Action Alert!

Stories for November 2012

Released Friday, Nov. 2

Report documents intolerance against Christians in Germany

A European non-governmental organization has submitted a report to the UN Human Rights Commission documenting incidents of anti-Christian intolerance in Germany. The report by the Observatory on...

US bishops to consider document inviting Catholics to regular Confession

At their fall meeting in Baltimore, members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will consider whether to approve a brief document inviting Catholics “to return to regular...

Pennsylvania bishops discuss religious liberty in election statement

Reflecting on the relationship between Church and state and emphasizing religious liberty, the bishops of Pennsylvania have issued a statement on the 2012 elections. “Americans would do well to...

Bishop Jenky emphasizes religious liberty, speaks of ‘grave sin’ of pro-abortion politicians and ‘their electoral supporters’

In a brief but impassioned letter that will be read at Masses in the Diocese of Peoria on November 3 and 4, Bishop Daniel Jenky emphasized threats to the Church’s religious liberty and stated that...

Bishop Loverde, in election letter, focuses on ‘unspeakable crime’ of abortion

In a pre-election letter released on October 31, Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington discussed grave threats to religious liberty and, quoting the Second Vatican Council, emphasized the “unspeakable...

USCCB delegation calls for more aid to Syrian refugees, protection of Christians

A delegation of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, led by Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock, has returned from the Middle East and is calling for greater international aid for...

Saints bridge gap between earth and heaven, Pope tells audience

At his midday public audience on November 1, the Feast of All Saints, Pope Benedict XVI remarked that the feast is a reminder of “the double horizon of humanity.” This “double horizon,” the Pope...

Another court backs Catholic family-owned family challenging HHS mandate

For the 2nd time, a federal judge has ruled in favor of a Catholic-owned family business in a lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate. Judge Robert Cleland ruled that...

China to reconsider 'one-child' policy?

A Chinese think-tank with close ties to the government has called for a change in the country’s brutal “one-child” policy. "China has paid a huge political and social cost for the policy, as it...

Gay group proclaims Scottish cardinal 'Bigot of the Year'

Stonewall, a gay-rights organization in Scotland, has outraged Catholics by naming Cardinal Keith O’Brien as the Bigot of the Year. A spokesman for the Church in Scotland said that the award by...

Most American pastors not backing presidential candidates, survey shows

Most regular churchgoers in the US have not heard explicit political advice from their pastors, a new survey from the Pew Research Center shows. A bare majority of regular churchgoers (52%)...

New dispute at Jerusalem basilica: unpaid water bills

Administrators of Jerusalem’s Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre owe millions of dollars in unpaid water bills, the city’s water agency charges. Hagihon, the water company that supplies the basilica,...

English court rules Catholic adoption agency must serve same-sex couples

A Catholic adoption agency representing three English dioceses has lost a 5-year court battle, and now faces a choice between placing children with homosexual couples or ending its adoption...

Do 'Soho Masses' block English prelate's route to a red hat?

William Oddie of London's Catholic Herald relays the report that Archbishop Gerhard Müller, the new prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has been investigating complaints about...

A trend likely to continue: American voters reject redefinition of marriage

On Tuesday, citizens in 4 American states will vote on proposals that would redefine marriage to allow for homosexual unions. Writing in The Catholic Thing, Austin Ruse points out that to date, when...

Maronite Patriarch blasts effort to paralyze Lebanese government

The Patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church has made a strong statement on Lebanon’s political problems, denouncing a movement to boycott the country’s parliament and force the resignation of the...

Uruguay's Jesuit leaders rebuke priest for supporting legal abortion

Jesuit superiors in Uruguay have voiced their “deep regret” that a Jesuit priest there expressed support for legislation allowing legal abortion. The views expressed by Father Jose Ignacio...

Boston Globe editorializes against assisted-suicide legislation in Massachusetts

A Boston Globe editorial has called for defeat of Proposition 2, a statewide referendum question that would allow for physician-assisted suicide. The Globe, a paper with a strong history of...

Reform group demands return of CCHD grant to DC advocacy group

A coalition of Catholics dedicated to reform of the US bishops’ anti-poverty program has called upon a Washington, DC group to return a $50,000 grant. The Reform CCHD Now (RCN) coalition argues...

Released Monday, Nov. 5

Coptic Orthodox Church elects new pope

The Coptic Orthodox Church has selected a 60-year-old bishop as its 118th pope and patriarch. “The most important thing is for the church to go back and live consistently within the spiritual...

French cardinal speaks out against same-sex marriage, notes steps towards ‘barbarism’

Addressing the bishops of France, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois of Paris called for opposition to the proposed legalization of same-sex marriage in France. “Contrary to what is presented to us, the...

Nevada court could order disabled woman to undergo abortion over Catholic parents’ objection

The attorney for William and Amy Bauer, the adoptive parents of a pregnant 32-year-old mentally-disabled woman, fears that a Nevada district judge could order their daughter to undergo involuntary...

Popular Brazilian priest’s new church holds 20,000

An estimated 50,000 people attended the inaugural Mass at the Mother of God sanctuary in São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city. The church, which seats 6,000, has additional standing room for 14,000; an...

Jewish-Catholic dialogue examines religion in public square, denounces vandalism of churches

At a recent meeting between representatives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Council of Synagogues, participants examined religion’s role in public life and...

Boston College religious-education chair: ‘Catholic case for supporting Obama’

The chairman of the Department of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry at Boston College says that he supports President Barack Obama’s reelection because his “overall social policies and...

Pope Benedict's prayer intentions for November 2012

The Vatican has released the prayer intentions of Pope Benedict XVI for November 2012. The Holy Father’s general intention is: "That bishops, priests, and all ministers of the Gospel may bear...

Love of God and neighbor are inseparable, Pope tells audience

“Love is not a command; it is a gift,” Pope Benedict XVI told his midday audience on Sunday, November 4. Speaking about the day’s Gospel, in which Jesus spoke of the “greatest commandment,” the...

Pope presides at Mass for recently deceased prelates

On Saturday, November 3, Pope Benedict XVI presided at a Mass in St. Peter’s basilica for the repose of the souls of the bishops who died in the past year. In his homily, reflecting on death and...

Franciscan leader explains moving Easter date to match Orthodox observance in Holy Land

Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Franciscan Custos for the Holy Land, reflects on the decision to align the Catholic celebration of Easter with that of the Orthodox churches in the Holy...

New York nun faces indictment for alleged $100,000 theft from parishes

New York state prosecutors are bringing grand-larceny charges against a nun who is accused of stealing over $100,000 in church funds. Sister Mary Ann Rapp will be indicted for taking money from...

Welsh Muslim, Jewish leaders object to 'presumed consent' organ donation

Jewish and Muslim religious leaders in Wales have voiced concern about a proposal to list all residents as organ donors unless they specifically request otherwise. The “presumed donor” approach...

Bombing of Kenyan Christians seen as political, not religious

A grenade attack on a Christian community in eastern Kenya, which killed one person and injured at least 10 others, was motivated by political rather than religious concerns, according to a local...

Pope welcomes traditionalist pilgrims celebrating Summorum Pontificum anniversary

An international pilgrimage of over 1,000 traditionalist Catholics, celebrating the 5th anniversary of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, concluded on November 3 with a Mass in St. Peter’s...

Australian cardinal steps in to combat rowdyism at college campus

Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia, has announced that he plans to intervene directly in the affairs of St. John’s College, a division of the University of Sydney, where raucous student...

What has same-sex marriage done for Canada?

Bradley Miller reports at The Public Discourse on the lessons learned from the recognition of same-sex marriage in Canada. The results, Miller says, have included new constraints on freedom of...

