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Stories for May 2016

Released Monday, May. 2

Former UN nuncio given new assignment

Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, who served as the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations from 2010 to 2014, has been appointed apostolic nuncio to Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. Upon...

Be reconciled to God, Pope tells jubilee pilgrims

On April 30, Pope Francis held his fifth special Saturday audience for pilgrims who have come to Rome for the extraordinary jubilee year of mercy. “By our efforts alone, we are unable to...

Pope Francis reflects on the Holy Spirit and peace

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading (Jn. 14:23-29), Pope Francis devoted his May 1 Regina Coeli address to the Holy Spirit and peace. The Holy Spirit, Pope Francis said, has the mission...

Papal appeal for Syria

Following his May 1 Regina Caeli address, Pope Francis lamented the continued fighting in Syria. “I have heard with great sorrow the dramatic news coming from Syria, about the spiral of...

Indian bishop kidnapped, beaten

An Indian bishop was blindfolded and abducted on April 25, taken to an unknown location, and released the following day. “They hit me and punched me, resulting in injuries all over my...

Moscow patriarch issues Easter message

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches, has issued his Easter message. Members of the Russian Orthodox Church, along with many other Eastern...

Leading European bishops’ official links migrant crisis to selfish culture

Representatives of the English, French, and German episcopates met in Paris to discuss the situation in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants who hope to enter the United Kingdom have...

Obama rues persecution of Orthodox Christians

President Barack Obama wished members of the Eastern Orthodox churches a happy Easter and referred to the plight of those who suffer persecution for their faith. “For Orthodox Christians,...

Released Tuesday, May. 3

Adapt your charism to today’s needs, Pope tells Mercedarians

Pope Francis addressed members of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy who had gathered in Rome for their general chapter. Speaking in the Sala del Concistoro (Hall of the Consistory) of...

Aleppo prelate saw resurgence of faith around Easter

During a visit to Connecticut to thank the Knights of Columbus for their support of persecuted Syrian Christians, the Melkite Greek Catholic archbishop of Aleppo spoke about the destruction of his...

English cardinal calls for change of heart toward migrants

Preaching at a Mass for migrants in Westminster Cathedral on May 2, Cardinal Vincent Nichols prayed for “a change of heart in our society, so that we begin by appreciating the great...

Cardinal to receive Italian literary prize

The Italian government will present its 2016 penna d’oro (golden pen) prize to Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the president of the Pontifical Council of Culture. Established in 1957, the prize...

Vatican newspaper recalls Father Daniel Berrigan

Father Daniel Berrigan, a Jesuit known for his anti-war activism, died on April 30 at the age of 94. Obituaries in L’Osservatore Romano and The New York Times recounted his role in the...

Nigerian cardinal survives armed attack

Gunmen opened fire on a car in which Nigeria’s leading prelate was riding, but the prelate survived the attack unharmed. The attack on Cardinal John Onaiyekan took place on April 30 near...

17 nations named ‘particularly severe’ religious-freedom violators

In its newly released annual report, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is urging the State Department to designate or redesignate 17 nations as...

Priest is prime suspect in kidnapping of Indian bishop

A Catholic priest is the prime suspect in the kidnapping and beating of a bishop in India Police in Andra Pradesh, India, have arrested a priest and 13 others in connection with the kidnapping of...

Roman police seize bogus Vatican souvenirs in crackdown on counterfeits

Police in Rome have seized thousands of counterfeit souvenirs that featured the image of Pope Francis and/or the Vatican seal without authorization. The raid on a warehouse yielded about 340,000...

Venezuela's crisis prompts letter from Pope to President Maduro

Pope Francis has written a private letter to Venezuela’s President Nicholas Maduro about the economic and political crisis in that country. Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican...

Released Wednesday, May. 4

NOW ordered to pay court costs to pro-life activists after failed lawsuit

The National Organization for Women (NOW) has been ordered to pay $63,000 in court costs to a group  of pro-life activists, in the final act of a long-running legal case that began in...

New Vatican magazine says Church late to recognize women's role

In the inaugural issue of a new magazine published by the Vatican and devoted to women, the editor writes that the Catholic Church was slow to recognition a "hidden revolution" in...

Aleppo’s bishops: our suffering is not in vain when united to Christ’s Passion

In a joint statement, Aleppo’s Latin-rite and Eastern-rite ordinaries deplored renewed violence in Syria’s city. Citing the “cry of blood of children and martyrs” and...

South African bishops’ conference denounces arms spending

Amid a government probe into possible corruption surrounding weapons procurement in the late 1990s, the justice and peace commission of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference...

‘Noose tightens’ around Church in Burundi

“Day by day the noose tightens” around the Church in Burundi as government intimidation of bishops, priests, and lay leaders increases, according to a report in La Croix. The regime...

Northern Ireland: bishops’ election statement emphasizes child poverty, abortion

The bishops of Northern Ireland have issued a pastoral reflection ahead of the Northern Ireland Assembly election on May 5. Describing “the systemic and comprehensive eradication of...

Increasing number of Asian pilgrims to the Holy Land

An increasing number of Asians, especially Indonesians, are taking part in official pilgrimages to the Holy Land’s shrines, according to the Franciscan Pilgrims Office of the Custody of the...

Pope Francis reflects on Christ as the Good Shepherd

Continuing his series of Wednesday catecheses on mercy, Pope Francis devoted his May 4 general audience to the Christ the Good Shepherd. “The Lord uses the image of the shepherd who leaves...

