Action Alert!

Stories for February 2014

Released Monday, Feb. 3

USCCB, other Catholic organizations weigh in on final farm bill

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), joined by other Catholic organizations, has weighed in on the five-year, $500 billion farm bill that the House of Representatives has passed...

Roman Rota doubled its number of decisions in 2013

The Roman Rota, the highest appellate canonical court, doubled the number of decisions it rendered in 2013, according to a report in the latest English edition of L’Osservatore Romano. “Nearly...

London mayor to be investigated for ban on ad critical of homosexuality

The Court of Appeal of England and Wales has ordered a lower court to investigate whether the mayor of London improperly used his authority in personally intervening to ban a bus advertisement...

Proposed Oregon ballot initiative would protect those who object to same-sex marriage

Among the ballot initiatives that Oregon voters may decide by referendum in 2014 is the Protect Religious Freedom Initiative, which would prevent individuals and businesses from being “penalized by...

Grenade attack on Philippine church

A man riding on a motorcycle threw a grenade into a Catholic church in a suburb of Zamboanga City, injuring five. Zamboanga City, a city of 800,000, is “known for Muslim rebel activity,” Agence...

Dutch priest, in Syria, appeals for international intervention amid starvation

A Dutch priest who is trapped in Homs told The Telegraph that some of the residents of the Syrian city of one million are starving. “Our city has become a lawless jungle,” said Father Frans Van...

Chicago archdiocese settles with another McCormack victim for $3.2M

With the assistance of a mediator, the Archdiocese of Chicago has reached a $3.2-million settlement with another man who alleged abuse by ex-priest Daniel McCormack. The archdiocese has already...

Pope renews opposition to drug trade, warns against liberalizing laws

Pope Francis reiterated his opposition to drug trafficking, and weighed in against legalization of recreational drug use, during a meeting with Raymond Yans, the president of the Vienna-based...

Samoan head of state meets with Pontiff

Pope Francis met on February 3 with Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, Samoa’s head of state, for a discussion that included Church-state relations and environmental protection, particularly in the...

Pope's prayer intentions for February 2014

The Vatican has announced the prayer intentions of Pope Francis for February 2014. The Pope's general intention is: “That the Church and society may respect the wisdom and experience of older...

Former president of St. Luke Institute to serve 4-year prison term for theft

A former chancellor of the Manchester, New Hampshire diocese, who last year resigned from his post as president of the St. Luke Institute, has been sentenced to a 4-year prison term after pleading...

Nancy Pelosi to receive Planned Parenthood's top award

US House minority leader Nancy Pelosi has been named to receive the Margaret Sanger Award from the Planned Parenthood Federation. The Margaret Sanger Award, named from the notorious racist and...

Pope at Sunday audience: imagine a world without nuns!

“Imagine a world without nuns,” Pope Francis challenged his Sunday public audience on February 2. “It is unimaginable!” Calling attention to the 18th Day of Consecrated Life, the Pope asked “what...

Observance of rules and prophetic spirit join in consecrate life, Pope tells religious

As he presided at Mass in the Vatican basilica on February 2 for the 18th World Day for Consecrated Life, Pope Francis said that there should be no conflict between observance of religious law and a...

Feminist demonstrators assault Madrid's cardinal

Bare-breasted feminists attacked Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela of Madrid as he arrived at a church to celebrate Mass on Sunday evening. Five women, associated with the feminist group Femen,...

Pope to Neocatechumenal Way: make sacrifices to preserve Church unity

Pope Francis has advised members of the Neocatechumenal Way to take care to preserve close ties with the local dioceses in the places where they work. Meeting on February 1 with about 8,000...

Consecrated life is healthy, Vatican official says

“I think I can affirm that consecrated life is really enjoying good health at this moment,” the secretary of the Congregation for Religious said in a January 31 interview with the Catholic News...

Nigerian prelate defends anti-homosexual laws against foreign criticism

A Nigerian archbishop has dismissed criticism from other countries of Nigeria’s new laws against homosexuality. “As a sovereign nation, we have a right to determine our present and future...

Papal almoner celebrates Mass for deceased homeless

Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the papal Almoner, celebrated Mass on February 1 in memory of a homeless woman who died in 1983 after she was refused ambulance service because she was deemed too...

Changes in Irish hierarchy will continue, nuncio says

The apostolic nuncio in Ireland has said that “a significant number of bishops will be appointed” this year, continuing a high rate of turnover in the Irish Church leadership. Archbishop Charles...

Released Tuesday, Feb. 4

USCCB: mixed reaction to House Republicans’ immigration proposal

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration described the House Republican leadership’s new immigration reform proposal as an “important step” but...

Vatican official surveys developments in relations with Anglicans, Methodists

An official of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity has surveyed developments over the past year in relations with the Anglican Communion and the World Methodist Council. While...

Abortion rate in US reportedly at lowest since 1973

The abortion rate in the United States is now at its lowest since 1973, according to a report from the Guttmacher Institute. The institute, named for a former president of Planned Parenthood, seeks...

German bishops: most Catholics reject Catholic teaching on marriage, sexuality

Most Catholics in Germany have never heard of the term “natural law” and reject Catholic teaching on human sexuality, according to a report from the German Bishops’ Conference. The report is a...

Pennsylvania parish vandalized

A week after statues at two southern New Jersey parishes were beheaded or otherwise damage, a statue of Jesus at a parish north of Philadelphia was set on fire after being soaked with lighter...

Queen Elizabeth to visit with Pope in April

Queen Elizabeth will visit the Vatican and meet with Pope Francis in April, Buckingham Palace has announced. The 87-year-old British monarch plans a one-day trip to Italy on April 3. She is...

God is a father who weeps for his erring children, Pope says in Tuesday homily

In his homily at a Mass on February 4, Pope Francis said that God is a father who sometimes weeps with love for his children. The Pope offered his reflections on the day’s Scripture readings,...

New Orleans archdiocese vows to boycott firms that build Planned Parenthood abortion clinic

The Archdiocese of New Orleans, Louisiana, has threatened to boycott any contractor who works on the construction of a new Planned Parenthood facility there. Planned Parenthood has announced...

Sudan's bishops warn: harsh judgment on those who incite violence

The Catholic bishops of Sudan and South Sudan have joined in a call for the emergence of “a new nation” in South Sudan. Saying that “business as usual” is no longer possible in a country stricken...

Imitate Christ's poverty to find real happiness, Pope writes in Lenten message

“Christ’s poverty is the greatest treasure of all,” Pope Francis tells the world in his message for Lent. In his first annual message for the penitential season, which was released by the Vatican...

Released Wednesday, Feb. 5

Diocesan officials, others involved in social ministry lobby Congress

Diocesan officials and other participants in the annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering met with members of Congress on February 4 “to promote peace abroad through negotiations, humanitarian...

Vatican newspaper pays tribute to Lord of the Rings

The weekly English edition of L’Osservatore Romano has published a lengthy essay devoted to the theology of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The essay was written by Anglican Bishop David...

French government postpones proposal to change family law

Following large pro-family protests in Paris and Lyon, the French government announced it would not submit family-law legislation to parliament in 2014, the Reuters news agency reported. The...

