Stories for April 2014

Released Wednesday, Apr. 2

Nigerian cardinal criticizes role of sharia, says Muslim leaders must ‘rein in their mad dogs’

Nigeria’s leading prelate has briefed the German Bishops’ Conference on religion and violence in Nigeria, particularly the violence committed by members of the Islamist terrorist movement Boko...

Historic Sinai monastery criticized as threat to Egypt’s security

A retired Egyptian general has accused a historic monastery of being a threat to national security, and a Salafist weekly newspaper alleged that the monastery collaborates with Israeli intelligence...

In India, AIDS patients turn to Catholic hospitals

In the southeastern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, where 500,000 people suffer from HIV and AIDS, patients with AIDS have encountered discrimination in state-run hospitals and have turned to...

Setback for Archdiocese of Washington in HHS mandate case

The United States Supreme Court has decided not to hear appeals of judgments in HHS mandate cases involving the Archdiocese of Washington and Priests for Life. “The two cases in which review was...

Russian Orthodox leader criticizes transgender ideology

In a meeting with Russian business leaders, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church criticized transgenderism. “The fact that marriage is considered to be between a man and a woman and that...

Prelate criticizes Obama administration over deportations of immigrants

Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati has issued a statement criticizing both the Obama administration and the US Congress for their handling of the immigration issue. Calling for “the...

New Jersey prelate to lead Syrian Orthodox Church

A bishop who has ministered in New Jersey since 1996 has been elected the head of the Syrian Orthodox Church. Born in Syria in 1965, Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II Karim, though Syrian Orthodox,...

'Marriage is beautiful, must be protected,' Pope tells weekly audience

In sacramental marriage, Pope Francis told his weekly audience on April 2, a man and woman are “invested invested with a genuine mission, that of making visible, starting with simple and ordinary...

Pope John XXIII enjoyed occasional 'escape' from Vatican, aide reveals

A Vatican aide who served in the papal household under Pope John XXIII has disclosed that “Good Pope John” would occasionally make secret unscheduled trips out of the Vatican, driving around Rome...

Ukrainian Catholic leader creates jurisdiction in eastern Ukraine

Amid continued tensions between Russia and Ukraine, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has created a new ecclesiastical jurisdiction headquartered near the Russian border. Major...

Ukrainian prelate raps Moscow patriarchate for failure to condemn Russian aggression in Crimea

Catholic World Report has provided a translation of an interview in which Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the leader of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, speaks of the role that Church has played...

Vatican prelate calls for solidarity with autism sufferers, family members

On World Autism, Day, April 2, the president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care has released a statement calling for support both for those suffering from autism and for their families and...

Vietnamese Catholics driven from homes as government seizes land for development

Catholics in Vietnam’s Con Dau district have been driven from their homes to make room for a tourist resort, the AsiaNews service reports. The Catholics of Con Dau have been subject to seizures...

Italian protester coaxed off roof of Vatican basilica, arrested

Marcello Di Finizio, who had climbed out onto the dome of St. Peter’s basilica on March 30 to protest European Union policies, spent April 2 in a Vatican prison cell after he was finally coaxed...

Papal support for reconstruction in earthquake-damaged Italian region

Pope Francis has sent a message of support for the people of Italy’s L’Aquila region, recovering from the earthquake that devastated the region 5 years ago. During his regular public audience on...

Released Thursday, Apr. 3

Pope Francis canonizes 3 saints; 13 other sainthood causes advance

In an April 3 audience with the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis canonized three blesseds by the process of “equivalent canonization.” The three are Blessed...

Papal telegram for Chilean earthquake victims

Pope Francis has sent a telegram of condolence to the president of Chile’s episcopal conference following an 8.2-magnitude earthquake near Iquique, a city in the northern part of the...

‘Reconciliation and healing of wounds’ remain Church’s priority in Rwanda, says Pope

Two decades after an estimated 800,000 people perished in the Rwandan genocide, Pope Francis the nation’s bishops that “reconciliation and the healing of wounds certainly remain the priority of the...

Meeting between Pope Francis, Queen Elizabeth

The Holy See Press Office announced that Pope Francis is receiving Queen Elizabeth II in audience on April 3. “The Queen was due to come to Rome in 2013 at the private invitation of President...

Pope receives prime minister of Cape Verde

Pope Francis received Prime Minister José Maria Neves of Cape Verde in audience on April 3. Located in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa, the island nation of 525,000, once a Portuguese...

Bishop urges Senate to declassify report on CIA interrogation, torture

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace has called for the public release of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s...

Holy Land bishops: some Muslims, along with Christians, face persecution in Middle East

The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land has issued a statement emphasizing that Christians are not the only persons are suffering persecution in the Middle East. The Catholic bishops...

Charlotte diocesan, school officials apologize for controversial presentation on homosexuality

Two weeks after a Nashville Dominican nun spoke to students at one of North Carolina’s largest Catholic schools and delivered a presentation critical of homosexuality, diocesan and school officials...

Zambia's president threatens bishop who pressed for constitutional reform

Zambia’s President Michael Sata has issued a threat to a Catholic bishop who allowed proponents of constitutional reform to organize a meeting on church property. Sata reportedly said that he...

Venezuelan bishops rap 'totalitarian' tendencies of Maduro regime

The Catholic bishops of Venezuela have accused the government of “brutal repression” of political protesters, rekindling a long-term conflict between the Catholic hierarchy and the...

Most Americans back death penalty, but support falling, poll reports

American public support for capital punishment is falling, according to a Pew Research survey, although a majority still back the death penalty. The Pew poll, conducted in 2013, found that 55% of...

Catholic patriarch condemns vandals' attacks on churches in Holy Land

The Latin-rite Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem has strongly condemned an attack by vandals on a Catholic shrine near Jerusalem, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) reports. Archbishop Fouad Twal said...

Columnist decries failure to allow tax relief for parochial schools in New York

Writing in the New York Post, Seth Lipsky has lamented the failure of the New York state legislature to approve tax credits that would help parents of children in parochial schools. The proposal...

Archbishop's deposition ends 'heatedly' in Minnesota abuse lawsuit

The deposition of Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul-Minneapolis ended “abruptly” after a lengthy session on April 2, with an attorney for sex-abuse victims charging that the prelate walked out...

Striking workers return to Israeli foreign ministry, easing concerns on planning for papal visit

Workers in Israel’s foreign ministry have ended a strike, easing concerns about the May visit to the Holy Land by Pope Francis. The Israeli diplomats’ strike had slowed preparations for the papal...

Italian bishops' leader raps secessionist movement

The president of the Italian bishops’ conference called for national unity and condemned violence after the arrest of 24 secessionists on terrorism and subversion charges. Italian police said...

Prayer is like talking to a friend, Pope tells congregation

In his homily at a Mass on April 3, Pope Francis said that prayer should be “just like talking to a friend.” Commenting on the day’s Scripture reading, the Pope said that although Moses argued...

Released Friday, Apr. 4

Pocket-sized Gospels to be distributed at Pope’s Sunday Angelus address

Stating that the Pope’s charity is “not only material, but also spiritual,” the Holy See Press Office has announced that seminarians, Missionaries of Charity, and other volunteers will distribute a...

US House commission holds hearing on religious persecution in Vietnam

The United States House of Representatives’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission has conducted a hearing on religious persecution in Vietnam. The bipartisan commission, once known as the...

Mississippi governor signs religious freedom legislation

Gov. Phil Bryant has signed the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which provides in some cases a legal means of redress for “a person whose religious exercise has been burdened” by...

South African prelate laments excessive spending by nation’s president

Amid reports that President Jacob Zuma of South Africa improperly spent $23 million in public funds on improvements to his residence, the head of the regional episcopal conference said that “we...

