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Catholic World News

Stories for December 2011

Released Friday, Dec. 2

Key figure in dialogue with SSPX examines assent owed to Vatican II CWN - December 2, 2011

Msgr. Fernando Ocariz, the vicar general of Opus Dei and one of the Vatican experts involved in discussions with the Society of St. Pius X, has written a lengthy article for L’Osservatore Romano on...

White House seeking ‘balance’ between contraceptive coverage, respect for religion CWN - December 2, 2011

President Barack Obama is seeking a balance between mandatory contraceptive coverage and respect for religious beliefs, according to Jay Carney, the White House press secretary. At a recent press...

Report offers evidence for massive organ-harvesting program in China CWN - December 2, 2011

In a report based on interviews with eyewitnesses, Ethan Gutmann has gathered evidence of a massive organ-harvesting program conducted by Chinese authorities on political and religious prisoners as...

Catholic University president defends single-sex dorms CWN - December 2, 2011

Writing in The Washington Post, John Garvey, president of the Catholic University of America, defended his decision to abolish coed dormitories. “Some people suggest that shared living space...

Detroit: retired bishop blasts proposed church closings CWN - December 2, 2011

Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, who served as auxiliary bishop of Detroit from 1968 to 2006, has blasted a proposal, developed by a lay-led panel, to close 48 parishes. Archbishop Allen Vigneron said at a...

Holy See publicizes updated diplomatic corps list CWN - December 2, 2011

In the wake of Ireland’s announcement of the closing of its embassy at the Vatican and questions about the future of the Vatican’s diplomatic influence, the Holy See has posted prominently on its...

Numerous anti-Catholic slurs in bankruptcy lawyer’s memo CWN - December 2, 2011

Referring to a bankruptcy judge and other court employees as “dirty Catholics,” a Minnesota attorney said in a bankruptcy filing that “across the country the court systems and particularly the...

Saudi religious official says female drivers lead to societal decay CWN - December 2, 2011

A "scientific" report from Saudi religious authorities argues that allowing women to drive cars--a practice currently forbidding in the Islamic nation--would lead to widespread moral decline. The...

Myanmar just beginning move toward democracy, archbishop says CWN - December 2, 2011

The government of Myanmar has taken some steps toward establishing democracy, but must go much further, says the country’s leading Catholic prelate. Archbishop Charles Bo of Yangon said: “The...

Papal preacher focuses on Christian duty to evangelize CWN - December 2, 2011

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the official preacher to the pontifical household, delivered the first in a series of Advent sermons on December 2, with Pope Benedict XVI among those in...

Guard against 'brain drain' for international students, Pope urges CWN - December 2, 2011

Universities should help foreign students to become “architects and protagonists of a more human world,” Pope Benedict XVI said on December 2. The Pope cautioned that young people who travel...

Pope to theologians: focus on the Trinity CWN - December 2, 2011

Christian theologians should help the world to understand the “Trinitarian monotheism shows the true face of God,” Pope Benedict XVI said in a December 2 address to the International Theological...

False accusation against Irish priest illustrates new development in abuse saga CWN - December 2, 2011

John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter sees Father Kevin Reynolds—the Irish priest who was falsely identified as a rapist in a television report, and forced an apology from the network—as the...

Many Catholic institutions already offer contraceptive coverage, NPR notes CWN - December 2, 2011

As Catholic institutions fight against the imposition of a proposed regulation that would require contraceptive coverage in health-care programs, a report from National Public Radio points out that...

Many priests decline appointment as bishops, Vatican prefect discloses CWN - December 2, 2011

The prefect of the Congregation for Bishops has disclosed that many priests—“more than I could have expected”—decline the opportunity to be ordained bishops. In an interview with the Italian...

Vatican readies Christmas decorations for St. Peter's Square CWN - December 2, 2011

Workers at the Vatican are preparing the Nativity scene that will be unveiled on Christmas eve in St. Peter’s Square, and preparing for the arrival of a gigantic spruce tree that will be raised on...

Cardinal Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, hitting stride on 77th birthday CWN - December 2, 2011

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, celebrates his 77th birthday today. Although the Vatican's #2 official submitted his resignation to Pope Benedict when he turned 75, as...

Vietnamese Catholics beaten, arrested in latest confrontation with police CWN - December 2, 2011

Hundreds of Catholic activists were attacked by police on December 2, in the latest of a series of clashes over a Redemptorist parish in Hanoi. The Catholics had sought to present a petition to...

US judge denies move for Vatican testimony in abuse case CWN - December 2, 2011

A federal judge in Oregon has denied a request by lawyers for a sex-abuse victim to question Vatican officials about the supervision of the accused priest. In a lawsuit brought by a man...

Released Monday, Dec. 5

Holy See voices ‘great concern’ over Syria CWN - December 5, 2011

A leading Holy See diplomat, addressing a meeting of the Human Rights Council, expressed “great concern” over violence in Syria. “The delegation of the Holy See follows with great concern the...

Cardinal: failure to address climate change is ‘moral apartheid’ CWN - December 5, 2011

As the Durban Climate Change Conference reached its midway point, the president of the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies compared current environmental policies to...

Violence against Iraqi Christians following imam’s sermon CWN - December 5, 2011

Following an imam’s sermon--described as “vitriolic” by AsiaNews--Islamist protestors destroyed dozens of liquor stores and other property owned by Christians in Zakho, a city of 200,000 in northern...

Archbishop Wenski: Obama administration ‘running roughshod’ over conscience rights CWN - December 5, 2011

The Obama administration is “running roughshod over conscience protection provisions long part of the law,” and Catholic supporters of health-reform legislation were “played by the president,”...

Vatican spokesman highlights Church’s efforts on behalf of African children CWN - December 5, 2011

In his weekly editorial, the director of the Holy See Press Office emphasized the Church’s concern for children, especially in Africa. Quoting Pope Benedict’s post-synodal apostolic exhortation...

Prelate pleads for justice for Bhopal victims CWN - December 5, 2011

Twenty-seven years after a leak from a pesticide plant left 15,000 dead in Bhopal, India, survivors sat on railroad tracks in protest, demanding additional compensation from Dow Chemical, which...

Peruvian provincial: governor’s accusation of homosexuality is defamatory CWN - December 5, 2011

Peru’s Dominican provincial has condemned as “defamatory” a statement by César Álvarez Aguilar, the president of the Anchash region, that Dominicans who operate a radio station in Chimbote are...

Egypt: missionary predicts disenchantment with Islamist rule CWN - December 5, 2011

An Italian missionary in Cairo predicts that Egyptians, in time, will become disenchanted with Islamist rule. According to provisional election results, the Muslim Brotherhood received 40% of the...

Pope encourages old Advent traditions, making 'islands of faith' amid commercial excess CWN - December 5, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI attended a concert of Bavarian music, followed by a film about Advent and Christmas in Bavaria, at the Vatican on December 2. After the program—which was sponsored by the...

Foundation funds pro-homosexual events on Catholic campuses CWN - December 5, 2011

A recent conference series on “Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church,” held at two Catholic universities as well as two secular institutions, was subsidized by a foundation with a long history of...

Quiet contemplation, inner conversion are keys to Advent, Pope tells Sunday audience CWN - December 5, 2011

Advent should be a time for “self-contemplation” and “an honest assessment of our lives,” Pope Benedict XVI told a crowd in St. Peter’s Square on December 4. At his midday Angelus audience, the...

Spanish court rules Opus Dei must remove ex-member's name from archives CWN - December 5, 2011

Spain’s top court has ruled that Opus Dei must remove the records of a woman who left the personal prelature. After leaving Opus Dei, the plaintiff had demanded that the group remove her name,...

Arabic edition of Pope's book appears this week CWN - December 5, 2011

An Arabic-language edition of Light of the World, the book-length interview with Pope Benedict XVI published last year, will go on sale this week. Although an ANSA reports on the Arabic edition...

Congo: bishops will monitor voting to ensure fair elections CWN - December 5, 2011

The Catholic bishops’ conference of the Democratic Republic of Congo has called for fair and free elections in the African country, and enjoined political leaders “to strictly adhere to the truth of...

Slain Pakistani teenager proclaimed as martyr CWN - December 5, 2011

A Catholic girl who was murdered in Pakistan in November has been proclaimed by local Church leaders as “a martyr of the faith.” Mariah Masih, an 18-year-old from Faisalabad, was abducted by a...

Vatican issues stamp for beatification Cardinal Newman CWN - December 5, 2011

The Vatican has issued a new series of stamps commemorating the apostolic trips of Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, including one stamp that features the image of Blessed John Henry Newman. The...

