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Catholic World News

Stories for December 2013

Released Monday, Dec. 2

Papal envoy challenges Latin America’s missionaries to proclaim Gospel in other regions CWN - December 2, 2013

Three thousand missionaries from 24 nations gathered in Maracaibo, Venezuela, from November 26 to December 1 for CAM 4-COMLA 9, the 4th American Missionary Congress and the 9th Latin American...

Pakistani Christian, once sentenced to death for blasphemy, released from prison CWN - December 2, 2013

Eight months after his acquittal, Younis Masih, a Pakistani Christian imprisoned since 2005 on blasphemy charges and once sentenced to death, has been released from jail. “Christians in Pakistan...

European official rues plight of Iraq’s Christians, calls for aid cut to Baghdad CWN - December 2, 2013

The chairman of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq lamented the plight of Iraqi Christians and called upon the European Union to cut its aid to the government of Prime...

Brazil’s bishops urge government to vindicate land rights of indigenous peoples CWN - December 2, 2013

Lamenting government inaction amid conflict between farmers and indigenous people, the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil urged the Brazilian government to recognize the land rights of the...

Ecumenical Patriarch denies he is a Freemason CWN - December 2, 2013

The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople has denied rumors that Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, who holds a primacy of honor in Eastern Orthodoxy, is a Freemason. “The Ecumenical...

Ukrainian Catholic prelates back protestors, condemn police crackdown CWN - December 2, 2013

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church condemned a police crackdown on anti-government protestors in western Ukraine. The protestors are calling for the resignation of Prime Minister...

Pope's prayer intentions for December 2013 CWN - December 2, 2013

The Vatican has announced the prayer intentions of Pope Francis for December 2013. The Pope’s general intention is: "That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and...

Pope meets Netanyahu; peace talks, papal pilgrimage top agenda CWN - December 2, 2013

After Pope Francis met on December 2 with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Vatican stressed the importance of resuming Israeli-Palestinian talks. The Pope’s conversation with...

Christians, East and West, should combat persecution, Pope says in message to Orthodox Patriarch CWN - December 2, 2013

In a message to the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, Pope Francis said that all Christians should unite to combat anti-Christian persecution. Cardinal Kurt Koch, the president of the...

Pope-emeritus Benedict says he prays daily for Christians of the Middle East CWN - December 2, 2013

Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI said that he prays every day for the Christians of the Middle East. The retired Pontiff met on November 29 with the patriarchs of the Eastern churches in communion...

New director for Vatican bank; Pope's secretary to work with supervisory boards CWN - December 2, 2013

Rolando Marranci, who has been acting as deputy director of the Vatican bank, has been named the director-general of the institution, formally known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR). ...

2015 will be devoted to consecrated life, Pope says CWN - December 2, 2013

Pope Francis announced that the year 2015 will be specially dedicated to consecrated life, as he met on November 29 with leaders of the Union of Superiors General. The Pope surprised the...

Synod of Bishops will question of Communion for divorced/remarried Catholics, secretary-general confirms CWN - December 2, 2013

The newly appointed secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops has confirmed that the Synod will address the question of whether divorced and remarried Catholics might be allowed to receive...

Papal almoner embraces new role, living with the poor CWN - December 2, 2013

Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, who was named by Pope Francis to become the papal almoner, has followed the Pontiff’s instructions to redefine the traditional role, AP reports. The office of papal...

Evangelization and inter-faith dialogue are compatible, Pope insists CWN - December 2, 2013

Inter-religious dialogue is increasingly important in a world that has “in some ways, become ‘smaller,’” Pope Francis remarked during a November 28 audience with members of the Pontifical Council...

Pope renews support for Syrian Christians; rebels kidnaps Orthodox nuns CWN - December 2, 2013

Pope Francis renewed his pledge of support to the Christians of Syria, as he met on November 30 with a group of Melkite Catholic pilgrims from that country. Acknowledging the “great tribulation”...

Educate consciences, maintain hope in secular Netherlands, Pope urges Catholic bishops CWN - December 2, 2013

In a secularized society, the Church must “awaken, reawaken, and maintain hope,” Pope Francis told a group of visiting bishops from the Netherlands. The Holy Father told the Dutch bishops, who...

Pope visits Roman parish for Mass, confessions, confirmations CWN - December 2, 2013

Pope Francis left the Vatican on December 2 to make a pastoral visit to the parish of San Cirillo Alessandrino. During a busy visit the Pope heard confessions, celebrated Mass, confirmed 9...

Watch and wait with Mary during Advent, Pope tells faithful CWN - December 2, 2013

In his first Sunday appearance of the new liturgical year, Pope Francis said that the season of Advent allows the faithful to set out on a quest “to rediscover the meaning and aim of our...

Pope tells students: fight the battle for holiness CWN - December 2, 2013

Pope Benedict led Roman university students in Vespers for the 1st Sunday of Advent on Saturday evening, November 30, in St. Peter’s basilica. In his homily, the Pope observed that in his letter...

Released Tuesday, Dec. 3

Amid tensions with hierarchy, Ortega invites Pope Francis to Nicaragua CWN - December 3, 2013

Following three years of spiritual preparation, the Church in Nicaragua celebrated the centenary of the institution of the ecclesiastical province of Managua on December 2. Pope Francis appointed...

Nuncio: Church willing to serve as mediator between Haiti, Dominican Republic CWN - December 3, 2013

The new apostolic nuncio to the Dominican Republic said that the Church is willing to serve as a mediator between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the Fides news agency reported. Tensions...

Vatican cardinal analyzes challenges facing Church in the Caribbean CWN - December 3, 2013

In a meeting with the bishops of the Antilles and in homilies in Trinidad and Tobago and in Jamaica, the prefect for the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples analyzed the challenges facing...

India: police investigate tribal conversions to Christianity CWN - December 3, 2013

At the behest of a Hindu organization, police in the southwestern Indian state of Karnataka are investigating the “forced” conversions of over 1,000 Adivasi families to Christianity, according to...

Caritas to launch anti-hunger prayer campaign CWN - December 3, 2013

Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies, has announced that it will launch “One Human Family, Food for All,” a campaign to end hunger by 2025. A...

Turkey: major Byzantine monastery to become mosque CWN - December 3, 2013

What was once the largest Byzantine monastery in Istanbul will become a mosque in 2014, a leading Turkish newspaper reported. The Monastery of Stoudios, founded in 462, was destroyed by Crusaders...

Hundreds of Dutch churches to close CWN - December 3, 2013

Between 600 and 700 Catholic churches in the Netherlands will be deconsecrated in the next five years, according to an article that appeared in L’Osservatore Romano. The newspaper cited...

Council of Cardinals meets, plans major overhaul of Roman Curia CWN - December 3, 2013

The Council of Cardinals opened its 2nd full working session on December 3, meeting with Pope Francis to advance plans for a thorough reform of the Roman Curia. Briefing reporters on the meeting,...

Stockton diocese likely to be 10th in US to enter bankruptcy CWN - December 3, 2013

The Diocese of Stockton, California will almost certainly declare bankruptcy in early 2014. In a letter to the faithful of the diocese, Bishop Stephen Blaire said that a final decision on...

Pope will visit Jordan on 2014 trip to Holy Land CWN - December 3, 2013

Pope Francis will visit Jordan next year, as part of his voyage to the Holy Land, the Vatican's top foreign-policy official has revealed. Archbishop Dominique Mamberti disclosed the plans for a...

ACLU lawsuit aims at Church ethical directives on hospital policies CWN - December 3, 2013

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit against the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), claiming that the ethical directives issued by the American bishops are...

Under court order, Minnesota archdiocese to release names of accused priests CWN - December 3, 2013

A Minnesota judge has ordered the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis to release the names of 33 priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse. The archdiocese has announced that it will...

