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Catholic World News

Stories for December 2014

Released Tuesday, Dec. 2

Archbishop Cupich speaks on Holy Communion for pro-abortion politicians CWN - December 2, 2014

During an appearance on the television news show Face the Nation, Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago appeared to say that he would allow the reception of Holy Communion by pro-abortion politicians....

Boko Haram escalates terror campaign in Nigeria; Christian town attacked CWN - December 2, 2014

Militants have attacked the northeastern Nigerian town of Shani, a largely Christian town in Borno State. The Islamist movement Boko Haram, whose campaign of terror has displaced one million...

Problems for Iraq’s Christian refugees are ‘totally overwhelming,’ says nun CWN - December 2, 2014

The prioress of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena in Iraq has described the difficult circumstances of refugees who have fled the advance of the Islamic State. “After four months of...

Jerusalem vicar: coexistence of Hebrew, Arab Catholics is sign of hope for Holy Land CWN - December 2, 2014

Amid rising tensions between Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem, the patriarchal vicar for Hebrew-speaking Catholics said that the coexistence of Hebrew and Arab Catholics speaking the truth is...

Ukrainian Catholic leader: ‘as long as we are on the side of good, we are invincible’ CWN - December 2, 2014

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the largest of the Eastern Catholic churches in full communion with the Holy See, recently marked the first anniversary of Euromaidan, the wave of...

Central African Republic’s ‘descent into hell’ continues, bishops say CWN - December 2, 2014

The armed conflict in the Central African Republic that began two years ago ushered in a “descent into hell” that continues to this day, the nation’s bishops said in an Advent message. “The...

Church in the Philippines begins Year of the Poor CWN - December 2, 2014

With the beginning of the new liturgical year, the Church in the Philippines commemorates a Year of the Poor-- the third of a novena of years in preparation for the 500th anniversary of Gospel’s...

European Court sets rules for determining if applicant for asylum is homosexual CWN - December 2, 2014

The European Court of Justice has set standards by which member-states of the European Union may determine whether an applicant for asylum is a homosexual. The Court issued its ruling in a case...

Catholic group, Palestinian families oppose plan for Israel security wall CWN - December 2, 2014

A Catholic human-rights organization in the Holy Land is forcefully opposing plans by the Israeli defense ministry to build a security wall through land in the Cremisan Valley that includes the...

World religious leaders join Pope in call for eradication of slavery CWN - December 2, 2014

Pope Francis has led a group of the world’s religious leaders in signing a declaration calling for the complete elimination of slavery. In a December 2 ceremony at the Vatican, the Pontiff was...

Arson attack on Catholic church in New Delhi raises tensions among India's Catholics CWN - December 2, 2014

An arson attack on a church in New Delhi has raised new fears that India’s Catholics are the targets of violence. “The arson attack should be strongly condemned,” said Cardinal Oswald Gracias of...

Chilean study shows maternal death declined sharply after abortion ban CWN - December 2, 2014

Since banning abortion in 1989, Chile has seen a sharp decline in the rate of maternal deaths, a new study has shown. Proponents of legal abortion often argue that bans on the practice increase...

Cardinal Scola: Pope will reject Communion for divorced-remarried CWN - December 2, 2014

Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan has told an Italian newspaper that he feels sure Pope Francis will not accept a proposal to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion. In an...

Cardinal Bertone, former Secretary of State, marks 80th birthday: ineligible for conclave CWN - December 2, 2014

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the former Vatican Secretary of State, celebrated his 80th birthday on December 2 and is no longer eligible to participate in a papal conclave. Cardinal Bertone retains...

Irish police investigating vandals' attack on 'Carrauntoohil Cross' CWN - December 2, 2014

Irish police are studying a video apparently made by vandals who cut down a 16-foot metal cross that stood on the highest point in Ireland. The video, which was sent to reporters, showed a man...

Dominican prosecutor pleased with Vatican's handling of case against former nuncio CWN - December 2, 2014

The chief prosecutor of the Dominican Republic has expressed satisfaction with the Vatican’s conduct of a criminal case against Josef Wesolowski, the laicized archbishop and former papal nuncio to...

Two new congregations 'certain' in Vatican reform proposal, Cardinal Maradiaga says CWN - December 2, 2014

The chairman of the Council of Cardinals has confirmed that a reform of the Roman Curia will call for two new congregations: one for the laity and one for charitable affairs. Cardinal Oscar...

Islamic State converts Mosul churches into prisons CWN - December 2, 2014

The Islamic State has begun using some of the Christian churches in the city of Mosul as prisons, the Fides news service reports. Reports from the city in northern Iraq indicate that prisoners...