Syracuse: former parish to become mosque, crosses to be cut off

The Syracuse Landmark Preservation Board has approved a request to cut the crosses off a former Catholic parish and turn the historic neo-Gothic structure into a mosque, according to an Associated...

CEO resigns following outrage over support for marriage initiative

Brendan Eich, inventor of the JavaScript computer programming language, resigned as CEO of Mozilla Corporation amid anger over his support of Proposition 8, the 2008 California ballot initiative...

Papal message to new Syrian Orthodox patriarch

Pope Francis has written a message to Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II Karim, the new head of the Syrian Orthodox Church. “It is my prayer that Your Holiness may be a spiritual father for your people...

Vatican investigation focuses on Cardinal O'Brien, misconduct in Scottish archdiocese

The Vatican is conducting a full investigation into charges of sexual misconduct by clergy in Archdiocese of Edinburgh. Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the former head of the Scottish archdiocese,...

Illinois bishop backs priest who refused Communion to pro-abortion lawmaker

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, has given his support to a priest who refused to administer Communion to Senator Dick Durbin. After a priest of the Springfield archdiocese...

Recognize gypsies as ethnic minority group, Vatican prelate suggests

Gypsies “have the right to be recognized at least as ethnic minorities in the countries where they live since they are the largest minority in the European Union,” the president of the Pontifical...

Hostility, persecution are natural for Christians, Pope says in homily

Christians should not be surprised when they face hostility and persecution, because that “is the way of the Lord,” Pope Francis told his congregation at Mass on April 4. Reflecting on the plots...

Cardinal George: cancer treatment may prevent trip to Rome for Popes' canonizations

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, who is under treatment for cancer, has disclosed that he may be unable to attend the canonizations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. Cardinal George told a...

Minnesota law-enforcement agencies have not heard from archdiocese, radio station reports

Although the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis has said that it had offered 50 different law-enforcement agenceis an opportunity to review files of priests accused of sexual abuse, Minnesota...

Pope speaks with youth about inner peace, troubled culture

In an unscripted interview with young people from Belgium, Pope Francis said that “the poor are at the center of Jesus’ Gospel.” Responding to a question about his concern for the poor, the Pope...

Bishop calls Bosnia-Herzegovina an 'artificial state'

A Catholic bishop has referred to Bosnia-Herzegovina as an “artificial state” and “a country to flee from if possible,” the ANSA news service reports. Bishop Pero Sudar, an auxiliary of the...

Vatican to host conference on human trafficking

The Vatican will host a conference on efforts to combat human trafficking, to take place at the Academy of Science on April 9 and 10. The conference, chaired by Cardinal Vincent Nichols of...

Released Monday, Apr. 7

Papal preacher devotes Lenten sermon to St. Leo the Great

In his April 4 sermon to the Pope and the members of the Roman Curia, Father Raniero Cantalamessa preached about St. Leo the Great’s contribution to Catholic teaching that Jesus Christ is one divine...

Liberia's president meets with Pope

Pope Francis received President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia in audience on April 5. The West African nation of 4.0 million, founded by freed US slaves, is 78% Protestant, 8% Catholic, and...

Pope to visit 3 Italian dioceses

Pope Francis will make pastoral visits to three Italian dioceses this summer, according to a Vatican Radio report. On June 21, the Pope will visit the Diocese of Cassano all'Jonio, which is...

Consultant named for potential APSA reorganization

The Secretariat for the Economy, headed by Cardinal George Pell, has announced that an Italian business professor has been named interim special consultant to the extraordinary section of the...

Mayors are called to be 'mediators,' says Pontiff

In a brief April 5 address to Italian mayors, Pope Francis said that mayors are called to be “mediators” in the midst of their people's needs. Rather than corrupt “intermediaries” who exploit...

Jesus calls us out of the tomb of our sin, says Pope

In his April 6 Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel account of the raising of Lazarus (Jn. 11:1-45). “Christ is not resigned to the sepulchers that we have constructed with our...

Pope Francis visits Roman parish, laments abortion

Pope Francis spent three hours visiting a parish in Rome's Magliana neighborhood on April 6. Before hearing confessions and celebrating Mass, Pope Francis met with different groups from the...

Pope Francis will not close Vatican bank, reaffirms its mission

Pope Francis will not close the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), commonly known as the Vatican bank, and has reaffirmed “the importance of the IOR’s mission for the good of the Catholic...

Missionary priest killed in Homs, Syria

A Dutch Jesuit priest who had been sheltering Syrian Christians was shot and killed, execution-style, in Homs on April 7. Father Frans van der Lugt, who had lived in Syria for 50 years, was...

Atlanta's Archbishop Gregory will sell new residence

Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, Georgia, has announced plans to sell his new residence. The archbishop, who came under criticism for spending over $2 million to build a new residence after...

Priests, nun kidnapped in Cameroon; Boko Haram suspected

Two missionary priests and a nun were kidnapped in Cameroon on April 4, and Church officials fear that they may have been abducted by forces of Boko Haram, the terrorist group operating mainly in...

AP reporter tells students: Pope is a 'conservative Catholic'

Speaking to a student audience on North Carolina, AP’s Vatican correspondent characterized Pope Francis as “a conservative Catholic.” Nicole Winfield told a crowd at Elon University that they...

Denver archdiocese defends new $6.5 million meeting center, residence for archbishop

The Archdiocese of Denver had defended plans for a $6.5 million construction project to build an archdiocesan center and a new residence for Archbishop Samuel Aquila. The Holy Trinity Center...

Abuse victims protest Milwaukee archdiocesan plan for reorganization after bankruptcy

A restructuring plan offered by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, which is seeking to emerge from bankruptcy, has been condemned by a group representing sex-abuse victims as “a morally repugnant attempt...

Brazilian organizers of World Youth Day receive papal thanks, encouragement

Pope Francis met on April 7 with the organizing committee for the 28th World Youth Day events held last July in Rio de Janeiro, and offered his thanks for their efforts. The Pope told the...

Teach prayer, fidelity, chastity, Pope urges bishops of Tanzania

Meeting on April 7 with a group of bishops from Tanzania who were concluding their ad limina visits to Rome, Pope Francis said that Church leaders in Africa should “foster the missionary imperative”...

New York abortion clinics rarely inspected, Post finds

Abortion clinics in New York are rarely inspected by public-health officials, the New York Post reports. Of the 25 abortion clinics listed by the public-health department, eight were never...

Released Tuesday, Apr. 8

Jordan’s king meets with Pope

Pope Francis received King Abdullah II of Jordan in audience at the Domus Sanctae Marthae on the afternoon of April 7. The Pontiff will celebrate Mass at a stadium in Amman, Jordan’s capital, at...

Supreme Court declines appeal of ruling on Christian photographer and same-sex wedding

The United States Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of a New Mexico court’s ruling that it is illegal for a photography business owned by a Christian to refuse to photograph a same-sex...

Pakistani Christian couple sentenced to death on blasphemy charges

A Pakistani Christian couple has been sentenced to death on blasphemy charges, according to multiple media reports. Emmanuel and Shagufta Shafqat Kausar of Gojra were found guilty of sending text...

Philippine high court upholds reproductive health law

The Supreme Court of the Philippines has upheld the constitutionality of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 but struck down some of the act’s provisions, according to...

English cardinal, Anglican primate urge prayer, service on behalf of the poor

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster and Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury have launched a weeklong initiative of prayer for, and service to, the poor. “It started when we had a roundtable...

Ukrainian Catholic leader reconsecrates nation to Mary’s protection

On April 6, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church renewed the consecration of Ukraine to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk did so “because...

Pope highlights importance of Synod of Bishops

Pope Francis has named Msgr. Fabio Fabene, undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops since February, a bishop. In a letter to Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops,...

