Catholic World News Headlines

News stories are released on weekdays.

Melbourne archbishop says he’s prepared to go to jail rather than divulge confessions 

Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne, Australia said that he would go to jail rather than obey a law requiring him to divulge the contents of a sacramental confession. The archbishop was responding...

US State Dept. publishes International Religious Freedom Report; Tillerson highlights ISIS genocide

The US State Department cited the Islamic State as for genocide in its annual report on religious freedom around the world. The report offered critical comments on the practices of many...

In foreword for book by abuse victim, Pope Francis repeats pledge to take action

Pope Francis has written a foreword to a new book by a Swiss man who was a victim of clerical abuse. In his foreword for Father I Forgive You, by Daniel Pittet, the Pope refers to sexual abuse as...

Church must clarify papal teaching, Cardinal Burke says

Cardinal Raymond Burke insisted that a clarification of Church teaching on divorce, remarriage, and the Eucharist is “now necessary,” in an interview with the weekly The...

Cardinal Sarah urges faithful to resist ‘revolutionaries’ who attack faith and family

At a memorial Mass honoring the martyrs of the Vendée region in France, Cardinal Robert Sarah challenged Catholics to oppose “the modern persecutors of the Church,” and warned...

Trump administration poised to end contraceptive mandate

The Trump administration will soon unveil new regulations that will exempt religious institutions from the “Obamacare” requirement that health-insurance programs must include...

Syriac Catholic patriarch laments US invasion of Iraq, Western aid to ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels 

Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan of Antioch said that Western support for “moderate” Syrian rebel factions has caused the devastation of the country. “I can...

Teacher in landmark Philadelphia abuse case released 10 years early

A former teacher at a Catholic school in Philadelphia has been released from prison after a court overturned his conviction on charges of molesting a student. Bernard Shero had been sentenced to...

Investigator in fetal-parts scandal wins legal battle against university employees 

The man responsible for a series of investigative reports on the involvement of Planned Parenthood with the sale of fetal body parts has won a court victory over researchers who had sought to...

Indian state of Jharkand passes anti-conversion bill 

Jharkhand was become the 7th state in India to enact legislation to limit religious conversions, despite heavy opposition from religious-freedom advocates. The legislation—which provides...

Catholic Church in Russia recalls victims of Communism 

The secretary-general of the Russian Catholic bishops’ conference has asked Christians in the West to help keep alive the memory of Russian Christians who died under Communist...

Protests follow prison death of Pakistani Christian 

Christians in Pakistan have staged public demonstrations to demand an investigation into the death of a Christian man who died in police custody. Indaryas Ghulam died in prison in Lahore. The...

Over 200 Christians detained in Eritrea since May 

The death of a Christian woman in a prison camp in Eritrea has called attention to the arrests of scores of Christians. More than 200 people have been detained in camps in recent...

Church in El Salvador establishes Office of Lay Martyrs to honor civil-war victims

The Catholic Church in El Salvador has established an Office of Lay Martyrs, to honor those who were killed during the country’s civil war. “When someone sacrificed his life for...

Vatican donates to shelters for immigrants on Texas border

The Vatican has donated $175,000 to two centers serving immigrants and refugees in the Rio Grande valley in Texas. Cardinal Blase Supich of Chicago visited Sacred Heart parish in McAllen, Texas...

India: Catholics rally against ‘one village, one denomination law’ 

Catholics in a small village in India’s state of Manipur have rallied to protest local officials’ decision that a Catholic who once lived in the village cannot be buried...

Kenyan bishops plead for peace, fear post-election violence

The Catholic bishops of Kenya have called for calm in the wake of disputed general elections. An independent electoral commission declared on August 11 that incumber President Uhuru Kenyatta had...

Scotland: Church leaders urge action against anti-Catholic hate crimes

Catholic leaders in Scotland are urging government officials to recognize a rising tide of “hate crimes” that target Catholics. Although Catholics account for only about 17% of...

‘This is the land of Gandhi and Buddha’: India’s prime minister denounces religious violence

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for an end to religious violence in a speech marking the 70th anniversary of India’s independence. “Sometimes in the name of faith,...