‘We have a common Father,’ Pope tells participants in interfaith dialogue

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue is sponsoring a colloquium with Jordan’s Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies. Greeting the colloquium’s participants on May 4 in...

Italian bishops will oppose any bid for gay adoptions: Cardinal Bagnasco

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the president of the Italian bishops' conference, stated on May 3 that Church leaders will oppose any measure to legalize same-sex marriage. "Individual rights...

Released Thursday, May. 5

Pray the Rosary daily, Pope tells youth

Following his May 4 general audience, Pope Francis recalled that the month of May is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, asked young people to pray the Rosary daily, and called upon the sick to...

Bolivian bishops decry use of tear gas against disabled protestors

The Bolivian Episcopal Conference has rebuked police in the nation’s capital for using tear gas against disabled protestors who were seeking an increase in government benefits. The bishops...

Nicaraguan bishop denounces purchase of 50 Russian tanks

A Nicaraguan bishop has denounced President Daniel Ortega’s decision to purchase 50 Russian tanks for $80 million. “Nicaragua is not at war, Nicaragua does not want war, Nicaragua...

Pope renews praise for cooperatives

In a video message to a conference sponsored by the Confederation of Italian Cooperatives, Pope Francis recalled the themes of an earlier address to the organization and praised cooperatives...

English cardinal welcomes government’s decision on child refugees

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster has welcomed Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to welcome Syrian refugees who are unaccompanied minors. “I am very happy that the...

USCCB committee chair calls on Obama to reduce nuclear weapons arsenal

Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, the chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has called upon President Barack Obama...

Cardinal Marx: Europe needs rebirth, not restoration or nostalgia

During a recent address at Strasbourg Cathedral, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich said that Europe is in need of rebirth, and not of restoration or nostalgia. The prelate, who serves as president...

Released Friday, May. 6

Pope Francis leads prayer vigil ‘to dry the tears’

Reflecting on the tears of Jesus and the tears “shed every second in our world,” Pope Francis led a prayer vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica on the evening of May 5 “to dry the...

Vatican message to Buddhists focuses on ecology

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has issued its annual message to Buddhists on the occasion of Vesak, the commemoration of Buddha’s birthday. This year, Vesak is...

Cardinals address Amoris Laetitia; CDF prefect says Church’s teaching has not changed

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said in an address to seminarians that Pope Francis has not changed the Church’s teaching on...

Pakistan: 6 years after mob attack, Muslims help rebuild church

In 2009, a Muslim mob attacked Christians in Gojra, a city of 143,000 in Pakistan’s Punjab province. Eight Christians were burned alive, and 40 homes and a church were destroyed, not...

Pope, in video, laments discrimination, violence against women

Pope Francis has appeared in a video designed to publicize his general prayer intention for May: “that in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their...

Swiss Guard recruits take oath of loyalty

New Swiss Guard recruits took their oath of loyalty on May 6, the anniversary of the 1527 sack of Rome by the troops of Emperor Charles V. The “heroic death” of 147 Swiss Guard...

Pope calls for rebirth of European humanism

Pope Francis called for a rebirth of humanism in Europe, as he accepted the Charlemagne Prize on May 6. The Charlemagne Prize is awarded by the people of Aachen, Germany, in recognition of...

German cardinal wants stronger local voice in selection of bishops

An influential German cardinal has charged that "unlawful outside influences" are interfering in the selection of bishops.  Cardinal Karl Lehmann of Mainz, a former president of...

Released Monday, May. 9

ACLU attacks US Catholic hospitals, saying 'health care' is restricted

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has launched a campaign against Catholic hospitals, charging that the health of patients-- especially women-- may be endangered by the US bishops'...

Raleigh bishop calls for reversal of controversial 'bathroom bill'

BIshop Michael Burbidge of Raleigh, North Carolina, has said that state's new law prohibiting men from using women's restrooms should be repealed and replaced by more prudent...

Vatican-Muslim dialogue: all persons have dignity and inalienable rights

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Jordan’s Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies have concluded a colloquium in Rome. The theme of the dialogue—the fourth...

Grow in faith, Pope tells new Swiss Guards

Pope Francis met new Swiss Guards on May 7 and called upon them to grow in faith, experience the Church’s universality, and experience brotherhood. “It is good to see that young...

Swiss president meets with Pope

Johann Schneider-Ammann, who is serving a one-year term as the Swiss Confederation’s president, met with Pope Francis on May 7 before meeting with Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the...

Pope Francis: health care is a ‘universal right,’ not a ‘consumer good’

Speaking to 9,000 people associated with the medical missionary organization Doctors with Africa, Pope Francis said that “health is not a consumer good, but rather a universal right, and...

At Vatileaks trial, editor defends freedom of the press

In the latest session of the “Vatileaks” trial, an Italian newspaper editor and two booksellers testified on behalf of one of the defendants, Gianluigi Nuzzi. Nuzzi and another...

Pope reflects on Ascension, pays tribute to mothers

Pope Francis devoted his May 8 Regina Caeli address to Christ’s ascension into heaven. In the Ascension, Christ “leaves our earthly space to enter into the plenitude of the glory of...

Chaldean Patriarch urges priests in US to examine consciences about unauthorized flights from Iraq

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, who has consistently urged Christians not to leave Iraq, has urged Chaldean priests who immigrated to the US without official permission to reflect...

