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Italian police disrupt Islamic terror plot on Vatican

Italian police have arrested four people suspected of planning a terror attack on the Vatican. Milan prosecutor Maurizio Romanelli said that Abderrahim Moutahrrick, a Moroccan-born man living in Italy, had received a directive from the Islamic State, authorizing him to proceed with an attack on the Vatican and on the Israeli embassy in Rome. The message was believed to have come from Ali Bakr...

Vatican financial watchdog reports leap in queries on suspicious transfers

In its annual economic report for the year 2105, the Vatican's Financial Information Agency (AIF) reported a nearly fourfold increase in the number of suspicious transactions it...

Italian president: defend persecuted Christians

Stating that the ISIS “casts its menacing shadow of death also on the cities of our Europe,” President Sergio Mattarella of Italy called for “courage to defend the persecuted...

US House commission holds hearing on ISIS genocide

The United States House of Representatives’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission recently conducted a hearing on the genocide of religious minorities by the Islamic State. The bipartisan...

Cardinal, USCCB call on Congress to support DC school-choice bill

Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, joined by the chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Catholic Education, has called on Congress to pass legislation...

Mexico bishop to boost security after 'painful' armed robbery at parish

A Mexican bishop has denounced the thriving trade in firearms, after a squad of armed men robbed a parish in Irapuato, handcuffing a priest while they looted the church. Bishop José de...

Pope's zucchetto sold at charity auction for over $18,000

A zucchetto worn by Pope Francis has sold for $18,190 on auction. The funds from the auction, conducted on the Catawiki site, will go to Save the Child’s Heart, an Israeli charity that serves...

US bishops' key pro-life staffer retiring after 36 years

Richard Doerflinger, who has served on the US bishops’ pro-life committee for 36 years, will retire on April 29. Beginning as a legislative assistant, Doerflinger earned several promotions,...

Sale of California convent to Katy Perry is still in dispute

A legal battle over the sale of a convent in the Los Angeles archdiocese will continue, after the religious community that once held the property asked a court to block the sale of the building to...

Preservation work done on oldest manuscript of Spiritual Exercises

A team of preservation experts has worked for over a year to preserve the oldest manuscript of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises. Since the sixteenth century, the...

Maltese cardinal: Scripture speaks to us amid migrant crisis

Noting that the phrase “invasion of barbarians” has been replaced by the “more politically correct ‘migration of peoples,’” a Maltese biblical scholar and...

Pro-life Easter signature campaign at Russian Orthodox churches

On April 30-- the night of the Easter Vigil on the Julian calendar-- signatures will be collected at Orthodox churches calling upon Russian lawmakers to ban abortion, according to the Interfax news...

Peruvian bishops: death penalty 'unacceptable'

The Catholic bishops of Peru have released a statement in opposition to the death penalty, urging all Christians to work for its abolition. "Today the death penalty is unacceptable,"...

Canadian pro-life activist released after 135-day prison term for violating probation

A Canadian pro-life activist has been released from prison after serving more than four months for entering the waiting room of an abortion clinic. Mary Wagner had been found guilty of violating...

Oklahoma archdiocese removes priest after 'new information' about past abuse

Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma announced on April 26 that he has removed Father José DaVila from ministry, after he "became aware of new information regarding the...

Religious freedom protects Muslims, too, argues German cardinal

Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Cologne has right-wing political leaders who oppose Muslim immigration. The cardinal scoffed at claims by the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party that Islam...

Vatileaks trial continues with questioning of witnesses

The "Vatileaks II" trial moved into a new phase on April 26, with the questioning of witnessing before a Vatican tribunal. The first witness to be questioned was Stefano Fralleoni, who...

Pope ready to regularize SSPX?

Pope Francis may be prepared to end the split between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), and the breakaway traditionalist group is ready to accept a papal offer, according to a report in the National Catholic Register. In an internal memo that has leaked to the media, an influential SSPX leader recommends accepting any offer by the Pope that would grant “an appropriate ecclesial...

