Action Alert!

Stories for May 2014

Released Friday, May. 2

Brazil’s bishops discuss priest shortage

The bishops of Brazil-- the nation with the largest number of Catholics-- are meeting to discuss an increasingly acute priest shortage. In Brazil, nearly 21,000 priests minister to 165 million...

3 new members appointed to National Review Board

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has appointed three new members to the National Review Board, the lay body formed in 2002 in...

Federal probe of college sexual assaults includes Catholic University

The Catholic University of America is among 55 colleges under investigation by the United States Department of Education over their possibly insufficient response to campus sexual violence. Other...

Oklahoma prelate decries death penalty following botched execution

Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City said that the botched execution of a man convicted of raping and murdering a child “really highlights the brutality of the death penalty, and I hope it leads...

15 nations named ‘particularly serious’ religious-freedom violators

In its newly released annual report, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is urging the State Department to designate or redesignate 15 nations as “countries of...

Kenya legalizes polygamy

President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya has signed legislation legalizing polygamy. The nation’s bishops, joined by evangelical and mainline Protestant leaders, had opposed the measure, according to...

China targets Catholic pilgrimage site

Communist officials in Wenzhou, a city of three million in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang, have removed some statues and bricked over others at a Catholic pilgrimage site, according to the...

Coptic text mentioning 'wife of Jesus' shown as a fraud

A Coptic fragment of supposedly ancient vintage, that referred to a wife of Jesus, has been exposed as a fraud, an essay in the Wall Street Journal reports. The papyrus fragment was introduced to...

English bishop silences conservative deacon's blog

Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster, England, has shut down a popular blog authored by a deacon the diocese. Deacon Nick Donnelly had set up the “Protect the Pope” blog in response to media...

Pope will address UN agency chiefs next week

Pope Francis will address the heads of UN agencies on May 10, the National Catholic Register reports. The leaders of 29 UN agencies will be meeting in Rome next week, and will be received by the...

Google denies shift in policy on ads from crisis-pregnancy centers

NARAL Pro-Choice America has exaggerated its success in persuading Google to refuse ads from pregnancy-help centers, reports Joan Desmond of the National Catholic Register. “We’ve gotten Google...

LCWR announces top award for theologian criticized by US bishops

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an American umbrella group that remains the focus of a Vatican-ordered reform, has given new evidence of its dissident leanings by bestowing its...

Vatican reform takes courage, determination, Pope tells new Council for the Economy

Reform at the Vatican will “require courage and determination,” Pope Francis said in an address to the first meeting of the newly established Council for the Economy. Reform is “a significant...

Vatican braces for ideological attack from UN committee

As Vatican officials prepare for a May 5 appearance before a UN committee monitoring implementation of the Convention against Torture, the director of the Vatican press office has issued a statement...

Pope wept on hearing of Christians crucified in Syria

Pope Francis said that he had wept when he heard of Christians who were crucified in Syria recently. Although he did name Syria during his homily at a Mass on May 2, the Pope was clearly...

Welsh archbishop gives Anglican ordinariate space in his cathedral

Archbishop George Stack of Cardiff has made his metropolitan cathedral available for the use of the Anglican ordinariate in Wales. The ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham will have its own...

Pakistani mosque named for Islamic zealot who killed government official

A mosque in Pakistan has been named in honor of the man who killed a government official who criticized the country’s blasphemy law. The mosque in Ghori, a suburb of Islamabad, is named for...

Irish Church body reports 164 new abuse complaints, mostly from 1960 to 1990

Irish Catholic Church officials heard 164 new allegations of sexual abuse last year, an official report has revealed. The National Board for the Safeguarding of Children, established by the Irish...

Mexican bishops rap government policies, demand deeper reform

The Catholic bishops of Mexico have issued a sharp criticism of government policies, the Fides news service reports. The bishops raised concerns about a series of government reform programs,...

Pope rues big-business aspects of soccer competition

The prominence of soccer competition “requires social responsibility on the part of players, both on and off the pitch,” Pope Francis said as he met on May 2 with players and managers from two...

Released Monday, May. 5

Pope thanks Papal Foundation for charitable assistance

In a May 2 audience, Pope Francis thanked the members of the Papal Foundation for their charitable assistance. “I am deeply appreciative of the assistance which the Foundation has given to the...

Angolan leader meets with Pope

Pope Francis received President José Eduardo dos Santos of Angola in audience on May 2. The leader, dogged by allegations of corruption, has ruled the southwest African nation since 1979 and...

Pope encourages Sri Lanka’s bishops to work for unity

Five years after the conclusion of the Sri Lankan Civil War, Pope Francis encouraged the bishops of the South Asian island nation to evangelize and promote unity. The war, fought between the...

Pope to visit patients, staff of Gemelli hospital

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has paid tribute to the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, which is located in Milan, on the occasion of the 90th annual University...

New pontifical abuse commission: ‘accountability in the Church’ is ‘especially important’

The newly formed Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors concluded its initial meeting on May 3 and emphasized the importance of “ensuring accountability in the Church.” The emphasis...

Be joyful evangelizers, Pope tells members of Catholic Action

Addressing 7,000 members of Catholic Action, Pope Francis said that parishes need the lay association’s apostolic dynamism. “So many times we have Jesus closed in parishes with us, and we do not go...

Pope offers Mass of thanksgiving for St. John Paul’s canonization

Pope Francis visited Rome’s parish for Polish residents on May 4 and offered a Mass of thanksgiving for St. John Paul II’s canonization. Noting that St. John Paul had made over 80 visits to the...

Pope reflects on Emmaus encounter, prays for Ukraine

In his Sunday Regina Caeli address, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel reading at Mass, Christ’s encounter with the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Lk. 24:13-35). The road to Emmaus, in which...

Hagia Sophia to be made a mosque again?

A Turkish lawmaker has introduced a proposal to re-convert the Hagia Sophia into a mosque, the AsiaNews service reports. Built in the 6th century as a Christian basilica, the Byzantine...

Another UN panel batters Vatican on abuse

For the 2nd time this year, a Vatican representative faced tough questioning about sexual abuse during an appearance before a UN commission on May 5. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, who represents the...

US Supreme Court OK's prayers at public meetings

The US Supreme Court, in a split decision announced on May 5, has ruled that prayers offered at public meetings do not violate the constitutional prohibition on establishment of religion. “The...

Honduran cardinal raps effects of consumerism on environment

Man in the 21st century is “a technical giant and an ethical child,” Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga said in an address to a symposium on the environment hosted by the Pontifical Academy of...

World's Catholic population continues to grow

The world’s Catholic population grew in 2013 by slightly more than the overall population, the latest Statistical Yearbook of the Church reports. The number of Catholic priests also rose in 2012...

Sudan's planes deliberately bombed hospital, bishop charges

Sudanese government planes deliberately targeted a hospital during a bombing campaign in southern Sudan, a Catholic bishop charges. Bishop Macram Max Gassis, the retired Bishop of El Obeid, said...

Vatican's doctrinal official gives blunt warning to LCWR

At a meeting with representatives of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), the prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith rebuked the group for giving a top...

Shun vanity, greed, power in service to the Church, Pope tells congregation

Pope Francis warned against those whose work in the Church is motivated by vanity, the quest for power, and greed, during a homily at Mass on May 5. The Pope’s comments were part of his...

Evangelization will bring reconciliation to Burundi, Pope promises bishops

“Only an authentic conversion of hearts to the Gospel can turn men to fraternal love and forgiveness” in Burundi, a country scarred by bloody internal conflicts, Pope Francis told the bishops of...

