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Key cardinals defend Pope's tough talk to Roman Curia CWN - 4 hours ago

Some of the top allies of Pope Francis have defended the Pontiff’s harsh criticism of the Roman Curia, saying that the Pope has the full support of the College of Cardinals. Cardinal Sean...

St. Stephen removes ‘false saccharine sweetness’ from Christmas, says Pope CWN - 6 hours ago

In his St. Stephen’s Day Angelus address, Pope Francis said that the saint, by his martyrdom, “shows us how to live the fullness of the mystery of Christmas,” and that the Gospel of the day (Mt....

Topless feminist protester seizes Jesus figure from display in St. Peter's Square CWN - 4 hours ago

A topless protester from the activist group Femen rushed into the Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square on Christmas Day and seized the figure of the baby Jesus before being detained by...

Pope calls refugees in Iraq, sends special Christmas greetings to Korea CWN - 6 hours ago

On Christmas Eve, Pope Francis sent a video message to Catholics in Korea. The Pontiff, who visited South Korea in August, said, “I pray the Lord that the light, shining on the world from the...

Indiana diocese ordered to pay $1.95M in IVF-dismissal case CWN - 7 hours ago

Following over 51 hours of jury deliberation, a federal district court has ordered the Diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend to pay a former Catholic school teacher $1.95 million in damages. The...

China: crosses torn down from 400 churches CWN - 7 hours ago

In recent months, Communist officials have removed crosses from 400 over churches in the east-central Chinese province of Zhejiang, the Associated Press reported. “They keep a very close watch on...

Myanmar: Church emerging from decades of repression CWN - 6 hours ago

Civilian rule in Myanmar (Burma) has allowed the Church to emerge from the shadows, according to an Agence France-Presse report. The year 2014 saw the first beatification of a Burmese martyr and...

Pope Francis's Christmas Message 'Urbi et Orbi' (To the City and the World): full text, link to video CWN - December 25

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Christmas! Jesus, the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, is born for us, born in Bethlehem of a Virgin, fulfilling the ancient prophecies. The Virgin’s name is Mary, the wife of Joseph. Humble people, full of hope in the goodness of God, are those who welcome Jesus and recognize him. And so the Holy Spirit enlightened the shepherds of Bethlehem, who...

Pope Francis's homily at Christmas Mass: full text, link to video CWN - December 24

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined" (Is 9:1). "An angel of the Lord appeared to (the shepherds) and the glory of the Lord shone around them" (Lk 2:9). This is how the liturgy of this holy Christmas night presents to us the birth of the Saviour: as the light which pierces and dispels the deepest...

Vatican cardinal travels to Ebola region CWN - December 24

Expressing the Church’s solidarity with victims Ebola virus disease, Cardinal Peter Turkson, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, traveled to Liberia and Sierra Leone from...

Holy See calls for action on climate change CWN - December 24

At a recent United Nations conference devoted to climate change, the Holy See’s representative said that “the critical problem of global warming is inextricably bound to the search for authentic...

Report: priests tortured in eastern Ukraine CWN - December 24

Rebels in Donetsk, a city of 975,000 that has been a center of separatist activity in eastern Ukraine, have occupied 11 out of the 67 parishes of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, according to...

Tunnel may be built under Manger Square CWN - December 24

To help ease automobile traffic problems in Bethlehem, a tunnel may be constructed under Manger Square. The Scotsman reported that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural...

Syria: Christian militia opposes government, Islamic State CWN - December 24

USA Today has published a profile of Sutoro, a Christian militia of 1,000 in northeastern Syria that opposes both the Assad regime and the Islamic State. “People don't consider Christians as part...

Contraception is betrayal, says Turkey's president CWN - December 23

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced the use of contraception as a betrayal of the country's future. Speaking at a wedding ceremony, Erdogan said that parents who use birth...

Newark archdiocese in battle with gravestone makers, funeral directors CWN - December 23

In New Jersey, small businesses that produce headstones and operate funeral homes are locked in a political battle with the Archdiocese of Newark. A bill pending in the state legislature would...

