Stories for April 2011

Released Monday, Apr. 4

Afghanistan: 3 days of violent protests over Florida Qur’an burning

Violent protests have broken out across Afghanistan in response to a Florida Protestant pastor’s decision to burn the Qur’an on March 20. At least 25 people died in unrest between April 1 and April...

Bishop: more civilians killed in Libya; hundreds of thousands flee

Eight civilians, “mostly women and children,” were killed by “bombs released by the international forces” on April 1, according to Bishop Giovanni Martinelli. The apostolic vicar of Tripoli told...

Massacre in Ivory Coast; Church facilities destroyed

Caritas Internationalis, the consortium of Catholic relief and development agencies, has condemned the massacre of an estimated 1,000 people in Duékoué, a city in western Côte d'Ivoire. “Caritas...

US birthrate falls below replacement level; 41% of births to single mothers

The birthrate in the United States has fallen to 2.01 children per woman, which is below the replacement rate of 2.1. The birthrate plunged from 2.08 to 2.01 between 2008 and 2009; the decline...

Muslim birthrate plunges in North Africa

Philip Jenkins, author of The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice and The Next Christendom: The Rise of Global Christianity, notes that the birthrate has plunged in recent decades...

Lawmaker calls bishop ‘pedophile pimp’

David Bettencourt, New Hampshire’s Republican house majority leader, has called Bishop John McCormack a “pedophile pimp who should have been led away from the State House in handcuffs with a...

India: bishop denounces sex-selective abortions

An Indian diocese is working to counter the increasing prevalence of sex-selective abortions. 914 girls are born in India for every 1,000 boys, according to a recent census report. “Can we afford...

Vatican clears 28 for beatification

On April 2 the Congregation for the Causes of Saints released 13 decrees, moving 34 candidates closer to beatification. The decrees--were authorized by Pope Benedict XVI at a private audience...

Vatican explains plans for 'day of reflection' at Assisi

The Vatican has outlined plans for a "Day of reflection, dialogue, and prayer for peace and justice in the world," to be held at Assisi on October 27. On January 1, the World Day for Peace, Pope...

Pope looks forward to Easter, beatification of John Paul II

At a midday public audience on Sunday, April 3, Pope Benedict XVI invited the faithful to look forward joyfully to the celebration of Easter and, beyond that, the beatification of Pope John Paul...

New York Times asks: how many more Philadelphias?

Reflecting on the discovery that priests accused of abuse have remained active in the Philadelphia archdiocese, a New York Times editorial makes the point that CWN has been making for the past...

Michigan nuns' bid to purchase John Paul II Cultural Center falls through

The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, have backed away from a plan to buy the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, DC, explaining that their order was unable to find...

Irish bishops set to adopt standard abuse policies?

The Irish Catholic bishops have agreed to abide by new uniform rules for the handling of sex-abuse complaints, the Sunday Business Post reports. The bishops will approve a set of guidelines...

Pope accepts retirement of outspoken Australian bishop

Pope Benedict XVI has replaced an Australian bishop who was an outspoken critic of the Church’s handling of sex-abuse complaints, and had clashed with the Vatican on several occasions because of his...

Vietnamese rights advocate sentenced to 7 years in prison plus house arrest

On April 4, in a speedy trial at the People's Court of Hanoi, prominent human-rights lawyer Cu Huy Ha Vu was sentenced to 7 years in prison following by an additional three years of house arrest....

Vatican official emerges as key figure on Vatican-China ties

Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, the secretary of the Congregation for Evangelization, has become an important figure in the formation of Vatican policies toward China, reports Sandro Magister of...

Hopes dim for religious freedom, democracy in Islamic world: Vatican analyst

The "Arab spring" uprisings that seemed to promise a move toward secular democracy in the Islamic world is now unlikely to produce that goal, according to an influential Vatican analyst. Father...

Nuns question compensation for Goldman Sachs executives

A coalition of Catholic nuns is behind a move to question the compensation of top executives at Goldman Sachs at the annual meeting of shareholders. The Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston, the...

Vatican pulls support from international journalists' group

The Vatican has withdrawn its recognition from an international group of Catholic journalists, and directed that the group should remove the word "Catholic" from its name. Cardinal Stanislaw...

US Supreme Court upholds school vouchers in Arizona

The US Supreme Court has upheld an Arizona law that provides tax vouchers for private-school tuition. In a 5-4 decision, announced April 4, the Supreme Court rejected arguments that the voucher...

Released Tuesday, Apr. 5

Pakistani prelate calls on US to detain pastor who burned Qur’an

The president of the Pakistani bishops’ conference has called upon the US government to detain Terry Jones, the Florida Protestant minister who oversaw the burning of the Qur’an on March 20. “The...

2 Canadian bishops cancel priest’s presentations over abortion ties

Two Canadian bishops canceled the speaking appearances of a Mexican priest over the latter’s ties to groups that support abortion. Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa announced that Father...

European bishops urge compassion for Libyan refugees

The Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe is urging the nations of Europe to have compassion on the Libyan refugees who are fleeing their strife-torn land. “The soul-stirring influx of...

USCCB: Lobby against ‘disproportionate’ budget cuts to the poor

The Office of Government Relations of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is urging Catholics to lobby against “disproportionate [federal budget] cuts in programs that serve poor...

Saudi Arabia: where carrying the Rosary is a crime

Camille Eid, a professor at the University of Milan, describes the persecution Christians endure in Saudi Arabia. Eid, who has lived in Jeddah-- the nation’s second-largest city-- told the...

Canada: revised missal to be implemented in Advent

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced that the revised English translation of the Roman Missal will be implemented in parishes on November 27, the First Sunday of Advent. The new...

New Ukrainian Catholic leader wants meeting with Moscow patriarch to ease tensions

The new head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church has said that he would like to meet with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, in a bid to resolve tensions between the Moscow patriarchate and the...

Russian Church, secular advocates at odds on crucifix display

A leading spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church has encouraged public manifestations of faith, drawing criticism from human-rights advocates who see such displays as an infringement on...

New French law barring veils re-opens debate on Islamic immigrants

A new French law banning garments that hide the face--obviously aimed at Muslim women wearing their traditional veil--comes into effect on April 11, and promises to bring a new intensity to...

Vietnamese police arrest 29 Catholics after conviction of human-rights advocate

Police in Hanoi arrested at least 29 Catholic activists outside the courthouse where a noted human-rights advocate was convicted on April 4. The arrests, accompanied by rough handling from...

Catholic influence on decline in Mexico

The Catholic Church has been losing about 1,000 members a day in Mexico for the past decade, a new study shows. Catholicism remains the dominant religion in Mexico, accounting for about 93...

Some Massachusetts religious groups back 'transgender' rights

Religious leaders in Massachusetts, including the local head of the Episcopal Church, have spoken out in favor of a bill that would discrimination against "transgender" individuals. “Supporting...

Irish archbishop, speaking in Milwaukee, demands candor on sex abuse

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin insisted that Church leaders should shoulder the responsibility for the sex-abuse crisis, and release pertinent information about past policies, as he addressed...

New Hampshire newspaper editorial says bishop has lost moral authority

The Manchester (New Hampshire) Union Leader has entered the debate sparked by a state legislator's characterization of Bishop John McCormack a "pedophile pimp," saying that while the lawmaker's...

Belgian bishop will not face criminal charges for abuse

A Belgian bishop acknowledged that he had molested a young boy will not face charges, because the abuse, committed in the 1980s, is covered by that country's statute of limitations. Bishop Roger...

New Italian book examines Vatican view of sports

At the launch of a new book entitled Sport in the Vatican, the head of a new Vatican office for sport spoke about the importance that the late Pope John Paul II attached to athletics. The Polish...

Australian prime minister shores up relations with religious leaders

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who has been open about her own disinterest in questions of faith, is seeking to reassure religious leaders that she understands their concerns on issues...

Instruction on Summorum Pontificum coming after Easter?

A long-awaited Vatican Instruction clarifying some questions about Summorum Pontificum will appear soon after Easter, according to Rome’s leading Vatican journalist. Andrea Tornielli, who...

Pakistan: Christians may lose parliamentary seat; another blasphemy charge

The parliamentary seat that was occupied by Shahbaz Bhatti before his assassination last month may be filled by a Hindu rather than a Christian. The seat is reserved for religious minorities. A...

Nigerian prelate disappointed by postponement of elections

Cardinal Anthony Okogie of Lagos, Nigeria, has expressed disappointment with the decision to postpone elections, but urged his people to wait patiently for a new ballot. In a message to the...