Finland's parliament approves same-sex marriage CWN - December 2, 2014

Lawmakers in Finland have approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. By a vote of 105 to 92, the Finnish parliament moved to bring their country into line with the other nations of...

Franciscan leader fears growing religious tensions in Israeli-Palestinian conflict CWN - December 2, 2014

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is taking on unsettling religious overtones, reports the head of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. In a conversation with Aid to the Church in Need, Father...

Released Wednesday, Dec. 3

Al-Shabaab kills 36 Christians in Kenya CWN - December 3, 2014

The Islamist terrorist organization al-Shabaab, which is based in Somalia, has killed 36 Christian quarry workers in neighboring Kenya. On December 2, the militants “roused the sleeping workers...

Russian Orthodox spokesman comments on Pope’s wish for meeting with patriarch CWN - December 3, 2014

Responding to Pope Francis’s stated desire to meet with Patriarch Kirill whenever the Russian prelate is ready, a spokesman for the Moscow patriarchate criticized the Ukrainian Greek Catholic...

Singapore prelate emphasizes evangelization, Marian devotion CWN - December 3, 2014

The December 3 edition of L’Osservatore Romano drew attention to the work of Archbishop William Goh of Singapore, who has opened a theological institute and emphasized evangelization since his...

1st Catholic radio station in Pakistan CWN - December 3, 2014

The Archdiocese of Karachi has launched the first Catholic radio station in Pakistan, where Christians face discrimination and persecution. “One can use mass media to evangelize,” said Father...

Church in Brazil begins Year of Peace CWN - December 3, 2014

Citing widespread violence, including over 56,000 homicides in 2012, the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil has begun a year devoted to peace. The year, approved unanimously at the bishops’...

‘Massive’ pro-life march in Chile CWN - December 3, 2014

Chilean pro-lifers joined in a march, described as “massive” by the episcopal conference, took place in the nation’s 3rd-largest city. Citing the lack of respect for human life worldwide, from...

Vatican spokesman denies account of pre-conclave lobbying CWN - December 3, 2014

Austen Ivereigh, a British writer who once served as Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor’s spokesman, asserted in a new book that the English prelate, joined by Cardinals Karl Lehmann, Walter Kasper,...

Pope, at audience, recalls trip to Turkey CWN - December 3, 2014

Pope Francis devoted his December 3 general audience to his recent apostolic journey to Turkey. “It is forgetfulness of God, and not His glorification, that generates violence,” he said. “I...

Vatican outlines progress of criminal case against former nuncio to Dominican Republic CWN - December 3, 2014

A Vatican prosecutor is moving forward with the criminal case against Josef Wesolowski, the former apostolic nuncio to the Dominican Republic, who was laicized after a canonical trial earlier this...

Cardinal Parolin speaks on Vatican diplomacy, future of European Union CWN - December 3, 2014

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, presided at a Mass on December 3 at the basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, marking the 100th anniversary of the restoration of...

Vatican envoy urges UN: put policy focus on family CWN - December 3, 2014

Speaking to a UN session marking the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family, Archbishop Bernardito Auza said that government policies should be designed to promote strong family...

Secretariat for the Economy discovers 'hundreds of millions' of off-budget transactions at Vatican CWN - December 3, 2014

The Vatican’s new Secretariat for the Economy has discovered that “hundreds of millions of euros” were not included on financial reports, Cardinal George Pell reports in an article for the Catholic...

Archbishop Fisher: don't expect dramatic changes from Synod CWN - December 3, 2014

Archbishop Anthony Fisher has added his name to the list of prelates reassuring Catholics that the Synod of Bishops will not make any dramatic change in Church teaching on marriage. The newly...

Dublin's archbishop opens church properties to shelter homeless CWN - December 3, 2014

Reacting quickly to the death of a homeless man whose body was discovered in a doorway in Dublin, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has offered to make diocesan buildings available as temporary...

Abuse victims rap Milwaukee archdiocese for handling of compensation claims CWN - December 3, 2014

Three priests of the Milwaukee archdiocese have joined groups representing sex-abuse victims in an open letter asking Pope Francis to investigate the archdiocesan handling of compensation claims by...

Poll finds broad support for separating religious and civil marriage ceremonies CWN - December 3, 2014

Nearly half of all Americans believe that church weddings “should not be connected to the state’s definition and recognition of marriage,” according to a new poll by LifeWay Research. The...

Cardinal Zen, 'Occupy' leaders end civil-disobedience campaign in Hong Kong CWN - December 3, 2014

Cardinal Joseph Zen and three other leaders of the “Occupy” movement surrendered to police in Hong Kong on December 3, the AsiaNews service report. They were not arrested, by released after signing...