Franciscan provincials will face trial on child-endangerment charge in Pennsylvania abuse case

A Pennsylvania judge has ruled that three former Franciscan provincials should face trial on criminal charges of child endangerment because of their failure to curb the activities of a brother who...

Bishop calls for Holy See clarification on papal exhortation

Stating that certain passages in Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia [AL] are “objectively vulnerable to misinterpretations,” a Kazak bishop said that it would be...

Reject destructive technologies, Ecumenical Patriarch says in Chernobyl message

In a message for the thirtieth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople said that “we have reached a point in technological development where...

Vatican official arrives in Ukraine to assess humanitarian needs

Msgr. Giovanni Pietro Dal Toso, the secretary of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, arrived in Ukraine on April 25 and met with leading prelates to assess humanitarian needs. Msgr. Dal Taso’s...

Pope Francis reflects on Good Samaritan

Continuing his series of Wednesday catecheses on mercy, Pope Francis devoted his April 27 general audience to the parable of the Good Samaritan. “Jesus had taught the great commandment of...

12 sainthood, beatification causes advance

In an April 26 audience with the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis approved the publication of decrees that advance a dozen sainthood causes. In approving...

Pope raps clericalism, encourages lay evangelization

"Clericalism leads to the homogenization of the laity," Pope Francis complained in a message to the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. The Pope's message-- which was dated...

Vatican press statement highlights conflict over audit

The Vatican press office has released a statement justifying the decision to suspend an external audit of Vatican finances, and implicitly rebutting an earlier statement from the Secretariat for the Economy. The April 26 statement from the Vatican press office said that the suspension of the audit does not imply criticism of the worked begun by the auditing firm of PricewaterhouseCooper...

Cardinal Turkson backs call for reconsideration of just-war tradition

The president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has called for a broad discussion of the just-war theory, suggesting that a papal encyclical on the topic might be appropriate and...

Egypt's Copts resume travel to Jerusalem after years of boycott

Coptic Christians from Egypt are flocking to Jerusalem on pilgrimage this year, the Fides news service reports, marking an end to a ban on travel by Copts to Israel. The late Coptic Pope Shenouda...

Sponsor of Abortion Act ridicules Northern Ireland's pro-life law

As Northern Ireland prepares to head to the polls, a politician who played a key role in making abortion legal in Britain says it it "simply ridiculous" that abortion remains illegal...

Aleppo's Armenian districts bombarded on anniversary of genocide

Islamic forces in Syria launched an artillery attack on Armenian sections of the city of Aleppo on April 25, the AsiaNews service reports. The heavy bombardment, an obvious violation of a...

Islamic State destroys another landmark church in Mosul

The Islamic State has destroyed a landmark Catholic church in Mosul, Iraq, the Fides news service reports. The Church of the Miraculous Virgin-- also known as the "Clock Church" because...

French bishops appoint head of independent abuse panel as controversy continues

The Catholic bishops of France have named a senior government bureaucrat to head a new independent commission to advise the hierarchy on the handling of sex-abuse complaints. Alain...

Leading Cuban prelate retires; replacement named

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, 79, as archbishop of San Cristobal de la Habana, and has named the leader of the nation’s second-largest...

USCCB files brief in Missouri playground case

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Missouri Catholic Conference have joined with other organizations in calling upon the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court’s...

US, Holy Land Christian leaders call for peace, protection of Palestinian Christian presence

Christian leaders from the Holy Land, including the Latin and Greek Orthodox patriarchs of Jerusalem, joined US Christian leaders at a conference at the Carter Center in Atlanta to sign a joint...

Prelates, leaders recall Armenian Genocide; Obama mentions Pope

Armenian Apostolic and Catholic prelates commemorated the 101th anniversary of the beginning of the Armenian Genocide, in which 1.5 million Armenians perished. In Armenia, Catholicos Karekin II,...