Released Wednesday, Apr. 6

Neither side in Libyan conflict blameless, says bishop

Lauding the Turkish government’s attempt to mediate a ceasefire in the Libyan conflict, the apostolic vicar of Tripoli told the Fides news agency that both sides have committed “wrongs.” “If we...

Russian Church: regime changes threaten North Africa’s Christians

The Russian Orthodox Church’s chief ecumenical officer has expressed concern about recent and potential regime changes in North Africa and the Middle East. “Changes in political regimes and a...

In Ivory Coast, priest labors for peace

As forces loyal to President-elect Alassane Ouattara-- with the backing of French and UN forces-- gain the upper hand over President Laurent Gbagbo in the battle for control of Côte d'Ivoire, a...

Profile of Rhode Island’s Bishop Tobin

Catholic World Report profiles Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, who publicly called Rep. Patrick Kennedy to “conversion and repentance” in 2009 and who is working to rally opposition to the...

Archbishop Chaput lauds failure of civil unions measure

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver has praised a state house committee for tabling a bill that would have legalized homosexual civil unions in Colorado. “The civil unions debate is finally about...

Los Angeles archbishop pays tribute to César Chávez

Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles has paid tribute to César Chávez (1927-93), founder of United Farm Workers, on the occasion of César Chávez Day, a state holiday in California. “His vision...

Tanzania and Islamists: analysis

Harvey Glickman, a retired Haverford College professor, analyzes the threat of Islamism in Tanzania. At the 2009 Synod of Bishops for Africa, a leading Tanzanian prelate, Archbishop Norbert Mtega of...

Irish report argues against hasty government takeover of Church-run schools

A group formed to study the prospects for Catholic education in Ireland has issued a report calling for more study of alternatives to Church-run schools, and stressing the importance of parents’...

Pope recommends 'little way' of St. Therese

At his weekly public audience on April 6, Pope Benedict XVI continued his series of talks on the Doctors of the Church, speaking about the enormous influence of St. Therese of Lisieux (1873-...

Pope appeals for peace in Libya, Ivory Coast

Pope Benedict XVI made an “urgent appeal” for an end to the fighting in Libya and Ivory Coast, during his regular public audience on April 6. “Violence and hate are always a defeat,” the Holy...

Astrophysicist named for Templeton Prize

A British astrophysicist who claims no religious beliefs has been named as this year's recipient of the Templeton Prize, given for someone who "has made an exceptional contribution to affirming...

Archbishop of Santa Fe takes strong stand on cohabiting couples

Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe, New Mexico, has called for clear teaching and pastoral practice regarding couples who live together outside marriage. The archbishop notes that cohabiting...

Dome of St. Peter's basilica found stronger than expected

Structural engineers examining the dome of St. Peter's basilica have found that the building is even stronger than previously believed. Using high-tech instruments, the study found that the stone...

Jaruzelski hints Islamic forces were involved in plot to kill Pope John Paul II

The former head of Poland's Communist government has suggested that Islamic radicals were involved in the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II by Mehmet Ali Agca. The suggestion drew a...

Released Thursday, Apr. 7

Mass graves in Ivory Coast; leading prelate in hiding

The leading prelate in strife-torn Côte d’Ivoire went to a “hidden place” as forces loyal to President-elect Alassane Oattara prepared to launch their final attack on the palace of President Laurent...

Pakistani bishop links Western military actions, persecution of Christians

Bishop Joseph Coutts of Faisalabad, Pakistan’s third-largest city, says that there is a link between the persecution of the nation’s Christians and Western military actions. “We are going through...

Libya: bishop welcomes Pope’s appeal for diplomacy

The apostolic vicar of Tripoli has welcomed Pope Benedict’s appeal for an end to the conflict in Libya. On April 6, the Pontiff called upon all parties “to initiate a process of peacemaking and...

US bishops: Enact conscience-protection legislation

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), is urging members of Congress to support the Respect for Rights...

Canadian bishops: Allow election workers to worship on Good Friday

The president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has asked the nation’s chief electoral officer to make accommodations for election workers on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy...

Slain cabinet minister’s brother forgives assassins

The brother of the Pakistani Catholic cabinet minister who was assassinated for his opposition to the nation’s blasphemy law says that he and other family members have forgiven the assassins....

Italian journalist sees curial infighting, says Vatican diplomacy in disarray

A political commentator for Corriere Della Sera has published a book analyzing the Vatican’s public relations problems. “The gaffes are not due to problems of external communications,” Massimo...

Safeguard Church unity, Pope urges bishops of India's Syro-Malabar rite

In an April 7 meeting with bishops of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI underlined the value of unity: unity between the Church in India and in Rome, and unity between the...

Jesuit journal praises spirit of Wikipedia

A Jesuit author, writing in a semi-official Vatican publication, has praised the collaborative spirit of independent computer programmers who have built up resources like Wikipedia. Father...

Departures from German Catholic Church soared in 2010

The number of German Catholics formally withdrawing from the Church has jumped by about 40% last year, according to figures published by the daily Die Zeit. A survey of 24 dioceses showed that...

Papal envoy unable to reach Ivory Coast

A week after Pope Benedict XVI announced that he was sending Cardinal Peter Turkson to Ivory Coast, as his personal representative to aid peacemaking efforts there, the cardinal has been unable to...

President of Pakistani bishops' conference resigns

The president of the Pakistani bishops’ conference has resigned. The Vatican announced on April 7 that Pope Benedict had accepted the resignation of Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore, which...

More Cuban political prisoners released to exile in Spain

The Cuban government has continued its release of political prisoners, sending 37 dissidents to live in freedom in Spain. Under the terms of an agreement brokered by Cardinal Jaime Ortega y...

Church support for labor unions: at odds with Church practice?

Although the Catholic Church has a strong history of support for labor unions, Church officials have frequently been at loggerheads with unions in their own dioceses, notes Brian Fraga in Our Sunday...

New Hampshire legislators pour on criticism of Catholic bishop

Republican legislators in New Hampshire have rallied to support their party leader, who caused a furor by calling Bishop John McCormack of Manchester a “pedophile pimp.” Majority leader David...

Condemned for 'blasphemy,' Pakistani woman is reported gravely ill

Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman who was convicted of blasphemy in a trial marked by questionable testimony, is seriously ill. Bibi, who was condemned to death, has been living in prison,...

Anglican ordinariates will advance liturgical 'reform of the reform'

Shawn Tribe of the New Liturgical Movement predicts that the new Anglican ordinariates will have a positive impact on the reform of the liturgy in the broader Catholic Church: What I am...

Texas bishop joins budget-cut protest

Bishop Michael Mulvey of Corpus Christi joined a protest against tax cuts at the Texas state house on April 6. "We want to see a balanced approach with a clear priority for vulnerable citizens...

Shipwreck of Libyan refugees revives Italian debate on migrants

A shipwreck that killed dozens of refugees from northern Africa has prompted new appeals from Church leaders for a charitable attitude toward migrants. A flimsy craft carrying hundreds of...

Released Friday, Apr. 8

Leading European bishop reflects on world crises

The president of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community has delivered an address reflecting on three contemporary crises: the financial crisis in Europe, the disasters...

US bishops weigh in on Afghanistan transition, Pakistani religious freedom

Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has urged National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon...

Bishop: Violence will not prevent Southern Sudan’s independence

The violence afflicting Southern Sudan will not prevent the incipient state from formally becoming independent on July 9, a bishop told Aid to the Church in Need. Nearly 99% of Southern Sudan’s...

'Voice' of children, teens to be part of Good Friday Via Crucis meditation

Mother Maria Rita Piccione has told Vatican Radio that the meditations that will be read during the Way of the Cross on Good Friday at the Colosseum in Rome will “give space … to the voice of...

Franciscan University’s atmosphere fosters priestly, religious vocations

Terry Mattingly draws attention to Franciscan University of Steubenville’s success in fostering priestly and religious vocations. Seven religious orders have houses near the campus. “New styles...

Religious order, Catholic school students lobby for controversial UN treaty

Students from a Catholic school in Rhode Island unsuccessfully urged state lawmakers to call upon the US government to adopt the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Clinton administration...

Washington: Democrats threaten government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding

As legislators in Washington, DC, negotiated on a last-minute compromise that could avoid a temporary shutdown of the federal government, Democratic leaders said on Thursday morning that they could...

Ivory Coast refugees seeking asylum in Abidjan cathedral

Nearly 2,000 people have sought shelter in St. Paul's cathedral in Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast, to escape the fighting around the city. Church officials are struggling to care for...

Christian leaders protest Israeli taxes on church property, ouster of Anglican bishop

Christian leaders in Israel have joined in a protest against the Israeli government’s refusal to grant a residency permit to an Anglican bishop, and new taxes imposed on church institutions. The...