Survey finds rise in number of 'stay-at-home mothers' in America

The proportion of American women not working outside the home has risen sharply in the past decade, the Pew Research Center reports. The number of American women who stayed home had dropped...

Argentine prelate defends baptism of lesbian's child, raps media coverage

An Argentine archbishop has criticized media coverage of the baptism of a child who is being raised by lesbians. Archbishop Carlos Nanez of Cordoba said that the baptism of Umma Azul on April 5...

Cathedral rector removed following abuse allegation

The rector of the cathedral in Scranton, Pennsylvania, has been removed from ministry following an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. In 1998, Father Phillip Altavilla allegedly abused a...

Forgiveness of sins comes only from Jesus, not from our conduct, Pope reminds congregation

“Christianity is not a philosophical doctrine,” Pope Francis told his congregation at Mass on April 8. “It’s not a program for life survival, or education, or peacemaking.” “Christianity is a...

Islamic censors allow 'Noah' into Egypt

Muslim censors have ruled that the film Noah, directed by Darren Aronofsky, can be shown in Egypt because it does not offend Islam. Noah has been banned from showings in Morocco, Qatar, Bahrain,...

Ontario Catholic schools cannot require students to attend Mass, court rules

Catholic schools in Ontario cannot require students to attend Mass, the Ontario Superior Court has ruled. Catholic high schools in Ontario are at times required to accept non-Catholic students,...

In Central African Republic, government breakdown leaves Church as only viable institution

The Catholic Church is the only institution still functioning in the Central African Republic, Archbishop Samuel Kleda of Douala, Cameroon has said. “The state no longer exists,” said Archbishop...

Released Wednesday, Apr. 9

Pope Francis to celebrate Holy Thursday Mass at center for disabled

Pope Francis will celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday evening at a rehabilitation center for the disabled, according to a Vatican Radio report. St. Mary of Providence Center,...

Prelates urge participation in March for Marriage

Bishop Richard Malone, the chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, the chairman of the...

DC Courtyard of the Gentiles initiative features hip hop concert, Cokie Roberts

The Courtyard of the Gentiles, the Pontifical Council for Culture's outreach to nonbelievers, is hosting “Faith, Culture, and the Common Good” at Georgetown University. “In the US, political...

Moscow patriarch compares Ukrainian protests to Russian Revolution

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has compared the Euromaidan protest in Ukraine, which led to the resignation of a pro-Russian government, to the Russian Revolution of 1917, which led to the...

Cardinal Delly, former Chaldean patriarch, dead at 86

Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, who led the Chaldean Catholic Church from 2003 to 2012, has died in a San Diego hospital, according to a Fides news service report. Born in 1927, Cardinal Delly was...

Priest murdered in Nicaragua, served in California parish

A Nicaraguan priest who ministered in California from 2008 to 2011 was murdered at his parish in Nicaragua. Father Juan Francisco Blandón Meza, 42, was speaking with a woman who had come to him...

Pope Francis begins weekly audiences on gifts of the Holy Spirit

Pope Francis has begun a new series of Wednesday general audiences devoted to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, Pope Francis said, is himself the gift of God, and he in turn...

Cardinal George will not attend canonizations, suggests beginning search for successor

Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George has announced that he will not travel to Rome for the canonizations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II later this month. The cardinal, who is undergoing...

Released Thursday, Apr. 10

Pope laments Jesuit's murder, issues new plea for peace in Syria

At the conclusion of his April 9 general audience, Pope Francis issued a new appeal for peace in Syria. “Last Monday Father Frans van der Lugt, a Dutch Jesuit brother aged 75, was assassinated in...

$24.5M donated to typhoon relief in US special collections

Special collections undertaken in the dioceses of the United States to aid the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan have raised $24.5 million, according to the United States Conference of Catholic...

Opponent of proposed religious garb ban wins Quebec election

An opponent of a proposed ban on religious garb has been elected premier of Quebec. “Ahead of the vote, [Philippe] Couillard said that he opposed the ban on religious symbols for public sector...

Pakistani report: 700 Christian women kidnapped yearly, forced into Muslim marriages

A coalition of organizations, including the Pakistani bishops' justice and peace commission, has found that 700 Christian girls and women, and 300 Hindu girls and women, are kidnapped each year, are...

Ukraine's Roman-rite bishops support nation's territorial integrity

The Roman-rite bishops of Ukraine have issued a statement supporting the nation's territorial integrity in the face of recent Russian actions. 10% of Ukrainians are Catholic, and the nation has...

Vatican conference on human trafficking

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences is hosting a two-day conference on combating human trafficking. The conference, organized by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, features...

Archdiocesan data breach leads to identity theft, false tax returns

A data breach of the Archdiocese of Portland’s computer systems has led to the filing of fraudulent tax returns, according to local media reports. “A number of employees and volunteers of the...

Do theology on your knees, Pope tells students at Gregorian University

The study of theology is “fruitful only if it is done with an open mind and on one’s knees,” Pope Francis said in an April 10 address to students at the Gregorian University in Rome. In his talk...

Pope denounces 'scourge' of human trafficking, hails joint efforts against it

Human trafficking is “an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the Body of Christ,” Pope Francis said in an April 10 address to participants in the Second International...

Italian court overturns law against donated sperm, eggs

Italy’s Constitutional Court has overturned a law that prohibited a ban on the use of donated sperm and eggs for human reproduction. The lawyers who challenged the Italian law hailed the ruling...

In troubled Indian state, Christian minority hopes elections will bring government devoted to justice

Christians in India’s troubled Kandhamal region are worried about the outcome of elections, but “they believe in democracy and the power of the vote,” Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar...

Italian Catholic newspaper raps film 'Noah'

An Italian Catholic newspaper has criticized the film Noah as "ecologically and vaguely New Age," saying that the movie misses the specifically religious theme of the Biblical story. Avvenire is...

Catholics in Crimea isolated, fear losses

Catholics living in the Crimea have been cut off from their co-religionists in Ukraine since Russia seized the province, a bishop serving in Crimea has reported to Aid to the Church in Need...

Cardinal Dolan angry after legislators renege on tax credits for private schools

Cardinal Timothy Dolan has written to 70,000 families in the New York archdiocese, expressing bitter disappointment that the state legislature did not approve tax credits for parents of children in...

Pharisees show 'tragedy of the closed mind,' Pope says

Pope Francis cautioned against a “dictatorship of a narrow line of thought” in his homily at a Mass on April 10. Reflecting on the disputes between Jesus and the Pharisees, the Pope said that the...

Venezuela asks Cardinal Parolin to help mediate talks to end political protests

The government of Venezuela has asked the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to serve as a mediator in negotiations with opposition leaders to end a political crisis. The...

Argentine vigilantes forming lynch parties to fight drug gangs, bishop fears

Bishop Juan Ruben Martinez of Posadas, Argentina, has called attention to a disturbing outbreak of vigilante violence against suspected criminals, the Fides news service reports. Bishop Martinez...

Released Friday, Apr. 11

Pope urges Venezuelan government, opposition leaders to become 'true builders of peace'

Pope Francis is urging Venezuelan government and opposition leaders to foster mutual respect and focus on the common good as they begin nationally televised talks. “I am aware of the...

State Department, bishops to collaborate in fight against human trafficking

Secretary of State John Kerry has announced that the State Department and the US bishops are collaborating in the fight against human trafficking. “I remember when I went to the Vatican, just the...

Ukrainian Church leaders direct priests to stay out of political campaigns

As Ukraine prepares for national elections on May 25, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has directed priests to distance themselves from partisan politics. A new document, “Instructions on the...