Released Tuesday, May. 10

Cardinal Parolin reflects on mercy, Holy See’s diplomacy

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, served as the Pope’s legate to the National Congress of Mercy in Vilnius, Lithuania. Preaching at the Cathedral of Saints...

Do not simply reach out to the needy, but bring them Jesus, says Pope

Pope Francis met with members of the Circolo San Pietro, a Roman charitable organization, on May 9 and told them “not simply to go to encounter the neediest, but to go taking...

3 sainthood causes advance

In a May 9 audience with the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis approved the publication of decrees that advance three sainthood causes. In approving separate...

Amid new embryo experiments, Vatican newspaper laments human guinea pigs

For the first time, researchers in the United Kingdom and the United States have grown human embryos in a laboratory until they were 13 days old-- leading some scientists to call for an end to...

Dire conditions in Aleppo

A Franciscan priest who ministers in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, told Aid to the Church in Need that “never since the beginning of this terrible war were things as bad as they are...

Mary gazes on God and the suffering, cardinal says at Rosary shrine

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, presided at the traditional supplication to the Blessed Mother at the Shrine of the Virgin of the Rosary of Pompei on...

Pope Francis: Catholics, Copts can offer joint witness to dignity of life, marriage, creation

Recalling the third anniversary of their meeting in Rome, Pope Francis has sent a letter to Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church. The church, which has 9 million...

Papal letter to Italian Marian organization

Pope Francis has sent a letter to UNITALSI, an Italian organization that assists the sick and disabled in making pilgrimages to Marian shrines around the world. As the organization embarked on a...

Released Wednesday, May. 11

Holy See to donate world’s fair proceeds to create jobs for Iraqi refugees

The Holy See will donate funds raised at its pavilion at the 2015 world’s fair to assist Iraqi refugees in Jordan. Visitors to the fair in Milan, officially known as Expo 2015, donated...

Leaders of women’s religious communities discuss global solidarity

870 superiors of women’s religious institutes have gathered at a Roman hotel for the triennial assembly of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG). The theme of the five-day...

Pope prays for Canadian fire victims

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has sent a message in Pope Francis’s name to the bishop of St. Paul, Alberta, in whose diocese the Fort McMurray wildfire is...

Indonesia: Rosary campaign for national unity

Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, has launched a Rosary campaign for national unity, according to an AsiaNews report. Thousands of red and white...

Indian bishops deplore violence against women

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India has issued a statement deploring the brutal rape and murder of a dalit law student in the city of Ernakulam. The dalits, once more commonly known...

Pope reflects on parable of prodigal son

Continuing his series of Wednesday catecheses on mercy, Pope Francis devoted his May 11 general audience to the parable of the prodigal son. “Jesus wishes to teach us that we are children...

Pope appeals for prayer, dialogue amid Brazilian political crisis

Pope Francis appealed for prayer and dialogue in Brazil amid impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff. “In these days, as we prepare for the feast of Pentecost, I ask the...

Released Thursday, May. 12

Italian legislators enact civil-union law

Italy's lawmakers has approved a bill that gives legal recognition to civil unions. By an overwhelming vote of 372 to 51, with 99 abstentions, the lower house of the Italian parliament...

Catholic leaders rap Catholic university honors for pro-abortion politicians

A number of Catholic scholars and pro-life activists have joined in a statement decrying the honors accorded by Catholic universities in the US to political figures who promote abortion and same-sex...

Pope Francis: heed Our Lady of Fatima and pray for peace

Following his May 11 general audience, Pope Francis recalled that May 13 is the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of Fatima. “In this apparition, Mary invites us once again to prayer,...

Patriarch criticizes Vatican’s ‘bureaucratic interference’

In a recent talk on the challenges facing the Chaldean Catholic Church, Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako criticized “bureaucratic interference” from the Vatican’s Congregation for...

Leaders of women’s religious communities reflect on ‘sunset of a model,’ ‘global sisterhood’

870 superiors of women’s religious institutes heard talks on mysticism and global sisterhood at the triennial assembly of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG). The five-day...

Vatican conference on 25th anniversary of Centesimus Annus

The pontifical foundation Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice is hosting a three-day conference commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of St. John Paul II’s social encyclical Centesimus...

Cuban, Miami prelates mark 100th anniversary of patroness

Cuba’s bishops gathered at the National Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre on May 10 to mark the one hundredth anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s proclamation of Our Lady...

Sufi leader meets with Pope

Pope Francis received Baba Mondi, an Albanian Sufi Muslim leader, in audience on May 11. L’Osservatore Romano reported that the meeting was characterized by “fraternity and...

Released Friday, May. 13

Italian archbishop: approval of civil unions reflects radical 'new vision of society'

Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, Italy, said that Italy's legal acceptance of same-sex unions was "a defeat and also an impoverishment of democratic life on a question that can have...

Cardinal announces Paralympic partnership between Italian team, Rio parish

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, announced at a Vatican press conference that a parish will serve as the Italian base of operations during the 2016 Summer...

Vatican bank reports decline in profit

The Vatican bank, the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), had a net profit of 16.1 million euros ($18.3 million) in 2015, a 77% decline from the previous year. In an interview with Vatican...

Japanese prince, princess meet with Pope

Pope Francis received Fumihito, Prince Akishino and Kiko, Princess Akishino in a 20-minute private audience on May 12. Prince Akishino, who is second in line to the Japanese throne, gave the Pope...

Pope calls for commission to study female deacons

Pope Francis met with superiors of women’s religious institutes on May 12 and said he would like to establish a commission to study women deacons, “above all with regard to the early...

