Stories for September 2013

Released Saturday, Aug. 31

Pope Francis appoints new Secretary of State

Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Pietro Parolin, apostolic nuncio to Venezuela, as his new Secretary of State. While accepting the resignation of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who is 78, the...

Released Monday, Sep. 2

Central African Republic: diocese investigates chapel desecration, anti-Christian violence

Representatives of a diocese in the Central African Republic have investigated recent violence against Christians in Bohong, a rural town in the western part of the nation, according to a report...

Caritas condemns use of chemical weapons, says no to military intervention in Syria

The Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies condemned “the alleged use of chemical weapons in Damascus” and lamented the possibility of foreign military intervention. “The use...

Romanian martyr beatified

Father Vladimir Ghika (1873-1954), a priest who died of hunger in a Communist prison following torture, was beatified in Bucharest on August 31. Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the...

Vatican newspaper examines history of red, white papal garb

Writing in L’Osservatore Romano, Italian historian Agostino Paravicini Bagliani says that the popular belief that St. Pius V (1566-72) was the first Pope to wear the white cassock is inaccurate....

Syrian prelate prays: no foreign intervention

A Syrian Orthodox prelate whose diocese includes portions of Syria and Iraq prayed that foreign powers will not intervene in the Syrian conflict. “It is easy to pave the way for air strikes on...

‘State of the Bible in 2013’

The American Bible Society has published its annual survey on the “state of the Bible” in the United States. The survey took note of respondents’ religious affiliations and defined “practicing...

Pope declares September 7 a day of worldwide prayer for peace in Syria

Pope Francis has called upon all the faithful worldwide to join in a day of prayer and fasting of September 7 for peace in the Middle East, and especially in Syria. At his Angelus audience on...

Irish paper under fire for false abortion story

The Irish Times has encountered heavy criticism for publishing a front-page story reporting—inaccurately—a legal abortion performed at a Dublin hospital. The August 23 story alleged that the...

Syrian Catholics organize nation for Pope’s day of prayer for peace

All Catholic parishes in Syria are planning to join in the September 7 day of prayer for peace declared by Pope Francis, the leader of the Melkite Catholic Church reports. Patriarch Gregory III...

Retired Pope presides at Mass for former students

Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI presided at Mass on September 2 to mark the conclusion of a meeting of his former theology students. The Ratzinger Schulerkreis-- an annual seminar of the former...

Schedule set for Pope's visit Assisi in October

The Vatican has released the details of a scheduled October 4 visit to Assisi by Pope Francis. The Holy Father will leave the Vatican early on that Friday morning, traveling by helicopter. His...

Top Syrian Muslim cleric asks to join Pope at Vatican prayer vigil for peace

Syria’s leading Sunni Muslim cleric wants to join Pope Francis in a vigil of prayer for peace on September 7, the Fides news service reports. The Grand Mufti of Syria, Ahmad Badreddin Hassou, has...

Syrian rebels plan destruction of Christianity: Russian Orthodox prelate

In an interview with the AsiaNews service, the top foreign-policy spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church said he fears rebels in Syria “have set themselves the goal of the complete and total...

Cardinal Bertone defends his record, rips critical 'vipers'

The Vatican’s outgoing Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, has defended his conduct in that office, and charged that “a mix of crows and vipers” orchestrated a campaign of criticism...

American teen attributes cancer cure to blessing from Pope Benedict

A young American has attributed his recovery from cancer to a blessing by Pope Benedict XVI. Peter Srsich traveled to Rome last May to meet the Pope, sponsored by the Make-a-Wish Foundation,...

Released Tuesday, Sep. 3

Vatican official fears Syrian conflict could explode into world war

The secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace told Vatican Radio that “the conflict in Syria has all the ingredients to explode into a war of global dimensions.” Asked to comment...

Seminary rector rues US intervention in Iraq, says Syrian rebels have little interest in democracy

The rector of the Pontifical Armenian College in Rome has told the Aleteia news site that the Syrian rebels have little interest in promoting democracy. “We see ‘democrats’ who enjoy cutting off...

Coptic Catholic Church: military intervention in Middle East cannot be justified

An official of the Coptic Catholic Patriarchate in Egypt has told the Fides news agency that “no one can justify military intervention in the Middle East under the pretext of defending the...

Patriarchs are ‘opposed to any foreign armed intervention in Syria’

The Patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch emphasized in a joint statement that they are “opposed to any foreign armed intervention in...

Bishop draws attention to rural poverty

Writing for the blog of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the bishop of Wyoming called upon Catholics to remember that “rural poverty is over two percentage points higher than urban...

Federal court upholds California ban on reparative therapy for minors

In a unanimous decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has upheld California’s ban on reparative therapy for minors with same-sex attractions. “Under its police power,...

Ecumenical Patriarch’s encyclical emphasizes environment, genetic modifications

Eastern Orthodoxy’s leading prelate decried damage to the environment in an encyclical letter issued on the occasion of the new Orthodox liturgical year, which began September 1. “We are today...

Vatican summons diplomats to briefing on September 7 day of prayer for peace

All diplomats accredited to the Holy See have been asked to attend a September 5 briefing on the September 7 day of prayer for peace in Syria. Underlining the importance that the Pope Francis...

Light of Christ is quiet, humble, Pope says in homily

In his homily at Mass on September 3, Pope Francis contrasted the light of Christ with the bright lights of the world. Mankind, the Pope observed, is often seduced by bright lights, and seeks...

Benedict XVI shows age, but seems healthy, former students report

Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI appears healthy, although the effects of old age are apparent, according to former students who met with him on September 2. The retired Pontiff celebrated Mass with...

British clergy see rise in Confessions

Catholic priests in England and Wales have noticed a distinct increase in the number of people coming to Confession, the Daily Telegraph reports. Some priests attributed the greater use of the...

Pope meets with Jewish leader, sends New Year's greetings

Pope Francis sent his New Year’s greetings to the world’s Jews, as he met on September 3 with Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress. The Pope said that he was praying for a...

Rebel St. Louis parish to affiliate with Episcopal diocese?

A rebellious parish that broke off legal ties with the Catholic Church earlier this year after a long legal battle with the St. Louis archdiocese is now exploring affiliation with the Episcopal...

Gallup diocese will become 9th in US to file for bankruptcy

The Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico, has announced plans to file for bankruptcy. The Gallup diocese would be the 9th Catholic diocese in the US to seek federal bankruptcy protection in the wake of...

Released Wednesday, Sep. 4

Jerusalem prelate joins protest against foreign military intervention

Joined by local priests and others, including Muslim and Druze speakers, Auxiliary Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo of Jerusalem took part in a peaceful protest against foreign military intervention...

Nearly 1.8 million US children now homeschooled

The number of students in the United States who are homeschooled grew from 850,000 in 1999 to 1.77 million in 2012, according to a new report by the US Department of Education’s National Center for...

US bishops urge Catholics to take part in day of prayer, fasting for Syria

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Richard Pates, chairman of its Committee on International Justice and Peace, have issued a statement...

Cardinal McCarrick: ‘bring undocumented workers out of the shadows’

Writing in The Washington Post, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick called for the passage of comprehensive immigration reform. “It is not the American way to accept the fruits of their labor while...

USCCB: urge Congress to vote against authorizing military force in Syria

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is calling upon Catholics to urge Congress to vote against the use of military force in Syria. “Contact your two US Senators and your...

Priest discusses Courage apostolate for those with same-sex attractions

In an interview with Catholic World Report, Father Paul Check reflects on the work of the Courage apostolate, which helps Catholics who experience same-sex attractions to live chastely. “We have...

Strong words about Obama from Syria’s Trappist nuns

The members of a small community of Trappistine nuns in Syria recently posted their reflections on the situation there. “All has been destroyed: a nation destroyed, generations of young people...

Melkite Catholic patriarch asks world community to stop sending arms to Syria

The arms that other nations have sent to the Syrian government and rebels have wrought far more damage than the chemical weapons recently used in Syria, said the Patriarch of the Melkite Greek...

Interest in Amish, similar communities on the rise

A growing number of women and young adults are exploring Amish, Mennonite, and similar communities because of their simple, family-centered lifestyle and modesty, David Briggs of the Association of...

Pope repeats urgent plea for peace in Syria

Pope Francis repeated his urgent prayer for peace in Syria as he closed his regular weekly public audience on Wednesday, September 4. Reminding his audience of the special day of fasting and...