Unmarried Catholic school teacher, fired after pregnancy, will pursue legal action

An unmarried Catholic middle school teacher in Butte, Montana, was fired after becoming pregnant, the Associated Press reported. “A Catholic school teacher enters into an agreement not only with...

Court upholds zoning denial for parish construction

Upholding lower court rulings, a state appellate court has ruled that a local zoning commission acted properly in blocking the construction of a proposed neo-Gothic parish in Mandeville,...

Australian prelate asks government to nix offensive show from festival

Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide has asked South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill to remove a show called “Come Heckle Christ” from the upcoming Adelaide Fringe Festival, according to an...

New York City mayor to boycott St. Patrick’s Day parade

Bill De Blasio will be the first New York City mayor in memory to boycott the St. Patrick’s Day parade because the parade’s organizers do not permit the display of signs associated with the gay and...

UN report rips Vatican on abuse; Holy See protests 'ideological' attack

A UN committee has issued a blistering indictment of the Vatican’s handling of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, claiming that the Vatican has “systematically” encouraged protection of guilty...

Scotland approves same-sex marriage, archbishop foresees challenge to Church

Scotland’s parliament has voted overwhelmingly to recognize same-sex marriage, drawing an expression of keen disappointment from the Scottish Catholic bishops. By a vote of 105-18, lawmakers...

Eucharist is 'extreme giving of thanks,' Pope tells general audience

The Mass is not just a way of remembering Christ’s sacrifice, Pope Francis reminded his weekly public audience on February 6; it is a sharing in “the mystery of Christ’s passion, death, and...

Released Thursday, Feb. 6

What the United Nations demands of the Holy See: background and analysis

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has released the full text of its report that criticized the Vatican’s response to the clerical abuse scandal. The Committee on the Rights...

Find true happiness in poverty, Pope urges in World Youth Day message

“Have the courage to be truly happy!” Pope Francis challenges young people in his message for the 29th World Youth Day. In his message the Pope announces that the themes for the next three...

Vatican will respond to UN criticism, archbishop vows

“The Holy See will respond” to a UN committee’s critical report on the Vatican’s handling of sexual abuse, Archbishop Tomasi has promised. But the committee “has not done a good service to the...

Pakistani Church leaders protest abduction of 16-year-old girl for forced marriage

Church leaders in Pakistan are pleading for government help for the family a 16-year-old girl who was reportedly abducted, converted to Islam, and forced to marry a wealthy man. The practice of...

'Pope's motorcycle' sale raises $327,000 for charity

A Harley-Davidson motorcycle that was donated to Pope Francis has been sold at auction for $327,000. The 2013 Dyna Super Glide was sold to an unidentified buyer after a lively round of bidding at...

Legionaries elect new leader, apologize to Maciel's victims

The Legionaries of Christ have elected a new leader, and issued a statement apologizing to the victims of the late Father Marcial Maciel and acknowledging that the order was guilty of “excessive...

Released Friday, Feb. 7

Blessed John Paul II to become patron saint of World Youth Day

When Pope Francis canonizes Blessed John Paul II on Divine Mercy Sunday, he will also proclaim him patron saint of World Youth Day, L’Osservatore Romano noted. In his message for the 29th World...

President Obama cites religious freedom 14 times in prayer-breakfast address

In remarks delivered during the National Prayer Breakfast on February 6, President Barack Obama referred to freedom 17 times, 14 of them in reference to religious freedom. “Now, here, as...

Bishop laments Western governments’ support of Syria’s Islamist rebels

An Armenian Catholic bishop who lived in Syria for the first 50 years of his life urged Western governments to cease supporting Islamist rebel movements in Syria. “They are all 100 percent...

British court summons Mormon leader to appear on charges of fraudulent teaching

An English court has ordered the 86-year-old American president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to appear in court next month on fraud charges, The Telegraph reported. Two...

Prosecutor launches probe of Spanish cardinal-designate on hate-crime charges

A retired Spanish bishop who was named a cardinal in January is being investigated on charges of “inciting anti-gay hate,” according to Agence France-Presse. Archbishop Fernando Sebastián...

Support marriage, oppose relativism, Pope asks Polish bishops

At a February 5 audience with a group of bishops from Poland, who were concluding their ad limina visits, Pope Francis called for energetic evangelization, which would include opposition to...

Reject 'simplistic' feminist approach to women’s equality, Vatican envoy asks UN

The Vatican’s representative at the UN has called upon world leaders to reject the idea that women can achieve social equality “only by the negation of their procreative capacities.” Speaking on...

Vatican spokesman gives detailed critique of UN committee report

In a sharply worded and detailed response to UN committee’s critical report on the Vatican’s response to sexual abuse, the Vatican’s chief spokesman has said that the committee’s recommendations...

UN committee chairman defends criticism of Vatican

The chairwoman of the UN committee that issued a sharply critical report on the Holy See’s handling of sexual abuse has defended that report against Vatican charges of unfair treatment. Kirsten...

Vatican pleased with progress in talks toward diplomatic pact with Palestinian Authority

The Vatican has indicated “great satisfaction” at progress toward the completion of a diplomatic accord with the Palestinian Authority. Vatican and Palestinian representatives met on February 6...

Released Monday, Feb. 10

Obama administration grants ‘full and equal recognition’ to same-sex marriage

Attorney General Eric Holder has announced that the Obama administration will grant “full and equal recognition” to same-sex marriages. “On Monday, I will issue a new policy memorandum that will...

State high court: Catholic hospital may be sued for discrimination in firing

Washington’s state supreme court has ruled that religious nonprofits may be sued for job discrimination on the basis of race, disability, or sexual orientation “if an employee's work was unrelated...

Upcoming Hollywood movie on Mother Teresa

Origin Entertainment will release a biographical film on Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (1910-97) in 2015, according to a recent Hollywood Reporter article. The producer of the film, entitled I...

Vatican newspaper surveys recent developments in Jewish-Catholic relations

Writing in the English-language edition of L’Osservatore Romano, the secretary of the Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with the Jews has surveyed recent developments in...

Archbishop Gänswein discusses Pope Benedict’s life a year after his resignation

In an interview with the Reuters news agency on the first anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, Archbishop Georg Gänswein said that he has “never noticed” the Pope Emeritus manifesting any...

Man crashes car into Raleigh parish, sets fire to sanctuary, kills himself

A 20-year-old man recently set his home on fire, crashed his car into a Raleigh parish, set fire to the sanctuary, and then killed himself by gunshot, according to a Raleigh television station...

South Africa’s bishops issue election statement, emphasize sanctity of life, marriage

South Africa’s bishops have urged Catholics to register to vote for the upcoming general election, which will take place on the twentieth anniversary of the end of apartheid. “In the light of...

Pope urges reconciliation in Sri Lanka, hints at a papal visit

Pope Francis hinted at the prospect of a papal visit to Sri Lanka, as he met on February 8 with a group of pilgrims from the island nation. The Sri Lankan pilgrims, led by Cardinal Malcolm...