2nd 'Vatileaks' trial opens, offering new look inside Vatican

The trial of Claudio Sciarpelletti, the 2nd man accused of involvement in the “Vatileaks” scandal, opened in Rome on November 5. In opening arguments Sciarpelletti’s lawyer, Gianluca Benedetti,...

Released Tuesday, Nov. 6

Irish bishops lend support to children’s-rights amendment opposed by some pro-life activists

Less than a week before a November 10 plebiscite, the bishops of Ireland have issued a statement lending support to a proposed children’s rights amendment to the nation’s constitution. Some...

Iowa bishop takes out newspaper ad to urge pro-life vote

Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City purchased a half-page ad in the Sunday edition of the Sioux City Journal to urge readers to vote pro-life. “How we vote in the upcoming election is of the...

Islamist terrorist group uses former Christians to bomb churches

The Somali Islamist terrorist group Al-Shabaab has trained recent Christian converts to Islam to bomb Kenyan churches, according to the head of the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya. “It is the...

Dialogue with bloggers to precede US bishops’ meeting

Bishops and bloggers will engage in a dialogue on November 11, the day before the beginning of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ annual fall meeting. Panelists will include...

Cremation gains increasing acceptance among Catholics

Nearly five decades after the Vatican first permitted cremation, 20% of Catholic families in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, and 40% in the Diocese of Phoenix, are opting for cremation, according to...

Profile of Katrina Swett, Mormon chair of the US religious freedom commission

A Utah newspaper has published a profile of Katrina Lantos Swett, a Jewish convert to Mormonism who was named chair of the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom in...

India: priest's book promotes yoga

An Indian Catholic priest has released a book encouraging yoga, insisting that yoga exercises are not in conflict with Christianity. Father John Ferreira said that yoga is an effective antidote...

US ambassador ends assignment at Holy See

Miguel Diaz, the US ambassador to the Holy See, has announced that he is leaving the post, to return to academic life. Diaz, who was appointed by President Barack Obama and took office in August...

New Coptic pope says Egyptian constitution should not be Islamic

The newly elected leader of Egypt’s Copts has warned that Christians will oppose any attempt to inject Islamic law into the country’s constitution. Pope Tawadros II, who was selected on November...

Republican VP candidate Ryan speaks about prayer life, religious freedom

At an election-eve campaign stop in Ohio on November 5, Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan disclosed that he always keeps a Rosary in his pocket, prays daily, and is sustained by his...

Court hears arguments on wealthy widow’s donations to Legionaries

A Rhode Island judge heard arguments on November 5 in a lawsuit brought by several media outlets seeking public release of documents related to a widow’s contributions to the Legion of...

Vatican spokesman discusses quest for trasparency

Speaking to journalists about the drive for greater transparency in the working of the Holy See, the director of the Vatican press office said that the Church’s reaction to sexual abuse, the...

Strong families are key to crime prevention, Vatican official tells Interpol

In an address to the 81st general assembly of Interpol (The International Criminal Police Organization), the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States said that strong families are the society’s...

Post-earthquake restoration complete at Assisi basilica

The structural damage done to the basilica of St. Francis of Assisi by an earthquake in 1997 has been repaired. As part of the enormous restoration effort, workers repaired the chapel of St....

Released Wednesday, Nov. 7

Same-sex marriage gains ballot victories

Voters in Maine and Maryland have approved initiatives legalizing same-sex marriage, and Minnesota voters have rejected a marriage amendment to the state constitution. With 75% of the vote...

Cardinal Pell orders 5 priests to resign from college’s council

In an effort to change the culture of a Catholic residential college, Cardinal George Pell has told five priests to resign from the college’s council. The resignation of the five priests from the...

Catholic college cancels fellowship for dissident theologian

The University of San Diego has canceled a dissident British theologian’s two-month fellowship. Tina Beattie recently signed a letter in support of same-sex marriage. “I hope you understand the...

Evangelical scholar: Catholics are like ‘canaries in a coal mine’

In an interview with Catholic World Report, Kenneth Collins of Asbury Theological Seminary explains different strands of evangelicalism and discusses Catholic-evangelical relations. “What we are...

Group calls for IRS probe of USCCB

Citing the writings of the bishops of Arlington, Brooklyn, Green Bay, Juneau, and Peoria, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has called for an IRS investigation into whether the...

Leading Canadian newspaper calls for HPV vaccinations at Catholic schools

Denying any link between the HPV vaccine and promiscuity, the Canadian newspaper with the second-highest circulation has called upon Catholic schools in Calgary to administer the vaccine to...

Vatican abandons plan for papal delegation to Syria

The Vatican has dropped plans for a special papal mission to Syria, concluding that the trip would be too dangerous in light of the escalating conflict there. On October 17, Pope Benedict XVI...

Massachusetts voters narrowly defeat assisted-suicide proposal

Voters in Massachusetts have apparently defeated a referendum that would have legalized physician-assisted suicide, by a razor-thin margin. While media outlets still called the results "too close...

German leader sees Christianity as 'most persecuted religion worldwide'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that Christianity is "the most persecuted religion worldwide." Merkel made that statement as she argued that German foreign policy should be more...

Italian publisher aims to sell 300,000 copies of Pope's new book by Christmas

An Italian publisher hopes to sell 300,000 copies of a new book by Pope Benedict XVI by Christmas. Rizzoli, the publishing house that will bring out the 3rd volume of the Pope’s trilogy, Jesus...

Teach the secular world to long for true joy, Pope urges audience

Christians in the contemporary world should “promote a pedagogy of desire,” helping society to recognize the longing for God, Pope Benedict XVI told his public audience on November 7. Continuing...

Pope, US bishops congratulate Obama on re-election

Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the president of the US bishops’ conference, have sent separate messages to President Barack Obama congratulating him on his re-election. Pope...

Obama won Catholic vote, regular churchgoers chose Romney

President Barack Obama won a slim majority of votes from self-identified Catholics, according to exit polls conduct by CNN. The polls shows that 50% of voters who identified themselves as...

Persecution of Christians up 400% in Asia, group says

The persecution of Christians has increased fourfold in Asia during the past decade, according to an ecumenical organization. The rise in hostility has been most pronounced in India. Gospel for...

Two appointments to Vatican financial authority

The Vatican has announced the appointment of two officials to the Financial Information Authority (IAF), the new board established last year to oversee Vatican financial affairs and ensure...

Pope mourns Bulgarian Orthodox patriarch

Pope Benedict XVI has sent a message of condolence to the synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church upon the death of Patriarch Maxim of Sofia. The Pope said that the deceased Orthodox leader had...

Outspoken Canadian bishop recalls quarrels with two Popes

A controversial Canadian prelate, Bishop Remi De Roo, recalls heated arguments with two different Popes in a newly published book. Bishop De Roo, who was appointed to the Victoria diocese in 1962...

Released Thursday, Nov. 8

Islamists occupy church land in Egypt to protest Coptic pope’s comments

With police looking on, a crowd of 100 Muslim extremists occupied land belonging to a Coptic Orthodox diocese after Pope Tawadros II, the church’s new head, announced his opposition to the...

Archbishop Cordileone emphasizes that marriage cannot be redefined

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, has issued a statement...

US bishops to vote on priorities, economics document

Members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will discuss a draft document on the economy when they gather in Baltimore for their fall meeting and will decide their priorities for the...

Catholic development agencies urge shift from ‘industrial agri-food’ to ‘agroecological models’

Stating that “nearly one in seven human beings is denied their basic human right to food” and that “preparing to feed an increasing population in the context of a changing climate is the defining...

Lebanese scholar: Mideast Christians’ fears are not ‘hallucinatory’

Habib Malik, a professor at the Lebanese American University, told Vatican Radio that the “real fears” of Middle East Christians following the Arab Spring “are not hallucinatory or born of a fertile...