Pope challenges new Swiss Guard recruits to live up to tradition

Pope Francis met on May 5 with new recruits to the Swiss Guard, who will be sworn in on May 6. Commenting on the distinctive uniform of the Vatican unit, which is recognized throughout the world,...

Former ambassador to Holy See hit with harassment charge

Miguel Diaz, who served as US ambassador to the Holy See from 2009 to 2012, has been charged with sexual harassment of a married couple who were his faculty colleagues at the University of...

Released Tuesday, May. 6

Coptic pope neutral in Egyptian presidential election

Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria said in an interview that the Coptic Orthodox Church is neutral in the May 26-27 presidential election, which pits Abdel Fattah el-Sisi against Hamdeen...

Dachau martyr beatified

Father Giuseppe Girotti (1905-45), a Dominican exegete who was killed at the Dachau concentration camp because of his efforts to assist Jews, was beatified in Alba, Italy, according to the new...

Cardinal Bergoglio’s tribute upon St. John Paul II’s death

The latest English edition of L’Osservatore Romano has printed the homily preached by the future Pope Francis upon the death of St. John Paul II in 2005. “John Paul was simply consistent, he...

Ukrainian Catholic leadership emphasizes: no political activity by clergy

As the May 25 Ukrainian election approaches, the administrator of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church’s patriarchal curia has reminded priests not be engaged in political activity. “The Church...

Russian Orthodox leader decries violence in Ukraine

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has condemned the use of force in eastern Ukraine, where the Ukrainian government is battling pro-Russian separatists. “Responsibility for these events now...

Ecumenical Patriarch pays tribute to Pope Benedict’s theology

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, who holds a primacy of honor in Eastern Orthodoxy, has paid tribute to Pope Benedict XVI’s work as a theologian. Speaking at the opening of a...

Cardinal Burke: ‘the perennial newness of the Gospel of life’

In a May 3 address at an international pro-life conference, Cardinal Raymond Burke called for a renewed attention to St. John Paul II’s encyclical Evangelium Vitae [The Gospel of Life] as “the...

848 priests laicized, over 3,400 disciplined for abuse, Vatican official tells UN panel

Over 3,400 Catholics priests have been disciplined by the Vatican because of sexual abuse, and 848 have been laicized, the Vatican revealed on May 6. During a 2nd day of questioning before a UN...

Miracle confirmed; Paul VI to be beatified in October?

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints has approved the authenticity of a miracle attributed to the intercession of Pope Paul VI, according to Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa. If Pope Francis...

Nigerian cardinal distressed by government's failure to local Boko Haram kidnap victims

As a Boko Haram leader threatened to kidnap more girls in Nigeria, Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja issued a plea for the release of 276 girls who are believed to be held by the terrorist...

Martyrdom is the most powerful witness, Pope says in homily

Reflecting on the martyrdom of St. Stephen, in his homily at Mass on May 6, Pope Francis said that the calls for Stephen’s death were motivated by “the devil’s hatred of Christ.” Martyrdom, the...

Swiss Guard adds 30 new recruits at 508th anniversary celebration

The Swiss Guard swore in 30 new members on May 6, as the corps celebrated its 508th anniversary. Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, the sostituto or assistant Vatican Secretary of State, spoke to...

Released Wednesday, May. 7

Vatican cardinal concerned about number of African, Asian priests in West

In an address to the annual meeting of the Pontifical Mission Societies, the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples said that Pope Francis has given the Church a “great...

Church attacked in Indonesia

An altar in a Catholic parish in West Sumatra has been doused in kerosene and set on fire, according to a report from the Italian agency AsiaNews. West Sumatra is a province in Indonesia, which...

Ukrainian bishops: upcoming election must be fair

The bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church-- the largest Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See-- are urging the clergy to pray for, and the faithful to take part in,...

Bishops decry anti-Christian incidents in Galilee

The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land has issued a statement condemning “three major acts of vandalism and profanation against Christian sites in Galilee.” On April 27, between 70...

Jerusalem Christians to make novena for visit by Pope, patriarch

Christian leaders in Jerusalem have announced an ecumenical novena to prepare for the upcoming visit of Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople. According to the Latin...

Pope Francis reflects on Holy Spirit’s gift of counsel

Continuing his weekly catechesis on the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis devoted his May 7 general audience to the gift of counsel. The gift of counsel helps Christians “understand...

Pope urges faithful to pray Rosary, requests prayers for peace

At the conclusion of his May 7 general audience, Pope Francis called upon Catholics to turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary and pray for peace. “I invite everyone to invoke the intercession of Mary,...

Seattle priest ignored ban from public ministry

A priest in the Archdiocese of Seattle who was banned from ministry because of sexual abuse has violated that ban, the archdiocese has disclosed. Father Harry Quigg was removed from ministry in...

Coptic leader writes Pope, suggests single date for Catholic, Orthodox Easter celebration

The head of the Coptic Orthodox Church has written to Pope Francis, proposing that Catholics and Orthodox agree on a date for the celebration of Easter, the Fides news service reports. Coptic...

Vatican City implements new standards for cooperation against money-laundering

The Vatican has agreed to a new set of European standards aimed at the “prevention and combating money-laundering and financing of terrorism.” Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, the president of the...

20 Catholic colleges in US invite pro-abortion commencement speakers

At least 20 American Catholic colleges and universities have invited commencement speakers who promote legal abortion and same-sex marriage, reports the Cardinal Newman Society (CNS). “These...

Chinese regime: religious faith is a threat to the state

Two semi-official arms of the Chinese government have said that the growth of religion “has constituted a threat to Chinese identification with socialist belief,” the UCANews service...

Hispanic Americans leaving Catholic Church in rising numbers, study shows

Hispanic Americans are increasingly likely to leave the Catholic Church, a major survey by the Pew Research Center has shown. Today 55% of America’s 35 million Hispanic adults identify themselves...

Released Thursday, May. 8

Pope Francis: the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christian unity

Pope Francis received the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church in audience on May 8 and said that the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christian unity. The Pontiff’s remarks come one year before...

Vietnamese priest honored for courageous journalism

Reporters Without Borders, an organization that monitors attacks on the freedom of the press, has named a Vietnamese priest one of its 100 “information heroes” because of his work amid Communist...

Nuncio encourages English bishops to oppose assisted suicide bill

The apostolic nuncio to the United Kingdom has encouraged the English bishops to proclaim the Gospel of life as the House of Lords considers legislation on assisted suicide. “I cannot fail to...

USCCB announces agenda for June meeting

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has released the agenda of its spring meeting, which will take place on June 11-13 in New Orleans. Among the agenda items are presentations on the...

Miami archbishop laments ‘broken incarceration policies’

Archbishop Thomas Wenski, who chairs the US bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, has called for a “long overdue conversation about how to fix our nation’s broken...

Federal court dismisses suit filed by priest during government shutdown

A federal district court has a dismissed a lawsuit filed by Father Ray Leonard, a civilian chaplain who was temporarily barred from celebrating Mass at a naval base during the government...

Report: police avert attack on Coptic monastery

Egyptian security forces have averted a terrorist attack on St. Demiana’s Monastery, according to an Egyptian news site. Copts United reported that police in Dakahlia Governorate, which is...

Vatican appeal for release of schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram

The Vatican has issued an appeal for the release of the Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by the Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram. “The denial of any kind of respect for life and for the...

Black Mass scheduled on Harvard campus; Boston archdiocese protests

A student group affiliated with Harvard University has announced plans to hold a “black mass.” The Archdiocese of Boston has issued a statement expressing “deep sadness and strong opposition” to the...

Don't be obstacles to evangelization, Pope tells clerics

Church officials must be careful not to become obstacles to the process of evangelization, Pope Francis said in his homily on May 8. Reflecting on the conversation between St. Philip and the...