Patriarch calls on Pope Francis to condemn West’s Syria policy

The head of the Syriac Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, praised Russia’s intervention in Syria and said that the United States and other Western...

Released Monday, May. 16

Poland’s prime minister meets with Pope

Pope Francis, who is scheduled to make an apostolic journey to Poland from July 25 to 31, received Prime Minister Beata Szydlo in a May 13 audience. The Polish leader subsequently met with...

Pope laments refugee crisis, shrinking middle class

The refugee crisis, poverty, and youth unemployment point to the need for an economic vision inspired by the Church’s social doctrine, Pope Francis told participants in a conference on St....

Program announced for papal journey to Armenia

The Holy See Press Office has released the schedule of Pope Francis’s upcoming apostolic journey to Armenia, which will take place from June 24 to 26. Armenia, a nation of 3.0 million, is...

Pope visits mentally disabled as part of ‘mercy Friday’ initiative

Pope Francis made a visit on May 13 to the Il Chicco community, a residence for 18 persons with intellectual disabilities. Il Chicco is one of over 140 communities associated with L’Arche,...

Imitate the Lord’s ‘piety’ toward those who suffer, Pope tells jubilee pilgrims

On May 14, Pope Francis held his sixth special Saturday audience for pilgrims who have come to Rome for the extraordinary jubilee year of mercy. “In our continuing catechesis for this Holy...

‘We were made to be God’s children,’ Pope preaches at Pentecost Mass

Pope Francis celebrated the Mass of Pentecost Sunday in St. Peter’s Basilica on May 15 and preached that “the central purpose of Jesus’ mission, which culminated in the gift of the...

Pope Francis: missionary work is an ‘immense work of mercy’

The Holy See Press Office has released Pope Francis’s message for the 90th World Mission Sunday, which will take place on October 23. Entitled “Missionary Church, Witness of...

Pope Francis: the Holy Spirit allows our life to be united to Jesus’ life

Reflecting on Christ’s saying that “if you love me, you will keep my commandments,” Pope Francis told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his May 15 address that...

Vatican officials downplay speculation on women deacons

Two Vatican officials downplayed speculation occasioned by Pope Francis’s call for the establishment of a commission to study women deacons-- “above all with regard to the early days of...

Supreme Court gives partial victory to Little Sisters of the Poor

The US Supreme Court has declined to issue a ruling on a key test of the Obamacare contraceptive mandate, giving at least a temporary victory to the Little Sisters of the Poor and other plaintiffs...

American archbishop to oversee reform of Peru-based movement

Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis, Indiana has been named by the Vatican to supervise the process of reform in the Society of Christian Life, a lay movement based that has been shaken by...

Ranking prelates decline to testify at Vatileaks trial

Three leading Vatican officials declined to appear as witnesses in the "Vatileaks II" trial, invoking their rights under Vatican law. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State;...

England: midwives' group urges end to abortion restrictions

The Royal College of Midwives, the largest union of midwives in Britain, has called for an end to legal restrictions on late-term abortions. Reacting to a case in which a young woman was jailed...

Dutch doctors approve euthanasia for sex-abuse victim

Doctors in the Netherlands have approved the suicide of a young woman who was diagnosed with persistent-traumatic-stress syndrome after suffering sexual abuse in childhood. The woman-- who was...

Fugitive English Benedictine ex-abbot arrested in Kosovo

The former head of a Benedictine abbey in England, who has been a fugitive from the law since 2011, has been arrested in Kosovo. Father Laurence Soper, the former abbot of London's Ealing...

Released Tuesday, May. 17

Christians increasingly under threat in Yemen

As the Yemeni civil war continues, the nation’s Christians, who numbered 41,000 before its outbreak, are “now being targeted with little hope of protection from a divided, dysfunctional,...

Bishops: Obama administration’s transgender letter ‘deeply disturbing’

Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, who chairs the US bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, who chairs the US bishops’...

Pope weighs in on Islam, embattled French cardinal, SSPX

In a wide-ranging interview with La Croix, Pope Francis discussed various issues facing the Church in France, as well as Islam and migration, the free market and the Christian roots of European...

Caritas leader: South Sudanese crisis among worst in the world

The secretary-general of Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies, lamented the effects of the South Sudanese Civil War, which began in...

Pope reflects on priestly renewal

Pope Francis opened the meeting of the Italian Episcopal Conference on May 16 and reflected on the renewal of the priesthood. “I do not wish to offer you a systematic reflection on the...

Vatican cardinal calls for improved access to HIV treatment for children

Addressing religious and health care leaders who had gathered in Rome on May 16 to discuss children with HIV, Cardinal Peter Turkson called for improved “access to HIV treatment for children,...

BBC study concludes religious programming should focus more on non-Christian faiths

An internal report on BBC religious programming has concluded that there is too much focus on Christianity. The BBC report suggested that more attention should be paid to other religious...

Cardinal Coppa dies; Cardinal Lehmann marks 80th birthday

The death of one cardinal and the 80th birthday of another has left the College of Cardinals with 214 living members, of whom 114 are eligible to participate in a papal election. Cardinal Karl...

New development in Vatileaks trial: defendant's husband handled computer server

The Vatican tribunal for the "Vatileaks II" criminal trial heard testimony on May 16 that the husband of defendant Francesca Chaouqui set up the computer server from which secret...