USCCB: post-election webcast on protecting federal anti-poverty programs

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development is hosting a post-election webcast today (November 8). “At a time of persistently high poverty...

Papal sympathy for Guatemala earthquake victims

Pope Benedict XVI has sent a message of condolence to the victims of an earthquake in Guatemala that caused dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries. In a telegram to Bishop Rodolfo Valenzuela...

Vatican conference to examine special needs of seafarers

At a press conference in Rome on November 8, the Pontifical Council for Migrants outlined plans for the 23rd annual congress of the Apostleship of the Sea, to be held at the Vatican on November...

Cardinal Sarah, in Lebanon, begins mission to help Syrian refugees

Cardinal Robert Sarah, arriving in Lebanon as a special papal envoy to coordinate aid to the victims of Syria’s civil war, has begun that mission by meeting with Lebanon’s political and religious...

Embattled Irish bishop resigns as chair of relief agency

An Irish bishop who has been under pressure to resign because of his handling of the sex-abuse scandal has stepped down from his post as chairman of the Irish bishops’ foreign-aid agency. Bishop...

Vatican bids Hindus join in training youth to be peacemakers

In an annual message to the world’s Hindus, the Vatican has said that Christians and Hindus should join in a campaign “to form all people, especially the young generation, into peacemakers.” The...

French president introduces proposal for same-sex marriage; cardinal objects

French President Francois Hollande has introduced legislation that would give legal recognition to homosexual marriage, drawing a quick rebuke from the Archbishop of Paris. Cardinal Andre...

Violence erupts at pro-abortion demonstration outside Buenos Aires cathedral

Pro-abortion demonstrators clashed with police outside the Catholic cathedral in Bueno Aires, Argentina, in an angry confrontation that spilled over into violence. At least one police office was...

New Archbishop of Canterbury to be announced tomorrow?

Anglican Bishop Justin Welby of Durham will be named tomorrow as the next Archbishop of Canterbury, according to multiple English press reports. A former oil-industry executive who only became a...

Faith and reason join to find order in universe, Pope tells scientists

Meeting on November 8 with members of the Pontifical Academy of Science, Pope Benedict XVI said that he is “convinced of the urgent need for continued dialogue and cooperation between the worlds of...

Pope seen ready to pardon Gabriele of 'Vatileaks' conviction

The special commission of cardinals appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to investigate the “Vatileaks” scandal has made a recommendation in favor of a papal pardon for Paolo Gabriele, according to the...

Released Friday, Nov. 9

Czech parliament approves return of confiscated Church properties

The Czech parliament has approved the return of Church properties confiscated during the Communist era. The property, valued at $7 billion, will be returned over the next three decades and includes...

Vatican police chief: religious art vulnerable to theft

In an address to Interpol, the head of the Vatican police force discussed the vulnerability of religious art to theft, particularly in areas where churches are kept open but religious practice has...

US prelate laments rocket attacks on Israel, security wall that harms Christian families

Lamenting recent actions by both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the chairman of the US bishops' justice-and-peace committee called for strong US leadership in forging peace in the...

Symposium examines Pope Benedict’s teaching on ecology

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic University of America’s Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies, and the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change are cosponsoring a...

Centenary of Pope John Paul I’s birth recalled

L’Osservatore Romano has cosponsored a conference marking the centenary of the birth of Pope John Paul I, who reigned for 33 days in 1978. “Detachment from the world, obedience to superiors,...

USCCB spokeswoman offers post-election reflection on unborn, poor, religious freedom

Reflecting on the election and Hurricane Sandy, the director of media relations of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said that despite “unprecedented political rancor … we remain a...

Best child-protection measure is stable family life, says Irish columnist

Irish columnist David Quinn argues that instead of promoting a child-protection amendment to the nation's constitution (with uncertain results for parental rights), the country's Children's Minister...

Vatican welcomes naming of new Archbishop of Canterbury

The Vatican has welcomed the nomination of Anglican Bishop Justin Welby of Durham as the next Archbishop of Canterbury. Cardinal Kurt Koch, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian...

Pope salutes Interpol work against terrorism, organized crime

In a November 9 address to representatives of Interpol, Pope Benedict XVI expressed concern about “a widening of the sources of violence provoked by transnational entities which hinder the progress...

Russian Orthodox commission finishes statement on Church primacy

A commission of Russian Orthodox theologians has completed a draft statement on primacy in the universal Church, which will now be submitted to the Russian Orthodox synod for approval. A...

New secretary for Congregation for Catholic Education

Pope Benedict XVI has promoted an Italian cleric to become secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education. Msgr. Angelo Vincenzo Zani, who has been serving as undersecretary of the same...

Do Judaism, Christianity, and Islam really share a common heritage?

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are sometimes categorized as related monotheistic religions, tracing their roots to the patriarch Abraham: a common heritage that could be the basis for peace...

Minnesota archdiocesan accountant faces multiple criminal charges for alleged theft, tax evasion

An accountant who was fired by the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis now faces multiple criminal charges in connection with his alleged theft from church coffers. Scott Domeier was originally...

Bishop Finn's status seen as cloud over US bishops' meeting

As the American bishops prepare for their annual meeting, David Gibson suggests that a topic which is not on the agenda could overshadow the scheduled discussions: the status of Bishop Robert Finn,...

Released Monday, Nov. 12

Coptic Catholic leader praises new Coptic Orthodox pope, advises focus on spiritual matters

The bishop who administers the Coptic Catholic Church praised the new Coptic Orthodox pope as the best of the three candidates and urged him to focus on spiritual matters. “Pope Tawadros has got...

Vatican spokesman emphasizes Church’s defense of marriage

In the face of political support for same-sex marriage in Spain, France, and the United States, the Church will not cease “proposing that society recognize a specific place for marriage between a...

Vatican cardinal: dialogue with SSPX does not mean questioning Council’s teaching on Judaism

The Vatican’s dialogue with the Society of St. Pius X does not mean that the Second Vatican Council’s teaching on Judaism is “being questioned in any way by the Magisterium of the Church as the Pope...

US bishops to consider Dorothy Day’s canonization cause

During their fall meeting in Baltimore, members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will be consulted on the cause of canonization of Dorothy Day (1897-1980), co-founder of the...

Study on media use among Catholics: 62% on Facebook, 32% subscribe to newspaper, 2% blog

A survey on Catholics’ media use, conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate has found that 62% of Catholics in the US have a Facebook profile, 32% subscribe to a daily...

Critical review of HBO documentary on Milwaukee abuse scandal

Mea Maxima Culpa, an HBO documentary on the infamous Milwaukee priest Father Lawrence Murphy, offers an “important service” in allowing his victims to “describe the grievous harm and criminal...

2nd conviction in 'Vatileaks' case, but questions linger

A Vatican tribunal has handed down the 2nd conviction in the “Vatileaks” case, finding Claudio Sciarpelletti guilty of obstructing justice. Sciarpelletti, a computer expert who worked in the...

Old age is beautiful, Pope tells elderly

“It is good to be elderly,” Pope Benedict XVI said during a visit to a rest home in Rome on November 12. The Holy Father told residents at a facility run by the Sant Egidio Community that he was...

Everyone can be generous, Pope reminds audience

“No one is so poor that they are unable to give something,” Pope Benedict XVI told his Angelus audience on Sunday, November 11. The Scripture readings from the day’s Mass told the story of the...

Sacred music is essential to liturgy, Pope says

Sacred music is not something something added onto the Catholic liturgy, Pope Benedict XVI said on November 10; music “is itself liturgy.” Speaking to members of the Santa Cecilia musical...

New Vatican office to promote Latin language studies

Pope Benedict XVI has established a new Pontifical Academy for Latin, to encourage and spread interest in the Latin language. With a motu proprio Latina Lingua, released November 10, the Pontiff...