Jerusalem: Greek Orthodox patriarch decries court decision on sale of Church properties

Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem has condemned the decision of an Israeli court to uphold the sale of properties by his predecessor. Patriarch Irenaios was ousted in 2005 after he...

Prelate praises Uganda’s longtime ruler

A Catholic archbishop has praised Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni for preserving the fragile peace in the African country. At an August 15 Mass at the Queen of Peace shrine in Lweza,...

Nigerian cardinal: Amoris Laetitia affirmed traditional Church teaching on receiving Holy Communion

A Nigerian cardinal has said that Amoris Laetitia upheld the Church’s traditional teaching that Catholics who are divorced and remarried cannot receive the Eucharist. Cardinal Jon Onaiyekan...

Bishops ‘very slow to change’ in confronting abuse, says lay leader of Catholic commission

The head of the Australian bishops’ commission on sexual abuse has said that she fears the Church has been only “partially cleansed and unreconstructed” despite months of intense...

New Jersey: judge affirms right of Catholic school to refuse to re-enroll student

A New Jersey judge has affirmed the right of a Catholic school to deny admission to two girls whose parents had twice filed suit against the school’s administration. “The court does...

Father Sosa: Jesuits’ mission is fostering reconciliation with God, human beings, environment

The superior general of the Society of Jesus said that the Jesuits are called to work for reconciliation “on three levels: with God, with human beings, with the environment.” In an...

Australian bishops: seal of Confession must be protected

The Australian Catholic bishops have indicated that they will not accept an infringement on the confessional seal. “It is a fundamental part of the freedom of religion, and it is recognized...

Papal prayers for mud-slide victims in Sierra Leone

Pope Francis has offered his prayerful sympathy to the victims of deadly mud slides in Sierra Leone. In a telegram to Archbishop Charles Edward Tamba of Freetown, signed by Cardinal Pietro...

For assumption, Pope speaks on power of Mary’s humility

In his Angelus audience on August 15, the feast of the Assumption, Pope Francis spoke on the humility of the Virgin Mary, remarking that “humility is like an emptiness that leaves room for...

Crux contributor, editor apologize for ‘convert neurosis’ remarks

Austen Ivereigh, a contributor to the Crux news site, has apologized for a column in which he suggested that some Catholics who entered the Church as adults suffer from a “convert...

French archbishop admits ‘inadequate’ response to abuse complaints

Archbishop Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, France, has admitted to an “inadequate” response to reports of sexual abuse by a priest of his archdiocese. But the archbishop insists that he never...

Two Chinese ‘underground’ bishops, veterans of prison camps, have died

Two elderly bishops of China’s “underground” Catholic Church—both of whom had served years in prison camps—died this past weekend. Bishop Sylvester Li Jiantang, the...

Australian commission recommends ending legal protection of confessional seal

A royal commission investigating child abuse in Australia is recommending that state laws be changed to require priests to report confessions of abuse. The recommendation from the Royal...

Korean bishops appeal for peace, counsel prudence

The Catholic bishops of Korea have made an appeal for peace, decrying “unreasonable provocations” by North Korea and urging prudence. The bishops argue that in the face of aggressive...

FBI raids Catholic Worker house in Des Moines in search of pipeline sabotage evidence

About 30 agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raided a Catholic Worker house in Des Moines, Iowa on August 11, in connection with an investigation into sabotage of an oil...

Guam’s Catholics pray for peace as North Korea threatens

On the overwhelmingly Catholic island of Guam, residents prayed for peace as they faced the threat of a missile attack by North Korea. North Korea has indicated that it plans to fire a missile...

Eastern Catholic patriarchs urge international action on genocide of Christians in Middle East

Concluding a meeting in Dimane, Lebanon, the patriarchs of the Eastern churches in communion with Rome have issued a “prophetic appeal” warning agains a “plan of genocide”...

US bishops condemn ‘abhorrent acts of hatred’ in Charlottesville

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued two separate statements denouncing the violence surrounding the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend. On August 12, the day of the rioting, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the USCCB president, condemned “the abhorrent acts of violence and hatred” and offered prayers for the victims. “We...

Central African Republic: leading imam backs bishop’s assessment of UN troops’ complicity in massacre

The leading Muslim cleric in the Central African Republic has lent credence to a bishop’s charge that UN peacekeeping troops turned a blind eye to the massacre of civilians by Islamist...