New 'popemobile' planned for papal visit to Philippines CWN - December 3, 2014

A new “popemobile” is being designed to transport Pope Francis when he visits the Philippines in January, organizers of the papal trip have announced. Pope Francis has insisted on traveling in...

Irish bishops' statement affirms Christian meaning of marriage CWN - December 3, 2014

In a statement entitled The Meaning of Marriage, the Catholic bishops of Ireland have warned that “to redefine the nature of marriage would be to undermine it as the fundamental building block of...

Pope to replace head of Swiss Guards CWN - December 3, 2014

The Vatican has announced that Colonel Daniel Anrig, the commandant of the Swiss Guards, will resign at the end of January 2015. Colonel Anrig, who took over the leadership of the Swiss Guard in...

Released Thursday, Dec. 4

Results of apostolic visitation of US nuns to be released this month CWN - December 4, 2014

The final report of the apostolic visitation of institutes of women religious in the United States will be released on December 16. The visitation was instituted in 2008 by Cardinal Franc Rodé,...

Majority of Muslims welcome Pope’s gestures, says Muslim leader CWN - December 4, 2014

Omar Abboud, the former secretary general of the Islamic Center of Argentina, said in a front-page L’Osservatore Romano article that the Pope’s decision to face Mecca while praying silently in an...

Islamic State consolidates power CWN - December 4, 2014

Despite US air attacks, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has consolidated its control over a large area in recent months. The Sunni jihadist group now controls over one-third of Syria and...

Biden meets with Ukrainian Catholic leader CWN - December 4, 2014

Vice President Joe Biden traveled recently to Ukraine to mark the first anniversary of Euromaidan, the wave of protests that led to the ouster of a pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych. While...

Patriarch calls for warmer US-Russian relations CWN - December 4, 2014

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church met with the US ambassador to Russia on November 28 and called for warmer US-Russian relations. “We are experiencing not the best period in the relations...

Pope meets with Mozambique’s president CWN - December 4, 2014

Pope Francis met with President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique in the Apostolic Palace on December 4. Guebuza, once a young general in the movement that ended Portuguese colonial rule in 1975, has...

Families are crucial to society, Holy See diplomat emphasizes at UN CWN - December 4, 2014

The Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations emphasized the importance of the family to society in a December 3 statement. “The Holy See hopes that this meeting will help states...

Sri Lanka: Church leaders fear political exploitation of January papal visit CWN - December 4, 2014

Some Christian leaders in Sri Lanka are asking Pope Francis to postpone his scheduled visit to their country in January, fearful that the Pope’s presence will be exploited to promote the re-election...

US birth rate hits new all-time low CWN - December 4, 2014

The birth rate among women in the US, which dropped significantly during the worldwide recession, continues to fall, a new study shows. The fertility rate in the US has dropped to an all-time...

Manila announces 5-day holiday during January papal visit CWN - December 4, 2014

The city of Manila has announced a 5-day holiday during the visit by Pope Francis to the Philippines in January, and the national government may follow suit, the Catholic News Agency...

China promises to stop harvesting organs from condemned prisoners CWN - December 4, 2014

The Chinese government has announced that it will stop harvesting organs from the bodies of executed convicts, beginning next year. The Beijing regime, which executes more than 2,000 people each...

Pope speaks on 'hidden virtue,' repentance, and hope CWN - December 4, 2014

Pope Francis spoke of the “hidden holiness” in the Church in his homily at daily Mass on December 4. “The proud, the vain, the ‘Christians in appearance’ will be demolished, humbled,” the Pope...

Pope lauds volunteers working with the poor CWN - December 4, 2014

Pope Francis praised the work of the Federation of Christian Organisations for International Volunteer Service (FOCSIV) during a private audience with the group’s members on December 4. “Your...

Christmas tree arrives in St. Peter's Square; lighting set for December 19 CWN - December 4, 2014

A massive Christmas tree, a white fir over 80 feet tall that will be set up in St. Peter’s Square, has arrived at the Vatican. A ceremonial lighting of the tree will take place on Friday...

Citing required same-sex placements, Catholic bishops of Northern Ireland withdraw from adoption agency CWN - December 4, 2014

The Catholic bishops of Northern Ireland have announced that they are severing their ties to the Family Care Society, because of the new legal requirement that the agency must place children with...

Syriac Catholic Patriarch raps Western indifference toward displaced Iraqi Christians CWN - December 4, 2014

The leader of the Syriac Catholic Church has charged that Western governments are neglecting the Christian refugees of Iraq because they have no economic incentives to help them. Patriarch Joseph...