Conference focuses on exorcism in 21st century

Catholic prelates from 33 countries are participating in an annual seminar on exorcism being held in Italy this week, with events in Rome and Bologna. Father Cesare Truqui, a priest of the Legion...

Bring light to the world, Cardinal Parolin exhorts pilgrims at Rosary shrine

Cardinal Pietro Parolin celebrated Mass at the shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Holy Rosary in Pompeii, Italy, in May 8, referring to the shrine as “a place where charity has pitched her...

Vatican warning: firms making false offers of jobs in Vatican City

The Vatican has issued a warning that some Italian firms are making false offers for employment in the Vatican city-state. An official communiqué released on May 8 advising potential job-seekers...

Vatican officials meeting with Turkish religious agency to explore cooperation

The Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue is hosting meetings this week with representatives of Turkey’s ministry of religious affairs, the Diyanet. The meetings are designed to explore...

Released Friday, May. 9

Ukrainian Catholic leader says Russian ‘propaganda war’ is reminiscent of Goebbels

Speaking recently in Toronto, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church commented on “the reality of Russian aggression in Crimea, and the comfortable West’s inability to respond to this most...

Israeli parliament to pay tribute to St. John XXIII

On May 13, Israel’s national legislature will pay tribute to Pope St. John XXIII, who governed the Church from 1958 to 1963. Following a keynote address, several members of the Knesset “will...

Papal prayer, support for Canadian pro-life march

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has conveyed a message of papal support for Canada’s National March for Life, which took place on May 8. “His Holiness Pope Francis is...

Vatican conference explores solidarity, fraternity in business

The Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice Foundation, established by St. John Paul II in 1993, is hosting a conference at the Vatican entitled “The good society and the future of jobs: can solidarity and...

Armenian church leader lauds Pope Francis’s ministry

The Armenian Apostolic Church has released the text of the address given by its leader, Catholicos Karekin II, during his audience with Pope Francis on May 8. The church is among the Oriental...

US Christian leaders urge Obama administration to assist Mideast Christians

Over 175 Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant leaders, including Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Archbishop Charles Chaput, have signed a statement calling upon the Obama administration to do more to assist...

Pontifical academies’ joint conference on environment concludes

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences have concluded a five-day joint conference on “Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility.” “An...

Evangelize everyone, with preferential love for the poor, says Pope

In a May 9 audience with staff of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the national directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies, Pope Francis said that evangelization proceeds...

Pope emphasizes evangelization in audience with bishops from Ethiopia, Eritirea

In a May 9 address to the bishops of Ethiopia and Eritrea, Pope Francis emphasized the importance of evangelization. Faith in Christ, “present in your lands from the earliest days of the Church...

Pope's challenge to UN: 'ethical mobilization' against a 'throwaway culture'

Pope Francis has challenged UN officials to promote “a true, worldwide ethical mobilization,” to encourage help for the poor and preserve the dignity of human life against the inroads of a...

South African cardinal worried about new types of racial discimination

As South African voters went to the polls, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban cautioned against support for a new sort of racial discrimination, the Fides news service reports. The cardinal said...

Lebanese prelate under fire for plan to visit Israel

Maronite Catholic Patriarch Beshara Rai faces criticism in Lebanon from Muslim leaders who object to the prelate’s plan to travel to Israel during the visit there by Pope Francis. Cardinal Rai...

Vatican condemns Boko Haram kidnappings

The Vatican has condemned the kidnapping of young Nigerian girls by Boko Haram terrorists as one of the “horrible forms of violence long typical of this group.” The statement issued by Father...

Anti-Christian graffiti in Jerusalem blamed on Jewish extremists

Church leaders in Jerusalem have expressed dismay upon the discovery of anti-Christian graffiti on the walls of a Romanian church in the ancient city. Anti-Christian slogans, written in Hebrew,...

Released Monday, May. 12

Papal prayers for Christian unity, Egypt’s Christians

In a letter marking the first anniversary of his meeting with the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Francis assured him of his prayers for Christian unity and Egypt’s...

Paul VI to be beatified in October; 4 other sainthood causes advance

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

‘Be revolutionary,’ Pope Francis tells members of secular institutes

Choosing not to deliver his prepared text, which he described as “boring,” Pope Francis challenged participants in a conference of Italian secular institutes to “be revolutionary.” Pope Pius...

Entrepreneurs must be men of solidarity and prayer, says Pope

In an audience with members of the Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice Foundation, Pope Francis reflected on solidarity, the theme of the foundation’s conference in Rome. Solidarity is “intrinsic to...

Pope speaks of his love for school

Addressing a large audience of Italian teachers, students, and non-teaching staff in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis spoke about his love for school. The Pope recounted that his love for school...

Pope Francis ordains 13 men to the priesthood

Pope Francis ordained 13 deacons to the priesthood at St. Peter’s Basilica on May 11. Eleven of the men were ordained for the Diocese of Rome; the other two will minister in Pakistan and...

‘Bother’ your priests, Pope urges faithful

In his May 11 Regina Caeli address, which followed the ordination of 13 men to the priesthood, Pope Francis called upon the faithful who were assembled in St. Peter’s Square to “bother” their...

Harvard president will not stop 'black mass,' but will attend Eucharistic adoration

Harvard University President Drew Faust has announced that she will not interfere with a student group's plan to stage a black mass on campus, but will attend a Eucharistic holy hour at a nearby...

Vatican cardinal laments violence in Syria, calls for inter-religious bid for peace

Religious leaders should promote the cause of peace in Syria, the president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue told a conference in Amman, Jordan. Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran...

Nigerian cardinal demands 'concrete' action to release Boko Haram kidnap victims

Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja has called for “concrete action” to free the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, the Fides news agency reports Cardinal Onaiyekan complained that despite the enormous...

Parish closings must follow canon-law requirements, Cardinal Burke says

Catholic bishops should close parishes only for clear and compelling reasons, Cardinal Raymond Burke has said. Cardinal Burke—who heads the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatiacn’s top canonical...

Bishops of Central African Republic ask international help to end chaos, violence

The Catholic bishops of the Central African Republic (CAR) have compared their country’s current condition with that of an “open-pit prison,” the Fides news service reports. The bishops of the...

Irish dioceses receive high grades for child-protection policies

An independent review panel set up by the Irish Catholic bishops has given high grades to several Irish dioceses for their implementation of child-protection policies. The National Board for...

Released Tuesday, May. 13

Priest murdered in Canada

A priest from Cameroon who ministered at the cathedral in St. Paul, Alberta, was murdered on May 9. Father Gilbert Dasna, 32, was a member of the Congregation of the Sons of Mary, Mother of...

Vatican newspaper publishes defense of complementarity of sexes

L’Osservatore Romano has published an essay by Sister Sara Butler, an American nun who serves on the International Theological Commission, defending the notion of the complementarity of men and...

Ukrainian Catholic leader: Church did not lead protests against ex-president

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church said in an interview with Catholic World Report that “we did not call the people to protest” against the regime of Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian...

‘The library of Pope Francis’

The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera has published The Library of Pope Francis, an 11-volume collection of books particularly esteemed by the Pontiff. Four of the authors-- St. Ignatius of...

Pope Francis offers advice to seminarians

Pope Francis met with seminarians from around the world who are studying in Rome and offered advice in response to their questions. The May 12 audience took place in the Paul VI Audience...

USCCB urges Obama administration to work with Church against Boko Haram threat

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace has urged National Security Adviser Susan Rice “to assist the Nigerian government to...