Popular forms of piety are healthy if they spring from real faith, Pope says

The “profound popular religiosity” of the people is “a valuable asset of the Catholic Church in Latin America, and must be protected, promoted, and also, where necessary, purified.” That was the...

California priest in TV ministry on leave after revelation of affair

A California priest who hosts a popular television show has been placed on a leave of absence from ministry after it emerged that he had engaged in a long-running affair with a woman. Father...

Elderly Filipino cardinal returning home to work against family-planning bill

A 91-year old Filipino cardinal who has lived in Rome for the past 25 years is returning home to join in the battle against an aggressive family-planning bill. Cardinal Jose Sanchez said that he...

Russian prelate says 'godless' West doomed to collapse

Russia represents the best hope for Europe's future, according to a prominent official of the Russian Orthodox Church. "Russia has no future without conscience, morals and normal human relations...

Tomb of St. Francis of Assisi to reopen after renovations

The tomb of St. Francis of Assisi, located under the altar of the basilica in that town, will reopen on April 9, after several weeks of renovations. The bronze coffin and the surrounding stone...

Former Irish prime minister defends religious instruction

Ireland’s former prime minister, John Bruton, has defended the role of religious education in the country’s schools, questioning the plan of current education minister Ruairi Quinn to cut down on...

Irish court approves release of report on abuse in Cloyne diocese

Ireland's High Court has approved the publication of a report on sexual abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne, except for some portions that relate to the case of a priest who is currently facing...

Excommunicated priest will not recant; faces expulsion from Maryknoll order

A Maryknoll priest who was excommunicated for participating in the attempted ordination of a woman now faces dismissal from his religious order because he refuses to alter his stand. Father Roy...

Papal preacher's focus on charity toward neighbors

Genuine Christian charity elevates service to one's neighbors, the preacher to the pontifical household said on April 8 in the 3rd in a weekly series of Lenten sermons. Father Raniero...

Homosexual activists pelt Belgian archbishop with pies

Homosexual activists threw pies at Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard of Brussels on April 6, as the archbishop was speaking at the Catholic University in Louvain. Archbishop Leonard has become a...

Vatican invites bloggers to May 2 conference

The Vatican is organizing a May 2 conference for Catholic bloggers, sponsored by the Pontifical Councils for Culture and for Social Communications. The conference, held in Rome on the day after...

Released Monday, Apr. 11

CDF orders disgraced Belgian bishop to seek treatment

Archbishop Giacinto Berloco, the apostolic nuncio in Belgium, said on April 9 that a bishop who abused his nephew has been ordered to seek treatment in an undisclosed foreign country. The...

Pakistan: another Christian accused of blasphemy

Arif Masih, a 40-year-old Pakistani Christian, has been jailed after being accused of tearing pages from the Qur’an and writing a threatening letter to Muslims. The blasphemy accusation, according...

Bishop sees impasse in Libya

The apostolic vicar of Tripoli says that Libyan rebels and forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi are deadlocked in their military struggle. “A military impasse has been created, and it seems that...

Europe: fertility remains well below replacement level

Between 2003 and 2009, the fertility rate of the 27 nations of the European Union increased from 1.47 children per woman to 1.60-- a figure that remains well below the replacement level of 2.1....

Chile: priests who committed abuse urged to come forward, admit guilt

Apologizing to all victims of clerical sexual abuse, the bishops of Chile-- quoting Pope Benedict -- called upon priests who have abused children to “openly acknowledge your guilt, submit yourselves...

Vietnam: Catholic lawyer arrested

Le Quoc Quan, an attorney who served on Diocese of Vinh’s justice and peace commission, was arrested on April 7 for protesting the conviction of fellow human rights advocate Cu Huy Ha Vu. Quan,...

Regime change in Syria could lead of mass persecution of Christians

Citing the example of Iraq, Philip Jenkins writes that the fall of the Ba’athist regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria could lead to the rise of an Islamist regime, sparking a mass persecution of...

Mass attendance down 10% in Philadelphia area

Sunday Mass attendance has declined 8% in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia since 2007 and 12% in the adjacent Diocese of Camden since 2006. “The diminution in Mass attendance didn’t happen...

150 US Catholic schools have links to Planned Parenthood

At least 150 Catholic colleges and universities in the US have provided some support for Planned Parenthood, the Cardinal Newman Society has disclosed. In a detailed new report, the Cardinal...

Pope lauds new Polish documentary on John Paul II

Pope Benedict XVI described his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, as "a great mystic and apostle," after viewing a Polish documentary on the late Pontiff. On April 9, the Holy Father saw a...

Christ's truth breaks all barriers, even death, Pope tells audience

Steadfast faith in Christ can overcome any obstacle, even death, Pope Benedict XVI told his midday audience on Sunday, April 10. Commenting on the day's Gospel, which recounted the raising of...

Abortion debates heat up in many American states

USA Today notes that political battles over efforts to restrict abortion are particularly heated in many American states this year. Pro-life activists are advancing several different sorts of...

Harsh report expected on abuse in Ireland's Cloyne diocese

A report on the handling of sex-abuse complaints in Ireland’s Cloyne diocese will disclose serious mishandling of cases by top diocesan officials, according to informed sources. Last week...

Vatican-sponsored youth catechism: ambiguous on contraception?

A catechism prepared for World Youth Day under the direction of the Vatican appears to suggest that Christian married couples should use contraceptives, the Catholic News Agency (CNA)...

Milingo continues recruiting married priests for new sect

Emmanual Milingo, the renegade archbishop who was excommunicated in 2006 and laicized in 2009, continues to encourage Catholic priests to marry and join a sect that he leads. Presiding at the...

Catholic Theological Society leaders question bishops' caution on theologian Johnson

Directors of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) have joined in a message questioning the US Catholic bishops for their criticism of a book by a former CTSA president. In March the...

Pope sees European 'amnesia' about Christian roots

"To declare that Europe does not have Christian roots is like claiming that a man may live without oxygen or nourishment ," said Pope Benedict XVI on April 11 as he welcomed a new ambassador from...

Papal commission to discuss Chinese pressure on Church

The special commission set up by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008 to study the situation facing the Church in China is meeting in Rome this week to assess the fallout from two aggressive moves by the...

Malaysia, in reversal, will allow Bible imported without 'warning label'

The government of Malaysia has announced plans to allow the importation of Bibles, without the warning label that had been required under an earlier announced policy. Christians in Malaysia had...

China: nearly 200 Christians arrested for public prayer

Chinese officials have arrested nearly 200 Protestants who joined in a public prayer service after they were ousted from a restaurant where they had been meeting. The Shouwang Christian...

Released Tuesday, Apr. 12

Abuse scandal’s total cost: $2.34 billion since 2004

The clerical abuse scandal cost American dioceses $123,703,433 in 2010, according to an annual report released on April 11 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Only 62% of...

1,000 attack non-Muslim village in Nigeria

Armed with machetes and guns, 1,000 militants attacked the village of Bar Arewa in the northern Nigerian state of Bauchi on April 7. “Almost every home in the village was destroyed, and some elderly...

Vatican cardinal to offer Mass for Pakistan’s persecuted Christians

Pakistan’s bishops have announced that they will mark April 20 as a special day of prayer for Asia Bibi and other victims of the nation’s blasphemy law. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the...

Father Pfleger willing to leave Church rather than resign pastorate

Father Michael Pfleger, the controversial pastor of St. Sabina Parish in Chicago, has said that he would rather leave the Church than accept a position as a high school principal. “I want to try...

New York Times article on new missal translation

The New York Times has published an article on the forthcoming revised translation of the Roman Missal. Quoting five critics and only one supporter, reporter Laurie Goodstein states that “thousands...

Ring, cross given away by Paul VI to be auctioned on eBay

Alan Perry, a North Carolina jeweler, has announced that he will auction on eBay a ring and cross once owned by Pope Paul VI. The Pontiff donated the ring and cross while visiting the UN in 1965...

October 22: feast of John Paul II

The feast of John Paul II will be observed on October 22, the date of his installation in 1978 as Roman Pontiff, the Vatican has announced. Following the May 1 beatification of the late Pontiff,...

As Islam eyes political power, Egyptian Christians consider emigration

Many Egyptian Christians, fearful that elections could bring an Islamic government to power, have begun to weigh the possibility of emigration. Egypt's Christian community, composed primarily of...

'Underground' Chinese priests arrested, beaten

Two Catholic priests of the 'underground' Church in China's Hebei province have been arrested and beaten recently, AsiaNews reports. The faithful in Hebei know of 20 priests who have been...

Bloodshed continues in Ivory Coast; archbishop seeks prayers

Heavy fighting continued in Ivory Coast, in the capital city of Abidjan, around the residence of outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo, reported the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Ambrose Madtha....