Mexican bishop urges people to resist drug-dealing cult CWN - December 3, 2013

Bishop Miguel Patiño Velazquez of Apatzingan, Mexico, has launched a campaign to combat a vicious local drug-trafficking group that styles itself the Knights Templar. A group that combines the...

Vatican, Oxford libraries make ancient collections available online CWN - December 3, 2013

The Vatican library and the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford have joined to make tens of thousands of ancient manuscripts available online. The libraries’ priceless collections of...

Giant Christmas tree from Bavaria headed for St. Peter's Square CWN - December 3, 2013

The Christmas tree that will stand in St. Peter’s Square this year has left Bavaria, and will arrive at the Vatican on Friday morning, December 6. The tree, which stands over 80 feet tall, was...

Released Wednesday, Dec. 4

Central African bishop welcomes arrival of foreign troops CWN - December 4, 2013

A Spanish missionary bishop in the Central African Republic has welcomed the arrival of French and Congolese peacekeeping forces. Members of the Séléka rebel coalition assumed power in the nation...

New lawsuits against HHS mandate CWN - December 4, 2013

In separate lawsuits filed on December 3, the University of Notre Dame and the Fellowship of Catholic University Students challenged the constitutionality of the HHS mandate. Referring to...

Belgium moves closer to legalizing euthanasia for children CWN - December 4, 2013

The justice and social affairs committee of Belgium’s senate has approved a bill that would legalize the euthanasia of terminally ill children with the child’s consent and parental...

Melkite patriarch says ‘we are resolved to be martyrs,’ urges Pope to work for Holy Land peace CWN - December 4, 2013

Expressing gratitude to Pope Francis for his support for Syrian Christians, the head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church told the Pope that “despite the woes and the quite tragic situation that we...

Croatians amend constitution to prevent same-sex marriage CWN - December 4, 2013

By a 65%-34% margin, voters in Croatia have approved a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman, according to wire service reports. President Ivo Josipovic...

Holy See will not share abuse investigation information with UN committee CWN - December 4, 2013

The Holy See will not share information from its internal proceedings related to clerical sexual abuse with the United Nations’ Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Reuters news agency...

Patriarch calls for revised translation of Russian Bible CWN - December 4, 2013

Patriarch Kirill I of Moscow has called for a revision of the Russian Synodal Bible, the translation in use in the Russian Orthodox Church since 1876. “There are some flaws and mistakes that...

USCCB welcomes nuclear deal with Iran CWN - December 4, 2013

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace has welcomed the recent interim accord between six nations, including the United...

Christ transforms the faithful, preparing them for resurrection, Pope tells audience CWN - December 4, 2013

“We hold within ourselves the seed of our resurrection, a glimpse of the full resurrection,” Pope Francis told his general audience on December 4. Continuing his series of talks on the Creed, the...

Pope appeals for nuns kidnapped in Syria CWN - December 4, 2013

Pope Francis has ssued an appeal for the Greek Orthodox nuns who were kidnapped in Syria. At the conclusion of his regular weekly audience on December 4, the Pope asked the faithful to pray for...

Dutch bishops report 'drastic secularization,' falling numbers of faithful CWN - December 4, 2013

The Catholic bishops of the Netherlands, who are concluding their ad limina visits, have given Pope Francis a grim picture of the situation facing the Church in that country, the Reuters news...

Council of Cardinals continues sessions, planning reform of Vatican congregations CWN - December 4, 2013

The Council of Cardinals continued its working sessions on December 4, discussing the offices of the Roman Curia. In a briefing for reporters, Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the...

Vatican’s Financial Information Authority signs accord with German counterpart CWN - December 4, 2013

The Vatican’s Financial Information Authority (FIA) has signed a working agreement with its German counterpart, establishing formal procedures for cooperation in efforts to fight money-laundering...

Shroud of Turin to go on public exhibit in 2015 CWN - December 4, 2013

A special public exhibition of the Shroud of Turin will take place in 2015. Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin, the official custodian of the Shroud, has announced that the Shroud will be on...

Fatigued Pope postpones a private audience; spokesman says no cause for concern CWN - December 4, 2013

Pope Francis postponed a private audience on Wednesday afternoon, December 4, pleading fatigue. But a spokesman said that the Pontiff’s condition was not cause for alarm. The Pope was scheduled...

Orthodox prelate warns Greek lawmakers against vote for same-sex marriage CWN - December 4, 2013

A Greek Orthodox bishop has issued a plea to lawmakers to oppose a bid for legal recognition of same-sex unions. "I beseech you from the heart not to proceed," Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus...

Trial begins for suspended Vatican official on corrupt-finance charges CWN - December 4, 2013

The trial of Msgr. Nunzio Scarano, the suspended Vatican official who faces several charges involving corrupt financial dealings, opened in Rome on December 4. Msgr. Scarano, the former chief...

Neapolitan craftsman produced Nativity creche for St. Peter's Square CWN - December 4, 2013

Neapolitan craftsmen have produced the Nativity scene that will be displayed in St. Peter’s Square this year. Antonio Cantone, who has won recognition not only as a craftsman but also as a critic...

Released Thursday, Dec. 5

Christian boy tortured, killed in India CWN - December 5, 2013

A seven-year-old Christian boy was brutally tortured and killed in a village in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan, according to Morning Star News, which reports on the persecution of...

Philippine bishops challenge laity to ‘sanctify the world and transform it’ CWN - December 5, 2013

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has declared 2014 to be the year of the laity and has issued a pastoral exhortation challenging the lay faithful “to sanctify the world and...

Border bishops lament plight of immigrant families CWN - December 5, 2013

In a recent letter, 13 bishops from the border region of Mexico, Texas, and New Mexico said that “what is happening to the immigrant family in the United States is an offense against God and the...

Los Angeles Times series on Cardinal Mahony and the abuse scandal CWN - December 5, 2013

The Los Angeles Times has published a series of articles on Cardinal Roger Mahony and the clerical abuse scandal. The prelate led the Archdiocese of Los Angeles from 1985 to 2011. “In the...

House of Commons discusses persecution of Christians CWN - December 5, 2013

On December 3, members of the House of Commons devoted nearly three hours to discussing the persecution of Christians, with some calling upon the British government to do more to address the...

USCCB: action alert on farm bill CWN - December 5, 2013

In a recent action alert, staff of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops asked Catholics to lobby for “a Farm Bill that protects hungry people at home and abroad and promotes the common...

Pope will form new commission to coordinate sex-abuse response CWN - December 5, 2013

Pope Francis has decided to establish a Vatican commission for the protection of young people, in a new global response to the sex-abuse scandal. The impetus for establishing the new commission...

Pious words without matching deeds can hurt, Pope warns faithful CWN - December 5, 2013

Those who speak as Christians, but do not act as Christians, do harm to the faith, Pope Francis told his congregation at a morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae on December 5. Reflecting on...

Argentine bishop: looting is a crime, not a social protest CWN - December 5, 2013

A rash of violent crime in Argentina’s Corboda region should not be attributed to poverty and political protests, but to “the presence of criminality in the province,” a local bishop has...

Released Friday, Dec. 6

USCCB: pray, fast for religious freedom CWN - December 6, 2013

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is asking Catholics to pray, fast, and abstain from meat on Friday, December 6, for the following intention: “during this Advent season of...

Central African Republic: 10,000 seek refuge at monastery CWN - December 6, 2013

Amid continued civil strife in the Central African Republic, 10,000 people have sought refuge in a church and monastery in a neighborhood of Bangui, the nation’s capital, according to Caritas...

Legion of Christ: ‘no reason to doubt’ former US novice master committed abuse CWN - December 6, 2013

The Legion of Christ has announced that there is “no reason to doubt” a sexual abuse allegation involving Father William Izquierdo, its US instructor of novices from 1982 to 1994. “We have no...