Annual survey finds that fewer Americans view the Bible as sacred

An annual survey conducted by the Barna Group and the American Bible Society has found that increasing numbers of Americans view the Bible as “just another book.” 19% of survey respondents...

Cardinal welcomes 1st state visit of Irish president to UK

Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, has issued a statement welcoming the first state visit of an Irish president to the United Kingdom. “The historic events...

USCCB advises 'attentiveness' to local Girl Scout programs

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth has conducted a dialogue with the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and issued a non-binding...

Pope Francis emphasizes: the life of the unborn is 'sacred and inviolable'

In an April 11 audience, Pope Francis thanked Italian pro-life leaders for “promoting and defending human life from its conception.” “We know human life is sacred and inviolable,” the Pope said....

SSPX priest indicted on charges of rape, torture

A priest of the Society of St. Pius X has been indicted and jailed on charges of rape and torture, according to French media reports. The Society, which is not in full communion with the Holy...

Italian court recognizes a same-sex marriage, stirring new controversy

An Italian court has recognized a same-sex marriage, rousing new hopes among gay-rights activists for a change in the country’s law. The court in Grosseto granted recognition to the union of a...

Orthodox Jews plan Passover sacrifice on Jerusalem's Temple Mount

An Orthodox Jewish group is planning to offer sacrifice on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for Passover next week. The group, Hozrim El Ha-Har, has told members to gather on Monday, April 14,...

Satan is real, Pope reminds congregation

The devil is a reality, Pope Francis reminded worshippers at a Mass on April 11. “The devil is here, even in the 21st century,” the Pope said in his homily. “And we mustn’t be naïve,...

No turning back in fight against child abuse, Pope vows

The Church “will not take one step backward” in efforts to punish those who abuse children, Pope Francis promised in an April 11 address to the International Catholic Child Bureau (BICE). The...

German appeals court affirms conviction of breakaway bishop for Holocaust denial

A German court has denied Bishop Richard Williamson’s appeal of his conviction for denying the Holocaust. The traditionalist bishop was convicted in 2010 for statements he made in a Swedish...

Falling fertility rates are cause for alam, Vatican mission alerts UN

The Vatican’s representative at the UN has called attention to falling fertility rates around the world, saying that they “should be a great cause for alarm.” Citing a report from the UN’s...

Parents protest speaker's talk on morality at another Catholic high school

For the 2nd time in recent weeks, parents of students at a Catholic high school are protesting that a speaker’s presentation on Catholic morality was harsh and insensitive. Parents of students at...

Released Monday, Apr. 14

British academic named head of Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences

Pope Francis has named Margaret Archer as president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Archer succeeds Mary Ann Glendon, 75, the Harvard law professor who has served as president of the...

Msgr. Marini confirmed as Pope's master of liturgical ceremonies

Pope Francis has confirmed Msgr. Guido Marini in his position as Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations, according to a notice in L'Osservatore Romano. Pope Benedict XVI appointed Msgr....

In Christ's Passion, who am I like? Pope asks in Palm Sunday homily

In his homily at Palm Sunday Mass, Pope Francis told those assembled in St. Peter's Square that “we might well ask ourselves just one question: Who am I? Who am I, before my Lord?” “We have just...

Focus on World Youth Day during Sunday Angelus address

In his brief Sunday Angelus address, delivered at the conclusion of Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis greeted 250 World Youth Day delegates, and Brazilian youth consigned the...

Historical study important for Church of today, says Pope

In an address to members of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, Pope Francis said that the study of history is important for discerning “what the Holy Spirit wants to say to the Church...

Pope reflects on suffering of children, asks doctors to care for souls as well as bodies

In an April 12 address to participants in an Italian Society of Oncological Surgery conference, Pope Francis told physicians that they should “not lose sight of the human person, created in the...

President Obama names delegation to canonization Mass

President Barack Obama has announced the names of the members of the presidential delegation to the April 27 Mass of canonization of Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II. John Podesta,...

Become shepherds, not bureaucrats, Pope tells seminarians

In an April 14 address to seminarians from the Pontifical Leonine College, Pope Francis told the young men that if they are not prepared to dedicate themselves to serving the faithful, they should...

Passover greetings from Pope to Rome's Jewish community

Pope Francis has sent a message of best wishes for Passover to Rome’s Jewish community. In his message, which was addressed to Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, the Pope expressed the hope that the...

Capital campaign falls short in Philadelphia archdiocese

A major fundraising Archdiocese of Philadelphia has fallen short of its goal, due in part to an unusually high level of unfulfilled pledges. The archdiocesan capital campaign, designed to raise...

Rome is top choice for 'religious tourism' in Italy

The Vatican is an increasingly popular destination for Italian vacationers, according to tour guides, who attribute the trend to the popularity of Pope Francis. Among Italians traveling for...

Another UN committee plans to question Vatican officials on abuse

Another UN committee is planning to interrogate Vatican officials about the Church’s response to sexual abuse. The UN’s committee monitoring implementation of the Convention Against Torture will...

Dutch diocese says abuse charges against former bishop are valid

The Diocese of Roermond, in the Netherlands, has disclosed that complaints of sexual abuse by the late Bishop Johannes Gijsen were “well-founded.” Bishop Frans Wiertz, the current leader of the...

Text for Stations of the Cross will examine human suffering

In meditations written for the Way of the Cross, to be read on Good Friday during the traditional observance at the Roman Coliseum, Archbishop Giancarlo Bregantini of Campobasso-Boiano, Italy calls...

Pakistani woman's appeal on blasphemy charge postponed once again

For the 4th time in the past two months, a court in Pakistan has postponed a hearing on the appeal of Asia Bibi, the Christian woman who was convicted of unsupported blasphemy charges. The High...

SSPX leader rips Cardinal Kasper's proposal on Communion for divorced/remarried Catholics

The head of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) has denounced a proposal by Cardinal Walter Kasper for allowing the reception of Communion by Catholics who are divorced and...

Vatican dismisses abuse charge against Puerto Rican bishop

The Vatican has dismissed sex-abuse charges made against a Puerto Rican bishop. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith examined a complaint against Bishop Daniel Fernandez Torres of...

Newark archbishop under fire for planned addition to residence

More than 22,000 people have signed a petition protesting plans by Archbishop John Myers of Newark, New Jersey, to build an expensive new addition to his personal residence. Archbishop Myers...

Task force finds major flaws in handling abuse complaints in Minnesota archdiocese

A special task force has reported “serious shortcomings” in the handling of sex-abuse complaints in the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese. The Safe Environment and Ministerial Standards Task...

Released Tuesday, Apr. 15

South Sudan’s Christian leaders appeal for peace

Warning of a humanitarian catastrophe, South Sudan’s Catholic and Protestant leaders urged the parties in the nation’s four-month-old conflict to stop fighting. “We called on the warring parties...

President Obama reflects on meeting with Pope Francis

In remarks delivered at the annual White House Easter prayer breakfast, President Barack Obama reflected on his recent meeting with Pope Francis. After lamenting the murder of three people at a...

Venezuelan cardinal decries trend toward ‘Cubanization’

In a television appearance, Venezuela’s leading prelate criticized socialism and denounced trends toward “Cubanization,” the Fides news agency reported. Referring to officials f the government of...

Melkite patriarch welcomes Syrian government’s victory in historic Christian town

The head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church has welcomed the Syrian government’s victory over rebel forces in the historic Christian town of Ma'loula. Rebel forces seized the town in December...

Ecumenical Patriarch exhorts Ukrainians to unity

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, who holds a primacy of honor in Eastern Orthodoxy, issued a Palm Sunday message to civil and Church leaders in Ukraine. “The Holy Mother and Great Church of...