'Black mass' cancelled as hundreds join in Eucharistic adoration at Harvard

A black mass that was to take place on the campus of Harvard University on May 12 was cancelled just hours before the scheduled event. But a Catholic church near Harvard Square was packed for a...

Boko Haram aims at heart of Nigeria, archbishop says

The Boko Haram terrorists who have kidnapped hundreds of young girls “want to hurt the heart of Nigeria,” an archbishop has told Aid to the Church in Need. Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos said...

Italian Cardinal Ce dead at 88

Cardinal Marco Ce, the retired Patriarch of Venice, died on May 12 at the age of 88. Born in Izano, Italy, Marco Ce was ordained to the priesthood in the Crema diocese in 1948. He was ordained an...

Anti-Christian acts raise tensions in Israel as papal visit nears

A rash of anti-Christian violence is “poisoning” the atmosphere in Israel in the days leading up to a visit by Pope Francis, warns Latin-rite Catholic Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem. Israeli...

Vatican sees 'well-founded complaint' in canonical suit on Georgetown's Catholic identity

A canonical suit asking the Vatican to restore the Catholic identity of Georgetown University is “a well-founded complaint,” a Vatican official has said. In a letter to novelist William Peter...

Autonomous weapons could dehumanize war, Vatican warns UN

High-tech weapons are contributing to an “increasing trend of dehumanization of warfare,” the Vatican’s representative told a UN session in Geneva on autonomous weapons systems. Archbishop...

Beware hardness of heart, Pope says in homily

Pope Francis again made “docility to the Holy Spirit” the theme of his homily at a Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae on May 13. The first disciples, he remarked, did not make elaborate plans for...

US bishops traveled to Iran to promote bilateral talks

Three American bishops traveled to Iran in March to “promote understanding between the peoples of Iran and the United States,” the Vatican Insider has revealed. Bishop Richard Pates of Des...

Released Wednesday, May. 14

Kenya has become a ‘terrorist playground,’ says cardinal

Kenya’s leading prelate has decried the increase of terrorism in the East African nation. “In the past few weeks we have lost many Kenyans through terrorist attacks, road accidents, robberies,...

Priest, catechist murdered in Papua New Guinea

A priest has been murdered in Papua New Guinea, the victim of tribal rivalries in the Pacific nation. Father Gerry Mary Inao was ordained in August 2013. Benedict, a catechist who accompanied...

‘A modern Pope gets old school on the Devil’

The Washington Post has reported on Pope Francis’s frequent references to Satan. “Pope Francis never stops talking about the Devil; it’s constant,” an anonymous “senior bishop in Vatican City”...

Ukrainian Catholic leader meets with Canadian PM, decries Russian actions

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the largest Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, condemned recent Russian actions during a meeting with Canadian Prime...

Top Vatican diplomat at UN renews call for ban on nuclear weapons

Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, the Holy See’s apostolic nuncio at the United Nations, has called for an international ban on nuclear weapons. The prelate made his remarks during a meeting of the...

Pope Francis reflects on Holy Spirit’s gift of fortitude

Continuing his weekly catechesis on the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis devoted his May 14 general audience to the gift of fortitude. Pope Francis referred to the parable of the...

5 bishops to travel to Washington, lobby on behalf of immigration reform

Five members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration will travel to Washington on May 29 and urge members of the House of Representatives to pass immigration...

Italian prosecutors investigating fatal collapse of crucifix

Italian prosecutors are weighing charges against 13 people involved in the design and construction of a giant crucifix that collapsed in April, killing a young man. The crucifix, designed in an...

Toxic-waste dumping by Italian Mafia draws papal condemnation

Pope Francis gave his support to victims of toxic-waste dumping in Italy’s Campania region, during his regular weekly public audience on May 14. Recognizing a delegation from Campagnia, the Pope...

Pakistan: lawyers hit with blasphemy charges after protesting police actions

The use of Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy law to punish religious minorities has taken an ominous new turn, with charges filed against 68 lawyers who protested police actions, the AsiaNews service...

Ignoring violence in Argentina is denial, bishop says

An Argentine bishop has said that those who do not recognize the problem of violence in the country are engaged in denial, the Fides news service reports. Bishop Jorge Ruben Lugones of Lomas de...

Archbishop Chaput expects Pope to visit Philadelphia for September 2015 meeting

As Vatican officials toured Philadelphia, making plans for the World Meeting of Families that will be held their in September 2015, Archbishop Charles Chaput expressed confidence that Pope Francis...

Vatican has questioned, not silenced, Indian Jesuit theologian

Reacting to reports that the Vatican has censured an Indian theologian, a Jesuit spokesman has told the Catholic News Service that no disciplinary action has been taken. Father Michael Amaladoss,...

Released Thursday, May. 15

Nicaragua’s bishops to meet with Ortega, declare days of prayer

On May 21, Nicaragua’s bishops, along with the apostolic nuncio, will meet with President Daniel Ortega, whom a bishop recently said has undertaken a “devious persecution” of the Church. Ortega,...

Sudan: woman at risk of death sentence for converting to Christianity

A Sudanese court has found a 27-year-old woman guilty of apostasy and has been given until May 15 to renounce her Christian faith. Ahmed Bilal Osman, Sudan’s minister of culture and information,...

Lebanese Muslim leader meets with patriarch, proposes Muslim-Christian pact

The grand mufti of Lebanon has met with the patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church, Cardinal Béchara Boutros Raï, and presented him with a proposal for a Muslim-Christian pact “for preserving...

Pakistan: 68 Muslim lawyers charged with blasphemy

Sixty-eight Muslim attorneys have been charged by Pakistani police with blaspheming a companion of Muhammad, the founder of Islam. The charges, according to BBC, were filed after “some lawyers...

Knesset honors St. John XXIII for saving Jews during World War II

Israel’s parliament held a special session on May 13 to pay tribute to Pope St. John XXIII. “There has not been an event like today’s in the history of the Knesset, an event which is so important...

Pope Francis laments arms trade, forced migration

Addressing new ambassadors from seven nations to the Holy See, Pope Francis decried the arms trade and the phenomenon of forced migration in the wake of conflict. “Everyone talks about peace, all...

Scottish priest who escaped prosecution is laicized

of minors has been laicized by the Vatican. Father Thomas Mullen was arrested in 2011 when two men lodged accusations against him, saying that he had molested them during the 1970s. However,...

New Zealand's governor-general meets with Pontiff

Pope Francis met on May 15 with Sir Jerry Mateparae, the governor-general of New Zealand. A Vatican statement released after the meeting indicated that the conversation focused on the economic...

Inter-religious conference demands release of Nigerian kidnap victims

An inter-religious conference in Amman, Jordan, concluded on May 15 with a joint statement condemning all forms of violence, and especially the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls. The meeting...

Cardinal Collins urges Canadian Liberal Party leader to reconsider ban on pro-lifers

Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto has asked Canada’s Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau to reconsider his decision to bar pro-lifer candidates from the party. In a May 7 statement, Trudeau said...

Preparing for trip to Holy Land, Pope postpones visit to Italian shrine

Pope Francis has postponed a planned visit to a shrine south of Rome, in order to prepare for his trip to the Holy Land, the Vatican has announced. The Pope was scheduled to travel to the Divino...

Bishops of Papua New Guinea lament pressure for abortion, sterilization

The Catholic bishops of Papua New Guinea have issued a public warning against “dangerous trends” toward acceptance of abortion and sterilization. In an open letter to government leaders, the...

Pope rejects armored car for trip to Holy Land

Pope Francis has refused to travel in a bulletproof vehicle during his visit to the Holy Land, the Vatican has disclosed. “The Pope wants an open popemobile and a normal car,” Father Federico...