Christians must be living Gospels, Pope tells Sunday audience

At his Angelus audience on Sunday, February 9, Pope Francis said: “We all, as baptized persons, are missionary disciples, and are called to become a living Gospel in the world.” The Pope devoted...

Prominent Catholic leader flees Pakistan after death threats

Paul Bhatti, the Pakistani political leader whose brother, Shabbaz Bhatti, was assassinated in March 2011, has left the country after receiving a series of death threats. Paul Bhatti said that he...

New Secretary of State wants 'less bureaucratic' Roman Curia

Archbishop Pietro Parolin said that he hoped to help mold a “less bureaucratic and more efficacious” Roman Curia, in an interview with the Italian daily Avvenire. The new Secretary of State—who...

Irish archbishop fears 'homophobic' use of Church teaching

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has expressed concern that Ireland’s debate on acceptance of same-sex marriage could prompt people to use Church teachings “in a homophobic way.” The...

Mass is a 'theophany,' Pope tells Monday congregation

Pope Francis emphasized the need for a “sense of the sacred” at Mass, as he celebrated the Eucharistic sacrifice at the Domus Sanctae Marthae on February 10. The Mass, the Pope said, is a...

New poll underlines divisions among Catholics

A new survey of Catholics, conducted by the Spanish-language Univision network, has shown sharp differences among self-identified Catholics, and widespread dissent from Church teachings. The poll...

Vatican recognizes 125 new martyrs, moves 3 others toward beatification

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints has released decrees recognizing 125 martyrs, and advancing three other candidates toward beatification. During a February 7 meeting with Cardinal Angelo...

Released Tuesday, Feb. 11

Background: World Day of the Sick

February 11 is the 22nd World Day of the Sick, a commemoration that was instituted by Blessed John Paul II and takes place each year on the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes. The title of Pope...

Argentine rabbi discusses friendship with Pope Francis

In an interview with L’Osservatore Romano, Rabbi Abraham Skorka discussed his friendship with Pope Francis. Skorka is rector of the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary in Buenos Aires; he and the...

Ukrainian Catholic leader calls for international support for protestors

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church called upon the United States and European nations to intervene in support of the Euromaidan protestors who oppose the regime of President Viktor...

Prelate denounces use of term ‘Christian militia’ in Central African conflict

The leading Catholic prelate in the Central African Republic has denounced the activities of Anti-balaka, a network of militias often described as “Christian” in secular media reports. “Call them...

Cardinal O’Malley emphasizes: Pope Francis will not change Catholic teaching

Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, who serves on the eight-member Council of Cardinals that is advising Pope Francis on curial reform, told The Boston Globe will not change Catholic teaching on...

Pro-abortion protestors disrupt Mass in Spain

Chanting pro-abortion slogans, a group of 30 protestors disrupted Mass in Palma, a city of 400,000 located on the Spanish island of Majorca, according to a February 9 Religión Digital...

Papal spokesman: close aides were not surprised by Pope Benedict's resignation

The Vatican officials who worked most closely with Pope Benedict XVI were not surprised by his resignation, Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, said the anniversary...

Vatican envoy, Dominican prosecutor discuss charges against former apostolic nuncio

The Vatican’s new representative in the Dominican Republic met on February 10 with the justice minister of that country, and the two issued a joint statement emphasizing the importance of finding...

Former Vatican Secretary of State: Benedict decided to resign in 2012

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the former Vatican Secretary of State, has revealed that Pope Benedict XVI decided to resign in 2012, several months before he made that decision public. In an...

Benedict's resignation made reforms of Pope Francis possible: John Allen

Although Pope Francis is generally seen as an agent of change at the Vatican, “the single most revolutionary act committed by any pope in at least the last 600 years” was the resignation of Pope...

Released Wednesday, Feb. 12

Holy See, Hungary ratify modified accord

On February 10, representatives of the Holy See and Hungary formally ratified modifications to the 1997 concordat between the two states. Under the modifications, which were agreed to in October,...

Pope Francis asks: are we living the Eucharist well?

Continuing his series of Wednesday general audiences devoted to the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Holy Eucharist, Pope Francis asked whether those who attend Mass are “living the...

USCCB president: ‘What I learned in the Philippines’

The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops discussed what he learned during his recent trip to the Philippines, in which he saw the damage wrought by Typhoon Haiyan (also...

Court orders St. Louis archdiocese to turn over names of accused clergy

The Missouri Supreme Court has ordered the Archdiocese of St. Louis to turn over the names of all clergy accused of sexual abuse of minors during a two-decade period ending in 2003. The names of...

Cardinal, House speaker discuss immigration reform

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who served as Archbishop of Washington from 2001 to 2006, met recently with the speaker of the House of Representatives to discuss immigration reform. “According to a...

4 Christian churches closed in Indonesia

Four Protestant churches shuttered in December by officials in the Indonesian province of West Java remain closed. According to World Watch Monitor, a news agency that reports on the persecution...

Nigerian prelate defends Catholic teaching against Western influence

The president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria has told a group of Catholic doctors and nurses that Catholic teaching on human life and sexual ethics cannot be compromised in the face...

‘Thoughtful and constructive’ meeting between Vatican, Israeli diplomats

Representatives of the Holy See and the State of Israel met in Jerusalem on February 11 to continue negotiating a diplomatic accord establishing the legal and economic rights of Church institutions...

Prefect of Congregation for Clergy speaks on dangers of 'clericalism'

In an interview with the Italian daily La Stampa, the prefect of the Congregation for Clergy spoke at some length about clericalism, “a word that has been on the Pope’s lips a great deal in recent...

10 Catholic campuses to host V-Monologues this year

At least 10 Catholic colleges and universities in the US will host productions of The Vagina Monologues this academic year, the Cardinal Newman Society reports. The performance—an annual event on...

Helena diocese enters bankruptcy

The Diocese of Helena, Montana has formally filed for federal bankruptcy protection, becoming the 11th American diocese to take that step in the wake of the sex-abuse scandal. In seeking...

Despite dangers, some Muslims in Lebanon embrace Christianity, bishop reports

A Lebanese bishop has discussed the difficulties that arise when Muslims convert to Christianity, in an interview with the Catholic News Agency. The bishop—whose identity was not disclosed—said...

Released Thursday, Feb. 13

Vatican diplomat testifies before Congress, denounces persecution of Middle East’s Christians

Testifying before a House subcommittee, the apostolic nuncio to the United Nations lamented the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and urged the United States and other leading nations to...

Patriarch: negotiations for Syrian nuns’ release have ‘stumbled’; new video released

The patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church said that the release of a dozen kidnapped Syrian nuns appeared imminent until recently. In December, Syrian rebel forces abducted the nuns from the...

Priests attempt to save Muslims from slaughter in Central African Republic

Priests in the Central African Republic have recently attempted to save Muslims from slaughter at the hands of Anti-balaka militia forces, according to new reports from the Voice of America and...

Detroit priest charged with defrauding charity

A priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit has been arrested on charges of defrauding an archdiocesan charitable program, The Detroit News reported. He faces six felony counts. Father Timothy Kane,...

Nuns beaten in Mexico

Two religious sisters who serve in the Diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas were beaten as they tried to tend to persons wounded in a violent land dispute, according to Mexican media reports. In...