Incoming New York Times chief executive is Catholic, asserts objective truth of faith

The incoming chief executive of the New York Time--who comes from a previous stint at the BBC--describes himself as a practicing Catholic who insists that "the truths of the Christian faith are...

Irish bishop plans to take leave of absence

An Irish bishop has announced his plan to take a “sabbatical leave” for several months in 2013. Bishop John McAreavey of Dromore told clergy members on November 12 that he wants to “spend time in...

New encyclical, on faith, to appear early next year

Pope Benedict XVI plans to release a new encyclical for the Year of Faith. Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, told the National Catholic Register that the new...

Irish voters approve children's-rights amendment, despite unexpected opposition

Irish voters have approved a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the rights of children in a referendum vote. But government officials were taken off guard by the size of the opposing vote. The...

Australian government commissions sex-abuse investigation

The Australian government has set up a federal commission to investigate charges of sexual abuse of children. Prime Minister Julia Gillard ordered the investigation in response to rising public...

Lebanese patriarch welcomes Pope's support for Syrian refugees

Maronite Catholic Patriarch Beshara Rai has thanked Pope Benedict XVI for his show of solidarity with Syria and Lebanon. The Maronite leader spoke at a Sunday Mass after Cardinal Robert Sarah...

Religious repression coming to the USA?

Msgr. Charles Pope of the Washington archdiocese lists the five stages of mounting religious persecution, and notes that in the US today, "stages one through four are pretty well in...

A challenge to US bishops: 'think big'

In an open letter to the US bishops who are meeting this week, Robert Royal suggests: "Be men. Thing big. Act big, too." Royal exhorts the bishops to take decisive action at a time when the...

Confession should be top priority, Cardinal Dolan tells USCCB members

In his presidential address on the opening day of the US bishops’ annual meeting, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York recommended a determined effort to bring Catholics back to regular use of the...

Released Tuesday, Nov. 13

Argentine bishops apologize for failings during military rule

The bishops of Argentina have renewed an apology made in 2000 for the episcopate’s actions during the military dictatorship of Jorge Rafael Videla (1976-83). “We share everyone’s pain and once...

‘Open and cordial’ discussion between bishops, LCWR leadership

Three bishops held an “open and cordial discussion” with leaders of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious about the doctrinal assessment of the organization by the Congregation for the...

Boston cardinal reflects on defeat of assisted-suicide initiative

Emphasizing that “physician assisted suicide presents a moral and ethical threat to society, the medical profession, the disabilities community and the common good,” Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston...

Archbishop Lori lauds passage of Maryland DREAM Act

In brief remarks at the fall meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore praised the passage of Maryland DREAM Act in a November 6...

Bishop discusses Hurricane Sandy’s damage in Haiti

Hurricane Sandy, which claimed nearly 200 lives and caused billions of dollars of damage in the United States, also devastated regions of impoverished Haiti, according to a bishop...

Papal envoy sees Syrian refugees near despair, but some hope for peace talks

Cardinal Robert Sarah, who was sent to Lebanon as the Pope’s representative, has told Vatican Radio that many thousands of Syrian refugees are in dire need of basic material necessities: food,...

Brazil waives visa fees for World Youth Day pilgrims

The Brazilian government has announced that it will waive visa fees for pilgrims attending World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro next year. Pilgrims traveling to Brazil with proper documentation from...

African bishops discuss pastoral needs of 'street people'

African bishops have approved a document calling for greater efforts to provide pastoral care for “street people.” Meeting in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, at a conference organized by the bishops of...

Church will not back down on contraceptive mandate, Bishop Conley states

The incoming bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska, has stated flatly that the Catholic Church will not consent to the Obama administration's contraceptive mandate. "The Catholic Church is not going to...

World's fastest-growing faith? A surprising answer

What is the world's fastest growing religion? The answer from Philip Jenkins, a noted Baylor University scholar specializing in religious history, may come as a surprise. Islam is on the rise in...

Australian cardinal: confessional seal is inviolable, even in abuse cases

Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia, has said that while the Church will cooperate with a federal commission investigating child abuse, priests will not break the seal of...

Zambia revokes order to deport Catholic priest

The government of Zambia has reversed its decision to deport a Rwandan priest who had criticized the country’s economic policies. Zambia had moved to expel Father Viateur Banyangandora in August,...

Released Wednesday, Nov. 14

US bishops encourage confession, approve Seelos memorial; economic statement fails to gain approval

By large margins, members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops voted to approve a statement encouraging Catholics to go to Confession during Lent (236-1 vote), to approve a statement...

Archbishop Gomez renews call for comprehensive immigration reform

Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, has renewed his call for immigration reform. “In light of the...

Anglican prelate arrested on sexual abuse charges

A retired Anglican bishop has been arrested on charges of abusing eight adolescent males in the 1980s. Bishop Peter Ball, now 80, served as bishop of Lewes from 1977 to 1992 and bishop of...

Archbishop Chaput links Reformation, today’s ‘radical self-centeredness’

In a laudatory review of Brad Gregory’s The Unintended Reformation, Archbishop Charles Chaput discusses the links between the Protestant Reformation and “today’s relativism and cult of the...

Professor finds hope in young Catholics at elite colleges

Robert Oscar Lopez, a professor at California State University at Northridge, describes a recent Love and Fidelity Network conference at Princeton University as “a dose of good news in otherwise...

Weigel: Church should consider ‘withdrawing from civil marriage business’

Discussing “the crisis of a second Obama administration,” George Weigel names three threats to the Church in the United States: the HHS mandate, the “gay insurgency,” and the re-election of a...

Pope explores three paths to renewed faith

The absence of an active faith in God “reduces man to a single horizontal dimension,” Pope Benedict XVI told his weekly public audience on November 14. “This reduction,” the Pontiff continued,...

Court decision due for Rimsha Masih in Pakistani blasphemy trial

Pakistan’s High Court in Islamabad has completed its final hearing on the case of Rimsha Mashi, the mentally handicapped young Christian girl who faces blasphemy charges. In final arguments,...

Cardinal Dolan: no capitulation on HHS mandate

Cardinal Timothy Dolan has reiterated that the Catholic Church will not consent to the contraceptive mandate imposed by the Obama administration. Speaking in his capacity as president of the US...

Reasons for post-election optimism

Writing for the National Catholic Register, Tom Nash sees reasons for Catholics to remain optimistic about America's political future despite last week's election results. Nash expresses...

Syrian priest reports 'brutality without precedent'

The civil war in Syria has created “an apocalyptic situation” for the country’s people, a Catholic priest in Aleppo says. The priest—who reported anonymously in an email message to Italy’s ANSA...

Vatican congregation restructured to emphasize liturgical reform, sacred music and architecture

The Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship has been restructured, allowing for greater attention to liturgical reform, to church architecture, and especially to sacred music. In an analysis of...

Pope Benedict reminds Italian Parliament of historic visit, important message from Bl. John Paul II

A visit by Pope John Paul II to the Italian parliament, which took place on November 14, 2002, was “a memorable page in the history of relations between Italy and the Holy See,” Pope Benedict XVI...

Australian bishop: diocese may have had pedophile ring

An Australian bishop has said that a ring of pedophile priests may have been active in his diocese in the past. Bishop William Wright of Maitland-Newcastle revealed that he and his staff had...

Pope's new book launch set for November 20

The Vatican has scheduled a press conference on November 20 to announce the publication of L'Infanzia di Gesu, the 3rd book of the trilogy by Pope Benedict XVI about the Jesus of Nazareth. The...

Woman's death sparks new Irish debate on abortion law

Ireland’s government is under renewed pressure to end the country’s ban on elective abortion, after a pregnant woman died after doctors apparently declined to perform an abortion. Savita...

