financial questions stall momentum of French Catholic presidential candidate

The presidential candidacy of Francois Fillon, who has made an explicit appeal to the Catholic tradition in France, has been rocked by accusations that he used his influence to obtain sinecures for...

Catholic schools challenge barren culture and sow hope, Pope says

Speaking on February 9 to the members of the Congregation for Catholic Education, Pope Francis said that Catholic schools “have the mission of offering horizons open to...

Pope lauds Jesuit journal for courageous editorial approach

Pope Francis met on February 9 with the editorial staff of Civilta Cattolica, to celebrate the publication of the 4,000th issue of the Jesuit journal. The Pope praised the publication for its...

Hong Kong cardinal optimistic about accord between Vatican, Beijing

Cardinal John Tong Hon of Hong Kong has indicated that he thinks the Vatican can reach a satisfactory agreement with China on the appointment of bishops. In an essay for the AsiaNews service, Cardinal Tong writes that control of episcopal appointments is the most critical issue in current talks between Rome and Beijing. He suggests that if an agreement on that question can be reached, other...

Pope: troubled by ‘rigid’ religious orders that attract vocations

“The decline of religious life in the West worries me,” Pope Francis said in an exchange with superiors of men’s religious orders. Nevertheless the Pope said that he was troubled by “restorationist” orders that “offer security but instead give only rigidity.” “When they tell me that there is a congregation that draws so many vocations, I must...

Pope deplores anti-Semitism

Pope Francis received a delegation from the Anti-Defamation League on February 9 and denounced anti-Semitism “in all its forms as completely contrary to Christian principles and every vision...

Humanitarian crisis in portions of eastern Ukraine

Amid escalating violence in eastern Ukraine, thousands have been left without electricity and water, according to Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and development...

Pakistan’s parliament outlaws lynching, forced conversion

The Pakistani parliament has passed a law outlawing lynching and forced conversions. The move was welcomed by lay Christian activists. Samuel Pyara, president of the Bright Future Society, told...

USCCB, CRS: action alert on human trafficking legislation

Catholics Confront Global Poverty, a partnership of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services, has called upon Catholics to urge their representatives to support...

Morocco: conversion from Islam should not be punished by death

Retracting a 2012 ruling, Morocco’s High Religious Committee has ruled that persons who convert from Islam should no longer be punished by death by religious decree. The committee...

Pope draws attention to plight of Rohingya Muslims, human trafficking victims

In remarks made following his February 8 general audience, Pope Francis appealed for prayers for the Rohingya Muslims, who suffer intense persecution in Myanmar (Burma). “I would like to...

Samurai beatified in Japan

Dom Justo Takayama Udon (1552-1615), a samurai who converted to Catholicism at the age of 12, was beatified as a martyr in Osaka, Japan, on February 7. Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the...

Gallup diocese emerges from bankruptcy

The Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico, has emerged from bankruptcy, with court approval of a reorganization plan that provides $17.6 million in compensation to 57 sex-abuse victims. The Gallup...

Cardinals meet with India’s president, discuss kidnapped priest

Three Indian cardinals met on February 9 with President Narendra Modi, to discuss the plight of Father Tom Uzhunalil, the Indian missionary who was kidnapped in Yemen last March. Cardinals...

Duterte blasts Filipino bishops, says he will ‘go to hell’ to end drug traffic

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has angrily rejected criticism from the country’s Catholic bishops, who said that vigilante groups have created a “reign of terror” by...

Vatican journal article questions authority of ban on female ordination

A new article in the Italian Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica raises questions about the teaching of St. John Paul II that women can never be ordained to the priesthood. The essay in Civilta...

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