Resuming weekly audiences, Pope summarizes experience of World Youth Day

At his public audience on September 4, Pope Francis spoke about his trip to Brazil for World Youth Day, saying that his experience could be summarized in three words: welcome, celebration, and...

Jesuit leader decries threat of US-French intervention in Syria

The worldwide leader of the Jesuit order has said that US-led military intervention in Syria would be an “abuse of power.” Father General Adolfo Nicolas said that action by the US and France...

Milwaukee archdiocese alerted police in many abuse cases

Documents released by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee show that Church officials reported sex-abuse complaints to local police in some cases, but prosecutors rarely pressed charged. The archdiocesan...

Vatican paper highlights Gustavo Gutierrez

L’Osservatore Romano has devoted new attention to the work of Father Gustavo Gutierrez, the Peruvian proponent of liberation theology. "With a Latin American Pope, liberation theology could not...

Papal nuncio in Dominican Republic removed after abuse charges

Archbishop Josef Wesolowski, the apostolic nuncio in the Dominican Republic, has been removed from that post and called back to Rome after reports that he had been guilty of sexual abuse of young...

Assisi basilica extends hours for September 7 peace vigil

The Franciscan custodians of the basilica of St. Francis in Assisi have extended the hours of that the lower church will be open, so that pilgrims can pray at the tomb of St. Francis this...

Released Thursday, Sep. 5

Jordan’s king decries anti-Christian violence, calls upon Christians to defend Islam

A week after meeting with Pope Francis, King Abdullah II of Jordan spoke at a conference on the plight of Christians in the Middle East and decried violence against them. “We support every effort...

Laos: 50 recent converts told to renounce Christianity or lose homes

The chief of a village in Bolikhamsai Province in central Laos has threatened to expel 50 recent converts to Christianity from their homes if they do not renounce their new faith, according to Human...

Jerusalem Patriarch: pray for Middle East Christians

Patriarch Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, has called for prayers for Middle East Christians during this time of crisis. “We have many challenges, we have many problems,” he told...

Prelate calls for greater international attention to Somalia

The apostolic administrator of Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, has called for greater international attention to the plight of Somalia, whose president recently survived an assassination...

USCCB: Obama administration should comply with policy against abortion funding in federal health plans

The general counsel of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is urging the Office of Personnel Management to comply with a decades-old federal policy that prohibits “subsidizing...

Cardinal Dolan urges President Obama to work for political solution to Syrian crisis

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), urged President Barack Obama in a September 4 letter to pursue a political solution to...

Report: woman, 9 months pregnant, undergoes forced abortion in China

Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, an organization that monitors China’s one-child policy, reports that a woman who was nine months pregnant underwent a forced abortion in 2011. Her baby died in her...

Pope's plea to G20 leaders: stop drive for military solution in Syria

In an urgent appeal to the world’s most powerful leaders, Pope Francis has asked the heads of the G20 nations to “lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution” to the conflict in Syria. In...

Chilean cardinal turns 80, number of papal electors falls to 111

Cardinal Franciso Javier Errazuriz Ossa, the retired Archbishop of Santiago, Chile, celebrated his 80th birthday on September 5 and thus became ineligible to vote in a papal conclave. There are...

Report finds huge increase in Irish family breakdown

The Iona Institute of Dublin has released a report showing a catastrophic breakdown in Irish family life. Using figures from the 2011 census in Ireland, the Iona Institute points to a 500%...

US bishops ask Friday prayers to combat pornography

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is asking Catholics to pray, fast, and abstain from meat on September 6 “for those who struggle with pornography use or addiction: that...

Chicago archdiocese faces new abuse lawsuit in notorious McCormack case

The Chicago archdiocese faces a new lawsuit brought by a man who says that he was sexually abused by the ex-priest Daniel McCormack. The new suit charges that the archdiocese and Cardinal Francis...

Pope meets with leader of India's Syro-Malankara Orthodox Church

During a September 5 meeting with the leader of India’s Syro-Malankara Orthodox Church, Pope Francis emphasized the common roots of the Catholic and Syriac traditions. Greeting Catholicos...

Milwaukee archdiocesan lawyers rap bid to remove judge in bankruptcy case

Lawyers for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee have strong countered a bid by creditors to seek the removal of a federal judge involved in the archdiocesan bankruptcy case. Creditors of the...

Pope encourages Carmelites to pursue contemplation, austerity of life

In a message to the leader of a Carmelite order, Pope Francis said that the prayer of religious is “of vital importance in our disoriented world.” The Pope sent his message to Father Fernando...

Released Friday, Sep. 6

India: political leader says that Catholics are ‘cultural Hindus’

The leading political figure in Goa, the southwestern Indian state evangelized by St. Francis Xavier, told The New York Times that Catholics are “cultural Hindus.” Described by the Times as “an...

Protestant pastors beaten in Karnataka

Hindu extremists have attacked two Protestant pastors in the southwestern Indian state of Karnataka, the Fides news agency reported. Both pastors are converts from Hinduism, and in both cases,...

Syrian Catholic politician pleads: don’t attack Syria

Maria Saadeh, a Catholic member of the Syrian parliament, called upon the United States “not to promote a military action, because it is illegal and the whole world recognizes it.” “All Syrians,...

UN celebrates International Day of Charity on anniversary of Mother Teresa’s death

The United Nations commemorated the first annual International Day of Charity on September 5, the anniversary of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’s death in 1997. “I welcome this first observance of...

Bishop: proposed cuts to food stamps are a ‘moral scandal’

Proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), popularly known as food stamps, are “a moral scandal that betrays our nation's best values and highest ideals,” Bishop Oscar...

Syrian rebels attack historic Christian village

The Al-Nusra Front, a jihadist Syrian rebel group designated as a terrorist organization by the United Nations, United States, and other nations, has attacked the historic Christian village of...

Chaldean Patriarch urges US not to attack Syria

The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, which is based in Iraq and has eparchies (dioceses) in Syria, told the Missionary Service News Agency that the United States should not attack...

Unmarried mother stunned by Pope's sympathetic phone call

Pope Francis has again made headlines with an unexpected phone call—this time, to a single mother. The Italian woman, Anna Romero, had written to the Pope asking for advice when the father of her...

Ecumenical Patriarch joins in Saturday prayer and fasting for peace in Syria

Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, the leading prelate in the Orthodox world, has welcomed the call by Pope Francis to make Saturday, September 7, a special day of prayer and fasting for peace...

Pope meets Bolivia's President Morales, speaks on economic inequality

Pope Francis met on September 6 with Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, for a discussion that centered on the social and economic situation in the South American country, and particularly the question...

Vatican stand on Syria explained at briefing for diplomats

At a September 5 briefing for diplomats accredited to the Holy See, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti explained the Vatican’s stand regarding the civil war in Syria and the threat of US military...

Comparing Vatican diplomatic offensives on Syria in 2013, Iraq in 2003

John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter compares the Vatican's all-out diplomatic effort for peace in Syria with the similar effort launched by Pope John Paul II to prevent forestall the war in...

Robert George, invoking Elshtain, weighs just-war argument for Syrian intervention

In an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, the prominent Catholic legal scholar Robert George asks whether bombing Syria could be justified by the criteria of just-war theory. He answers the...

Cardinal Dolan challenges Milwaukee audience to defend the faith

Speaking in Milwaukee, as part of a lecture series that he inaugurated while he was archbishop there, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York encouraged the faithful to show their love for the Catholic...

Vietnamese police in violent crackdown on Catholic demonstrators

Police fired shots in the air and attacked with clubs to disperse a group of Catholic demonstrators at a parish church in north-central Vietnam last week. Dozens of demonstrators were treated for...

Stockton diocese weighs bankruptcy filing

The Diocese of Stockton, California, could soon become the 10th Catholic diocese in the US to file for bankruptcy in the face of costly legal settlements with sex-abuse victims. Stockton’s Bishop...

Christian joy based on nuptial relation with Christ's Church: Pope's Friday homily

“The Christian is fundamentally joyful,” Pope Francis told the congregation gathered at the Domus Sanctae Marthae for a morning Mass on September 7. In his homily the Holy Father spoke on the...