Psychiatrists question Philadelphia investigation, defend priests

Richard Fitzgibbons (a psychiatric counselor and consultant to the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy) and his partner Peter Kleponis raise a series of serious questions about the recent...

Synod committee sees 'precarious' future for Christians in Middle East

At a meeting in Rome, the committee charged with follow-up for last year’s Synod on the Middle East called attention to the “precarious situation” facing Christians in that region, in light of a...

Released Wednesday, Apr. 13

Italian translation of youth catechism pulled over contraception error

The publisher of the Italian translation of a Vatican-sponsored youth catechism has removed the translation from the market because it erroneously implies that the Church approves of contraceptive...

Australian priest rips recent popes; Cardinal Pell responds

A retired priest of the Archdiocese of Melbourne has blasted the teaching recent popes, displaying particular contempt for the person and teaching of Pope John Paul II. Pope John Paul II was “out...

History Channel documentary claims nails used in Crucifixion discovered

A History Channel documentary hosted by Simcha Jacobovici claims that there is “compelling” evidence that the nails used in Christ’s crucifixion have been discovered. The nails were discovered in...

State Department criticizes Ambassador Kmiec

The US State Department’s inspector general has issued a report criticizing the performance of Douglas Kmiec--one of President Obama’s most prominent lay Catholic supporters--as ambassador of...

Blair sees religious revival in China

Acknowledging that “the conflict with the Pope over the appointment of bishops and the complex reality of the state-sponsored Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association [are] an ongoing symptom of...

Missionary sees spiritual awakening in Japan

The recent earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disasters in Japan are leading to a spiritual awakening there, according to a missionary priest. “The catastrophe which struck the country has awoken...

Canada: transgendered teacher refuses Catholic school’s settlement offer

A transgendered substitute teacher fired by an Alberta Catholic school system in 2008 has rejected the system’s latest settlement offer. Following her firing, Jan Buterman filed a complaint with...

All are called to be saints, Pope tells audience

At his public audience on Wednesday, April 13, Pope Benedict XVI concluded a two-year series of weekly talks on the saints, saying that the saints are “beacons for many generations.” The...

AP airs criticisms of beatification for John Paul II

Looking ahead to the beatification of Pope John Paul II, an AP story rehearses the various questions that have been raised by critics: about the late Pontiff's handling of the sex-abuse scandal and...

Egyptian Muslim leader repeats demand for papal apology

The head of Egypt’s Al Azhar University has renewed his insistence that Pope Benedict XVI must apologize for his alleged insults to Islam before inter-religious dialogue can resume. Sheik Ahmed...

Austrian Church dealing with over 800 abuse cases

Austrian Church officials have received 837 reports of alleged sexual abuse by Catholic priests since opening an investigation last year. The commission created to probe complaints has settled...

Fight poverty, not population, Vatican envoy urges UN

The Vatican’s permanent observer at the UN has told a session on population and development that the “increasingly discredited concept of population control must be discarded.” Rather than...

Different pro-life perspectives on the political battle to de-fund Planned Parenthood

As American pro-life activists rally support for a bid to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood, Pia de Solenni offers the insight that Planned Parenthood is using this political battle as...

Vatican served with papers in Milwaukee abuse lawsuit

Minnesota-based attorney Jeffrey Anderson has successfully served the Vatican with legal papers in a sex-abuse lawsuit in which he seeks to include the Pope as defendant. The case, involving...

Mother Teresa pressured to leave Belfast?

The hostility of a parish priest in Belfast prompted Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity to abandon working with the poor there, an Irish nun claims. Sister Eileen Sweeney says that she...

Azerbaijan: worshippers face arrest under law on 'religious freedom'

Protestant groups in Azerbaijan report that they have been threatened with arrest for gathering on Sunday morning to pray—under the terms of a new law that is touted as a guarantee of religious...

Vatican confirms: Belgian bishop instructed to leave country

The Vatican has confirmed that a Belgian bishop has been asked to leave that country, and barred from public ministry, as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) investigates a...

Vatican unveils YouCat catechism for World Youth Day

At an April 13 press conference, Vatican officials introduced YouCat, the catechism for young people produced for World Youth Day. The pocket-sized youth catechism, presented in a...

Islamic extremists increase activity in Egypt

Islamic extremists have shown new vigor in Egypt since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, a Catholic missionary priest reports. Father Luciano Verdoscia tells the Fides news service that...

Christian charity should increase is government programs are cut

The prospect of major cuts in government spending poses a challenge to Christians, writes Samuel Gregg of the Acton Institute: "Because for the past 80 years, many Christians have simply assumed...

Released Thursday, Apr. 14

Libya: Christian leaders call for immediate ceasefire

Bishop Giovanni Martinelli and other Libyan Christian leaders have issued a joint statement calling for “an immediate and unconditional ceasefire by all parties involved” in the Libyan...

Hong Kong cardinal rues Communist persecution, ‘policy of compromise’

Speaking in the United States, Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun of Hong Kong said that “I bring bad news about the Church in China.” “All these years the policy of the Communist Party has not...

Pakistan: hundreds of Christian girls forced to convert to Islam

Citing several examples, the Fides news agency reports that hundreds of Christian girls in Pakistan have been abducted, forced to convert to Islam, and raped or forced into marriages. “The...

India: tens of thousands of Christians to protest persecution

Tens of thousands of Christians will take to the streets of Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta, and Bangalore on Good Friday in silent protest of the persecution of Christians in India. “Anti-Christian...

US bishops weigh in on budget deal

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has praised aspects of the budget deal that averted a federal government shutdown. “We are particularly grateful for three essential...

Guttmacher report on Catholic contraceptive use

A research institute named after a president of Planned Parenthood and vice president of the American Eugenics Society has issued a report on the use of contraceptives among Catholic and Protestant...

Vatican report rues divisions within Church in China

The Vatican’s special commission on the Church in China has concluded a 3-day meeting with a message descrying the pressures from the Beijing regime, acknowledging divisions within the Church, and...

Jesuit journal sees Shahbaz Bhatti as a martyr

Civilta Cattolica, the Jesuit journal whose articles are approved in advance by the Vatican Secretariat of State, has paid homage to Shahbaz Bhatti, the Catholic Pakistani cabinet minister who was...

London choral director rips quality of Catholic church music

The choral director of the London Symphony Orchestra has delivered a blistering condemnation of the quality of music in Catholic churches, saying that many hymns are nothing but "filler" and...

Vietnam releases jailed Catholic activists

The Vietnamese government has released 29 Catholic activists who were arrested earlier this month outside a Hanoi courthouse where a prominent human-rights activist was on trial. Although the...

Australian debate continues; editor of priests' magazine raps Cardinal Pell

The editor of an Australian magazine for Catholic priests has criticized Sydney’s Cardinal George Pell for the cardinal’s public denunciation of theological extremists. Father Peter Maher, the...

Latvian president meets with Pope

Pope Benedict XVI met on April 14 with President Valdis Zatlers of Latvia. The "cordial discussions" focused on bilateral relations between the Holy See and Latvia, the Vatican announced after...

New Maronite Patriarch meets with Pope

Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai of Antioch, the new leader of the Maronite Catholic Church, met with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on April 14. The Maronite Patriarch was visiting Rome for the...

Pope's liturgical schedule for Holy Week and Easter

The Vatican’s liturgical office has confirmed that Pope Benedict XVI will preside at the traditional liturgical celebrations of Holy Week and Easter. On Palm Sunday, April 17, the Holy Father...

Released Friday, Apr. 15

Belgian bishop grants TV interview, admits molesting 2nd nephew

Bishop Roger Vangheluwe of Bruges, who resigned in April 2010 amid revelations that he had abused a nephew, has told a Belgian television network that he molested a second nephew. The interview took...

Bishop: Do not arm the Libyan rebels

The apostolic vicar of Tripoli is urging the international community not to provide weapons to the rebels who are seeking the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. “The risk of providing...

50,000 Christians imprisoned in North Korea

Over 50,000 Christians are being held in prison in North Korea, according to a Fides news agency report. Juche, the state ideology developed in the 1950s by Kim Il-Sung, is the only system of belief...

US bishops urge Congress to end funding of Planned Parenthood

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is calling upon Congress to defund Planned Parenthood. “It is indisputable that Planned Parenthood Federation of America is by far the largest...

Michigan bishops criticize proposed budget cuts

The bishops of Michigan have told the governor and state legislative leaders that they “have reasonable cause for serious concern” about three budget proposals that “would adversely impact the...

Time article on new missal translation

In what purports to be a news article rather than an op-ed piece, Time magazine’s Miami and Latin America bureau chief lashes out at the forthcoming revised translation of the Roman Missal without...

