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Eastern Orthodox worship restricted in Northern Cyprus

Officials in Northern Cyprus, the area of Cyprus invaded by Turkey in 1974, have limited Eastern Orthodox services to once a year. The Cyprus Mail reported that churches will be allowed to hold...

Theme announced for 2018 World Meeting of Families

“The Gospel of family, joy for the world” is the theme of the 9th World Meeting of Families, which is scheduled to take place in Dublin in August 2018. “Hopefully it will be an...

Missile attack on Franciscan school in Aleppo

A missile struck a Franciscan middle school in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, on May 22, killing one and injuring two. “The explosion was extremely violent, and it was strongly...

Vatican meeting on sexual violence in war

The British embassy to the Holy See and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace sponsored a meeting for members of religious orders on sexual violence in areas of conflict. As participants...

Relics of Saints John Fisher, Thomas More in US for ‘Fortnight for Freedom’

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is sponsoring a tour of the relics of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More as part of its annual Fortnight for Freedom initiative to promote respect...

French bishop appeals for calm amid fuel strike

Oil company and port workers went on strike to protest changes in French labor law, leading to gasoline shortages throughout France. Bishop Jean-Luc Brunin of Le Havre, the nation’s...

Swiss bishops’ conference backs speedier asylum decisions

The justice and peace commission of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference has called for a “yes” vote in a June 5 referendum on changes to the nation’s asylum law. If voters...

Cardinal Schönborn calls on Austria’s new president to unite polarized nation

Alexander Van der Bellen, the leader of Austria’s Green Party, has defeated Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party by a 50.3%-49.7% margin in the nation’s presidential election. In an...

Papal message expresses hope for UN's Humanitarian Summit

Pope Francis has sent a message of support for the First World Humanitarian Summit, which is taking place in Istanbul this week under UN auspices. In a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon,...

Election of Pope Benedict in 2005 was outcome of 'dramatic struggle,' says Archbishop Gänswein

The longtime personal secretary to Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI has spoken of a "dramatic struggle" at the conclave of 2005, and insisted that the former Pontiff did not resign because of...

Vietnam releases jailed priest one eve of Obama visit

Father Nguyen Van Ly, a Catholic priest who has been jailed for years because of his opposition to the Vietnamese Communist regime, was released by the government just prior to the arrival of...

English archbishop raps government scare tactics in arguments against 'Brexit'

Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, England, has criticized government officials for making "ludicrous" claims in their attempts to defeat a campaign to pull out of the European...

Muslims dominate, Christians rare among Syrian refugees admitted to US

All of the 499 Syrians who have been granted refugee status in the US thus far this month are Muslims, the CNSNews service reports; not a single Christian has been granted that status. Since the...

Muslims must be converted, says Vatican cardinal

Christians are called to seek the conversion of all Muslims, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity told an audience at Cambridge University. The imperative to seek...

Rome grants refugee status to migrants brought from Lesbos by Pope Francis

The twelve Syrian migrants brought to Rome by Pope Francis after his dramatic April visit to the island of Lesbos have now received official refugee status. The migrants-- three families...

Top Sunni Muslim cleric meets with Pontiff

Pope Francis met on May 23 with Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Egypt's Al Azhar University, and the two spiritual leaders underlined their mutual rejection of religious violence. The 30-minute meeting was focused on "the common commitment of the authorities and faithful of the great religions to peace in the world, the rejection of violence and terrorism, the situation of...

President-elect in Philippines rips 'hypocritical' Catholic Church

Newly elected President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has lashed at at the Catholic Church, escalating his conflict with the country's hierarchy. The outspoken Duterte, who had described...

NY dioceses file suit against abortion insurance mandate

Joined by Episcopalian, Lutheran, and Baptist bodies, two dioceses in New York State—the Diocese of Albany and the Diocese of Ogdensburg—have filed suit against the New York State...

Pope: pray for humanitarian summit, China’s Catholics

Following the recitation of the Angelus on May 22, Pope Francis asked the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray for the World Humanitarian Summit, which begins on May 23 in Istanbul,...

Italian priest beatified

Father Francesco Maria Greco (1857-1931), an Italian diocesan priest who founded the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts, was beatified in Cosenza on May 21. Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect of...

Pope Francis: through baptism, we are placed in the Trinity’s life

In his Trinity Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel reading (Jn. 16:12-15) and on the relation between baptism and the Trinitarian life. “The Spirit...

Pope Benedict: ‘the publication of the Third Secret of Fatima is complete’

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has denied a report that he once told Father Ingo Dollinger, a German priest who lives in Brazil, that the third secret of Fatima has not been published in its...