Released Monday, Sep. 9

Vatican official outlines scope of Syria’s humanitarian tragedy

In a brief interview with L’Osservatore Romano, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People outlined the dimensions of the humanitarian crisis in...

Trappist nun in Syria emphasizes: prayer is a weapon

A Trappistine nun in Syria has emphasized the power of prayer in an interview with the Vatican newspaper. The members of her community have strongly criticized President Barack Obama’s plans to...

Syrian rebels seize historic Christian village; Russia calls for protection of Christians

The Al-Nusra Front, a jihadist Syrian rebel group designated as a terrorist organization by the United Nations, the United States, and other nations, has seized the historic Christian village of...

20th-century Italian laywoman beatified

Maria Bolognesi (1924-80), an Italian laywoman who devoted her life to the service of the poor and the sick, was beatified in Rovigo, a northeastern Italian city of 50,000, on September...

US parishes emphasize immigration reform at Sunday Masses

Dioceses across the United States placed special emphasis on immigration during Masses on Sunday, according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. September 8 had been selected by...

37 colleges praised in ‘Catholic College Identity Guide’

The National Catholic Register has released its annual “Catholic Identity College Guide,” which praises 37 “faithfully Catholic colleges and universities.” The guide examines campus culture and...

State of California rejects parish’s application for legal incorporation

A California court has upheld a decision by the state’s government to refuse to recognize the articles of incorporation of a California parish, because the documents stipulated that if the parish...

Europe’s Catholic bishops, other Christian leaders: ‘no to war’ in Syria

The Conference of European Churches, an ecumenical organization, has joined the Council of European Episcopal Conferences in appealing for peace in Syria. “In the face of the suffering,...

Pope's prayer campaign for peace in Syria

Pope Francis led over 100,000 people in a vigil of prayer for peace in Syria on Saturday evening, September 7. He repeated his urgent plea for peace at his Angelus audience the next day. “What is...

Pope calls special meeting of Vatican officials; reforms on the agenda?

Pope Francis has called the leaders of the Roman Curia to a meeting on Tuesday, September 10. Although the Vatican has not disclosed the purpose of the meeting, the Pope is likely to discuss...

Arms trade incites war, Pope suggests

Pope Francis has questioned how much the international trade in arms contributes to the frequency of war. The Holy Father raised that question at his Sunday Angelus audience on September 9, at...

Accord in Central African Republic brokered by Sant'Egidio community

After negotiations hosted by the Sant’Egidio community in Rome, leaders of the Central African Republic have issued a joint statement confirming the “irreversible choice” of their country for...

Madison diocese ends school visits to research facility over embryonic stem-cell research

The Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, has announced that students in Catholic schools will no longer visit the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, because researchers there are engaged in embryonic...

Pope warns against heavy reliance on special devotions, private revelations

Pope Francis warned against a form of piety based only on special devotions, during a homily at Mass on September 7. Commenting on Christ's rebukes to the Pharisees, the Pontiff said that the...

Vietnamese diocese protests 'lawless' government activity, anti-Catholic propaganda

The Diocese of Vinh, Vietnam has issued a statement decrying government propaganda attacks on the Catholic community and on Bishop Paul Nguyen Thai Hop. The diocesan statement protested “false...

Italian reporter, released after kidnapping in Syria, says 'no longer the secular revolution'

An Italian reporter who was kidnapped by Syrian rebels in April has returned home after his release, saying: “I was trying to tell the story of the Syrian revolution, but it may be that this...

Belarus: priest arrested, held without charges amid rumors of espionage

Officials in Belarus have held a Catholic priest in jail since May 31 without explanation, the Forum 18 news service reports. Although no charges have been filed, many people believe that Father...

Pope will visit Sri Lanka, Church officials announce

Pope Francis has said that he will visit Sri Lanka, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Colombo has announced. Father Benedict Joseph, the spokesman for the Church in Sri Lanka, said that the...

Ghana's bishops decry surrogate parenthood

Responding to the rising popularity of in vitro fertility treatments, the Catholic bishops of Ghana have condemned the sale of sperm and eggs. The commercial use of human reproductive cells...

Cardinal Bertone encourages mining companies to respect workers, environment

Writing on behalf of Pope Francis, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone sent a message to participants in a meeting of mining-industry leaders, organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. In...

Released Tuesday, Sep. 10

Leading Vatican envoy denounces potential military strikes against Syria

Declaring that “the end cannot justify the means,” the Holy See’s apostolic nuncio to the United Nations denounced the prospect of military strikes against Syria. “Helping Syria means finding...

Cardinal Dolan: immigration reform a ‘moral imperative’

Writing in the New York Daily News, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York said that Congress “has a once-in-a-generation chance to fix our broken immigration system.” “No one can be proud of the...

Texas attorney general criticizes controversial anti-bias ordinance

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott criticized the San Antonio city council’s passage of an ordinance that bans city government appointees from discriminating against homosexuals and transgendered...

Ukrainian Catholics will not change to Gregorian calendar

Citing “very painful calendar wars in North America,” the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church said that his Eastern Catholic church will continue to follow the Julian calendar in the...

India: Hindu extremists attack church on consecutive Sundays

Hindu extremists have twice attacked a small Protestant church in Yelahanka, a suburb of Bangalore in the southwestern Indian state of Karnataka. On September 1, 25 extremists “broke up the...

Egypt: Christians live in terror following city’s takeover by Muslim Brotherhood

Islamist supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood have remained in control of Dalga, an Egyptian city of 120,000, since July 3, and have imposed a reign of terror against Christians, according to the...

Pro-chastity college organization expands to 23 campuses

The Love and Fidelity Network, a pro-chastity network of student organizations founded by a Princeton University alumna, has expanded to 23 campuses, according to a report in the National Catholic...

Pope holds listening session with leaders of Roman Curia

Pope Francis met on September 10 with the leaders of the Roman Curia, to hear their thoughts on the prospects for Vatican reform. A brief statement issued by the Vatican press office after the...

Arms trade sustains warfare, says Vatican envoy to UN

The Vatican’s representatives at UN headquarters in Geneva has stated that arms trafficking contributes to the frequency of war. Citing a statement by Pope Francis at his Angelus audience on...

Pope raps 'triumphalist' thinking

Christians are often “embarrassed to confess that Christ is risen,” Pope Francis remarked in his homily at a morning Mass on September 10. Recalling that the people of Athens listened with...

Pope proposes opening empty convents to refugees

Pope Francis proposed using empty convents as shelters for refugees, during a September 10 visit to a Jesuit refugee center in Rome. “What good are closed convents to the Church?” the Pontiff...

Los Angeles files show religious orders, too, protect priest-abusers

Superiors of religious orders working in Los Angeles helped to protect priests from sex-abuse charges, the latest files released by the archdiocese show. The personnel files, released by the Los...

American contributions to religious charities rose sharply in 2012

Americans increased their charitable contributions by 11.2% in 2012, and raised their donations to religious organizations at a similar rate, according to the latest US government statistics. The...

Incoming Secretary of State speaks about new role

Archbishop Pietro Parolin, who has been named by Pope Francis to become the Vatican’s new Secretary of State, spoke candidly about his new post in an interview with the Venezuelan newspaper El...

Cardinal Bertone: a reformer as Secretary of State?

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone has frequently been criticized for his performance as the Vatican’s Secretary of State. But proponents of reform in the governance of the Vatican may be overlooking the...

Released Wednesday, Sep. 11

Anglican prelate kidnapped in Nigeria

Archbishop Ignatius Kattey, Nigeria’s second-ranking Anglican prelate, was kidnapped on September 6, according to the Vanguard. The newspaper, which is based in Lagos—Nigeria’s largest...

Muslim-Christian violence in Central African Republic

Forces loyal to François Bozizé, the ousted president of the Central African Republic, have mounted their largest offensive against the new regime of President Michel Djotodia, BBC News...

Afghanistan: legislator calls for execution of converts to Christianity

An Afghani legislator is calling for the execution of nationals who convert to Christianity on foreign soil, according to Mohabat News, an Iranian Christian news agency, and the Fides news...

Chile: bishops call for reconciliation on anniversary of Pinochet coup

Forty years after General Augusto Pinochet overthrew Chilean President Salvador Allende, the bishops of Chile have called for national reconciliation. Allende, who was the nation’s president from...