Priests facing dangers in Mexico CWN - December 23

For Catholic priests, Mexico is the most dangerous country in Latin America, the Fides news service reports. A study by the Catholic Multimedia Center recorded 47 attacks on Catholic priests in...

Vatican veteran on Pope's address: 'nothing like this has ever happened before' CWN - December 23

The former president of the Vatican city-state governorate said that the December 22 address by Pope Francis to the Roman Curia was an unprecedented attempt to spur reform at the Vatican. “To be...

Only 46% of US children now living with their married parents CWN - December 23

A minority of children in the US today are living with their married parents, a new study by the Pew Research Center has found. In 1960, 73% of American children under the age of 18 were living...

Row erupts in India’s parliament over Hindu conversions CWN - December 23

Hindu groups allied with the India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party have conducted several recent ceremonies in which groups of Christians and Muslims have converted to Hinduism. The Associated...

Russian fighters in Ukraine see struggle as Orthodox ‘holy war’ CWN - December 23

Some Russian fighters who are waging war against Ukrainian government forces in eastern Ukraine see their struggle as part of a “holy war” on behalf of Russian Orthodoxy. Referring to the city of...

Prelates lament murder of New York police officers CWN - December 23

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn lamented the murder of two New York Police Department officers in Brooklyn. “We mourn the brutal and irrational...

Iraqi Patriach encourages Pope to visit CWN - December 23

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako has urged Pope Francis to visit Iraq, saying that the Pontiff would be safe in the troubled country. "I can give an assurance that nothing would...

Italian cardinal: removal of Nativity scenes is ‘cultural myopia’ CWN - December 23

The president of the Italian Episcopal Conference told reporters that the removal of Nativity scenes from schools and public places in Italy is an act of “cultural myopia.” The removal of...

Boko Haram massacres ‘infidel’ civilians CWN - December 23

Members of the militant Islamist movement Boko Haram have released a video showing civilians being massacred in Bama, a city of 270,000 in Borno State, Nigeria. “We have made sure the floor of...

Pope Francis sends ‘paternal embrace’ to Middle East’s Christians CWN - December 23

Stating that “your witness means much to me,” Pope Francis has written a letter to the Christians of the Middle East, “to encourage you and to let you know how precious your presence and your mission are in the land which the Lord has blessed.” “I write to you just before Christmas, knowing that for many of you the music of your Christmas hymns will also be accompanied by tears and sighs,”...

A new federal test for discerning religious identity at Catholic universities CWN - December 22

The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS), a Virginia-based group that works to protect Catholic identity in Catholic colleges and universities, has warmly welcomed a decision by the National Labor...

Missing Jesuit priest being held as prisoner by Islamic State? CWN - December 22

The Itailan foreign ministry has said that it cannot confirm a report that Father Paolo Dall’Oglio is now a prisoner of the Islamic State—the latest in a long series of rumors about the status of...

Jerusalem Patriarch: children in Gaza would be happy to sleep in a cave CWN - December 22

On a pastoral visit to Gaza, the Latin-rite Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem observed on December 21 that many children in Gaza would think it a luxury to sleep in a cave like the one in which Jesus...

Cardinal Marx: German bishops favor allowing Communion for divorced/remarried CWN - December 22

The president of the German bishops' conference has said that the bishops favor allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to share in the Eucharist. Cardinal Reinhard Marx said that most bishops...

Polish prosecutors halts case against former papal nuncio CWN - December 22

A Polish prosecutor has decided not to pursue a criminal case against Jozef Wesolowski, the laicized archbishop and former papal nuncio who now faces trial before a Vatican tribunal on sex-abuse...

See Christmas as a time to examine consciences, Pope suggests to Vatican employees CWN - December 22

Meeting on December 22 with Vatican employees, Pope Francis urged them to make a “fruitful examination of conscience in preparation for Holy Christmas and the New Year.” The Pope began the...

Archbishop saves Muslim child from knife-wielding attacker in Central African Republic CWN - December 22

A Catholic archbishop in the Central African Republic personally intervened to stop a man from killing a Muslim child, Voice of America reports. Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga, who was visiting...