Italian bishop wants no 'taboo' on talk of homosexuality, Communion for divorced, married priests

The newly appointed secretary-general of the Italian bishops’ conference has said that the Church should “listen without any taboo to the arguments in favor of married priests, the Eucharist for the...

Released Friday, May. 16

Mexico: bishop criticizes official for calling for end to assistance for large families

A Mexican cabinet minister, Rosario Robles, has called for the end to public assistance to indigenous women with more than three children, asserting that the women have more children in order to...

Setback for Wyoming diocese, college in struggle against HHS mandate

A federal district court judge has refused to issue an injunction preventing enforcement of the HHS mandate against the Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming Catholic Charities, Wyoming Catholic College, and...

5 enslaved Christian families released in Pakistan

Members of five Pakistani Christian families enslaved by their employers have been released following a lawsuit, according to the Fides news agency. One of the women had been enslaved in a...

Sudan: Christian sentenced to death after refusing to renounce faith

A Sudanese court has found a pregnant Christian woman guilty of apostasy from Islam and sentenced her to death by hanging. “I am a Christian, and I never committed apostasy,” Meriam Yehya Ibrahim...

Report documents anti-Christian discrimination in Europe

The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe has released a report documenting incidents of anti-Christian discrimination in Europe in 2013. “The increasingly...

US bishops release details of trip to Iran

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has released details about the trip made to Iran in March by a six-person delegation, including three bishops. “We had a productive...

Virginia’s bishops criticize governor’s review of abortion clinic regulations

The bishops of the State of Virginia have criticized Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s decision to review regulations on abortion clinics. The governor said that “this is not just a health issue—it's...

Synod officials meet to plan for October sessions

The “ordinary council” of the Synod of Bishops met at the Vatican this week to go over the working document for the October meeting of the Synod, which will be devoted to the family. Pope Francis...

Suffering from head cold, Pope cancels Friday appointments

After celebrating morning Mass on Friday, May 16, Pope Francis cancelled his other appointments for the day, to rest and recover from what the Vatican described as “a minor indisposition.” The...

Released Monday, May. 19

Christ teaches us to accept suffering with ‘trust and hope,’ Pope Francis says

Pope Francis reflected on suffering in a May 17 address to members of the Apostolate of the Suffering and the Silent Workers of the Cross, two associations founded by Blessed Luigi Novarese...

Pope Francis: Church conflicts are solved by confronting, discussing, praying

In his May 18 Regina Caeli address, Pope Francis reflected on the first reading from Sunday Mass (Acts 6:1-7) and discussed how the Holy Spirit helped resolve the Church’s earliest divisions. In...

Papal prayers for Balkan flood victims

As tens of thousands of residents of the Balkans fled their homes amid record flooding, Pope Francis prayed for the victims at the conclusion of his May 18 Regina Caeli address. “Severe floods...

Romanian bishop beatified as a martyr

A Romanian bishop who was imprisoned, tortured, and killed by the post-World War II Communist regime was beatified as a martyr on May 17. Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for...

1,400 children to receive first Communion at papal Mass in Jordan

When Pope Francis celebrates Mass on May 24 at Amman International Stadium in Jordan, 1,400 of the 50,000 in attendance will be children receiving their first Communion. “Preparations for this...

Catholic, Orthodox prelates issue statement on meeting between Pope, Ecumenical Patriarch

The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America have issued a joint statement on the...

Bahrain leader meets with Pope

Pope Francis received King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain in audience on May 19. An estimated 10% of the people in the Persian Gulf island nation are Christians; most Christians there are...

Jesuit appointed to religious-freedom commission

President Barack Obama has announced his intent to appoint Father Thomas Reese, SJ, as a member of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Reese, the former editor of...

Tensions in Jerusalem over plan for Pope's Mass at site of the Last Supper

In Jerusalem, plans for Pope Francis to celebrate Mass at the site of the Last Supper continue to cause controversy, with some Orthodox Jews protesting the papal appearance. The building that...

Vatican financial authority reports jump in investigations during 2013

The Vatican’s Financial Information Authority (AIF) has reported a sharp increase in the number of suspicious financial transactions noted in 2013—but attributed the increase to tighter...

New Vatican panel to hear appeals of clerics disciplined for abuse

Pope Francis is setting up a new commission to hear the appeals of clerics who have been found guilty of serious crimes, including the sexual abuse of minors, the Catholic News Service (CNS)...

Fight violence and poverty, protect family and life: Pope's challenge to Mexican bishops

Pope Francis encouraged the bishops of Mexico to reach out to “the victims of drug trafficking and the most vulnerable social groups” in a May 19 address. In his address to a group of Mexican...

Pope meets with Polish premier, names new Polish primate

Pope Francis met on May 19 with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, for a conversation that ranged from the canonization of St. John Paul II and the plans for World Youth Day 2016 to current...

Released Tuesday, May. 20

Christians flee Syria’s largest city

Syrian rebels are besieging Aleppo, the nation’s largest city-- leading to a “a new wave of the exodus of Christians,” according to a local prelate. “The families waited for high school to end,...

Christian refugees detained in Israeli desert

Some 2,300 Sudanese and Eritrean refugees seeking asylum in Israel, most of them Christian, are being detained at an asylum camp in the Israeli desert, according to Saint James Vicariate for Hebrew...

Pope urges Italian bishops: focus on Christ, be united

In a May 19 address to the Italian Episcopal Conference, Pope Francis called upon bishops to be pastors who remember that the Church is the “community of the Risen One,” that the Church is the “body...

Ukrainian Orthodox priest killed

Father Pavlo Zhuchenk, a Ukrainian Orthodox priest, has been killed in eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian separatists, according to a report from the Religious Information Service of...

Papal telegram following Colombian bus tragedy

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has sent a message of condolence in the Pope’s name following a bus fire in Colombia that killed 32. The Pope promised to pray for the...

Bishops discuss protection of migrant children

Two bishops from the United States have traveled to El Salvador to discuss the protection of migrant children with bishops from Mexico and Central America, according to the United States Conference...

Bishop Pates: address climate change

Writing in the Des Moines Register, Bishop Richard Pates said that “climate change is an issue of peace and justice, upon which our faith compels us to speak.” The prelate, who serves as chairman...

Indian bishops issue statement following victory of Hindu nationalist party

Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, the head of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church and president of the Indian episcopal conference, has issued a statement following the victory of a Hindu...

Pope Francis: interreligious dialogue does not entail setting aside evangelization

In a message marking the 50th anniversary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Pope Francis said that evangelization and dialogue are distinct but compatible activities. The...

Cardinal Bertone under investigation for financial transfer?

The German tabloid Bild has reported that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the former Vatican Secretary of State, is under investigation in connection with reports of embezzlement. The Vatican press...

Cardinal Tagle: Church teachings on marriage, family are not understood

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila has told the Catholic News Service that he was “shocked” by responses to the survey about family life that was distributed by the Vatican in preparation for the...

Jesuit superior general announces plans to resign in 2016

The superior general of the Jesuit order has announced that he will step down in 2016. Father Adolfo Nicolas disclosed that, with the approval of Pope Francis, he will resign in late 2016, when...

Released Wednesday, May. 21

US embassy to Holy See, women religious partner against human trafficking

At a May 20 Vatican press conference, officials of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life, the International Union of Superiors General, and the US embassy to the Holy See discussed...

Libyan situation has never been more ‘critical,’ says prelate

A general who touts his opposition to Islamist militias has revolted against the Libyan government that emerged after NATO’s 2011 military action against the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. “The...