News story summarizes known facts in case involving Bishop Finn, accused priest CWN - December 5, 2011

The Reuters news service provides a summary of the information that has been made public about the case that led to the indictment of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City. Reuters offers little new...

Gingrich issues contrasting statements on life at conception CWN - December 5, 2011

After alarming pro-life activists with a public statement that human life begins when the embryo is implanted in the mother’s womb, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich issued a statement...

India: 'people's tribunal' charges police complicity in Orissa's anti-Christian violence CWN - December 5, 2011

A “people’s tribunal” on the anti-Christian violence in the Kandhamal jungles of India’s eastern Orissa state three years ago has blamed the state government for its failure to safeguard...

Three arrested in India for derogatory depiction of Jesus in movie CWN - December 5, 2011

Three people associated with a controversial movie have been arrested by the police in India for a derogatory depiction of Jesus The police arrested Ejaz Ahmed (director), Washim Sheikh...

Released Tuesday, Dec. 6

Egypt: churchmen express ‘alarm’ over election results CWN - December 6, 2011

Churchmen in Egypt are expressing alarm over the strong showing of Islamist parties in the November 28 elections. According to provisional election results that vary depending upon the news source,...

Pakistan: Christian couple tortured by police, resist pressure to convert to Islam CWN - December 6, 2011

Salma Emmanuel and her husband, Rashid Emmanuel, were tortured by Pakistani police over a three-day period after Salma, a maid, was falsely accused of stealing from her employer, according to news...

Holy See joins International Organization for Migration CWN - December 6, 2011

The Holy See has become a full member of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an intergovernmental organization founded in 1951. The IOM has 132 member states and 97 states and...

Camaldolese hid Jews, others in Roman monastery CWN - December 6, 2011

During World War II, the Camaldolese monastery of San Gregorio Magno al Celio in Rome hid Jews, anti-Fascist political figures, and “after Mussolini’s capitulation, even a few trembling, formerly...

USCCB releases radio announcements on behalf of foreign aid CWN - December 6, 2011

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has released radio public service announcements urging listeners to lobby federal lawmakers on behalf of poverty-focused international assistance....

Ad campaign warns US public about threats to religious liberty CWN - December 6, 2011

A Catholic group has launched a television advertising campaign to alert the American public to threats against religious freedom by the Obama administration. The ads by CatholicVote.org...

‘Rigid hierarchy’ blamed for removal of priest who fathered child CWN - December 6, 2011

Father Stan Strycharz was removed as pastor of his southwest Florida parish because he fathered a child and because questions arose about $1 million in undocumented expenses. Yet a Fort Myers...

Vatican's giant Christmas tree arrives; Pope to illuminate mountainside above town CWN - December 6, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI will illuminate the “world’s largest Christmas tree”—actually a series of lights strung across a mountain—on December 7. During a video conference that will be presented on...

Dutch priest, suspended for living with woman, threatens legal challenge CWN - December 6, 2011

A Catholic priest in the Netherlands, removed from ministry because he refused to stop living with a female companion, has threatened to fight his suspension before the European Court of Human...

Vatican officials meet with Jain leaders CWN - December 6, 2011

Vatican officials met on December 6 with representatives of the Jain faith. After the meeting—the first such session since 1995—the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue issued a...

Vatican spokesman highlights duty to protect children CWN - December 6, 2011

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, spoke on the need to protect children in a weekly commentary broadcast by the Vatican Television Center. The Vatican spokesman...

Sri Lanka: Church officials will file complaint for raid on Catholic orphanage CWN - December 6, 2011

Church leaders in Sri Lanka are planning legal action against the government officials who raided an orphanage run by the Missionaries of Charity and arrested the religious superior. Cardinal...

US Navy rescinds ban on Bibles for patients at Walter Reed hospital CWN - December 6, 2011

Under heavy pressure from Congressional and religious leaders, the US Navy has rescinded a policy that forbade visitors from giving Bibles or religious articles to wounded troops at the nation’s...

Released Wednesday, Dec. 7

Pakistan: Christian laborer jailed following blasphemy accusation CWN - December 7, 2011

The life of Khurram Masih, a 25-year-old uneducated Christian laborer, is in danger after he was accused of committing blasphemy. Asked by Muslim coworkers in a village near Lahore to burn waste...

Morning-after pill: FDA may drop age restriction, permit over-the-counter sales CWN - December 7, 2011

The Food and Drug Administration is considering whether to permit the morning-after pill to be sold to any person over the counter. Currently, pharmacists are permitted to give the drug, which can...

Catholics who attend Mass frequently among the happiest Europeans CWN - December 7, 2011

Examining various studies, including the European Values Survey, two professors at the University of Navarre have found “a significant effect of belonging to a religion on happiness.” “The...

Vatican astronomer discusses earth-like planet CWN - December 7, 2011

Kepler 22-b, the planet whose discovery was announced on December 5, “has conditions … to make life possible,” according to an astronomer at the Vatican Observatory. “We’ve got a star that’s like...

Archbishop Dolan on building a culture of vocations CWN - December 7, 2011

In an interview with The Catholic Answer, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York discusses his ideas for building a culture of vocations. “I always tell my priests that when we tell you to preach...

80-year-old Chicago priest beaten, kicked during robbery CWN - December 7, 2011

Father Daniel Mallette, an 80-year-old priest at St. Margaret of Scotland Church in Chicago, was beaten and kicked during a robbery of the parish’s rectory on December 6. He suffered broken ribs and...

Indian priest hospitalized after hunger strike against archdiocesan decision CWN - December 7, 2011

A Carmelite priest in India has been hospitalized against his will as he continues a hunger strike to protest a decision by the local archdiocese to take over control of a parish church. Father...

Vatican extends papal offerings on YouTube: French now available CWN - December 7, 2011

The Vatican television center has expanded the offerings available on YouTube, adding a French-language service. Reports on papal audiences and other Vatican events are now available in French on...

Vatican official suggests international recognition of persecution against Christians CWN - December 7, 2011

In an address to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States suggested that a day be set aside annually to call the world’s...

Anthony Esolen on poety and liturgical translation CWN - December 7, 2011

Anthony Esolen continues his analysis of liturgical translations, with some thought-provoking arguments on the nature of...

Parliament committee questions on allowing Catholics in royal family CWN - December 7, 2011

A committee of Parliament has questioned plans by the British government to amend the law that bars Catholics from the line of succession to the crown. The Political and Constitutional Reform...

'Ad campaign' parodies logic of condom-distribution advocates CWN - December 7, 2011

At the National Catholic Register, Tom Hoopes suggests a tongue-in-cheek advertising campaign, noting that condom use is unreliable, but suggesting nonetheless that teenagers should "bet their...

Australian opposition leader will fight acceptance of same-sex marriage CWN - December 7, 2011

The leader of Australia's parliamentary opposition has indicated that he will rally opposition to an effort to approve legal recognition of same-sex marriage. Tony Abbott brushed aside demands...

Pope explains Christ's key to prayer CWN - December 7, 2011

At his weekly public audience on December 7, Pope Benedict XVI continued his series of talks on the prayer life of Jesus, offering his reflections on the Christ’s “cry of exultation” that is...

Released Friday, Dec. 9

Promotion of gay rights worldwide is a US foreign policy priority, says Clinton CWN - December 9, 2011

“Gay rights and human rights” are “one and the same,” US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton declared in an address delivered at the United Nations Office at Geneva. “Some have suggested...

Sebelius, with Obama’s support, rejects over-the-counter morning-after pill CWN - December 9, 2011

Kathleen Sebelius, the US secretary of health and human services, has overruled a Food and Drug Administration proposal that would have permitted the morning-after pill to be sold to minors over the...

100th anniversary of Myanmar cathedral: prelate hopes for democratic future CWN - December 9, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI has drawn attention to the plight of persecuted Christians in Myanmar (Burma) by sending Cardinal Renato Martino as his special envoy to the December 8 celebration of the centenary...

Mexican archdiocese’s editorial sees ‘xenophobic’ attitude in US CWN - December 9, 2011

Desde La Fe, the official publication of the Archdiocese of Mexico City, is strongly criticizing the Mexican government for its “laziness” in failing to address recent legislation on immigration...

FDA urged to revise contraceptive labels over blood clot risks CWN - December 9, 2011

A panel that advises the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is calling upon the agency to revise the labels of Yaz and Yasmin, two popular forms of the birth control pill. The FDA, which has...

2 Americans named consultors to pontifical council CWN - December 9, 2011

Two Americans have been named consultors to the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization. Curtis Martin is the founder of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS),...

