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Catholic World News

Stories for February 2015

Released Monday, Feb. 2

Pope approves synod participants from nearly 30 nations CWN - February 2, 2015

Pope Francis has ratified the names of participants chosen by nearly 30 episcopal conferences to take part in the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the family. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of...

Papal telegram to new Italian president CWN - February 2, 2015

Pope Francis sent a telegram of good wishes to Sergio Mattarella on January 31, the day of his election by parliament as Italian president. The Pontiff prayed that the 73-year-old president would...

Safeguard creation, Pope urges farmers CWN - February 2, 2015

Pope Francis received the leaders of the Italian National Confederation of Farmers in audience on January 31 and paid tribute to the “true vocation” of farming. “There is no humanity without...

Pope announces trip to Sarajevo, calls for protection of human life CWN - February 2, 2015

At the conclusion of his February 1 Angelus address, Pope Francis announced that he would make an apostolic journey to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on June 6. The Pope prayed...

Pope Francis emphasizes: the Gospel can change hearts CWN - February 2, 2015

Pope Francis devoted his February 1 Angelus address to the day’s Gospel reading at Mass (Mk. 1:21-28) and emphasized that the Gospel can change people’s lives. Reflecting upon the authority with...

Pope lauds fidelity of Church in Lithuania, warns of threats to family life CWN - February 2, 2015

Pope Francis received the bishops of Lithuania in audience on February 2 and paid tribute to the “heroism” of older bishops during the era of Communist persecution. If, in the past, the Church in...

Vatican video on women withdrawn after wide criticism CWN - February 2, 2015

At a press conference in Rome on February 2, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture admitted that a video produced by his office on the role of women had drawn enough criticism so that...

Catholic relief agency to have almost 5,000 election observers in Nigeria, fears outbreak of violence CWN - February 2, 2015

The Nigerian branch of Caritas, the international Catholic relief agency, plans to have 4,889 observers in action during the country’s coming elections. Father Evaristus Bassey, the executive...

Bethlehem's mayor to seek papal involvement in dispute over Israeli security wall CWN - February 2, 2015

Bethlehem’s Mayor Vera Baboun plans to ask Pope Francis to intervene in a dispute over plans to extend Israel’s massive security wall through the Cremisan Valley, at the site of a convent...

Vatican prosecutor tackled child-porn, drug dealing, money laundering cases in 2014 CWN - February 2, 2015

The Vatican’s top criminal prosecutor has disclosed that his office investigated a number of serious crimes—including drug dealing, money laundering, and two reports of child pornography—during the...

Cardinal George reports doctors have 'run out of tricks' in cancer treatment CWN - February 2, 2015

Chicago’s retired Cardinal Francis George has acknowledged that his doctors have “run out of tricks in the bag” in their treatment of his cancer. Cardinal George, who stepped down last year after...

Portrait of papal almoner, bringing help for Rome's homeless CWN - February 2, 2015

Archbishop Konrad Krajewski has dramatically changed the role of papal almoner, spending hours on the streets of Rome to provide help for the homeless. Following the instructions of Pope Francis,...

Burundi: priest says arrest of radio host seems a bid to 'silence the truth' on murder of nuns CWN - February 2, 2015

A prominent Catholic priest in Burundi has called for the release of a radio host who was arrested in January after airing a man’s claim that he had been involved in the murder of three Italian...

Italian polls shows opinion swing against same-sex marriage CWN - February 2, 2015

The Italian public supports registration of civil unions for same-sex couples, but opposes legal recognition of same-sex marriage, a new survey shows. The Eurispes poll found 64% of respondents...

Released Tuesday, Feb. 3

New cardinal profile: Archbishop Charles Maung Bo CWN - February 3, 2015

Eighth on the list of new cardinals announced by Pope Francis on January 4 is Archbishop Charles Maung Bo, 66, of Yangon (Rangoon), a city of 5.2 million that is the largest in Myanmar (Burma)....

Pope calls religious to ‘docility and obedience’ CWN - February 3, 2015

Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on the evening of February 2, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, and called upon religious to be docile and obedient. February 2 is...

Stockpile food as election approaches, Church in Nigeria advises CWN - February 3, 2015

Concerned about continued terrorist attacks from the Islamist organization Boko Haram, the Nigerian bishops’ relief and development agency is advising residents of some areas of the nation to...

Dachau: ‘the largest cemetery of Catholic priests in the world’ CWN - February 3, 2015

2,579 Catholic priests, seminarians, and religious were deported from across Europe to the Dachau concentration camp, according to a newly published French book. 1,034 of them, 868 of whom were...

Vatican press conference on international day against human trafficking CWN - February 3, 2015

At a Vatican press conference that took place on February 3, Cardinal Peter Turkson and four religious sisters discussed the upcoming international day against human trafficking. The day of...

New head of Swiss Guard CWN - February 3, 2015

Following a January 31 Mass celebrated by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, the leadership of the Pontifical Swiss Guard passed from Col. Daniel Anrig, commander since 2008, to his deputy commander,...

Archbishop Romero recognized as a martyr CWN - February 3, 2015

The Vatican has formally recognized the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero, clearing the way for his beatification. At a private audience on February 3, Pope Francis authorized a series of...

New Delhi church desecrated; 5th church vandalized since December CWN - February 3, 2015

Vandals have desecrated a Catholic church in New Delhi, in the 5th such incident in recent weeks, prompting Catholics to appeal for a response from public officials. Vandals struck at St....

Vatican urges UN: do not ignore attacks on Christian women and girls CWN - February 3, 2015

A Vatican spokesman has urged the UN to take action to protect women—especially Christian women—in conflict zones. Msgr. Janusz Urbanczyk, the chargé d’affaires at the Vatican mission to the UN,...

Minnesota archdiocese lists $45 million in assets, over $100 million in potential liabilities, in bankruptcy filing CWN - February 3, 2015

The Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota has listed financial assets of $45.2 million and current liabilities of $15.9 million, in a filing with a federal bankruptcy court. The...

Pope Francis nominated for Nobel Peace Prize CWN - February 3, 2015

Pope Francis has been nominated for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize. The Pontiff is among many nominees for the prize, the Reuters news service reports. The winner will be announced in...

Jordanian government official: ISIS is not Islamic, mockery of Allah is not Christian CWN - February 3, 2015

Jordan’s minister of religious affairs has said that Christians, Muslims, and Jews betray the principles of their own faith when they give offense to others. Speaking at a conference on...

Chinese Bishop Shi Enxiang, 'underground' Church leader imprisoned since 2001, dead at 94 CWN - February 3, 2015

Bishop Cosmas Shi Enxiang of Yixian, China, who has not been seen in public since his arrest in 2001, has died at the age of 94. A leader of the “underground” church, Bishop Enxiang spent much of...

British House of Commons approves '3-parent' in-vitro fertilization procedure CWN - February 3, 2015

The British House of Commons has voted to authorize a technique of in vitro fertilization that allows for the production of human embryos with three genetic parents. By a vote of 382- 128, the...

Released Wednesday, Feb. 4

New cardinal profile: Archbishop Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovitvanitij CWN - February 4, 2015

Ninth on the list of new cardinals announced by Pope Francis on January 4 is Archbishop Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovitvanitij, 65, of Bangkok. His predecessor was also a cardinal. Born in 1947 in...

Religious instruction abolished in Luxembourg schools CWN - February 4, 2015

Catholic religious instruction in state-run schools has been abolished in the historically Catholic nation of Luxembourg and will be replaced by instruction in ethics, according to Law & Religion...

Pray daily for the Ukrainian army, says Church leader CWN - February 4, 2015

As pro-Russian separatists battle Ukrainian troops for the control of eastern Ukraine, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church called upon the faithful “to become guardian angels who day and...

Pope Francis speaks on the mission of fathers in families CWN - February 4, 2015

A week after he lamented the absence of fathers from families, Pope Francis devoted his February 4 general audience to the mission of fatherhood. Reflecting on a text from the Book of Proverbs...

Islamic State invades Syrian town, forces Christians to remove cross from church CWN - February 4, 2015

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has taken over the Syrian town of Tel Hormizd and has forced the Christian residents to remove the cross from their church, according to the Assyrian...