‘God loves you personally,’ Pope tells prisoners

Responding to a letter addressed to him by prisoners in Velletri, Italy, Pope Francis asked the incarcerated to “always keep lit the light of the hope of faith.” “Always be...

Syrian refugees brought to Rome by Pope tell their stories

Two of the refugees whom Pope Francis brought to Rome on his return trip from the Greek island of Lesbos have recounted their stories. Describing the Pope as “a father to the world,”...

Bishop: the Pope is trying to save Ukraine

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic bishop of Paris expressed gratitude to Pope Francis for the special collection for Ukraine which, at the Pope’s behest, was taken up in Europe’s parishes on...

Secretariat for Economy defends contract for external audit

The Vatican's Secretariat for the Economy has rejected the claim that an external audit was suspended because the contract with the auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers, had not been drawn...

After pleading guilty to abuse in California, priest surfaces in Oklahoma parish

A priest who admitted to fondling a 19-year-old girl while stationed in San Diego is now serving at parishes in Oklahoma, prompting angry protests from parishioners who were not informed about the...

Over 5 million Jubilee pilgrims to Rome thus far

The number of pilgrims visiting Rome during the Jubilee Year of Mercy has passed 5 million, the Vatican has announced. After lagging below initial expectations-- probably because of fear of...

Bolivian bishops, President Morales clash on drug policy

Bolivia's Catholic bishops have issued a pastoral letter condemning the cocaine trade and charged that government corruption nourishes drug trafficking. The bishops' message drew an angry...

Chinese President Xi says government must guard against religious influences

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said that government officials should resist "foreign" religious influences. "We must resolutely guard against overseas infiltations via religious...

Schools could be sued for assaults in gender-neutral bathrooms, lawyer warns

An English lawyer has cautioned that if Catholic schools accede to request to designate gender-neutral bathrooms to accommodate transgender students, they could be sued for damages if a sexual...

Hong Kong demonstration protests Chinese campaign against Christian influence

Cardinal Joseph Zen led a group of Christians in Hong Kong in a demonstration against the Chinese government's campaign against Christian churches. "We need to speak out, to take action,...

Pope calls young people to self-sacrificial love, friendship with Christ

Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Square on April 24 for the 60,000 teenagers who had gathered in Rome for the Jubilee for Boys and Girls. Describing love as the “the...

Pope Francis: pray for the release of clergy, religious held hostage in Syria

During his April 24 Regina Caeli address, Pope Francis appealed for the release of clergy and religious held hostage in Syria. On April 22, 2013, the Greek Orthodox and Syrian Orthodox...

5 Spanish Civil War martyrs beatified

Describing persecution as the “daily bread of the Church,” Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided at the Mass of beatification of...

Pope hears confessions, challenges teens not to hold grudges

Sixty thousand teenagers participated in the Jubilee of Boys and Girls from April 23 to 25 as part of the extraordinary jubilee year of mercy. On the morning of April 23, Pope Francis joined 150...

Indian cardinal laments ecological degradation

As representatives of 174 nations and the European Union gathered to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change, a leading Indian cardinal lamented the state of the environment in his...

Transform ‘deserts’ into ‘forests’ through friendship, Pope tells Focolare

Pope Francis made a surprise visit to the Villa Borghese in Rome on April 24 to address an Earth Day event cosponsored by the Focolare Movement. Founded by the Servant of God Chiara Lubich...

Vatican's UN envoy sees family as key to fight against drug use

Archbishop Bernardito Auza called attention to the critical role of the family in preventing drug use, in an April 21 address to a UN session on the world's drug problems. "The Holy See...

Burundi: politicians charge bishops support violence by opposing president's re-election bid

Leading government officials in Burundi are accusing the country's Catholic bishops of dividing the nation and encouraging violence, because the bishops oppose President Pierre Nkurunziza's...