Caritas appeal for Senegal

Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies, has issued an appeal on behalf of Senegal. “Recent poor harvests, climatic factors, natural disasters and a...

New Scottish bishop lives in low-income housing area

A newly installed Scottish bishop has taken up residence in a parish house in a low-income housing area, rather than in the more opulent episcopal residence. “[Pope] Francis dreams, and so do I,...

Nigerian prelate deplores ‘aimless’ violence of Boko Haram

A Nigerian prelate has decried the increasingly destructive attacks committed by the Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram. Boko Haram “continues to kill people like animals,” Archbishop...

Chilean fire victims receive papal message of condolence

Pope Francis has sent a message of condolence to the victims of a fire that spread through Valparaiso, Chile, killing at least 12 people and driving 10,000 from their homes. In a message conveyed...

Irish columnist fears for safety after being called 'homophobic'

A leading Irish newspaper columnist has reported that he has trouble sleeping, has lost weight, fears for his safety, and may move out of Dublin because of harassment and threats he has suffered...

Embryo switch rouses fears in Roman assisted-fertility treatment

Reports that a woman was implanted with another couple’s twin embryos have caused fears among Italian couples seeking fertility treatment. Sandro Pertini Hospital in Rome, where the problem...

Greek Orthodox prelates denounce Catholicism as heresy

In a harsh 89-page letter addressed to “Francis, head of state of the Vatican City,” two Greek Orthodox prelates have denounced Catholicism as a heresy and urged the Pope to repentance. In their...

Vatican survey on family not intended for public release, says spokesman for English bishops

A survey on marriage and family, distributed by the Vatican in preparation for the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops, was not intended for public release, according to a spokesman for the...

International survey finds wide variance in acceptance of contraception

People all around the world are generally consistent in condemning extra-marital affairs as immoral, a new Pew Research study finds. But attitudes on contraception vary widely. In the 40...

Vatican confirms plans to testify before UN committee on torture

The Vatican has acknowledged that it will make a report to the UN’s committee monitoring implementation of the Convention against Torture. Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican...

Pope will visit Roman jail, distribute pocket-sized Gospels

Pope Francis will visit the Regina Caeli prison in Rome on April 16—the Wednesday of Holy Week—and distribute pocket-sized copies of the Gospels to inmates there. The Pope has recommended that...

New Irish bill, mandating reporting of abuse, renews concerns about confessional seal

The Irish government has published the Children First Bill, which requires professionals—including members of the clergy—to report any concerns about child abuse to appropriate law-enforcement...

Malta approves civil unions

The heavily Catholic island nation of Malta has allowed for legal recognition of same-sex unions, and adoption of children by homosexual couples. The new legislation, despite opposition from the...

Child killed, dozens hurt as missile strikes Catholic school in Damascus

One child was killed and 61 people injured when a missile struck a Catholic school in Damascus, Syria, on April 15, the Fides news service reports. The missile hit the Armenian Catholic school in...

Released Wednesday, Apr. 16

4 candidates advance on path to sainthood

In an audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis approved the publication of decrees on miracles attributed to the intercession of two...

Cardinal Parolin celebrates Mass for modern martyrs

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, offered Mass at the Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere on April 15 for Christians who have recently died for their faith. “In various...

Denver archbishop protests pro-abortion legislation

Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver led hundreds of people in prayer at the state capitol to protest the Reproductive Health Freedom Act. The Colorado Catholic Conference stated that the...

Archbishop Gomez renews call for immigration reform

Local Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders joined Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles at an interfaith gathering on behalf of immigration reform. “These are human souls, not statistics,” the...

Brazilian prelate recounts conversation with Pope on ordination of married men

An Austrian-born missionary bishop in Brazil recounted a recent conversation with Pope Francis on the ordination of married men to the priesthood. The bishop met with the Pope on April 4. “I told...

‘Kiss the crucifix,’ advises Pope, as he reflects on Christ’s humiliation

Pope Francis devoted his Wednesday general audience to Christ’s humiliation, beginning with his betrayal by Judas for 30 pieces of silver. In the Passion of Christ, we see “the divine response to...

Myanmar: archbishop sees 'streaks of hope' after decades of dictatorship

In an Easter message to his people, Archbishop Charles Bo of Yangon, Myanmar speaks of the “excruciating pain” his country has suffered under military rule, and calls for national reconciliation to...

Dublin's archbishop condemns 'Maria Divine Mercy' messages

A self-proclaimed visionary who has attracted an internet following under the pseudonym “Maria Divine Mercy” has been firmly condemned by Archbishop Diamuid Martin of Dublin, Ireland. The Dublin...

Indian court recognizes 'third gender,' calls for special treatment

India’s top court has ordered the federal government to grant privileged status to transgendered people, recognizing them as a third gender, the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN) service...

Cuba makes Good Friday a national holiday

Cuba has declared Good Friday a national holiday, to be observed every year. After years of official atheism, Cuba recognized Good Friday as a holiday in 2012, in response to a special request...

El Al will furnish plane for Pope's return after visit to Israel

El Al, the Israeli national airline, will furnish a plane for the return flight after Pope Francis visits the Holy Land in May. The El Al plane, which will take the Holy Father from Tel Aviv to...

Accused killer at Kansas City Jewish centers could face hate-crime charges

The man who shot and killed three people at Jewish community centers in Kansas City is likely to face hate-crime charges because of his animus against Jews, although all three victims were...

Chicago priest returns to ministry; archdiocese, county found abuse charges unfounded

A Chicago priest has been restored to active ministry after an investigation concluded that abuse charges against him had been unfounded. Father Michael O’Connell was suspended from ministry last...

Oregon priest arrested following luring incident

A priest who has served in the Archdiocese of Portland since 1998 has been arrested on charges of attempting to lure a 14-year-old girl into his car in Vancouver, where he maintains a second...

Chaldean prelate, in Easter message, asks peaceful future for Iraq

Iraq’s leading Catholic prelate has issued an Easter prayer for “an end to the suffering of our people.” Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako urged the faithful to keep their eyes fixed...

Restructuring of Roman Curia next on agenda for Pope, Council of Cardinals

Having resolved questions about Vatican financial affairs, Pope Francis and his 8-member Council of Cardinals will now turn their attention to a restructuring of the Roman Curia, writes Andrea...

Released Thursday, Apr. 17

At Holy Thursday Chrism Mass, Pope Francis preaches on the joy of the priesthood

Pope Francis reflected on priestly joy during his homily at the Mass of Chrism on Holy Thursday morning. During the Chrism Mass-- typically celebrated on Holy Thursday morning, sometimes...

Pope celebrates Holy Thursday evening Mass at center for disabled

As previously announced, Pope Francis is celebrating the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper at St. Mary of Providence Center, a rehabilitation center for the disabled operated by the Don Carlo...

Jerusalem’s Christian leaders issue Easter message

Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant leaders in Jerusalem have issued their annual joint Easter message. “When our Savior died on Good Friday it seemed to his disciples as if their world had come...

Leading Egyptian presidential candidates to attend Coptic Easter vigil

In an apparent attempt to gain Coptic Christian political support, the two leading Egyptian presidential candidates will attend the Easter vigil liturgy celebrated by Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros...

Chaldean Catholic leader issues Easter message amid ‘worrying situation’

Describing the situation in Iraq as “worrying,” the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church has issued his Easter message. “We are now in Holy Week, despite the worrying situation that are currently...

Bishop kidnapped, released in Central African Republic

A bishop in the Central African Republic, along with three of his diocesan priests, was abducted on April 17 but then released, according to L’Osservatore Romano. Members of the Islamist Séléka...

Cardinal to receive France’s highest honor

While in Rome for the canonization of Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II, Prime Minister Manuel Valls of France will bestow the nation’s highest honor upon Cardinal Roger Etchegaray,...