Australia: a campaign to break the confessional seal

Politicians, pundits, and even a few dissenting Catholic clerics are calling upon Catholic priests to break the confessional seal in sex-abuse cases. Attorney general Nicola Roxon said that a...

Released Thursday, Nov. 15

Vatican official discusses challenges facing Catholic hospitals

At a press conference in Rome that preceded a three-day conference of healthcare workers, the president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care discussed the challenges facing Catholic...

Coptic pope threatens to withdraw representatives from assembly over Sharia provision

Pope Tawadros II, the new head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, is threatening to withdraw Coptic representatives from the Constituent Assembly, the 100-member committee entrusted with the task of...

USCCB committees: cut deficit, but not at expense of anti-poverty programs

As the United States faces the possibility of “sequestration,” or automatic budget cuts scheduled to take effect in January, the chairmen of two committees of the United States Conference of...

Sistine Chapel concert features Roman, English choral traditions

The Sistine Chapel Choir and the Westminster Cathedral Choir performed at a concert at the Sistine Chapel on November 13. Numerous prelates attended the conference, which was sponsored by Secretary...

Missionaries of Africa highlight anti-slavery efforts

The Society of the Missionaries of Africa, sometimes known as the White Fathers, has begun a yearlong commemoration of the 125th anniversary of its founder’s campaign to end the slave trade....

Fordham to host talk by Peter Singer, infanticide apologist

New York's Fordham University will host Peter Singer, a philosopher notorious for his arguments to justify infanticide and euthanasia, at a conference entitled "Christians and Other Animals: Moving...

Pro-life Catholic survives hearings on nomination as EU health minister

Despite angry protests from abortion advocates, a pro-life Catholic political leader has passed through hearings on his nomination to become the European Union’s commissioner for health and consumer...

Italian births drop, with larger proportion out-of-wedlock

The average age of Italy’s population is rising steadily, as the number of new births continues to drop. New national statistics showed that the total number of births was 546,607 in 2011) the...

Rush to judgment in Irish miscarriage tragedy

Irish columnist David Quinn points out that very little is known about the medical details surrounding the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar, who died of septicemia after complications in...

New Evangelization should be ecumenical effort, Pope says

Ecumenical work is a key component of the “new evangelization,” Pope Benedict XVI told the Pontifical Council on Christian Unity in a November 15 address. All Christians should be concerned by...

'Vegetative' patient gives clear responses, doctor reports

A British man who was said to be in a “vegetative state” after a traumatic accident 12 years ago has shown clear evidence of understanding, a researcher has announced. The patient, Scott Routley,...

Catholic university faculty rebukes president for blocking invitation to dissident theologian

Faculty members at the University of San Diego have approved a vote of no-confidence in the leadership of the Catholic institution’s president, Dr. Mary Lyons, after Lyons rescinded a fellowship...

Boston archdiocese to reorganize parishes in 2nd retrenchment

Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley has approved a sweeping reorganization of that will leave the archdiocese with 135 “collaboratives” in place of the current 288 parishes. The new “collaboratives”...

Vatican envoy calls for restraints on military weapons deemed to harmful to civilians

At a UN conference discussing restrictions on conventional weapons, the Vatican’s representative argued for new attention to explosive weapons that cause heavy civilian casualties. Archbishop...

Vietnamese Catholic activists report mounting human-rights violations

Human-rights violations are on the rise in Vietnam, the National Commission for Justice and Peace of the Vietnamese Catholic Church said in a report to the country’s bishops. The report by...

Released Friday, Nov. 16

Obama administration official to lead prominent Catholic donors’ group

An Obama administration official who worked for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development for nearly a decade has been named the president of...

CCHD announces new national focus on causes of poverty, grant related to Hurricane Sandy

Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, chairman of the Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has announced that the...

Report: MN bishop says pro-gay marriage teen can be confirmed when he publicly repudiates position

The parents of a teenage boy in the Diocese of Crookston (Minnesota) told the Fargo Forum that their parish priest has denied the Sacrament of Confirmation to their son, Lennon Cihak, because of his...

Order of Malta’s medical work highlighted

As a conference sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers takes place in Rome, Vatican Radio has highlighted the medical work of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Malta...

Doctor: acceptance of euthanasia heightens patients’ distrust of medical profession

Martin Cullen, an intensive care physician in Sydney, writes that the increasing acceptance of euthanasia has helped increase patients’ distrust of doctors. “I never cease to marvel how deeply...

African women sue government clinics for coerced sterilizations

A group of Kenyan women have filed suit against government health-care clinics in 5 different countries, charging that they were sterilized against their will. The plaintiffs are all...

Pope releases message for World Youth Day 2013

The Vatican has released the message of Pope Benedict XVI for the 28th observance of World Youth Day (WYD), which will be held in July 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Inviting the young people of...

New apostolic nuncio wins admiration in Ireland

Although Ireland's relations with the Holy See have been severely tied in recent months, the new apostolic nuncio in Dublin has been well received by the country's political leaders, notes Michael...

Ivory Coast leader visits Pope

Pope Benedict XVI met on November 16 with President Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast. Ouattara arrived at the Vatican under heavy security. He took power in Ivory Coast only after a bloody...

Jerusalem Patriarch laments new violence, says 'comprehensive solution' needed

The Latin-rite Patriarch of Jerusalem has expressed his anguish over the latest outbreak of violence in Israel and Gaza, and said that the tensions in the region can only be resolved “a...

Australia: pressure mounts to break confessional seal

Australian editorial writers have stepped up the pressure on Church leaders to discard the confessional seal in cases of sexual abuse. Claiming that the seal may protect abusers—a proposition for...

Released Monday, Nov. 19

Increasing violence against Christians in Syria

Violence against Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities in Syria is on the rise, according to John Pontifex of Aid to the Church in Need. Pontifex fears that Syria, like Iraq, could...

Nun beatified in Argentina

Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, traveled to Pergamino, Argentina, on November 17 to celebrate the beatification of Sister María Crescencia Pérez...

English bishops declare day of prayer for Middle East

The bishops of England and Wales have declared a day of prayer for peace in the Middle East. “Conscious of the civil war in Syria and its impact on neighboring countries, as well as the...

MN priest discusses ‘denial of Confirmation’ to pro-gay marriage teen

In a letter to his parishioners, Father Gary LaMoine, a priest of the Diocese of Crookston (Minnesota), discussed news reports that Lennon Cihak, a 17-year-old in his parish, was “denied” the...

Leadership of Canadian bishops’ conference makes annual visit to Vatican

The president and vice president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops are making their annual visit to the Vatican. Archbishop Paul-André Durocher of Gatineau (Quebec), the...

USCCB approves nearly $5M in grants to Haiti, Latin America

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America has approved over $4.9 million in grants to assist the Church in the Caribbean and Latin America....

Benin's president visits Pontiff

Pope Benedict XVI met on November 19 with President Boni Yayi of Benin, for a “cordial” conversation that included recollections of the Pontiff’s visit to the African country last year. A brief...

Concentrate on Jesus, not end-of-the-world prophecies, Pope tells audience

Christians should not concern themselves with predictions of the end of the world, Pope Benedict XVI told his midday audience on Sunday, November 18. Commenting on the day’s Gospel reading, the...

Pope offers prayers, best wishes for new Coptic patriarch

Pope Benedict XVI has sent his congratulations and best wishes to the new leader of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, who was formally installed in Cairo on November 18. Cardinal Kurt Koch, the...

French society must hear voice of Church, Pope tells bishops

Pope Benedict XVI told a group of visiting French bishops that “the voice of the Church must make itself heard ceaselessly and with determination” in their society. The Pope spoke on November 17...

Health-care workers must be mindful of Christian understanding of suffering

A health-care worker should appreciate the value of “the Christian science of suffering,” Pope Benedict XVI told members of the Pontifical Council for Health Care on November 17. The Pope...