Lawyers say testimony of ailing cardinal should be excluded CWN - December 9, 2011

Defense lawyers in a Pennsylvania sex-abuse case are arguing that testimony from Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua should not be allowed at trial, because the cardinal—who is reportedly suffering from...

Arab Spring voting will lead to Islamic rule, author predicts CWN - December 9, 2011

Robert Reilly warns that in the Islamic world, the Arab Spring uprisings may produce popular votes in the short term, but the long-term results are unlikely to be democratic. Reilly, the author...

Pope's 3 wishes for the Christmas season CWN - December 9, 2011

As he turned on hundreds of lights forming the “world’s largest Christmas tree” on a mountainside outside Gubbio, Italy, Pope Benedict XVI said that he has 3 personal wishes for the Christmas...

Church fears nothing but sin, Pope says on Marian feast CWN - December 9, 2011

“The only evil that the Church must fear is the sin of her members,” Pope Benedict XVI said on December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. In keeping with a papal tradition, the Pope...

Pope will visit Cuba--and Mexico?--next year CWN - December 9, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI will visit Cuba next year, the Cuban bishops’ conference has confirmed. Rumors of a papal visit to the island nation have circulated in Rome for several weeks, and in November...

Rising border tensions between Sudan, South Sudan CWN - December 9, 2011

Rising tensions have prompted fears of a fresh outbreak of fighting between Sudan and newly independent South Sudan. After winning its independence in a long and bloody civil war, South Sudan is...

Another Kennedy acts as theologian CWN - December 9, 2011

Another member of the Kennedy family dabbles in theology, with a predictable political slant. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend announces that the "conservative bishops" of the US are "out of step" with...

Papal preacher: Mary is model for New Evangelization CWN - December 9, 2011

In his 2nd Advent Sermon, delivered on December 9, the preacher of the pontifical household said that prayer and contemplation are essential elements of any missionary effort. Speaking on the...

Vatican, Mozambique reach diplomatic accord CWN - December 9, 2011

The Vatican has concluded a diplomatic agreement with Mozambique, establishing the juridical status of the Church in the African country. The agreement, described in a Vatican communiqué as “the...

Foreign-born priests becoming more common in US CWN - December 9, 2011

Among the Catholic priests ordained in the US in 2011, nearly one-third were born in another country. The proportion of foreign-born priests serving in American parishes has been rising steadily...

Small religious congregations face zoning restrictions CWN - December 9, 2011

The case of a California couple who were fined for holding Bible classes in their home calls attention to a new problem in the quest for religious freedom. Local ordinances sometimes place...

Michigan bishop explains how contraception decimates parishes CWN - December 9, 2011

In an interview with Catholic World Report, Bishop Alexander Sample of Marquette, Michigan, sees contraception as a major cause for the deterioration of American Catholic parishes. Bishop Sample,...

Irish media unearth abuse complaint against deceased Archbishop of Dublin CWN - December 9, 2011

Irish journalists have pounced on an unconfirmed report that the late Archbishop John Charles McQuaid, a major figure in Church affairs as the Archbishop of Dublin from 1940 to 1972, was charged...

Released Monday, Dec. 12

Baghdad: some Christians reduced to dhimmitude CWN - December 12, 2011

The Latin Rite archbishop of Baghdad says that some Christians have been reduced to dhimmitude and are being forced to pay the jizya, a special tax that permits them to practice their faith....

Vatican congregation paves way for US nun’s canonization CWN - December 12, 2011

The Congregation for the Causes of the Saints has confirmed a medical board’s decision that a healing attributed to Blessed Marianne Cope was miraculous in nature--thus paving the way for her...

Cardinal Foley, ‘patriarch of American Catholic press,’ dead at 76 CWN - December 12, 2011

Cardinal John Patrick Foley, who served as president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications from 1984 until 2007, died of leukemia on December 11. He was 76. “Everyone who had ever...

USCCB spokeswoman welcomes decision on over-the-counter morning-after pill CWN - December 12, 2011

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ director of media relations has welcomed a decision Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to overrule a proposal that would have...

Vatican spokesman: treat migrants with dignity CWN - December 12, 2011

Days after the Holy See became a full member of the International Organization for Migration, the director of the Holy See Press Office devoted his weekly editorial to migrants. “The economic...

Chile’s leading prelate: respect prisoners’ dignity CWN - December 12, 2011

A year after 81 inmates perished in a prison fire, Chile’s leading prelate called for a greater respect for the dignity of prisoners. Stating that prisons should “not be a place where human...

Pope confirms plan to visit Cuba, Mexico in early 2012 CWN - December 12, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI confirmed that he will visit Cuba and Mexico in 2012, as he celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s basilica on December 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. During his homily the...

Italian cooperatives receive papal encouragement CWN - December 12, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI said that the faithful must “ensure that the economy and the market never neglect solidarity,” as he met on December 11 with representatives of Italian cooperatives. The Pontiff...

Armenian president meets with Pontiff CWN - December 12, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI met on December 12 with President Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia and with that country’s foreign minister, Edward Nalbadian. A statement released by the Vatican after the meeting...

Prime-time TV ads urge Catholics to 'come home' CWN - December 12, 2011

An American group has launched a campaign of evangelization through prime-time television advertising during the Christmas season. Catholics Come Home has purchased network time from December 16...

Spiritual preparation ensures Christmas joy, Pope tells parish CWN - December 12, 2011

During a December 11 visit to a parish in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged that preparing for Christmas has become “very difficult” in today’s world, but exhorted the faithful to remember that...

Papal warning for Christmas preparation: don't be distracted by the lights CWN - December 12, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI cautioned the faithful to “live Advent without becoming distracted by the lights,” during his public audience on Sunday, December 11. “The external environment presents its...

Secretariat of State gains power over Roman Curia CWN - December 12, 2011

The Vatican Secretariat of State has been given new powers to control the other offices of the Roman Curia, notes Sandro Magister of L'Espresso. Under a new policy approved by Pope Benedict XVI,...

Russian Orthodox Church calls for calm amid election protests CWN - December 12, 2011

The Russian Orthodox Church has called for calm in the face of widespread protests about voting fraud in the country’s recent elections. Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the chief spokesman for the...

Rabbi, Pope discuss Europe's moral crisis CWN - December 12, 2011

After a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI on December 12, Britain’s Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks spoke at length with Vatican Radio about the need for Jews and Christians to work together in restoring...

Italian Church leaders will review properties, consider tax payments CWN - December 12, 2011

Catholic Church leaders in Italy have agreed to examine situations in which properties owned by the Church should be subject to taxation. Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the president of the Italian...

Archbishop Chaput warns of 'painful' year facing Philadelphia archdiocese CWN - December 12, 2011

In a blunt pastoral letter, Archbishop Charles Chaput has warned that “painful” days are ahead for the faithful of the Philadelphia archdiocese. Just three months after his installation as head...

US commission on religious freedom may be closed CWN - December 12, 2011

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom is preparing to shut down its operation, in a budget-cutting move that the commission’s chairman warns could have “catastrophic” consequences....

Congo: archbishop says election was unfair CWN - December 12, 2011

Official election results in the Democratic Republic of Congo “comply with neither truth nor justice,” said Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo of Kinshasa. Incumbent President Joseph Kabila proclaimed...

San Francisco archdiocese approves parish facility for cremated remains CWN - December 12, 2011

San Francisco’s Archbishop George Niederauer has given his approval for a “columbarium”—a place for the storage of urns containing the cremated remains of the deceased–in a local parish...

Released Tuesday, Dec. 13

Hispanic bishops decry ‘disdain for immigrants,’ inaction on immigration reform CWN - December 13, 2011

Thirty-three of the Hispanic bishops in the US, including the archbishops of Los Angeles and San Antonio, have written a letter to the nation’s immigrants “to let those of you who lack proper...

North Korea threatens military action over Christmas lights CWN - December 13, 2011

North Korea has threatened South Korea with a “sea of fire” because the Communist state views large tree-shaped Christmas lights placed on the border as “psychological warfare” and a...

India: pastor who baptized Muslims appears before sharia court CWN - December 13, 2011

The All India Christian Council--an ecumenical organization that defends Christians’ religious freedom--is expressing concern about the implications of the arrest of Rev. C. M. Khanna, a Protestant...

US bishops call for continued unemployment benefits CWN - December 13, 2011

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is urging members of the House of Representatives to “find effective ways to assure continuing Unemployment Insurance and Emergency...