Pope Francis: faith sustains our journey but does not exempt us from trials

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading (Mt. 14:22-33), in which Christ asks St. Peter to walk on water, Pope Francis said in his August 13 Sunday Angelus address (Italian text, video) that...

China continues coercive family-planning measures, despite end of ‘one-child’ policy

Although the Chinese government has formally discontinued its brutal one-child policy, forced abortions continue, the Population Research Institute (PRI) has found. A PRI investigation discovered...

Japanese bishops caution politicians on Korea, pray for peace

Japanese bishops have called for ten days of prayer for peace, and criticized politicians for inflammatory language regarding the threat of war with North Korea. Bishop Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi of...

Colombian rebels plan ceasefire for papal visit

Rebel leaders of the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Colombia have said that they hope to reach a ceasefire agreement with the country’s government for the September visit by Pope...

Northern Ireland: government will fight to retain restrictive abortion law

First Minister Arlene Foster of Northern Ireland has said that her government will do “everything in its power” to prevent liberalization of abortion laws. Foster pledged to...

USCCB awards nearly $1.4M to Church in Africa

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Church in Africa has awarded nearly $1.4 million in grants to 54 pastoral projects there. “Our brothers and...

Venezuelan bishops demand that regime ‘stop the witch hunt,’ respect human rights

The Venezuelan bishops’ justice and peace commission decried the inhumane treatment of political and other prisoners and demanded that the Maduro regime respect human rights guaranteed by the...

Catholic church in Somaliland reopens, then closes

A Catholic church in Somaliland reopened after 30 years on July 29 but was closed a week later under pressure from the local Muslim population. Somaliland is a de facto independent region within...

Bishop charges UN troops with complicity in Central African Republic massacre

A Spanish missionary bishop in the Central African Republic said that militants of the Muslim-dominated Séléka rebel group were able to massacre 50 civilians in the village of Gambo on...

Argentina: bishops oppose nuclear power plant

The bishops of Patagonia, the southernmost region of Argentina, have announced their opposition to the construction of a Beijing-financed nuclear power plant at an unannounced location in Rio Negro...

Pakistan’s leaders pay tribute to nun who served lepers

A German nun whose life of service to lepers has been compared to Mother Teresa’s died on August 10 at the age of 87. Born in 1929, Sister Ruth Pfau escaped Soviet-occupied East Germany and...

Cardinal urges Rosary for peace, calls on North Korea to abandon nuclear weapons

As tensions between North Korea and the United States escalate, the cardinal archbishop of Seoul, South Korea, called upon the faithful to pray the Rosary for peace. “The Virgin Mary urged...

Priest shortage growing despite ‘Francis effect’

The number of men studying for the Catholic priesthood has dropped during the pontificate of Pope Franics, notes Vatican journalist Marco Tosatti in an analysis for First Things. The number of...

Brazilian archbishop robbed at gunpoint

Archbishop Antonio Muniz Fernandes of Maceio, Brazil, was robbed by a gunman at his residence on August 5. Three armed men approached the archbishop and two companions in the early morning, held...

Eritrean priest faces charges in Italy for helping illegal immigrants

A priest from Eritrea has been charged by an Italian prosecutor with promoting illegal immigration: a charge that the priest denies. Father Mussie Zerai heads an organization called Habeshia,...

Italian bishop embraces new role as missionary priest in Honduras

An Italian bishop has resigned his diocesan responsibilities to become a missionary priest in Honduras. Bishop Gianfranco Todisco of Melfi-Rapolla-Venosa submitted his resignation in April at...

Priest of small religious order chosen as rector of Rome seminary

Pope Francis has chosen a priest of a small religious order devoted to poverty to be rector of Rome’s dioesan seminary. Father Gabriele Faraghini, of the Little Brothers of Jesus, was...

Aid groups rush to repair Iraqi Christian homes in Nineveh Plains before school opens

Christian families and relief agencies are rushing to rebuild homes in Iraq’s Nineveh Valley region, to allow families to return in time for the opening of the school year. In the town of...