Congregation for Divine Worship writes document on homilies CWN - December 22

On December 20, L’Osservatore Romano published a decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments announcing the publication of a homiletic directory. The decree was...

Pope identifies 15 spiritual ‘sicknesses’ of the Curia CWN - December 22

In his annual year-end address to the Roman Curia, Pope Francis reflected on the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ and said that the Curia is a microcosm of that Body. Without daily prayer, regular participation in the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, daily contact with God’s Word, and a “spirituality translated into charity,” a member of the Curia dies spiritually and...

Pope Francis: imitate Mary, do not let God pass by CWN - December 22

In his December 21 Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected upon the Annunciation, the subject of the Gospel reading of the day’s Mass (Lk. 1:26-38). “We take in two essential aspects of her...

As emigration continues, Baghdad’s Christian population falls CWN - December 22

Fearing the Islamic State and hoping for better economic prospects, numerous Christians are leaving Baghdad and emigrating to Western and other Middle Eastern nations. In the past year,...

‘Distance from God’ is the ‘most dangerous poverty,’ says Pope CWN - December 22

Pope Francis received 8,000 members of the Pope John XXIII Community on December 20 and said the “distance from God” is the “most dangerous poverty, the cause of all the others.” This form of...

Future Pope Francis wrote book on Cuba CWN - December 22

Pope Francis, who helped broker a diplomatic opening between the United States and Cuba, wrote a book on Cuba in 1998, the year he became archbishop of Buenos Aires. In his 144-page Dialogos...

New camerlengo named for Holy Roman Church CWN - December 22

Pope Francis has named Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran the new camerlengo (chamberlain) of the Holy Roman Church. Cardinal Tauran, 71, retains his post as president of the Pontifical Council for...

Vatican newspaper rues European court decision on stem cells CWN - December 22

The Vatican newspaper has published a front-page article lamenting the European Court of Justice’s recent decision on stem cells. The court, which ruled in 2011 that companies could not patent...

Papal preacher devotes final Advent sermon to peace as fruit of the Spirit CWN - December 22

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the Capuchin Franciscan friar who has served as preacher to the papal household since 1980, reflected on “peace, fruit of the Spirit” in his December 19 Advent sermon to...

Vatican Christmas tree features new LED lights CWN - December 19

The Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square was illuminated on Friday, December 19, in a brief ceremony led by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, the president of the Vatican city-state governorate. The...

Calligraphers protest Vatican decision to print all papal blessing in-house CWN - December 19

Calligraphers and shopkeepers catering to pilgrims and tourists in Rome are protesting the Vatican's announcement that beginning January 1, all papal blessings will be printed and distributed...

Syrian archbishop speaks of hope, joy amid suffering, in Christmas message CWN - December 19

Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo, Syria, has issued a Christmas message encouraging his people to celebrate the feast joyfully despite their troubles. “The greatest tribulations, war...

Worldwide Franciscan order in 'grave' financial distress CWN - December 19

The worldwide leader of the Franciscans has revealed that the religious order is in “grave” financial difficulties, and that Italian civil officials have been asked to investigate irregularities in...

Pope thanks Italian cities for Christmas tree, crèche CWN - December 19

Pope Francis received delegations from the Italian cities of Verona and Catanzaro in the Apostolic Palace on December 19 and thanked them for the gift of the Christmas tree and crèche in St. Peter’s...

‘Sports are at home in the Church,’ says Pope CWN - December 19

Pope Francis spoke to members of Italy’s National Olympic Committee on December 19 and said that sports “are at home in the Church.” “Sport has always favored a universalism characterized by...

Egypt: Islamic leader decries threats against Christians CWN - December 19

Egyptian Muslim leaders have reacted strongly against online threats to the Coptic Christian community as Christmas approached, the Fides news service reports. Islamic militants have posted...

Mideast Christians are genocide victims, says leading Russian Orthodox official CWN - December 19

A leading Russian Orthodox official told reporters that Christians in the Middle East are undergoing what is “effectively genocide” and that “only Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church are speaking...

Malpractice suit brought by Spokane diocese against law firm will go to trial CWN - December 19

A federal bankruptcy judge has cleared for a trial in a legal-malpractice case brought by Diocese of Spokane against a law firm that handled diocesan bankruptcy proceedings. The diocese has...