Obama cites Pope on income inequality CWN - December 6, 2013

In a December 4 speech devoted to income inequality, President Barack Obama quoted from paragraph 53 of Pope Francis’s recent apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. President Obama said: ...

Cardinal urges Venezuelans to vote despite threats CWN - December 6, 2013

Describing voting as a “serious moral obligation,” Venezuela’s leading prelate urged the nation’s citizens to vote in the December 8 municipal elections despite pressures not to do so. “We recall...

Cardinal lauds Council of Trent, hopes Vatican II will bear similar fruit CWN - December 6, 2013

In his homily marking the 450th anniversary of the conclusion of the Council of Trent (1545-63), Pope Francis’s special envoy for the occasion described the nineteenth of the Church’s 21 ecumenical...

Theologians' work is 'fascinating but risky,' Pope says CWN - December 6, 2013

Theologians are “pioneers in the Church’s dialogue with culture,” Pope Francis said at a December 6 meeting with members of the International Theological Commission, who were concluding their annual...

Pope joins in tributes to Mandela CWN - December 6, 2013

Pope Francis has joined international leaders in paying tribute to the late Nelson Mandela. In a telegram of condolence, addressed to South African President Jacob Zuma, the Pope praised “the...

Imprisoned Chinese bishop invokes Mandela's quest for freedom CWN - December 6, 2013

Bishop Ma Daqin of Shanghai, who has been living under house arrest for more than a year, cited the words of the late Nelson Mandela in an internet message to the Chinese faithful. Bishop Ma...

Moroccan king protests proposed Vatican-Israeli agreement on Jerusalem holy sites CWN - December 6, 2013

The king of Morocco has warned that an agreement between the Holy See and Israel could jeopardize prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. King Mohammed VI has written to Pope Francis, as...

Papal preacher delivers first Advent Sermon on St. Francis and the Incarnation CWN - December 6, 2013

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher to the pontifical household, delivered the first in a series of Advent Sermons on December 6. Father Cantalamessa’s theme for the sermon was the approach...

Anti-Christian prejudice growing in Europe, Vatican official warns OSCE leaders CWN - December 6, 2013

In an address to European government leaders, the Vatican’s top foreign-policy official warned of “ever more numerous acts against Christians motivated by prejudice.” The painful phenomenon of...

Irish university suspends Legion of Mary for promoting Catholic view on homosexuality CWN - December 6, 2013

An Irish university has suspended the Legion of Mary’s status as an approved campus organization, after the group handed out leaflets promoting a Catholic approach to same-sex attraction. At the...

Released Monday, Dec. 9

Amid violence, tens of thousands flee to churches in Central African Republic CWN - December 9, 2013

As civil strife in the Central African Republic intensified, “tens of thousands of people” have taken refuge in churches, the Fides news agency reported. “There are 5,000 people hiding in our...

Philadelphia Catholic school dismisses teacher over same-sex wedding CWN - December 9, 2013

The principal of an all-male Catholic high school in Philadelphia dismissed a teacher who announced he was applying for a same-sex marriage license, according to local and national media...

Mexican bishop decries extortion attempts CWN - December 9, 2013

The bishop of Toluca, a city of 800,000 in south-central Mexico, denounced recent extortion attempts against the Church. “We too are part of the people, and we as people also receive threats and...

Amid Australian government inquiry, archbishop apologizes for priests’ abuse CWN - December 9, 2013

As the Australian government’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse turns its attention to Australian dioceses, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe of Perth apologized to...

Missing Syrian nuns appear in video CWN - December 9, 2013

The Syrian Orthodox nuns who were reportedly abducted from their convent in the historic Christian town of Ma'loula have appeared in a video, Agence France-Presse reported. Their captors are...

Washington’s bishops support background checks for gun purchases CWN - December 9, 2013

The bishops of the State of Washington have announced their support for a gun-control ballot initiative that was drafted in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. “The purpose of...

USCCB welcomes papal commission on sex-abuse response CWN - December 9, 2013

The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has welcome Pope Francis’s decision to create a commission for the protection of minors. “The decision of Pope Francis to...

Pope crosses Rome to honor Mary on feast of the Immaculate Conception CWN - December 9, 2013

Pope Francis cross the city of Rome on December 8, honoring a papal tradition by laying a floral wreath at the foot of a statue dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, near the Spanish...

Young people have special affinity for internet apostolate, Pope says CWN - December 9, 2013

“To proclaim Christ in the digital era is a special field for the work of the young,” Pope Francis said in a December 7 audience with members of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. The...

The sick show the faithful 'the suffering Christ,' Pope writes CWN - December 9, 2013

In his message of the 22nd World Day of the Sick, Pope Francis said that the sick give the faithful an opportunity to recognize "the special presence of the suffering Christ.” “When we come...

Vatican advances causes of 13 candidates for beatification CWN - December 9, 2013

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints has advanced the causes of 13 candidates for beatification. With the approval of Pope Francis, on December 8 the Congregation issued a series of...

Zimbabwe more polarized after Mugabe's re-election, bishops warn CWN - December 9, 2013

The Catholic bishops of Zimbabwe have warned that the country’s people are “more polarized than they were before” after this year’s presidential elections, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN)...

Coptic Patriarch, Pope concelebrate Mass, pray for faithful in Middle East CWN - December 9, 2013

Pope Francis concelebrated Mass on December 8 with the leader of the Coptic Catholic Church, and offered a prayer that “peace may always arise again from the all too frequent and often dramatic...

Congo's president visits Vatican, speaks with Pope on African tensions CWN - December 9, 2013

Pope Francis met on December 8 with President Denis Sassou N’Guesso of the Republic of the Congo. A brief Vatican statement released after the meeting indicated that the conversation had focused...

Colombian prelate denounces rebel offensive; Christmas truce in jeopardy CWN - December 9, 2013

Archbishop Dario de Jesus Monsalve of Cali, Colombia, has strongly condemned a weekend attack by rebel forces on the town of Inza, the Fides news service reports. The December 7 assault on a...

Providence's Bishop Tobin criticizes Mandela support for abortion CWN - December 9, 2013

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, has issued a statement criticized the late Nelson Mandela’s support for legal abortion. While there is “much to admire in Mandela’s long life and...

Ukrainian Orthodox leaders back anti-government protests CWN - December 9, 2013

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has thrown its support behind demonstrators protesting President Viktor Yanukoych’s decision to renounce a bid for integration into the European community, the AsiaNews...

Belarus: Catholic priest released to house arrest, but treason prosecution continues CWN - December 9, 2013

Police in Belarus have released a priest who was being held on treason charges, but he remains under house arrest, and prosecutors consider to investigate his case, the Forum 18 news service...

Catholic journalist blasts 'immoral' Vatican call to encourage births CWN - December 9, 2013

A Vatican call for encouraging births is “not just stupid, it is immoral,” according to the head of an Asian Catholic news service. Father William Grimm, the publisher of the Tokyo-based UCANews,...

Euro banking examiners see 'significant progress' in Vatican reforms CWN - December 9, 2013

European banking examiners have issued a favorable report on the progress of reforms at the Vatican bank. Moneyval, the agency set up by the Council of Europe to combat money-laundering, has...

Released Tuesday, Dec. 10

Bishops of impoverished nation urge donation to typhoon victims CWN - December 10, 2013

The bishops of the West African nation of Guinea-Bissau have declared December 13 a day of prayer and fasting for peace and asked Catholics to send the money saved through fasting to the victims of...

Teachers fired from Catholic school over pregnancy CWN - December 10, 2013

The dismissal of two teachers from a Boston Catholic school over an out-of-wedlock pregnancy has gained national as well as local media attention. The child is due next June, and the two teachers...

Egypt: prominent convert from Islam to Christianity arrested CWN - December 10, 2013

Bishoy Armia Boulous, a prominent Egyptian Muslim convert to Christianity, has been arrested, according to multiple media reports. Morning Star News reported that he had been arrested for...