Psychology should draw on Church Fathers’ insights: Russian Church official

The writings of the Church Fathers have much to teach the world of modern psychology, according to a Russian Orthodox Church official. “Modern science has not absorbed or insufficiently absorbed...

British Catholic journalist blasts 'unpardonably sloppy' translation of YouCat

The title tells the story: William Oddie of the Catholic Herald is appalled that the Italian translation of a Vatican-produced youth catechism gave the wrong answer to a question about...

Another Pakistani Christian faces death threats on 'blasphemy' charges

The plight of Waris Masih, a Christian male nurse, illustrates the grave dangers that Christians face in Pakistan today. In discussion with colleagues, Masih condemned the Florida pastor who burned...

Vatican message to China seeks to embolden fearful bishops

The message released this week by the Vatican's special commission on China is an attempt to strike a delicate balance, writes Father Bernardo Cervellera, the director of the AsiaNews service. The...

At UN, US blasts Catholic resistance to population programs

American diplomats working at the UN are working energetically to impose family-planning programs on poor countries, and denouncing the forces--led by the Catholic Church--that resist such...

Catholic book, magazine publishers eye e-book option

The publishers of Catholic magazines are facing increasingly difficult budget problems, due to the rising costs of printing and mailing. Catholic book publishers face the same problems. And the...

Italian journalist predicts key appointments in top Church leadership posts

Journalists covering the Holy See expect that Pope Benedict will soon name a new prefect of the Congregation for Evangelization, to replace Cardinal Ivan Dias, who passed his 75th birthday this...

Released Monday, Apr. 18

Belgian prime minister calls on Vatican to punish Bishop Vangheluwe

Acting Prime Minister Yves Leterme of Belgium has called upon the Vatican to punish Bishop Roger Vangheluwe following a television interview in which he downplayed his molestation of two of his...

Leading English prelate criticizes ‘Big Society’ program

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster is criticizing the direction of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Big Society program-- an initiative designed to promote localism and volunteerism. “We...

Ambassador Kmiec resigns following State Department report

Douglas Kmiec-- one of President Obama’s most prominent lay Catholic supporters-- has resigned from his position as ambassador to Malta following the publication of a critical State Department...

French protestors destroy infamous anti-Christian art

Armed with hammers and screwdrivers, four protestors in Avignon destroyed a blasphemous 1987 photograph of a crucifix submerged in urine. Frederic Mitterand, the nation’s culture minister, denounced...

Religious leaders urge Obama to take lead on Mideast peace

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany have joined other Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders in calling upon President Barack Obama to take a more active role in Mideast...

Bhutan: persecuted Christians, prospect of religious freedom

The landlocked nation of Bhutan, where Christians face the demolition of their homes and other acts of persecution, may soon recognize religious freedom, according to an Indian...

Church will continue fight for human dignity, Pope tells Spanish ambassador

Meeting on April 15 with a new ambassador from Spain to the Holy See, Pope Benedict XVI underlined the determination of the Church to fight for human life and for the integrity of marriage and...

Jesus draws all up to God, sin drags us back down, Pope says in Palm Sunday homily

Jesus wants to lift every human being up to heaven, Pope Benedict XVI said in his homily as he celebrated Mass on Palm Sunday in St. Peter’s Square. The Pope led the blessing of the palms and...

Pakistani Christian freed of blasphemy charge, but danger of violence remains

A Pakistani Christian who was arrested earlier this month on blasphemy charges has been set free, after supporters produced multiple witnesses to testify that he had been falsely accused. The...

Israeli restrictions dampen pilgrimages to Jerusalem for Holy Week

The number of pilgrims participating in Holy Week ceremonies in Jerusalem is down this year, as restrictions on movement between Israel and the Palestinian territories take their toll. Archbishop...

Chilean police seize Vatican documents on priest suspended for abuse

Chilean authorities have searched the office of a lawyer representing a priest who had been charged with sexual abuse, and seized documents pertaining to a confidential Vatican...

Church must speak clearly against homosexuality, bishop says

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, has said that Church leaders must speak out about the immorality of homosexual acts, despite the public pressure against such clear...

Beatification cause for Archbishop Sheen advancing

The cause for beatification of Archbishop Fulton Sheen will move forward in May, when Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Illinois, files a dossier with the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of...

Pope joins prayers for peace in Colombia

During his Angelus audience on Sunday, April 17, Pope Benedict XVI called attention to a Day of Prayer for the victims of violence in Colombia, which will be observed on Good Friday. “I am...

Schedule set for Pope's June visit to Croatia

The Vatican has released the full schedule for a trip by Pope Benedict XVI to Croatia, to take place June 4-5. The trip—the Pontiff’s first foreign trip of this year—will coincide with the...

Vatican holiday April 19: anniversary of Pope's election

The Vatican will observe a holiday on Tuesday, April 19, to mark the 6th anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict XVI. The Pope's anniversary comes just after his birthday; he turned 84 on...

Released Tuesday, Apr. 19

Cardinal urges UK to abandon nuclear weapons

Addressing an anti-nuclear rally at a submarine base, Scotland’s leading prelate called upon the British government to abandon its nuclear weapons program. “I’ve been speaking of the teaching of...

Pakistan: militants attack Christian village, church

Muslim militants attacked a Christian village of Khokarki in the northeastern Pakistani province of Punjab on April 16, causing dozens of families to flee. The attack followed an accusation of...

Cardinal Wuerl defends USCCB critique of Sister Johnson’s book

Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, chairman of the Committee on Doctrine of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has written a 13-page letter to US bishops defending the committee’s...

China: crackdown on Protestant church

Police in Beijing detained and released 47 members of an unregistered Protestant house church on April 17. The previous Sunday, police had detained 169 members. “Heavy-handed treatment of...

British PM: End law against Catholic monarchs

Prime Minister David Cameron has told BBC that he is working to end the 1701 act that prohibits Catholics from becoming the monarch of the United Kingdom. “The Queen is not only the Queen of the...

Arson latest in string of attacks on California churches

The destruction of a Los Angeles-area Catholic parish by arson-- causing at least $8 million in damage-- is the latest in a rash of attacks on Catholic churches in California over the past two...

Italian Cardinal Saldarini dead at 87

Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini, the former Archbishop of Turin, Italy, died on April 18 at the age of 86 after a long illness. Ordained in 1947 in the Milan archdiocese, he was named an auxiliary...

Filipino president: ready to risk excommunication over birth-control bill

President Benigno Aquino of the Philippines has announced that he is prepared to risk excommunication over an aggressive family-planning bill that the country's bishops have condemned. "In the...

Woman 'bishop' wants deconstruction of Catholic Church

An Atlanta, Georgia television station reports on the aspiration of a local woman to be ordained as a Catholic priest. The report suggests that her aspiration will be fulfilled--although the...

American nun strives to save pets after Japanese quake and tsunami

As the death toll of human beings from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami soars toward 15,000, an American nun has embarked on a "search-and-rescue mission" to save stranded domestic...

Spanish vandals desecrate church

A group of vandals broke into a Catholic church in Ciempozuelos, Spain, and ransacked the building, destroying the tabernacle and a statue of the Virgin Mary and scattering vestments and sacred...

Father Schall on Nietzsche and Europe, rulers and servants

In a perceptive essay on the decline of Europe and the crisis of democracy, Father James Schall traces the enormous influence of Nietzche, who taught that philosophers should rule rather than serve....

Delaware prosecutors move to close abortion clinics where indicted doctor worked

Following up on the murder charge filed against an abortionist in Philadelphia, prosecutors in Delaware are moving against two abortion clinics with which the indicted doctor was...

Belgian prosecutors weigh new charge against Bishop Vangheluwe

Prosecutors in Belgium are reportedly weighing the possibility of filing criminal charges against Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, who has now publicly confessed to sexual abuse of two of his...

Anglican parishioners began enrolling in English Catholic ordinariate

The first wave of former Anglicans has begun entering the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walshingham. Total membership in the new Catholic ordinariate could grow from under 20 to over 1,000...

Italian film comedy on fictional Pope draws large crowds, mixed reviews

An Italian film comedy about a Pope with psychological problems has made an impressive debut at the box office, and drawn sharply mixed reactions from Catholic reviewers. Habemus Papam, directed...

Bolivian bishops say government, society must act against drug traffic

The Catholic bishops of Bolivia have criticized the country’s government for its failure to curb drug trafficking, but said that all sectors of society must be involved in the effort. Responding to...

Shanghai to host beatification of early Catholic convert

Paolo Xu Guanggi, one of the first Chinese to accept the faith brought by the Jesuit missionary Matteo Rici in the 16th century, will be beatified in Shanghai. The scheduling of the...