Ukrainian cardinal: moral obligation to vote in upcoming election

The retired head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church urged Catholics to vote in the May 25 presidential election. “If one does not go to vote because one does not feel like it, then it falls...

Canada offers to work with Holy See in promoting religious freedom

At the conclusion of a four-day visit to the Vatican, Canada’s ambassador for religious freedom told Vatican Radio that his nation stands ready to partner with the Holy See in promoting religious...

Typical new US priest: 32-year-old who prays Rosary, takes part in Eucharistic adoration

The typical member of the priestly ordination class of 2014 is a 32-year-old cradle Catholic who has three or more siblings, according to a survey of 365 of the 477 men slated to be ordained to the...

Pope Francis reflects on God’s creation and the Holy Spirit’s gift of knowledge

Continuing his weekly catechesis on the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis devoted his May 21 general audience to the gift of knowledge. “When we speak of knowledge, we immediately...

American nun urges funding for abortion abroad

An American woman religious with a history of radical dissent from Catholic teaching has signed an open letter urging President Barack Obama to restore funding for programs that promote abortion in...

Synod not just about divorce/remarried, Vatican cardinal says

The secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops has emphasized that the October meeting of the Synod will not focus exclusively on the question of Communion for Catholics who are divorced and...

Cardinal visits North Korea

Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul has made an unprecedented visit to North Korea, crossing the border for a one-day visit to an industrial park, where he met with workers from South...

Connecticut pastor removed for 'persistent absenteeism'

Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut, has revealed that he “sought and accepted” the resignation of a pastor who had a record of “persistent absenteeism.” In an unusually candid...

Nicaraguan bishops say candid talks will address tensions with government

The Catholic bishops of Nicaragua have entered into talks with President Daniel Ortega, saying that it is best to acknowledge tensions and seek to resolve them. Talks between the bishops and the...

Vatican representatives backs UN efforts on climate change

“The Holy See is cognizant of the devastating impact of climate change,” a Vatican spokesman told a meeting of the World Health Assembly in Geneva. Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, the president of the...

Released Thursday, May. 22

Pope Francis: pray for flood victims, Chinese Catholics

At the conclusion of his May 21 general audience, Pope Francis renewed his appeal, made three days earlier, to pray for and assist the victims of serious flooding in southeastern Europe. “My...

Italian missionary, Burmese catechist to be beatified as martyrs

Father Mario Vergara (1910-1950), an Italian missionary, and Isidore Ngei Ko Lat, a Burmese lay catechist, will be beatified as martyrs at the cathedral in Aversa, Italy, on May 24. Cardinal Angelo...

Refugees hope for change following papal visit

On May 24, the first day of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Pope Francis will meet with refugees at the Latin church in Bethany beyond the Jordan-- raising hopes on the part of the refugees that...

Bishops decry same-sex marriage rulings in Oregon, Pennsylvania

Striking down state laws that recognize marriage as the union of a man and a woman, federal judges have compelled Oregon and Pennsylvania to legalize same-sex marriage. “We stand in solidarity...

Nigerian prelate laments attacks, pledges continued Catholic-Muslim dialogue

Twin bomb blasts have killed over 100 people in Jos, a city of 870,000 in central Nigeria. The Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram is suspected of carrying out the attacks. “Just two weeks...

Bishops’ conference official stresses importance of EU

The secretary-general of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community has emphasized the importance of the European Union and the 2014 European Parliament elections, which...

Pacific bishops discuss evangelization, plight of refugees

The Assembly of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania recently met in New Zealand to Pope Francis’s recent apostolic exhortation on the proclamation of the Gospel. The bishops...

Catholic prelate hopes for new approach from India's Hindu-nationalist leaders

An electoral victory by India’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatya Janata Party (BJP) has escalated tensions among the country’s Christians. But a leading Catholic prelate voiced cautious optimism in an...

Leader of 'We Are Church' is excommunnicated

A leader of the European dissident group We Are Church has been excommunicated. Martha Holzer was automatically excommunicated, along with her husband Gert, for “simulating the Mass,” the...

Security measures may thwart pilgrims hoping to see Pope Francis in Holy Land

Many Christian pilgrims will be unable to see Pope Francis during his visit to the Holy Land on May 24-26 because of tight security measures and a shortage of tickets, warned Bishop William...

Jewish activists under house arrest for papal visit to Israel

Israeli security officials have placed three Jewish activists under house arrest, saying that they may have planned to disrupt public appearances by Pope Francis during his weekend visit to the Holy...

Society-- not just marriage-- facing crisis, Italian cardinal argues

Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan has denied that the institution of marriage is facing a crisis. In a new book, The Nuptial Mystery, that is now making its appearance in Italy, Cardinal Scola...

Chicago priest at center of abuse scandal arrested on new charges

The former priest at the center of a scandal in the Chicago archdiocese, Daniel McCormack, has been arrested on new sex-abuse charges. McCormack, who was sentenced to five years in prison after...

Orthodox patriarch does not represent us in meeting Pope, says Russian Church spokesman

The chief foreign spokesman of the Russian Orthodox Church has expressed some misgivings that Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople will be meeting Pope Francis during the Pontiff’s visit to the...

Released Friday, May. 23

Nicaragua’s bishops meet with Ortega, outline concerns about nation’s direction

The bishops of Nicaragua have met with President Daniel Ortega in the apostolic nunciature and presented him with a 14-page list of concerns, the Fides news service reported. Ortega, a leader of...

Nuns attacked in Malaysia; 1 dead

Two nuns were savagely beaten and robbed outside a church in Seremban, a Malaysian city of 550,000. Sister Juliana Lim, 69, died, and Sister Marie-Rose Teng, 79, was seriously injured. “This...

US religious leaders renew call for Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement

Thirty-three Christian, Muslim, and Jewish leaders have written to Secretary of State John Kerry to support his efforts on behalf of Israeli-Palestinian peace. “A two-state agreement, in which...

President Obama denounces homophobia, ‘transphobia’

President Barack Obama has issued a statement commemorating the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. “We recommit ourselves to the fundamental belief that all people should be...

Judge halts enforcement of HHS mandate against 2 religious colleges

A federal district court judge has issued a temporary injunction barring enforcement of the HHS mandate against two Protestant colleges, Cornerstone University and Dordt College. “Plaintiffs may...

Attack on church near Bethlehem

Local Muslims stabbed a guard and threw stones at a church in a village near Bethlehem, according to a report by the Israeli media network Arutz Sheva. “Seven or eight Christians were injured and...

Ukraine at threshold of new era, says cardinal

Ukraine, although currently in a “post-Bolshevik period,” is “at the threshold of an entirely new era,” according to Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, who led the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church from 2001 to...

Before trip to Holy Land, Pope prays at St. Mary Major

As he prepared for his trip to the Holy Land, Pope Francis made a surprise visit to the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major on May 23, to pray before the image of the Virgin, Salus Populi...

UN committee asks Vatican to order cooperation with civic officials on abuse accusations

A UN committee implementing the Convention against Torture (CAT) has issued a report demanding that the Vatican institute worldwide policies requiring Church leaders to cooperate with civic...

Over 20,000 Chinese baptized at Easter

More than 20,000 people were baptized in the Catholic Church in China at Easter this year, the AsiaNews service reports. Most of the newly baptized Catholics are adults. In spite of efforts by...

Pope does not condemn capitalism, Cardinal Dolan writes

In a column published in the Wall Street Journal, New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan argues that it is a mistake to interpret public statements by Pope Francis as condemnations of a capitalist...

Search underway for Cardinal George's replacement in Chicago

The Vatican has begun the process of selecting a successor for Cardinal Francis George, and a replacement could be named by the end of the year, according to an official in the Chicago...