Released Friday, Dec. 5

Cardinal Pell: ‘the days of ripping off the Vatican are over’ CWN - December 5, 2014

The Catholic Herald has published the full text of an article by Cardinal George Pell on the reform of Vatican finances. The publication of the article by the prefect of the Secretariat for the...

DC repeals religious schools’ exemption from law on homosexuality CWN - December 5, 2014

In a 13-0 vote, the Washington, DC City Council passed the Human Rights Amendment Act of 2014, which repeals an exemption for religious schools from legislation related to sexual...

Court rules against Indiana diocese in IVF-dismissal case CWN - December 5, 2014

Following a ruling from a federal appellate court, a lawsuit brought by a former teacher against an Indiana diocese will go to trial. The Diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend did not renew Emily...

Catechism translated into Urdu CWN - December 5, 2014

The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples has approved the translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church into Urdu. Urdu is the primary language of 70 million people in Pakistan...

Al-Azhar condemns Islamic State CWN - December 5, 2014

Cairo-based Al-Azhar University, the world’s leading Muslim institution of learning, sponsored a conference in which 700 participants condemned the activities of the Islamic State of Iraq and the...

Papal preacher devotes Advent sermon to peace as God’s gift CWN - December 5, 2014

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the Capuchin Franciscan friar who has served as preacher to the papal household since 1980, devoted his December 5 Advent sermon to the Pope and the members of the Roman...

Women offer ‘unparalleled contribution’ to society through family life, says Pope CWN - December 5, 2014

In a message to a family festival in Riva del Garda, Italy, Pope Francis expressed concern about the nation’s demographic future and emphasized his appreciation for the role of women in the family...

Vatican clarifies: off-budget accounts were not corrupt CWN - December 5, 2014

The “hundreds of millions of euros” in off-budget Vatican transactions discovered by the Secretariat for the Economy were not illicit expenses, the Vatican’s chief spokesman told reporters at a...

Listen and treasure God's Word, Pope advises theologians CWN - December 5, 2014

Speaking on December 5 to the members of the International Theological Commission, Pope Francis said that a theologian is “above all, a believer who listens to the living Word of God and welcomes it...

After canonizations, dozens of pilgrims from India remain in Rome, probably seeking work CWN - December 5, 2014

At least 60 pilgrims from India who traveled to Rome for the November 23 canonization of two Indian saints have not returned home and are believed to be seeking employment in Italy. Nearly 10,000...

Marriage is the only institution that protects children, Irish columnist argues CWN - December 5, 2014

Writing in The Independent about the recent Vatican conference on the complementarity of men and women, Irish columnist David Quinn emphasizes that the institution of marriage is distinct because it...

Cardinal Pell moves into former office of Vatican bank president CWN - December 5, 2014

Cardinal George Pell, the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, has moved into the office formerly occupied by the president of the Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works...

Papal encouragement for joint effort by bishops, police chiefs to combat human trafficking CWN - December 5, 2014

Pope Francis has sent a message of support to an international group working to curb human trafficking. The Santa Marta group, which includes police chiefs and Catholic bishops, draws its name...

Cardinal Tauran notes significant step forward in talks with Muslim leaders CWN - December 5, 2014

The president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue said that he saw new signs of progress in talks with Islamic leaders, after a meeting this week in Rome. Cardinal Jean Louis...

Released Tuesday, Dec. 9

Holy See diplomat laments Ukraine conflict, violations of religious freedom CWN - December 9, 2014

In a statement addressed to the annual meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which took place from December 4-5, a leading Holy See diplomat deplored the...

Papal condolences following death of Belgian queen CWN - December 9, 2014

Pope Francis sent a telegram of condolence to King Philippe of Belgium following the death of his aunt, Queen Fabiola, on December 6 at the age of 86. The Pontiff referred to the queen as a...

French cardinal brings papal message of support to Iraq’s Christians CWN - December 9, 2014

As Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon visited Christians in Iraq on December 6, Pope Francis said in a video message that their experience was akin to martyrdom. Cardinal Barbarin traveled to...

8 sainthood causes advance CWN - December 9, 2014

In an audience with the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on December 6, Pope Francis cleared the way for the canonization of three religious sisters by approving decrees on...

Receive God’s consolation in the Word and sacraments, says Pope CWN - December 9, 2014

During his December 7 Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on Isaiah 40:1-11, the first reading of the day’s Mass. “We cannot be messengers of God’s consolation if we do not experience...

Pope Francis: be receptive to grace, as the Virgin Mary was CWN - December 9, 2014

Pope Francis reflected on grace during his Angelus address on December 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “The message of today's feast of the Immaculate...