Teen charged with vandalizing Illinois church 3 times

A 17-year-old boy has been charged with vandalizing St. Patrick’s Church in McHenry, Illinois three times in the past eight months. In June, a statue, light post, and air conditioning units were...

Vatican cardinal challenges economists to develop ‘economy of inclusion’

Speaking at the London School of Economics, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace challenged his audience to “design an economy of inclusion.” “It will require the full...

Vatican officials pay tribute to Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy

In texts read at a Vatican press conference, two curial officials and the rector of the Pontifical Lateran University paid tribute to the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred...

Milwaukee archdiocese reports $19 million in costs for bankruptcy filing

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has revealed that it has spent over $19 million in legal fees and associated expenses in connection with its bankruptcy filing. In new documents submitted to a...

Genocide looms in Central African Republic, archbishop warns

The leading Catholic prelate in the Central African Republic has said that he fears a campaign of genocide. “If there is no one to hold back the hand of the devil here, he will achieve his goal,”...

Russians identify with Orthodox Church, but do not attend

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the number of Russians who identify themselves as Christians has soared, but the number attending church services regularly remains low, a Pew Research survey has...

Lourdes sanctuary still coping with damage from last summer's floods

The sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes was ready to receive pilgrims on the February 11 feast day, but “a lot still remains to be done” to repair damage from last year’s devastating floods, the local...

Pope lauds witness of Bulgaria's Catholic minority

Pope Francis praised the Catholic community of Bulgaria for showing energy and apostolic initiative, in a February 13 to bishops from that country who were completing their ad limina...

Pope tells American Jewish Committee: dialogue must reflect 'our relationship with God'

Pope Francis met on February 13 with a delegation from the American Jewish Committee, thanking them for “the distinguished contribution you have made to dialogue and fraternity between Jews and...

Catholic schools must present Christ-centered vision to the world, Pope says

Catholic colleges and universities should show a “courageous and innovative fidelity that enables Catholic identity to encounter the various 'souls' of multicultural society,” Pope Francis said in a...

President of Indian bishops' conference plans invitation to Pope Francis

The newly elected president of the Catholic bishops’ conference of India has said that he plans to invite Pope Francis to visit the country. Cardinal Baselios Thottunkal of Trivandrum, who is the...

Archbishop Müller: I am not 'conservative opponent' of Pope Francis

The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has voiced his displeasure about being portrayed as a "conservative opponent“ of Pope Francis on issues such as the role of women and...

Pope praises Sweden for welcoming refugees

Pope Francis praised Sweden for providing hospitality to refugees, as he met on February 12 with a pair of Argentinians who fled their country to escape the military dictatorship of the 1980s. ...

Belgium approves euthanasia for children

Belgium’s parliament has voted to allow euthanasia for children. By a vote of 86 to 44, the lower house of the Belgian legislature approved the measure, which had already won passage by the...

Released Friday, Feb. 14

American Jewish Committee leader tells Pope Francis: ‘you are our true friend’

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) has released excerpts of remarks made by its president, Stanley Bergman, during a February 13 audience with Pope Francis. Bergman, who became AJC president in...

Lawsuit: Walgreens fired Baptist pharmacist who refused to prescribe morning-after pill

The Thomas More Society and a Nashville attorney have filed a lawsuit on behalf of Philip Hall, a Baptist pharmacist who alleged that Walgreens fired him because of his “profound religious and moral...

Federal court: North Carolina’s ‘choose life’ license plates are unconstitutional

Upholding a lower court decision, a federal appeals court has unanimously ruled that North Carolina legislation permitting “choose life” license plates is unconstitutional. Because the...

Priest murdered in Hungary

Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, has announced that a Hungarian priest has been added to its list of Church workers slain in 2013. Born in 1940,...

Virginia’s marriage amendment declared unconstitutional

A federal district court judge has ruled that Virginia’s marriage amendment, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman, is unconstitutional. Voters approved the measure by a...

Australian prime minister criticizes pharmacist who opposes contraception

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has criticized a Catholic pharmacist who has reportedly written notes to patients discussing his opposition to contraception. According to an Australian...

Pastor murdered, church burned down in Nigeria

A 50-year-old evangelical pastor was brutally murdered in Kankia, a city of 150,000 in a largely Muslim region of northern Nigeria. After the body of a murdered six-year-old girl was found close...

Ukraine’s churches unite in supporting demonstrators

To the surprise of some, Ukraine’s three major Christian bodies – the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the...

Pope shares Valentine's Day with 10,000 engaged couples

“To stay together and to know how to love each other for ever is the challenge Christian married couples face,” Pope Francis said during an unusual meeting on February 14—Valentine’s Day—with more...

Guard against relativism in society, Pope asks Czech bishops

Meeting on February 14 with the bishops of the Czech Republic, Pope Francis encouraged them to provide sound preparation for the sacraments and to maintain “a vigilant and courageous openness to new...

Christians must be lambs, not wolves, Pope tells Friday congregation

In his homily at a weekday Mass on February 14, Pope Francis reflected on the image of Christ as a Lamb, and said that a Christian too must be like a lamb, and "retain this identity“ despite...

No hidden reasons for Pope Benedict's resignation, longtime secretary says

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the longtime personal secretary to Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI, said that the retired Pontiff is "at ease“ with his quiet life in the...

Spain: parliament defeats bill to block restrictions on abortion

The Spanish government has won a preliminary legislative skirmish in a bid to tighten restrictions on abortion. By a vote of 183 to 151, the Spanish parliament defeated a call for withdrawal of...

Bishop denies reports of Christian militias killing Muslims in Central African Republic

A Catholic bishop has denied reports that Catholic militia groups have massacred Muslims in the Central African Republic. “It is not Christian militias who are killing Muslims,” Bishop Juan José...

Released Monday, Feb. 17

President of Cyprus meets with Pontiff

Pope Francis met on February 15 with Nicos Anastasiades, who assumed office as president of Cyprus in 2013. The two discussed religious freedom, “the positive role of religion in society,” and...

Pope warns against gossip, notes Christ's focus on the heart

Noting that Christ did not wish to abolish the Jewish law, but to bring it to fulfillment, Pope Francis told the crowd of 50,000 who heard his February 16 Angelus address that Christ calls his...

Pope Francis visits parish, hears confessions, celebrates Mass

Pope Francis visited a Roman parish on February 16 to mark the 50th anniversary of its founding. Arriving at the parish of St. Thomas the Apostle at 4:00 in the afternoon, Pope Francis greeted...

USCCB, CRS hail provisions of new farm bill

Catholics Confront Global Poverty, a joint initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services, has characterized portions of the $956-billion farm bill,...

2 Salesians murdered, 2 seriously wounded in Venezuela

Two Salesians were murdered and two were seriously injured during an apparent robbery of their residence in Venezuela’s third largest city. Archbishop Reinaldo del Prette Lissot of Valencia...

Indonesian province imposes sharia on non-Muslims

The government of Aceh, an Indonesian province whose population is 98% Muslim, has extended the enforcement of sharia law to non-Muslims, The Jakarta Post reported. “It would be unfair if Muslims...