Vatican newspaper recalls friendship between Pope Pius XI, rabbi CWN - December 10, 2013

Writing in L’Osservatore Romano, David Sciunnach, an Italian rabbi, discussed the friendship between Pope Pius XI, who reigned from 1922 to 1939, and Rabbi Alessandro Elishà da Fano...

Australia: 2,215 abuse allegations made since 1996 CWN - December 10, 2013

The Australian government’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has begun its examination of Towards Healing, the Australian bishops’ response to child sexual abuse...

USCCB responds to ACLU lawsuit CWN - December 10, 2013

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has issued a response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) alleging that ethical directives issued by the bishops...

President Obama: remarks at lighting of Christmas tree CWN - December 10, 2013

During the recent lighting of the National Christmas Tree, President Barack Obama spoke about Christ’s example. “Each Christmas, we celebrate the birth of a child who came into the world with...

Pope decries 'global scandal' of hunger, supports Caritas International campaign CWN - December 10, 2013

Describing world hunger as a “global scandal,” Pope Francis threw his full support behind a worldwide campaign by Caritas International to end hunger. In a video message supporting the campaign,...

Complete reorganization planned for Legion of Christ? CWN - December 10, 2013

The Legion of Christ will be completely reorganized when the general chapter of the troubled religious order convenes in January, the Vatican Insider reports. The Vatican Insider says that the...

Focolare seeks cause for beatification of founder, Chiara Lubich CWN - December 10, 2013

Maria Voce, the head of the Focolare movement, has formally petitioned Bishop Raffaello Martinelli of Frascati, Italy, to open a cause for the beatification of the movement’s founder, Chiara Lubich....

Released Wednesday, Dec. 11

Pakistani court: death is only punishment for blasphemy CWN - December 11, 2013

The Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan has ruled that death is the only punishment for blasphemy and ordered the removal of an option for life imprisonment that had been permitted under Pakistani...

Ireland: 325 Christian Brothers accused of abuse since 1975 CWN - December 11, 2013

The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, a body established in 2006 by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the Conference of Religious of Ireland, and the Irish...

USCCB mourns passing of Mandela CWN - December 11, 2013

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has issued a statement on the death of Nelson Mandela (1918-2013), who served as president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. “Christians,...

Argentine bishops urge police to end strike CWN - December 11, 2013

Argentina’s bishops have urged police in provinces across the nation to end their weeklong strike for higher pay. “Many of Argentina's 23 provinces have endured long nights of chaos,” with at...

Spanish archdiocese publishes controversial bestseller on marriage CWN - December 11, 2013

The Archdiocese of Granada has published Cásate y sé sumisa [Get Married and Be Submissive], the Spanish translation of a book by an Italian mother of four. Born in 1970, author Costanza Miriano...

Polish court rules that crucifix may stay in parliament CWN - December 11, 2013

A Polish appeals court has ruled that a crucifix placed in parliament in 1997 may remain there. Members of Your Movement, an anti-clerical political party that holds 36 out of 460 seats in...

Pope named Time Person of the Year CWN - December 11, 2013

Time magazine has named Pope Francis its “Person of the Year.” “Rarely has a new player on the world stage captured so much attention so quickly—young and old, faithful and cynical—as has Pope...

Orthodox officials fear for nuns kidnapped in Syria CWN - December 11, 2013

The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch has told the AsiaNews service that it has no word on the condition of 12 nuns who were kidnapped last week, and questioned the authenticity of a video in...

French bishops, in pre-election statement, oppose anti-immigrant party CWN - December 11, 2013

In a statement looking forward to local elections in March, the Catholic bishops of France have staked out their opposition to “populist” parties and politicians. Although the December 11...

Indian archbishop arrested, others beaten during peaceful protest CWN - December 11, 2013

The Archbishop of New Delhi has been arrested along with other priests and religious engaged in a peaceful demonstration protesting discrimination against underprivileged Christians and Muslims, the...

Pope mourns after homeless man found dead in Vatican garage CWN - December 11, 2013

Pope Francis was “profoundly saddened” by the news that a homeless man had died alone in a Vatican parking garage, the Vatican press office said. The body of the homeless man was discovered on...

Pope Francis sets records for popularity in new US poll CWN - December 11, 2013

Pope Francis enjoys enormous personal popularity among Americans, and is bringing new popularity to the Catholic Church, according to a new Washington Post-ABC poll. An overwhelming 92% of the...

Ukrainian Catholic bishops join anti-government demonstrators CWN - December 11, 2013

With Ukrainian police threatening to oust anti-government protesters from Kiev’s Independence Square, leaders of the Ukrainian Catholic Church joined the protesters for morning prayers on December...

Christians should not fear final judgment, Pope tells audience CWN - December 11, 2013

Christians should not fear their final judgment, because Jesus Christ will be their advocate, Pope Francis told his public audience on December 11. In his final talk in a series of weekly...

Americas are called to generosity, Pope says in message for feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe CWN - December 11, 2013

The Americas are called to be “a land of generosity,” Pope Francis said, in a special message to the people of the Americas for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The appearance of the Virgin at...

Excavations near completion, Vatican necropolis will offer public new views of ancient site CWN - December 11, 2013

After two years of excavations, the Necropolis of the Via Triumphalis, on the northeastern side of the Vatican hill, will open to the public again next year, the Vatican has announced. The...

India's top court rules homosexuality illegal; top Catholic prelate demurs CWN - December 11, 2013

India’s supreme court has ruled that homosexual activity is a “crime against nature.” The court’s ruling—overturning a 2009 decision that had decriminalized homosexual acts—provoked an immediate...

Released Thursday, Dec. 12

Syrian Catholic bishop condemns Orthodox bishop’s call to arms CWN - December 12, 2013

A Greek Orthodox bishop’s exhortation to Syrian Christians to take up arms is “insane” and “reckless,” a Syrian Catholic prelate told the Fides news agency. Bishop Lukas El Khoury, an auxiliary...

Bishop, in National Review, criticizes caricature of Pope’s economic views CWN - December 12, 2013

Defending Pope Francis against criticism from some conservatives, Bishop James Conley of Lincoln said that the message of the Pontiff’s recent apostolic exhortation “is now being reduced to a...

Bishop criticizes Spain’s use of barbed wire to keep out immigrants CWN - December 12, 2013

A bishop in Morocco has criticized Spain’s decision to reintroduce barbed wire to deter immigrants from entering Ceuta and Melilla, two Spanish cities located on the Moroccan border along the north...

Religious freedom ‘highly restricted’ in 75% of nations CWN - December 12, 2013

Writing for Reuters, two members of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom noted that “75% of the world’s population now lives in countries in which this freedom is highly...

Fiji: prelate concerned about secularist interpretation of new constitution CWN - December 12, 2013

The bishop of Fiji’s sole diocese has criticized secularist interpretations of the nation’s new constitution. According to the constitution, which was adopted in September, “religious belief is...

USCCB joins international anti-hunger campaign CWN - December 12, 2013

Two committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have joined “One Human Family, Food for All,” an anti-hunger campaign sponsored by Caritas Internationalis and endorsed by Pope...

Pope, in message for World Day of Peace, sees human fraternity as key CWN - December 12, 2013

In his message for the annual World Day for Peace, Pope Francis writes that human fraternity offers an antidote not only to war but also to poverty, corruption, and environmental...

Moneyval report praises Vatican financial reforms, awaits practical results CWN - December 12, 2013

European banking examiners have praised the Vatican for making “enormous” progress toward transparency in financial affairs, but said that new Vatican rules still must be put into practice,...

Australia's top court overturns law allowing same-sex marriage in capital territory CWN - December 12, 2013

Australia’s highest court has struck down a new law that allowed for same-sex marriage in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). The court ruled that the new law, adopted by local ACT lawmakers...