Sydney archdiocese denies threatening boycott of firms that support same-sex marriage

The Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia, has rejected a charge that it has threatened to boycott firms that are engaged in a public advocacy campaign to promote legal acceptance of same-sex...

Retired Irish bishop again subject of abuse charge

An Irish bishop who resigned in 1992 after admitting to an affair with an American woman has been hit with a new charge of sexual misconduct. Bishop Eamon Casey, who is now living in retirement at...

Cardinal Ravasi tweets tribute to Prince

The president of the Pontifical Council for Culture reacted to the death of the rock musician Price by quoting the lyrics of a famous Prince song on Twitter. Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi quoted a few...

Norwegian bishop says priests will no longer officiate at civil marriages

Bishop Bernt Eidsvig of Oslo has indicated that Catholic priests in Norway will no longer act as civil officials at weddings. The bishop consulted with the Vatican about how churches should...

Pakistan: Islamic radicals demand execution of Asia Bibi

 A radical Islamic group has demanded the execution of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani woman accused of blasphemy, regardless of the outcome of a Supreme Court appeal in her case. "We...

Cuban Church, Castro government negotiating new accord

The Castro government has opened negotiations with Church leaders in Cuba, aiming to establish a formal understanding of the legal and economic rights of Catholic institutions. There has been no...

Civil rights commission blasts ‘so-called religious liberty’ laws

A federal government agency has blasted “recent state laws passed, and proposals being considered, under the guise of so-called ‘religious liberty’ which target members of the...

German Protestant leader meets with Pope

Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, the chairman of the Evangelical Church in Germany, met with Pope Francis on April 21 in Domus Sanctae Marthae. The Evangelical Church in Germany is a federation of 20...

Austrian bishop rejects proposed border fence on Church property

An Austrian bishop has rejected the government’s request to build a border fence on land owned by a parish in Moschendorf, a town of 400 along the Hungarian border. Acknowledging the...

Russian Orthodox official criticizes pan-Orthodox council’s documents, procedure

A leading official of the Russian Orthodox Church offered criticisms of the Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church, which will take place in Crete in June. The comments made by Metropolitan...

Christ awaits us in the needy, Pope tells Caritas

Pope Francis met with 700 persons associated with Caritas Italia, the charitable agency of Italy’s dioceses, and called upon them “to be the stimulus and soul so that all the community...

New book collects speeches by Pope Francis in Cuba, US last year

The Vatican publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, has released a book-length collection of the public addresses delivered by Pope Francis during his visit to Cuba and the US last...

Cardinal Pell 'a bit surprised' by suspension of audit

Cardinal George Pell, the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, has said that he was "a bit surprised" by the announcement that the Vatican had suspended an external audit. The...

Turkish government moves to recover land from Orthodox Patriarchate

The government of Turkey has taken action to recover land that was restored to the Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Fides news service reports. The government had allowed the Orthodox...

Papal greetings to Rome's Jewish community for Passover

Pope Francis sent his greetings to Cheif Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni of Rome on April 21, as the Jewish community prepared for the celebration of Passover. In his message the Pope recalled his...

26 organizations urge Congress to pass Conscience Protection Act

Twenty-six religious, pro-life, and healthcare organizations, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, have called upon Congress to pass the Conscience Protection Act of...

Pope meets with tortured Albanian priest

Following his April 20 general audience, Pope Francis kissed the hands of Father Ernest Simoni, a priest who was imprisoned by Albania’s brutal communist regime from 1963 to...

Special prayer at Mass to mark Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday

At their recent meeting in Leeds, the bishops of England and Wales have directed that special prayers for Queen Elizabeth II be made in every parish in commemoration of her ninetieth...

Vatican newspaper: follow-up article on women preaching at Mass

Recent essays in the Vatican newspaper suggesting that women should be allowed to preach at Mass were not written with “the intention of contradicting the current discipline,” one of the...

Melkite patriarch: we cannot forget abducted bishops

The head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church said that the region’s prelates have not forgotten the two Orthodox bishops who were kidnapped in Syria in April 2013. “Every time we...