Cardinal: personal witness is crucial for the evangelization of Asia

Pope Paul VI’s dictum that “modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers” is particularly true in Asia, the Philippines’ leading prelate said in an article that appears in the new...

Church of England will not solemnize same-sex marriages

The House of Bishops of the Church of England has issued a statement on same-sex marriage. “It will continue not to be legally possible for two persons of the same sex to marry according to the...

Leading English prelate rips welfare cuts

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster has strongly criticized the changes to welfare benefits that have taken place under the government of Prime Minister David Cameron. “People do understand...

Roman Catholic prelate backs Ukrainian protestors

Ukraine’s leading Roman Catholic prelate has joined his Eastern Catholic and Orthodox counterparts in expressing support for anti-government protestors in Ukraine. “The Roman Catholic Church in...

Pope meets with Council of Cardinals, beginning busy week at Vatican

Pope Francis and the 8 members of the Council of Cardinals began 3 days of meetings on Monday, February 17. Meeting this week for the 3rd time, the Council of Cardinals will devote its...

Pope Francis renews Argentine passport

Pope Francis has applied to renew his passport as a citizen of Argentina. Florencio Randazzo, the interior minister of the Argentine government revealed on February 17 that the Pope contacted the...

Vatican bank president awaits Pope's verdict for future

The president of the Vatican bank has said that he cannot predict what Pope Francis will decide regarding the future of the institution. “I don’t know what will happen,” Ernst von Freyberg, who...

Nigerian archbishop: Boko Haram massacres continue, government not protecting citizens

The president of the Nigerian Catholic bishops’ conference told the Fides news service that he is unfortunately not surprised by a new massacre committed by Boko Haram terrorists. "The lastest...

India: Police name priest as top suspect in murder probe

Police in India have named a Catholic priest as their main suspect in a 2010 murder case. Father Mathukutty Munnattumugham is suspected of killing a 12-year-old girl whose body was found in a...

English cardinal says Synod should discuss decline in Confession

An English prelate has suggested that the Synod of Bishops should discuss the decline in use of the sacrament of Confession. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the retired Archbishop of...

Honduran cardinal foresees married couple heading Pontifical Council for Families

The chairman of the Council of Cardinals has suggested that a married couple should head a renewed Pontifical Council for Families. In an interview with the French daily La Croix, Cardinal Oscar...

Released Tuesday, Feb. 18

Bishops of India lament corruption, outline priorities

The bishops of India-- the nation that has more seminarians (15,363) and religious sisters (98,381) than any other country in the world-– issued a statement at the conclusion of their February...

Suicide bomber attacks Christian pilgrims in Egypt

A suicide bomber attacked a bus of South Korean Christians traveling from St. Catherine’s Monastery to Israel, killing three and wounding two dozen. Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, a Salafist jihadist...

Vatican official examines developments in relations with World Council of Churches, Baptists

In an article that appeared in the most recent English-language edition of L’Osservatore Romano, Father Gregory Fairbanks, an official of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity,...

Japanese bishop: road to recovery from tsunami is slow

A Japanese bishop has written a pastoral letter in which he noted that recovery from the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami is a slow process. “Much as I would like to say that with the passage...

Thousands march in Vietnam for Catholic lawyer’s release

Redemptorist priests in Hanoi and Saigon organized candlelight vigils for the release of Le Quoc Quan, a Catholic layman and noted human rights attorney who was imprisoned last year. At least 3,000...

Philippine bishops’ official rips government inefficiency

An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines strongly criticized President Benigno Aquino III’s government for its inefficiency, the Manila Bulletin reported. “Can we sue...

English bishop criticizes prenuptial agreements

Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury has criticized a proposal that would enshrine prenuptial agreements in civil law. “Prenuptial agreements may soon become enshrined in civil law on the...

Patriarch calls for ‘Chaldean league’ to unite Iraq’s lay Catholics

The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, has called for the formation of a “Chaldean League” to unite Catholic laity in a fragmented...

New Connecticut bishop reaches out to Voice of the Faithful

A new Connecticut bishop has reached out to Voice of the Faithful (VOTF), the lay organization formed in 2002 in the wake of the clerical sex abuse scandal. The organization’s events featured...

Pope, Council of Cardinals weigh future of Vatican bank

In their 2nd day of deliberations this week, Pope Francis and the Council of Cardinals heard a report on the Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works, and discussed the future of that...

Venezuelan bishops demand due process for anti-government protesters

The Catholic bishops of Venezuela have issued a call for “respect and the protection of human rights” as street protests have escalated, bringing the country to the brink of a political...

Cardinal Re: Church will not change teaching on divorced/remarried Catholics

An influential Italian cardinal has said that he sees no likelihood of a change in the Church’s teaching that Catholics who are divorced and remarried should not receive the Eucharist. “I don’t...

Released Wednesday, Feb. 19

Prelate asks employees of Catholic organizations to pray Divine Office at work every day

The archbishop of Singapore has urged the employees of all parishes, schools, and other Catholic institutions to gather to pray Lauds, Midday Prayer, and Vespers from the Liturgy of the Hours....

Cardinal criticizes House Republicans over failure to vote on immigration reform

Cardinal Roger Mahony has criticized the leadership of the House of Representatives for failing to hold a vote on immigration reform legislation. The Senate passed the Border Security, Economic...

Patriarch praises Kerry’s efforts for Mideast peace

In a meeting with a US State Department official, Patriarch Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, “spoke of his admiration for the courage of John Kerry and his tenacity in the peace...

Pope, Ukrainian Catholic leader appeal for peace

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), the largest Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, appealed for peace amid clashes between police and anti-government...

Nun sentenced to 3 years for breaking into government nuclear facility

A nun and two other peace activists have been sentenced to prison for breaking into a national security complex in Tennessee that houses much of the United States’ bomb-grade uranium. Sister...

Canadian government: Church is failing to pay promised settlements

The Canadian government is alleging that the 48 Canadian dioceses and religious orders that were a party to the 2006 Indian Residential Schools Settlement have collectively failed to abide by the...

Los Angeles abuse settlements reach $740 million

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has now spent over $740 million on clerical abuse settlements, the Los Angeles Times reported. Last week, the archdiocese paid $13 million to 17 people who alleged...

Sweeping new religious censorship in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan has enacted a sweeping new decree that tightens and formalizes its already strict religious censorship, according to the Forum 18 News Service. Under the decree, the possession or...

Leading English prelate denounces ‘discourse of fear’ on immigration

Archbishop Vincent Nicholas of Westminster has criticized the “discourse of fear” surrounding immigration, the Press Association reported. Politicians should “appeal to something more normal and...

Pope Francis confirms leadership of 2 curial departments

Three days before a consistory in which he will create 19 new cardinals, Pope Francis has confirmed the leadership of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches and the Pontifical Council for...

Pope Francis urges faithful to go to confession

Recalling that Christ instituted the Sacrament of Penance on Easter evening, Pope Francis devoted his Wednesday general audience to confession. Pope Francis noted that “forgiveness is not the...