India's premier meets demonstrators, promises action on anti-Christian discrimination CWN - December 12, 2013

India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met on December 12 with Archbishop Anil Couto of New Delhi and a group of other Christian and Muslim leaders who had been arrested the previous day during...

Pope decries human trafficking in address to new diplomats CWN - December 12, 2013

Human trafficking is “a crime against humanity” and “a social wound of our times,” Pope Francis told a group of new diplomatic representatives on December 12. Speaking to 17 diplomats accredited...

Released Friday, Dec. 13

USCCB: pray, fast for compassion toward all CWN - December 13, 2013

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is asking Catholics to pray, fast, and abstain from meat on Friday, December 13, for the following intention: “may we remember that we are...

Central African Republic: prelate distributes food as violence continues CWN - December 13, 2013

Amid continued violence in the Central African Republic, the 40,000 people who had taken refuge at the Catholic mission in Bossangoa, a city of 35,000 in the western part of the nation, welcomed the...

Indiana bishops issue statement on marriage, decline to take position on amendment CWN - December 13, 2013

As Indiana legislators debate a proposed state constitutional amendment designed to preclude the possibility of same-sex marriage and civil unions, Indiana’s bishops have issued a statement...

Cardinal, bishop support fast for immigration reform CWN - December 13, 2013

In the presence of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, Rev. Al Sharpton, and others, activists who had fasted for immigration reform for...

Vandals burn French church, target sacred vessels CWN - December 13, 2013

Vandals recent set fire to a chapel dedicated to St. Vincent de Paul in the Ozanam quarter of Carcassonne, France, according to a French media reports. “Only liturgical objects, along with books,...

Ukrainian prelate shows sympathy for anti-government demonstrators CWN - December 13, 2013

The retired leader of the Ukrainian Catholic Church has said that the Ukrainian government should be “dishonored for what it does.” Cardinal Lubomyr Husar expressed sympathy for anti-government...

Belgian senate approves euthanasia for children CWN - December 13, 2013

Belgium’s senate has approved legislation that would allow euthanasia of children. By a vote of 50 to 17, the senate passed a bill that would authorize doctors to end the lives of children who...

Pope Francis nominated for European communications award CWN - December 13, 2013

After being named as the Time magazine “Person of the Year,” Pope Francis has also been nominated for recognition as the European Communicator of the Year, the Vatican Insider reports. The Pope’s...

Pope laments 'sad' Christians who always criticize preaching CWN - December 13, 2013

In a homily at Mass on December 13, Pope Francis said that Christians who always criticize preachers are “sad Christians,” who are “trapped” in their own conceptions of the faith. Commenting on...

New Vatican Secretary of State meets with diplomatic corps CWN - December 13, 2013

Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s new Secretary of State, met on December 13 with members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. “In a time in which many parts of the world...

AP report sees cult-like pattern resisting reforms in Legion of Christ CWN - December 13, 2013

An Associated Press story questions how Pope Francis will handle the future of the Legion of Christ, as attempted reforms have not yet eliminated tensions and divisions with the order. As the...

Vatican Christmas tree lit, symbolizing 'brilliant divine light' CWN - December 13, 2013

The giant Christmas tree in St. Peter’s Square was illuminated on Friday, December 13, and Pope Francis told visiting German pilgrims that the tree symbolizes “the joy of the brilliant divine...

Released Monday, Dec. 16

Philippine bishops urge president to halt planned real estate development CWN - December 16, 2013

Citing environmental concerns, 21 Philippine bishops, including Manila Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, urged President Benigno Aquino III to halt real estate development projects that involve land...

Central African Republic: prelate urges Christians not to take revenge on Muslims CWN - December 16, 2013

In his December 15 Sunday Mass homily, Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui urged Christians not to take vengeance against Muslims in the strife-torn Central African Republic, Agence...

5 Philadelphia priests removed from ministry, another placed on leave CWN - December 16, 2013

Archbishop Charles Chaput has permanently removed five Philadelphia priests from ministry – one for child sexual abuse and four for violating ministerial standards – and has placed a sixth on...

Pope Francis, in new interview, denies he is Marxist, pans idea of women cardinals CWN - December 16, 2013

In a wide-ranging interview with Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli, Pope Francis reflected on Christmas, spoke about the suffering of children and the persecution of Christians, and addressed...

Greek Orthodox bishop denies urging Syrian Christians to take up arms CWN - December 16, 2013

A Greek Orthodox bishop has denied urging Syrian Christians to take up arms, according to a new Fides news agency report. Bishop Lukas El Khoury, an auxiliary bishop of the Greek Orthodox...

Uruguayan prelate decries legalization of marijuana CWN - December 16, 2013

A Uruguayan prelate denounced the legalization of marijuana in the South American nation. Bishop Jaime Rafael Fuentes Martín, a priest of Opus Dei, compared the Uruguayan family to a sinking ship...

Vatican newspaper recalls Cardinal Rampolla, vetoed in 1903 conclave CWN - December 16, 2013

On the occasion of the centenary of his death, L’Osservatore Romano has recalled the figure of Cardinal Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro (1843-1913), whom the newspaper described as the “true helmsman”...

USCCB committee calls upon Senate to back community-access cable channels CWN - December 16, 2013

Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City, the chairman of the Communications Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, urged US senators to support the Community Access Preservation...

At Gaudete Sunday audience, Pope says Church is 'house of joy' CWN - December 16, 2013

The Church is “not a haven for sad people,” Pope Francis told his midday audience on Gaudete Sunday, December 15. “The Church is the house of joy!” The joy of the Gospel message, the Pope said,...

Clericalism rules when the spirit of prophecy is lost, Pope warns CWN - December 16, 2013

When priests miss the spirit of prophecy, they lapse into clericalism, Pope Francis warned in a homily at Mass on Monday, December 16. Commenting on the day’s Gospel, in which the Pharisees...

Pope visits young patients at Vatican dispensary CWN - December 16, 2013

On Saturday, December 14, Pope Francis visited children at the Santa Marta Dispensary, an institution located in the Vatican near his own residence at the Domus Sanctae Marthae. As he greeted...

Federal judge strikes down Utah law on polygamy, citing precedent on homosexual affairs CWN - December 16, 2013

A federal judge has struck down major portions of a state law banning polygamy in Utah, saying that it is unconstitutional for the state to regulate sexual conduct within a household. In a...

Cardinal Wuerl added to Congregation for Bishops, replacing Cardinal Burke CWN - December 16, 2013

Pope Francis has named Washington's Cardinal Donald Wuerl to the Congregation for Bishops, while declining to extend the tenure of Cardinal Raymond Burke on that influential body. The Pope's...

Iraq's Christians feel forgotten by West, Chaldean Patriarch says CWN - December 16, 2013

Christians in Iraq “feel forgotten and isolated,” Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako says. The Chaldean prelate says that Iraqi Christians are not hoping for new Western military...

Christian teaching gave rise to understanding of human rights, says Vatican official CWN - December 16, 2013

The very notion of human rights “originated in a Christian context,” the Vatican’s top foreign-policy official has stated. Speaking at a conference held in Rome under the auspices of Georgetown...

Vandalism of crucifix in Mumbai is affront to India's tradition of tolerance, cardinal says CWN - December 16, 2013

Vandals desecrated a crucifix in a suburb of Mumbai, India, the AsiaNews service reports. The crucifix, which had stood on the main street of Vile Parle since 1880, was smashed, with the figure...

Top Vatican ecumenical official in Moscow for meetings with Orthodox leaders CWN - December 16, 2013

Cardinal Kurt Koch, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, is in Russia this week for meetings with leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church. Cardinal Koch will meet with...

Pope sending Christmas presents to Rome's poor CWN - December 16, 2013

Pope Francis is distributing paid telephone calling cards and tickets to the Metro subway system among the poor of Rome. Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, and the Missionaries of...