Catholics urged to lobby on behalf of religious freedom commission CWN - December 13, 2011

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development is asking Catholics to urge their senators to reauthorize the U.S. Commission on International...

‘When a Catholic terrified the heartland’ CWN - December 13, 2011

Robert Slayton, author of a biography of Al Smith, recounts instances of anti-Catholic prejudice encountered by Smith during his failed 1928 presidential campaign. Slayton writes: ...

Papal encouragement for Latin American faithful CWN - December 13, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI encouraged the people of Latin America to maintain their historic commitment to the Catholic faith, as he presided on December 12—the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe—at a special...

Chile, Vatican in accord on culture-of-life issues CWN - December 13, 2011

During a visit this week to Chile, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States has been speaking with government officials about the defense of human life and family, the Vatican announced in...

Turkish court finds bishop's killer competent to stand trial CWN - December 13, 2011

A Turkish court has ruled that the man who has confessed to killing Bishop Luigi Padovese is competent to stand trial for the murder—overruling a previous finding that the killer was...

Archbishop Hepworth to resign as head of Traditional Anglican Communion CWN - December 13, 2011

The leader of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) has announced that he will step down next year. But other bishops of the Anglican group want his resignation immediately. Anglican...

Nun's excommunication lifted in Phoenix hospital abortion case? CWN - December 13, 2011

A nun who was excommunicated for authorizing an abortion at a hospital in Phoenix has been reinstated, the hospital has announced. St. Joseph’s Hospital told the Catholic News Service that Sister...

Released Wednesday, Dec. 14

Burundi’s bishops urge nation to turn back from ‘abyss of war’ CWN - December 14, 2011

Burundi’s bishops are urging government and opposition forces to “avoid the abyss of war,” even as the United Nation’s leading envoy there offered an optimistic assessment of the nation’s...

Caritas: Durban climate deal insufficient CWN - December 14, 2011

Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies, stated in a press release that the agreement reached at the Durban Climate Change Conference left the world...

The ‘Maria Goretti of Pakistan’ CWN - December 14, 2011

The vicar general of the Diocese of Faisalabad, Pakistan’s third-largest city, fears that the local investigation into the murder of Mariah Manisha (also called Mariah Bibi), an 18-year-old girl...

Bishop ‘appalled’ that Catholic school denied admission to child of homosexual couple CWN - December 14, 2011

The apostolic administrator of an Australian diocese says that he is “absolutely appalled” that Sacred Heart Primary School in Broken Hill denied admission to a child of a lesbian couple. “To...

Vatican newspaper pays tribute to winner of Nobel literature prize CWN - December 14, 2011

L’Osservatore Romano has published an article in praise of Tomas Tranströmer, the winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature. Father Ulf Jonsson’s tribute to Tranströmer’s work follows an...

Illinois diocese sends evidence of Sheen miracle to Rome CWN - December 14, 2011

During a special Mass at Peoria’s cathedral on December 11, Bishop Daniel Jenky concluded the diocesan phase of the investigation into an infant’s healing attributed to the intercession of...

Op-ed explains Church teaching on ordination of women CWN - December 14, 2011

In a cogent op-ed piece of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Katherine Thomas explains why she has come to find it offensive when acquaintances ask her whether she wants to become a Catholic priest. She...

Pray for favors, but trust in God's will, Pope says CWN - December 14, 2011

Continuing his series of talks on the prayer life of Jesus, Pope Benedict XVI devoted his weekly public audience of December 14 to an examination of two cases in which Jesus prayed before working a...

Religious violence flares again in Moluccas CWN - December 14, 2011

Religious violence has broken out in Indonesia’s Moluccas Islands, a region that has seen frequent attacks on Christians in the past. Rival gangs battled with machetes, clubs, and Molotov...

Irish Church faces unprecedented crisis: Archbishop of Dublin CWN - December 14, 2011

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has warned that the Chuch in Ireland’s capital city is facing “the most challenging years that the diocese has had to face since Catholic...

Relic stolen from Italian church CWN - December 14, 2011

A relic of St. John Bosco was stolen from a church in the Italian resort town of Alassio. Police said they had no leads to identify the thief would took the relic: a bone from the hand of St....

Sex-abuse scandal rocks Brooklyn's Orthodox Jewish community CWN - December 14, 2011

Public prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York have arrested 85 people after a sweeping investigation of sexual abuse within the Orthodox Jewish community. Prosecutors have identified 117 victims of...

Papal support for embattled Italian schoolteacher CWN - December 14, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI has sent a message of support to an Italian schoolteacher who has come under fire for exposing young children to vivid images of hell and of battles between angels and...

No scientific explanation for Shroud of Turin, scientists conclude CWN - December 14, 2011

A new study on the Shroud of Turin has concluded that there is no scientific explanation for the image that appears on the cloth. After 5 years of experiments, using different methods of coloring...

Will purchase of Crystal Cathedral save money for Orange diocese? CWN - December 14, 2011

By purchasing the Crystal Cathedral at a price of $57.5 million, the Diocese of Orange, California probably saved money--although the building will need extensive renovation in order to function as...

Catholic Republicans swinging toward Gingrich? CWN - December 14, 2011

Thomas Peters explains why many Catholic voters in the Republican Party are drifting toward the presidential candidacy of Newt Gingrich, a convert to Catholicism. But Peters warns that the trend may...

Released Thursday, Dec. 15

Burma: tens of thousands of Kachin Christians flee homes CWN - December 15, 2011

An estimated 50,000 members of the Kachin ethnic group, most of them Christians, have fled their homes since June amid conflict between the military of Myanmar (Burma)--one of the world’s most...

Colombian prelate criticizes adoption of boys by gay US journalist CWN - December 15, 2011

The secretary general of the Colombian bishops’ conference has criticized a judge’s decision that permits a homosexual US journalist, Chandler Burr, to adopt two Colombian boys. “What...

Survey examines Catholics’ views on nuclear weapons, climate change CWN - December 15, 2011

A study conducted by the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) and its Program on International Policy Attitudes has examined the public policy views of Catholics,...

30,000 youth to attend Taizé meeting in Berlin CWN - December 15, 2011

An estimated 30,000 youth will travel to Berlin later this month to attend the annual European meeting of Taizé, the French ecumenical monastic community founded in 1940. “For a new solidarity...

Wisconsin bishops urge Catholics to work for immigration reform CWN - December 15, 2011

Catholics should “commit [themselves] to helping resolve this pressing immigration crisis,” the bishops of Wisconsin said in a December 12 pastoral letter. “Our Catechism addresses directly the...

Additional anti-Catholic slurs in Minnesota bankruptcy case CWN - December 15, 2011

Two weeks ago, Minnesota bankruptcy attorney Rebekah Nutt gained notoriety for filing a memo that contained anti-Catholic slurs. Nutt’s client--Naomi Isaacson, herself an attorney--has now filed...

Catholic U. president bolsters bishops' argument on religious freedom CWN - December 15, 2011

Defending with the US bishops' statements on religious liberty, John Garvey, the president of Catholic University of America, explains that the US Constitution was framed by men who strongly...

Pope speaks of shared global responsibilities in talk to new ambassadors CWN - December 15, 2011

In a globalized economy, “we are all responsible for everything,” Pope Benedict XVI said on December 15, as he welcomed 12 new ambassadors to the Holy See. The Pope explained that “the unity of...

Australian lesbian couple declines offer to enroll child in Catholic school CWN - December 15, 2011

After an Australian Catholic bishop overruled a parochial school’s decision not to accept the child of a lesbian couple, the couple has announced that they will not send the child to the...

Sri Lanka: nun cleared of adoption-profiteering charges CWN - December 15, 2011

A nun who was arrested in November in Sri Lanka and charged with profiteering from adoptions has been cleared of all charges. Sister Mary Eliza, the director of a home for unwed mothers run by...

Use of 'morning-after pill' soars in Spain CWN - December 15, 2011

The use of the “morning-after pill” rose by 83% in Spain last year, after the abortifacient pill was made available for over-the-counter sales. Most of the increase in sales of the pill occurred...

Israel expected 90,000 pilgrims for Christmas CWN - December 15, 2011

Israeli authorities are expecting 90,000 Christian pilgrims to visit the Holy Land during the Christmas season. Israel’s tourism ministry is catering to pilgrims, with free transportation between...

Iraq: 2 more Christians murdered in Mosul CWN - December 15, 2011

The murder of two Christians in Mosul, Iraq on December 14 has raised new fears among the members of the country’s religious minority as Christmas approaches. Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Amel...

