Catholic World News Headlines

News stories are released on weekdays.

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Melkite synod postponed; Patriarch decries bishops' 'open rebellion'

A synod of the Melkite Catholic Church has been postponed, after half of the Melkite bishops boycotted the meeting in a bid to force the resignation of Patriarch Gregory III Laham. "I shall...

Attack on Christians in Egypt

An angry mob, responding to a rumor that a new Coptic church was being constructed, attacked a Coptic Christian property owner and his brother near Alexandria, Egypt, on June 17. With security...

Pope Francis reflects on Christ’s healing of the leper

Continuing his series of Wednesday catecheses on mercy, Pope Francis devoted his June 15 general audience to Christ’s healing of a leper (Lk. 5:12-14). “As we know, lepers were...

Cardinal Parolin backs Ukraine’s territorial integrity, says migrant crisis is ‘really scary’

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, said in an interview with Euronews that the Holy See supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea, which Russia...

Chaldean patriarch calls on priests to stay close to Iraq’s suffering Christians

Meeting with Chaldean Catholic priests in Ankawa, a city in Iraqi Kurdistan to which thousands of Christians fled two years ago, Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako called upon priests to live simply and...

Maronite bishops reject calls to partition Syria

The bishops of the Maronite Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, gathered recently near Beirut and rejected “all international plans” to...

March for Marriage to protest Obergefell decision

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is holding a March for Marriage on June 25 to commemorate the anniversary of Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court decision that struck down state laws...

US bishops’ conference grants $4.1M to assist Church in Latin America, Haiti

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America recently granted over $4.1 million to 265 projects to assist the work of the Church in Latin...

Philippines: bishops decry vigilante justice after president-elect speaks of shooting suspects

The Catholic bishops of the Philippines have decried a trend toward vigilante violence that has arisen since the election of Rodrigo Duterte to be the country's next president. Duterte, who...

Pakistan: 5 Christians cleared of blasphemy charges; 2 convicted

Five Pakistani Christians were acquitted of blasphemy charges, but two others were given 6-year prison sentences, by an anti-terrorism court on June 20. The court case, brought under laws that...

Priest in India survives murder attempt

A Catholic priest in the northeastern state of Assam, India, escaped an assassination attempt on June 20, but was hospitalized with wounds he suffered in warding off the attack, the Fides news...

British physicians' group maintains stand against assisted suicide

The British Medical Association (BMA) has voted to continue its opposition to physician-assisted suicide. By a vote of 198- 115, the BMA-- the union of medical doctors in the United Kingdom--...

Shimon Peres, former Israeli president, meets with Pope

Shimon Peres, the former president of Israel, met privately with Pope Francis at the Vatican on June 21. The 92-year-old Israeli statesman issued a statement after his visit saying that he had...

Vatican briefing on papal trip to Armenia

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, briefed reporters on June 21 about the plans for a visit to Armenia by Pope Francis this coming weekend. The Pontiff will...

Cardinal Parolin meets with Ukrainian president

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary, made a six-day visit to Ukraine and met with President Petro Poroshenko. “I came to Ukraine to demonstrate and declare the interest,...

Bishop in Northern Ireland lauds EU

A bishop in Northern Ireland has urged voters in the UK to vote against leaving the European Union in the upcoming “Brexit” referendum. “The European enterprise,” said...

US House holds hearing on international religious freedom

The House Foreign Affairs Committee’ Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations held a hearing on international religious freedom and US...

Oklahoma prelate: gender ideology is battle between light and darkness

Reflecting on an airport sign for an “all gender” restroom, an Oklahoma prelate recently described gender ideology as “the next tsunami that threatens to sweep away centuries of...

USCCB committee chair: remember plight of refugees

Recalling that June 20 is commemorated as World Refugee Day, the chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration urged Catholics to remember the plight of...

Pan-Orthodox council opens with call to unity

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople celebrated the Divine Liturgy of Pentecost on June 19 to open the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church. In recent weeks, four of 14...

Four cardinals raised to rank of cardinal-priest

At an ordinary consistory on June 20, Pope Francis raised four cardinals from the rank of cardinal-deacon to that of cardinal-priest.  Each of the new cardinal-priests has been a...

Five approved for canonization

Pope Francis has approved the canonization of five new saints. At an ordinary consistory (a meeting of the cardinals present in Rome) on June 20, the Holy Father approved the canonization...

Notre Dame to open new institute in Dublin

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has announced the establishment of a new Centre for Faith and Reason, to be administered by the University of Notre Dame. The new institution will be centered...

Syrian Orthodox Patriarch survives suicide-bombing attack

Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Efrem II Karim of Damascus survived an attack by a suicide bomber on June 19, but at least four people (including the bomber) were killed by the...