Papal prayers for Chernobyl, Ecuador

Following his April 20 general audience, Pope Francis recalled the thirtieth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. “As we renew our prayers for the victims of the disaster, let us express...

Vatican suspends external audit

A thorough audit of all Vatican offices has been suspended, in a major blow to plans for reform of Vatican financial affairs. The Secretariat of State has informed Vatican offices that the outside audit, being conducted by the accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers, was being discontinued. The audit was begun in December 2015, after Cardinal George Pell, the prefect of the Secretariat...

Trevi Fountain waters to be dyed red, calling attention to persecution of Christians

The water of Rome's famous Trevi Fountain will be dyed red on April 29, in a gesture "to call attention to the tragedy of anti-Christian persecution." The international charity Aid...

Suspect arrested in death of Florida priest

Police in South Carolina have arrested a man in connection with the death of a Catholic priest who had been missing for several days. The body of Father Rene Wayne Robert, a priest of the Dicoese...

At Jesuit-run school, women's basketball coach wants only players who accept same-sex marriage

The women’s basketball coach at the University of San Francisco, a Jesuit-run school, has indicated that she does not want to coach women who are opposed to same-sex marriage. Jennifer Azzi, the...

Washington Post editorial chides Pope for lack of progress on abuse accountability

In an April 20 editorial, the Washington Post has expressed disappointment over the failure of the Vatican to take major strides in the handling of sexual abuse. While praising Pope Francis for his...

Data-security breach at Denver archdiocese

A security breach in the computer system of the Archdiocese of Denver, Colorado, has compromised the privacy of current and past employees. The archdiocese revealed that a payroll-processing...

Synod council discusses topics, procedures for next meeting

The 14th ordinary council of the Synod of Bishops held its first meeting on April 20, following the conclusion of the Synod on the Family and the release of the apostolic exhortation Amoris...

Many Muslim refugees among converts to Catholicism in Vienna

About half of the adults seeking baptism in the Archdiocese of Vienna, Austria, this year have been Muslims, Church officials report. A spokesman for the Austrian bishops' conference said...

Nigerian bishop: kidnapped schoolgirls may be freed, but all children remain at risk

A Nigerian Catholic bishop has expressed optimism about the prospect for freeing the 200 schoolgirls who were abducted by Boko Haram in 2014. Bishop Matthew Kukah of Sokoto noted that a recent...

Cause for beatification of Dorthoy Day advances

New York's Cardinal Timothy Dolan has opened a new phase into the cause for beatification of Dorothy Day. The cardinal announced the beginning of a canonical inquiry, which will assess...

Vatican representative urges OSCE protection for religious minorities, parental rights in education

In a statement to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Vatican's representative has emphasized the importance of national religious-minority groups, noting that...

Pope pays tribute to athletic values, virtues

Pope Francis received members of the Austrian Skiing Federation in audience on April 20 and paid tribute in his brief remarks to “the virtues and the values manifested by sports: commitment,...

Papal appeal for Ukraine

At the conclusion of his April 20 general audience, Pope Francis issued an appeal for the people of Ukraine, who suffer from an “armed conflict forgotten by many.” Recalling his...

Pope reflects on Christ’s forgiveness of the tearful penitent

Continuing his series of Wednesday catecheses on mercy, Pope Francis devoted his April 20 general audience to Christ’s forgiveness of a penitent woman. “We now consider the Gospel...

3 priests disappear in China

Three underground priests who are not associated with the government-run Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association have disappeared recently, according to an AsiaNews report. Following...

Canadian religious leaders lament assisted suicide

Canadian religious leaders took part in an interfaith press conference on assisted suicide amid legislative debate on the issue. In 2015, the nation’s high court struck down previous...

Northern Ireland: prelates discuss poverty, abortion with political leaders

Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland, led a delegation of bishops and laity that met recently with the leaders of Northern Ireland’s two most popular political...

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