Jesus is your ‘best friend,’ Pope tells children CWN - December 19

Pope Francis met with a delegation of children from Italian Catholic Action on December 18 and told them that Jesus is their “best friend.” The Pontiff offered the young people five pieces of...

Chaldean patriarch urges pre-Christmas fast, subdued Christmas celebration CWN - December 19

Citing the “heavy cross” borne by Iraq’s Christian refugees, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church has called upon his flock to fast from December 22 to 24, according to a report from the...

Cuban, Miami prelates react to policy change toward Cuba CWN - December 19

The bishops of Cuba have issued a statement welcoming the announcement of the US policy change toward Cuba. “We thank the Lord, now on the eve of Christmas, that new horizons of hope are...

Unfertilized ovum is not human embryo, European court rules in stem-cell case CWN - December 18

The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that a corporation can patent human stem cells, provided that they are not derived from an embryo that can develop into a human being. The...

Ancient Iraqi monastery now serving as ISIS prison CWN - December 18

The Islamic State has transformed the historic monastery of St. George into a prison, the Fides news service reports. About 150 prisoners of the Islamic State have been moved into the monastery....

Pope distributes sleeping bags to Rome's homeless CWN - December 18

Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, supervised the distribution of hundreds of sleeping bags to the homeless of Rome, as a gift from Pope Francis, on December 18. Swiss Guards drove a...

USCCB president meets with President Obama, VP Biden CWN - December 18

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, met with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House on December...

Leading Pakistani bishop: the Taliban ‘will stop at nothing now’ CWN - December 18

The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan condemned the Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar and said that the attack showed the Islamic fundamentalist movement “will stop at...

Jerusalem patriarch issues Christmas message CWN - December 18

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem issued his annual Christmas message on December 18 and reflected on the ways in which 2014 was both “the best of times” and “the worst of times.” Among the...

Do not give up on ecumenical dialogue, Pope tells German Lutherans CWN - December 18

Pope Francis received a delegation from the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany and the ecumenical commission of the nation’s Catholic episcopal conference on December 18 and called on...

Italian bishops issue guidelines to prevent theft of religious art CWN - December 18

Following the nighttime theft of a Guercino painting from a church in Modena, the Italian bishops’ conference, joined by Italy’s culture ministry and national military police, has issued guidelines...

USCCB: prelate welcomes policy change toward Cuba CWN - December 18

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a statement welcoming the change in US policy toward Cuba as well as the release of an American imprisoned in Cuba for five years. “Our...

Diplomacy consists of ‘small steps,’ says Pope CWN - December 18

Pope Francis received 13 new ambassadors to the Holy See and said in brief remarks that diplomacy consists of “small steps” that “sow brotherhood among peoples.” Referring to developments in...

Top UK court denies 'conscience clause' protection to pro-life midwives CWN - December 17

The highest court in the United Kingdom has ruled against two midwives who refused to cooperate in abortions. Overruling the decision of an appeals court in Edinburgh, the Supreme Court ruled...

Church of England appoints first female bishop CWN - December 17

Rev. Libby Lane has been chosen to become the first female bishop of the Church of England. Rev. Lane, who is currently a vicar in the Chester diocese, will become the Bishop of Stockport. Her...

Pope celebrates 78th birthday CWN - December 17

Pope Francis celebrated his 78th birthday on December 17 with a cake, a cup of the traditional Argentine maté tea, and impromptu tango dancing by couples in St. Peter’s Square. During his regular...

Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - December 17

Pope Francis played a key role in mediating talks between the US and Cuba, resulting in an exchange of prisoners and opening the way for the first direct talks between the neighboring countries in more than 50 years. At a December 17 news conference in Washington, President Barack Obama acknowledged the importance of the papal intervention: “I want to thank Pope Francis, whose moral example...

Pope speaks on family, prays for victims of terrorism CWN - December 17

Pope Francis devoted his December 17 general audience to the family. According to the Vatican Radio synopsis of the audience, the Pontiff called the family a “great gift of the Lord to the world,...