Brazilian bishop: same-sex couples need legal support

Homosexual couples “need legal support from society,” the secretary-general of the Brazilian bishops’ conference has stated. Bishop Leonardo Steiner, an auxiliary of the Brasilia archdiocese,...

Pope angered by VIP banquet held during canonization ceremony

Pope Francis was angry when he learned that a Vatican agency had organized an expensive VIP dinner during the canonization ceremonies for Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, the Catholic News Agency...

Punish bishops who are negligent on abuse, says top Vatican prosecutor

The Vatican’s new top prosecutor for sex-abuse cases believes that bishops who shelter abusive priests should be disciplined. Father Robert Oliver, the “promoter of justice” at the Congregation...

Released Saturday, May. 24

Pope Francis arrives in Jordan, calls for religious freedom everywhere

Pope Francis arrived in Jordan on May 24 at the beginning of his three-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land and was welcomed at Al-Husseini Royal Palace in Amman by King Abdullah II and Queen...

At Mass in Jordan, Pope preaches on the Holy Spirit

At a May 24 Mass celebrated in Jordan’s largest stadium, Pope Francis preached on the Holy Spirit. “We are not far from where the Holy Spirit descended with power on Jesus of Nazareth after his...

Released Sunday, May. 25

Pope appeals for peace in Syria, prays for the conversion of the violent

Pope Francis concluded the first day of his three-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land by meeting with refugees and young people with disabilities in the Latin church in Bethany beyond the Jordan, the...

Pope Francis arrives in Bethlehem, renews call for peace, religious freedom

Pope Francis departed from Jordan on May 25, the second day of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and arrived in Bethlehem, where he met with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian...

At Mass in Bethlehem, Pope Francis laments the suffering of children

As he celebrated Sunday Mass at Manger Square in Bethlehem, Pope Francis denounced acts of inhumanity against children and said that children “need to be welcomed and defended from the moment of...

Pope invites Israeli, Palestinian presidents to Vatican to pray for peace

At the conclusion of Sunday Mass in Manger Square in Bethlehem, Pope Francis invited the presidents of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to the Vatican to pray for peace. The Associated Press...

Overcome violence with peace, Pope tells Palestinian refugees

Concluding his brief visit to territory governed by the Palestinian Authority, Pope Francis traveled to Dheisheh Refugee Camp near Bethlehem and met with children from three refugee camps. After...

Pope Francis arrives in Israel, appeals for dialogue, condemns anti-Semitism

Pope Francis arrived in Tel Aviv on the afternoon of May 25, the second day of his three-day Holy Land pilgrimage, and was greeted by Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin...

Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch meet in Jerusalem, issue common declaration

Pope Francis met privately with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, who holds a primacy of honor in Eastern Orthodoxy, at the apostolic delegation in Jerusalem on May 25. The meeting took place...

Released Monday, May. 26

At ecumenical service, Pope reflects on Christ’s resurrection, prays for Christian unity

As the second day of Pope Francis’s three-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land drew to a close, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, who holds a primacy of honor in the...

In meeting with Muslims, Pope speaks about Abraham, laments violence in God’s name

In an address to Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem since 2006, and other Muslims gathered Jerusalem, Pope Francis reflected on the figure of Abraham and implored, “May no one...

Pope visits Holocaust memorial: ‘what made you fall to such depths?’

On the final day of his Holy Land pilgrimage, Pope Francis visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial. Pope Francis also made an unscheduled visit to a memorial to victims of terrorism and...

Jewish-Catholic dialogue is ‘just coming of age,’ says Pope

Pope Francis paid a courtesy visit to the two chief rabbis of Israel, Rabbi David Lau (Ashkenazi) and Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef (Sephardi), and said that Jewish-Catholic dialogue, “in terms of the Jewish...

Pope denounces terrorism, calls for freer access to holy places

In a courtesy visit to President Shimon Peres of Israel, Pope Francis called for freer access to Jerusalem’s holy places, to which Palestinian Christians say at times they have been denied...

India's bishops hope for good relations with new Hindu-nationalist government

The Catholic bishops of India have sent their “warm and cordial greetings” to the country’s incoming prime minister, Narendra Modi, as he prepares for his inauguration. The Indian bishops’...

Vatican launches Arabic-language web site

The Vatican has inaugurated an Arabic-language version of the Holy See’s web site, Vatican.va. The Vatican press office announced the new site during the Pope’s trip to the Holy Land, saying that...

Maronite Patriarch visits Israel, despite critics at home in Lebanon

Maronite Catholic Patriarch Bechara Rai became the first leader of the Lebanon-based Maronite Church to visit the state of Israel, traveling to Jerusalem to greet Pope Francis there. Cardinal Rai...

Pope, Israeli premier differ on security wall, Jesus' language

Pope Francis and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu disagreed openly on two topics during their meeting on May 26. During an exchange observed by reporters, the Israeli leader mentioned...

Vatican 'prayer summit' for Israel-Palestinian peace could occur soon

Israeli and Palestinian leaders are expected to pray together at the Vatican, in answer to a dramatic invitation from Pope Francis, sometime soon—perhaps in early June. During his visit to...

Cardinal says Pope's prayer at Israeli wall was sign of support for Palestinians

An American prelate has confirmed that when Pope Francis stopped outside Bethlehem to pray at the Israeli security wall, he intended the gesture as a sign of support for Palestinians seeking...

Imitate Christ, but recognize sinfulness, Pope urges faithful

Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the Cenacle, the site of the Last Supper, as he concluded his trip to the Holy Land on May 26. In his homily the Pope observed that the Cenacle could be viewed as...

Released Tuesday, May. 27

Vatican officials review accomplishments in interreligious dialogue

The latest English edition of L’Osservatore Romano has published remarks delivered by the president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue on the 50th anniversary of the...

Report: Russian Orthodox Church distances itself from Ecumenical Patriarch’s meeting with Pope

A leading official of the Russian Orthodox Church said that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I represented only his own Patriarchate of Constantinople, and not the world’s other Orthodox churches,...

Belgium’s bishops decry shooting at Jewish museum

The bishops of Belgium have issued a statement decrying the May 24 shooting at the Jewish Museum of Belgium. “Violence cannot be justified, let alone for religious motives,” the bishops said, as...

Cardinal Parolin links Israeli-Palestinian ‘prayer summit’ to Syrian prayer initiative

In an interview with the Milanese newspaper Il Giornale, the Vatican’s Secretary of State discussed Pope Francis’s decision to invite the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to the Vatican to pray...

Pope says 3 bishops under investigation, sees overemphasis on question of Communion for the remarried

On his return flight from the Holy Land to Rome, Pope Francis told reporters that the sexual abuse of minors is a “very grave crime” and that three bishops are under investigation for matters...

Report: attack on Egyptian monastery

Youth associated with the Muslim Brotherhood have attacked a monastery in Beni Suef, Egypt, with fireworks and nitric acid, according a report from Copts United. The attack comes three weeks...

Chaldean Catholic Church to hold synod

The Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate has published a prayer for the upcoming Chaldean Catholic synod, which will be held in Baghdad from June 24 to 28. The synod will examine the situation of...

Contemplative community established in China-- first since 1949

For the first time since the rise of the country’s Communist regime, a contemplative monastery has been opened in China, the AsiaNews service reports. The monastery of St. Augustine’s Garden was...

Abducted priest slain in Syria?

Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, the Italian Jesuit missionary who disappeared in Syria last July, has been killed, according to a former rebel militant who says that he was an eyewitness to the...

Released Wednesday, May. 28

A century after evangelization, significant growth for Church in Cameroon

Archbishop Cornelius Fontem Esua of Bamenda, one of Cameroon’s largest cities, recounted the significant growth of his diocese a century after German missionaries evangelized the...