Belarusian president meets with Pope

Pope Francis received President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus in audience on May 21. Following their meeting, the Belarusian leader met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s...

Diplomatic agreement between Holy See, DR Congo

Representatives of the Holy See and the Democratic Republic of the Congo signed a framework agreement at the Apostolic Palace on May 20. Since 1977, the Holy See has had diplomatic relations with...

Iraqi prelate warns against US support for 'Christian militia' groups

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako has weighed in strongly against the suggestion that the US should provide arms for Christian militia groups in Iraq. Legislation now pending in...

Director of The Exorcist says he filmed a real-life exorcism

The director of the film The Exorcist says that he has observed and filmed a real exorcism, at the invitation of the Vatican. The Vatican denies that claim. William Friedkin, speaking at the...

Cardinal Barbarin urged by Pontiff to remain despite calls for resignation

Pope Francis met on May 20 with Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, France, and encouraged him to continue in office, dismissing public calls for his resignation because of his alleged failure to...

Polish troops to mobilize for World Youth Day security

The Polish Army will supply troops to help ensure security for the World Youth Day celebration in Krakow in July.  Polish government officials have expressed concerns about security...

Prominent French priest-therapist charged with abuse

A prominent French priest who has advised the Vatican on issues of sexuality has himself been accused of sexual abuse. Msgr. Tony Anatrella, a therapist with an international reputation, faces...

Nigerian cardinal sees hope for release of kidnapped girls

Nigerian Cardinal John Onaiyekan sees the liberation of two of the 219 girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014 as a hopeful sign, suggesting that the country's military is finally making...

Pope mourns Egyptair victims

Pope Francis has sent a message of condolence to Egypt's President Abdel el Sisi, mourning the victims of the Egyptair crash in the Mediterranean. The Pope promises "his prayers and...

Papal encouragement for Italian soccer squads

"Be champions in your sport, but above all be champions in life," Pope Francis said to professional soccer players with whom he met on May 20. The Pope-- an avid lifelong soccer fan--...

Vatican defends official who is focus of embezzlement inquiry

Reacting to revelations that Cardinal Domenico Calcagno is the subject of an investigation into alleged financial misconduct, the Vatican press office has issued a statement indicating that the...

New Custos of the Holy Land appointed

With the approval of the Holy See, the Order of Friars Minor has appointed Father Francesco Patton as the new Custos of the Holy Land. Father Patton, who hails from northern Italy and has served...

Dioceses forbidden to establish religious communities without prior Vatican consultation

Beginning June 1, diocesan decrees that establish religious institutes without prior consultation with the Vatican will be invalid, according to a rescript signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the...

Prelate welcomes actions of Egyptian leader, Coptic patriarch

A Coptic Catholic bishop who is visiting Rome said that despite anti-Christian currents in Egyptian society, the situation of Christians has improved under the leadership of President Abdel Fattah...

Bishop welcomes ban on most late-term abortions

Following passage by large margins in the South Carolina house (79-29) and senate (36-9), the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act has been signed into law by Gov. Nikki Haley. South Carolina...

Retired admiral appointed to US bishops’ National Review Board

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has named two new members of the National Review Board, the lay body established that assists the US bishops’ conference in preventing...

Pope to meet with leading Sunni imam

Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican on May 23, according to the director of the Holy See Press Office. “It will be a first,” said...

Vatican newspaper praises TV mini-series

In rare front-page praise of a work of popular culture, the Vatican newspaper has published an article lauding The Night Manager, a television mini-series based on a novel by John le...

Pope will visit Ireland in 2018

Pope Francis has agreed to visit Ireland in 2018, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has announced. The Irish prelate had invited the Pontiff to participate in the World Meeting of Families,...

Vatican official cancels trip to Venezuela as crisis mounts

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican's top foreign-policy official, has cancelled a planned trip to Venezuela, in the face of mounting unrest in the South American country. "For...

Pope condemns 'bloodsuckers' who exploit labor

Pope Francis denounced "true bloodsuckers" who grow rich by exploiting their workers, during his homily at a morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae on May 19. The Pope lashed out...

Chicago archdiocese announces parental-leave policy

The Archdiocese of Chicago has announced plans to implement a parental-leave policy for lay employees. Under the new policy, which comes into effect on July 1, full-time workers will be allowed...

German Christian leaders renew call for openness to migrants

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, has joined with German Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox leaders in urging Germany to be open to migrants. In a joint...

Give voice to the plight of refugees, Pope tells ambassadors

Pope Francis received new ambassadors from six nations on May 19 and called upon them to give voice to the needs of refugees. “Your presence here today is a poignant reminder that, though...