Chaldean Patriarch begs for end to attacks

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako has issued a new plea for peace after a series of terror attacks in the Baghdad area that claimed 30 lives.  The Islamic State claimed...

Boston archdiocese tells dissidents to end 12-year occupation of parish

The Archdiocese of Boston has given a group of dissidents two weeks to end their occupation of a parish in Scituate, Massachusetts, which was officially closed in 2004. The "Friends of St....

Vatican cardinal involved in real-estate investment probe

Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, the president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), is a subject of an investigation into suspect real-estate transactions, the Italian...

Released Wednesday, May. 18

Chile’s bishops call for civic dialogue

Invoking the Holy Spirit as the “force of personal and social transformation,” the standing committee of the Episcopal Conference of Chile issued a statement calling for sincere dialogue...

Peru’s bishops work to counter human trafficking

A commission of the Peruvian Episcopal Conference has begun a project to counter human trafficking in the South American nation. An area of focus is Jaén, a city located on Peru’s...

Leading Italian prelate laments demographic decline, persecution of Christians

In a May 17 address to his brother bishops, the president of the Italian Episcopal Conference welcomed recent documents and initiatives of Pope Francis and said that the Church in Italy has offered...

Pope Francis: heaven’s doors are closed to those who close their hearts to the poor

Continuing his series of Wednesday catecheses on mercy, Pope Francis devoted his May 18 general audience to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. “Lazarus, lying outside the closed door...

Papal tribute to St. Francis of Paola

At the conclusion of his May 18 general audience, Pope Francis paid tribute to the patron saint of Calabria, St. Francis of Paola (1416-1507). The Italian friar founded the Order of...

USCCB president emphasizes continued opposition to HHS mandate

Reacting to the US Supreme Court’s Zubik v. Burwell decision, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops emphasized “the unity and resolve that the bishops of the...

Cardinal Sarah warns American audience against 'demonic ideology' that endangers family, faith

Cardinal Robert Sarah issued a dramatic warning against the breakdown of morality in a May 17 address to the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC.  "In your nation,...

SSPX leader optimistic about accord with Vatican

Bishop Bernard Fellay, the leader of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), expressed optimism about the prospects for achieving an accord with the Vatican in a lengthy interview with the...

Priest kidnapped in Yemen is alive, negotiations underway for his release

The Indian-born Salesian priest who was kidnapped in Yemen in early March is alive and well, and efforts are underway to secure his release, the AsiaNews service reports. Father Tom...

Mine clearance begins at site of Christ's Baptism

Israeli authorities report that land mines will be cleared away from the area around the site where Jesus was baptized. The region of Qasr al-Yahud, on the west bank of the Jordan River, will be...

Released Thursday, May. 19

Pope recalls St. John Paul, prays for peace in Ukraine

Following his May 18 general audience, Pope Francis recalled the figure of St. John Paul II, who was born on that day in 1920, and greeted Ukrainian orphans and refugee children who had fled...

End economic sanctions against Syria, bishops urge EU

Stating that “the situation in Syria is desperate,” Syrian bishops and religious communities have launched an online petition urging the European Union to lift economic sanctions imposed...

Cardinal Kasper writes book on Luther

An Italian publishing house, Editrice Queriniana, has published a 75-page book on Martin Luther by Cardinal Walter Kasper. In Martin Lutero: Una prospettiva ecumenica, the retired president of...

Sistine Chapel Choir director: ‘strong continuity’ in music between Popes Benedict, Francis

In a tour described by the Vatican newspaper as a “clear ecumenical signal,” the Sistine Chapel Choir, directed by Father Massimo Palombella, is visiting Germany. The choir has...

Give voice to the plight of refugees, Pope tells ambassadors

Pope Francis received new ambassadors from six nations on May 19 and called upon them to give voice to the needs of refugees. “Your presence here today is a poignant reminder that, though...

German Christian leaders renew call for openness to migrants

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, has joined with German Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox leaders in urging Germany to be open to migrants. In a joint...

Chicago archdiocese announces parental-leave policy

The Archdiocese of Chicago has announced plans to implement a parental-leave policy for lay employees. Under the new policy, which comes into effect on July 1, full-time workers will be allowed...

Pope condemns 'bloodsuckers' who exploit labor

Pope Francis denounced "true bloodsuckers" who grow rich by exploiting their workers, during his homily at a morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae on May 19. The Pope lashed out...

Vatican official cancels trip to Venezuela as crisis mounts

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican's top foreign-policy official, has cancelled a planned trip to Venezuela, in the face of mounting unrest in the South American country. "For...

Pope will visit Ireland in 2018

Pope Francis has agreed to visit Ireland in 2018, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has announced. The Irish prelate had invited the Pontiff to participate in the World Meeting of Families,...

Released Friday, May. 20

Vatican newspaper praises TV mini-series

In rare front-page praise of a work of popular culture, the Vatican newspaper has published an article lauding The Night Manager, a television mini-series based on a novel by John le...

Pope to meet with leading Sunni imam

Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican on May 23, according to the director of the Holy See Press Office. “It will be a first,” said...

Retired admiral appointed to US bishops’ National Review Board

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has named two new members of the National Review Board, the lay body established that assists the US bishops’ conference in preventing...

Bishop welcomes ban on most late-term abortions

Following passage by large margins in the South Carolina house (79-29) and senate (36-9), the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act has been signed into law by Gov. Nikki Haley. South Carolina...