Vatican Radio recalls papal election 6 years ago

Vatican Radio presents, from its archives, a description of the scene in St. Peter's Square on April 19, 2005. Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, the senior cardinal-deacon, appeared first on the...

Vatican newspaper goes online

The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, unveiled an online presence on April 19. The daily newspaper, in its Italian edition, can now be seen online. Subscriptions will be available for...

Released Wednesday, Apr. 20

Jerusalem’s Christian leaders release Easter message

The joy of the Resurrection is muted by the suffering of the Middle East’s Christians, Jerusalem’s Christian leaders said in their annual Easter message. “Christians find their joy is secure in...

Nigeria: Christian churches, homes burned down

Armed Muslim youths have burned down Christian churches and homes and looted Christian businesses in northern Nigeria following the recent presidential election. Goodluck Jonathan, the incumbent and...

Majority of Catholic senators voted to fund Planned Parenthood

The United States Senate voted 58-42 on April 14 to reject a House resolution that would have denied funding to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates. The measure had...

Muted Holy Week celebrations in Syria

Amid civil unrest, Syrian Orthodox officials restricted Palm Sunday celebrations to churches, canceling traditional outdoor bonfires in which palms are burned in preparation for the following year’s...

US bishops to discuss Philadelphia abuse scandal

When the US bishops meet in June, they will discuss “whether there was some sort of the breakdown of the system” in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, according to Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane,...

Obama: Jesus ‘took on the sins of the world’

President Barack Obama told 150 Christian leaders on April 19 that “our Savior Jesus Christ … took on the sins of world.” “We all live in the hustle and bustle of our work,” he said at the second...

April 20: day of prayer for Asia Bibi

Christians throughout Pakistan, including the nation’s bishops, are commemorating April 20 as a day of prayer and fasting for Asia Bibi and other victims of the nation’s blasphemy law. Bibi, a...

Scholar criticizes Vatican Museums’ treatment of Jewish artifacts

Michael Satlow, professor of Judaic studies at Brown University, criticizes the display--or rather, lack thereof--of Jewish artifacts at the Vatican Museums. “The Vatican library has an...

Vatican newspaper recalls German Jew hired by Pius XI

L’Osservatore Romano has paid tribute to Hermine Speier (1898-1989), a German Jewish archeologist hired by Pope Pius XI in 1934 as an archivist. During the Nazi occupation of Rome, Speier was hidden...

Pope exhorts audience: be vigilant with Christ in Gethsemane

During the Easter Triduum, the faithful should make a special effort to "make ourselves available to welcome God's will into our lives," Pope Benedict XVI told his public audience on Wednesday,...

Moscow's Catholic archbishop welcomes cooperation with Orthodox, seeks common calendar

Moscow's Catholic archbishop sees a rich field for cooperation between Catholics and Orthodox in Russia, and hopes for a day when the two groups will adopt a common liturgical...

Arson damages Barcelona's Sagrada Familia basilica

Barcelona's famous Sagrada Familia basilica was severely damaged by fire on April 19 in an arson attack. The basilica--the unfinished masterpiece of the architect Antoni Gaudi--was evacuated...

Irish cardinal invited to British royal wedding

Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh, the Primate of All Ireland, has accepted an invitation to attend the wedding of British Prince William to Kate Middleton. He will be the first Irish Catholic prelate...

Polish birthplace of John Paul II prepares to celebrate beatification

Wadowice, the Polish town where Karol Wojtyla was born, is preparing for a hearty celebration on May 1, when Pope John Paul II is beatified. The streets of Wadowice are already being decorated,...

New abuse allegation reported against suspended Belgian bishop

Belgian prosecutors are looking into new allegations of sexual abuse by Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, who has already admitted to molesting two of his own nephews. In the wake of a television...

Arson suspected in California church fire

The fire that destroyed a Catholic church in California was "very definitely a deliberate act," a police spokesman says. St. John Vianney Church in Hacienda Heights was gutted by a fire that...

Weigel on the "station churches" of Rome

Author George Weigel reflects on the custom of visiting the "station churches" in Rome during Lent--and reveals his plan for an illustrated book on the station churches, to be available by next...

Report on abuse in 2nd Irish diocese will not appear until May

A report on the handling of sex-abuse allegations in Ireland's Cloyne diocese will not be made public until the 2nd week of May, because of disagreements over which portions of the report should be...

India nets few convictions under law against sex-selection abortion

Although sex-selection abortion is illegal in India, the ratio of baby boys to girls continues to rise, in part because convictions are rare under the law that prohibits doctors from performing...

Spanish priest who paid for abortions escapes excommunication

The Archdiocese of Barcelona has announced that no disciplinary action will be taken against a priest who reported that he had provided payments for two abortions. Father Manel Pousa—who has also...

Released Thursday, Apr. 21

Prelate: Egypt ‘on the edge of a volcano’

Nearly ten weeks after massive protests caused Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down from office, the nation is “on the edge of a volcano,” according to the Coptic Catholic bishop of...

Bishop laments war in Libya

The apostolic vicar of Tripoli has criticized the Western powers for resorting to military action in Libya without first seeking a diplomatic solution. “There has been prejudice against the...

900 Anglicans to enter Church at Easter

Some 900 Anglicans, including 61 clergy, are entering the Catholic Church this Easter as members of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham this Easter. The personal ordinariate is a...

Police: Cardinal O’Brien may be letter-bomb target

Police in Scotland have warned Cardinal Keith O’Brien that he may be a target of a letter-bomb campaign aimed at supporters of Celtic, a Glasgow-based football team. Fans of the team tend to be...

USCCB increases efforts to aid unemployed

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development has announced that it is intensifying its efforts to assist the unemployed. “Media reports of...

Author Michael O’Brien on the abuse scandal

Michael O’Brien, the author of Father Elijah and other novels published by Ignatius Press, has commented on the abuse scandal in an article published in Canadian diocesan newspapers. “The Lord is...

Pope Benedict: Chrism Mass homily (full text)

"At the heart of this morning’s liturgy is the blessing of the holy oils--the oil for anointing catechumens, the oil for anointing the sick, and the chrism for the great sacraments that confer the...

Should Bishop Vangheluwe be laicized? It's complicated

A bizarre television interview by Bishop Roger Vangeluwe has prompted calls for Vatican disciplinary action against the Belgian bishop. Since he has already been suspended from ministry, the next...

Egyptian protests against appointment of Christian governor

Mass protests have prevented a Christian from taking power as governor in a southern Egyptian city. Emad Mikhail, a Coptic Christian, was appointed the governor of Qena province by the country’s...

Rome: new book charges many priests are sexually active

An Italian journalist has caused a stir in Rome with a new book that charges many priests routinely violate their vows of celibacy, with other men or with women. Carmelo Abbate’s book, Sex and...

Papal Q+A session to be aired on Italian television for Good Friday

An Italian television broadcast in which Pope Benedict XVI answers questions from listeners will be aired on Good Friday afternoon. The RAI Uno show, which was taped in advance, used questions...

Philippines: Earth Day moved to avoid conflict with Good Friday

Earth Day is observed each year on April 22. But because that date coincides with Good Friday this year, the government of the Philippines has moved all Earth Day events to the following Monday,...

Pope warns: West seems 'tired' of faith

As he celebrated the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, April 21, Pope Benedict XVI asked whether Western society has lost interest in the Christian faith that shaped its culture. The people of the...

Spanish court blocks atheists' Holy Thursday march past Catholic churches

A Spanish court has refused permission for a group of atheists who had planned a march past several Madrid Catholic churches on Holy Thursday. The Madrid court upheld a ruling by the local...

Vatican representative visiting Vietnam for Holy Week

Bishop Leopold Girelli, the Vatican’s non-resident representative in Vietnam, is making his first visit to that country during Holy Week. Bishop Girelli—who was appointed by Pope Benedict last...

Pope Benedict: Holy Thursday Evening Mass homily (full text)

“'I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer'” (Lk 22:15). With these words Jesus began the celebration of his final meal and the institution of the Holy Eucharist," Pope...

Released Friday, Apr. 22

Way of the Cross at the Colosseum: full text

At the invitation of the Holy Father, a contemplative Augustinian nun has written the meditations for the Way of the Cross at the Colosseum this year. Sister Maria Rita Piccione is president of the...

Indonesia: police thwart bombing of Catholic parish

Indonesian security forces have thwarted Islamic militants’ plans to bomb a Catholic parish outside Jakarta. Five huge bombs, buried near the parish, had been scheduled to detonate on Good Friday...

