Catholic World News Headlines

News stories are released on weekdays.

Benedict XVI discusses resignation, Vatican governance in forthcoming book-length interview

In a new book-length interview to be published in September, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI speaks about his resignation, his reaction to the election of Pope Francis as his successor, and his challenges in governing the Church-- including troubles with a "gay lobby" inside the Vatican. The book-- an unprecedented collection of the memories of a former Roman Pontiff-- covers the full...

Pan-Orthodox council pulled back from blessing marriages of Orthodox, non-Orthodox Christians

The recent Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church did not achieve its original goal of unifying the discipline of the Sacrament of Marriage among the 14 Orthodox churches, according to a...

Church raised $150M to assist Syrians, Iraqis in 2014-15

In 2014-15, Catholic dioceses and organizations raised $150 million to assist five million persons affected by the humanitarian crisis in Syria and Iraq, according to the Holy See Press...

4 cardinals take part in European ecumenical gathering

An estimated 1,700 people from 40 countries gathered in Munich on June 30 for “Encounter, reconciliation, future,” a three-day ecumenical gathering sponsored by Together for...

European bishops’ conferences discuss solidarity with migrants, families

The general secretaries of the European bishops’ conferences gathered at a hotel in Berlin on June 30 for a four-day meeting devoted to mercy in solidarity. Topics on the agenda include...

Catholics, Orthodox gather in Antioch to recall St. Peter

The apostolic nuncio to Turkey, the apostolic vicar of Anatolia, and a representative of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch gathered at the Church of St. Peter in Antakya (Antioch) on June...

Rome’s new mayor meets with Pope

Pope Francis received Virginia Raggi, Rome’s new mayor, in a 20-minute private audience on July 1. Raggi, 37, was accompanied by members of her family. Elected on an anti-corruption...

Replacement named for German bishop who resigned following spending complaints

Pope Francis has named a new bishop of Limburg, Gemany, to succeed Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the German prelate who resigned in 2014 under heavy criticism for his use of diocesan...

ACLU sues to block federal funding for agencies that help refugees but do not support abortion

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed suit against the federal government, seeking to block public funding for agencies that care for refugees but do not provide abortions. The ACLU...

Pope drops plan to speak at Auschwitz; will offer silent prayer

Pope Francis has decided not to deliver a public address when he visits Auschwitz death camp.  The Pope will visit the Nazi death camp on July 29, during a trip to Poland for World Youth...

Chinese Catholics puzzled by Bishop Ma's reversal, leery of Vatican stand

Chinese Catholics continue to question the reversal of Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin of Shanghai, who has indicated his support for the government-backed Catholic Patriotic Association, after serving...

Vatican delegate names new leaders for troubled Guam archdiocese

Continuing a leadership shake-up in the troubled Archdiocese of Agana, Guam, Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai has named a new delegate-- the equivalent of a vicar general-- and...

Coptic priest killed in Egypt; Islamic State suspected

A Coptic Orthodox priest and two security officials were shot and killed, apparently by Islamic State gunmen, in Arish, Egypt. Father Rapheal Moussa died instantly after being shot in the head as...

Prayer intentions of Pope Francis for July 2016

The Vatican has announced the prayer intentions of Pope Francis for July 2016. The Pope's universal intention is: "That indigenous peoples, whose identity and very existence are...

French Cardinal Barbarin suspends four priests, restricts others, after sex-abuse complaints

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, France, has suspended four priests from ministry and placed restrictions on several others, in response to sex-abuse complaints. The Lyon archdiocese did not...

Venezuelan prelate raps government's refusal to acknowledge economic crisis, accept foreign aid

Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas has blasted the government of President Nicolas Maduro for refusing to accept humanitarian aid from abroad at a time when shortages of food and medicine have...

Sharply reduced suicide risk for women who attend Mass weekly

Women between the ages of 30 and 55 who attend church weekly are six times less likely to commit suicide than women who never attend church, according to a report published by the Journal of the...

Bermuda voters reject same-sex marriage, civil unions

By large margins, voters in Bermuda rejected same-sex marriage and same-sex civil unions in a non-binding referendum, according to the British territory’s daily newspaper. 69% of those who...

Action urged on Conscience Protection Act

Human Life Action, which works closely with the US bishops in matters related to pro-life legislation, has asked pro-life Americans to urge members of Congress to pass the Conscience Protection Act...

Canadian court upholds denial of accreditation to Christian law school

Upholding a lower court ruling, the Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled that the Law Society of Upper Canada was justified in denying accreditation to Trinity Western University, an evangelical school...

USCCB president prays for victims of West Virginia floods, Istanbul attacks

In recent days, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has offered prayerful support for victims of floods in West Virginia and the terrorist attack on the airport in...