Syrian Catholic bishop urges Obama not to attack his nation

Lamenting “the torments of war, the destruction and lack of everything,” a Syrian Catholic prelate has written to President Barack Obama and urged him not to attack Syria. Archbishop Jacques...

USCCB leadership urges US not to attack Syria, deplores use of chemical weapons

The Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a statement deploring the use of chemical weapons in Syria and urging the United States to press for a...

USCCB official speaks of need ‘to keep the pressure up’ on immigration reform

Kevin Appleby, the director of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of Migration and Refugee Policy, told the Los Angeles Times that September is an important to press members of the...

Papal audience topic: the image of the Church as mother

The understanding of the Church as mother provides “the most beautiful image of the Church,” Pope Francis said at his weekly public audience on September 11. Resuming his series of weekly talks...

Pope writes friendly response to Italian newspaper editorial

In another unexpected personal gesture, Pope Francis has written a lengthy response to an Italian journalist’s questions about how Catholics regard non-believers. In an August 7 editorial,...

Ancient Egyptian monastery closed to visitors because of security fears

Egyptian officials have closed off access to St. Catherine's monastery, one of the nation's most popular sites for tourists and pilgrims, because of security fears. St. Catherine's monastery, at...

Melkite Patriarch welcomes Obama's choice against military action

The leader of the Melkite Catholic Church has welcomed the September 10 speech in which US President Barack Obama backed away from a threat of military action against Syria. “A superpower is such...

Angry over criticism, Cardinal Bertone resigned early, Vatican source claims

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone resigned as Vatican Secretary of State earlier than expected, because he resented the fact that other Vatican officials did not defend him against criticism, according to a...

Schedule set for Pope's visit to Sardinia on September 22

The Vatican has released the full schedule for a September 22 visit by Pope Francis to Sardinia. At a public audience on May 15, the Pope announced his plan to visit Sardinia, to pray at the...

Arkansas sees jump in seminary entrants

The Diocese of Little Rock, which covers the entire state of Arkansas, has announced a surge in the number of young men preparing for the priesthood. This year the diocese welcomes 41 men to...

Dominican cardinal reported to Vatican about sex-abuse charges against papal nuncio

Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic has revealed that he reported to the Vatican about sex-abuse charges against the apostolic nuncio stationed...

Released Thursday, Sep. 12

Witnesses report desecrations, forced conversion to Islam in Syrian Christian village

Some Christians who fled from the historic village of Ma’loula, one of three villages in which Aramaic is still spoken, have written a letter to the United States Congress describing what they...

Leading British prelate meets with Palestinian president

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster met with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian National Authority, in London on September 11. “I was pleased and honored to meet with President...

USCCB defends, endorses Catholic Relief Services

The bishops who serve on the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have defended the work of Catholic Relief Services (CRS). “In recent weeks some groups...

‘Saved by Bergoglio’: new book claims future Pope organized network to protect Argentine dissidents

During the years of the Argentine military dictatorship, the future Pope Francis, then a Jesuit provincial, “built a clandestine network to protect the persecuted … and organize escapes abroad,” the...

Cardinal Dolan criticizes Catholic Health Association’s acceptance of HHS mandate

The Catholic Health Association’s decision to accept the Obama administration’s implementation of the HHS mandate has been “less than helpful,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York said at a September...

Court bars enforcement of HHS mandate against nursing-facility owner

A US district court judge in Colorado has temporarily blocked enforcement of the HHS mandate against assisted-living centers and nursing homes owned by Stephen Briscoe, an evangelical Protestant,...

English prelate criticizes decision not to prosecute sex-selective abortions

Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark has criticized a recent decision by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) not to prosecute abortionists who have committed illegal sex-selective abortions. “Many...

Pope's popularity high among US Catholics

American Catholics have an overwhelmingly favorable view of Pope Francis, a new Pew Forum survey shows. The Pope was viewed favorably by 79% of the poll respondents, and unfavorably by only 4%;...

Vietnamese religious leaders back Catholic bishop, decry government smears

Protestant and Buddhist leaders in Vietnam have joined Catholic Church officials in the defense of Bishop Paul Nguyen Thai Hop of Vinh, who has been the target of a government propaganda...

Syrian Christians suffer as refugee figures soar

With nearly 10% of Syria’s population now in flight, those who remain face increasing hardship as a result of the country’s civil war. “Villages are empty,” a former Franciscan provincial tells...

Indian cardinal urges sensitive treatment of homosexuality

Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai (Bombay) has promised to instruct priests to show greater sensitivity toward homosexuals, in response to a complaint from gay-rights activists. Commenting on a...

Pope meets with Thai prime minister

Pope Francis met on September 12 with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of Thailand, for a conversation that centered on cooperation between Church and state in the Asian country. The Pope also...

Former Vatican envoy lauds papal outreach to Muslims

The Vatican’s former diplomatic representative to the Arab League has called attention to public comments in which Pope Francis has referred to Muslims as his “brothers.” The use of “brothers” is...

Pope takes old used car for trips inside Vatican

Pope Francis has accepted an old Renault, a gift from an Italian priest, and indicated that he will use it to drive himself around the Vatican. Father Renzo Zocca, a priest from Verona, offered...

Bishop refuses to endorse speech by Network lobbyist at Catholic college

Bishop Paul Swain of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has informed his clergy that he does not approve of a speaking appearance at a local Catholic college by the head of the liberal lobbying group...

US bishops asks prayer, fasting for peace in Syria on Friday, September 13

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is asking Catholics to pray, fast, and abstain from meat on Friday September 13 “for lasting peace in Syria, the Middle East, and the entire...

Released Friday, Sep. 13

Priest among hostages taken by Muslim rebels in the Philippines

Members of the Moro National Liberation Front, a Muslim rebel group, attempted unsuccessfully to take over a government building in Zamboanga City, the Philippines’ sixth largest, according to...

Eyewitness describes murder of Catholics in Syrian Christian village

A woman who witnessed the murder of three Catholics in Ma’loula, a Syrian Christian village attacked by jihadist Syrian rebels, provided the Fides news agency with details of their...

Coptic Orthodox leader resumes weekly public audiences

Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria, who suspended his public appearances in July amid fears of anti-Christian violence, has resumed his weekly public catechesis, the Fides news agency reported. “God...

New York Times op-ed criticizes artificial-reproduction industry

Two women who describe themselves as “former fertility patients who endured failed treatments” criticized the artificial-reproduction industry in a New York Times op-ed. “Assisted reproduction is...

USCCB committee chair emphasizes: do not cut food stamps

Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, has again urged the House of Representatives not...

Prelates call for immigration reform

Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis and Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta called for immigration reform in a recent video and newspaper article. “Our nation’s immigration system is...

California bishops decry lengthy solitary confinement

Before California prisoners suspended a hunger strike in protest of lengthy solitary confinement, the bishops of California issued a statement noting that “international human rights standards...

Evangelical, Catholic legal scholars issue joint statement on the law

29 evangelical and Catholic legal scholars have published “Evangelicals and Catholics Together on the Law: The Lord of Heaven and Earth.” “We affirm that justice requires respect for the equal...

Gossips are 'Christian murderers,' Pope says

“There is no such thing as innocent gossip,” Pope Francis said in his sermon at a morning Mass on September 13. The Pope used strong language to denounce “that hateful attitude toward one’s...

Acid attack on Catholic priest in Zanzibar

A Catholic priest was badly burned in an acid attack in Zanzibar on September 13. Father Joseph Mwang’amba was hospitalized with burns on his face and upper body after acid was tossed at his face...

Pope stops conferring title 'monsignor' on priests

Pope Francis has stopped conferring the title “monsignor” on priests. The Italian daily Il Messagero has reported that shortly after his election, the Pope instructed the Secretariat of State to...

Vatican vows cooperation with Dominican Republic in abuse investigation against nuncio

The Vatican has promised to cooperate fully with prosecutors in the Dominican Republic who are investigating sex-abuse charges against Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, who was recently removed from his...

Vatican envoy investigating charges of lavish spending in German diocese

A German bishop who has been accused of extravagant personal spending has promised to cooperate with a Vatican official investigating the charges. Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg...

50-year prison sentence for Missouri priest in landmark child-porn case

A Missouri priest has been sentenced to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty in a notorious child-pornography case. Father Shawn Ratigan was sentenced on September 12 in federal court. He had...