Lighting Christmas tree, Pope urges confession CWN - December 9, 2014

Using a tablet, Pope Francis lit the Christmas tree in Gubbio, Italy, and before doing so, recommended confession before Christmas. “If you have something dark in your soul, ask the Lord for...

Pope: work for ban on nuclear weapons CWN - December 9, 2014

In a message to the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, which is taking place in Vienna, Pope Francis called for the development of “concrete ways to ensure that nuclear...

Pope welcomes criticism as 'very healthy' in new interview CWN - December 9, 2014

Pope Francis said that he welcomed “resistance” to his ideas, and said that the Synod of Bishops would not be “touching any item of Church doctrine on marriage,” in a new in-depth interview with an...

Vatican releases working document for next Synod meeting on marriage and family CWN - December 9, 2014

The Vatican has released a working document that will frame the discussion for the October 2015 meeting of the Synod of Bishops, which will continue the discussion of marriage and family...

Council of Cardinals, Pope meet to refine plans for 2 new Vatican congregations CWN - December 9, 2014

The Council of Cardinals is meeting this week with Pope Francis, to discuss a new round of reforms that will likely call for the creation of two new Vatican congregations, combining the functions of...

Two former top executives of Vatican bank face charges; Vatican freezes their accounts CWN - December 9, 2014

A Vatican prosecutor has frozen the accounts of two former executives of the Vatican bank, who face criminal charges for embezzlement. Angelo Caloia, the former president of the Institute for...

Archbishop of Canterbury admits Anglican communion could split CWN - December 9, 2014

The Archbishop of Canterbury has admitted the possibility that the worldwide Anglican communion could break apart because of disputes over the ordination of woman as bishops and the acceptances of...

Cardinal Oscar Mejia, former Vatican archivist, dead at 91 CWN - December 9, 2014

Cardinal Jorge Maria Mejia, the former director of the Vatican archives, died on December 9 at the age of 91. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and ordained to the priesthood there, Jorge Mejia...

Benedict XVI wanted to be 'Father Benedict' after resignation CWN - December 9, 2014

The former Pope Benedict XVI would prefer to be known as “Father Benedict” rather than “Pope emeritus,” a German journalist reports. Jorg Bremer, writing for the FAZ, reports that in a private...

Church seeks for lost sheep, not 'perfect organizational chart,' Pope says CWN - December 9, 2014

A Church leader should have a “shepherd’s heart” rather than functioning as a “good businessman,” Pope Francis said in a homily at daily Mass on December 9. Commenting in the Gospel about the...

Leading Orthodox theologian hopes for 'quick progress' toward full Christian unity CWN - December 9, 2014

One of the leading theologians of the Orthodox world has said that he sees prosecpts for “quick progress” toward full Christian unity under Pope Francis. Metropolitan Ioannis of Pergamon, the...

Mexico City: 5,000 confessions in a day CWN - December 9, 2014

Nearly 5,000 Catholics received the sacrament of Reconciliation in one day, in a special initiative by Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, the Catholic News Agency reports. To prepare for Advent,...

Minnesota lawyer continues independent investigation of charges against archbishop CWN - December 9, 2014

The Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota has engaged a prominent defense attorney to continue an independent investigation into charges of sexual misconduct lodged against Archbishop John...

1st Catholic university established in Bangladesh CWN - December 9, 2014

The 1st Catholic university in Bangladesh has opened its doors, the AsiaNews service reports. Notre Dame University, administered by the Missionaries of the Holy Cross, has begun training 283...

Released Wednesday, Dec. 10

USCCB: new federal LGBT regulations advance ‘false ideology,’ pose ‘serious threat’ to religious freedom CWN - December 10, 2014

Implementing an executive order issued by President Barack Obama, the US Department of Labor has issued new regulations forbidding federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating “against...

CDF prefect: Pope Benedict XVI is the ‘Mozart of theology’ CWN - December 10, 2014

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, paid tribute to Pope Benedict XVI in awarding the Ratzinger Prize in theology to Anne-Marie Pelletier,...

2 million Iraqis have been displaced by Islamic State CWN - December 10, 2014

Two million of Iraq’s 36 million people have fled their homes in the wake of the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, according to a report in The Guardian. Half of the refugees...

Holy Land bishops: save Cremisan Valley from Israeli security wall CWN - December 10, 2014

The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land appealed to the international community to take action to prevent Israel from extending its Israeli West Bank barrier into the largely Christian...

Fired employee files federal discrimination complaint against Chicago parish CWN - December 10, 2014

A Chicago parish’s former music director, who was fired after he announced his same-sex wedding plans on Facebook, has filed federal and local discrimination complaints with the Equal Employment...

UK: Church, police officials join in conference on human trafficking CWN - December 10, 2014

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster joined leading British criminal justice officials for a conference on combating human trafficking. Between 10,000 and 13,000 persons in the United Kingdom...