Prelate welcomes actions of Egyptian leader, Coptic patriarch

A Coptic Catholic bishop who is visiting Rome said that despite anti-Christian currents in Egyptian society, the situation of Christians has improved under the leadership of President Abdel Fattah...

Dioceses forbidden to establish religious communities without prior Vatican consultation

Beginning June 1, diocesan decrees that establish religious institutes without prior consultation with the Vatican will be invalid, according to a rescript signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the...

New Custos of the Holy Land appointed

With the approval of the Holy See, the Order of Friars Minor has appointed Father Francesco Patton as the new Custos of the Holy Land. Father Patton, who hails from northern Italy and has served...

Vatican defends official who is focus of embezzlement inquiry

Reacting to revelations that Cardinal Domenico Calcagno is the subject of an investigation into alleged financial misconduct, the Vatican press office has issued a statement indicating that the...

Papal encouragement for Italian soccer squads

"Be champions in your sport, but above all be champions in life," Pope Francis said to professional soccer players with whom he met on May 20. The Pope-- an avid lifelong soccer fan--...

Pope mourns Egyptair victims

Pope Francis has sent a message of condolence to Egypt's President Abdel el Sisi, mourning the victims of the Egyptair crash in the Mediterranean. The Pope promises "his prayers and...

Nigerian cardinal sees hope for release of kidnapped girls

Nigerian Cardinal John Onaiyekan sees the liberation of two of the 219 girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014 as a hopeful sign, suggesting that the country's military is finally making...

Prominent French priest-therapist charged with abuse

A prominent French priest who has advised the Vatican on issues of sexuality has himself been accused of sexual abuse. Msgr. Tony Anatrella, a therapist with an international reputation, faces...

Polish troops to mobilize for World Youth Day security

The Polish Army will supply troops to help ensure security for the World Youth Day celebration in Krakow in July.  Polish government officials have expressed concerns about security...

Cardinal Barbarin urged by Pontiff to remain despite calls for resignation

Pope Francis met on May 20 with Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, France, and encouraged him to continue in office, dismissing public calls for his resignation because of his alleged failure to...

Director of The Exorcist says he filmed a real-life exorcism

The director of the film The Exorcist says that he has observed and filmed a real exorcism, at the invitation of the Vatican. The Vatican denies that claim. William Friedkin, speaking at the...

Iraqi prelate warns against US support for 'Christian militia' groups

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako has weighed in strongly against the suggestion that the US should provide arms for Christian militia groups in Iraq. Legislation now pending in...

Released Monday, May. 23

Diplomatic agreement between Holy See, DR Congo

Representatives of the Holy See and the Democratic Republic of the Congo signed a framework agreement at the Apostolic Palace on May 20. Since 1977, the Holy See has had diplomatic relations with...

Belarusian president meets with Pope

Pope Francis received President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus in audience on May 21. Following their meeting, the Belarusian leader met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s...

Pope Benedict: ‘the publication of the Third Secret of Fatima is complete’

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has denied a report that he once told Father Ingo Dollinger, a German priest who lives in Brazil, that the third secret of Fatima has not been published in its...

Pope Francis: through baptism, we are placed in the Trinity’s life

In his Trinity Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel reading (Jn. 16:12-15) and on the relation between baptism and the Trinitarian life. “The Spirit...

Italian priest beatified

Father Francesco Maria Greco (1857-1931), an Italian diocesan priest who founded the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts, was beatified in Cosenza on May 21. Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect of...

Pope: pray for humanitarian summit, China’s Catholics

Following the recitation of the Angelus on May 22, Pope Francis asked the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray for the World Humanitarian Summit, which begins on May 23 in Istanbul,...

NY dioceses file suit against abortion insurance mandate

Joined by Episcopalian, Lutheran, and Baptist bodies, two dioceses in New York State—the Diocese of Albany and the Diocese of Ogdensburg—have filed suit against the New York State...

President-elect in Philippines rips 'hypocritical' Catholic Church

Newly elected President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has lashed at at the Catholic Church, escalating his conflict with the country's hierarchy. The outspoken Duterte, who had described...

Top Sunni Muslim cleric meets with Pontiff

Pope Francis met on May 23 with Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Egypt's Al Azhar University, and the two spiritual leaders underlined their mutual rejection of religious violence. The...

Rome grants refugee status to migrants brought from Lesbos by Pope Francis

The twelve Syrian migrants brought to Rome by Pope Francis after his dramatic April visit to the island of Lesbos have now received official refugee status. The migrants-- three families...

Muslims must be converted, says Vatican cardinal

Christians are called to seek the conversion of all Muslims, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity told an audience at Cambridge University. The imperative to seek...

Muslims dominate, Christians rare among Syrian refugees admitted to US

All of the 499 Syrians who have been granted refugee status in the US thus far this month are Muslims, the CNSNews service reports; not a single Christian has been granted that status. Since the...

English archbishop raps government scare tactics in arguments against 'Brexit'

Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, England, has criticized government officials for making "ludicrous" claims in their attempts to defeat a campaign to pull out of the European...

Vietnam releases jailed priest one eve of Obama visit

Father Nguyen Van Ly, a Catholic priest who has been jailed for years because of his opposition to the Vietnamese Communist regime, was released by the government just prior to the arrival of...

Election of Pope Benedict in 2005 was outcome of 'dramatic struggle,' says Archbishop Gänswein

The longtime personal secretary to Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI has spoken of a "dramatic struggle" at the conclave of 2005, and insisted that the former Pontiff did not resign because of...