Minnesota priest sentenced to 1 year for sexual exploitation of troubled woman CWN - December 15, 2011

A Catholic priest in St. Paul, Minnesota has been sentenced to a year in prison for sexual abuse of a woman he was counseling. Father Christopher Wenthe was ordered by the court to pay $90,000 to...

Funds from migrant workers abroad boost Third World economies CWN - December 15, 2011

Migrants living in the developed world are sending more than $350 billion this year to relatives and friends in the Third World countries from which they come, according to a study by the Pontifical...

Vatican official suggests worldwide environmental regulatory agency CWN - December 15, 2011

The world should have a “supranational” regulatory agency with power to enforce environmental rules, suggests the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Addressing an...

Released Friday, Dec. 16

Commission finds that 800 Dutch priests, religious committed abuse CWN - December 16, 2011

A Dutch government commission has found that at least 800 priests and religious--105 of whom are still alive--abused children in Catholic institutions between 1945 and 1985. “To prevent...

Bishops urge EU not to fund embryonic stem-cell research CWN - December 16, 2011

The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community is urging the European Union not to fund embryonic stem-cell research in Horizon 2020, its $104-billion research program for 2014...

Vatican’s Christmas message to seafarers CWN - December 16, 2011

The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People has issued a Christmas message to seafarers. “The celebration of Em[m]anuel, the ‘God with us’ … invites us to be...

Cardinal denounces proposed UK welfare cuts CWN - December 16, 2011

Joined by the leaders of Northern Ireland’s Anglican, Methodist, and Presbyterian communities, Cardinal Seán Brady of Armagh traveled to Westminster to urge lawmakers not to adopt a proposed cuts in...

Archdiocese: Host was ‘blood red’ because of fungus CWN - December 16, 2011

The Archdiocese of St. Paul - Minneapolis has determined that a host that turned “blood red” at a local parish in July did so because of a fungus. “Exhaustive biological analysis by an...

Pope calls for moral education of youth in annual message for World Day of Peace CWN - December 16, 2011

In his annual message for the World Day of Peace, Pope Benedict XVI highlights the role that idealistic young people can play in building peace in the future, and stresses the importance of...

Murder of catechist in Orissa stirs new fears of Hindu violence CWN - December 16, 2011

The killing of a prominent Christian activist in India's troubled Orissa state has roused new fears of violence as the Christmas season approaches. Rabindra Parichaa, a touring Catholic...

Cardinal George meeting with Illinois Governor Quinn to discuss abortion advocacy CWN - December 16, 2011

Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George was scheduled to meet privately with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on Friday, December 16, to discuss the Catholic politician’s public stand in favor of legal...

Leading Jesuit scholar criticizes ‘rigidity’ of pre-conciliar liturgy CWN - December 16, 2011

One of the world’s leading scholars of Byzantine liturgy has told Catholic News Service that Church leaders “so froze the liturgy from the Council of Trent right up until the Second Vatican Council...

Myanmar: Buddhist monastery may expel monk for democracy activism CWN - December 16, 2011

A Buddhist community in Myanmar is threatening to expel a monk who has been involved with the movement to promote democracy in the Asian country. The Sadhu Parivatti monastery, with strong...

Michigan mother sues school district after son disciplined for opposing homosexuality CWN - December 16, 2011

A Catholic woman in Michigan has filed a federal lawsuit against the local school district, after her teenage son was expelled from a classroom for stating his opposition to homosexuality. Daniel...

US bishops launch new poverty-awareness campaign CWN - December 16, 2011

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has announced a new initiative to raise public awareness of domestic poverty. Dedicating January to an observance of Poverty Awareness Month, the...

Put patient trust in God, Pope counsels university students CWN - December 16, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI led university students in a Vespers service at St. Peter’s basilica on December 15, fulfilling an annual pre-Christmas tradition. In his homily, the Holy Father offered a...

Vatican lights its Christmas tree, a gift from Ukraine CWN - December 16, 2011

A 100-foot Christmas tree was illuminated in St. Peter’s Square on December 16. Each year since 1982, when Blessed John Paul II introduced the tradition to the Vatican, the Christmas tree in St....

Syrian patriarchs call for peace, reject foreign intervention CWN - December 16, 2011

Three Christian patriarchs living in Syria have issued a joint statement appealing for peace in the country and urging a rejection of any foreign intervention. The message from the three...

Virginia adoption agencies may follow religious standards CWN - December 16, 2011

Private adoption agencies in Virginia will be allowed to select adoptive parents in accordance with their religious beliefs, under a policy finalized by the Virginia Board of Social Services this...

Released Monday, Dec. 19

Religious liberty under fire in Sri Lanka CWN - December 19, 2011

Recent days have seen the revival of a campaign to ban conversions in Sri Lanka, according to the Fides news agency. In addition, the government’s Ministry of Religious Affairs is ordering the...

Myanmar: continued crisis for Kachin Christians CWN - December 19, 2011

A bishop in Myanmar (Burma) is urging the international community to intervene on behalf of Kachin Christians, who are suffering a mounting humanitarian crisis amid fighting between Myanmar’s army...

US Senate reauthorizes religious freedom commission CWN - December 19, 2011

The United States Senate has voted to reauthorize the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, which documents violations of religious freedom around the world. Despite broad bipartisan...

42 Christians arrested in Saudi Arabia CWN - December 19, 2011

Saudi police stormed a prayer meeting in Jiddah, the nation’s second-largest city, and beat and arrested 42 Ethiopian Christians. The Christians are being reportedly being tortured in...

Tributes to Cardinal Foley CWN - December 19, 2011

Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and Archbishop Timothy Dolan have joined other prelates, priests, and laity in paying tribute to...

Vatican spokesman: prisons reflect society’s level of civilization CWN - December 19, 2011

Recalling Blessed John XXIII’s visit to a Roman prison in 1958, the director of the Holy See Press Office said in his weekly editorial that “the condition of a country’s prisons is … one of the...

Naples archdiocese closes Jubilee year with papal exhortation CWN - December 19, 2011

As the Archdiocese of Naples, Italy closed a Jubilee year celebration, Pope Benedict XVI sent a video message voicing his hope that the year had been an “immersion in the mystery of God, and...

New Zealand urgently needs new evangelization: Pope, Synod council CWN - December 19, 2011

Meeting on December 17 with bishops from New Zealand, Pope Benedict XVI said that the new evangelization “is not an abstract concept but a renewal of authentic Christian living based on the...

Pope visits prisoners, says poor conditions amount to 'double sentence' CWN - December 19, 2011

During a December 18 visit to the Rebbiba prison in northern Rome, Pope Benedict XVI told inmates that overcrowding in jails and poor conditions often mean a “double sentence” for convicted...

Virgin birth is warranty of Christ's divinity, Pope tells Sunday audience CWN - December 19, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI proposed the Virgin Mary as the ideal model for Christians in the final days of preparation before Christmas. “Just as the Immaculate Virgin brought God to us, May we be not...

Hear God's call daily, Pope encourages Italian youth CWN - December 19, 2011

On December 19, Pope Benedict XVI met with a group of young members of Italian Catholic Action, for an exchange of Christmas greetings. In his remarks to the group the Holy Father concentrated on...

Korean bishops see uncertainty, opportunity after dictator's death CWN - December 19, 2011

The death of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il could be “a turning point for the path of reunification of the Koreas,” says Bishop Peter Kang of Cheju, the president of the South Korean bishops’...

Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha, Bl. Marianne Cope to be canonized CWN - December 19, 2011

The Vatican has cleared the way for the canonization of 7 new saints, including Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha and Blessed Marianne Cope. On December 19, Pope Benedict XVI approved a series of...

Illinois governor, bishops differ sharply after discussion on abortion advocacy CWN - December 19, 2011

After meeting with a group of Catholic bishops on December 17, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn told reporters that the discussion had been friendly and the prelates had spoken “only a little bit” about...

Christians remain world's largest religious bloc CWN - December 19, 2011

Christianity remains the world’s largest religion, measured by the number of the faithful. About one-third of the world’s people—2.2 billion—are classified as Christians, according to a Pew Forum...

Vandal damages bronze door of Roman basilica CWN - December 19, 2011

A rock-throwing vandal damaged the bronze door of the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major on December 19. A bas-relief on the door, depicting the Annunciation, was badly damaged by the attack....

Sentencing hearing continues for Canadian bishop in child-porn case CWN - December 19, 2011

An Ottawa court has resumed a sentencing hearing in the case of Bishop Raymond Lahey, who has pleaded guilty to child-pornography charges. In court on December 19, a psychiatrist testified that...