Soccer team's championship thrills Pope Francis CWN - December 16, 2013

Pope Francis has said that he is delighted with the Argentine soccer league championship of San Lorenzo, a club that he supports. After securing the championship on Sunday, officials of the San...

Liberal scholars protest Koch Foundation grant to Catholic University CWN - December 16, 2013

A group of 50 scholars have joined in a public statement questioning a $1 million grant to the Catholic University of America from the Charles Koch Foundation. The Koch Foundation, which has a...

Released Tuesday, Dec. 17

February 8 designated day of prayer for human trafficking victims CWN - December 17, 2013

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration has designated February 8 as a day of prayer for victims of human trafficking. February 8 is the memorial of St. Josephine...

Haitian bishops deplore nation’s corruption, fratricidal struggles CWN - December 17, 2013

Recalling that Jesus Christ called for repentance in a land torn by rival factions, Haiti’s bishops issued a Christmas message decrying “endless fratricidal struggles for power.” The bishops...

Damascus archbishop: some children envy the stable of Bethlehem CWN - December 17, 2013

The Maronite archbishop of Damascus said in a Christian message that some Syrian children are envious of the Holy Family in Bethlehem. “The Syrian children, abandoned and marked by scenes of...

Syrian rebels impose Islamic law on town’s Christians CWN - December 17, 2013

Syrian rebels have taken over a small village in northwestern Syrian and imposed Islamic law on its Christian residents, a Latin-rite bishop has told the Fides news agency. “In Kanayé, Salafi...

Leading English prelate rips spousal visa policy CWN - December 17, 2013

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster has urged the British government to change a new policy that prevents non-EU spouses of UK citizens from being granted a spousal visa unless they earn...

Court sides with Catholic schools, hospitals against HHS mandate CWN - December 17, 2013

Invoking the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, a federal district court judge has barred enforcement of the HHS mandate against two New York-area Catholic high schools and two Catholic...

Cardinal sees ‘new Legion’ of Christ arising ‘from the ashes’ CWN - December 17, 2013

Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, appointed Pontifical Delegate for the Legionaries of Christ in 2010, told 31 men he ordained to the priesthood that he sees the troubled religious institute arising “from...

Pope asks homeless men to join him for birthday celebration CWN - December 17, 2013

Pope Francis invited 4 homeless men to join him as he celebrated his 77th birthday on December 17. The Pope celebrated morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae for the staff of that residence,...

Waiving Vatican routines, Pope to declare sainthood of Peter Faber CWN - December 17, 2013

Pope Francis will pronounce today that the 16th-century Jesuit priest Pierre Favre is a saint, the Associated Press reports. Citing unnamed Vatican sources, AP reports that the Pontiff will waive...

Spanish Cardinal Carles Gordo dead at 87 CWN - December 17, 2013

Cardinal Ricardo Maria Carles Gordo, the retired Archbishop of Barcelona, Spain, died on December 17 at the age of 87. A native of Valencia, Cardinal Carles Gordo was ordained to the priesthood...

Hindu groups block move to decriminalize homosexual acts in India CWN - December 17, 2013

In India, Hindu-nationalist leaders are strongly opposing a move to decriminalize homosexual acts. Earlier this month, India’s supreme court overruled a decision by a Delhi court, and upheld...

Archbishop Nienstedt steps aside, to allow investigation of allegation that he denies CWN - December 17, 2013

Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota, has temporarily stepped aside from his post to allow a full investigation into a charge that he inappropriately touched a young man. The...

Released Wednesday, Dec. 18

'Marriage and Religious Freedom Act' introduced in Senate CWN - December 18, 2013

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has introduced the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act in the Senate. Similar legislation has been introduced in the House by Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID). “This bill protects...

Nigeria: 100 homes destroyed in Christian village CWN - December 18, 2013

Members of the Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram attacked a Christian village of Arboko on December 14, according to a report in The Punch, one of Nigeria’s leading newspapers. At least...

House holds hearing on American pastor imprisoned in Iran CWN - December 18, 2013

Two subcommittees of the US House of Representatives held a joint hearing on the plight of of Saeed Abedini, a US citizen who was born in Iran and was sentenced in January to eight years in an...

Religious discrimination suit filed against Iowa diocese CWN - December 18, 2013

The former CFO of an Iowa diocesan school system has alleged in a religious-discrimination lawsuit that the Diocese of Sioux City terminated his position because he is not Catholic, the Sioux City...

2 churches in Vienna vandalized CWN - December 18, 2013

Two churches in Vienna have been vandalized in recent weeks, according to the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians, which documents anti-Christian incidents in...

Priest invents confession tool for the deaf CWN - December 18, 2013

A Philippine priest serving in the United States has invented a device to make it easier for the deaf to go to confession, the Philippine bishops’ news service reported. The device, according...

Birth of Jesus shows God has bowed down to be with us, Pope tells audience CWN - December 18, 2013

“The birth of Jesus is the demonstration that God placed Himself once and for all on the side of mankind,” Pope Francis told his general audience on December 18. Because of the Incarnation, the...

Championship Argentine soccer team meets with its most prominent fan: Pope Francis CWN - December 18, 2013

Pope Francis met on December 18 with representatives of the San Lorenzo soccer club, of which he is a member. The club is celebrating an Argentine league championship. The Pope is a longtime...

Catholic League hit with defamation suit for charges against man who reported abuse CWN - December 18, 2013

A Missouri man has filed suit against the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and its president, Bill Donohue, charging that the group defamed him in public statements about a sex-abuse...

Benedict XVI says his theological views match those of Pope Francis, German scholar reports CWN - December 18, 2013

A German scholar who met recently with Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI said that the retired Pontiff regards his theological views as “very much in the same line with Pope Francis.” Manfred Lütz said...

Vatican bank closing laymen's accounts, to focus on service for religious works CWN - December 18, 2013

The Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), is systematically closing the accounts of lay people who are not directly connected with the Holy See, the Vatican Insider reports. As...

Released Thursday, Dec. 19

Australian bishop testifies he was unaware of requirement to report abuse to Vatican CWN - December 19, 2013

An Australian bishop has told the Australian government’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that he was not aware until 2006 that bishops were required to refer to...

China: faithful fear police will storm cathedral, take bishop’s body CWN - December 19, 2013

Catholics in the Diocese of Tangshan are fearful that police will storm the cathedral and take the body of Bishop Paul Liu Jinghe, who died at the age of 92 on December 11, according to an AsiaNews...

USCCB committee chair: protect programs for poor, extend unemployment benefits CWN - December 19, 2013

Praising the recent bipartisan federal budget agreement as “an important first step,” Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami called for the protection of federal anti-poverty programs. “I continue to...

Elderly nun assaulted in parish parking lot CWN - December 19, 2013

An 85-year-old nun was beaten and raped in broad daylight in a parish parking lot in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, a town of 9,000 near Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Andrew...

Cardinal George reflects on 50 years of priesthood CWN - December 19, 2013

In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of his priestly ordination, Cardinal Francis George discussed a range of topics, including the assassination of...

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem issues annual Christmas message CWN - December 19, 2013

In his annual Christmas message, Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem reviewed ecclesial and political events of the past year. “The situation in the Middle East is becoming more complex and...

Vatican hires outside consultants to study communications, accounting plans CWN - December 19, 2013

The Vatican has engaged the consulting firm of McKinsey & Company to study the Holy See’s communications, with an eye to creating a more effective media operation. The McKinsey consultants were...

Catholic 'Common Core' initiative drops 1st-grade texts on divorced, same-sex couples CWN - December 19, 2013

An effort to promote the Common Core educational standards in American Catholic schools has quietly altered a 1st-grade unit to eliminate books that encouraged acceptance of divorce and of same-sex...