Pope appeals for peace, dialogue in Ukraine CWN - February 4, 2015

At the conclusion of his February 4 general audience, Pope Francis appealed for peace and dialogue in Ukraine. “Unfortunately the situation is worsening,” he said. “Let us pray the Lord that this...

Russian Orthodox Patriarch praises 'balanced' Vatican stand on Ukraine CWN - February 4, 2015

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow praised the Vatican’s “balanced” public stance on the conflict in Ukraine, while denouncing the “Russophobic” attitude of the Ukrainian Catholic Church,...

Medjugorje visit not planned during papal trip to Sarajevo CWN - February 4, 2015

Pope Francis is not likely to visit Medjugorje during his June trip to Sarajevo, the National Catholic Register reports. Medjugorje-- the site of a series of alleged Marian apparitions that have...

Armenian Apostolic Church to canonize victims of 1915 genocide CWN - February 4, 2015

The Armenian Apostolic Church will recognize the victims of the Armenian genocide as saints, the Fides news service reports. Patriarch Karekin, the leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church, will...

600,000 already registered for public viewing of Shroud of Turin CWN - February 4, 2015

Nearly 600,000 people have already registered to attend a public exposition of the Shroud of Turin that begins in April, the ANSA news service reports. The Shroud will be available for public...

Outraged Muslim leaders condemn Islamic State after burning of Jordanian pilot CWN - February 4, 2015

Some of the world’s most prominent Islamic leaders have issued ringing denunciations of the Islamic State (IS) following the release of a video in which a Jordanian pilot was burned alive. Sheik...

Italian archbishop: abortions caused economic crisis CWN - February 4, 2015

An Italian archbishop has said that the country’s persistent economic problems can be attributed to the abortions that have ended 6 million lives. “The law [allowing] abortion has stopped more...

Archbishop Romero bore witness to faith that 'would not stay silent,' says postulator for his cause CWN - February 4, 2015

It is a “providential coincidence” that the beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero will take place under the first Latin American Pope, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia told a February 4 news conference...

Released Thursday, Feb. 5

New cardinal profile: Archbishop Francesco Montenegro CWN - February 5, 2015

Tenth on the list of new cardinals announced by Pope Francis on January 4 is Archbishop Francesco Montenegro, 68, of Agrigento, Italy. The last time a cardinal governed the see was in the eighteenth...

Chaldean patriarch decries divisions, other problems within Church CWN - February 5, 2015

In a message issue on the second anniversary of his patriarchal election, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church lamented divisions and other problems within his Eastern Catholic church. “The...

Report: Islamic State opens market to sell plundered Christian property CWN - February 5, 2015

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has opened a market in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, to sell property stolen from Christian homes and churches, according to a report from the Assyrian...

Slovak bishops urge yes vote in referendum on marriage, sex education CWN - February 5, 2015

Stating that “not all generations have the opportunity to decide the future of their homeland,” the bishops of Slovakia have urged the faithful to support a measure on marriage and family life in a...

USCCB committee chair calls upon bishops to highlight National Marriage Week CWN - February 5, 2015

Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, the chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has asked his brother bishops to use...

Pope Francis exhorts Church leaders to cooperate with sexual abuse commission CWN - February 5, 2015

Pope Francis urged bishops and superiors of religious institutes to offer “close and complete cooperation” with the recently-established Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. “At my...

Evangelize and promote the common good, Pope tell Greek bishops CWN - February 5, 2015

Pope Francis received the Catholic bishops of Greece in audience on February 5 and emphasized the importance of evangelization, especially of the young, and promotion of the common good. The Pope...

Pope Francis to address Congress in joint session in September CWN - February 5, 2015

Pope Francis will address a joint session of the US Congress on September 24. Speaker of the House John Boehner announced the papal appearance on February, noting that Pope Francis "will become...

India: police disrupt Catholic protest; government denies visas to Vatican officials CWN - February 5, 2015

Police in New Delhi, India, forcefully disrupted a peaceful demonstration by Catholics protesting a spate of attacks on churches in the region. As Church leaders protested a rising tide of...

Chicago archdiocese faces 'public nuisance' charge in new type of sex-abuse lawsuit CWN - February 5, 2015

The Archdiocese of Chicago faces a new lawsuit charging that Church officials caused a public nuisance by failing to take action against priests who abused minors. The lawsuit brought by attorney...

President Obama cites 'terrible deeds' of Christian history in address to National Prayer Breakfast CWN - February 5, 2015

Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5, President Barack Obama lamented that through history “people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.” Insisting that Christians...

Reports of priest slain by Islamic State in Mosul are false, archbishop says CWN - February 5, 2015

Reports that a Catholic priest was killed in Mosul by the Islamic State are inaccurate, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate has announced. Archbishop Amel Shamon Nona, who fled Mosul in June after...

Kiribati's president meets with Pontiff CWN - February 5, 2015

Pope Francis met on February 5 with President Anote Tong of the little Pacific island republic of Kiribati. A brief Vatican statement released after the meeting indicated that the main topic of...

Released Friday, Feb. 6

Pope holds video chat with disabled children CWN - February 6, 2015

Pope Francis took part in a video chat with disabled children on February 5 and emphasized the importance of communication. “When you communicate, you give the best you have inside, and you...

Iraq: Christian militia forms to fight Islamic State CWN - February 6, 2015

A Christian militia of 4,000 men has been formed to retake northern Iraqi territory from the Islamic State, according to a Newsweek report. “The Assyrians want their land back and they-- as well...

EEOC issues religious-discrimination data CWN - February 6, 2015

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 3,549 complaints of workplace discrimination based on religion in fiscal year 2014—down from a high of 4,151 three years earlier. The...

Cardinal, Hungarian embassy pay tribute to nuncio’s actions in World War II CWN - February 6, 2015

The Hungarian embassy to the Holy See hosted a meeting on February 4 to pay tribute to Archbishop Angelo Rotta and Msgr. Gennaro Verolino, who saved tens of thousands of Jews during World War...

Judge to examine sexual abuse in English institutions CWN - February 6, 2015

Theresa May, the United Kingdom’s home secretary, has announced that a New Zealand judge will head the Independent Panel Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. “The many, many survivors of child sexual...

South Sudan’s bishops call for end to civil war CWN - February 6, 2015

The South Sudanese Civil War, which began in late 2013 and pits government against rebel forces, is an “evil war,” the nation’s bishops said. “This war is about power, not about the good of the...

Christian martyrs are suffering today, Pope reminds congregation CWN - February 6, 2015

Christian martyrdom is not a thing of the past but a current reality, Pope Francis reminded his congregation at daily Mass on February 6. The Pope called attention to “the martyrs of our times:...

Governor vetoes bid to bar New Jersey Catholic cemeteries from selling headstones, but backs eventual passage CWN - February 6, 2015

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey has vetoed a bill that would have blocked Catholic cemeteries from selling gravestones. But the governor indicated that he would support the legislation if it...

Franciscan monastery in Damascus hit by mortar shelling CWN - February 6, 2015

A Franciscan monastery in Damascus was hit by shells during an exchange between Syrian government forces and rebel groups on February 6, the Fides news service reports. The monastery dedicated to...

India's government apologizes for denying visa to Vatican prelates CWN - February 6, 2015

A spokesman for India’s government has issued an apology for the denial of visas to two Vatican officials who had been scheduled to attend a conference on the liturgy. Archbishop Arthur Roche,...

Serve the common good, Pope urges Italian city officials CWN - February 6, 2015

In a February 6 meeting with Italian municipal officials, Pope Francis said that serving the common good entails following the law while recognizing that the law is based upon the truths of human...

Nigeria's Christians fearful of violence as presidential election approaches CWN - February 6, 2015

Nigeria’s Christians worry about the prospects of violence as the country prepares for presidential elections on February 14. “We want to hold free and fair elections without violence,”...

Religious leaders pledge join effort for peace in Central African Republic CWN - February 6, 2015

Christian and Muslim leaders from the Central African Republic have vowed to work together to end sectarian violence, the Fides news service reports. At a meeting in Rome, organized by the...