San Francisco parish drops gay-friendly speaker at archbishop's request CWN - December 19, 2011

Archbishop George Niederauer asked a local parish to cancel scheduled appearances by gay-rights activists as speakers in an Advent Vespers series. The archbishop’s directive led to the...

Iraqi prelate blesses monument to 'Christian martyrs' since US invasion CWN - December 19, 2011

Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk, Iraq, presided at the dedication of a memorial to the 36 Christians who have been murdered in that city since the US offensive against Iraq in 2003. Archbishop...

Dublin archbishop felt alone in confronting sex-abuse scandal CWN - December 19, 2011

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, who has frequently criticized his fellow Irish bishops for their handling of the sex-abuse scandal, told a television audience that he felt “very much...

Released Tuesday, Dec. 20

UK is a Christian nation, Cameron emphasizes CWN - December 20, 2011

In a speech commemorating the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, Prime Minister David Cameron emphasized that the United Kingdom is a Christian nation. “We are a Christian country,” he...

El Salvador: prelate calls for clean election CWN - December 20, 2011

El Salvador’s leading prelate has called for a “clean campaign” leading up to March 2012 elections for the nation’s legislature--the first legislative election in which citizens will be able to vote...

Malaysia: prelate criticizes government for appointing Catholic school principal CWN - December 20, 2011

Malaysia’s leading prelate has criticized the government’s surprise decision to appoint as head of a convent school a person not nominated by the school’s directors. “The appointment of the...

Holy See diplomat criticizes protectionism CWN - December 20, 2011

Addressing a conference of the World Trade Organization, a leading Holy See diplomat called upon the wealthy nations to shun protectionism and open up their markets to goods from poorer...

CRS welcomes budget increase in international anti-poverty aid CWN - December 20, 2011

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has welcomed Congress’s decision to increase international anti-poverty assistance by 3% in the new federal budget. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops...

500th anniversary of fiery Hispaniola sermon CWN - December 20, 2011

December 21 marks the 500th anniversary of a sermon preached in Santo Domingo in which Father Antonio de Montesinos, a Dominican, denounced the Spanish colonizers’ treatment of the indigenous...

Castro set to welcome papal visit to Cuba CWN - December 20, 2011

Cuban President Raul Castro has announced that his government will greet Pope Benedict XVI “with affection and respect” when the Pontiff visits early next year. Castro met on December 28 with a...

Pakistani woman, in prison on blasphemy charges, seen in poor health CWN - December 20, 2011

Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman who was condemned to death on blasphemy charges after a highly questionable trial, is in fragile condition as she prepares for another Christmas in...

Retired Dutch bishop charged with abuse CWN - December 20, 2011

A retired Bishop of Rotterdam has been charged with involvement in a pedophile network, as a sex-abuse scandal within the Dutch Church continues to escalate. Bishop Phillipe Bar, who led the...

Final report on abuse underlines failures of Cloyne diocese CWN - December 20, 2011

The Irish government has released a full report on sexual abuse in the Cloyne diocese, including portions of the report that had previously been withheld because they related to the ongoing...

Nigerian bishops plead for peace as Boko Haram bombings continue CWN - December 20, 2011

After a new series of bombings in northern Nigeria, attributed to the anti-Christian sect Boko Haram, the country’s Catholic bishops have issued an appeal for “reconciliation, justice, and pace in...

Boston archdiocese loses appeal on tax for closed parish property CWN - December 20, 2011

A Massachusetts tax board has ruled that the Boston archdiocese must pay taxes to the town of Scituate on property owned by a parish that has been closed for several years. The tax board rejected...

No Vatican 'second thoughts' about Manila's new archbishop CWN - December 20, 2011

Manila’s newly installed Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle has the full support of the Vatican, despite questions about an article he once contributed to a controversial volume on Vatican II, writes...

American intellectuals have mixed record on sexual exploitation of children CWN - December 20, 2011

While pundits today are unanimous in condemning sexual abuse of children--especially by Catholic priests--the record was not always so clear, notes Anne Hendershott. In recent decades one scholarly...

American boy's healing paves way for Blessed Kateri's canonization CWN - December 20, 2011

The sudden and inexplicable healing of a young boy in Washington state who was near death because of flesh-eating bacteria was the miracle that has paved the way for the canonization of Blessed...

Canadian bishop faces January 4 sentencing on child-porn charge CWN - December 20, 2011

Bishop Raymond Lahey, who pleaded guilty to child-pornography charges, will be sentenced by an Ottawa court on January 4. As the court concluded a sentencing hearing on December 20, prosecutors...

Catholicism will enter Downton Abbey story line CWN - December 20, 2011

The creator of the hit British drama Downton Abbey has said that the Catholic faith would soon be an important part of the story line in the popular series. Julian Fellowes, who won an Oscar for...

Pope plans full liturgical schedule for Christmas season CWN - December 20, 2011

The Vatican has released a full schedule of liturgical celebrations at which Pope Benedict XVI will preside during the Christmas season. On Christmas Eve, the Holy Father will celebrate the...

Released Wednesday, Dec. 21

Czech prelate pays tribute to Havel CWN - December 21, 2011

Archbishop Dominik Duka of Prague has paid tribute to the late Václav Havel, the writer and human rights activist who served as the last president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of the...

UN condemns discrimination against believers CWN - December 21, 2011

In a December 19 vote, the United Nations General Assembly declared that “discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief constitutes a violation of human rights.” For the first time since...

Alabama’s bishops urge governor to change immigration law CWN - December 21, 2011

Archbishop Thomas Rodi of Montgomery and Bishop Robert Baker of Birmingham, joined by Benedictine superiors and Episcopal and Methodist church leaders, are urging Governor Robert Bentley to work for...

Only 51% of US adults are married CWN - December 21, 2011

The percentage of American adults who are married declined from 72% in 1960 to 51% in 2010, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center. In 1960, 72% of adults were married, 5% were...

Caritas: European austerity measures threaten social services CWN - December 21, 2011

Caritas Europa--the confederation of Catholic relief and development agencies in 47 nations--is expressing concern that European nations’ austerity measures threaten social services for the...

270 baptisms at Chinese cathedral CWN - December 21, 2011

270 catechumens were baptized at the cathedral of the Diocese of Tianjin on December 18. Tianjin, a city of 4.3 million, is located in northeastern China. “We have always stressed that...

Nativity 'permeates all of history,' Pope reminds audience CWN - December 21, 2011

At his weekly public audience on December 21—his last public audience before Christmas—Pope Benedict XVI urged the faithful not to let the “profound religious significance” of the Nativity be...

SSPX response to 'Doctrinal Preamble' surprises Vatican CWN - December 21, 2011

The traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) has delivered its official response to a Vatican offer for reconciliation, but the response is not what the Holy See expected, reports leading Vatican...

Proposed 'compromise' on health coverage would jeopardize religious freedom CWN - December 21, 2011

The Obama administration’s plan to impose mandatory contraceptive coverage in health-care policies has prompted a crisis for Catholic universities. But Patrick Reilly of the Cardinal Newman Society...

Electronic monitors in Sistine Chapel record dust collection, climate changes CWN - December 21, 2011

Sensitive electronic monitors have been installed in the Sistine Chapel to track the collection of dust and changes in humidity that endanger the priceless artworks there, L’Osservatore Romano...

Korean schoolchildren celebrate Pope's ordination anniversary CWN - December 21, 2011

At the conclusion of his public audience on December 21, Pope Benedict XVI met with 3 Korean children who presented him with a collection of letters and drawings, the results of a competition...

Making the Psalms boring CWN - December 21, 2011

Anthony Esolen analyzes some current translations of psalms and hymns, noting how the most interesting and provocative aspects of the poetry have been...

Shroud is fake: British journalist CWN - December 21, 2011

Tom Chivers of the Daily Telegraph insists that the Shroud of Turin is a medieval forgery. Chivers lightly dismisses the latest finding that there is no plausible scientific explanation for the...

Bishop Lahey will receive double credit for jail time before sentencing CWN - December 21, 2011

Bishop Raymond Lahey, who has pleaded guilty to child-pornography time, will be given double credit for the time he has already served in prison prior to sentencing, a Canadian judge has...

Released Thursday, Dec. 22

Zambia: religious leaders blast US over link between gay rights, foreign aid CWN - December 22, 2011

Zambia’s Christian leaders have reacted angrily to the United States government’s decision to link foreign aid with the promotion of “gay rights.” “Donor aid should not be tied to promoting...

US bishops welcome new EPA standards on mercury, air pollutants CWN - December 22, 2011

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has welcomed new air pollution standards issued by the Environmental Protection Agency that will reduce the amount of mercury and other...