Sistine Chapel Choir director: ‘strong continuity’ in music between Popes Benedict, Francis

In a tour described by the Vatican newspaper as a “clear ecumenical signal,” the Sistine Chapel Choir, directed by Father Massimo Palombella, is visiting Germany. The choir has...

Cardinal Kasper writes book on Luther

An Italian publishing house, Editrice Queriniana, has published a 75-page book on Martin Luther by Cardinal Walter Kasper. In Martin Lutero: Una prospettiva ecumenica, the retired president of...

End economic sanctions against Syria, bishops urge EU

Stating that “the situation in Syria is desperate,” Syrian bishops and religious communities have launched an online petition urging the European Union to lift economic sanctions imposed...

Pope recalls St. John Paul, prays for peace in Ukraine

Following his May 18 general audience, Pope Francis recalled the figure of St. John Paul II, who was born on that day in 1920, and greeted Ukrainian orphans and refugee children who had fled...

Mine clearance begins at site of Christ's Baptism

Israeli authorities report that land mines will be cleared away from the area around the site where Jesus was baptized. The region of Qasr al-Yahud, on the west bank of the Jordan River, will be...

Priest kidnapped in Yemen is alive, negotiations underway for his release

The Indian-born Salesian priest who was kidnapped in Yemen in early March is alive and well, and efforts are underway to secure his release, the AsiaNews service reports. Father Tom...

SSPX leader optimistic about accord with Vatican

Bishop Bernard Fellay, the leader of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), expressed optimism about the prospects for achieving an accord with the Vatican in a lengthy interview with the...

Cardinal Sarah warns American audience against 'demonic ideology' that endangers family, faith

Cardinal Robert Sarah issued a dramatic warning against the breakdown of morality in a May 17 address to the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC.  "In your nation,...

USCCB president emphasizes continued opposition to HHS mandate

Reacting to the US Supreme Court’s Zubik v. Burwell decision, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops emphasized “the unity and resolve that the bishops of the...

Papal tribute to St. Francis of Paola

At the conclusion of his May 18 general audience, Pope Francis paid tribute to the patron saint of Calabria, St. Francis of Paola (1416-1507). The Italian friar founded the Order of...

Pope Francis: heaven’s doors are closed to those who close their hearts to the poor

Continuing his series of Wednesday catecheses on mercy, Pope Francis devoted his May 18 general audience to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. “Lazarus, lying outside the closed door...

Leading Italian prelate laments demographic decline, persecution of Christians

In a May 17 address to his brother bishops, the president of the Italian Episcopal Conference welcomed recent documents and initiatives of Pope Francis and said that the Church in Italy has offered...

Peru’s bishops work to counter human trafficking

A commission of the Peruvian Episcopal Conference has begun a project to counter human trafficking in the South American nation. An area of focus is Jaén, a city located on Peru’s...

Chile’s bishops call for civic dialogue

Invoking the Holy Spirit as the “force of personal and social transformation,” the standing committee of the Episcopal Conference of Chile issued a statement calling for sincere dialogue...

Vatican cardinal involved in real-estate investment probe

Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, the president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), is a subject of an investigation into suspect real-estate transactions, the Italian...

Boston archdiocese tells dissidents to end 12-year occupation of parish

The Archdiocese of Boston has given a group of dissidents two weeks to end their occupation of a parish in Scituate, Massachusetts, which was officially closed in 2004. The "Friends of St....

Chaldean Patriarch begs for end to attacks

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako has issued a new plea for peace after a series of terror attacks in the Baghdad area that claimed 30 lives.  The Islamic State claimed...

New development in Vatileaks trial: defendant's husband handled computer server

The Vatican tribunal for the "Vatileaks II" criminal trial heard testimony on May 16 that the husband of defendant Francesca Chaouqui set up the computer server from which secret...

Cardinal Coppa dies; Cardinal Lehmann marks 80th birthday

The death of one cardinal and the 80th birthday of another has left the College of Cardinals with 214 living members, of whom 114 are eligible to participate in a papal election. Cardinal Karl...

BBC study concludes religious programming should focus more on non-Christian faiths

An internal report on BBC religious programming has concluded that there is too much focus on Christianity. The BBC report suggested that more attention should be paid to other religious...

Vatican cardinal calls for improved access to HIV treatment for children

Addressing religious and health care leaders who had gathered in Rome on May 16 to discuss children with HIV, Cardinal Peter Turkson called for improved “access to HIV treatment for children,...