Italian Catholic charity sponsors recipe contest for inexpensive family meal CWN - February 6, 2015

Caritas, the Catholic charitable organization, has launched a contest in Italy for the best recipe that will provide a dinner for four people at a cost under €3 ($3.40). In preparation for the...

Canada's top court overturns ban on assisted suicide CWN - February 6, 2015

Canada's highest court has struck down the nation's law against physician-assisted suicide. In a unanimous ruling released on February 6, the Supreme Court said that the option for terminally ill...

Released Monday, Feb. 9

Exercise authority in service, Pope tells Italian officials CWN - February 9, 2015

Pope Francis received Italy’s interior minister and the prefects of several cities in audience on February 6. After thanking them for their work in receiving migrants, the Pope said that the...

Pope Francis reflects on roles, generativity, and exploitation of women CWN - February 9, 2015

Women and men have equal dignity but are not interchangeable, Pope Francis emphasized during a February 7 address to the Pontifical Council of Culture, whose members and consultors had gathered to...

Address structural causes of hunger, Pope tells officials CWN - February 9, 2015

Some 500 officials gathered in Milan on February 7 to work on a draft of the “Charter of Milan”—a document on hunger that Italy will present to the international community. In a video message,...

Pope calls upon laity to evangelize cities CWN - February 9, 2015

In a February 7 address to the Pontifical Council for the Laity, which gathered to reflect on the topic of “encountering God in the heart of the city,” Pope Francis called upon the lay faithful to...

Proclaim the Gospel with simplicity, Pope tells African bishops CWN - February 9, 2015

Pope Francis met with representatives of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar on February 7 and urged those in attendance to proclaim the Gospel. “To fulfill this...

Pontifical abuse commission studying bishops’ accountability CWN - February 9, 2015

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, led by Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, is discussing “accountability of bishops and working on policy recommendations for the Holy Father’s...

Pope Francis: bring the light of the Gospel to the sick CWN - February 9, 2015

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading at Mass (Mk. 1:29-39), Pope Francis said in his February 8 Angelus address that “Jesus shows a particular predilection for those who are wounded in body and in...

Pope prays for human trafficking victims CWN - February 9, 2015

At the conclusion of his February 8 Angelus address, Pope Francis prayed for victims of human trafficking. February 8, the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, was the first international day of...

Abuse commission members question Pope's statement on parents spanking children CWN - February 9, 2015

Members of a special papal commission on the sexual abuse of children took issue with public comments by Pope Francis on spanking, during a press conference on February 7. During his regular...

Catholic groups see clear religious-freedom violations in new local legislation for Washington, DC CWN - February 9, 2015

Two new pieces of legislation passed by the city council in Washington, DC, pose special threats to Catholic institutions, the Catholic News Agency notes. The Reproductive Health...

Pope visits shanty town outside Rome CWN - February 9, 2015

Pope Francis made a surprise visit to a shanty town on Sunday evening, February 9, during a visit to a parish on the outskirts of Rome. While traveling to the parish of San Michele Arcangelo, the...

Chinese authorities refuse to release body of deceased 'underground' bishop CWN - February 9, 2015

Chinese government officials have not returned the body of the late Bishop Cosma Shi Enxiang to his family, probably because of fears about the reaction among the Catholic faithful, the AsiaNews...

Chaldean bishops urge world leaders to 'liberate' lands controlled by Islamic State CWN - February 9, 2015

The bishops of the Chaldean Catholic Church have called upon the international community to “liberate the occupied territories” of Iraq from the Islamic State. Meeting in Baghdad, the Synod of...

German bishop, removed for excessive spending, will take new post at Vatican CWN - February 9, 2015

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, who was removed from his post in Germany’s Limburg diocese because of complaints over excessive spending, will soon take a new position with the Vatican’s...

Syrian Christians have been abandoned by the West, archbishop charges CWN - February 9, 2015

A Syrian archbishop reports that his people feel “forgotten, neglected, and betrayed by the West.” Archbishop Boutros Marayati, who leads the Armenian Catholic community in Aleppo, said that the...

Photo exhibit in Rome shows devastation of Syria CWN - February 9, 2015

Melkite Catholics in Rome have organized a photo exhibit to draw attention to the plight of Syria’s embattled Christians. The exhibit, on display near the Melkite basilica of St. Mary in...

Slovak voters overwhelmingly support male-female marriage, but referendum is not binding CWN - February 9, 2015

In Slovakia, a nationwide referendum to reinforce the legal definition of marriage won overwhelming approval on February 7. But the results will not be binding because the number of voters fell far...

Rome plans 'red light district' to regulate flourishing prostitution industry CWN - February 9, 2015

Rome’s Mayor Ignazio Marino has thrown his support behind a plan to establish a “red-light district” as a way of regulating the city’s flourishing business in prostitution. The plan calls for...

Nigerian bishops hope postponement of elections will help ensure peaceful vote, credible result CWN - February 9, 2015

Nigeria’s presidential election, scheduled for February 14, has been postponed, leaving citizens uncertain, the Fides news service reports. "Our hope is that this decision was made with good...

Released Tuesday, Feb. 10

Russian Orthodox official charged with treason CWN - February 10, 2015

Yevgeny Petrin, an official of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations, has been charged with treason for allegedly passing along information to the United States,...

Dutch diocese to close over 75% of parishes CWN - February 10, 2015

In the next three years, the number of parishes in the Dutch diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden will be reduced from 80 to 19, according to L’Osservatore Romano. Bishop Gerard de Korte, who has led...

Cardinal Muller sees curial reform as ‘purification of the temple’ CWN - February 10, 2015

In reforming the Roman Curia, Pope Francis is “pursuing a spiritual purification of the temple” so that God’s glory may be more resplendent in the Church, Cardinal Gerhard Müller said in an article...

India’s bishops: Christians are becoming ‘2nd-class citizens’ CWN - February 10, 2015

India’s Latin-rite bishops issued a statement expressing concerns about “a planned program that aims to reduce Christians to second-class citizens in our country.” Citing the recent burning of a...

5 churches desecrated in French diocese CWN - February 10, 2015

Five churches were desecrated in the eastern French Diocese of Bellay-Ars on February 6 and 7. In four of the churches, sacred vessels were stolen but the consecrated hosts were left in place. At...

Catholic Relief Services responds to allegation of support for pro-contraception program CWN - February 10, 2015

Catholic Relief Services, the US bishops’ relief and development agency, has responded to allegations made by the Lepanto Institute that it provided support for a sex-education program that...

Cardinal Becker dead at 86 CWN - February 10, 2015

Cardinal Karl Becker, a German Jesuit theologian, has died at the age of 86. Born in 1928, he joined the Society of Jesus in 1948 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1958. A professor at...

Vatican releases comprehensive guide for homilies CWN - February 10, 2015

The Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship has released a Homiletic Directory, designed to help priests improve their preaching. Introducing the new document at a February 10 news conference,...

Council of Cardinals meets, hones proposals on Vatican reforms CWN - February 10, 2015

The Council of Cardinals is meeting at the Vatican this week, to discuss reforms in the Roman Curia that will be presented to the full College of Cardinals. The meeting of the Council of...

Jesuit schools dominate list of Catholic schools hosting V-Monologues CWN - February 10, 2015

In an annual accounting of the colleges and universities that are hosting performances of The Vagina Monologues for Valentine's Day, the Cardinal Newman Society finds that the show will be staged on...

New research shows more emotional problems in children from same-sex households CWN - February 10, 2015

A new study published in a British journal shows that children raised in same-sex households are more prone to emotional and developmental problems. The study, released in the British Journal of...

Strong Vatican plea for peace in Ukraine CWN - February 10, 2015

The Vatican has issued a strong caution against escalating the conflict in Ukraine. In a statement released on February 10, Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office,...

Top Italian court finds no constitutional right to same-sex marriage CWN - February 10, 2015

Italy’s top appeals court has rejected a plea for legal recognition of same-sex marriage. The Court of Cassation ruled that nothing in Italy’s constitution requires government recognition of...

Italian bishop helps dedicate new Islamic cultural center CWN - February 10, 2015

An Italian bishop attended the opening of an Islamic cultural center in his diocese on February 9, and cautioned that religion must not be used as a pretext for violence. Speaking at the...