Australian bishops call for more humane treatment of refugees

Amid allegations of the beating and rape of refugees by security guards, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has called for a more humane treatment of refugees at a Papua New Guinea island...

Cardinal Marx laments European election results

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, the president of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community, lamented the results of the May 22-25 European Parliament...

Pro-Russian militia abducts Polish priest in Ukraine

Members of a pro-Russian separatist militia in eastern Ukraine have abducted a Polish priest, Father Pawel Witek. "Our consular services have been working on securing the release of our citizen,...

Improved Church-state relations in Ireland?

Three years after Ireland closed its embassy to the Holy See, the Irish government announced the appointment of a new ambassador, prompting Prime Minister Enda Kenny to say that there is now a...

English bishops’ conference weighs in on same-sex civil unions

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has issued a statement on a government proposal that would automatically convert same-sex civil unions, which were legalized in 2004, into...

Pope Francis laments unemployment, decries human trafficking

In a message to the head of the International Labour Organization, Pope Francis described the present time as a “crucial moment of social and economic history” and lamented unemployment, which is...

Pope recalls pilgrimage to Holy Land

Departing from his weekly catechesis on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis devoted his May 28 general audience to his recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The trip, he said, had three...

Census Bureau will recognize same-sex 'families'

The US Census Bureau has announced that it will categorize same-sex couples as “families.” The Census Bureau said that the change in policy was warranted by the shift in American public opinion....

Sudanese Christian woman facing death sentence gives birth in prison

A Sudanese woman who faces a death sentence for converting to Christianity has given birth to a baby girl in prison. Meriam Yehya Ibrahim has been sentenced to death for apostasy from Islam. The...

Beatification of Pius XII blocked by absence of approved miracle

The cause for beatification of Pope Pius XII has not moved forward because there has not been a miracle attributed to his intercession, Pope Francis told reporters during his May 26 news conference...

Vandals attack Catholic shrine in India

Vandals smashed statues in a display of the Stations of the Cross in Warangal, in India’s Andhra Pradesh state, the AsiaNews service reports. While priests were absent, the unknown perpetrators...

Laos: Christian students barred from taking year-end tests

A local official in Salsomboon, Laos, has ruled three young girls will not be allowed to take year-end examinations because they “forfeited their right to education” by embracing...

Swiss euthanasia advocates will assist elderly in suicide even without illness

A Swiss organization that promotes euthanasia, Exit, has decided to provide services for elderly people even if they are not suffering from any illness. To date Exit has offered assistance to...

Vatican calls meeting for charities active with Syrian refugees

The Pontifical Council Cor Unum, which handles the charitable acitivites of the Holy See, has called together Catholic relief agencies to discuss responses to the refugee crisis in Syria. The May...

Aide suggested Archbishop Nienstedt should step down

The former vicar general of the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese suggested that Archbishop John Nienstedt consider resignation because of fallout from the mishandling of sex-abuse...

Cardinal Baldisseri clarifies thoughts on 'updating' Church teaching about marriage

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri said that he was not calling for a change in Church teachings on marriage in an email interview with the National Catholic Register. The secretary-general of the Synod...

Russian patriarch charges Ukrainian Catholics promote 'Russophobic' attitudes

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has accused the Ukrainian Catholic Church of “engaging in direct political activities” and encouraging “Russophobic” attitudes in Ukraine. Speaking on May 28 at...

Released Friday, May. 30

Nigerian cardinal welcomes sultan’s condemnation of terrorism

Amid international concern about the fate of 200 girls kidnapped by the Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram, the sultan of Sokoto, one of Nigeria’s leading Muslim figures, said that...

Grenade attack on church in Central African Republic; 15 dead

Fifteen people, including a priest, were killed in a grenade attack on a Catholic parish in Bangui, the Central African Republic’s capital. In retaliation, Christian youth destroyed a mosque, the...

Kidnapped Polish priest freed in Ukraine

A Polish priest abducted in eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian separatists has been released. A spokesman for Poland’s ministry of foreign affairs said that Father Pawel Witek is now “free, safe,...

Archbishop of Canterbury to meet with Pope

Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, who holds a primacy of honor in the Anglican Communion, has announced that he will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican in June. It will be the second...

‘Why Pope Francis May Be the Best Politician in the World’

The Italian edition of L’Osservatore Romano has reprinted “Why Pope Francis May Be the Best Politician in the World,” an op-ed piece written by a leader of the Obama campaign’s outreach to...

Extremists attack Indonesian parish

Muslim extremists “brutally and violently” attacked a parish on the Indonesian island of Java as the faithful were praying the Rosary and practicing hymns for Sunday Mass, according to an AsiaNews...

Bishops celebrate Mass at Capitol Hill, press for immigration reform

Bishops who serve on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration celebrated a Mass for immigrants and their families at a Capitol Hill parish on May 29. Approximately...

‘Prayer summit’ for Israel-Palestinian peace to take place June 8

The Holy See Press Office has announced that Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will join Pope Francis at the Vatican on June 8 to pray for peace. The Pope...

Prayer is the key to building bridges, Pope tells German Catholics

German Catholics are meeting in Regensburg from May 28 to June 1 for Katholikentag, a gathering held 99 times since 1848. The theme of this year’s meeting, which includes some 1,000 events, is...

Nigerian bishop backs military action to free kidnapped girls

A Nigerian Catholic bishop has indicated his support for military action to free more than 200 girls who have been kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists, the Vatican Insider reports. “If the...

Vatican plans for canonization of six new saints

The Vatican has scheduled a consistory on June 12 to prepare for the canonization of six new saints. The consistory will make plans for the canonization of: Blessed Giovanni Antonio Farina, an...

Pope's prayer intentions for June 2014

The Vatican has announced the prayer intentions of Pope Francis for the month of June 2014. The Pope's general intention is: “That the unemployed may receive support and find the work they need...

Pope, Orthodox Patriarch look to new meeting at Nicea

Pope Francis and Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople have agreed to plan for an ecumenical meeting to be held in Nicea in 2025, the AsiaNews service reports. Patriarch Bartholomew...

Detroit archbishop vows action to revive 'shrinking community'

The Archdiocese of Detroit is a “shrinking community,” Archbishop Allen Vigneron has acknowledged. Reporting on a survey of Detroit parishioners, Archbishop Vigneron called attention to a 50%...

Security fears keep Catholics from church in eastern Ukraine

Catholics in eastern Ukraine are “living in conditions of great danger,” a bishop there reports. Bishop Marian Buczek, who recently retired as head of the Kharkiv-Zaporizhia diocese, reported...

Egyptian Church leaders welcome presidential election result

A spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic bishops welcomed the victory of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the country’s presidential election, saying that the result was “a clear call by Egypt’s political and...

Vatican plays special role in peace process, says Bethlehem's mayor

The mayor of Bethlehem says that the Vatican has a unique role in preserving the ancient city and promoting the cause of peace. Mayor Vera Baboun told the Catholic News Agency that the strong...

Hindu-nationalist leader wants police action against priest-critic

The chief executive of India’s Goa state has accused a Jesuit priest of spreading “falsehoods” about Hindu nationalism in the days before the country’s general elections. Manohar Parrikar, a...

Catechism translated into Persian

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has been translated into Persian, with the help of Shi’ite Muslim scholars, the AsiaNews service reports. Translators from the University of Religions and...

Italian legislators move to ease divorce process

The lower house of Italy's parliament has approved a bill that would speed the process of divorce. On a vote of 381 in favor and just 30 opposed, the legislation-- which would aim to make...

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