Archbishop opposes Florida pastor’s protest at Detroit mosque

Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit joined with other Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders in speaking out against the Rev. Terry Jones’s plans to hold a Good Friday protest outside a Detroit-area...

Catholic Charities president criticizes proposed budget cuts

In an interview with Vatican Radio, the president of Catholic Charities USA criticized budget cuts proposed by “the newly-elected Tea Party folks.” “We have to balance fiscal responsibility with...

Survey: Americans tend to believe capitalism, Christianity at odds

By a 44%-36% margin, Americans believe that “capitalism and the free market system are at odds with Christian values,” according to a survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute. In...

Pope answers questions on suffering, evil in broadcast interview

In an unprecedented broadcast interview that aired in Italy on Good Friday, Pope Benedict XVI answered a series of questions from the public, mostly on the subjects of suffering and evil. The...

Filipino zealots stage crucifixions

About 20 Filipino Catholics staged their own crucifixions on Good Friday, in an annual display of religious fervor that is strongly condemned by the nation's bishops. The bloody practice, which has...

Pope will chat with astronauts in space shuttle

Pope Benedict XVI will place a phone call to astronauts aboard the International Space Station on May 4, the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has disclosed. The papal phone call will come...

Oregon judge orders Vatican to answer queries in sex-abuse lawsuit

A federal judge in Oregon has ruled that the Vatican must answer questions posed by the plaintiff in a sex-abuse suit. Judge Michael Mosman granted “limited discovery,” ordering the Vatican to...

New generation of birth-control pills carries higher risk of blood clots

A new generation of birth-control pills carries a higher risk that women will have blood clots, studies show. Doctors say that women taking the new pills are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop...

Pope Benedict: Address following Way of the Cross at the Colosseum (full text)

"This evening, in faith, we have accompanied Jesus as he takes the final steps of his earthly journey, the most painful steps, the steps that lead to Calvary. We have heard the cries of the crowd,...

Released Saturday, Apr. 23

Pope Benedict's Easter Vigil homily (full text)

"The liturgical celebration of the Easter Vigil makes use of two eloquent signs," Pope Benedict preached during the Easter Vigil Mass at St. Peter's Basilica. "First there is the fire that becomes...

Released Sunday, Apr. 24

Pope Benedict's Urbi et Orbi message for Easter

In resurrectione tua, Christe, coeli et terra laetentur! In your resurrection, O Christ, let heaven and earth rejoice!” (Liturgy of the Hours). Dear Brothers and Sisters in Rome and across the...

Released Monday, Apr. 25

Bomb attack on Baghdad parish

A bomb exploded outside Sacred Heart Parish in Baghdad following Mass on Easter Sunday, wounding seven. “Our life in Iraq is full of fear,” said Father Hanna Saad Sirop, a Chaldean Catholic priest...

40 Christians detained in Beijing

Police in Beijing detained 40 members of an underground Protestant church on Easter Sunday. “The past five years, every year, the degree of persecution increased, from the perspective of how...

Jerusalem patriarch urges Holy Land Catholics to bear witness

Archbishop Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, urged the Holy Land’s Catholic to “to be witnesses of our faith in the Resurrection to the thousands of pilgrims and tourists who come to...

Vatican investigating healing attributed to Blessed Kateri

The Vatican is investigating whether the healing of a boy in Washington in 2006 is a miracle attributable to the intercession of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. Doctors said that Jake Finkbonner,...

Archbishop criticizes Florida immigration bill

Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami has criticized a bill in the state legislature that would prohibit employers from hiring illegal immigrants and authorize police to determine the immigration status...

Jenkins: Fears of Islamization of Europe are exaggerated

Philip Jenkins, author of The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice and The Next Christendom: The Rise of Global Christianity, argues that fears of the Islamization of Europe are...

New York Times columnist makes case for hell

Writing in the Easter Sunday edition of The New York Times, Ross Douthat argues that “If there’s no possibility of saying no to paradise then none of our no’s have any real meaning either. They’re...

Thief hits parishes in Detroit archdiocese

Police in Michigan are looking for a man who stole thousands of dollars from the collection taken up on Easter Sunday in a Catholic parish. The theft from Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in...

Pope's Easter prayers for Libya, Ivory Coast, Japan

Pope Benedict XVI appealed for peace in the Middle East, and especially in Libya, during his Urbi et Orbi message on Easter Sunday. “May the splendor of Christ reach the peoples of the Middle...

All Christians should proclaim the Resurrection, Pope tells audience

“The Resurrection of the Lord marks the renewal of our human condition,” Pope Benedict XVI told a crowd gathered to pray the Regina Caeli on Easter Monday, April 25. The Pope held his midday...

Natural disasters are not punishment from God: papal preacher

“Earthquakes, hurricanes and other disasters that hit guilty and innocent alike are never a punishment from God,” said the official preacher of the pontifical household, Father Raniero Cantalamessa,...

Scottish cardinal raps 'aggressive secularism'

Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Edinburgh criticized “aggressive secularism” in an Easter Sunday homily, drawing scornful treatment in a Guardian news account. “Christians must be united in their...

Vandals hit Georgia parish

Vandals spray-painted a statue of Jesus at a Catholic church in Georgia on Easter Sunday morning, and painted symbols used in Satanic practices on the walls of the church. The marble statue was...

Will Vatican accept US court's order to produce documents?

Although a federal judge has ordered the Vatican to produce evidence regarding a priest's employment, in an Oregon sex-abuse lawsuit, there is no guarantee that the Vatican will accept that order,...

Thinner crowd now expected for beatification of John Paul II

Vatican officials are quietly revising their expectations for attendance at the May 1 beatification of Pope John Paul II. After originally suggesting that the crowd in Rome would top 1 million,...

Eldest Filipino cardinal criticizes president on family-planning bill

Cardinal José Sanchez, who returned home from the Vatican to the Philippines in order to join the fight against approval of an aggressive new family-planning bill, has wasted no time in criticizing...

Belgian archbishop shocked by suspended bishop's public comments

Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard has said that he was shocked by the remarks made by Bishop Roger Vangheluwe during a recent broadcast interview. Bishop Vangheluwe, who has now admitted to...

Released Tuesday, Apr. 26

Typical new priest: 31-year-old who prays Rosary, takes part in adoration

The typical member of the ordination class of 2011 is a 31-year cradle Catholic who prayed the Rosary and took part in Eucharistic adoration before entering seminary, according to a survey of 329 of...

Jamaica: prelate rips newspaper over photo of blasphemous sculpture

A Jamaican prelate has criticized a newspaper’s decision to publish a photograph of a blasphemous sculpture of Jesus on Easter Sunday. “For the life of me I cannot begin to fathom the Observer's...

Nigerian cardinal rues post-election violence

Cardinal Anthony Okogie, Nigeria’s leading prelate, lamented the post-election violence that recently afflicted parts of the nation. Armed Muslim youths burned down Christian churches and homes and...

Vandalism at historic California mission church

In the latest in a string of property crimes against California Catholic parishes, vandals sprayed graffiti on the historic Old Mission Santa Barbara in the hours before the Easter Sunday morning...

Renewed criticism of Cardinal Rigali over suspension of priests

Peter Kleponis, a psychologist who has treated victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse, has renewed his criticism of Cardinal Justin Rigali for suspending 21 priests in the wake of a grand jury...

Historian counters myths about the Crusades

Writing for The Intercollegiate Review, Paul Crawford, a history professor at Alma College, counters four myths about the Crusades: “The crusades represented an unprovoked attack by Western...

Chinese 'underground' bishop dies during Easter Vigil

A Chinese bishop of the “underground” Church who had spent 15 years in prison followed by decades of house arrest died on April 23. Bishop Peter Li Hongye suffered a fatal heart attack while he...

Nigerian court blocks installation of archbishop, on tribal grounds

A court in Nigeria has issued a restraining order to halt the installation of Archbishop-elect Augustine Akubeze as head of the Benin City archdiocese. The court in Edo state accepted a motion...

Filipino bishops will avoid religious clashes on birth-control bill

The Catholic bishops of the Philippines do not intend to engage in debate with other religious leaders over a controversial family-planning bill, a spokesman says. Father Melvin Castro, the...

Blood of John Paul II preserved for veneration

A vial of blood from Pope John Paul II will be on display at the Vatican for pilgrims' veneration during the coming weekend, as the late Pontiff is beatified. The blood was drawn from the late...

Youths face charges for desecrating church in Massachusetts

Police in Massachusetts, have arrested 3 teenagers for vandalizing a Catholic church in the town of Ludlow. The youths were charged will spray-painting obscenities and pagan symbols on statues...