Released Wednesday, Feb. 11

Background: World Day of the Sick CWN - February 11, 2015

February 11 is the 23rd World Day of the Sick, a commemoration that was instituted by St. John Paul II and takes place each year on the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes. The title of Pope...

Iraqi prelate denies report of destruction of historic church CWN - February 11, 2015

Contrary to reports published by various news agencies, the Islamic State has not blown up the Church of the Immaculate Virgin in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, according to Mosul’s Chaldean...

Ukrainian Catholic bishops in US: pray, fast for peace CWN - February 11, 2015

The bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic eparchies in the United States have asked the priests, religious, and laity entrusted to their care to pray and fast for peace. The bishops requested...

Chaldean priest, once kidnapped and beaten, becomes bishop CWN - February 11, 2015

Father Basel Salim Yaldo, an Iraqi-born Chaldean Catholic priest who until recently ministered in Detroit, was ordained a bishop in Baghdad on February 6. He will serve in the patriarchal curial of...

‘Powerful’ military action needed to fight Islamic State, says prelate CWN - February 11, 2015

Describing US airstrikes are insufficient, the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Erbil urged British lawmakers to send ground troops to fight the Islamic State. “We don't have much time left as...

Pope laments low birthrate, emphasizes that children are a gift and a joy CWN - February 11, 2015

Continuing his series of Wednesday general audiences on the family, Pope Francis spoke on February 11 about children. “Children are the joy of family and society,” he said. “They are not a...

Report examines Jewish population trends in Europe CWN - February 11, 2015

The Pew Research Center has published a report on the continued decline in the number of European Jews. In 1939, as World War II began, there were 16.6 million Jews worldwide; that number fell to...

Vatican dismisses 'unreliable' reports of plot to assassinate Pope Francis CWN - February 11, 2015

The Vatican has tossed cold water on reports that police in the Philippines thwarted an attempt to assassinate Pope Francis during the Pontiff’s visit there in January. A military official in the...

'C9' prepares to brief College of Cardinals on Curial reform CWN - February 11, 2015

The Council of Cardinals (C9) has concluded its meetings this week, preparing to report to the entire College of Cardinals on its work on plans for reform in the Roman Curia. The College of...

Some Vatican offices resisting economic reforms, cardinal reports CWN - February 11, 2015

Some powerful Vatican offices have resisted plans for financial reforms, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier told the Catholic News Service. The South African cardinal, who is a member of the newly created...

New papal appeal to help migrants at peril in Mediterranean CWN - February 11, 2015

Pope Francis has again called attention to the plight of migrants crossing the Mediterranean in a bid to reach Europe. At the conclusion of his regular weekly public audience on February 11, the...

Chicago priest pleads guilty to conspiring with late Mafia boss CWN - February 11, 2015

A Catholic priest in Chicago has entered a guilty plea in a dramatic trial involving a deceased Mafia boss and a missing Stradivarius violin. Father Eugene Klein, a former prison chaplain, was...

Irish archbishop raps religious orders for slow implementation of sex-abuse policies CWN - February 11, 2015

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has said that he is “appalled” by the slow response of religious orders in Ireland to the implementation of new guidelines for the handling of sex-abuse...

Released Thursday, Feb. 12

Ukrainian criticism of Vatican’s reaction to Russian intervention CWN - February 12, 2015

Myroslav Marynovych, a vice rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University, has strongly criticized the Vatican’s position on the Russian military intervention in Ukraine. Before the collapse of the...

Number of Catholic healthcare, social-assistance institutions tops 115,000 CWN - February 12, 2015

There are now 115,352 Catholic healthcare and social assistance institutions worldwide, according to Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. These...

Holy See diplomat: the person should be at the center of UN development plans CWN - February 12, 2015

As the United Nations discusses post-2015 plans for international development, the Holy See’s permanent observer said that the person, not economic growth or the market, should be at the center of...

Typical new US religious: 37-year-old cradle Catholic with 3 or more siblings CWN - February 12, 2015

The typical religious who professed perpetual vows in 2014 is a 37-year-old cradle Catholic who has three or more siblings and who regularly prayed the Rosary and took part in Eucharistic adoration...

Ghana prelate backs Communion for divorce and remarried CWN - February 12, 2015

One of Ghana’s leading prelates has told the Crux website that he supports the distribution of Holy Communion, on a case-by-case basis decided by the bishop, to those in irregular...

Court rules in favor of Legion of Christ in case involving $60M will CWN - February 12, 2015

The Rhode Island Supreme Court has affirmed a lower court ruling that the niece of Gabrielle Mee does not have legal standing to challenge her late aunt’s will, in which she left $60 million to the...

Pope Francis speaks to cardinals on reform of the Roman Curia CWN - February 12, 2015

Pope Francis opened a two-day consistory of the College of Cardinals by speaking about the goals of the reform of the Roman Curia. “The goal to be reached is always that of promoting greater...

Curial reform plans unveiled: two new Vatican congregations proposed CWN - February 12, 2015

The College of Cardinals discussed proposals for reform of the Roman Curia at an extraordinary consistory beginning on February 12. Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, the chairman of the...

Benedict XVI has no regrets about resignation, private secretary reports CWN - February 12, 2015

Two years after he announced his resignation, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI remains mentally alert and has no regrets about his decision, his private secretary reports. Archbishop Georg Gänswein...

Former Blue Cross staff member to head US bishops’ PR efforts CWN - February 12, 2015

James Rogers, most recently executive director of public relations at Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, has been named executive director of public affairs of the United States Conference of...

Malnutrition widespread among children in Argentina, bishop charges CWN - February 12, 2015

An Argentine bishop has accused the country’s government of “manipulating statistics” to cover up a widespread problem with child malnutrition, the Fides news service reports. Bishop Jorge Lozano...

Nigerian bishop: next president must address divisions within country CWN - February 12, 2015

A Nigerian bishop has warned that the winner of the country’s presidential elections will face formidable challenges because of religious and regional divisions, and the failure of the incumbent...

Released Friday, Feb. 13

Report: prelate says Vatican does not recognize annexation of Crimea CWN - February 13, 2015

The bishop entrusted with the pastoral care of Latin-rite Catholics in Crimea said that the Vatican does not recognize the Russian annexation of the region, according to a report published by the...

Iranian VP meets with Pope, plans cooperation on family matters CWN - February 13, 2015

Pope Francis received Shahindokht Molaverdi, Iran's vice president for women's affairs, in a private audience on February 12. After the meeting, the Vatican announced that Iran would send a...

Border bishop offers House testimony on immigration legislation CWN - February 13, 2015

Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tuscon appeared before the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security on February 11 and testified against three immigration bills: the SAFE Act, the Asylum...

State court: calling homosexuality a disorder is like saying the earth is flat CWN - February 13, 2015

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Peter Bariso has ruled that Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH) committed fraud in offering conversion therapy to persons with homosexual...

French bishop orders removal of Blessed Sacrament from tabernacles CWN - February 13, 2015

In response to the desecration of ten parishes since October, including five on February 6-7, the bishop of Bellay-Ars has ordered the Blessed Sacrament removed from the tabernacles of all parish...

Palestinian Christian mayors travel to Vatican, discuss Cremisan Valley wall CWN - February 13, 2015

Three Palestinian Christian mayors, including the mayor of Bethlehem, met with the Vatican’s Secretary of State on February 11 and spoke about the harmful effects of the planned extension of the...

Syriac Catholic patriarch encourages Christians to stay in Middle East CWN - February 13, 2015

The head of the Syriac Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, celebrated the sacred liturgy in a Baghdad parish on February 8 and encouraged the beleaguered...

Cardinals continue discussion of Vatican reforms CWN - February 13, 2015

The College of Cardinals continued an in-depth discussion of Vatican reforms during the 2nd day of an extraordinary consistory on February 13. Briefing reporters about the discussions, Father...

Vatican officials join inter-religious activities in India CWN - February 13, 2015

The Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue has announced a series of events in India, promoting solidarity across religious lines in a country where Church leaders have complained of...

Benedict XVI will attend consistory CWN - February 13, 2015

Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI will attend the consistory at which Pope Francis will elevate 20 new members to the College of Cardinals on February 13. Pope Francis apparently asked his predecessor...