Cardinal Burke: Amoris Laetitia is not authoritative teaching

Cardinal Raymond Burke repeated that Amoris Laetitia is not a magisterial document, in an address in Louisville, Kentucky. The American cardinal observed that Pope Francis has often chosen not to...

Missionary priest has made 50 trips to North Korea

The Knights of Columbus recently honored an 83-year-old Maryknoll priest who has made over 50 trips to North Korea to treat tuberculosis patients. Father Gerard E. Hammond, who lives in South...

Russian patriarch: Soviet persecution was ‘hardest page’ in Church’s history

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, paid tribute to his predecessor, Patriarch Sergius I, who governed the Church from 1925 to 1944. Ninety years ago, Patriarch...

Central African Republic bishop: ‘they are cutting the throats of men and children’

A Spanish missionary bishop in the Central African Republic said that militants associated with Muslim-dominated Séléka rebel group sacked the Catholic mission in the village of...

Venezuelan prelate: ‘every day we feel a greater oppression’

The vice president of the Venezuelan bishops’ conference denounced the violence and “voracious corruption” of the regime of President Nicolás Maduro and called for an...

Nigerian bishops emphasize Marian devotion, liturgical norms

The bishops of southwestern Nigeria have issued a statement highlighting the importance of Marian devotion and adherence to liturgical norms. “The message of repentance, reconciliation and...

Indonesian bishop under investigation for financial, sexual misconduct

The Vatican has ordered an investigation into complaints that a bishop in Indonesia has used church funds to support a mistress. Bishop Hubertus Leteng of Ruteng is the focus of the...

Vatican reaching tacit accord with Beijing on appointment of bishops?

A Vatican official has suggested that although the Holy See has been unable to reach an agreement with the Chinese government about the appointment of Catholic bishops, an unspoken agreement is...

Papal pleas for peace in Nigeria, Central African Republic

Pope Francis asked for prayers for peace in the Central African Republic, and repeated his expression of sympathy for the attack on a Catholic church in Nigeria, at the close of his regular weekly...

Papal trip to Russia in planning stage?

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, has said that he hopes to lay the foundation for a papal visit to Russia when he visits Moscow later this month. Cardinal Parolin told the...

‘Hate crime’ charge against Spanish archbishop dismissed

A Spanish court has dismissed a complaint against Archbishop Francisco Javier Martinez of Granada, who had been accused of “hate crime” after he delivered a sermon against gender...

Pope orders Belgian Catholic hospitals to end euthanasia

Pope Francis has ordered Belgian psychiatric hospitals run by the Brothers of Charity to cease offering euthanasia. The Brothers of Charity, who operate 15 hospitals in Belgium, disclosed in May that they were prepared to offer euthanasia as an option for psychiatric patients. After a Vatican investigation, the religious order has been given until the end of August to end that policy or face...

God’s mercy is ‘driving force’ of Christian hope, Pope says at general audience

Continuing his weekly catechetical addresses on Christian hope, Pope Francis reflected on God’s mercy as the source of hope. “We now consider God’s mercy as the driving force of...

18 NY parishes may be sold or leased

Eighteen closed New York parishes may soon be sold or leased, potentially bringing hundreds of millions of dollars of income to the Archdiocese of New York. In separate June 30 decrees, Cardinal...

Brazilian bishop describes homosexuality as ‘gift from God’

During a recent homily, a Brazilian bishop characterized homosexuality as a “gift from God” and lamented “prejudices that kill.” “If it is not a choice, if it is not...

‘Pope congratulates, blesses gay couple’

Some gay activists claimed a papal blessing on their lifestyle after a Brazilian man received a standard form letter from a Vatican official. Toni Reis, general secretary of the Brazilian...

Report: massacre at Nigerian parish was drug-related

The recent shooting attack on a Nigerian parish was drug related, according to a report from the Fides news agency. Twelve persons were killed and over 20 wounded in the attack on St. Philip...

Asian Catholic youth pledge to witness to faith amid challenges

Participants in the 7th Asian Youth Day issued a final statement in which they pledged to witness to their faith amid challenges, including “consumerism, addictions, and loss of our own...

Christians in India decry mounting violence, discrimination

A group of academics and other prominent Christians in India has decried growing discrimination and violence against non-Hindus and Dalits, the members of the caste once known as...