Hadley Arkes reflects on becoming a Catholic

Noted political theorist Hadley Arkes offers some interesting reflections on his entry into the Catholic Church, which took place one year ago. Among his observations: It is one of those oddities,...

English Catholic agency loses appeal on same-sex adoptions

A Catholic adoption agency in England has lost another round in its legal challenge against new regulations that would require placing children with same-sex couples. Catholic Care, a charitable...

Church of England reportedly blocked reform of British anti-Catholic law

An effort to amend the Act of Settlement, which bars any Roman Catholic from succession to the British throne, was blocked by an intervention from the Church of England, the London Daily Telegraph...

Released Wednesday, Apr. 27

Iraq: overflow Easter crowd at site of October massacre

So many Catholics attended Easter Sunday Mass at Baghdad’s Syrian Catholic cathedral that the number of Masses had to be increased from one to three, according to Aid to the Church in Need. The...

Russian patriarch marks Chernobyl anniversary, urges care for environment

Commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church called for a wiser stewardship of the environment. “Man-made disasters, which have...

Catholics in Belarus seek return of cathedral

Catholics in the Belarusian city of Mahileu (Mohilev) are seeking the return of a cathedral confiscated decades ago by Communist authorities. The cathedral, built in 1740, is the co-cathedral of the...

Canadian Christians turning to Conservative Party

Practicing Catholics in Canada are increasingly abandoning the Liberal Party for the Conservative Party, according to a new Angus Reid poll. The survey found that three out of five Catholics and...

New York: Catholic schools face stiff competition from charter schools

The rise of tuition-free public charter schools has helped lead to the closing of Catholic schools that have a strong record of success in educating New York City’s urban poor, according to Sol...

Journalist sees thawing Beijing-Vatican relations

“Although there is not yet a thaw in relations between Beijing and the Vatican, the climate is much warmer than it was during the tensions of last year,” writes Francesco Sisci, a Beijing-based...

Gingrich discusses conversion to Catholicism

Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House of Representatives and potential presidential candidate, discusses his 2009 conversion to Catholicism in a National Catholic Register essay....

Resurrection means new form of life, Pope tells audience

The Resurrection brings to light “a new condition of human being,” Pope Benedict XVI said at his weekly public audience on Easter Wednesday, April 27. “Christ's resurrection is the door to a new...

Three Vietnamese priests running for election to Communist ruling body

Three Catholic priests are candidates for election to the Vietnamese national assembly, the “highest organ of state power” under the nation’s constitution. The candidacy of the three priests has...

Gingrich warns of court-imposed secularization, at National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives and possible candidate for the presidency in 2012, decried judicial activism in a speech to the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast...

Rome expects 1 million visitors for beatification

The city of Rome is anticipating an influx of about 1 million people for the coming weekend, as pilgrims gather for the beatification of Pope John Paul II. Hotels are almost completely booked,...

Kmiec: bias against religion led to resignation as ambassador

The outgoing US ambassador to Malta has charged that hostility toward religion prompted his resignation. Doug Kmiec, the former law professor and pro-life theorist whose support for Barack Obama...

Media debate on beatification of John Paul II

American media outlets have picked up the debate on the beatification of Pope John Paul II, highlighting the complaints of both dissident liberals (Thomas Groome, James Carroll) and conservatives...

Released Thursday, Apr. 28

Bishop denounces continued bombing campaign in Libya

The apostolic vicar of Tripoli has renewed his condemnation of the bombing of Libya by NATO forces. “On Easter Monday, we witnessed a terrible bombing on Tripoli, but this did not stop the...

Cardinal George suspends Father Pfleger

Cardinal Francis George has suspended the faculties of Father Michael Pfleger, the controversial pastor of St. Sabina Parish in Chicago, after the priest said that he would rather leave the Church...

Mexico: priest brutally murdered

A priest of the Archdiocese of Mexico City was brutally murdered at his church at dawn on April 26. Father Francisco Sánchez Durán was 60. The “act of violence is deplorable in itself and even...

Persecuted Beijing Christians evangelize police officers

Promise Hsu, a member of a Beijing Protestant church targeted by police, discusses the history of the Shouwang Church and its decision to continue to worship outdoors in the face of...

English bishops offer congratulations to royal couple

The bishops’ conference of England and Wales has offered its congratulations to Prince William and Catherine Middleton ahead of their April 29 wedding. “I would like to congratulate the royal...

Retired college president discusses conversion to Catholicism

Josiah Bunting III--a Marine and Rhodes scholar who went on to serve as president of Briarcliff College and Hampden-Sydney College and superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute--discusses...

Beatification ceremonies will be available with streaming video

The Vatican is offering broadcast coverage of the beatification of Pope John Paul II on May 1, and the prayer vigil at the Circus Maximus on Saturday evening. Both events will be available on...

Over 50 world leaders will attend beatification-- including Zimbabwe's Mugabe

More than 50 foreign heads of state and government leaders will attend the beatification of Pope John Paul II. Among the guests will be at least one whose presence is likely to cause some...

2005 conclave urged fast-track beatification for John Paul II

Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the former vicar of the Rome diocese, has disclosed that a petition calling for the prompt opening of the cause to beatify Pope John Paul II was circulated during the...

Australian bishop admits: misconduct prompted retirement

An Australian bishop who resigned in 2009 has admitted that he engaged in inappropriate relationships with “some young adults,” and apologized for “the hurt I have caused to these people and their...

Connecticut priest avoids jail term for $1 million theft

A Connecticut priest who allegedly stole more than $1 million from his parish has been sentenced to 3 years of probation. Father Kevin Gray escaped a jail sentence when he entered a plea of...

New Vatican exhibit commemorates life of John Paul II

The Vatican will open a special exhibit on the life of Pope John Paul II on April 29, just two days before the late Pope’s beatification. The exhibit—organized by the Vatican with the Polish...

Continued: media debate beatification of John Paul II

The media debate on the beatification of Pope John Paul II continues. Time magazine quotes representatives of sex-abuse victims, who see the ceremony as an additional insult, charging that the...

Released Friday, Apr. 29

US commission names 14 worst violators of religious freedom

For the first time, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has listed Egypt among the world’s worst violators of religious freedom. In its 2011 annual report, the...

Christian Brothers of North America file for bankruptcy

Citing costs associated with the sexual abuse scandal, the North American branch of the Congregation of Christian Brothers has filed for bankruptcy. “We had hoped that we could have partnered...

Libya: bishop denounces bombing near civilian area

The apostolic vicar of Tripoli has lamented the effects on civilians of the bombing campaign conducted by NATO-led forces. “I do not know what objective was hit near the church, but it was a...

Continued violence against Christians in India

The head of an Indian Catholic lay organization has denounced recent incidents of anti-Christian violence throughout the nation. Hindu extremists in Madhya Pradesh beat a Protestant pastor until he...

US bishops, other Christian leaders: protect budget funding for the poor

Representatives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) joined with evangelical, Orthodox, and mainline Protestant leaders in calling for “a Circle of Protection around programs...

Illinois justice laments Philadelphia scandal, criticizes Pope’s response

In an op-ed piece, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, who served as interim chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Review Board, lamented the findings of a...

Rome ready for beatification of John Paul II

Vatican officials have completed the final preparations for the May 1 beatification of Pope John Paul II. The coffin of the late Pontiff has been moved from its burial place in the grotto of St....

Tight security at Vatican for beatification

Security will be tight at the Vatican during the beatification of Pope John Paul II, but officials have indicated that there are no particular reasons for concern. "There are no specific threats,...

Father Pfleger's supporters protest suspension

Scores of supporters of Father Michael Pfleger gathered outside the residence of Cardinal Francis George in Chicago on April 28, to protest the cardinal's suspension of the controversial...

Malaysian bishop condemns broadcast of sex tape

A Malaysian bishop has condemned the circulation of a videotape in which a leader of the country’s political opposition is capture in a sexual episode. Government-controlled television stations...

New appointments due for Roman Curia?

Archbishop Fernando Filoni, the Vatican’s deputy Secretary of State or sostituto, will soon be named prefect of the Congregation for Evangelization, according to leading Vatican journalist Andrea...

Syria: Melkite Patriarch fearful of escalating conflict

The worldwide leader of the Melkite Catholic Church has expressed concern that political turmoil in Syria could hasten the exodus of Christians from that country in particular and the Middle East in...

US court removes ban on funding for embryonic stem-cell research

A US appeal court, overruling a lower court's decision, has cleared the way for federal financing of embryonic stem-cell research. Last August a federal judge issued an injunction against federal...

Columnists' (favorable) opinions on beatification of John Paul II

While some other columnists complain that John Paul II is being beatified too quickly, Peggy Noonan takes the opposite tack, arguing that the Church should move on promptly to canonize...

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