Islamic State announces killing of 21 kidnapped Egyptian Christians CWN - February 13, 2015

The Islamic State has announced the killing of 21 Eyptian Christians who were abducted from Libya early in January. A report issued on the internet by the Islamic State said that the Coptic...

Ukrainian Orthodox leader backs truce, asks prayers, decries conflicts among Christians CWN - February 13, 2015

Metropolitan Onufra of Kiev, the leader of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church aligned with the Moscow patriarchate, has called for fasting and prayer as a cease-fire begins in Ukraine on February...

Pope will not repeat special Mass for Italian parliament members CWN - February 13, 2015

Pope Francis celebrated a special Mass for Italian members of parliament last year, but he will not repeat the Mass this year, the ANSA news service reports. About 500 lawmakers attended the Mass...

Released Monday, Feb. 16

Pope creates 20 cardinals, exhorts them to be models of charity CWN - February 16, 2015

Pope Francis created 20 cardinals during a ceremony at St. Peter’s Basilica on February 14 and called upon them to exemplars of the virtue of charity. “You are ‘hinges’ and are ‘incardinated’ in...

Pope urges new cardinals: reach out to the marginalized with love CWN - February 16, 2015

“Our credibility is at stake, is discovered, and is revealed” in the decision to reach out with mercy to the marginalized, Pope Francis preached at a February 15 Mass concelebrated with the College...

Imitate Christ’s compassion for the sick, Pope tells faithful CWN - February 16, 2015

During his February 15 Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on the healing of the leper (Mk. 1:40-45) and called upon the faithful to imitate Christ’s compassion. “Christ's heart manifests the...

Pope thanks association for aid to the poor CWN - February 16, 2015

Pope Francis received members of the Association Pro Petri Sede in audience on February 16 and thanked them for their support for the Holy See’s efforts to assist the poor. “The growing number of...

Slain Copts hailed as martyrs for Christ CWN - February 16, 2015

Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak of Alexandria has described the 21 Copts slaughtered by the Islamic State as “martyrs who gave their lives for the faith.” The Coptic prelate's...

USCCB committee chair: support State Marriage Defense Act CWN - February 16, 2015

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, has called upon members of...

$400M Museum of the Bible being built in Washington CWN - February 16, 2015

Steven Green, the president of Hobby Lobby, is leading an effort to construct a Museum of the Bible in Washington. The Washington Post reported that the $400-million museum is scheduled to open...

Famous line of chocolates was named for Lourdes grotto CWN - February 16, 2015

Michele Ferrero, the confectioner who died last week at the age of 89, named his famous line of chocolates, Ferrero Rocher, after the grotto at Lourdes, the Catholic Herald reports. Ferrero, who...

Germany's Merkel to meet with Pope CWN - February 16, 2015

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican on February 21. A spokesman for the German leader said that she would speak with the Pope about inter-religious affairs,...

Church of Scotland delegation meets with Pope CWN - February 16, 2015

“The present state of ecumenical relations in Scotland clearly shows that what we, as Christians, hold in common is greater than all that divides us,” Pope Francis told leaders of the Church of...

As Islamic State advances in Libya, bishop vows to stay CWN - February 16, 2015

The apostolic vicar of Tripoli, Libya, has promised to remain with the faithful there, at a time when most foreigners are rushing to leave the embattled country. Bishop Giovanni Innocenzo...

Archbishop Chaput welcomes Pennsylvania governor's moratorium on capital punishment CWN - February 16, 2015

Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania has called a moratorium on the use of the death penalty in that state, drawing praise from Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Chaput. Citing that capital...

Tonga's royal couple meet with Pope CWN - February 16, 2015

Pope Francis met on February 16 with King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau’u Tuku’aho of Tonga. The royal couple from Tonga was in Rome for the consistory at which Cardinal Soane Patita Paini Mafi...

Vatican economics secretariat discovers $1.5 billion in unreported assets CWN - February 16, 2015

Cardinal George Pell reported the discovery of more than $1.5 billion in Vatican assets, in a report to the extraordinary consistory of cardinals on February 13. The Australian cardinal, who now...

Then-Cardinal Bergoglio phones tapped by Argentine government? CWN - February 16, 2015

Pope Francis suspected that his telephones were tapped by the Argentine government while he was serving as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, a city official has said. “Bergoglio told me many times...

Cardinal DiNardo foresees no change on Communion for divorce-remarried Catholics CWN - February 16, 2015

The vice-president of the US bishops’ conference doubts that the Synod of Bishops will approve a change in the Church’s rule that bars divorced-and-remarried Catholics from receiving the...

Released Tuesday, Feb. 17

USCCB committee chair calls for congressional action on Cremisan Valley CWN - February 17, 2015

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace has asked Congress to call upon Israel not to extend the Israeli West Bank barrier...

Pope prays for Christians slain in Libya CWN - February 17, 2015

During his morning Mass on February 17, Pope Francis prayed for the Coptic Christians who were beheaded in Libya. “We offer this Mass for our 21 Coptic brothers, slaughtered for the sole motive...

Be pure of heart, Pope says in message to youth CWN - February 17, 2015

Pope Francis has devoted his 2015 World Youth Day message to the theme of purity of heart. In the years between the major international gatherings, World Youth Day is celebrated locally on Palm...

South Africa’s bishops decry parliamentary chaos CWN - February 17, 2015

South Africa’s bishops have decried the chaos that erupted in the nation’s parliament during President Jacob Zuma’s recent state of the union address. Members of parliament from an opposing...

Report: Islamic State bans Valentine’s Day CWN - February 17, 2015

Describing Valentine’s Day as an “infidel Christian holiday,” Islamic State jihadists banned the commemoration of the day in Mosul, according to a report from the Fides news agency. Patrols in...

Leading Ukrainian prelate issues letter on war CWN - February 17, 2015

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, has issued a letter to his priests on war. “The defense of the homeland is the right and duty of every...

Vatican economic reform plans meeting resistance, leading Italian journalist reports CWN - February 17, 2015

Cardinal George Pell has encountered resistance from other Vatican officials in his effort to bring all Vatican financial affairs under the supervision of his Secretariat for the Economy, reports...

Centre for Child Protection opens offices in Rome, expands its services CWN - February 17, 2015

The Centre for Child Protection, inaugurated to help prevent the sexual abuse of minors, has opened offices in Rome, where it will work in conjunction with the papal commission no sexual...

Cardinal Zen sees Vatican-Beijing accord unlikely CWN - February 17, 2015

Cardinal Joseph Zen argues that there is no good reason to anticipate an agreement between the Holy See and the government of China, in an article written for the AsiaNews service. The retired...

Vatican opens weekly haircuts-for-homeless service CWN - February 17, 2015

Homeless people lined up for free haircuts and shaves at the Vatican on February 17, as a program begun by Pope Francis was inaugurated. Each Monday, volunteer barbers will provide haircuts....

Catholic aid group commits $2.8 million to help Christians in Syria CWN - February 17, 2015

The international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has pledged $2.8 in emergency aid Christians in Syria. In announcing the pledge, ACN noted that the embattled...

Released Wednesday, Feb. 18

Vatican Secretary of State calls for international intervention in Libya CWN - February 18, 2015

The Vatican’s Secretary of State has called for urgent action to restore peace in Libya, “but any armed intervention must be undertaken under the framework of international law.” Cardinal Pietro...

Restore the bonds of brotherhood, Pope urges audience CWN - February 18, 2015

At his weekly public audience on February 18, Pope Francis continued his series of talks on the family, speaking about the bonds that tie together brothers and sisters. Remarking that “being...

Copts died in Libya with the name of Jesus on their lips, bishop testifies CWN - February 18, 2015

The Coptic Christians who were slaughtered by the Islamic State died with the name of Jesus on their lips, an Egyptian Catholic bishop told the Fides news service. Bishop Anba Antonios Aziz Mina,...

Sex-abuse problem still pressing, Cardinal O'Malley says CWN - February 18, 2015

The president of the new papal commission on sexual abuse warned that it would be a mistake to think of the sex-abuse scandal as a matter of the past, in a February 17 talk at the opening of the...