Pope reflects on works of mercy, trip to Armenia

Pope Francis held a special audience for jubilee pilgrims on June 30 and reflected on the works of mercy. “During this Holy Year of Mercy, we have not only considered the gift of...

Pope Francis: welcome the message of Saints Peter and Paul

On June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Pope Francis delivered an Angelus address in which he compared the two apostles to “grand lights,” not only “in the sky of...

Indian archbishop dismisses Hindu leader's complaints against Mother Teresa

Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil, the apostolic administrator of Jowai, India, has reacted strongly against public criticism of Mother Teresa by a Hindu lawmaker. Gorrakhpur Yogi Adityanath, a...

Man pulls gun on priest during confession

A Catholic priest in Ohio has revealed that a man aimed a gun at him while making his confession earlier this month. The priest said that the man did not threaten him, but continued to hold the...

Long-term goal must be repatriation for refugees, Lebanese prelate says

Maronite Catholic Patriarch Bechara Rai has suggested that a long-term answer to the crisis of refugees in the Middle East should be helping them return to their native countries. "We must...

Irish guidelines: priests should be given presumption of innocence in abuse investigations

New guidelines for handling sex-abuse complaints in the Irish Catholic Church emphasize that an accused priest should be presumed innocent while an investigation takes place, even if he has been...

Pope laments Istanbul terrorist attack

Pope Francis lamented the terrorist attack on the Istanbul airport following the recitation of the Angelus on June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. At least 41 people were killed and...

Bishop Fellay: SSPX ‘does not seek primarily a canonical recognition’

The superior general of the Society of St. Pius X said in a June 29 statement that the Society “does not seek primarily a canonical recognition.” “In the great and painful...

Jesuit elected chairman of US religious freedom commission

Father Thomas Reese, SJ, has been elected chairman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom by his fellow commissioners. Father Reese, senior analyst for the National...

Suicide bombers attack Lebanese Christian village

Eight suicide bombers crossed the border from Syria to Lebanon and attacked the Christian village of Qaa on June 27. Five civilians were killed, according to a report from the Al Arabiya...

Retired religious receive $25M from national collection

The National Religious Retirement Office has granted $25 million to 401 religious communities to help pay for medication, nursing care, and other expenses associated with the care of retired...

Pope blesses pallia, warns against being closed

Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, and blessed the pallia that will be conferred on metropolitan archbishops by pontifical...

Supreme Court rejects appeal for pharmacists' conscience rights

The US Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to a Washington state law that requires pharmacists to provide customers with potentially abortifacient drugs. The Court's decision,...

Benedict XVI, celebrating anniversary of ordination, thanks Pope Francis for kindness

In his first public statement since his resignation, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI thanked Pope Francis for his kindness, saying that it has been "a real inspiration for me." The former...

Cardinal Nichols fears racism after Brexit vote

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, England, has warned against an increase of racial tension in the wake of the "Brexit" vote. Commenting on reports that immigrants had been...

Turkish government rips Pope's reference to 'genocide,' will recall ambassador

The government of Turkey has issued a stern statement decrying the use of the term "genocide" by Pope Francis in reference to the 1915 deaths of 1.5 million Armenians. The Pope's...

Pope Francis calls on Catholics, Orthodox to abandon ‘rivalry, mistrust, and rancor’

Pope Francis received a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople on June 28, the day before the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, and called upon Catholics and Orthodox to...

Prelate: South Sudan is ‘ruled by monkeys’

A prelate in South Sudan denounced the nation’s rulers amid surging violence in Wau, one of the nation’s largest cities. “More than 100,000 people are in the bush being...

Congo’s bishops call for dialogue so that president may leave office

The bishops of the Democratic Republic of the Congo have called for a national dialogue aimed at creating a timeframe for President Joseph Kabila to leave office rather than seek an unconstitutional...

Canadian bishops: legalization of assisted suicide is ‘appalling landmark’

The president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a statement denouncing the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia. “The recent approval of Bill C-14, which...

Ecumenical Patriarch, in letter to Pope, reflects on solidarity, Europe’s Christian roots

The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople has sent his best wishes to Pope Francis for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, the patrons of Rome. Thanking Pope Francis for joining him on the...

Vandalism at Bonn basilica

A deranged 24-year-old man entered a Romanesque basilica in Bonn, Germany, and caused extensive damage to the crypt where the relics of Saints Cassius and Florentius, the city’s patrons, are...

Cardinal Marx: Brexit vote 'extremely regrettable'

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich has referred to the "Brexit" referendum victory as "extremely regrettable," and called for the strengthening of the European Union. Speaking...