Foundress of Redemptoristine nuns beatified

Blessed Maria Celeste (Giulia) Crostarosa (1696-1755), who founded the Redemptoristine nuns after meeting St. Alphonsus Liguori, was beatified in Foggia, Italy, on June 18. Cardinal Angelo Amato,...

Pope prays for pan-Orthodox council, recalls plight of refugees

Following his June 19 Angelus address, Pope Francis recalled that the day was Pentecost Sunday on the Julian calendar and prayed for the pan-Orthodox council as it began in Crete. “Let us...

Pope Francis: ‘the world needs Christ more than ever’

Reflecting on day’s Gospel reading (Lk. 9:18-24), in which Christ asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”, Pope Francis said during his June 19 Sunday Angelus address that...

Pope visits infirm priests as part of ‘mercy Friday’ initiative

Pope Francis made a visit on June 17 to Monte Tabor, a home for eight elderly and infirm priests. In doing so, he wished to “express his closeness and care for those priests who were unable...

Pope warns against ‘rigidity,’ says 'genocide' is inappropriate description of Christian suffering

On June 18, Pope Francis visited Villa Nazareth, an apostolate that offers educational opportunities for young persons in need, and reflected on the witness that the Good Samaritan offered to the...

Repentance, forgiveness are at heart of Gospel, Pope tells jubilee pilgrims

On June 18, Pope Francis held a Saturday public audience for pilgrims who have come to Rome for the extraordinary jubilee year of mercy. “Appearing to the disciples in Emmaus, the Risen...

Pope offers support for Aid to the Church in Need

Pope Francis praised the work of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) during a private audience on June 17.  The papal audience drew attention to an ACN fundraising campaign. Pope Francis...

Syria's Assad meets bishops, promises new secular constitution

Syrian President Bashar Assad has met with the leaders of the Syriac Catholic Church, and announced that he plans a new constitution that will ensure the rights of religious minorities, the Fides...

Lay Catholics should 'take the initiative without fear,' Pope says

Lay Catholics should play an active role in a "permanently outbound Church, an evangelizing community that knows how to take the initiative without fear," Pope Francis said in a June 17...

Christians and Muslims alike seek God's mercy, Vatican says in Ramadan message

Christians and Muslims alike rely on the mercy of the Almighty, the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue noted in an annual message of greetings to the world's Muslims. The Vatican...

Chinese Catholics shocked after imprisoned bishop recants

Chinese Catholics of the "underground" Church are reacting with incredulity to a statement by Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daquin praising the government-controlled Patriotic Association. Bishop...

Vatican accepts nine more Syrian refugees

The Vatican has brought nine more Syrian refugees to Rome, adding to the twelve who accompanied Pope Francis when he returned from an April visit to the Greek island of Lesbos. The nine refugees,...

Russian Patriarch sends greetings to council in Crete, calls for unity

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has sent a message of encouragement to the Orthodox prelates who have gathered in Crete for the Pan-Orthodox Council that opens on Sunday. Although the Russian...

Bishop sees springtime for the Church in Kosovo

The Catholic Church in Kosovo is experiencing a springtime, Bishop Dodë Gjergji of Prizren, the nation’s sole prelate, said in remarks published by the Vatican newspaper. Kosovo, a...

Ecumenical pilgrimage to Wittenberg

Auxiliary Bishop Hubert Berenbrinker of Padeborn joined leaders of the World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation on a pilgrimage to Wittenberg, the German city that was the site of...

Scottish bishop: have compassion on persecuted Christians

Addressing a youth rally, a Scottish bishop called on “those in power in Scotland and across the world” to have compassion on persecuted Christians. “A number of our fellow...

Papal blessing for English pro-life day

Pope Francis has offered his blessing to those participating in the Day for Life in England and Wales on June 19. The Pope imparts his apostolic blessing “upon all those persons who are...

Kenyan religious leaders warn against political speech that incites violence

The president of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, joined by other Christian and Muslim leaders, has called upon the government to prosecute politicians who violate laws against political...

US, EU bishops weigh in on TTIP trade agreement

The presidents of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community have issued a joint reflection on the Transatlantic...

Kenyan firm sues government, says vaccine test results were ignored

A Kenyan medical-research firm has brought suit against the government, claiming that the government refused to pay for testing that showed contamination of vaccines being distributed by the...

Iraqi prelate rebukes 'Christian' paramilitary groups for attacks on civilians

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako of Baghdad has denounced militia groups that have attacked refugees fleeing from the Islamic State. The Iraqi prelate said that although the...

Avoid 'rigorism' on divorce and remarriage, Pope advises family conference

Pope Francis tore into priests who refuse to baptize the children of unwed mothers during a June 16 meeting with participants in a Rome conference on the family. It is "pastoral...

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