Cardinals recommend overhaul of Vatican financial affairs

The Council of Cardinals has submitted a proposal for a thorough reorganization of the Vatican’s financial affairs. After three days of meetings, the eight cardinals advising Pope Francis on...

Preview of cardinals' meeting

At a briefing for reporters on February 19, Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, provided a preview of the first day of an extraordinary consistory of cardinals, which...

South Africa: Catholic newspaper urges voter involvement despite one-party rule

South Africa’s Catholic weekly, the Southern Cross, has urged citizens to vote in elections scheduled for May 8, "because the right to vote was won with the blood of those who fought for this...

Pope invites prison inmates to his residence

Pope Francis met on February 19 with a group of 19 Italian prison inmates, who were making a pilgrimage to the Vatican accompanied by prison guards. When the Pope heard that the prisoners were at...

Italian, Vatican officials meet to discuss Italy's future

Vatican officials met with Italian government representatives on February 18, in an annual session marking the 85th anniversary of the Lateran accords, which established the status of the Vatican...

Released Thursday, Feb. 20

San Francisco archbishop calls for passage of federal marriage amendment

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, the chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, offered strong support for...

Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop Gomez endorse forthcoming movie on Jesus

Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington and Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles are among the Christian leaders who have endorsed Son of God, a forthcoming movie on Jesus. “It is a joy to watch...

Deposition: Cardinal Mahony admits directing vicar not to release information to police

Cardinal Roger Mahony said in a deposition that he directed his vicar of clergy not to give police a list of altar boys who worked with a priest suspected of abuse, the Associated Press reported....

Diocesan official: Planned Parenthood employee cannot work for Catholic school

A Catholic high school in Montana is not renewing the contract of a coach who works for Planned Parenthood, the Associated Press reported. “Certainly being employed by Planned Parenthood, an...

‘Gay patient says Catholic chaplain refused him last rites’

A homosexual patient at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington alleged that an archdiocesan priest refused to administer the last rites to him. Father Brian Coelho, who declined comment...

Pope Francis addresses cardinals on the family as consistory begins

Pope Francis called upon the Church’s cardinals and cardinals-designate to direct their attention to “the beauty of the family and marriage” as they began their extraordinary consistory. “During...

Bishop criticizes Catholic politician who flip-flops on abortion

Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo has publicly criticized a Catholic state senator for abandoning his pro-life position. “When I first arrived in Buffalo, I was encouraged to learn of Senator...

Prelate: immigrants are the ‘new Irish in our midst’

Speaking at an immigration-reform event in Indianapolis, Archbishop Joseph Tobin said that contemporary immigrants are the “new Irish in our midst,” according to a report in Nuvo, an alternative...

Pope Francis: the lives of the elderly and disabled are precious

As the members of the Pontifical Academy of Life gathered for a workshop on aging and disability, Pope Francis lamented that the elderly and disabled can be victims of a “throw away...

Cardinals open consistory, focused on family

Family life was the focus of discussion as Pope Francis met on February 20 with the College of Cardinals, in a special consistory. Opening the two-day meeting, the Pope remarked that the family...

Oldest living nun celebrates 107th birthday at Vatican

An Italian nun celebrated her 107th birthday on February 20, attributing her longevity to “living in joy.” Sister Candida (Alma) Bellotti, who is believed to be the world’s oldest religious. A...

Elderly cardinal-elect will not attend February 22 consistory

Archbishop Loris Capovilla, who was named by Pope Francis to be elevated to the College of Cardinals on February 23, will not attend the Saturday consistory. Archbishop Capovilla, who is 98 years...

Released Friday, Feb. 21

USCCB committee chair urges Obama administration to agree to Mine Ban Treaty

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace has called upon the Obama administration to agree to the Ottawa Treaty, a 1997...

Pope sends 7-minute video message to Pentecostal gathering

Pope Francis has sent a seven-minute video message to a Pentecostal gathering sponsored by Kenneth Copeland Ministries. During the message, the Pope emphasized that Christians are brothers and...

Arizona legislature expands religious freedom protections

Over the opposition of gay advocacy organizations, both houses of the Arizona legislature have passed a measure expanding religious freedom protections in the state. The bill extends religious...

Members of Catholic ecumenical community take up residence at Lambeth Palace

The head of the Anglican Communion has welcomed four members of an ecumenical community as residents of Lambeth Palace. The invitation “was an amazing surprise for us, and we didn’t hesitate to...

Ukrainian bishop compares slain protestors to martyrs

A bishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church said that anti-government protestors who were killed by security forces are “martyrs,” according to a report from the Religious Information Service of...

‘With expectant joy,’ Ecumenical Patriarch looks forward to meeting with Pope Francis

The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, who holds a primacy of honor among Eastern Orthodox churches, said in a statement that he looks forward “with expectant joy” to his May meeting with Pope...

Canadian prelate decrees: no eulogies at funeral Masses

Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa has decreed that no eulogies are to be delivered at funeral Masses. “In the Christian funeral, we gather not to praise the deceased, but to pray for...

Pope praises Cardinal Kasper’s new book, greets Ukrainian cardinals

On the second day of the extraordinary consistory of cardinals, Pope Francis made brief remarks to the assembled cardinals and cardinals-designate following the celebration of Terce (Midmorning...

Pope Francis calls for renewed commitment to Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy

Pope Francis has issued a message on the occasion of a symposium devoted to the 50th anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred...

Cardinals discuss family in busy consistory sessions

Continuing two days of discussions on the family, the College of Cardinals had a busy day of talks on February 21, the director of the Vatican press office told reporters. As the cardinals took...

Pope appoints presidents for October Synod meeting

Pope Francis has appointed three co-presidents for the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops, which will concentrate on the family. Cardinals Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris, Luis Tagle of Manila,...

Cardinals, Pope join to condemn religious violence

The cardinals meeting in a consistory with Pope Francis released a statement on February 21 expressing concern about violations of religious freedom and denouncing all violence committed in the name...

Retreating rebels kill and loot as they leave Central African Republic

Members of the Seleka rebel group have engaged in killings, rape, and looting as they retreat from the Central African Republic into Chad, an Italian Carmelite priest has told Aid to the Church in...

Cardinal Pell recalls problems of liturgical translations after Vatican II

Writing in L’Osservatore Romano, Australian Cardinal George Pell reflects on difficulties with liturgical translations in the years following Vatican II. Citing Pope Paul VI (who in turn was...

Venezuelan cardinal urges government to respond to protests

Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas, has encouraged Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro to engage in open dialogue with anti-government protesters, to prevent a wider political crisis....

St. Paul archdiocese rejects claims that accused clergy were not listed

The Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis has disputed a report by Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), which had claimed that the archdiocese failed to disclose the names of all priests accused of sexual...

Pope places 'affectionate' call to outgoing Italian premier

Pope Francis made a private phone call to Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta as the Italian leader prepared to leave office. Letta—who was unseated by Matteo Renzi, an upstart member of his own...

Catholic University leaders rebut critics, defend Koch foundation grant

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, John Garvey and Andrew Abela—the president of Catholic University of America and dean of the business school, respectively—explain why they will not bow to...