Caritas warns of massive hunger in North Korea CWN - December 22, 2011

Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies, is warning that two out of every three North Koreans lack sufficient food. “The message from within the...

500,000 German children to sing carols, collect funds for needy children CWN - December 22, 2011

In the days leading up to Epiphany, nearly a half million German Catholic children will dress as Magi and take part in the Holy Childhood Association’s 54th caroling campaign to raise funds for...

Los Angeles cathedral hosts contemporary nativity scene CWN - December 22, 2011

From December 7 to January 6, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is hosting “Haute Sphere,” a contemporary porcelain portrayal of the nativity scene commissioned by the Church of the Madeleine...

Vatican Radio pays tribute to painter, critic Schloss CWN - December 22, 2011

Vatican Radio has paid tribute to Edith Schloss, a painter and art critic who died in Rome on December 20. “The largest body of her work is represented by oil paintings, collages, watercolors,...

Europe suffers from 'faith fatigue, CWN - December 22, 2011

The Church in Europe is facing “a crisis of faith,” Pope Benedict XVI said in a year-end address to the leaders of the Roman Curia. Citing Europe’s “fatigue” as a main reason for the crisis, the...

Porn merchant angling for Vatican web traffic? CWN - December 22, 2011

An unidentified buyer has purchased the internet address "vatican.xxx," raising the possibility that a pornographic site could occupy that space on the web. The ".xxx" domains have been...

Philadelphia: prosecutors seek wider testimony from 'whistle-blower' priests CWN - December 22, 2011

Priests in the Philadelphia archdiocese who wish to cooperate with prosecutors in a sex-abuse case say that they are being hampered by a Church policy requiring them to speak first with attorneys...

Vatican seeking closer ties with Taiwan CWN - December 22, 2011

After years of downplaying relations with Taiwan, the Vatican is seeking closer diplomatic ties with the island nation, a potential ally in the struggle for religious freedom in mainland...

On dreary liturgical translations CWN - December 22, 2011

Anthony Esolen continues his devastating analysis of the liturgical translations which have now been replaced. He reasons: It’s bad enough to have the dreary wherever we turn in this modern world....

New fears in Orissa prompt cautions on Christmas celebrations CWN - December 22, 2011

Catholics in India’s troubled state of Orissa have been encouraged to celebrate Christmas “with prudence and vigilance,” and a local prelate has asked police for protection, because of new...

Veteran Irish diplomat will be first non-resident ambassador to Holy See CWN - December 22, 2011

The government of Ireland has chosen a seasoned diplomat to be the country’s first non-resident ambassador to the Holy See. David John Cooney will soon be named as the new envoy, Vatican Insider...

Jerusalem patriarch has Christmas hopes for peace, democracy CWN - December 22, 2011

In his Christmas message, the Latin-rite Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem has backed effort to promote democracy in the Middle East, and echoed the Vatican’s call for a two-state solution to the...

Released Friday, Dec. 23

Christmas in Libya: prayer for national reconciliation CWN - December 23, 2011

Following an eight-month civil war that left over 25,000 dead, Libya’s leading prelate is praying for national reconciliation this Christmas. Bishop Giovanni Martinelli, the apostolic vicar of...

Leading evangelicals join bishops in opposing contraceptive coverage mandate CWN - December 23, 2011

Sixty religious leaders, most of them evangelical Protestants and many of them college presidents, are urging President Barack Obama not to implement a mandate that would require all private...

Anger after Cardinal George compares some gay activists’ rhetoric to Ku Klux Klan CWN - December 23, 2011

Cardinal Francis George, backing one of his parish priests, called upon organizers of Chicago’s 2012 Gay Pride Parade to postpone the start of the parade so as to permit parishioners to attend...

RealCatholic TV instructed not to use 'Catholic' name CWN - December 23, 2011

The Archdiocese of Detroit has instructed a controversial conservative group to stop using the term “Catholic” to identify their television broadcasts. The archdiocese has issued a statement...

Pakistani police plan special Christmas patrols to secure Christian churches CWN - December 23, 2011

Pakistani authorities have deployed more than 2,500 police officers to protect Christian churches to prevent attacks by radical Islamic groups at Christmas time. Police have announced that they...

More Americans skip church services on Christmas CWN - December 23, 2011

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, David Gibson notes that church attendance has been falling on Christmas Day, as many Americans prefer to stay home and enjoy secular traditions in celebrating the...

Papal homage to Havel at Czech leader's funeral CWN - December 23, 2011

As mourners attended the funeral of former Czech President Vaclav Havel in Prague, Pope Benedict XVI released a statement honoring the deceased leader for his efforts to defend human rights “at a...

American ordinariate to be created January 1; bishop is chosen CWN - December 23, 2011

An Anglican ordinariate for the United States will be formally established by the Holy See on January 1. Former Episcopalian Bishop Jeffrey Steenson, who led the Anglican dioese of El Paso,...

Released Saturday, Dec. 24

Pope Benedict's Midnight Mass: homily (full text), video CWN - December 24, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters! The reading from Saint Paul’s Letter to Titus that we have just heard begins solemnly with the word “apparuit,” which then comes back again in the reading at the Dawn...

Released Sunday, Dec. 25

Video, full text of Pope Benedict's Urbi et Orbi Christmas Message CWN - December 25, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Rome and throughout the world! Christ is born for us! Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to the men and women whom he loves. May all people hear an echo of...

Released Monday, Dec. 26

Nigeria: 3 churches are targets of bomb attacks; Vatican condemns ‘absurd hatred’ CWN - December 26, 2011

Dozens of worshippers were killed in Nigeria as bomb attacks targeted churches in three cities on Christmas Day. The Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram is suspected of carrying out the...

Profile of FOCUS leader Curtis Martin CWN - December 26, 2011

The Denver Post has profiled Curtis Martin, president of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) and a recently named consultor to the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New...

Washington's Cardinal Wuerl asks for new appreciation of religious freedom CWN - December 26, 2011

Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC, emphasized religious-freedom concerns in a television interview broadcast on Christmas Day. Cardinal Wuerl said that in light of government regulations...

Cuba to release prisoners before papal visit CWN - December 26, 2011

The government of Cuban plans to release 2,900 prisoners--including a number of political dissidents--as a public gesture in advance of a visit by Pope Benedict XVI. President Raul Castro said...

Christmas Day review of ex-nun’s book critical of Mother Teresa CWN - December 26, 2011

On Christmas Day, the Los Angeles Times published a review of a book by Mary Johnson, a former Missionary of Charity who claimed to have affairs with both nuns and priests before leaving her...

Pilgrims pack Bethlehem for rainy but peaceful Christmas CWN - December 26, 2011

A throng of Christian pilgrims estimated at 100,000 gathered in Bethlehem’s Manger Square to celebrate Christmas. The crowd was the largest seen in Bethlehem for Christmas in the past decade....

India: 6 million girls 'missing' from sex-selection abortion CWN - December 26, 2011

New statistics show that the toll of sex-selection abortion on girls in India has been even more devastating than the nation’s government has acknowledged. A study conducted by the Centre for...

RealCatholic TV responds to Detroit archdiocese on use of 'Catholic' name CWN - December 26, 2011

After the Archdiocese of Detroit announced that RealCatholic TV should not identify itself as “Catholic,” the broadcast apostolate has responded by pointing out that it is not legally based within...

Released Tuesday, Dec. 27

Leading English prelate laments plight of Bethlehem Christians CWN - December 27, 2011

During his homily at Midnight Mass, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster prayed for beleaguered Christians in Bethlehem. “We are to see clearly the reality of the world around us,” he...

Victim recounts horror of Nigerian church bombing CWN - December 27, 2011

A member of the security committee of a Nigerian parish that suffered a bomb attack on Christmas Day has recounted how the bombing took place. A suicide bomber, said Francis Raphael, drove into...

Pakistani minister: poverty and ignorance are breeding grounds for violence against Christians CWN - December 27, 2011

Poverty and ignorance feed the flames of intolerance against Christians in Pakistan, according to a Christian federal minister there. Paul Bhatti, who is a special adviser to the prime minister...

Maronite leader calls for disarmament of Hezbollah CWN - December 27, 2011

The head of the Maronite Catholic Church has called upon all non-government forces to disarm, in a pointed message to the militants of Hezbollah. During Christmas Mass in Bkerke, Patriarch...

Prominent US Jesuit: it’s a ‘myth’ that there is biblical consensus on Jesus’ birth CWN - December 27, 2011

In an op-ed piece that has appeared in dozens of US newspapers, a leading Jesuit claims that it is a “myth” that “there is biblical consensus on the story of Jesus' birth” and that it is a “myth”...