Proper clerical attire expected, Vatican workers told

The Vatican has reminded clerics working in the Roman Curia that they should wear proper clerical attire during office hours. An October memo to Vatican officials, signed by Cardinal Tarcisio...

Vatican prosecutor assures; tough sex-abuse policy will not change

In interview with Associated Press, the Holy See’s top prosecutor for sex-abuse cases said that the Vatican’s tough policies will not change when he becomes an auxiliary bishop in Malta. Msgr....

Milan cathedral fundraising approach: adopt-a-gargoyle

Gargoyles in Milan’s famed cathedral, the Duomo, are being put up for “adoption” to raise funds for needed renovations to the building. In return for a donation of $123,000, a donor can have his...

Milan cathedral fundraising approach: adopt-a-gargoyle

Gargoyles in Milan’s famed cathedral, the Duomo, are being put up for “adoption” to raise funds for needed renovations to the building. In return for a donation of $123,000, a donor can have his...

Pope recommends Pascal’s wager to non-believers

In a message to the latest meeting of the “Courtyard of the Gentiles,” held November 16-17 in Portugal, Pope Benedict XVI wrote that reverence for human life is “part of the moral heritage of...

French rallies against same-sex marriage plan

Pro-family demonstrators rallied in several French cities on November 17 in opposition to the government’s plans for legal recognition of same-sex marriage. In Paris, organizers of the...

Irish bishops respond to woman's death; pro-abortion activists planned to exploit tragedy

Responding to the “devastating personal tragedy” of Savita Halappanavar’s death, Ireland’s Catholic bishops have issued a statement confirming that Church teaching did not prevent medical treatment...

Excommunicated priest Roy Bourgeois is formally dismissed from Maryknoll order

A former Maryknoll priest who was excommunicated in 2008 because of his persistent support for women’s ordination has now been dismissed from the religious order. The Maryknoll order announced on...

Rome: remodeled statue of John Paul II is unveiled

A controversial statue of Blessed John Paul II was unveiled in Rome on November 19, after the sculptor altered it in reaction to public outrage. The sculpture by Oliviero Rainaldi, which had...

Vatican questions sale of Catholic health-care system in Arkansas

The Vatican is questioning the sale of a Catholic health-care system in Arkansas to a secular corporation. Mercy Hot Springs, the 8th-largest health-care system in the US, has announced plans to...

Released Tuesday, Nov. 20

English bishops call for living wage

The bishops of England and Wales have called upon Catholic organizations to work towards the implementation of a living wage in British society. “The bishops’ conference recognizes that fair...

Declining appeal, Supreme Court lets stand public-school ‘released time’ for religion classes

The US Supreme Court has declined to hear the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s appeal of Moss v. Spartanburg County School District Seven, a unanimous federal court decision that upheld the...

Joint Orthodox-Catholic statement on importance of Sunday

The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation has issued a statement on the importance of Sunday. “For Christians, Sunday, the Lord’s Day, is a special day consecrated to the...

Vatican cardinal speaks of Apostleship of the Sea and the new evangelization

The president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People called upon those involved in the Apostleship of the Sea to be agents of the new evangelization. “Multinational teams...

Report: Muslim convert to Christianity beheaded in Somalia

Farhan Haji Mose, a 25-year-old Somali convert from Islam to Christianity, was beheaded on November 16 by Al-Shabaab rebels, according to Morning Star News, a recently-founded news service that...

USCCB grants $8.4M to home missions

A subcommittee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has approved $8.4 million in grants to help assist the 84 “home mission” dioceses in the United States. The grants are funded in...

Pakistani appeals court dismisses blasphemy case against Rimsha Masih

Pakistan’s High Court in Islamabad has dismissed blasphemy charges against Rimsha Masih, the mentally handicapped young Christian girl. The court found that there was no firm evidence to back the...

Pope's new book unveiled

The Vatican today unveiled the 3rd and final book in the Jesus of Nazareth trilogy by Pope Benedict XVI. The new work, The Infancy Narratives, will be on sale November 21. The new book, which is...

Doctor leading inquiry into Irish woman's death is supporter of legal abortion

The doctor appointed by the Irish government to head an inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar is an avowed supporter of legal abortion. Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, a former president of...

Greek Orthodox file blasphemy charges against play depicting Jesus as homosexual

An Orthodox bishop in Greece has filed a blasphemy complaint against the producers of a dramatic presentation that depicts Jesus and his disciples as homosexuals. Bishop Seraphim’s complaint,...

Rejection of pro-life EU commissioner would insult Malta, prelate says

Only a display of intolerance by European lawmakers will stop the appointment of Tonio Borg as health commissioner of the European Union, according to Msgr. Charles Scicluna. Msgr. Scicluna, a...

Church of England ready to discuss women bishops

The Church of England’s general synod is prepared to discuss the ordination of women as bishops, with the newly designated Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Justin Welby, supporting the proposal. Dr....

University trustees back president who withdrew fellowship for dissident theologian

The trustees of the University of San Diego have given their full support to the school’s president, Mary Lyons, after faculty members gave her a vote of no-confidence. The faculty, by a 99-16...

Cardinal Dolan: prayers for family and friendship

In a op-ed column in the New York Post, while looking forward to Thanksgiving Day, Cardinal Timothy Dolan offers a prayer of petition: I will ask the Lord to keep us a culture where personal...

Released Wednesday, Nov. 21

Bomb explodes near parish in Kenya

A man threw a bomb into a minibus near a Catholic parish and primary school in Nairobi on November 18, killing seven. The attack, which took place in a suburb with a large Somali population,...

English bishops call for restoration of religious education to nation’s high school curriculum

The bishops of England and Wales have criticized a government decision to remove religious education from the list of officially recognized high school academic subjects. “The Bishops’ Conference...

Rising number of Catholics in US Congress

Following the 2012 election, the number of Catholics in Congress will rise from 156 (29%) to 161 (30%). 56% of members of the new Congress are Protestants; 14% are Baptists, 9% are Methodists,...

Atmosphere of fear among Zimbabwe’s Catholics

An anonymous report from the Church in Zimbabwe highlights the pervasive despair and fear among the nation’s impoverished populace. The nation has been ruled by Robert Mugabe since 1980. “Any...

Vatican spokesman reflects on the wisdom and prayers of the elderly

The director of the Holy See Press Office devoted his most recent weekly editorial to Pope Benedict’s recent visit to a home for the elderly. The Pope, said Father Federico Lombardi, “explains...

New head of March for Life named

Jeanne Monahan, the director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, has been named the new president of the March for Life Education & Defense Fund. Monahan, an alumna...

Christian faith is based on reason, Pope tells audience

Faith in God is fully rational, Pope Benedict XVI told his weekly public audience on November 21. Rejecting the idea that faith involves a leap beyond logic—a “will to believe beyond reason”--the...

Catholic politician confirmed as EU health commissioner

The European Union has confirmed a pro-life Catholic as commissioner for health and consumer affairs. The nomination of Tonio Borg, a Maltese lawmaker, had met with some opposition because of his...

Pakistan's blasphemy laws still claim many victims

A Pakistani appeals court's decision to dismiss blasphemy charges against young Rimsha Masih has won applause from human-rights activists. But the Fides news service reminds readers that Pakistan's...

Pope pleads for peace in Gaza

Pope Benedict XVI issued an appeal for peace in Gaza at the conclusion of his regular public audience on November 21. Saying that he had been following the escalating violence “with grave...

Bid to approve woman bishops fails in Church of England synod

A proposal to ordain women as bishops for the Church of England fell just short of approval in a surprise vote on November 20. The proposal won the required two-thirds approval from the synod’s...