Pope pleads for peace in Libya, Ukraine CWN - February 18, 2015

Pope Francis renewed his appeal for peace in Ukraine, and added a prayer for Libya, at the close of his regular weekly audience on February 18. The Pope asked the faithful to pray for “our...

Indian prime minister finally speaks out on anti-Christian violence CWN - February 18, 2015

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, responding at last to pleas from Church leaders, has spoken out against acts of anti-Christian violence. "We cannot accept violence against any religion on...

California lawmakers rap San Francisco archdiocesan policies for high-school teachers CWN - February 18, 2015

Eight California legislators have issued a public appeal to San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, asking him to revoke a requirement for Catholic high-school teachers to show respect for...

Vatican security 'very high,' Italian government minister reports CWN - February 18, 2015

Security precautions around the Vatican are “very high,” Italy’s interior minister has disclosed. Angelino Alfano, speaking to reporters on February 17 after a meeting with Vatican officials,...

Pope thanks Italian coast guard for rescue operations with migrants CWN - February 18, 2015

Pope Francis met on February 17 with a delegation from the Italian coast guard, thanking them for their work in rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean. The Pontiff spent 45 minutes on Tuesday...

Chaldean Patriarch asks Iraq's Muslims to join Christians in Lenten prayers for peace CWN - February 18, 2015

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako has asked Muslims to join Christians in fasting during Lent, and to unite in prayer for peace in Iraq. In his Lenten message, sent to the Fides...

Italian, Vatican officials meet to mark anniversary of Lateran Pacts CWN - February 18, 2015

Vatican officials met with Italian government leaders on February 18, marking the 86th anniversary of the Lateran Pacts, which established the status of the Vatican city-state. Signed in 1929 and...

Norwegian Muslims will form human cordon to protect Oslo synagogue CWN - February 18, 2015

In Oslo, Norway, a Muslim group has committed to circle a synagogue in a human “ring of peace,” in a show of solidarity with the city’s Jews after attacks on Jewish communities elsewhere in...

Asian Catholics dispensed from fasting as Ash Wednesday clashes with Lunar New Year CWN - February 18, 2015

Many Asian Catholics have been dispensed from the rules of fasting and abstinence on Ash Wednesday this year, because the Lunar New Year falls on the same date. Many Asian dioceses have announced...

Boston archdiocese, in real-estate deal, seeks income stream from unused property CWN - February 18, 2015

The Boston archdiocese has signed an agreement with a real-estate developer who plans to build a high-rise apartment building on the site currently occupied by the parking lot of the archdiocesan...

Cologne archdiocese discloses assets of over $3.8 billion CWN - February 18, 2015

The Archdiocese of Cologne, Germany, has reported financial assets of €3.5 billion ($3.82 billion) in a first-ever public accounting of its wealth. The Cologne archdiocese has long been...

Brazilian bishops open annual Lenten campaign CWN - February 18, 2015

The Catholic bishops of Brazil have opened the 52nd annual Campaign for Fraternity, a program that is run each year during Lent. In a message to the Brazilian bishops, welcoming the annual...

Islamic State harvesting human organs for revenue? CWN - February 18, 2015

Iraq's ambassador to the UN has charged that leaders of the Islamic State (ISIS) are harvesting human organs as a source of revenue. Mohamed Alhakim told the Security Council that in mass graves...

Detroit archdiocese completes move to new headquarters CWN - February 18, 2015

The Detroit archdiocese has completed relocation of its chancery offices to a building in the Capitol Park district. The central offices of the archdiocese, with 183 employees, now occupy leased...

Released Thursday, Feb. 19

Return to the Lord, Pope says in Ash Wednesday homily CWN - February 19, 2015

Pope Francis took part in a penitential procession on Ash Wednesday and celebrated Mass at the Basilica of Saint Sabina at the Aventine. “To return to the Lord with all one’s heart means taking...

Nuncio: Russian annexation of Crimea is ‘gross violation’ of law CWN - February 19, 2015

In an interview with La Stampa’s Vatican Insider and in a post on his blog, Archbishop Thomas Gullickson, the apostolic nuncio in Ukraine, appealed for aid to Ukraine and lamented Russia’s...

Southern African bishops denounce human trafficking CWN - February 19, 2015

The bishops of South Africa, Botswana, and Swaziland have issued a pastoral letter denouncing human trafficking. After quoting statements by the last three popes, the president of the Southern...

Holy See diplomat weighs in on UN’s post-2015 development agenda CWN - February 19, 2015

Archbishop Bernardito Auza, apostolic nuncio and permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, took part in a recent UN discussion on the body’s post-2015 development agenda. The...

Mexican bishops decry corruption CWN - February 19, 2015

Stating that “the gravity of the problem demands radical and immediate solutions,” the Mexican Episcopal Conference has issued a statement denouncing corruption. “The poor are those who pay the...

India’s prime minister calls for religious toleration CWN - February 19, 2015

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a member of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, called for religious toleration in a February 17 address honoring the recent canonization of two...

Cardinal Kasper: Pope Francis is a ‘radical,’ not a ‘liberal’ CWN - February 19, 2015

L’Osservatore Romano has published excerpts from a new book by Cardinal Walter Kasper on Pope Francis. Pope Francis, writes the retired president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian...

Pope emphasizes need for reverence in liturgy, at meeting with priests of Rome CWN - February 19, 2015

Pope Francis concentrated on the need for reverence in the sacred liturgy, as he met on February 19 with priests of the Rome diocese. After being introduced by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the...

Cardinal Marx questions Cardinal Pell's statement on Vatican assets CWN - February 19, 2015

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich has questioned the wisdom of Cardinal George Pell’s recent announcement that the Vatican has $1.5 billion in previously unreported financial assets. Cardinal...

New approach to intellectual-property rights needed in medical field, Vatican delegate tells UN CWN - February 19, 2015

The Vatican’s representative at UN offices in Geneva has argued that a “creative and innovative approach” to intellectual-property rights is needed in order to ensure that medicines and medical...

Christians in Middle East living the Way of the Cross, Melkite Patriarch says CWN - February 19, 2015

Christians in the Middle East are experiencing “the fifth year of the Way of the Cross,” Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregory III Laham said in his Lenten message. The Melkite Patriarch said that...

Rival Ukrainian Orthodox groups at odds over government's battle with separatists CWN - February 19, 2015

Two groups competing for leadership of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine are in open conflict over the government’s battle with separatists, the AsiaNews service reports. Patriarch Filaret, who...

Swiss Guard ready to counter Islamic threat, new commandant says CWN - February 19, 2015

The new leader of the Swiss Guard has said that his men are prepared to defend Pope Francis from Islamic terrorists. Colonel Christoph Graf, who was appointed earlier this month as commandant of...

New York Times recounts sex-abuse scandal in Spanish archdiocese CWN - February 19, 2015

The New York Times news service carries a report from the Archdiocese of Granada, Spain, where a sex-abuse investigation resulted in criminal indictments of 10 Catholic priests. The investigation...

Without God, successful life can be total failure, Pope says CWN - February 19, 2015

“A person can earn everything, but in the end become a failure,” Pope Francis reminded his congregation at daily Mass on February 19. In his homily the Pope remarked that Lent is a good time to...

South Sudan: bishop welcomes postponement of elections CWN - February 19, 2015

A Cathoilc bishop in South Sudan has welcomed the postponement of elections that had been scheduled for June. In a radio interview, Bishp Edward Hiiboro Kusala of Tombura-Yambio said that the...

Cardinal Bertone, in interview, defends record, comments on Vatican policies CWN - February 19, 2015

In a lengthy interview with the Huffington Post (!), Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the former Vatican Secretary of State, defends his record in that office and rebuts claims that he is now living in a...

Released Friday, Feb. 20

Judge rules against florist in same-sex wedding case CWN - February 20, 2015

A judge in the State of Washington has ruled that a Christian florist violated a state anti-discrimination law when she refused to arrange flowers for a same-sex wedding. The Associated Press,...

France: over 200 cemeteries vandalized in 2014 CWN - February 20, 2015

Over 200 cemeteries in France were vandalized or desecrated in 2014, according to a French television report. Citing the nation’s interior minister, the report stated that 206 Christian...