Scottish archbishop predicts greater hostility to faith in US

Addressing priests in the Philadelphia archdiocese, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow, Scotland, said that American Catholics should learn from the problems facing the Church in Great Britain....

Orthodox prelate protests sale of property in Jerusalem to Jewish settlers

An Orthodox prelate in Jerusalem has blasted an Israeli court decision allowing Jewish settlers to purchase properties near the basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. Archbishop Atallah Hanna said that...

Korean religious leaders plead for peace

As political tensions mount on the Korean peninsula, religious leaders held an inter-religious ceremony in Seongju to mark the end of the Korean war and to plead for peace today. “The...

Minnesota archdiocese: proposed bankruptcy settlement would destroy Church work

The Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis has lodged strong objections to a new plan for reorganizing the archdioesan finances. The plan was submitted by creditors in a contentious bankrupcty...

Governing council named for Pontifical Academy for Life

Pope Francis has named a six-member governing council for the Pontifical Academy for Life, completing his thorough revamping of that institution. The new members—who were appointed on May...

75th anniversary of martyrdom of St. Edith Stein

August 9 marks the 75th anniversary of martyrdom of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), the German Jewish philosopher who converted to Catholicism and became a Discalced Carmelite...

Philippines: prelate welcomes free tuition at state colleges

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law granting free tuition to students at all of the nation’s state colleges and universities. Bishop Ruperto Santos, head of the bishops’...

Indian nun wins international AIDS nursing award

An Indian nun who is director of nursing at a hospital and principal of a nursing college will receive the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care’s Excellence in Global HIV Nursing...

Inaccurate reporting on Bible and Canaanites

A study on the genetic overlap between ancient Canaanites and modern Lebanese demonstrates that the Bible is inaccurate in recounting that the Israelites destroyed the Canaanites, according to...

Protestant pastor jailed in Tajikistan

The pastor of a Protestant church in Khujand, Tajikistan, has been sentenced to three years in prison. Secret police detained Bakhrom Kholmatov in April and tortured members of his congregation,...

Court rules against pro-life organization in HHS mandate case

The US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Real Alternatives, a Pennsylvania pro-life organization, is not exempt from the HHS mandate because it is not a house of worship. The...

Maduro rips Vatican statement against constitution rewrite

Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s socialist president, strongly criticized a recent Vatican statement opposing his government’s plan to rewrite the nation’s...

Papal condolences following attack on Nigerian parish

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, sent a telegram of condolence in the Pope’s name to Bishop Hilary Paul Odili Okeke of Nnewi, Nigeria, following an attack on...

Michigan priest charged with embezzling funds; over $1 million missing from parish

A Catholic priest who has been embezzling funds a parish in Michigan is asking the court to release $800,000 that was seized by police during the investigation into his alleged crime. Father...

Pope to visit Myanmar in November?

Pope Francis will visit Myanmar in November, according to Church sources there. The Vatican has made no announcement about the prospect of a papal trip to the Asian country. But the...

Papal message to Asian Youth Day

Pope Francis sent a video greeting to participants in the 7th Asian Youth Day, which closed on Sunday in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. In his mesage—which was conveyed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin,...

Pope prays at tomb of Paul VI on anniversary of death

On August 6, the anniversary of death of Bl. Paul VI, Pope Francis visited the crypt of the Vatican basilica to pray at the tomb of his predecessor. Pope Paul VI led the Church from 1963 until...

Italian Cardinal Tettamanzi dead at 83

Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, the retired Archbishop of Milan, died on August 5 at the age of 83. Ordained to the priesthood in Milan in 1957, the future cardinal was a seminary instructor in the...

Papal message to Church in Peru

Pope Francis has sent a video message to the Church in Peru, where he will be visiting next January. The Pope’s message—released on the web site of Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne...

Deadly gunfire at Nigerian Catholic church

Gunmen burst into a Catholic church in Nigeria’s Ekwusigo state on Sunday, August 6, killing at least eleven people and wounding many others. State police initially reported that eight...

Puerto Rican religious leaders thank Congress for debt-relief legislation

Christian leaders in Puerto Rico have sent a message of thanks to the US Congress for approving legislation to restructure the debt of the island’s government. In their message the Church...

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