Papal message expresses hope for UN's Humanitarian Summit

Pope Francis has sent a message of support for the First World Humanitarian Summit, which is taking place in Istanbul this week under UN auspices. In a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon,...

Released Tuesday, May. 24

Vatican meeting on sexual violence in war

The British embassy to the Holy See and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace sponsored a meeting for members of religious orders on sexual violence in areas of conflict. As participants...

Missile attack on Franciscan school in Aleppo

A missile struck a Franciscan middle school in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, on May 22, killing one and injuring two. “The explosion was extremely violent, and it was strongly...

Cardinal Schönborn calls on Austria’s new president to unite polarized nation

Alexander Van der Bellen, the leader of Austria’s Green Party, has defeated Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party by a 50.3%-49.7% margin in the nation’s presidential election. In an...

Swiss bishops’ conference backs speedier asylum decisions

The justice and peace commission of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference has called for a “yes” vote in a June 5 referendum on changes to the nation’s asylum law. If voters...

Eastern Orthodox worship restricted in Northern Cyprus

Officials in Northern Cyprus, the area of Cyprus invaded by Turkey in 1974, have limited Eastern Orthodox services to once a year. The Cyprus Mail reported that churches will be allowed to hold...

French bishop appeals for calm amid fuel strike

Oil company and port workers went on strike to protest changes in French labor law, leading to gasoline shortages throughout France. Bishop Jean-Luc Brunin of Le Havre, the nation’s...

Relics of Saints John Fisher, Thomas More in US for ‘Fortnight for Freedom’

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is sponsoring a tour of the relics of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More as part of its annual Fortnight for Freedom initiative to promote respect...

Theme announced for 2018 World Meeting of Families

“The Gospel of family, joy for the world” is the theme of the 9th World Meeting of Families, which is scheduled to take place in Dublin in August 2018. “Hopefully it will be an...

Peacekeeping tops humanitarian agenda, Vatican Secretary of State tells UN forum

Cardinal Pietro Parolin stressed the primary importance of preventing warfare in a pair of addresses to the World Humanitarian Summit. "Prevention of armed conflicts is possible," the...

President of Belarus suggests Pope meet Russian Patriarch on Ukraine

During a meeting with Pope Francis, President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus suggested that the Pontiff should meet with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill to discuss the ongoing crisis in...

Italian archbishop threatens to close Catholic schools rather than pay property taxes

An Italian archbishop has vowed to close down Catholic schools rather than pay property taxes on them. Archbishop Luigi Negri of Ferrara-Comacchio sent a plea to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi,...

Mexican bishop appalled by kidnapping during Mass

Bishop Eduardo Patiño Leal of Cordoba, Mexico, decried a culture of violence that is "getting worse and worse" after a man was kidnapped from a church in Veracruz during Mass on May...

Top Sunni cleric affirms commitment to peace after meeting with Pope

Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the head of Egypt's Al Azhar University, affirmed his commitment to peace and the elimination of terrorism in an interview with Vatican broadcast media on May 24, the day...

Irish politician, ousted as lector over pro-abortion stand, meets with bishop

An Irish politician has met privately with his bishop after being removed from his position as a lector because of his support for legal abortion and same-sex marriage. Ken Curtin, a Social...

Benedict XVI to make public appearance on anniversary of ordination?

Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI could make a rare public appearance on June 29, when he celebrates the 65th anniverary of his ordination to the priesthood. Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the private...

Released Wednesday, May. 25

Austria: over 200 asylum seekers entered catechumenate in 2015

70% of the 300 adults who entered the catechumenate in Austria in 2015 are migrants and refugees who sought asylum, according to a report from the Austrian bishops’ news agency. In a new...

Ukrainian Church leader laments government corruption

Two years after mass protests led to the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, government corruption and political patronage remain significant problems in Ukraine, the head of the...

Illinois priest to head US bishops’ doctrine office

Father Michael J.K. Fuller, a diocesan priest who chairs the Department of Spiritual Theology at Mundelein Seminary, has been named executive director of the Secretariat of Doctrine and Canonical...

Pope urges perseverance in prayer

Continuing his series of Wednesday catecheses on mercy, Pope Francis devoted his May 25 general audience to the parable of the unjust judge and the widow (Lk. 18:1-8). “In telling us that...

Pope appeals for prayers for missing children, victims of attacks in Syria

At the conclusion of his May 25 general audience, Pope Francis recalled that the date is commemorated as International Missing Children’s Day. Inviting everyone to “prayer, that each...

Abuse scandal’s total cost: over $3 billion since 2004

The clerical abuse scandal cost American dioceses and religious orders $141,283,794 between mid-2014 and mid-2015, according to a report released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops...

Controversial Argentine archbishop drafted Amoris Laetitia, Vatican journalist writes

An influential Italian journalist has identified an Argentine cleric as the principal author of Amoris Laetitia, the apostolic exhortation with which Pope Francis concluded the work of the Synod on...

Cardinal Müller differs with Bishop Fellay, says SSPX must embrace Vatican II teachings

The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has said that the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) must accept the authority of Vatican II teachings, thereby contradicting a claim by...

Italian executive arrested for fraud after probe triggered by Vatican financial watchdogs

An Italian construction-company executive has been placed under house arrest and charged with criminal fraud, as the result of investigations initiated by Vatican financial officials. Angelo...

Israel reneged on commitment to Catholic schools, bishop charges

The Israeli government has reneged on a commitment to supply 50 million shekels (about $13 million) to support Catholic schools, charges the vicar of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Under the...