Ecumenical Patriarch: Orthodoxy is the ‘green Church par excellence’ CWN - February 20, 2015

As he received an honorary degree at a Turkish university, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople reflected on peacemaking, ecology, and the economy. “Orthodoxy is committed to ecology; it is...

Cardinal Bergoglio on the celebration of the Mass CWN - February 20, 2015

L’Osservatore Romano has published comments made by the future Pope Francis on the celebration of the Mass. The March 2005 address was delivered during a meeting of the Congregation for Divine...

Prelate emphasizes: Ukraine conflict is invasion, not civil war CWN - February 20, 2015

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church emphasized that Ukraine is not experiencing a civil war but a foreign invasion. “We have an aggression of a foreign country against the Ukrainian...

India: bishops’ conference calls for action on religious toleration CWN - February 20, 2015

A spokesman for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India has welcomed a call for religious toleration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a member of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata...

Report: 30% of Kenyan vaccine samples contained sterility-inducing antigen CWN - February 20, 2015

A report issued by the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops has found that 30% of tested tetanus vaccine samples included a sterility-inducing antigen. The vaccine, funded by the World Health...

European bishops' conference lament rise of nationalist parties, skepticism about EU CWN - February 20, 2015

An organization of European Catholic bishops has issued a statement lamenting the recent success of nationalist political parties in Europe. COMECE, the Commission of Episcopal Conferences of the...

Vatican initiative encourages Confession, making priests available in churches on March 13 CWN - February 20, 2015

The Vatican has announced plans for a worldwide initiative to encourage Catholics toward sacramental Confession and Eucharistic adoration. Pope Francis will lead the initiative, entitled “24...

Vatican pension fund is solvent, auditors assure CWN - February 20, 2015

The managers of the Vatican pension fund have issued a public assurance that the fund is on a solid financial footing, counteracting fears that arose after Cardinal George Pell revealed that the...

Police in Delhi promise special patrols to protect Christian churches CWN - February 20, 2015

Police in Delhi, India, have announced plans to monitor security daily at Christian churches and schools, in response to a series of attacks on Church properties. After a series of break-ins,...

Venezuelan government 'trampling rule of law,' archbishop charges CWN - February 20, 2015

A Venezuelan archbishop has said that the arrest of a leading political figure is evidence of dictatorial control, and the destruction of democratic rule in Venezuela. Archbishop Roberto Lückert...

Newark archdiocese removes reference to archbishop in title of annual fundraising appeal CWN - February 20, 2015

The Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, has removed a reference to Archbishop John Myers from an annual fundraising appeal, perhaps responding to criticism that the archbishop received over reports...

Pope backs peace in Ukraine, avoids criticism of Russia, in meeting with country's bishops CWN - February 20, 2015

Pope Francis expressed his solidarity with the people affected by continued violence in Ukraine, but stopped short of condemning Russian-backed separatists, in meetings with the country’s bishops on...

Coptic Catholics, remembering martyrs in Libya, dedicate new church in Sinai CWN - February 20, 2015

Coptic Catholics paid tribute to the 21 Copts killed in Libya, as they dedicated the first Catholic church to open in Sinai. “The Church in Egypt has been strengthened by the murder of our...

Archbishop Cordileone responds to legislators, defends school policy CWN - February 20, 2015

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has released an open letter, responding to eight California lawmakers who joined in criticizing his new policy requiring Catholic high-school teachers to show respect...

Released Monday, Feb. 23

Pope calls for public conversion of those involved in organized crime CWN - February 23, 2015

Pope Francis received pilgrims from an Italian diocese he visited in June and renewed his call for the conversion of those involved in organized crime. “External gestures of religiosity that are...

Poverty, Ukraine, among topics of meeting between Pope, Merkel CWN - February 23, 2015

Pope Francis received Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany in audience on February 21 and discussed “poverty and hunger, the exploitation of human beings and the rights of women, and the challenges...

Egypt’s leading Muslim cleric condemns killing of Christians CWN - February 23, 2015

The grand mufti of Egypt, Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam, has strongly condemned the murder of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya by Islamic State militants, according to regional news...

Lent is a time of spiritual combat, Pope emphasizes CWN - February 23, 2015

Emphasizing that Lent is a time of “spiritual combat against the spirit of evil,” Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel account of the temptation of Jesus during his Sunday Angelus address of...

Pope, Curia begin Lenten retreat CWN - February 23, 2015

Pope Francis and members of the Roman Curia have begun their Lenten retreat, which is taking place from February 22 to 27 at a retreat house in Ariccia, a small city near the outskirts of...

Indian Jesuit freed from captivity in Afghanistan CWN - February 23, 2015

Father Alexis Prem Kumar, who was kidnapped in June while visiting a school for refugee children in Afghanistan, has been released from captivity. Father Kumar served as Afghanistan director for...

Syrian Orthodox priest released CWN - February 23, 2015

A Syrian Orthodox priest detained by Kurdish forces in Syria on February 16 has been released. The detention of Father Gabriel Daoud and at least 11 other Syrian Christians “would appear to be...

Armenian saint named Doctor of the Church CWN - February 23, 2015

St. Gregory of Narek, an Armenian Catholic monk who lived in what is now Turkey and died in 1005, has been named by Pope Francis a Doctor of the Church. Born in Narek in 950, St. Gregory spent...

Egyptians returning from Libya report forced labor, torture by Islamic militants CWN - February 23, 2015

Egyptian laborers returning from Libya have said that they were kidnapped and forced into slave labor by Islamic militants, the AsiaNews service reports. Some of the returning Egyptians said that...

Ukrainian Church leader: 'we expect the whole Christian world to take our side' CWN - February 23, 2015

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk has insisted that the struggle in Ukraine is the result of “direct aggression and invasion,” and not a civil war. The leader of the Byzantine-rite Ukrainian...

Iraqi Patriarch: Libyan conflict is a 'trap;' Europe should stay out CWN - February 23, 2015

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako has warned that the spreading violence in Libya is a “trap” set by the Islamic State, and said that Italy should resist the temptation toward military...

British lawmaker raps European bishops' group, defends nationalist parties CWN - February 23, 2015

A British lawmaker has reacted angrily to a statement from a group of European Catholic bishops who denounced the rise of nationalist parties. Steven Woolfe, a member of the European Parliament,...

Released Tuesday, Feb. 24

Ukraine’s leading Latin-rite prelate discusses meeting with Pope CWN - February 24, 2015

Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki of Lviv, Ukraine’s leading Latin-rite prelate, reflected on recent meetings with Pope Francis and curial officials that took place during the Ukrainian bishops’...

ISIS militants ‘demonize Islam,’ says Russian patriarch CWN - February 24, 2015

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of the largest Orthodox church, met with the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Antioch and said that Islamic State militants “demonize Islam in the eyes of the whole...

New Zealand’s bishops welcome decision to send troops to Iraq CWN - February 24, 2015

New Zealand’s bishops have welcomed Prime Minister John Key’s decision to send troops to Iraq. “Pope Francis has said that it is ‘licit to stop an unjust aggressor,’” said Cardinal John Dew. “If...

At least 100 Christians seized in Syria after Islamic State offensive CWN - February 24, 2015

Militants of the Islamic State have abducted at least 100 Christians from Syrian villages. The Reuters news service reported that Kurdish forces, assisted by US airstrikes, are battling with...

Philippine archbishop calls for president’s removal CWN - February 24, 2015

A Philippine prelate has been accused of sedition after calling for the removal of President Benigno Aquino III. “We are asking him to step down because we think he is not entitled to that...

Mexican government protests reported papal comment on ‘Mexicanization’ CWN - February 24, 2015

La Alameda, an Argentine NGO opposed to drug trafficking, published a note attributed to Pope Francis in which the Pontiff reportedly expressed concern about “Mexicanization”-- leading to a protest...

European bishops’ organization criticizes surrogacy CWN - February 24, 2015

A working group of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) has published a document criticizing surrogacy as a “frontal assault on fundamental shared EU...

President Obama issues statement on Lent CWN - February 24, 2015

President Barack Obama has issued a brief statement on Lent. “Lent is a season of sacrifice and preparation, repentance and renewal,” he said in his Ash Wednesday statement. “Through...