Leader of Anglican ordinariate admits interest has waned

The leader of the new Anglican ordinariate in England has admitted that the number of Anglicans entering the Catholic Church has fallen short of expectations. "We have to be honest and say that...

Rome is ready for canonizations, mayor affirms

The city of Rome is “very ready” for the canonizations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II later this month, Mayor Ignazio Marino has promised. The joint canonization ceremony on April 27 is...

Coptic Catholic cleric named as Pope's 2nd priest-secretary

Pope Francis has appointed a Coptic Catholic priest, Father Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, to work as his 2nd personal secretary, Andrea Tornielli of La Stamp reports. Father Lahzi Gaid has been working in...

Rape of Catholic woman prompts protests in Bangladesh

The gang-rape of a Catholic woman by Muslim youths in Bangladesh has provoked angry protests, and complaints that law-enforcement officials are not providing security for the Christian...

Philippine bishops warn faithful against self-crucifixion

The Catholic bishops of the Philippines have argued strongly against the customs practiced by some zealous believers who scourge or even crucify themselves on Good Friday. Archbishop Socrates...

Released Friday, Apr. 18

Pope Francis: homily at Holy Thursday evening Mass (full text)

“We have heard what Jesus did at the Last Supper: it is a gesture of farewell,” Pope Francis preached during his extemporaneous homily during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at a center for the...

Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum: full text of meditations

The Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff has released the meditations for the Way of the Cross at which Pope Francis will preside. The Way of the Cross takes place on...

Good Friday at St. Peter's Basilica: full text of Father Cantalamessa's homily

Pope Francis presided at the solemn Celebration of the Passion of the Lord at St. Peter's Basilica on Good Friday. As is customary, the preacher of the Papal Household, Father Raniero Cantalamessa,...

Released Sunday, Apr. 20

Pope Francis: Easter Vigil homily (full text)

"The Gospel of the resurrection of Jesus Christ begins with the journey of the women to the tomb at dawn on the day after the Sabbath," Pope Francis preached at the Mass of the Easter Vigil. "They...

Pope Francis's Easter Message 'Urbi et Orbi' (To the City and the World): full text, link to video

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, a Happy and Holy Easter!" "The Church throughout the world echoes the angel’s message to the women: 'Do not be afraid! I know that you are looking for Jesus who was...

Released Monday, Apr. 21

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem's Easter homily

"Dear brothers and sisters, Christ is truly risen! Alleluia," Archbishop Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, preached during his Easter homily. "It is with this immense joy that I...

Syrian Catholic patriarch's Easter message

"In this blessed Easter season, we extend to you all, our heartfelt prayerful wishes of Peace and joy as we renew our hope and confidence in the One who conquered death, overcoming the sin and...

Easter message from head of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

"Beloved in Christ! Despite this year's trial and uncertainty, Easter - 'the day which the Lord hath made' (Ps. 117, 24) - is the time for us of unspeakable joy and hope," Major Archbishop...

Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople's Easter encyclical

"Christ is Risen! Come, brethren and children in the Lord, receive the light from the unwaning Light of the Phanar, the Holy Center of the Orthodox, and let us all together and jointly glorify...

Released Tuesday, Apr. 22

Pope Francis: read the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection

In his Easter Monday Regina Caeli address, Pope Francis asked the faithful to read the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection during Easter week. The “dominant sentiment” of the Gospel accounts, he...

Cardinal criticizes Catholic teachers’ union over gay pride parade participation

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association is sending a delegation to participate in the WorldPride 2014 Parade in Toronto—prompting criticism from Cardinal Thomas Collins. “I am always...

Nuncio reports starvation in Damascus

Archbishop Mario Zenari, the apostolic nuncio to Syria, has told Vatican Radio that people are starving in his neighborhood in Damascus. “This is something the international community cannot...

Irish political party apologizes for misstating bishop’s position on abortion

The Irish political party Sinn Féin has apologized for misrepresenting a bishop’s position on abortion in its campaign literature. The party had claimed that Bishop John McAreavey of Dromore...

Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith withdraws negative evaluation of 1958 book

Cardinal Giuseppe Betori of Florence said in an interview that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has withdrawn its negative evaluation of the late Father Lorenzo Milani’s Pastoral...

University official, demoted for signing marriage ballot petition, loses lawsuit

A federal district court judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Angela McCaskill, Gallaudet University’s former chief diversity officer, who was demoted after a colleague discovered she had signed a...

Avoid ‘alarmist’ rhetoric on immigration, says English cardinal

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster has cautioned against “alarmist” rhetoric in the debate over immigration. “What I would appeal today is that the debate about immigration is done with a...

John Paul II unaware of Maciel scandals, says postulator for his cause

Pope John Paul II was never informed about the personal scandals surrounding the late Father Marcial Maciel, according to the postulator for the late Pontiff’s cause for canonization. For years,...

Canonizations are no reason for nostalgia, says secretary to Pope John XXIII

The cardinal who once served as private secretary to Pope John XXIII told Vatican Radio that the canonization of his former boss is not a reason for nostalgia. Cardinal Loris Capovilla...

Pope might make surprise visits to war zones, says Secretary of State

Pope Francis might make surprise visits to war zones, if he thinks that his presence could help to bring peace, suggests the Vatican’s Secretary of State. Cardinal Pietro Parolin is quoted in a...

Brunei delays enforcement of shari'a law

The imposition of Islamic shari’a law in Brunei has been delayed “due to unavoidable circumstances,” the government of the sultanates has announced. The AsiaNews service reports that Sultan...

French bishops cautioned against political manipulation

The new leader of the French bishops’ conference has warned his colleagues against “manipulating or being manipulated” in political controversies. Archbishop Georges Pontier of Marseille,...

Released Wednesday, Apr. 23

Joint Anglican-Catholic statement on moral teaching highlights differences

The Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue in the United States has released a document, “Ecclesiology and Moral Discernment: Seeking a Unified Moral Witness,” that acknowledges “how differently our two...

Canadian bishop writes prime minister about political concerns

The president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has written Prime Minister Stephen Harper about several domestic and international issues. Referring to the plight of Syrian refugees,...

Chicago priest, recently reinstated, again under investigation

A Chicago priest who recently returned to active ministry is again under investigation. Father Michael O’Connell had been reinstated following archdiocesan and police investigations. Following...

Priest murdered in Central African Republic

A priest in the Central African Republic was murdered on Good Friday, according to a statement issued by Caritas, the Church’s federation of relief and development agencies. Father Christ Forman...

Melkite patriarch decries attacks on Catholic institutions in Syria

The head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church lamented recent bomb attacks on an Armenian Catholic school and a Melkite parish in Syria. “What is the point of all this carnage tantamount to a war...

Indian priest runs for political office

Defying the Code of Canon Law and a directive from diocesan officials, a parish priest in India is running for parliament. Father M. P. Jesuraj, a priest of the Diocese of Palayamkottai, has...

Pope Francis: ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead?’

In his April 23 general audience, Pope Francis reflected on the words spoken by the angels at Christ’s tomb: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” (Lk. 24:5) These words are “a milestone...

Arizona law allows unannounced health/safety inspection of abortion clinics

A new state law in Arizona allows for unannounced inspections of abortion clinics. The new legislation, signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer, makes abortion clinics subject to the same health...

SSPX leader decries canonizations of Popes John XXIII, John Paul II

The leaders of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) “vigorously protest” the canonizations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, Bishop Bernard Fellay has announced. The traditionalist prelate, who...

Archbishop Nienstedt, in deposition, says he knew little about sex-abuse complaints

In a deposition made public on April 23, Archbishop John Nienstedt said that he was not aware that priests accused of sexual abuse had remained in active ministry after he assumed control of the...