In peace message, Pope calls for worldwide effort to end slavery CWN - December 10, 2014

The Holy See Press Office has released the full text of Pope Francis’s message for the World Day of Peace, which takes place annually on January 1. In the message, entitled “No Longer Slaves, but...

Opening weekly series on family, Pope speaks of open debate at Synod CWN - December 10, 2014

At his public audience on December 10, Pope Francis began a new series of weekly talks on the subject of the family, in preparation for the October 2015 meeting of the Synod of Bishops, which is...

US bishops' representative condemns use of torture in interrogations CWN - December 10, 2014

Responding to revelations about interrogation techniques used by the US in the war on terror, the chairman of the US bishops’ committee on justice and peace said that the uses of torture “violated...

Jesuits to meet, select new leader in October 2016 CWN - December 10, 2014

The Society of Jesus will hold a general congregation to elect a new leader beginning on October 2, 2016. Father Adolfo Nicolas, the current superior general of the Jesuit order, had announced in...

Chicago's mayor, city council honor Cardinal George CWN - December 10, 2014

Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel presented retired Cardinal Francis George with the Chicago Medal of Merit, the city’s highest honor, at a meeting of the city council on December 10. Cardinal George...

English bishops threatens libel action against lay critic CWN - December 10, 2014

A bishop in England threatened to sue a layman who charged that the bishop did not read his own mail. The threat prompted an apology from the bishop’s critic. Philip Bannister had written an open...

Released Thursday, Dec. 11

Vatican newspaper lauds new Nobel laureates CWN - December 11, 2014

In a brief front-page article, L’Osservatore Romano welcomed the selection of Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India as winners of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Describing the...

USCCB awards $2.9M to projects in Eastern Europe CWN - December 11, 2014

The Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has awarded nearly $2.9 million to fund 79 pastoral projects in formerly...

Report: 4,000 Indian Christians to reconvert to Hinduism CWN - December 11, 2014

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a large Hindu nationalist organization in India, has announced that 4,000 Christians and 1,000 Muslims will reconvert to Hinduism on Christmas Day, according to a...

Report: Islamic State beheads 4 children who refused to convert to Islam CWN - December 11, 2014

An Anglican cleric popularly known as the “vicar of Baghdad” said that forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant beheaded four children who refused to convert to Islam. According to a...

Papal letter on World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia CWN - December 11, 2014

Pope Francis has written a letter to Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, on the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. “The mission of...

Papal message on climate change CWN - December 11, 2014

Pope Francis has written a message to Manuel Pulga Vidal, Peru’s environment minister, on the occasion of an international climate change conference in Lima. “The time to find global solutions is...

Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February CWN - December 11, 2014

Pope Francis has called a consistory for February 2015, at which he will elevate new members to the College of Cardinals. The consistory will be held on February 14 and 15. The names of the new...

Vatican reform plans shift into high gear in February CWN - December 11, 2014

February 2015 will be a busy month for the leadership of the Roman Curia, marked by a meeting of the Council of Cardinals, the first full meeting of a new pontifical commission on child abuse, a...

Dalai Lama hints Chinese influence thwarted meeting with Pontiff CWN - December 11, 2014

The Dalai Lama has hinted that he did not meet with Pope Francis during a trip to Rome this week because Vatican officials feared that a meeting would upset Chinese government officials. The...

Broad worldwide public approval for Pope Francis CWN - December 11, 2014

Pope Francis enjoys great popularity all around the world, but especially in Catholic countries, a new survey by the Pew Research Center shows. The Pew study finds a median of 60% favorable...

New disciplinary action looming for Father Pavone? CWN - December 11, 2014

Father Frank Pavone, the founder of Priests for Life (PFL), once again faces possible disciplinary action because of his refusal to allow episcopal oversight of his organization’s finances. New...

Released Friday, Dec. 12

Pope Francis: evangelize Europe’s youth CWN - December 12, 2014

Pope Francis called upon participants in the 4th European Congress on Youth Pastoral Ministry “not to ever tire of proclaiming the Gospel, with your life and word.” “Youth ministry is called to...

Cardinal Marx: Pope’s Strasbourg speech was a ‘jolt to the Church’ CWN - December 12, 2014

In a front-page L’Osservatore Romano article, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich described Pope Francis’s recent speech to the European Parliament as a “message of hope and encouragement for all...

Ukrainian, Australian leaders pray at cathedral CWN - December 12, 2014

Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia and President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine visited Melbourne’s Ukrainian Catholic cathedral and prayed for the victims of a Malaysia Airlines flight that was...