Society must care for the young and old, its memory and its promise, Pope says

Pope Francis emphasized the importance of care for both the young and the elderly in a message to participants in Italy’s annual Social Week. The Social Week, an annual event organized by the...

Released Monday, Sep. 16

Argentine diocesan priest beatified

Father José Gabriel Brochero (1840-1914), a diocesan priest who was blind and a leper when he died, was beatified in Córdoba, Argentina’s second-largest city, on September 14. Cardinal Angelo...

Bishops call for dialogue between Philippine government, Muslim rebels

As the siege of Zamboanga City, the Philippines’ sixth largest, reached its sixth day, regional bishops called upon Muslim rebels and government officials to negotiate. The rebels of the Moro...

California bishops welcome governor’s opposition to sale of human eggs

Gov. Jerry Brown of California recently vetoed a measure that would have permitted the sale of human eggs. “This bill would legalize the payment of money in exchange for a woman submitting to...

Court rules against Michigan company in HHS mandate case

A federal district court judge has refused to grant an injunction that would have blocked enforcement of the HHS mandate against the M.K. Chambers Company, a Michigan machining company wholly owned...

Ecumenical Patriarch decries persecution of Christians in Middle East

Speaking at an ecumenical gathering during a pastoral visit to Finland, Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople decried the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. “One of these crucial...

India: mob of 100 surrounds Christian couple, beats woman

As an Indian Christian couple attempted to evangelize a village in the southwestern Indian state of Karnataka, they were surrounded by a mob of 100 Hindu radicals, according to the Global Council of...

Rome's chief rabbi welcomes Pope's praise for Jewish fidelity

The chief rabbi of Rome has called attention to a statement by Pope Francis on the role of the Jewish people, saying that the Pontiff has given new vigor to relations between Christians and...

Scottish archbishop says disgraced predecessor should stay abroad

The incoming archbishop of Edinburgh has said that his predecessor should stay out of Scotland for the good of the Church. Archbishop-elect Leo Cushley, who will be installed in Edinburgh next...

Pope Francis makes many unexpected phone calls, Vatican official reveals

Media reports about a few unexpected phone calls placed by Pope Francis to ordinary Catholics have captured the world’s attention. But a Vatican official reports that the Pontiff actually makes such...

Suspended Vatican official says his office acted as banker for secret clients

The suspended Vatican official who is under investigation on money-laundering charges has told prosecutors that his office provided financial services for outside clients, the Reuters news service...

Hong Kong diocese asks UN investigate Chinese violations of religious freedom

The Catholic diocese of Hong Kong has asked the UN to push China to recognize religious freedom. The justice-and-peace commission of the Hong Kong diocese has submitted an appeal to a UN...

Architects remodel 'Crystal Cathedral' for Catholic worship

A Los Angeles Times story reports that church architects are working on plans for a thorough renovation of the Crystal Cathedral—now known as Christ Cathedral—to make the unique structure more...

Find joy in God's mercy, Pope urges Sunday audience

“The joy of God is the joy of forgiveness,” Pope Francis told his Angelus audience on September 15. Speaking about the parable of the Prodigal Son, the Pope said that God is the Father who never...

Pope stresses evangelization at meeting with priests of Rome

Pope Francis held a 2-hour meeting with the priests of the Rome diocese on September 16, exhorting them to recognize their role as ministers of the sacraments rather than bureaucrats or social...

Vatican journalist: Pope Francis planning 'collegial' reform on his own

Although proponents of Vatican reform usually speak of a more “collegial” approach to Church governance, Pope Francis has shown a tendency to act on his own, even ignoring existing rules, notes a...

Pope welcomes Knights of the Holy Sepulchre on pilgrimage to Rome

Pope Francis met on September 14 with members of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, who were on a pilgrimage to Rome for the Year of Faith. “Your path is a part of history, in a world where...

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch urges Assyrian counterpart: restore full unity

The leader of the Chaldean Catholic Church has written to his counterpart in the Assyrian Church of the East, proposing that they bring their churches into full communion. Chaldean Patriarch...

Pray for political leaders, Pope urges faithful

Christians must pray constantly for their political leaders, Pope Francis told a congregation at daily Mass on September 16. “Politics, according to the social doctrine of the Church, is one of...

Italian abortion rate down 55% over past 30 years

Italy’s abortion rate is falling, and the number of Italian doctors who refuse to perform abortions is rising, official statistics show. The Italian health ministry found that the number of...

Dissident religious thinks Pope may be 'teachable'

Sister Margaret Farley, whose work on sexual ethics drew a caution from the Vatican, told an audience in Michigan that she is encouraged by the leadership of Pope Francis. “He seems teachable,”...

Released Tuesday, Sep. 17

Nigeria’s bishops blast foreign attempts to promote abortion, homosexual unions

The bishops of Nigeria have denounced attempts by international agencies to promote abortion and homosexual unions in their nation. Decrying “the continuous attempts by foreign agencies to...

Cuba’s bishops call for political reforms

In a major pastoral letter, Cuba’s bishops called for political reforms and the replacement of a “paternalistic state” by a “participatory state” in accord with the principle of subsidiarity. “We...

USCCB, CRS: call Congress on September 18 to stop cuts to international aid

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development and Catholic Relief Services are calling upon Catholics to call their congressional...

Court overturns rule limiting Bible distribution at gay pride festival

In a 2-1 decision, the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the Minnesota Park Board’s restrictions on a local man’s distribution of Bibles during an annual gay pride festival. Brian...

Bishop participates in ceremony for Slovenia’s 1st mosque

Bishop Andrej Glavan of Novo Mesto, the president of the Slovenian Bishops’ Conference, participated in the laying of the foundation stone for the nation’s first mosque on September 14, according to...

Cohabitation rate leveling off

The rate of unmarried cohabiting couples in the United States remained steady between 2000 and 2010, according to a Wall Street Journal report on an Ohio State University sociologist’s...

Syrian bishop to President Obama: ‘please leave us alone’

One month after his episcopal ordination, Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop Nicolas Antiba of Bosra and Hauran, Syria, called upon President Barack Obama to “leave us alone.” “I would say to...

Pope encourages Roman priests to show 'courageous creativity'

During a September 16 meeting with the priests of the Rome diocese, Pope Francis said that the Church can overcome the impact of scandals because “holiness is greater than scandal.” In fact, the...

Minnesota lay group protests exclusion from priests' meeting on finances

A lay group pressing for change in the Minneapolis-St. Paul archdiocese is voicing disappointment at being excluded from a meeting in which Archbishop John Nienstedt will discuss finances with...

California abortion bill promises a windfall for Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood is looking forward to a windfall in California, if Governor Jerry Brown signs a bills that would allow nurses and midwives to perform abortions, the National Catholic Register...

Vatican official confirms Church desire to abolish nuclear weapons

Global security must not rely on nuclear weapons,” the Vatican’s top foreign-policy official told an international gathering on September 16. Speaking in Vienna at the 57th General Conference of...

Vatican releases eBook of World Communications Day statements by Benedict XVI

The Pontifical Council for Social Communications has released an eBook containing a full collection of the annual messages released by Pope Benedict XVI for World Communications Day. The eBook...

Released Wednesday, Sep. 18

Viet bishop asks international help to counter government propaganda campaign

Bishop Paul Nguyen Thai Hop of Vinh, Vietnam, has issued a plea for international support as he faces a campaign of “lies and slander” orchestrated by the government. In an interview with the...

Australian prelate asks for pause on legislation, calm debate on same-sex marriage

Bishop Christopher Prowse, the newly appointed Archbishop of Canberra, Australia, has suggested a moratorium on new legislation about marriage. The archbishop-elect said that the drive for legal...

Like a mother, the Church always supports her children, Pope tells audience

At his weekly general audience on September 18, Pope Francis continued his reflection on the image of the Church as a mother. Repeating that it is his favorite image of the Church, the Pope remarked...

Pope renews call call to prayer for peace

Pope Francis renewed his appeal to the faithful to pray for peace, during his regular weekly audience on September 18. “I invite all Catholics throughout the world to unite with other Christians...

Zanzibar: priest's condition remains serious after acid attack

A Catholic priest who was the victim of an acid attack in Zanzibar remains in serious condition, his bishop has informed the Fides news service. Father Anselmo Mwanga’mba was squirted in the face...