Victims' lawyer charges Minnesota archdiocese hiding funds in bankruptcy case

An attorney for sex-abuse victims has charged that the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis is hiding $1 billion in assets from creditors in bankruptcy proceedings. Jeffrey Anderson, who has won...

Vatileaks witness says Chaouqui admitted leaking documents

In a dramatic development in the "Vatileaks II" trial, a Vatican tribunal heard a witness testify on May 25 that Francesca Chaouqui, a prominent defendant, had admitted under questioning...

Two board members resign from Vatican bank

Two members of the board of the Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), have resigned. The Vatican said that the resignations of Clemens Börsig and Carlo Salvatori were...

Released Thursday, May. 26

Papal message: do not combat suffering by killing infants who suffer

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has sent a message in the name of Pope Francis to the Agostino Gemelli University Polyclinic in Rome on the occasion of a conference...

Vatican official calls for greater international effort to combat climate change

Addressing the World Health Organization’s annual World Health Assembly, a Vatican official welcomed the call for universal health coverage in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development...

Syrian bishop laments new ISIS attacks

A Syrian bishop lamented ISIS attacks on Tartus and Jableh, two coastal cities located in territory held by the nation’s government. Tartus and Jableh are located in a region to which...

Cardinal calls for greater role for religious organizations in humanitarian aid

At the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, the president of the Church’s federation of relief and development agencies called for a greater role for religious organizations in aid...

Texas parish aids 35,000 migrants in 2 years

A parish in McAllen, Texas, has aided over 35,000 migrants during the past two years, with the number of migrants surging to over 200 daily on some days this month, according to a Washington Post...

Philippine archbishop, imam fight against coal

Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa has joined forces with a leading local imam to protest the construction of new coal-powered plants. At a recent Mass attended by 10,000 people, the prelate...

Cardinal Capovilla, secretary to St. John XXIII, dies at 100

Cardinal Loris Capovilla, who served as private secretary to Pope John XXIII, died on May 26. Cardinal Capovilla had been the oldest member of the College of Cardinals, having celebrated his...

Vatican spokesman rips complaints by Vatileaks defendant Chaouqui

The Vatican press office has taken the unusual step of issuing a statement to denounce public remarks by Francesca Chaouqui, one of the defendants in the "Vatileaks II" trial. Chaouqui...

Pope Francis leads Corpus Christi celebration

In his homily for the feast of Corpus Christi, which was celebrated in Rome on May 26, Pope Francis concentrated on the words of Jesus at the Last Supper: "Do this in remembrance of...

Elton John battles to suppress critical story about homosexual partnership

British entertainer Elton John has launched an aggressive, expensive—and, to date, largely successful—effort to suppress a report about his homosexual partner's extra-marital...

Vatican's top liturgical official recommends ad orientem liturgy

The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship has encouraged priests to celebrate Mass ad orientem-- facing toward the east along with the congregation. Cardinal Robert Sarah, in an...

Irish diocese confirms decision to remove pro-abortion cathedral lector

The Irish Diocese of Cloyne has confirmed the decision to remove a politician from the list of lectors at the diocesan cathedral because of his support for legal abortion and same-sex...

Miami archdiocese investigating pastor after accusations of intimate relationships with staff

The Archdiocese of Miami has opened an investigation into charges that a pastor had intimate relationships with workers he had hired for the parish school. Father Pedro Corces has stepped down as...

Australian archbishop says Greens are threat to religious liberty

The Archbishop of Sydney, Australia, has warned that the Green Party poses threats to religious freedom. "Some Greens policies are very attractive to many religious believers and other...

Released Friday, May. 27

Russian Orthodox leader: American, European de-Christianization is ‘apocalyptic’

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church received a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople on May 24 and lamented the secularization of Europe and the United...

Mont Saint-Michel’s angel restored

The statue of St. Michael the Archangel atop the famed monastery of Mont Saint-Michel has been regilded and restored. The project took nearly three months and cost $500,000. The statue is 15 feet...

Immigration: bishops lament planned surge in deportations

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration decried the Obama administration’s report surge in immigration deportation raids. The US...

Obama, in Vietnam, defends religious freedom

In a recent address in Hanoi, President Barack Obama defended the concept of universal human rights, including freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of religion,...

Congressional hearing on ISIS genocide

A subcommittee of the US House of Representatives held a hearing on May 26 devoted to the ISIS genocide. Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, told the members of the...

Kenyan bishops decry decision to close world’s largest refugee camp

Citing an “existential security threat,” the Kenyan government has announced its intent to close the world’s largest refugee camp, which hosts over 300,000 refugees, primarily from...

Costa Rica's president meets with Pontiff

During a May 27 meeting with Costa Rica's President Luis Gillermo Solis Rivera, Pope Francis reportedly hinted at the possibility of a visit to the Central American country. A brief Vatican...

Irish primate maintains hope for united nation

Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, the Primate of All Ireland, said that he holds out hope for Irish unity, in an interview with the Irish Independent.  "I do believe that Ireland...

Recover harmony, Pope urges German Catholic gathering

"It is not doing, or external success that counts," Pope Francis said in a video message to German Catholics, "but the capacity to stop, to look up, to be attentive towards...

Charitable work must be supported by prayer, Pope tells Don Orione congregation

"Your service to the Church will be more effective the more you apply yourselves to care for your personal closeness to Christ and to your spiritual formation," Pope Francis said in a May...

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