Former chancellor of NH diocese, head of treatment center, will serve jail time

A New Hampshire court has approved a plea-bargaining agreement that will require Msgr. Edward Arsenault to serve a 4-year prison term, and repay $288,000 to the Manchester diocese and a local...

Released Thursday, Apr. 24

Honduran cardinal sees increasing curial opposition to Pope Francis

Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, the Honduran cardinal who is coordinator of Pope Francis’s Council of Cardinals, said in a recent talk that the Pope’s popularity is beginning “to awaken...

Detroit priest, parish manager charged with embezzling $700K

A priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit and his parish manager have been indicted on charges of embezzling nearly $700,000 between 2004 and 2012. The Detroit News reported that Father Edward...

AP: ‘fetal tissue used to power Oregon homes’

A county in Oregon will no longer accept medical waste at an electric power plant after local officials learned the waste may contain aborted fetal tissue, according to an Associated Press wire...

China denies demolition campaign against churches

Chinese Communist officials have denied waging a demolition campaign against churches in the eastern province of Zhejiang. A dozen churches have reportedly been slated for demolition, and...

Cardinal McCarrick part of State Dept. peace mission to Central African Republic

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the retired Archbishop of Washington, was part of a recent US State Department peace mission to the Central African Republic, according to a Washington Times...

Australian prelate on abuse: ‘as a Church we have failed terribly’

Archbishop Timothy Costelloe of Perth has issued a letter on child sexual abuse in which he expressed “our horror and deep shame at what has happened.” On April 28, Australia’s Royal Commission...

USCCB: 'Does the HHS mandate include abortifacients?'

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities has published a fact sheet entitled “Does the HHS mandate include abortifacients?” “One problem is confusion...

Confusion swirls around Pope's phone message on divorce and Communion

Reports that Pope Francis had advised a woman that she should receive Communion, despite a divorce and remarriage, have caused a flurry of corrections and clarifications, including a cautionary note...

Annual Vatican message to Buddhists emphasizes fraternity

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has issued its annual message to Buddhists on the occasion of Vesakh (also known as Hanamatsuri), which commemorates Buddha’s birthday. “As...

High court in Philippines rejects parts of Reproductive Health bill

The top court in the Philippines has overturned portions of the Reproductive Health law, enacted in 2012 over the strong opposition of the country’s hierarchy. Citing the prohibition on abortion...

Will Pope-emeritus Benedict attend Sunday canonizations?

Pope-emeritus Benedict has been invited to attend the canonizations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II on April 27, but his participation in the ceremony has not yet been confirmed. "The...

Bishop describes kidnapping, narrow escape from death, in Central African Republic

A bishop who was kidnapped by rebels in the Central African Republic last week has told the Fides news service that his captors fully intended to kill him. Bishop Nestor Désiré Nongo-Aziagbia...

Benedict XVI says he knew long ago John Paul II was a saint

Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI has said that he was conscious of living with a saint during the years when he worked with Pope John Paul II. Breaking from the silence that he has generally observed...

Swedish 'megachurch' leader explains conversion to Catholicism

The Swedish “megachurch” pastor who shocked his congregation in March by announcing his conversion to Catholicism has discussed his spiritual journey in an interview with England’s Catholic...

Memorial to John Paul II vandalized in Krakow

Vandals defaced a memorial to Pope John Paul II in central Krakow, Poland, just days before the canonization of the Polish Pontiff. The stone memorial, in the city where the future Pontiff served...

Albanian premier meets with Pope Francis

Pope Francis met on April 24 with Prime Minister Edi Rama of Albania. A brief Vatican statement released after the meeting indicated that the Pontiff had spoken with the Albanian leader about...

Released Friday, Apr. 25

Church officials in Holy Land offer differing reactions to Fatah, Hamas reconciliation

The director of Caritas Jerusalem has welcomed the reconciliation between the two leading Palestinian political factions-- Fatah, which governs the Palestinian National Authority, and Hamas, which...

Report: Christian murdered in Pakistan after refusing to convert to Islam

A 22-year-old Pakistani Christian was murdered by a Muslim after refusing to convert to Islam, according to the Pakistan Christian Post and the Fides news agency. The Christian, identified as...

93 nations sending delegations to papal canonizations

The director of the Holy See Press Office has told reporters that 93 nations are sending official delegations to the April 27 canonization of Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II. Father...

Pope honors new Jesuit saint, emphasizes joy of encountering the risen Christ

On the evening of April 24, Pope Francis presided at a Mass of thanksgiving for the canonization of St. José de Anchieta (1534-97), a Spanish Jesuit priest and missionary to Brazil. The Mass...

Pope laments plight of unemployed steel workers

Following his April 23 general audience, Pope Francis expressed concern for the plight of unemployed Italian steelworkers following the closing of a large plant. “When human hopes are...

Pope Francis issues messages for canonizations of John XXIII, John Paul II

Pope Francis has issued messages on the occasion of the upcoming canonizations of Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II. Pope Francis addressed his first message to the people of Bergamo,...

Giant crucifix collapses, killing Italian man

In a macabre accident, a giant metal crucifix erected in memory of Pope John Paul II fell and killed a young Italian man, just a few days before the canonization of the Polish Pontiff. The curved...

Suspended priest, claiming episcopal ordination, causes confusion in Arizona, diocese says

The Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona has issued a public warning about a suspended priest, who has set up his own congregation and claimed ordination as a bishop of the schismatic Old Independent...

John Paul II took action when informed of abuse, former spokesman insists

Joaquin Navarro-Valls, who served as director of the Vatican press office under Pope John Paul II, told reporters in Rome that the Polish Pontiff acted decisively once he realized the depth of the...

Dutch Church leaders disclose a 2nd deceased bishop was guilty of abuse

For the 2nd time in less than a month, Church leaders in the Netherlands have announced credible evidence that a deceased bishop was guilty of abuse. Bishop Johannes Nienhaus, who served as an...

Pope asks southern African bishops to combat abortion, divorce, corruption

Pope Francis met on April 25 with the bishops of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, representing the nations of South Africa, Botswana, and Swaziland. The African prelates were...

Would-be papal assassin decries canonization of John Paul II

The man who tried to kill Pope John Paul II in 1981 now opposes the canonization of the Polish Pontiff, saying that it is wrong to “deify” a mortal man. Ali Agca, who shot and wounded the Pope on...

Another surprise phone call: Pope encourages priest in Argentine slums

In another surprise phone call, Pope Francis has encouraged a priest working in the slums of Argentina. Father Joaquin Nunez, who works with the poor in Rosario, says that he was awakened by the...

Disgraced priest's partner was gay recording artist

The romantic partner of a prominent New Hampshire priest who faces jail time for defrauding his diocese is a male recording artist, the Manchester Union Leader has disclosed. Msgr. Edward...

Released Monday, Apr. 28

Brief papal tribute to St. Augustine

Declining an invitation from Algerian bishops to reconsecrate the newly restored Basilica of St. Augustine, Pope Francis has sent Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for...

Pope, prime minister discuss Ukrainian crisis

On the two days preceding the canonization of St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II, Pope Francis received in separate audiences President-elect Salvador Sánchez Cerén of El Salvador, President Juan...

Pope Francis canonizes John XXIII and John Paul II

Pope Francis canonized two of his predecessors, John XXIII (1958-63) and John Paul II (1978-2005), during a Mass in St. Peter’s Square on April 27. An estimated 800,000 pilgrims were present in...

Newly canonized Popes were ‘true sons’ of the Virgin Mary, says Pope Francis

At the conclusion of the Mass of canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II, Pope Francis delivered a brief address before praying the Regina Caeli. Pope Francis thanked the members of the...