Released Monday, Feb. 24

Brazilian president meets with Pope

Pope Francis received President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil in audience on the evening of February 20, the first day of the extraordinary consistory of cardinals. Rousseff traveled to Rome to attend...

Pope Francis creates 19 cardinals, says the Church needs their courage, prayer, compassion

At a ceremony attended by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis created 19 new cardinals. The ceremony took place in St. Peter’s Basilica on February 22, the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter...

Vatican’s Financial Information Authority signs accord with Australian, Cypriot counterparts

The Vatican’s Financial Information Authority (FIA) has signed a working agreement with its Australian and Cypriot counterparts, establishing formal procedures for cooperation in efforts to fight...

Pope exhorts cardinals to be holy and merciful, avoiding intrigue and gossip

Preaching at Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis told the members of the College of Cardinals who were present that they become part of the Church of Rome, “not a royal court.”...

Pope Francis: pastors are not masters but servants

During his Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on a passage from the First Letter to the Corinthians and called upon pastors to serve their flocks in Christ. St. Paul teaches that “the...

Cardinal Mahony admits mistakes in handling case of abusive visiting priest

Cardinal Roger Mahony, who served as archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985 to 2011, has admitted mishandling the case of Father Nicolas Aguilar-Rivera. In a deposition that was recently unsealed,...

Federal court rules against Notre Dame in HHS mandate case

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court’s decision denying the University of Notre Dame an injunction against the enforcement of the HHS mandate. In a 2-1 decision, the...

Congolese bishops lament ‘unspeakable violence’

The bishops of Katanga, a province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, have issued a pastoral letter lamenting the “unspeakable violence” perpetrated by rebels there. Agence France-Presse...

Cardinal Burke: Pope Francis has spoken unambiguously on abortion, contraception, marriage

Citing remarks made by Pope Francis, Cardinal Raymond Burke emphasized that Pope has spoken “unambiguously” in defense of Catholic teaching on abortion, contraception, euthanasia, and marriage....

Pope establishes new Vatican secretariat for economic affairs

In his first major structural reform of the Vatican bureaucracy, Pope Francis has created a new Secretariat for the Economy, which will supervise the financial affairs of all Vatican...

Catholic, Islamic leaders denounce 'infiltrators' stirring violence in churches, mosques of Central African Republic

A Catholic archbishop and a Muslim leader in the Central African Republic have issued a joint statement calling upon their people to curb the activities of “infiltrators” who are using churches and...

Synod survey results show much suffering among laity, prelate reports

Responses to a Vatican survey about family life have revealed “much suffering” among the faithful, the secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops reports. In preparation for the October meeting of...

Scottish priests file complaint with Vatican against Cardinal O'Brien

The Vatican is still investigating charges of homosexual misconduct by Cardinal Keith O’Brien, and the Scottish prelate could face a canonical trial, according to media accounts in...

Cardinals conclude 2-day discussion on family

A two-day meeting of the College of Cardinals concluded on Friday evening, February 21. During the entire meeting, a Vatican spokesman disclosed, a total of 69 cardinals had spoken about pastoral...

Haitian president meets with Pope Francis

President Michael Joseph Martelly of Haiti met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on February 25, for a discussion that centered on the need for reconciliation and reconstruction in the Caribbean...

Russian Orthodox prelate decries political pressure on Church in Ukraine

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow has made a plea for peace in Ukraine, and denounced “attempts to use political power to resolve the question of the Church in Ukraine.” The Russian...

Cardinal Dolan anticipates more negative publicity

Cardinal Timothy Dolan has warned the faithful of his New York archdiocese that he may be hit by some negative publicity soon. In a letter issued last week, the cardinal said that the St. Louis...

Vatican newspaper welcomes equal female presence in new Italian cabinet

The Vatican newspaper has praised the new Italian government led by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi for giving women eight of the 16 posts in the cabinet. L’Osservatore Romano said that the equal...

Released Tuesday, Feb. 25

Vatican expects budget shortfall, adopts hiring freeze

Expecting a 2014 budget shortfall, the Vatican’s Secretary of State has directed all Vatican offices to begin a hiring and wage freeze. When employees leave, current workers will be asked to...

Court rules public university may discipline professor for religious speech

A federal district court has ruled that public universities may discipline professors for religious speech. In 2009, a graduate student at the University of Southern Mississippi, referring to a...

Archbishop Gomez decries failure to pass immigration reform, suggests intermediate steps

Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles criticized the House of Representatives for failing to take up the issue of immigration reform and called for the adoption of two intermediate measures. The...

Bomb explodes at church in Zanzibar

After a lull in attacks on Christians in Zanzibar, a bomb has exploded near the Anglican cathedral. No one was injured in the explosion, the Reuters news agency reported. The island, whose...

Patriarch: offer Lenten prayer, fasting so that Christians may stay in Iraq

The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, has asked the faithful to pray and fast in Lent “that Iraqi Christians will remain here in...

Vatican newspaper publishes interview with Alice von Hildebrand

L’Osservatore Romano has published an interview with retired professor Alice von Hildebrand. During the course of the interview, she recounted her philosophical association with, and subsequent...

Largest Catholic health care system has $17 billion in revenue

Ascension Health Ministries, a Catholic health care system formed from the 1999 merger of the Daughters of Charity National Health System and the Sisters of St. Joseph Health System, has become the...

Pope Francis writes letter to families

Pope Francis has written a letter to families asking them to pray for the upcoming Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will be devoted to “pastoral challenges to the family...

Vatican leads world in per-capita wine consumption?

The Vatican city-state consumes more wine per capita than any other country in the world, according to a study by the California-based Wine Institute. The study found that wine consumption at the...

War is always a scandal, Pope tells congregation

War should always scandalize the faithful, Pope Francis said in his homily at a Mass on February 25. The Pope remarked that as Europe recalls World War I, we are appalled by the number of...

Theologians approve miracle attributed to Pope Paul VI

A panel of theologians has approved a miracle through the intercession of Pope Paul VI, according to Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa. The theologians examined the miracle for the...

Released Wednesday, Feb. 26

Caritas, UN sponsor conference on AIDS

Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies, has joined UNAIDS in sponsoring a conference devoted to increasing access to anti-HIV treatment. Speakers...

Pope Benedict denounces ‘absurd’ speculations about his resignation

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has denounced “absurd speculations” about his resignation that have appeared in the Italian media and on the Internet. Pope Benedict’s words came in a reply to a letter...

Ukrainian Catholic leader fears neighboring nation may provoke civil war

In an evident reference to Russia, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has told Vatican Radio that “the danger that one of our neighbors will provoke a civil war has not blown...

Judge approves new settlements in child-porn lawsuits involving Kansas City priest

The Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph will pay $1.3 million to settle an additional lawsuit against a priest who has been sentenced to 50 years in prison on child pornography charges. The...

Prelate: extremists in Libya are targeting Christians

The apostolic vicar of Tripoli has told the Fides news agency that the Libya extremists who have become stronger in the wake of the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi are targeting Christians. “It is...

Voice of America profiles French missionary order

Voice of America, an official broadcast outlet of the US government, has published a positive news story on the Paris Foreign Missions Society, a missionary order founded in 1658. The order...