Pope Francis names members of Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors CWN - December 17

Nearly nine months after he instituted the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and named eight members, Pope Francis has named nine new members to the commission, thus completing its...

Spanish diocese criticized for not publicizing cathedral’s Islamic past CWN - December 17

Stating that tourism is being harmed, the government of the southern Spanish region of Andalusia has criticized the Diocese of Córdoba for not doing more to highlight the Islamic past of its...

Russian patriarch: Islamic State ‘demonizes’ Islam CWN - December 17

During a recent meeting in Moscow with Turkey’s leading Muslim cleric, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church made comments about the Islamic State and the persecution of Christians. “I cannot...

Cardinal Schönborn laments Russian aggression in Ukraine CWN - December 17

Returning from a visit to Ukraine, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna decried the Soviet-induced Ukrainian famine of the 1930s and lamented current Russian actions. “Stalin created this...

‘Christmas in an Iraqi refugee camp’ CWN - December 17

The Daily Mail has published a photographic overview of life in an Iraqi refugee camp. The camp’s Christian inhabitants fled the advance of the Islamic State, and the overview includes several...

Pakistan: 59 in custody for horrific murder of Christian couple CWN - December 17

Six weeks after a Pakistani Christian husband and wife were detained by a mob for two days, had their legs broken, and were burned to death in a brick kiln, 59 people are in custody and 79 are at...

USCCB: bishop rues opening of immigrant detention center CWN - December 17

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration decried the opening of a family detention center-- the largest of its kind-- for those who have entered the...

German bishops ready to change policy, allow divorced/remarried and homosexual employees CWN - December 16

The Catholic bishops of Germany will soon approve a change in policy allowing people in irregular marital arrangements to work for Church agencies, reports Edward Pentin in the National Catholic...

Catholic relief agency in Jordan strains to help Iraqi Christian refugees CWN - December 16

The Catholic relief agency Caritas Jordan has warned that it will soon run out of supplies to serve 7,000 Christian refugees from Iraq, the Fides news agency reports. Wael Suleiman, the director...

Olympic competition on Vatican grounds? CWN - December 16

Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins has suggested some Olympic events could be held at the Vatican if Rome wins a bid to host the Olympic Games in 2024. The Portuguese cardinal, who is now retired,...

Would-be assassin wants to visit tomb of St. John Paul II CWN - December 16

Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who shot and wounded St. John Paul II in 1981, now says that he wants to visit the grave of the late Pontiff. Agca, who spent 19 years in Italian prisons...

Critic protests renovations at Chartres cathedral CWN - December 16

Writing in the New York Review of Books, Martin Filler laments a renovation project already underway in the cathedral of Chartres, in which the interior walls are being painted in “bright whites and...

Indian archbishop worried by rumors about Christmas school days, mass conversions CWN - December 16

Archbishop Anil J. T. Couto of Delhi has voiced concern over reports that schools will be open on Christmas Day. The archbishop decried reports that Hindu militants plan a ceremony for the...

Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16

Expressing “profound gratitude” for the “dedicated and selfless service of women religious,” the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life has issued its long-awaited Final Report on the Apostolic Visitation of Institutes of Women Religious in the United States of America. “This Congregation asks the members of each institute to evaluate their actual...

Ukrainian Catholic leader: the Pope is on Ukraine’s side CWN - December 16

At a recent prayer vigil, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), an Eastern-rite church in full communion with the Holy See, said that “the Pope is on the side of Ukraine and its...

Pope receives leader of Bosnia and Herzegovina CWN - December 16

Pope Francis received Dragan Covic, the Croat member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the Apostolic Palace on December 15. Covic also met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s...

Catholic group laments ‘weak’ results of Lima climate conference CWN - December 16

Stating that the world is now poised for “4-degree warming,” an alliance of 17 Catholic development agencies strongly criticized the “weak” results of a major climate conference in Lima. A...

Heightened security at Nigerian churches CWN - December 16

Churches in Nigeria have heightened their security in response to the continued terrorist activity of the Islamist militant organization Boko Haram. In Kano, a city of 2.1 million in northern...

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