Pope reflects on priestly renewal

Pope Francis opened the meeting of the Italian Episcopal Conference on May 16 and reflected on the renewal of the priesthood. “I do not wish to offer you a systematic reflection on the...

Caritas leader: South Sudanese crisis among worst in the world

The secretary-general of Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies, lamented the effects of the South Sudanese Civil War, which began in...

Pope weighs in on Islam, embattled French cardinal, SSPX

In a wide-ranging interview with La Croix, Pope Francis discussed various issues facing the Church in France, as well as Islam and migration, the free market and the Christian roots of European society. “I do not think there is now a fear of Islam, as such, but of Daesh [ISIS] and its war of conquest, driven in part by Islam,” he said. “The idea of conquest is inherent in...

Bishops: Obama administration’s transgender letter ‘deeply disturbing’

Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, who chairs the US bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, who chairs the US bishops’...

Christians increasingly under threat in Yemen

As the Yemeni civil war continues, the nation’s Christians, who numbered 41,000 before its outbreak, are “now being targeted with little hope of protection from a divided, dysfunctional,...

Fugitive English Benedictine ex-abbot arrested in Kosovo

The former head of a Benedictine abbey in England, who has been a fugitive from the law since 2011, has been arrested in Kosovo. Father Laurence Soper, the former abbot of London's Ealing...

Dutch doctors approve euthanasia for sex-abuse victim

Doctors in the Netherlands have approved the suicide of a young woman who was diagnosed with persistent-traumatic-stress syndrome after suffering sexual abuse in childhood. The woman-- who was...

England: midwives' group urges end to abortion restrictions

The Royal College of Midwives, the largest union of midwives in Britain, has called for an end to legal restrictions on late-term abortions. Reacting to a case in which a young woman was jailed...

Ranking prelates decline to testify at Vatileaks trial

Three leading Vatican officials declined to appear as witnesses in the "Vatileaks II" trial, invoking their rights under Vatican law. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State;...

American archbishop to oversee reform of Peru-based movement

Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis, Indiana has been named by the Vatican to supervise the process of reform in the Society of Christian Life, a lay movement based that has been shaken by...

Supreme Court gives partial victory to Little Sisters of the Poor

The US Supreme Court has declined to issue a ruling on a key test of the Obamacare contraceptive mandate, giving at least a temporary victory to the Little Sisters of the Poor and other plaintiffs in the case. In a short but unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court sent the Zubik v. Burwell case back to lower courts, asking those courts to determine whether a compromise could be reached that...

Vatican officials downplay speculation on women deacons

Two Vatican officials downplayed speculation occasioned by Pope Francis’s call for the establishment of a commission to study women deacons-- “above all with regard to the early days of...

Pope Francis: the Holy Spirit allows our life to be united to Jesus’ life

Reflecting on Christ’s saying that “if you love me, you will keep my commandments,” Pope Francis told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his May 15 address that...

Pope Francis: missionary work is an ‘immense work of mercy’

The Holy See Press Office has released Pope Francis’s message for the 90th World Mission Sunday, which will take place on October 23. Entitled “Missionary Church, Witness of...

‘We were made to be God’s children,’ Pope preaches at Pentecost Mass

Pope Francis celebrated the Mass of Pentecost Sunday in St. Peter’s Basilica on May 15 and preached that “the central purpose of Jesus’ mission, which culminated in the gift of the...

Imitate the Lord’s ‘piety’ toward those who suffer, Pope tells jubilee pilgrims

On May 14, Pope Francis held his sixth special Saturday audience for pilgrims who have come to Rome for the extraordinary jubilee year of mercy. “In our continuing catechesis for this Holy...

Pope visits mentally disabled as part of ‘mercy Friday’ initiative

Pope Francis made a visit on May 13 to the Il Chicco community, a residence for 18 persons with intellectual disabilities. Il Chicco is one of over 140 communities associated with L’Arche,...

Program announced for papal journey to Armenia

The Holy See Press Office has released the schedule of Pope Francis’s upcoming apostolic journey to Armenia, which will take place from June 24 to 26. Armenia, a nation of 3.0 million, is...

Pope laments refugee crisis, shrinking middle class

The refugee crisis, poverty, and youth unemployment point to the need for an economic vision inspired by the Church’s social doctrine, Pope Francis told participants in a conference on St....

Poland’s prime minister meets with Pope

Pope Francis, who is scheduled to make an apostolic journey to Poland from July 25 to 31, received Prime Minister Beata Szydlo in a May 13 audience. The Polish leader subsequently met with...

Patriarch calls on Pope Francis to condemn West’s Syria policy

The head of the Syriac Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, praised Russia’s intervention in Syria and said that the United States and other Western...

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