Pontifical delegate praises Legionaries of Christ as general chapter concludes

Cardinal Velasio de Paolis, the pontifical delegate appointed by Pope Benedict to oversee the reform of the Legionaries of Christ, praised the work of the community’s extraordinary general chapter...

Pope appeals for calm in Venezuela

At the conclusion of his February 26 general audience, Pope Francis appealed for peace in Venezuela amid growing civil unrest there. “I sincerely hope that violence and hostility will cease as...

Pope Francis: Anointing of the Sick evokes parable of the Good Samaritan

Speaking before a crowd of 50,000, Pope Francis devoted his February 26 general audience to the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. “At the moment of pain and sickness we are not alone,” Pope...

Pope, officials of Synod of Bishops discuss results of questionnaire on family

Officials of the Synod of Bishops met on February 24 and 25 to discuss the results of the questionnaire on marriage and family life sent to the world’s episcopal conferences. Pope Francis took part...

CDF head sees liberation theology strengthened by elimination of Marxist influence

Introducing a new book on liberation theology, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) said that the elimination of Marxist influences had produced an important...

Calls for open discussion of Cardinal Kasper's address on theology of the family

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, Germany, has suggested that the Vatican should release the full text of a lengthy address delivered by Cardinal Walter Kasper during the first session of last...

Benedict XVI tells Maronite prelate: I pray daily for Lebanon

Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI has assured the leader of the Maronite Catholic Church that he prays daily for Lebanon, the AsiaNews service reports. Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai met with the...

Released Thursday, Feb. 27

Christian leaders condemn ‘mass incarceration’ in the US

Citing a report that states that the United States has “25% of the world’s imprisoned people,” an ecumenical organization whose members include Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox church leaders...

Arizona governor vetoes expansion of religious freedom protections

Following intense pressure from gay advocacy organizations and some political and business leaders, Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona vetoed a bill that would have expanded religious freedom protections in...

Survey: majority of Americans, including Catholics, support same-sex marriage

53% of Americans-- including 58% of white Catholics and 56% of Latino Catholics-- now support same-sex marriage, according to a survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute. In...

Report finds persecution of Christians, other minorities on the rise in Indonesia

An organization that advocates on behalf of persecuted Christians has issued a 99-page report documenting rising religious intolerance in Indonesia. The Southeast Asian nation of 251 million is 86%...

Syrian rebel group demands tribute from Christians

A Syrian rebel group has issued a draconian decree against Christians in Ar-Raqqah, a city of 220,000 that it took over last year. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which operates in Iraq...

Venezuela’s bishops appeal for reconciliation, dialogue

Amid continued civil strife in Venezuela, the nation’s bishops pleaded for dialogue and reconciliation. “The students and all the people have the right to protest as stated in our Constitution,...

1st priestly ordination of married Maronite man in the United States

For the first time, the Maronite Catholic Church will ordain a married man to the priesthood in the United States, the St. Louis archdiocesan newspaper reported. The ordination of Deacon Wissam...

Pope Francis describes the bishops the Church needs

Pope Francis met on February 27 with the members of the Congregation for Bishops, and spoke at some length about the characteristics of the leaders the Church needs. In the process of appointing...

Scandal kills the faith, Pope warns congregation

“Scandal kills,” Pope Francis warned his congregation in his homily at a Mass celebrated in the Domus Sanctae Marthae on February 27. Christians whose lives contradict the principles of their...

Closer communion always serves the Church, Pope says

Pope Francis met on February 27 with a group of bishops who are supporters of the Focolare movement, and encouraged them to ensure that the strengths of the movement are “put to the benefit of the...

Orthodox prelate sees balance of Synod, primacy as keys to ecumenical progress

A leading Orthodox prelate has said that differences between Constantinople and Moscow are threatening the process of ecumenical dialogue with Rome. Metropolitan Ioannis Zizioulas of Pergamon,...

Released Friday, Feb. 28

Holy See to take part in 2015 world’s fair

The Holy See will join 139 other nations in taking part in the next world’s fair, officially known as Expo Milan 2015. The theme of the fair, which will take place from May to October, is “Feeding...

Grenade thrown at Gaza’s Catholic parish

A grenade was thrown at the only Catholic parish in Gaza and exploded in the church’s courtyard. The church was not damaged in the attack, and there were no injuries, according to multiple media...

Virginia legislature passes bill protecting student religious expression

The Virginia legislature has passed legislation that would permit students to “voluntarily pray or engage in religious activities or religious expression before, during, and after the school day in...

Turkey restores land to ancient monastery

The Turkish government has restored 60 acres of land to Mor Gabriel, a Syrian Orthodox monastery founded in 397, according to a report in Hürriyet Daily News, an Istanbul-based newspaper. “We are...

Ukrainian Catholic leader: nation’s sovereignty must be respected

Stating that “the danger has not yet passed,” the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church called for respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation. “In some regions of...

Report: Pope Francis meets with former Russian prime minister

Pope Francis met with former Russian Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin on February 26, the Interfax news agency reported. “We discussed the support of Christians in the Middle East, the need for...

Priest saved lives of 700 Muslims in Central African Republic

A newly ordained priest saved the lives of 700 Muslims in Boali, a town of 9,000 in the Central African Republic, according to a report in The Globe and Mail, one of Canada’s leading...

Pope's prayer intentions for March 2014

The Vatican has released the prayer intentions of Pope Francis for March 2014. The Pope's general intention is: "that all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women." His intention...

Introduce young people to Christ, Pope urges Commission for Latin America

In a February 28 meeting with members of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, Pope Francis spoke on the importance of providing pastoral care for young people “who live in conditions of...

Mississippi: black babies aborted outnumber whites by 2 to 1

More than twice as many black babies as white babies are aborted in Mississippi, the CNSNews service has found. Using federal statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, CNSNews reported...

Argentine inter-religious pilgrims meet with Pope

Pope Francis met privately on February 28 with a inter-religious group from Argentina that had recently completed a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The Argentine group was composed of 45 people,...

Philippines: new cardinal pledges to continue search for peace in Mindanao

A Filipino prelate, newly elevated to the College of Cardinals, has pledged to continue his work for peace in the troubled province of Mindanao, the AsiaNews service reports. Cardinal Orlando...

Christian leaders of former Soviet republics join in plea for peace in Ukraine

Christian leaders from more than a dozen countries formerly belonging to the Soviet bloc have joined in an appeal for peace in Ukraine, the AsiaNews service reports. As tensions rise in Ukraine,...

Pope: When marriages break down, share the pain

In his homily at a Mass on February 28, Pope Francis said that Christians should reach out to help those whose marriages have broken down, without engaging in “special pleading” about their...

Rome's fiscal crisis could complicate plans for canonizations of John Paul II, John XXIII

A severe fiscal crisis in the city of Rome could create enormous problems for Vatican officials planning the April 27 ceremonies for the canonizations of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII. Newly...

'Slight fever' forces Pope to cancel appearance

Suffering from mild flu-like symptoms, Pope Francis cancelled a scheduled visit with Rome’s seminarians on Friday evening, February 28. Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press...

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