Duterte promises to promote contraception in Philippines

Rodriguo Duterte, the newly elected president of the Philippines, has vowed to defy the Catholic hierarchy by promoting an aggressive family-planning policy. "Three' enough,"...

US Supreme Court overturns Texas law regulating abortion clinics

By a 5-3 vote, the US Supreme Court has overturned a state law that imposed health regulations on abortion clinics in Texas. In the decision, announced June 27, the Court majority ruled that the regulations enacted in Texas were not prompted by concern for the health of pregnant women, but by an unconstitutional desire to limit access to legal abortion.  The Texas law had required...

Vatican disputes report of 'takeover' at Joseph Ratzinger Foundation

The Vatican has issued a statement denying an Italian media report that Pope Francis has taken control of a foundation established by Pope Benedict XVI to promote theological studies. The Joseph...

In interview, Pope touches on Armenian genocide, deaconesses, Benedict XVI

In a June exchange with reporters-- in which he sparked headlines by saying that the Church should apologize to homosexuals (see today's separate CWN headline story)-- Pope Francis also spoke...

Pope: Church should apologize for mistreating gays

Pope Francis said that the Church should ask for the forgiveness of homosexual persons who have been offended, during a question-and-answer session with reporters who accompanied him on his return flight from Armenia to Rome. When asked to comment on a statement by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who had said that the Church should apologize for mistreating homosexuals, the Pope replied at...

Pan-Orthodox council concludes with message, encyclical

The Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church concluded with the publication of a message and encyclical signed by the representatives of the ten Orthodox churches that attended the...

ACLU sues HHS over exemption granted to USCCB

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit against the US Department of Health and Human Services for exempting the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and its subgrantees from...

Supreme Court immigration decision is ‘huge disappointment,’ says USCCB committee chair

The chairman of the Committee on Migration of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has decried United States v. Texas, the June 23 Supreme Court ruling against two Obama administration...

In joint statement, Pope Francis, Armenian Catholicos lament persecution of Christians

On June 26, the final day of his three-day apostolic journey to Armenia, Pope Francis met with Armenian Catholic bishops before taking part in the Divine Liturgy in the Armenian Apostolic Cathedral. 93% of Armenians are members of the Armenian Apostolic Church, an Oriental Orthodox church that ceased to be in full communion with the Holy See following the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in...

Pope visits Armenian Genocide memorial

June 25 was the second day of Pope Francis’s three-day apostolic journey to Armenia, a nation described as the world’s first Christian nation because of its acceptance of the Christian...

Cardinal Marx: Church should see positive aspects of homosexual relationships

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich has said that the Church should "say sorry" for mistreatment of homosexuals. Speaking to an audience in Dublin, Cardinal Marx-- who is the president of...

Ousted from papal commission on abuse, outspoken member refuses to resign

Peter Saunders, the outspoken English layman who was removed in February from a papal commission on sexual abuse, has insisted that he remains a member of the commission, and refuses to...

Syrian archbishop agrees: suffering of Christians is not 'genocide'

A Syrian Catholic prelate has applauded Pope Francis for insisting that the suffering of Christians in the Middle East should be described as martyrdom rather than genocide. By refraining from...

New French ambassador to Holy See presents credentials, ending diplomatic impasse

A new French ambassador to the Holy See, Philippe Zeller, has presented his diplomatic credentials to Pope Francis, ending a long impasse over the appointment of a French envoy. In April, after a...

Nigerian priest found dead after kidnapping

Authorities in Nigeria have reported discovering the body of a Catholic priest who was kidnapped in April. The remains of Father John Adeyi, who had been the vicar general of the Otukpo...

Colombia's bishops hail peace accord with FARC rebels

The Catholic bishops of Colombia have welcomed the government's peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) as "a historic event." Signed on June 23 after...

Pope speaks on Brexit, Colombian peace accord

Pope Francis touched on the subjects of the Brexit referendum and the Colombian peace agreement during a conversation with reporters who accompanied him on his June 24 flight to...

Vatican delegate shakes up leadership of Guam archdiocese

A Vatican-appointed apostolic administrator in Guam has shaken up the administrative leadership of the Archdiocese of Agana. Archbishop Savio Tai Fai Hon, who has taken temporary control of the...

Arriving in Armenia, Pope invokes the term: genocide

Arriving in Armenia on June 24 to begin a weekend visit, Pope Francis broke from his prepared text to use the term "genocide" in a reference to the massacres of 1915. At a meeting with Catholicos Karekin II, the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church; and Armenia's President Serzh Sargysan, the Pope referred to the Turkish slaughter of Armenians. He said:  Sadly, that...

British bishops call for civility after Brexit vote

Responding to the "Brexit" decision, the British Catholic bishops have issued a statement saying that the referendum decision "must be respected whatever our personal...