Cardinal Wuerl leads prayers for Navy Yard shooting victims

"We commend to the hands of our merciful and loving God, who alone can judge human hearts, the souls of all who died yesterday," said Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC, at a Mass for the...

US bishops remain firmly committed to fight against HHS mandate: Cardinal Dolan

The US Catholic bishops remain firmly committed to the fight against the contraceptive mandate in the Obama administration’s health-care program, Cardinal Timothy Dolan on New York has...

Papal commission member says her social media accounts were hacked to create controversy

Francesca Chaouqui, who was appointed in July to the committee chosen by Pope Francis to suggest reforms of the Vatican financial affairs, has charged that “moles” were responsible for...

Israeli Holocaust memorial recognizes Vatican support for efforts to protect Jews

Yad Vashem, the Israeli memorial to Holocaust victims, has acknowledged that some Catholic convents and monasteries opened their doors to shelter Jews from the Nazi genocide, “sometimes with the...

Nun in Congo wins top UN prize for work with refugees

The UN has honored a Catholic religious for her work with refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sister Angelique Namaika has been named the recipient of the annual Nansen Refugee Award,...

Released Thursday, Sep. 19

New papal almoner pledges to be a ‘priest of the basin and the towel’

Msgr. Konrad Krajewski, appointed Almoner of the Office of Papal Charities on August 3, was consecrated an archbishop in St. Peter’s Basilica on September 17. The Polish priest had served in the...

India: Christian school looted, Catholic cemetery vandalized

A mob attacked and looted an Anglican girls’ school near Calcutta on September 12 after a student died, the Fides news agency reported. Following the incident, police arrested the school’s...

Federal appeals court rules against Catholic business owners in HHS mandate case

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has declined to halt the implementation of the HHS mandate against Autocam Corp. and Autocam Medical, two for-profit companies that are owned by Catholics. The...

Ukrainian cardinal lashes out at opponents of international adoption

Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, who served as head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church from 2004 until his retirement in 2011, strongly criticized parliamentary opposition to the passage of the Hague...

Large numbers of Syrian rebels are ‘hardline Islamists’

A study by an English defense consultancy firm has found that nearly half of Syrian rebels are “jihadists” or “hardline Islamists,” The Telegraph reported. “The insurgency is now dominated by...

Abortion clinics closing at ‘unprecedented rate’

Abortion clinics in the United States are closing at an “unprecedented rate,” in part because of increased state regulation, Baptist Press reported. 44 abortions – 42 of which offered surgical...

New Australian archbishop opts not to have women as altar servers

The newly installed Archbishop of Hobart, Australia, has drawn a flurry of attention by saying that he prefers not to have adult women serving at the altar. Archbishop Julian Porteous said that...

US Catholic scholars explain opposition to intervention in Syria

Two American Catholic intellectuals who strongly defended the war in Iraq, Michael Novak and George Weigel, tell the National Catholic Register why they now oppose American intervention in...

Pope Francis exchanges greetings with Imam of Al Azhar University

Pope Francis has sent a personal message to the head of Egypt’s Al Azhar University, calling for “understanding among Christians and Muslims in the world, to build peace and justice.” The Pope’s...

Archbishop Nichols urges support for Anglican ordinariate

England’s leading Catholic prelate has written to every parish in England and Wales, asking for support of the Anglican ordinariate. The letter from Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster,...

Lithuania premier, Pope discuss Church-state affairs, European policies

Pope Francis met on September 19 with Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius of Lithuania, for a conversation that centered on Church-state relations and the history of Catholic contribution to...

US Catholic military chaplains cannot officiate at same-sex unions, archbishop says

The archbishop responsible for the US armed forces has stated that Catholic chaplains cannot be obliged to participate in weddings, in counseling for homosexual couples, or in other events that...

Vatican sees progress in Vietnam despite conflict in Vinh diocese

The Vatican has announced “positive developments in the bilateral relations” between the Holy See and Vietnam, despite serious tensions in the Vinh diocese, after a visit to Rome by a Vietnamese...

Pope, in sweeping interview, compares Church with 'field hospital' for wounded society

In a broad-ranging interview, Pope Francis has underlined the need for the Church “to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful.” "Ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy...

Shun ecclesiastical careerism, Pope asks new bishops

Ecclesiastical careerism is a “cancer,” Pope Francis warned bishops during an audience on September 19. Speaking to a group of newly appointed bishops, the Pope said that bishops are ordained...

Annual miracle repeated: blood of St. Januarius liquefies

The blood of St. Januarius liquefied on September 19, his feast day, in the repetition of a familiar miracle in Naples. St. Januarius, who was martyred during the persecutions of Diocletian, is...

Papal condolences for Mexican hurricane victims

Pope Francis has conveyed his sympathies to the Mexican victims of Hurricane Ingrid. In a message to Cardinal Francisco José Robles Ortega of Guadalajara, the president of the Mexican bishops’...

US bishops ask Friday prayers, fasting for Christian minorities in Syria, Egypt

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is asking Catholics to pray, fast, and abstain from meat on Friday, September 20 “for Christians and other minorities in Syria, Egypt, and...

Released Friday, Sep. 20

2 converts from Islam freed from Iranian prison

The government of Hassan Rouhani, who took office as Iranian president in August, has released 11 prisoners of conscience, including two Iranian Christian women, from prison, according to Christian...

Jerusalem patriarch calls upon Mideast nations to recognize right to convert

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem has called upon the nations of the Middle East to recognize the right to change religions in their constitutions. Recounting a recent interreligious dialogue...

Buddhist radicals attack Christian church in Sri Lanka

Led by a Buddhist monk, a group of radical Sinhalese Buddhists attacked a Protestant church in Sri Lanka during a prayer service, according to media reports. The pastor and his mother were injured...

Nigeria: kidnapped Anglican prelate freed

Archbishop Ignatius Kattey, Nigeria’s second-ranking Anglican prelate, was released following eight days in captivity. News reports attributed his kidnapping to financial rather than religious...

Legal victory for fired transgendered teacher in suit against Catholic school

A judge in New York has granted an initial legal victory to Mark (Marla) Krolikowski, a teacher fired from St. Francis High School in Queens after he became transgendered, according to multiple...

Ukrainian Catholic leader laments same-sex marriage, European secularism

As Ukraine considers a closer association with the European Union, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church decried European secularism and same-sex marriage. “Harmonizing Ukrainian...

Protect all human life, Pope urges doctors

“The first right of the human person is his life,” Pope Francis said at a September 20 meeting with members of the International Federal of Catholic Medical Associations. The Pope asked the...

Trial for Vatican monsignor in financial scandal set to begin December 3

A suspended Vatican official will go on trial December 3 for attempting to bring €20 million into Italy illegally, the Reuters news service reports. Msgr. Nunzio Scarano, a former director of...

Vatican archbishop sees Charter of the Rights of the Family as 'prophetic'

The Charter on the Rights of the Family is unfortunately a “little-known document,” 30 years after its publication, but remains a “prophetic appeal,” the president of the Pontifical Council for the...

Pope meets with presidents of Honduras, Hungary

Pope Francis spoke with the presidents of Honduras and Hungary in separate meetings on September 20. In his talk with President Porfirio Lobo Sosa of Honduras, the Pope concentrated on...

Released Saturday, Sep. 21

Pope makes several key appointments to Roman Curia

The Vatican announced a series of key appointments in the Roman Curia on September 21, as Pope Francis began assembling his own Vatican leadership team. The Pope confirmed the prefects of two...

Released Monday, Sep. 23

Italian Franciscan friar beatified

Fra Tommaso da Olera (1563-1631), a Capuchin Franciscan friar who ministered in Italy and Austria, was beatified in the cathedral of Bergamo, Italy, on September 21. A lay brother who was...

Suicide bombers kill over 80 at church in Pakistan

A suicide bombing attack on an Anglican church in Pakistan has left several dozen dead, according to multiple media reports. The attack took place in Peshawar, a city of 3.6 million in northern...

Archbishop’s office attacked in Syria

Mortar shells have damaged the headquarters of the Melkite Greek Catholic Archdiocese of Aleppo in Syria. Since summer 2012, the city, Syria’s largest, has been the site of fighting between the...

Brazilian prelates denounce attacks on indigenous people

Two Brazilian prelates – Bishop Erwin Kräutler of Xingu and Bishop Enemésio Lazzaris of Balsa – have denounced the expulsion of indigenous peoples from their lands to make room for agricultural...