Bomb scare clears Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome

A bomb scare caused the evacuation of Rome’s Castel Sant’Angelo, the historic refuge of Roman Pontiffs, on November 21. Police cleared the building after discovering a suspicious black box with...

Papal message of thanks to cloistered religious

Pope Benedict XVI offered thanks for the prayerful witness of cloistered religious on November 21, the feast of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple. At the close of his regular weekly public...

Catholic, Islamic scholars join in call for justice

Catholic and Muslim scholars have issued a joint statement on cooperative work for justice, at the conclusion of a 3-day meeting in Rome. The Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and...

Released Monday, Nov. 26

Saudi Arabia among 3 nations launching center for interreligious dialogue

Saudi Arabia, Spain, and Austria have established the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), an organization whose purpose,...

Catholics imprisoned in Mali for refusing to listen to Muslim sermon

Three Congolese Catholics have been imprisoned in Timbuktu for refusing to attend a Muslim sermon. Earlier this year, the city and much of northern Mali fell under the control of Islamist rebels...

USCCB committee chairman condemns rocket attacks on Israel

The chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has condemned recent rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza as a “continuing pattern...

UN report on world population draws criticism from pro-life advocates

“The State of World Population 2012,” a new report by the United Nations Population Fund, has attracted criticism from pro-life advocates because of its emphasis on contraception as a human...

Gynecologist group calls for over-the-counter birth control pills

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is calling upon the federal government to permit the over-the-counter sale of birth control pills. Over-the-counter access to the pill...

USCCB sponsors interreligious dialogue for Catholic, Muslim, Hindu young adults

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs has sponsored Generations of Faith 2012, a gathering of Catholic, Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh...

Esolen denounces liberal misuse of Catholic social teaching

Writing passion and style, Anthony Esolen decries the attempts to justify liberal social engineering by invoking the appeal of Roman Pontiffs for “social justice.” Claiming that Catholic social...

Elevating 6 non-European cardinals, Pope reflects on Church's universal mission

As he elevated 6 new members to the College of Cardinals on November 24, Pope Benedict XVI remarked that the Catholic Church pursues a universal mission, serving all mankind. At the consistory,...

Church exists to proclaim, spread Christ's Kingdom, Pope reminds audience

The feast of Christ the King "summarizes the mystery of Jesus, first born from the dead and the ruler of all the powers of the earth,” Pope Benedict XVI told his midday audience on November...

Archbishop of Canterbury: Church of England has 'a lot of explaining to do' after vote against woman bishops

The outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury has warned leaders of the Church of England that they have “a lot of explaining to do” after turning down a proposal to ordain women as Anglican bishops. Dr....

Irish bishop's appointment could signal beginning of Vatican's bid to restructure Irish hierarchy

Pope Benedict XVI has named a new bishop for Ireland’s troubled Cloyne diocese, in a move that could signal a long-awaited overhaul of the Irish hierarchy. Father William Crean, a priest of the...

Rehabilitation is key to prisons' success, Pope argues

The criminal-justice system must strive to rehabilitate convicts as well as to punish them, Pope Benedict XVI said in an address to a group of European prison officials. "In order to practice...

Pope's private secretary will remain, despite rumors, Vatican-watcher reports

Msgr. Georg Ganswein will remain in his post as private secretary to Pope Benedict XVI, despite rumors of a shake-up in the staff of the apostolic palace, according to Sandro Magister of...

Papal encouragement for pastors to seafarers

"Ever since the dawn of Christianity, the maritime world has been an effective vehicle for evangelization,” Pope Benedict XVI observed, in an address to an international conference on pastoral care...

Art should find beauty in faith, Pope says

An artist is “an important witness to the beauty of faith,” Pope Benedict XVI wrote in a message to the Pontifical Academies, who devoted their annual meeting in November to a discussion of art in...

Still no explanation for Irish woman's death, as pressure mounts to end abortion ban

As Ireland awaits the results of an official inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar, staff members at the Galway hospital where she died report that they are “mystified” by her death and by...

Scholars, historians debate legacy of Pope Pius XII

Critics and defenders of Pope Pius XII clashed in a rare public debate in London on the late Pontiff’s response to the Holocaust. Popular historian John Julian Norwich and international-law...

Hong Kong diocese offers paternity leave, with or without marriage

Catholics in Hong Kong are at odds about a new diocesan employees giving 5 days of paternity leave to all employees, whether or not they are married when the child is born. The policy—which...

Released Tuesday, Nov. 27

Supreme Court orders lower court to hear challenge to HHS mandate

The United States Supreme Court has ordered the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to hear Liberty University’s challenge to the constitutionality of the HHS mandate. The appeals court had previously...

Nigeria: 11 dead in bomb attack on church

Two suicide bombers have attacked a Protestant church inside a military base in Nigeria, killing at least 11. The Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram is suspected in the November 25...

African bishops condemn Congo violence

The presidents of bishops’ conferences in Africa have joined with the bishop-presidents of Caritas organizations in condemning the escalating violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The...

Pediatricians’ group urges advance prescriptions of morning-after pills to teens

The American Academy of Pediatrics is urging doctors to prescribe morning-after pills to teenage girls “in advance of need.” “Studies have shown that adolescents are more likely to use emergency...

Senate to vote on UN disabilities treaty; pro-life, homeschooling advocates concerned

The Senate is scheduled to vote soon on whether to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), a United Nations treaty opposed by several pro-life and homeschooling...

World expects honesty in inter-religious dialogue, cardinal says at opening of new center

The King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Centre for Inter-religious and Inter-cultural Dialogue (KAICIID) “presents another opportunity for open dialogue on many issues, including those related to...

Unrest prompts Egyptian Christian leaders to postpone strategy meeting

A meeting between the new Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II and the leaders of Egypt’s Catholic communities has been postponed because of tensions in the country. With Egypt in turmoil after...

Times surprised by Cardinal Dolan's support for beatification of Dorothy Day

A New York Times report sees irony in the fact that Cardinal Timothy Dolan is promoting the cause for beatification of Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic worker. The Times characterizes...

Catholic pressure stalls passage of 'reproductive-health' bill in Philippines

Staunch opposition from the Catholic hierarchy, and steady pressure from the laity, has stalled the progress of sweeping new “reproductive health” legislation in the Philippines. The bill calls...

Italian cardinal honored by Israel's Holocaust memorial

Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to Holocaust victims, has named an Italian cardinal of the World War II era “Righteous among the Nations”—an honor bestowed on those who made heroic efforts to save...

Released Wednesday, Nov. 28

Pope encourages efforts against AIDS

Pope Benedict XVI offered his support to the fight against AIDS, and his special encouragement to Church missions in the field, as he looked forward to the observance of World AIDS Day on December...

Humility, 'small steps' are keys to evangelization, Pope tells Wednesday audience

“How do we speak of God in our times?” Pope Benedict XVI asked the crowd in the Paul VI auditorium as he opened his weekly public audience on November 28. The Pope answered his own rhetorical...

Access to needs, not dollars, is standard for defining poverty, cardinal suggests

Poverty must be understood not only in terms of a shortage of money, but also in terms of a lack of access to education, health care, and other assets, the president of the Pontifical Council for...

Will prenatal tests revive temptation toward eugenics?

Powerful new pre-natal tests have enabled doctors to detect problems such as Down syndrome long before a child is born. Michael Miller questions whether these new tests will revive the impulse...

Irish 'popemobile' available for rentals

An Irish businessman is offering to rent out the “popemobile” that was used in 1979, during the historic visit of Blessed John Paul II to Ireland. Paddy Dunning purchased the vehicle from the...

Special Vatican stamp sale to raise funds for restoration of colonnade in St. Peter's Square

The Vatican is issuing a special series of stamps and commemorative coins in a bid to raise funds for the restoration of the famous Bernini colonnade around St. Peter’s Square. With corporate...