Maronite priest: Western bombing of Islamic State could worsen situation CWN - December 12, 2014

The general secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches warned against the bombing of the Islamic State by Western forces could worsen the situation. Father Michel Jalakh, a Maronite...

Australia: Church report suggests celibacy discipline may be factor in clerical abuse CWN - December 12, 2014

The Truth, Justice and Healing Council, which is coordinating the response of the Church in Australia to a government investigation into the sexual abuse of minors, stated in a new report that...

‘Put an end to the fossil fuel era,’ say bishops at climate conference CWN - December 12, 2014

A group of bishops attending an international climate-change conference in Peru called upon the international community “to keep the global temperature increase below 1.5 degree Celsius, relative to...

New secretary of Pontifical Biblical Commission CWN - December 12, 2014

Pope Francis has named an Italian Jesuit as the new secretary of Pontifical Biblical Commission. Father Pietro Bovati, 64, is a professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute and was first...

Council of Cardinals concludes session; no decisions yet on reform of Roman Curia CWN - December 12, 2014

The Council of Cardinals completed its 7th meeting on December 11 without reaching any final decision on the restructuring of the Roman Curia. Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the...

Papal encouragement for Syriac Church, serving endangered Christians in Iraq and Syria CWN - December 12, 2014

At a December 12 meeting with the bishops of the Syriac Catholic Church, Pope Francis sent a message of support to the Christians “who are living through a time of great suffering and fear” in Syria...

Papal greetings for Rome summit of Nobel laureates CWN - December 12, 2014

Pope Francis has sent a message of greetings to the Nobel Prize laureates who have gathered in Rome this week. The papal message—conveyed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State, lauds...

Kenyan Christian leaders appeal for Islamic community efforts to stop terror attacks CWN - December 12, 2014

Christian leaders in Kenya have called upon their Muslim counterparts to take action to discourage terrorist attacks by Al Shabaab, the Fides news service reports. Pointing to more than 20...

Released Monday, Dec. 15

Guadalupe apparition was like a ‘new visitation,’ says Pope CWN - December 15, 2014

On December 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pope Francis celebrated a Spanish-language Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica and compared the 16th-century Marian apparition to her visitation to St....

Papal preacher devotes 2nd Advent sermon to ‘peace as a duty’ CWN - December 15, 2014

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the Capuchin Franciscan friar who has served as preacher to the papal household since 1980, reflected on “peace as a duty” in his December 12 Advent sermon to the Pope...

1st meeting between Pope, Salvation Army leader CWN - December 15, 2014

For the first time, a Pope has met with the leader of the Salvation Army, the Protestant group founded by William Booth in 1865. “Catholics and Salvationists, together with other Christians,...

Pope encourages works of mercy for the poor CWN - December 15, 2014

Pope Francis met with members of two French charitable organizations on December 13 and encouraged them in their work of assisting the homeless. “Your founder, Gabriel Rosset, had heard the cry...

Learn from the example of St. Lucy, Pope tells the visually impaired CWN - December 15, 2014

In a December 13 audience, Pope Francis called upon members of a non-denominational Italian blind persons’ association to learn from the example of St. Lucy, the patron saint of the visually...

Italian prime minister meets with Pope CWN - December 15, 2014

Pope Francis met with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on December 13. The Pontiff and the 39-year-old leader, who has been in office since February, discussed “the current context of...

Pope preaches homily on joy, speaks about babies crying in church CWN - December 15, 2014

Pope Francis visited the suburban Roman parish of San Giuseppe all’Aurelio on December 14 and celebrated an evening Mass after meeting with parish groups. “The Church is with you, she welcomes...

Closeness to God brings joy, Pope says in Angelus address CWN - December 15, 2014

Pope Francis devoted his Gaudete Sunday Angelus address to the theme of joy. “The heart of man desires joy,” he said. “All of us aspire to joy. Every family, every people aspires to happiness....

US Sec, Kerry, Cardinal Parolin speak about Middle East, Guantanamo inmates CWN - December 15, 2014

John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, met on December 15 with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, his Vatican counterpart, for a discussion that centered on the Middle East. During the conversation, the...

Vatican representative says she faced resistance in probe of US women's religious orders CWN - December 15, 2014

Mother Mary Clare Millea, who was appointed by the Vatican to conduct an apostolic visitation of women’s religious orders in the US, has acknowledged that she faced lively resistance to her...

Chaldean Patriarch asks pre-Christmas fast for Iraqi Christian refugees CWN - December 15, 2014

The Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church has asked his people to undertake a pre-Christmas fast for the needs of Christian refugees in Iraq. Patriarch Raphael Louis Sako suggested fasting...