Grenades found at cathedral in Central African Republic

Two grenades were discovered at the cathedral in Bossangoa, a city of nearly 40,000 in the Central African Republic, the Fides news agency reported. Members of Seleka, an Islamist rebel movement,...

Bishops welcome proposed Marriage and Religious Freedom Act

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, chairman of the US bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, and Archbishop William Lori, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious...

On visit to struggling Sardinia, Pope decries idolatry of money

During a one-day visit to Sardinia on September 23, Pope Francis denounced a global economy that has made an idol of money, and encouraged the unemployed to keep up their spirits. “Don’t let...

Canonization date for Popes John XXIII, John Paul II will be made public next Monday

The date for the canonizations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II will be set on next Monday, September 30, the Vatican press office has confirmed. The press office announced on September 23...

Use internet to bring people to Christ, Pope urges Catholic communicators

In a September 22 address, Pope Francis said that the goal of Catholics in the field of communications should be to convey “the beauty that is at the heart of our existence and our journey, the...

Another personnel decision for Pope Francis: Italian bishops' leadership post

Having made a series of appointments to the Roman Curia, Pope Francis now faces another major personnel decision, as the secretary-general of the Italian bishops’ conference is reaching the end of...

Dominican prosecutor: strong evidence of abuse by apostolic nuncio

A prosecutor in the Dominican Republic says that he has clear evidence that the apostolic nuncio there, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, was guilty of sexual abuse of minors. Archbishop Wesolowski...

Minnesota archdiocese knew of abusive priest's homosexual cruising, report charges

Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) reports that officials in the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis were aware that a priest was engaged in homosexual activities, long before he was arrested on charges...

No Sunday events at Catholic schools, New Orleans archdiocese rules

Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans, Louisiana has instructed Catholic schools to stop scheduling social and athletic events on Sundays. The archbishop had previously asked schools to keep...

Vietnamese authorities step up campaign to control Catholic Church

Vietnamese authorities have stepped up their campaign against the Catholic Church. In Hanoi, public officials are planning to seize more land from the Redemptorist order, while in Saigon state-owned...

Peruvian bishop removed after sex-abuse charges

A Peruvian bishop was removed from office by Pope Francis because of sex-abuse charges, the former head of the nation’s episcopal conference has disclosed. Bishop Gabino Miranda, an auxiliary of...

Australian dissident priest excommunicated

A dissident Catholic priest who broke from the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Australia to found a new “inclusive” congregation has been excommunicated. Greg Reynolds, who had announced in 2011 that...

Kenyan Muslims, Christians join in condemnation of mall terrorism

Christian and Muslim religious leaders in Kenya have joined in condemning the murderous attack on the Westgate Mall by members of the Somalian radical group al-Shabaab. Adan Wachu, the...

Brazilian rancher convicted, sentenced for 2005 murder of American nun

A wealthy Brazilian rancher has been convicted—for the 3rd time—of ordering the murder of an American-born nun. Sister Dorothy Stang, an activist who had led opposition to the seizure of native...

New archbishop will stress 'mercy' in troubled Scottish archdiocese

Installed on September 21 as head of Scotland’s Edinburgh archdiocese, Archbishop Leo Cushley said that Pope Francis had urged him to be “merciful” in his pastoral leadership. Archbishop Cushley...

Released Tuesday, Sep. 24

‘Ordinariate Use’ Mass text to debut in October

With the approval of the Holy See, the Ordinariate Use – a text of the Mass that incorporates language from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer into the Roman Rite – will make its debut on October...

Montreal prelate criticizes proposed ban on religious garb

Archbishop Christian Lépine of Montreal has criticized a proposed “Charter of Quebec Values” that would ban the wearing of most religious garb by doctors, teachers, and other public...

European bishops commemorate Edict of Milan

The leadership of the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE) has issued a letter commemorating the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan, in which Constantine recognized Christians’...

Putin criticizes Europe’s secularization

At a recent talk, President Vladimir Putin defended Christian values and criticized the secularization of Europe, according to the Russian news agency Interfax. “We have been able to see many...

New Testament-era town discovered along Sea of Galilee

The remains of a 2,000-year-old town have been discovered along the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, according to LiveScience.com. Ken Dark, an archaeologist at the University of Reading,...

Providence College rescinds invitation to proponent of same-sex marriage

The provost of Providence College, a Dominican college in Rhode Island, has rescinded an invitation to a speaker who favors same-sex marriage, The New York Times reported. “As I understood it, my...

Benedict XVI breaks silence, addresses Italian non-believer

Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI has broken his public silence for the first time since his resignation, with a lengthy letter to an Italian intellectual. The retired Pontiff wrote an 11-page personal...

Coadjutor appointed for embattled Archbishop Myers in Newark

Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Bernard Hebda to be the coadjutor archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, eventually replacing Archbishop John Myers, who has come under heavy criticism for his handling...

Pope confirms 2 more leaders of Roman Curia

Continuing his reorganization of the Roman Curia, Pope Francis has confirmed the appointments of two presidents of pontifical Councils. Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko will remain the president of the...

Indian bishop raps Pakistan for failure to protect Christians

A Catholic bishop in India has criticized the government of neighboring Pakistan for its failure to secure the safety of the country’s Christian minority. “The failure of the authorities is...

Vatican Museums to waive entry fee for European Heritage Day

Entrance to the Vatican Museums will be free on Sunday, September 29, as the Holy See joins in the celebration of European Heritage Day. Fifty European nations will join in this year’s observance...

Italian Cardinal Farina turns 80, number of cardinal-electors dips to 110

Cardinal Raffaele Farina, the retired Vatican librarian and archivist, celebrated his 80th birthday on September 24 and therefore became ineligible to vote in a papal election. Born in...

Austrian diocese fined for illegal text messages to spur 'church tax' payments

An Austrian Catholic diocese has been fined for violating the country’s telecommunications law by sending text messages, in bulk, to thousands of inactive Catholics. The Diocese of Grasz had...

Philadelphia archdiocese sets up independent fundraising foundation

The Philadelphia archdiocese is setting up an independent charitable foundation to encourage donations from the laity. The Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia will have a lay chairman and...

Released Wednesday, Sep. 25

Ontario legislature affirms religious expression

As Quebec lawmakers consider a “Charter of Quebec Values” that would ban the wearing of most religious garb by doctors, teachers, and other public employees, the Ontario legislature has unanimously...

Neocatechumenal Way now has 100 seminaries

With the opening of Redemptorist Mater seminaries in Philadelphia, Vancouver, and five other cities, the Neocatechumenal Way now has 100 seminaries worldwide, the Zenit news agency reported. “In...

Jerusalem patriarch rues imams’ preaching of violence against non-Muslims

In an interview with Oasis, a journal of the Patriarchate of Venice, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem lamented the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. “The major urgency now is to set...

Orphans, nuns trapped in historic Syrian Christian town

As the Syrian government and rebel forces continue to fight for control of Ma’loula, 40 orphans and nuns are trapped in the historic Christian village, Agence France-Presse reported. “The Mar...

Minnesota Catholic college president calls for more supportive attitude toward gays, transgendered persons

An Associated Press wire story has drawn wider attention to recent remarks about homosexuality by the new president of a Minnesota Catholic college. “Increased diversity among our students,...

Philippine bishops emphasize: Pope has not changed Catholic teaching

Leading Philippine bishops emphasized that Pope Francis has not changed Catholic teaching on abortion, contraception, and homosexuality, Agence France-Presse reported. In a recently published...

Polish prosecutors ask Dominican Republic for information on nuncio accused of abuse

Prosecutors in Poland are asking their counterparts in the Dominican Republic to provide them with information about sex-abuse charges against two Polish priests, including the former apostolic...

Protect Church unity, Pope Francis urges the faithful

At his general audience on Wednesday, September 25, Pope Francis spoke on the importance of unity in the Church. “Wherever we go, even in the smallest parish, in the furthest corners of this...

Laos: officials say Christians must renounce faith or leave district

In the Atsaphangthong district of Laos, civic officials have announced that Christians must either renounce their faith or face expulsion from the area, the Fides news service reports. Officials...