Vatican message calls for ‘universal accessibility’ to tourism

The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People has released its annual message for World Tourism Day, which falls on September 27. In “Tourism for All -...

Pope prays at St. Mary Major before trip to Armenia

On the eve of his apostolic journey to Armenia, Pope Francis visited the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and prayed before the image of the Salus Populi Romani, leaving a bouquet of flowers in the...

Former Custos to administer Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Patriarch Fouad Twal, 75, as Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and has named Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa as apostolic administrator, rasing him to the...

Miami prelate laments persecution of Christians, criticizes bishop’s post-Orlando remarks

In his homily at a Fortnight for Freedom opening Mass, Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami lamented the persecution of Christians and took issue with remarks made by Bishop Robert Lynch of St....

Pan-Orthodox council discusses regional bishops’ assemblies

On June 21, participants in the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, gathered at the Orthodox Academy of Crete, discussed “The Orthodox Diaspora,” one of six draft documents on...

In election statement, French bishops rue family breakdown, call for greater subsidiarity within EU

The permanent council of the Bishops’ Conference of France has issued a statement on the spring 2017 presidential election. Calling for an “authentic democratic debate,” the...

Vatican denies involvement in Chinese bishop's reversal on Patriotic Association

After Cardinal Joseph Zen protested the silence of Vatican officials in the wake of a shocking public statement by Shanghai's Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin, the Vatican issued a short statement...

Colombian archbishop cautiously welcomes peace accord with FARC rebels

The president of Colombia's Catholic bishops' conference has welcomed a peace accord that could end decades of guerrilla warfare, but cautioned that some questions remain. "The...

Spanish cardinal cleared of 'hate crime' charge

A Spanish court has dismissed "hate crime" charges that were brought against Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera of Valencia after he denounced gender...

74% of world's population living with 'high' levels of restriction on religious activities

Government restrictions on religion decreased slightly worldwide in 2014, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center. In 2014 (the latest year for which statistics were available), 24%...

Pan-Orthodox council discusses document on mission

On June 20 and 21, participants in the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church discussed “The Mission of the Orthodox Church in Today’s World,” one of six draft documents on...

Pope Francis: Armenian Genocide among the worst sufferings in history

Two days before his apostolic journey to Armenia, Pope Francis released a video message in which he recalled “the sufferings that are among the most terrible that humanity records”-- a...

Refugees join Pope as he delivers general audience

Before delivering his June 22 general audience, Pope Francis invited a group of refugees to join him on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica after seeing their banner, according to a CNS...

HHS: California is permitted to force insurers to cover abortions

The US Department of Health and Human Services has determined that California’s decision to force insurers to cover abortions does not violate federal legislation designed to protect...

USCCB awards $4.7M to projects in Eastern Europe

The Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has awarded $4.7 million to fund 219 projects. Such funding “for over...

5th Fortnight for Freedom begins

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has begun its fifth annual observance of the Fortnight for Freedom to raise awareness of threats to religious liberty. This year’s theme is...

Jewish extremists harass Orthodox worshippers in Jerusalem

A group of Jewish extremists attempted to disrupt services held by an Orthodox community on June 20 at the Cenacle, the site of the Last Supper. Israeli police maintained a fragile peace as...

Gallup diocese wins court approval for settlement with victims, could end bankruptcy

A federal bankruptcy court has approved a plan by the Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico, to provide $25 million in compensation for victims of sexual abuse.  “This is, monetarily, a...

Theme announced for 103rd World Day of Migrants and Refugees

The Vatican has announced the theme for the 103rd World Day of Migrants and Refugees: "Minor migrants, vulnerable and voiceless." The World Day of Migrants and Refugees will be...

Nigerian bishop says forgiveness will bring peace after massacre

A Nigerian bishop has encouraged his people to find forgiveness for the killers responsible for an April massacre. Bishop Godfrey Igwebuike Onah of Nsukka spoke at a service for some of the...

Vatican hosts conference on inter-religious dialogue

The Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue hosted a conference on June 21 to mark the 5th anniversary of the document: "Christian witness in a multi-religious world: recommendations...

Papal support for drive to end the death penalty worldwide

Pope Francis has sent a strong message of support to the Sixth World Congress Against the Death Penalty, which is being held in Oslo, Norway this week. In his video message, the Pope argues that...

Bishops in Philippines will oppose bid to restore capital punishment

The Catholic bishops of the Philippines will strongly oppose a bid by newly elected President Rodrigo Duterte to restore the death penalty, the Fides news service reports. Archbishop Socrates...

Pope Francis lauds theology of Benedict XVI

Pope Francis pays tribute to his predecessor, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI, in the preface to a new collection of the former Pontiff's theological work. "Every time I have read the works...

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