English bishops urge participation in national elections CWN - February 24, 2015

The Catholic bishops of England have encouraged their people to participate in coming national elections, after having carefully considered the moral issues raised in the campaign. In an open...

Oklahoma priest removed from post after civil marriage CWN - February 24, 2015

An Oklahoma priest who was recently removed from his pastoral assignment had entered into a civil marriage. Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City said: “After I removed Father Dan Letourneau...

Coptic Church mobilizing to evacuate Egyptians from Libya CWN - February 24, 2015

The Coptic Orthodox Church has established a “crisis unit” to help evacuate all Egypts still living in Libya, the Fides news service reports. The crisis unit, under the direction of the secretary...

Islamic State destroys public library in Mosul CWN - February 24, 2015

The forces of the Islamic State have demolished the public library in Mosul, Iraq, and the thousands of volumes it contained. The library in Mosul had been looted and vandalized after the US...

Beatification cause opened for former head of Knights of Malta CWN - February 24, 2015

A formal cause has been opened for the beatification of the late Fra Andrew Bertie, the 78th Grand Master of the Knights of Malta. Fra Andrew Bertie became the head of the Sovereign Military...

Released Wednesday, Feb. 25

Vatican issues statement on Pope’s ‘Mexicanization’ comment CWN - February 25, 2015

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Holy See Press Office, has confirmed that Pope Francis used the phrase “to avoid Mexicanization” in a recent private note. The use of the term...

Report: Islamic State burns down 4 Syrian churches CWN - February 25, 2015

While kidnapping residents from Christian villages in northeastern Syria, militants from the Islamic State burned down at least four Christian churches, according to the Assyrian International News...

Thousands of Egyptians flee Libya CWN - February 25, 2015

An estimated 20,000 Egyptians have fled Libya for Egypt in the ten days since jihadists from the Islamic State beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, according to the Associated Press. In addition, an...

Ukrainian Catholic leader pays tribute to slain Euromaidan protestors CWN - February 25, 2015

One year after Euromaidan protests led to the removal of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church paid tribute to those slain during the...

Church should present moral teaching with sensitivity, says Dublin archbishop CWN - February 25, 2015

Speaking on the hopes and challenges facing the Church in Ireland, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin called for a greater sense of community and for sensitivity in presenting Church...

Chinese authorities still refuse to release body of deceased ‘underground’ bishop CWN - February 25, 2015

Nearly a month after Chinese officials said that Bishop Cosma Shi Enxiang was dead, his relatives are still waiting for his remains. “All we want is to be able to bury him,” his nephew said....

Report finds increasing hostility to religious expression in US CWN - February 25, 2015

A report issued by the Liberty Institute found an increase in legal, school-related, and employment-related attacks on religious expression in 2014. The institute, based in Texas, describes...

American missionary kidnapped in Nigeria CWN - February 25, 2015

An American Methodist missionary was kidnapped by five gunmen in Nigeria on February 24. Phyllis Sortor, 70, has worked for years to bring clean drinking water to villages. NBC reported that a...

Mosque torched near Bethlehem; militant Jews suspected CWN - February 25, 2015

A mosque was torched near Bethlehem on February 25, the AsiaNews service reports. Militant Israeli settlers are suspected of the crime. A fire was set in the mosque overnight, and graffiti were...

Ghana archbishop makes 'daring' suggestion that 'power of the keys' could allow remarriage CWN - February 25, 2015

An archbishop from Ghana suggested that the Church might explore using “the power of the keys” to release spouses from their marital vows, in an interview with Aleteia. “It is daring to say what...

Parliament defeats bid to outlaw sex-selection abortion in UK CWN - February 25, 2015

The British Parliament has voted down a bid to outlaw sex-selection abortion. By a vote of 292- 201, Parliament defeated a measure that would have explicitly banned abortions performed solely to...

Filipino bishops split on call for ouster of president CWN - February 25, 2015

Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, the retired Archbishop of Cebu, has joined with civil leaders in the Philippines in a “National Transformation Council,” calling for the removal of President Benigno Aquino,...

Preacher at Vatican Lenten Retreat: face the truths about ourselves CWN - February 25, 2015

Reflecting on the example of the prophet Elijah, the preacher at the Vatican Lenten Retreat called upon Pope Francis and the leaders of the Roman Curia to let “the deepest truth about ourselves come...

San Francisco archbishop not backing down on policies for Catholic-school teachers CWN - February 25, 2015

After the San Francisco Chronicle issued a report claiming that Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone plans to rescind a plan to treat parochial-school teachers as “ministers,” the San Francisco...

Synod office reportedly blocked delivery of book challenging Kasper proposal CWN - February 25, 2015

The Vatican’s Office of the Synod intercepted mail to prevent delivery of a book to bishops participating in last October’s session of the Synod, journalist Edward Pentin reports. Remaining in...

Indian archbishop thanks prime minister for role in release of kidnapped Jesuit CWN - February 25, 2015

Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi has thanked India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his role in the release of Father Alexis Prem Kumar, the Jesuit priest who was freed this week after eight months...

Homeless man to be buried in Vatican cemetery CWN - February 25, 2015

A homeless man will be buried in a Vatican cemetery, in an unprecedented gesture approved by Pope Francis, Italian media report. Willy Herteller, a homeless man of Flemish origin, had frequently...

Released Thursday, Feb. 26

Islamic State begins killing hostages; 5,000 Christians flee in Syria CWN - 13 hours ago

The Islamic State has begun killing some of the 150 or more Christians taken hostage after the capture of several villages in northeast Syria, Aid to the Church in Need reports. Meanwhile an...

Ukrainian Catholic leader: Ukrainians ‘hurt’ by Pope’s description of war CWN - 12 hours ago

Emphasizing that Ukraine is not experiencing “a local conflict, but an external assault,” the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church said at a press conference that he has told Pope Francis...

Leading Russian Orthodox official sees Russia as ‘only center of non-enslaved civilization’ CWN - 12 hours ago

Describing much of Europe as “Babylon,” the chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Synodal Department for the Cooperation of Church and Society said that “Russia is the only center of non-[en]slaved...

USCCB: support Health Care Conscience Rights Act CWN - 11 hours ago

The bishops who chair the chair the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty have called upon members of Congress to...

Judge sides with Catholic agency, rules ‘polyamory’ is not a protected orientation CWN - 11 hours ago

Siding with a Catholic agency, an Australian judge has ruled that “polyamory,” or having multiple partners, is a behavior rather than a protected orientation under Australian anti-discrimination...

House of Lords approves 3-parent babies CWN - 11 hours ago

Following a vote by the House of Lords, the United Kingdom has become the first nation to permit an in-vitro fertilization technique that allows for the production of human embryos with three...

Vatican foundation announces ‘economy and society’ book prize winners CWN - 10 hours ago

At a Vatican press conference, officials of the Centesimus Annus - Pro Pontifice Foundation announced the winners of the biennial “economy and society” book award. Named after St. John Paul II’s...

Jerusalem: Orthodox seminary torched, Jewish extremists suspected CWN - 1 hours ago

An Orthodox theological seminary in Jerusalem was torched on February 26, in the latest of a series of attacks on Christian and Muslim institutions. Along with setting fire to a building, the...

US bishops' spokesman welcomes FCC vote on 'internet neutrality' CWN - 1 hours ago

The chairman of the US bishops’ communications committee has welcome a highly controversial vote by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to expand the federal government’s control over the...

Profile of homeless man buried in Vatican cemetery CWN - 1 hours ago

Vatican Radio has profiled the late Willy Herteller, the homeless man whose remains have been buried in a Vatican cemetery. Herteller, who often begged outside St. Peter’s basilica, was a regular...

Cardinal Pell on marriage, divorce, and Henry VIII CWN - 1 hours ago

Cardinal George Pell makes a short, powerful argument against changing the Church’s discipline regarding the divorce and remarriage, in a commentary posted on The Catholic Thing. After mentioning...

Syrian Christians feel abandoned, papal nuncio reports CWN - 1 hours ago

Syrian Christians feel abandoned by the world, the apostolic nuncio in Damascus has told Vatican Radio. Archbishop Mario Zenari said that fearful Syrian Christians have seen no improvement in the...

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