Seminarian kidnapped, murdered in Mexico

A seminarian in north-central Mexico was kidnapped and murdered during Holy Week. Like other seminarians, Samuel Gustavo Gómez Veleta, 21, had been assigned to do rural missionary work during...

Council of Cardinals meets to discuss curial reform

The Council of Cardinals—the advisory body that assists Pope Francis is the governance of the universal Church—is holding its fourth meeting from April 28 to 30. The members of...

Masses of thanksgiving follow canonization of two Pontiffs

On the day after the canonization of Sts. John XXIII and John Paul II, two Masses of thanksgiving were held in Rome. In St. Peter’s Square, Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the archpriest of the Vatican...

Spanish royal couple meets with Pontiff

Pope Francis met on April 28 with King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, who had traveled to Rome for the canonizations of Sts. John Paul II and John XXIII. A brief statement released by the...

'Be not afraid!' Pope tells young Argentine Catholics

In a message to young Catholics of his native Argentina, Pope Francis offered simple advice: “Do not be afraid! Look at Jesus, look at Mary, and go forward!” The Pope recorded a video message,...

Christian presence vanishing from Iraq, Chaldean patriarch fears

The exodus of Christians from Iraq is “frightening,” the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Baghad has warned. "If measures are not taken soon, in 10 years' time there will only be a few thousand...

Islamic militants cause 'total chaos' in Central African Republic

The Muslim residents of Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, have been “taken hostage” by Islamic militants, Bishop Nestor Désiré Nongo-Aziagbia has told the Fides news...

Released Tuesday, Apr. 29

Ukrainian prelate fears Russian incursions into other nations

The Ukrainian Catholic archbishop of Philadelphia fears that a passive Western response to Russian actions in Ukraine will permit incursions into other nations, according to a report from the local...

US bishops announce 3rd Fortnight for Freedom

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced that the third annual Fortnight for Freedom will be held from June 21 to July 4. The bishops launched the campaign of prayer and...

Report: Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith lifts censure against Irish priest

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has lifted its censure against Father Séan Fagan, a Marist priest who dissented from Church teaching, according to the Irish Times. In 2004, the...

Britain: doctors who oppose contraception barred from specializing in reproductive health

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare has ruled that doctors and nurses who object to contraception or the morning-after pill are...

Northern Ireland: bishops urge legislators not to approve same-sex marriage

The bishops of Northern Ireland have urged legislators to reject a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage. “We ask you to reaffirm the unique value to children and society of the mutual and...

Victory for FOCUS against HHS mandate

A federal district court has issued an injunction barring enforcement of the HHS mandate against the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), an apostolate to college students. The...

China: demolition of church begins amid protests

Communist officials in the eastern province of Zhejiang have begun to demolish a church that has been the focal point of protests by area Christians, according to The New York Times. Thousands of...

New pastoral center in Tel Aviv to serve Catholic guest workers in Israel

The Latin-rite Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Fouad Twal, has inaugurated a new pastoral center for migrant workers in Tel Aviv, Israel. The new center, established with support from...

Google, under pressure from abortion lobby, removes ads for pregnancy-help centers

Google has removed web advertisements from several pregnancy-help centers, acting in response to complaints from NARAL Pro-Choice America that the ads were deceptive. NARAL argued that the ads,...

Council of Cardinals continues planning for reform for Roman Curia

Meeting this week at the Vatican, the Council of Cardinals is focusing on the reform of the Roman Curia. Having devoted earlier meetings to a study of the Vatican’s economic and management...

Columbian rebels welcome Vatican encouragement for peace talks, but argue against haste

Representatives of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have welcomed the Vatican’s encouragement of peace talks between the rebel group and the Columbian government, but argued against...

Church unity shows working of Holy Spirit, Pope says

Unity within the Church is a sign of “rebirth form on high,” Pope Francis said in a homily at Mass on April 29. The early Christian community showed “one heart and mind,” the Pope said, noting...

Plans for consolidation of New York archdiocese advance

The Archdiocese of New York is entering the final phase of planning for a reorganization that will entail the closing of dozens of parishes. An advisory board that has been planning for the...

Cardinal Bertone defends new apartment, says Pope supports him

Cardinal Tarscisio Bertone has defended himself against charges that he is living in a “luxurious” apartment within the Vatican grounds, and denied reports that Pope Francis was unhappy with his...

Iraqi Church leaders hold out slim hope that parliamentary elections will bring relief

As parliamentary elections began in Iraq, Chaldean Catholic prelate voiced hopes and fears about the country’s future in talks with Aid to the Church in Need. “We want our country to return to...

Released Wednesday, Apr. 30

Syrian rebels crucify 2 prisoners

A Syrian rebel group has announced that it has crucified two prisoners, according to Agence France-Presse. Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a group that is fighting against...

‘Million-woman march’ in Nigeria to protest Boko Haram kidnappings

A “million-woman march” has been organized in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, to protest Boko Haram’s recent abduction of over 200 schoolgirls from Chibok, a town in the northeastern portion of the...

Russian Orthodox official: model proposed by ‘Western elites’ in decline

A leading Russian Orthodox official has told a Moscow radio station that the materialist model of development proposed by “Western elites” is in decline, according to an Interfax news agency...

Ecumenical Patriarch criticizes nationalist tendencies within Eastern Orthodoxy

In an address delivered in the Netherlands, Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, who holds a primacy of honor within Eastern Orthodoxy, criticized nationalist tendencies within some Orthodox...

Pope Francis reflects on Holy Spirit’s gift of understanding

Continuing his weekly catechesis on the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis devoted his April 30 general audience to the gift of understanding. “It is not a question of human...

Former Cabinet members host Catholic colloquium on nuclear disarmament

Former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Secretary of Defense William Perry hosted a recent Colloquium on Revitalizing Catholic Engagement on Nuclear Disarmament at Stanford...

President Obama issues statement on papal canonizations

President Barack Obama has issued a statement on the canonizations of St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II. “The work and witness of both Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II shaped not only the...

German priest writes Pope, seeks release from celibacy vow

A German priest has written to Pope Francis, asking to be released from his vow of celibacy “in acknowledgement of my weaknesses and failures.” Father Stefan Hartmann, who has admitted that he is...

SNAP kept abuse allegations quiet 'for several weeks,' Chicago archdiocese charges

SNAP, an organization that has regularly denounced Catholic bishops for their failure to disclose sex-abuse allegations, kept a report quiet “for several weeks” before holding a press conference,...

European bishops' leader pledges Church support for EU

The president of the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) has issued a statement applauding the expansion of the European Union into Eastern Europe, and calling for...

Cardinal O'Connor's mother was born Jewish, family tree reveals

The mother of the late Cardinal John O'Connor, the Archbishop of New York, was born Jewish, the Religion News Service reports. Mary O'Connor Ward, the sister of the late cardinal, was doing...

New Jersey court upholds Newark archdiocese in sales of cemetery headstones

A New Jersey court has upheld the right of the Newark archdiocese to market headstones in archdiocesan cemeteries. The court rejected a complaint that the archdiocesan cemeteries were engaged in...

Political stability in Niger 'deteriorating day by day,' bishops warn

The Catholic bishops of Niger are warning that the political situation in the African nation is “deteriorating day by day,” the Fides news service reports. The bishops, in their statement,...

New papal commissions begin work this week

This week has seen a series of working meetings by the new commissions appointed by Pope Francis to oversee Vatican affairs, the Vatican press office has pointed out. The Council of Cardinals...

Pope's prayer intentions for May 2014

The Vatican has announced the prayer intentions of Pope Francis for May 2014. The Pope’s general intention is: “That the media may be instruments in the service of truth and peace.” His...

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