Al Azhar rejects jihadist claim that other Muslims are 'infidels' CWN - December 15, 2014

Terrorists should be condemned, but not labelled as “infidels,” Egypt’s Al Azhar University has proclaimed. Al Azhar, the most influential institution in the world of Sunni Islam, hosted a...

Avoid 'sins of the media,' Pope urges Italian TV personnel CWN - December 15, 2014

Catholics in the media should have the “courage to speak directly, telling the turth and working to “preserve it from all that distors and twists it for other purposes.” That was the message of Pope...

British agency says Catholic school could foster extremism; Church official protest CWN - December 15, 2014

Church officials in Britain are protesting a decision by the government’s assessment agency to downgrade a Catholic school for failing to promote “British values.” Ofsted—the Office for Standards...

Inaccurate prenatal tests prompt more abortions, study shows CWN - December 15, 2014

Prenatal screening for fetal abnormalities is prompting many women to abortion their children, even though the test results are unreliable, the Boston Globe reports. The New England Center for...

Released Tuesday, Dec. 16

Pope laments rigidity, praises Pius XII for mitigating Eucharistic fast CWN - December 16, 2014

In his December 15 homily at Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis decried the rigidity and lack of principle of the chief priests in the day’s Gospel reading (Mt. 21:23-27) and praised Venerable Pius...

Heightened security at Nigerian churches CWN - December 16, 2014

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

Catholic group laments ‘weak’ results of Lima climate conference CWN - December 16, 2014

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

Pope receives leader of Bosnia and Herzegovina CWN - December 16, 2014

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

Ukrainian Catholic leader: the Pope is on Ukraine’s side CWN - December 16, 2014

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

Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16, 2014

Expressing “profound gratitude” for the “dedicated and selfless service of women religious,” the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life has issued its...

Indian archbishop worried by rumors about Christmas school days, mass conversions CWN - December 16, 2014

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

Critic protests renovations at Chartres cathedral CWN - December 16, 2014

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

Would-be assassin wants to visit tomb of St. John Paul II CWN - December 16, 2014

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

Olympic competition on Vatican grounds? CWN - December 16, 2014

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

Catholic relief agency in Jordan strains to help Iraqi Christian refugees CWN - December 16, 2014

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

German bishops ready to change policy, allow divorced/remarried and homosexual employees CWN - December 16, 2014

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

Released Wednesday, Dec. 17

USCCB: bishop rues opening of immigrant detention center CWN - December 17, 2014

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

Pakistan: 59 in custody for horrific murder of Christian couple CWN - December 17, 2014

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

‘Christmas in an Iraqi refugee camp’ CWN - December 17, 2014

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

Cardinal Schönborn laments Russian aggression in Ukraine CWN - December 17, 2014

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

Russian patriarch: Islamic State ‘demonizes’ Islam CWN - December 17, 2014

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

Spanish diocese criticized for not publicizing cathedral’s Islamic past CWN - December 17, 2014

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

Pope Francis names members of Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors CWN - December 17, 2014

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

Pope speaks on family, prays for victims of terrorism CWN - December 17, 2014

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

Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - December 17, 2014

Pope Francis played a key role in mediating talks between the US and Cuba, resulting in an exchange of prisoners and opening the way for the first direct talks between the neighboring countries in...

Pope celebrates 78th birthday CWN - December 17, 2014

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

Church of England appoints first female bishop CWN - December 17, 2014

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

Top UK court denies 'conscience clause' protection to pro-life midwives CWN - December 17, 2014

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

Released Thursday, Dec. 18

Diplomacy consists of ‘small steps,’ says Pope CWN - 24 hours ago

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

USCCB: prelate welcomes policy change toward Cuba CWN - 23 hours ago

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

Italian bishops issue guidelines to prevent theft of religious art CWN - 23 hours ago

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

Do not give up on ecumenical dialogue, Pope tells German Lutherans CWN - 22 hours ago

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

Jerusalem patriarch issues Christmas message CWN - 22 hours ago

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

Leading Pakistani bishop: the Taliban ‘will stop at nothing now’ CWN - 22 hours ago

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

USCCB president meets with President Obama, VP Biden CWN - 22 hours ago

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

Pope distributes sleeping bags to Rome's homeless CWN - 13 hours ago

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

Ancient Iraqi monastery now serving as ISIS prison CWN - 13 hours ago

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

Unfertilized ovum is not human embryo, European court rules in stem-cell case CWN - 13 hours ago

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

Released Friday, Dec. 19

Cuban, Miami prelates react to policy change toward Cuba CWN - 0 hours ago

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

Chaldean patriarch urges pre-Christmas fast, subdued Christmas celebration CWN - 0 hours ago

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

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