Cincinnati archdiocese sues former business manager, charges over $350,000 stolen

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio, has filed a lawsuit against a former business manager, charging that Thomas Martin stole over $350,000 from three parishes. Martin is accused in the lawsuit...

Australia: sex-abuse victim sentenced for 'revenge' burglaries at Catholic churches

An Australian man has been sentenced to a 4-year prison sentence for a series of burglaries that targeted Catholic churches. The man—who was not identified in press accounts—said that his crime...

Released Thursday, Nov. 29

Vatican newspaper pays tribute to Archbishop Chaput talk

L’Osservatore Romano has paid tribute to “Renewing the Church and Her Mission in a Year of Faith,” a recent address by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia. “The real religion of vast...

27 New York Catholic schools at risk of closure

Two years after the Archdiocese of New York shuttered 20 Catholic schools, an additional 27 schools – including 26 of the archdiocese’s 159 elementary schools – have been deemed “at risk” of closure...

US: number of religious sisters declines by over 2,000 in one year

The number of religious sisters in the United States fell from 57,113 to 55,045 in a one-year period, according to data in the 2011 and 2012 editions of The Official Catholic Directory. During...

Italian lay movement continues push for abolition of death penalty

The Community of Sant’Egidio, one of the most prominent new ecclesial movements, has continued its efforts to abolish the death penalty worldwide by hosting a conference of justice ministers from 20...

USCCB grants $2.8M to Church in Africa

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Church in Africa has made 109 grants totaling $2.81 million to the Church in Africa this year. The grants are funded by a...

West Virginia bishop writes pastoral letter on poverty

Bishop Michael Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston has released a pastoral letter on poverty in West Virginia. “As citizens and as disciples of Christ, we are called to join corporal works of mercy...

Vatican strips Austrian dissident of honorary title 'Monsignor'

The leader of a dissident movement of Austrian priests has been stripped of the title “Monsignor” by the Vatican. Father Helmut Schüller, the head of the Austrian Priests’ Initiative and a former...

Pope's imprisoned valet now recognizes gravity of offenses

Paolo Gabriele, who was convicted in October for stealing confidential papal documents, has belatedly recognized the damage done by the “Vatileaks” scandal, reports Andrea Tornielli of La...

Calgary schools to reverse policy, allow HPV vaccinations

Reversing policy under heavy public pressure, the Catholic schools of Calgary, Alberta, will allow girls to be vaccinated against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) on school grounds. Bishop Fred...

India: court sentences Hindu marauders for anti-Christian violence in Orissa

A court in India has sentenced 12 Hindu militants to prison terms in connection with the anti-Christian violence that broke out in the state of Orissa in 2008. “It is the first step toward...

European bishops issue pastoral statement on care for migrants

The Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE) has released a “road map” for the pastoral care of migrants, calling for new efforts “to assist in integration, to reinforce links, and to...

Prominent liberal author faces battle with cancer, seeks prayers

Robert Blair Kaiser, the ex-Jesuit who covered Vatican II for Time magazine and later was a Rome correspondent for Newsweek, has asked for prayers as he battles cancer. Kaiser, whose coverage of...

Prefect of CDF rips ‘heretical’ reading of Vatican II

The new prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has said that traditionalist Catholics advance a “heretical interpretation” of Vatican II if they claim that the Council made...

Egyptian sentences Innocence of Muslims filmmakers to death

An Egyptian court has sentenced 7 Christians to death for their role in the making of the provocative film, Innocence of Muslims. The death sentences were largely symbolic, since the Christians...

Catholic leaders support Palestinian bid for UN recognition

Christian leaders in the Holy Land support a Palestine bid for UN recognition “in a unanimous manner,” a leading Catholic prelate reports. Archbishop Maroun Laham, the patriarchal vicar for...

Released Friday, Nov. 30

Holy See welcomes UN recognition of Palestine

The Holy See is welcoming the United Nations General Assembly’s decision to grant Palestine the status of a non-observer member state. “Today’s vote manifests the sentiment of the majority of the...

2 federal courts dismiss lawsuits against HHS mandate

Two US district courts have dismissed lawsuits by the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the Diocese of Nashville, and other Catholic institutions against the HHS mandate. “While I am disappointed in the...

Cardinal Turkson reflects on world poverty, Church’s social doctrine

In an interview with Vatican Radio, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace reflected on his childhood in Ghana, changing definitions of poverty, and the importance of the...

UN resolution backs ‘gender identity’ rights

Despite opposition from predominantly Muslim nations, the United Nations General Assembly for the first time has supported “gender identity” rights in a resolution. Egypt, which led the...

‘Bride,’ ‘groom’ to be eliminated from state’s marriage certificates

Following the passage of same-sex marriage in the State of Washington, the terms “bride” and “groom” will be eliminated from the state’s marriage certificates. A spokesman for the state health...

Photo essay on Coptic Christians

Mother Jones has published a photo essay on Coptic Christians and the violence they face in Egypt. “Since the toppling of Hosni Mubarak, acts of aggression and violence, in addition to...

Ignorance of faith is great obstacle, Pope tells French bishops

Pope Benedict XVI told a group of visiting French bishops that “one of the gravest problems of our time is the ignorance of religion on the part of many men and women, also among the Catholic...

Pope: Catholic-Orthodox understanding is profound, though imperfect

In a message to the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, Pope Benedict XVI has described the ecumenical link between Rome and Constantinople as “a profound and genuine communion, if...

Synod secretariat continues discussion of New Evangelization

The secretariat of the Synod of Bishops met in Rome this week, to follow up on the October meeting of the full Synod, which was dedicated to the New Evangelization, and to offer suggestions for the...

US birth rate hits new low

The birth rate in the US has fallen to its lowest level in recorded history. The Pew Research Center reports that the birth rate in 2011—the last year for which figures are available—was 63.2 per...

Long hike looms for World Youth Day participants in Rio

Organizers of the 2013 World Youth Day (WYD) celebration in Rio de Janeiro have announced that pilgrims will have to walk about 8 miles to attend the closing Mass, at which Pope Benedict XVI is...

Pope’s December Prayer Intentions

The Vatican has released the prayer intentions of Pope Benedict XVI for December 2012. The Pope’s general intention is: “That migrants throughout the world may be welcomed with generosity and...

Lawmakers cannot change what marriage means, French cardinal says

A parliamentary vote cannot change the definition of marriage, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon told L’Osservatore Romano. “Everyone knows marriage is the union between a man and a woman,”...

Pope wants evangelical dimension for Courtyard of the Gentiles

Pope Benedict XVI, who proposed the “Courtyard of the Gentiles” as a forum for dialogue with non-believers, now wants to accentuate the evangelical dimension of the initiative, writes Sandro...

Nigerian terror attacks reflect breakdown of law, not persecution, bishop says

A Nigerian bishop has told an American audience that attacks by the Boko Haram terrorist group on Christian targets show a collapse of the rule of law in Nigeria rather than a concerted campaign of...

US Catholics found less committed to their faith

A sociologist at the University of Nebraska has found a “tremendous decline” in the strength of American Catholics’ commitment to their faith. Philip Schwadel found that only 35% of Catholics...

Irish prelate cautions on rush toward legal abortion

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has warned against a rush to legalize abortion, as an emotional debate on the subject continues in Ireland. After meeting with Irish political leaders, the...

Milan archdiocese doubles its authorized exorcists

The Archdiocese of Milan has authorized 12 priests to act as exorcists, doubling the previous number. Responding to a leap in the number of people inquiring about exorcism, the archdiocese has...

Will legal abortion by Irish leader's heritage?

Irish columnist David Quinn wonders whether the country's Taoiseach (prime minister), Enda Kenny, recognizes the historic gravity of the decision he faces regarding the country's abortion...

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