Pope encouraging Confession during Advent, asks Curia officials to hear confessions CWN - December 19, 2013

Pope Francis has been encouraging Vatican officials to help bring Catholics back to Confession during Advent, the Catholic Herald of London reports. The Pope reportedly asked prelates serving in...

New Vatican document promotes intercultural education CWN - December 19, 2013

Intercultural dialogue “does not mean a vague solidarity, but rather and expression of Christ’s charity.” With that observation, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, the prefect of the Vatican Congregation...

The background for Vatican intervention in the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate CWN - December 19, 2013

The Vatican’s decision to appoint an “apostolic commissioner” to govern the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate (FFI), and the restriction of FFI access to the traditional Latin liturgy, has...

Man sets himself on fire in St. Peter's Square; topless demonstrator arrested CWN - December 19, 2013

A man set himself on fire in St. Peter’s Square on December 19, while in an unrelated incident a topless woman from the radical group Femen was detained by police before she gained access to the...

Pope meets prime minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines CWN - December 19, 2013

Pope Francis met on December 19 with Ralph Everard Gonzalves, the prime minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. In a brief statement released after the meeting, the Vatican said that the...

Prelates to offer special Masses for success of next year's Synod meeting CWN - December 19, 2013

The Vatican has announced several Masses that will be offered in a campaign of prayer for the success of the next meeting of the Synod of Bishops, which will be devoted to “the pastoral challenges...

Orthodox must acknowledge responsibility for ecumenical tensions in Ukraine, says Vatican official CWN - December 19, 2013

The president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity has insisted that both Orthodox and Catholics in Ukraine must acknowledge their responsibility for the tensions between the two faiths...

Russian Orthodox patriarch optimistic about working with Pope Francis CWN - December 19, 2013

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill said that he has “great expectations” of Pope Francis, because the Pontiff’s pastoral plan “coincides with our vision.” Patriarch Kirill made this comment as he...

Released Friday, Dec. 20

Uruguayan bishop spearheads environmental petition, welcomes its success CWN - December 20, 2013

By a large majority, lawmakers in Tacuarembó Department, Uruguay’s largest province, have declared the rural areas of the region an environmental reserve that is off limits to fracking and...

USCCB: pray, fast for pregnant women CWN - December 20, 2013

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is asking Catholics to pray, fast, and abstain from meat on Friday, December 20, for the following intention: “as we await with joyful...

Bishop: religion being exploited for political ends in Central African Republic CWN - December 20, 2013

The bishop of Bossangoa, a city of 40,000 in the Central African Republic, has told the Fides news agency that religion is being exploited for political ends in the strife-torn nation. “Two armed...

Seattle: Catholic school administrator dismissed following same-sex marriage; protests at 2 schools CWN - December 20, 2013

Over 400 students at a Seattle-area Catholic school took part in a protest following the dismissal of a vice principal whose summer same-sex wedding had become known, according to local media...

Vatican approval of miracle paves way for beatification of American nun CWN - December 20, 2013

During a December 17 audience in which he canonized Peter Faber (1506-46), Pope Francis approved a decree attributing a miracle to the intercession of a New Jersey nun, thus paving the way for her...

Diplomat's work is to facilitate positive encounter, Pope says CWN - December 20, 2013

Diplomacy should “promote the culture of encounter,” Pope Francis told a group of Italian diplomats at a meeting on December 20. The Pope met with the staff of the Italian embassy to the Holy...

Christmas is no fairy tale, Pope tells young Italians CWN - December 20, 2013

"The birth of Jesus is not a fairy tale!" Pope Francis told a group of young Italian members of Catholic Action in a private audience on December 20. "Christmas is the celebration of the presence...

Christmas revives hope of Iraqi people, Chaldean Patriarch says CWN - December 20, 2013

Christmas comes to “revive hope within us,” the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Rapael I Sako says in his Christmas message. The Iraqi prelate, who is celebrating the 1st Christmas since his...

US ambassador claims UN has 'collective understanding' of reproductive rights CWN - December 20, 2013

A high-ranking American ambassador has spoken of a “collective understanding of reproductive rights,” in an address to the UN Population Fund. Ambassador Elizabeth Cousens, the US representative...

God comes in silence, Pope reminds congregation at morning Mass CWN - December 20, 2013

The mystery of God’s presence among us is wrapped in silence, Pope Francis told a congregation at morning Mass on December 20, and Christians should seek “the grace to love the silence.” Citing...

Pope's visit to Israel set for March 25? CWN - December 20, 2013

Pope Francis will make a 2-day visit to Israel beginning on March 25, 2014, according to Israeli government officials. The Vatican has not yet made a formal announcement of plans for the papal...

Tensions in South Sudan are political, not religious or ethnic, Church leaders say CWN - December 20, 2013

Christian leaders in South Sudan have united in a plea for peace, as clashes between rival groups threaten the fragile security of the newly independent African country. Bishop Erkulano Lodu...

Italian statistics show half of marriages fail, birth rate continues decline CWN - December 20, 2013

Roughly half of all new marriages in Italy fail, according to new statistics. And the birth rate among Italian women is sinking further below the replacement rate. The statistical agency Istat...

Under pressure from gay activists, comedian Bob Newhart cancels appearance for Catholic group CWN - December 20, 2013

Comedian Bob Newhart has backed out of a scheduled appearance before a group of Catholic businessmen, under heavy pressure from militant homosexual groups. Newhart had been scheduled to address a...

Vatican official decries Belgian move toward euthanasia for children CWN - December 20, 2013

A proposal to allow euthanasia for children in Belgium is a “perversion of mercy,” according to the chancellor of the Pontifical Academy for Life. Msgr. Renzo Pegoraro told the National Catholic...

Released Monday, Dec. 23

Spanish government introduces pro-life measures CWN - December 23, 2013

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government has introduced several pro-life measures, according to wire service reports. Since 2010, abortion on demand has been permitted during the first...

Same-sex marriage becomes legal in New Mexico following court decision CWN - December 23, 2013

New Mexico has become the 17th state to legalize same-sex marriage. New Mexico marriage law neither explicitly prohibited nor permitted same-sex marriage. However, the state supreme court ruled...

Ordinariate establishes 1st religious community CWN - December 23, 2013

The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has announced the establishment of its first religious institute, the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The ten sisters, who wear the traditional...

Security increased at Nigerian churches CWN - December 23, 2013

Concerned about potential Christmas attacks by the Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram, Nigerian security forces have announced that they are bolstering security at the nation’s churches and...

Faculty at Jesuit university vote for continued abortion coverage CWN - December 23, 2013

In a 215-89 vote, the faculty senate of Santa Clara University has declared “invalid” a decision by Father Michael Engh, the university’s president, to stop providing insurance coverage for...

Federal courts issue split decisions on HHS mandate CWN - December 23, 2013

On December 19 and 20, federal courts issued split decisions on the HHS mandate, which compels most employers to offer insurance coverage that covers contraception, sterilization, and some...

In address to Roman Curia, Pope warns against bureaucratic approach, in-house gossip CWN - December 23, 2013

During a traditional pre-Christmas meeting with members of the Roman Curia, Pope Francis thanked the Vatican officials for their work, but also issued blunt warnings against bureaucratic inertia and...

Pope praises 'greatness of soul' of St. Joseph at last Sunday audience before Christmas CWN - December 23, 2013

At his Angelus audience on Sunday, December 22, Pope Francis said that the day’s Gospel reading—for the 4th Sunday of Advent—shows the “greatness of soul” of St. Joseph. When he learned that Mary...

Iraq declares Christmas a holiday in bid to support Christian minority CWN - December 23, 2013

The government of Iraq has declared Christmas Day a national holiday, in a gesture of support for the country’s embattled religious minority. The government announced the holiday as a show of...

CDF prefect says SSPX in schism, suspended from sacraments CWN - December 23, 2013

The leaders of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) are in schism, and remain suspended from the sacraments, says the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In an...

