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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...

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...

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...

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...

Australian Church leaders plan Synod for 2020

Catholic Church leaders in Australia are planning a nationwide Synod for 2020. "We asked the Pope for his approval to celebrate a local assembly," reported Archbishop Mark Coleridge of...

Muslims outnumber Christians among refugees entering US

Among the refugees who have entered the US in this year, 46% are Muslims, the Pew Research Center reports. For the first time since the US began keeping track of refugees' religious...

Pope plans another visit to Assisi in September

Pope Francis, who made a personal pilgrimage to Assisi earlier this month, plans another trip to the birthplace of St. Francis in September. The Vatican has announced that the Holy Father will...

Annual seminar for former Ratzinger students scheduled for August 26-28

The "Ratzinger Schuelerkreis," the annual gathering of former students of Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI, will be held August 26- 28, at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. Each...

Rome's homeless enjoy beach outings, pizza at Pope's expense

About 100 of Rome's homeless people have enjoyed trips to the beach as the guests of Pope Francis, the papal almoner has revealed. Archbishop Konrad Krajewski disclosed that he has taken...

Chinese priests, facing requirement to register, concerned about Vatican-Beijing talks

As reports proliferate about an imminent agreement between the Vatican and Beijing, a Catholic priest of the "underground" Church reports to the AsiaNews service that Chinese priests...

Obama administration to issue transgender rules for homeless shelters

The Obama administration is poised to issue regulations requiring homeless shelters to accommodate transgendered individuals according to their declared gender identity rather than their natural...

New Philadelphia mayor sought additional $4M reimbursement for papal visit

In May, the administration of Philadelphia’s new mayor, Jim Kenney, sent the World Meeting of Families an additional $4 million bill for expenses incurred during the September 2015 papal...

Pittsburgh: Mass attendance down 40% since 2000

Commenting on sobering demographic and financial trends, Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that “the number one priority has to be, ‘We need to make our...

Pope calls for collaboration between pontifical academy, institute

In a chirograph to Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, Pope Francis expressed esteem for the prelate’s past work as president of the Pontifical Council for the Family and said that as he named him...

Russian patriarch pays tribute to Fidel Castro

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church offered “cordial congratulations” to Fidel Castro on his 90th birthday. The Communist leader ruled Cuba from 1959 until 2008. “For the...

Major battle for Aleppo imminent, says bishop

The bishop who ministers to Latin-rite Catholics in Aleppo said that fighting is intensifying as belligerents sense that whoever wins control of the city may win the Syrian Civil...

Many European women want more babies than they have, study finds

While European birth rates have dropped below the replacement level, the vast majority of women in Europe believe that the ideal family should include at least two children, a Pew Research...

Christian-Muslim cooperation will thwart jihadists, Vatican cardinal says

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, argues that cooperation between Christians and Muslims can counteract the propaganda of Islamic...

Colombia's bishops welcome government decision against gender ideology in schools

The Catholic bishops of Colombia have welcomed a decision by the government of President Juan Manuel Santost against introducing gender ideology in the country's public schools. After an...

Mexican bishop, threatened with prosecution, vows to continue speaking out on public issues

A Mexican bishop who has been charged with interfering in political affairs has said that he would risk jail rather than be silent. Bishop Ramon Castro Castro of Cuernavaca hosted a meeting of...

Australian police near decision on questioning Cardinal Pell about abuse claims

Police in Australia are close to a decision on whether or not to pursue an investigation into sexual-abuse charges that have been lodged against Cardinal George Pell, the prefect of the...

French President Hollande meets with Pontiff

Pope Francis met privately with President Francois Hollande of France on August 17, for a conversation that reportedly centered on the death of Father Jacques Hamel. Immediately after the...

Pope establishes new Vatican office for Laity, Family, and Life

Pope Francis has formally established a new Vatican dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life. Beginning on September 1, the new office will take over the functions of the existing Pontifical Council for the Laity, the Pontifical Council for the Family, and the Pontifical Academy for Life.   Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas as prefect of the new dicastery....

Pope Francis reflects on multiplication of loaves and fishes

Continuing his series of Wednesday addresses on mercy, Pope Francis devoted his August 17 general audience to the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. “In St. Matthew’s account,...

Changes in Roman Curia: Dallas bishop named prefect of new dicastery

Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas as prefect of the Vatican’s new Dicastery for Laity, the Family, and Life. The Pope has also issued a motu proprio, Sedula Mater, formally establishing the new dicastery, which he had announced in June. [See today's separate CWN headline story.] Born in Dublin in 1947, Kevin Farrell was ordained a priest of the Legionaries...

Same-sex, humanist weddings exceed Catholic weddings in Scotland

The number of same-sex wedding ceremonies exceeded the number of Catholic weddings in Scotland in 2015, according to an annual demographic report released by Scotland’s government. Over 5%...

Priest who wrote speeches for Nixon dead at 89

John McLaughlin, a Jesuit priest who worked as one of President Richard Nixon’s speechwriters and was subsequently dispensed from his vows, has died of cancer at age 89. McLaughlin worked...

Caritas workers kidnapped in Congo

Three aid workers associated with the Catholic relief and development agency Caritas were kidnapped in the province of North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on August 16, according to...

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