Indian state sets up subsidy of Holy Land pilgrimages CWN - December 27, 2011

The government of India’s southern Tamil Nadu state has announced a gift to state’s Christians: a subsidy for pilgrimages to the Holy Land. The government will provide Christians with 20,000...

Cardinal George hopes to continue beyond mandatory retirement date CWN - December 27, 2011

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago will submit a letter of resignation to Pope Benedict XVI, as required by canon law, when he reaches his 75th birthday on January 16. But the cardinal said that he...

Released Wednesday, Dec. 28

Iran: authorities storm Protestant church, detain all members CWN - December 28, 2011

Police stormed an Assemblies of God church in Ahwaz (also known as Ahvaz), a southwestern Iranian city of 970,000, and detained all present, including children, according to Christian Solidarity...

Victory for New Jersey nurses told to participate in abortions CWN - December 28, 2011

Twelve nurses who say that they were told by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey that they had to participate in abortions have successfully negotiated a settlement with their...

Pope offers Holy Family as a model for household prayer CWN - December 28, 2011

“The house of Nazareth is a school of prayer,” Pope Benedict XVI remarked at his regular weekly public audience on December 28. Speaking to about 7,000 people in the Paul VI auditorium, the Holy...

Monks brawl at Bethlehem basilica CWN - December 28, 2011

An ugly brawl broke out between Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic monks at the basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem on December 28. Police were called in to separate the angry monks. No...

Muslims must recognize threat of Boko Haram, says Nigerian archbishop CWN - December 28, 2011

Responsible Muslim leaders must realize that “terrorism threatens us all, Christians and Muslims,” said Archbishop John Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria in the wake of a series of church bombings. The...

Pope to elevate new cardinals in February? CWN - December 28, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI will convene a consistory in February and elevate as many as 15 new members to the College of Cardinals, according to a report from the I Media news agency. The Vatican has not...

USCCB official donated to organization led by Emily’s List head CWN - December 28, 2011

Mary Mencarini Campbell, who has been named director for the Catholic Home Missions and associate director of the Office of National Collections of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops...

Cardinal Ranjith underlines urgency of 'reform of the reform' CWN - December 28, 2011

The time is ripe “to be courageous in working for a true reform of the reform and also a return to the true liturgy of the Church,” according to the former secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation...

Musical tradition continues despite cloudy future for Detroit's Assumption Grotto CWN - December 28, 2011

Father Eduard Perrone continues a tradition of beautiful music at the Assumption Grotto, a beloved church in the Detroit archdiocese, with a new Mass that he composed himself. The first...

Cardinal George explains comparison between Gay Pride parade, KKK rallies CWN - December 28, 2011

Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George has defended a public statement in which he compared organizers of a Gay Pride parade to the Ku Klux Klan. In response to a reporter’s questions about an effort...

Times sums up arguments in Illinois adoption controversy CWN - December 28, 2011

The New York Times offers a balanced summary of the debate on same-sex adoptions in Illinois, which has led to the closing of Catholic adoption agencies and complaints that the state’s new policy...

Released Thursday, Dec. 29

Nigeria: Christian family killed in machete attack CWN - December 29, 2011

A Christian family of four has been killed in a machete attack in Plateau State, one of the Nigerian states that was site of a church bombing on Christmas Day. Fulani herdsmen, who are typically...

Uganda: acid attack against Protestant leader, a convert from Islam CWN - December 29, 2011

Umar Mulinde, a Protestant leader and former sheik who converted to Christianity from Islam, suffered severe burns following a Christmas Eve acid attack near Kampala, Uganda’s capital. “I heard...

Teacher sues Catholic schools following dismissal for artificial insemination CWN - December 29, 2011

A non-Catholic woman who served as a technology teacher at two Cincinnati Catholic schools has filed suit against her former employers. Christa Dias, who is unmarried, was dismissed from her...

Christmas with the Ratzinger brothers CWN - December 29, 2011

Msgr. Georg Ratzinger has joined his brother, Pope Benedict XVI, for a Christmas celebration in Rome. The elder Ratzinger reveals that he annually brings his brother the same small gift: a...

Pope's encouragement to Taizé meeting CWN - December 29, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI has sent a message of support to 30,000 young people who are participating in the 34th annual post-Christmas conference organized by the Taizé community. The Pontiff encouraged...

Islamic brotherhood asks Egyptian military to protect Coptic Christmas celebration CWN - December 29, 2011

Leaders of the Islamic Brotherhood have urged Egypt’s military government to offer special protection to Coptic Christian churches as they celebrate Christmas. (Copts, following the Orthodox...

Nigeria's Boko Haram sect: a reaction against colonial influence CWN - December 29, 2011

The Fides news service provides a quick sketch of the development of Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist group that has launched a campaign of terror against Christians in Nigeria. Boko Haram...

Journal article shows Vatican acceptance of St. Egidio community's diplomatic influence CWN - December 29, 2011

An article in the Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica on the St. Egidio community shows the considerable influence of that Catholic movement, as well as the limits of Vatican enthusiasm, the Italian...

Philippines: suspect arrested in October murder of missionary priest CWN - December 29, 2011

Police in the Philippines have announced the arrest of a man suspected in the murder of Father Fausto Tentorio The Italian missionary was shot down in Arakan, on the island of Mindanao, on...

Papal spokesman notes highlights of 2011 for Benedict XVI CWN - December 29, 2011

Looking back across the year 2011, the director of the Vatican press office saw papal voyages abroad, the beatification of John Paul II, the inter-religious meeting in Assisi, and the “new...

Released Friday, Dec. 30

Nigerian bishops declare day of prayer and fasting; death toll rises to 200 CWN - December 30, 2011

As the suspected death toll from Christmas Day terrorist attacks on Nigerian churches approached 200, the bishops of Nigeria declared December 31 a day of prayer and fasting. “The death toll of...

USCCB calls for justice for Nigerian terrorists, 2-state solution in Holy Land CWN - December 30, 2011

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has expressed its solidarity with, and prayers for, the persecuted Christians of Nigeria and the Middle East. In doing so, the USCCB called...

The Popes and the World Day of Peace (background) CWN - December 30, 2011

On January 1, the Church will commemorate the 45th World Day of Peace. Pope Benedict’s message for the day is entitled “Educating Young People in Justice and Peace.” In his message for the 1st...

26 priests, religious, lay pastoral workers slain in 2011 CWN - December 30, 2011

Twenty-six pastoral workers--including 18 priests, 4 sisters, and 4 laity--were killed in 2011, according to the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Seven were...

Effort to gain release of 'underground' Chinese bishops, in custody for years, status unknown CWN - December 30, 2011

As other media outlets announce their “Man of the Year” awards, the AsiaNews service has launched an effort to raise awareness of two Chinese Catholic bishops who have escaped public notice....

Massachusetts diocese seeks laicization of Filipino priest CWN - December 30, 2011

The Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts has asked the Vatican to laicize a priest who has fled from prosecution on child-pornography charges. Father Lowe Dongor, a native of the Philippines,...

Proposal for papal address to Parliament was raised, rejected before 1982 visit by John Paul II CWN - December 30, 2011

A proposal to have Pope John Paul II address Parliament was scuttled by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during the planning that led up to the historic papal visit in 1982, newly released...

Ten Vatican stories that deserved more attention, plus one story that never happened CWN - December 30, 2011

John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter lists 10 news developments at the Vatican that deserved more media coverage in 2011. Then Allen tacks on a very interesting observation about one...

British government blocked effort by Pope John Paul II to end IRA hunger strike CWN - December 30, 2011

Newly released documents from the British government archives show that Pope John Paul II was nearly successful in an imprisoned Irish militant to suspend his hunger strike in 1981. But the British...

'Frankenstein' film clip turns up in Vatican archives CWN - December 30, 2011

A frame from the 1931 horror film Frankenstein has been discovered in the Vatican archives, the ANSA news agency reports. Vatican researchers have no explanation for how the film frame came to be...

Murder charges for abortionists in Maryland CWN - December 30, 2011

Prosecutors in Maryland have lodged murder charges against two abortionists. Drs. Steven Chase Brigham and Nicola Irene Riley face multiple charges in connection with late-term abortions...

Pope Benedict's prayer intentions for January 2012 CWN - December 30, 2011

The Vatican has released the prayer intentions of Pope Benedict XVI for January 2012. The Pope's general intention is: "That the victims of natural disasters may receive the spiritual and material...

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