On Christmas, Pope Francis celebrates anniversary of his Baptism CWN - December 23, 2013

On Christmas Day, Pope Francis will be celebrating the anniversary of his baptism, Vatican Insider points out. The Pope, who celebrated his 77th birthday on December 17, was baptized in Buenos...

Pope Francis visits Benedict XVI for exchange of Christmas greetings CWN - December 23, 2013

Pope Francis paid a visit on his predecessor, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI, on December 23, to offer his Christmas wishes. Benedict XVI met his successor at the door of his residence in the Mater...

Pope spends Saturday with young patients at pediatric hospital CWN - December 23, 2013

Pope Francis brought Christmas greetings to young patients at the Bambin Gesu Pediatric Hospital on Saturday, December 21. The Pope—accompanied by the Secretary of State, Archbishop Pietro...

Released Tuesday, Dec. 24

Indonesian police to guard nearly 40,000 churches CWN - December 24, 2013

Amid multiple terrorist threats, Indonesia is deploying 92,000 police to guard 39,789 churches at Christmas, the Jakarta Post reported. They will be supported by over 50,000 military and other...

USCCB: ‘confusion and error triumph’ in court decisions on same-sex marriage CWN - December 24, 2013

Following recent court decisions striking down Utah’s marriage law and compelling New Mexico to issue same-sex marriage licenses, the chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’...

Maronite patriarch denounces divorce attorneys CWN - December 24, 2013

The Patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, criticized divorce attorneys who facilitate conversions to other ecclesial communities...

Christian leaders in Jerusalem call for peace, urge prayers for refugees CWN - December 24, 2013

After offering praise to God for the mystery of the Incarnation, the patriarchs and other heads of Christian churches in Jerusalem called for peace in their annual Christmas message. “The world...

Cardinal explains Pope Francis’s ‘equivalent canonization’ of St. Peter Faber CWN - December 24, 2013

In an interview published in L’Osservatore Romano, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints discussed Pope Francis’s recent equivalent canonization of St. Peter Faber (1506-46), one...

Indonesian Christians brace for Islamic attacks at Christmas CWN - December 24, 2013

Indonesian police and some Muslim volunteers are cooperating with Christians to protect churches and worshippers from attacks at Christmas, the Fides news service reports. President Susilo...

Pope enjoys 88% popularity in US, CNN poll shows CWN - December 24, 2013

Pope Francis enjoys enormous popularity with the American public, a new CNN poll shows. The CCN/ORC International poll found that 88% of Americans approve of the Pope’s performance. Similar...

Pope Francis's Homily at Christmas Mass: full text, link to video CWN - December 24, 2013

"'The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light' (Is 9:1). "This prophecy of Isaiah never ceases to touch us, especially when we hear it proclaimed in the liturgy of Christmas Night....

Released Wednesday, Dec. 25

Pope Francis's Christmas Message 'Urbi et Orbi' (To the City and the World): full text, link to video CWN - December 25, 2013

"'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors' (Lk. 2:14). Dear brothers and sisters in Rome and throughout the whole world, Greetings and Happy Christmas! I...

Released Thursday, Dec. 26

Somalia bans Christmas CWN - December 26, 2013

For the first time since 1991, Somalia’s ministry of justice and religious affairs announced that any celebration of Christmas in the Sunni Muslim nation would be banned. The director general of...

Malaysian prelate criticizes prime minister over ‘Allah’ restriction CWN - December 26, 2013

A prominent Malaysian prelate called upon Prime Minister Najib Razak to stop opposing the right of Christians to invoke God as “Allah.” Christians in Malaysia have used “Allah” in reference to...

Christmas bombings in Baghdad kill at least 37 CWN - December 26, 2013

Three bombs exploded in Baghdad on Christmas Day, killing at least 37 people. All three bombs went off in a Christian neighborhood; the third, the Associated Press reported, went off “near” a...

Released Friday, Dec. 27

Pope Francis prays for persecuted Christians, says St. Stephen counters false image of Christmas CWN - December 27, 2013

In his Angelus address on the Feast of St. Stephen, Pope Francis said that the recollection of the first martyr “dissolves a false image of Christmas: the fairy-tale, overly sentimental image that...

USCCB: pray, fast for families facing trials CWN - December 27, 2013

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is asking Catholics to pray, fast, and abstain from meat on Friday, December 27, for the following intention: “that families facing difficult...

Court overturns conviction of Philadelphia priest jailed in landmark case CWN - December 27, 2013

In a unanimous ruling, a Pennsylvania appellate court has overturned the 2012 conviction of Msgr. William Lynn, who served as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s vicar of clergy from 1992 to...

Released Monday, Dec. 30

For 2nd time in week, Pope Francis and Benedict XVI meet CWN - December 30, 2013

Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI gathered for lunch on December 27, four days after the Pope had visited the Pope Emeritus to exchange Christmas greetings. The lunch, described by...

Patriarch laments assassination of Lebanese political figure CWN - December 30, 2013

The head of the Maronite Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, denounced the assassination of Mohamad Chatah (also spelled Shatah), a Sunni Muslim...

Large crowds gather in Madrid for annual Holy Family Mass CWN - December 30, 2013

A large crowd, estimated by Agence France-Presse in the “tens of thousands,” gathered in Madrid for the seventh annual outdoor Mass for the Feast of the Holy Family. “The Christian family is...

Cardinal praises Pope’s contribution to interreligious dialogue CWN - December 30, 2013

In an interview with L’Osservatore Romano, the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue said that “the election of a Pontiff with a simple and direct style and with an amazing...

Pope Francis encourages Taizé youth to work for Christian unity CWN - December 30, 2013

Continuing a practice of his predecessor, Pope Francis has sent a message to the youth gathered at the Taizé Community’s annual meeting to persevere in their efforts for Christian unity. The...

Syria’s Assad sends message to Pope Francis CWN - December 30, 2013

Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, received a delegation from the Syrian government on...

Pope recalls plight of refugee families, issues prayer to Holy Family for synod CWN - December 30, 2013

In his Sunday Angelus address on the Feast of the Holy Family, Pope Francis recalled that “God chose to be born into a human family” and said that millions of refugee families unfortunately identify...

Released Tuesday, Dec. 31

Background: papal message for January 1, the World Day of Peace CWN - December 31, 2013

On January 1, the Church commemorates the 47th World Day of Peace. Pope Francis’s message for the day is entitled “Fraternity, the Foundation and Pathway to Peace.” In his message for the 1st...

Prelate pleads for peace as violence continues in Central African Republic CWN - December 31, 2013

Despite a peacekeeping force of 5,600 troops – 1,600 of them French, and 4,000 from the African Union – sectarian strife continues in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. An...

Pope’s prayer intentions for January 2014 CWN - December 31, 2013

The Vatican has announced Pope Francis’s prayer intentions for January 2014. The Pope’s general intention is “that all may promote authentic economic development that respects the dignity of all...

Papal appointment signals impending reform at Italian Episcopal Conference CWN - December 31, 2013

Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Nunzio Galantino as secretary-general of the Italian Episcopal Conference but has done only on an interim basis. The Pope has traditionally chosen the president...

Roman parishioners to attend Pope’s weekday Masses CWN - December 31, 2013

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Holy See Press Office, has announced that beginning in January, parishioners in Rome will be permitted to attend the Pope’s weekday Masses at Domus...

Federal courts issue mixed decisions on HHS mandate CWN - December 31, 2013

In recent days, federal courts have issued split decisions on the HHS mandate, which compels most employers to offer insurance that covers contraception, sterilization, and some...

Moscow Patriarchate: Russia must do more to combat radical Islam CWN - December 31, 2013

Amid recent terrorist attacks in Volgograd, a city of one million in southern Russia, a leading Russian Orthodox Church official has called upon the nation to do more to combat radical Islam. The...

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