Coadjutor's appointment not related to abuse charges, Archbishop Myers says

Archbishop John Myers of Newark has denied reports that the Vatican appointed a coadjutor archbishop to the New Jersey archdiocese because of his mishandling of sex-abuse complaints. “Absolutely...

Released Thursday, Sep. 26

Catholic hospital in Ireland to perform abortions

Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, a Catholic hospital in Dublin, has announced that it will comply with the new Irish law that permits abortion in some circumstances, according to multiple...

Report: Turkish military linked to murders of priest, other Christians

Intelligence documents unsealed during a Turkish criminal trial have linked the Turkish military to high-profile murders of Christians in 2006 and 2007, according to World Watch Monitor, a news site...

USCCB committee: statement on 50th anniversary of Vatican II’s liturgy constitution

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship has issued “Stewards of the Tradition,” a statement on the fiftieth anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Second...

California homemaker, reported mystic being considered for sainthood

A San Jose Mercury News article has drawn attention in the American and British media to the Servant of God Cora Evans (1904-57), whose cause for beatification was begun with Vatican approval in...

Archbishop Chaput: ‘Pope Francis and the interview’

Criticizing media coverage of Pope Francis’s recent interview with the editor of La Civiltà Cattolica, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia called upon Catholics to “read the Holy Father’s...

Little Sisters of the Poor file class-action lawsuit against HHS mandate

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has announced that it is filing the first class-action lawsuit against the HHS mandate on behalf of the Little Sisters of the Poor. “Like all of the Little...

US bishops ask Friday prayers for families suffering economic difficulties

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is asking Catholics to pray, fast, and abstain from meat on Friday, September 27 “married couples and families who are struggling financially...

Pope will be invited to address European Parliament

Pope Francis will soon be invited to address the European Parliament, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) reports. Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, is scheduled to meet with...

Christian witness is alternative to Islamic violence in Somalia, bishop says

The Catholic bishop who leads Somalia’s tiny Christian minority see the Church serving a unique mission there, “one that responds with love to the hatred and violence imposed by the ideologies of...

Holy See, Palestinian Authority move toward diplomatic accord

Negotiators for the Holy See and the Palestinian Authority have announced progress in talks aimed at a diplomatic accord establishing the legal standing of Catholic institutions on Palestinian...

Catholic church in Kenya attacked; Al Shabaab suspected

A Catholic church in northern Kenya was attacked with grenades on September 25, in what is believed to be another action by the Somalian terrorist group Al Shabaab. Assailants threw two grenades...

Vatican conference to mark 50th anniversary of Pacem in Terris

At a September 26 press conference in Rome, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace outlined plans for a 3-day conference marking the 50th anniversary of the encyclical Pacem in Terris by Pope...

Released Friday, Sep. 27

USCCB committee chair calls for full US diplomatic relations with Cuba

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace has called upon the Obama administration to establish full diplomatic relations with...

Archbishop Gomez urges House to consider immigration reform legislation

Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, urged the House of Representatives to address the topic of comprehensive...

Syrian rebels burn statues, crosses in Catholic parishes

Members of a Syrian rebel faction entered two Eastern Catholic parishes on September 26 and burned crosses, statues, and other religious objects, Agence France-Presse reported. The news agency...

Providence College invites proponent of same-sex marriage to debate

Days after rescinding a speaking invitation to an advocate of same-sex marriage, the provost of Providence College announced that the speaker will come to the Dominican college in the spring to...

Alberta: Catholic woman forbidden to run for public school board

Citing 1905 legislation, education officials in Alberta have told Tamara Miyanaga that she is ineligible to run for a public school board because she is Catholic, according to the Calgary Herald and...

Action urged on conscience-protection legislation

The National Committee for a Human Life Amendment (NCHLA), which works closely with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on abortion-related legislation, is asking pro-life Americans to...

Ohio Catholic health-care agency restructuring deal after bishop declines to approve partnership

Bishop Richard Lennon of Cleveland, Ohio, has refused to approve a partnership between a Catholic health-care system and a hospital chain that performs abortions and sterilizations. But the Catholic...

8-cardinal commission is advisory, Vatican reminds press

The Vatican has issued a reminder that 8 cardinals appointed by Pope Francis to provide him with advice form an advisory group rather than a decision-making body. In a statement released...

A sign to the Pope from St. Therese?

An Italian archbishop has disclosed that Pope Francis—who has a deep devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux—received a single white rose on the day after the Vatican prayer vigil for peace in...

Orthodox bishops kidnapped in Syria in April reported still alive

Two Orthodox bishops who were kidnapped in April by rebel forces in Syria are still alive, according to a news agency specializing in the Middle East. AI-Monitor reports that the two prelates--...

Orthodox patriarch pleads for negotiated peace in Syria, grateful for Pope's help

The worldwide day of prayer for peace in Syria, organized on September 8 by Pope Francis, was “a very important message to all the world,” the head of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch told...

Following Christ means accepting suffering, Pope says in homily

In his homily at a Mass on September 27, Pope Francis said that “the proof is somebody is a true Christian is his ability to endure humiliations with joy and patience.” Following the path laid...

Top Vatican diplomat challenges UN members to take real steps toward nuclear disarmament

The world’s nuclear powers are inhibiting efforts to stop proliferation of nuclear weapons by modernizing their own arsenals, the Vatican’s top foreign-policy official told a UN meeting on September...

Released Monday, Sep. 30

Croatian priest beatified

Father Miroslav Bulesic (1920-47) was beatified as a martyr in Pula, a city of 60,000 in northwestern Croatia, on September 28. Croatian Radiotelevision reported that all of Croatia’s bishops,...

USCCB: statement for Respect Life Sunday

Cardinal Seán O'Malley, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has issued a statement for Respect Life Sunday, which takes place on October...

Priest removed for lewd texting; bishop faces criticism

Bishop David O’Connell of Trenton is facing criticism for his reaction to lewd text messages sent by Father Matthew Riedlinger, a priest ordained in 2010, according to newspaper and wire service...

Vietnam: thousands of Catholics protest imprisonment of lawyer

Thousands of Catholics took part in vigils in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Vinh on September 29 to protest the continued imprisonment of Le Quoc Quan, a Catholic attorney, according to an AsiaNews...

India: pastor beaten in Karnataka

Hemachandra Hebal, a Protestant pastor in southwestern India, and his wife suffered severe beatings during a September 29 attack, according to the Global Council of Indian Christians. The attack...

Violence against Christians in Egyptian town

Angry Muslims looted and destroyed Christian-owned businesses in the village of Zakaria after a 22-year-old Christian man had a consensual relationship with a Muslim woman of the same age, the...

Canonization next April 27 for Popes John Paul II, John XXIII

Popes John Paul II and John XXIII will be canonized on April 27, 2014: the feast of Divine Mercy. Pope Francis announced the date for the joint canonization ceremony at an ordinary consistory in...

Pope to meet with Council of Cardinals, weigh Vatican reforms

On Tuesday, October 1, Pope Francis will begin 3 days of consultations with the 8 cardinals he has appointed to advise him on Vatican reforms. Pope Francis formally established the group as a...

Vatican bank may close accounts of foreign embassies

The Vatican bank is planning to close out accounts held by foreign embassies, the Reuters news service reports, because of concerns raised by large cash withdrawals by some embassies. Citing...

Imitate Christ in service to others, Pope urges catechists

Pope Francis warned against the dangers of “complacency, comfort, worldliness in our lifestyles and in our hearts,” as he celebrated Mass on September 29 for catechists concluding a pilgrimage for...

Pope renews plea: pray for peace in Syria

Pope Francis renewed his plea to the faithful to pray for peace in Syria, during his midday audience on Sunday, September 30. After celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s Square for the Day of...

Scottish archbishop foresees need for two separate wedding ceremonies, secular and religious

Catholics in Scotland may need two marriage ceremonies—one secular, one religious—if a law recognizing same-sex marriage is enacted, the newly installed Archbishop of Edinburgh has...

German bishop cleared of 'lavish spending' charges

After investigating charges of lavish spending in a German diocese, the Vatican has cleared the bishop of wrongdoing. Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg is “quite delighted” with the...

St. Egidio community earns Pope's praise for peace efforts

Pope Francis praised the St. Egidio community for its work on behalf of peace during a private audience on September 30. The Pope meet with participants in a meeting on inter-religious dialogue...

Want more news? Visit the Archives.