Action Alert!

Stories for June 2014

Released Monday, Jun. 2

Protestors demand that Hagia Sophia become a mosque

Tens of thousands of protestors gathered in Istanbul outside Hagia Sophia on May 31 to demand that Turkey’s most famous monument become a mosque. Completed in 537, Hagia Sophia served as the...

Pope Francis ordains Synod official to episcopate

Pope Francis ordained Msgr. Fabio Fabene, undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops, to the episcopate on May 30 in St. Peter’s Basilica. In an April 1 letter highlighting the synod’s importance,...

Pope laments lack of concern for Syria

Addressing participants in a meeting of Catholic aid organizing working in and around Syria, Pope Francis lamented the “globalization of indifference” to the war there. “A year ago we met to...

‘The love of God never leaves us,’ Pope tells at-risk children

Five hundred children identified by the Italian education ministry as being at risk of dropping out of school traveled to Rome and met with Pope Francis on May 31. The meeting took place under...

Mary is ready to help us, Pope tells participants in Rosary procession

On the evening of May 31, Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, led the annual Vatican procession to conclude the month of May, which is dedicated to Our...

The Father sees Christ’s wounds, Pope says in Regina Caeli address

In his June 1 Regina Caeli address, Pope Francis reflected on the Ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven. The Solemnity of the Ascension is celebrated in Italy on the Sunday before...

Pope Francis praises charismatic renewal, warns that devil undermines family life

In a lengthy address to Catholics involved in the charismatic renewal movement, Pope Francis directed remarks to priests, youth, families, the disabled, and the elderly gathered in Rome’s Olympic...

Indian Cardinal Lourdusamy dead at 90

Cardinal D. Simon Lourdusamy, the retired prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, died in Rome on June 1 at the age of 90. Born in Kalleri, India, and ordained to the priesthood in...

Preserve unity of faithful, Pope asks bishops of Zimbabwe

Meeting on June 2 with the bishops of Zimbabwe, Pope Francis praised the hierarchy of that African country for showing their people that the nation’s crisis “is both spiritual and moral.” “The...

Cameroon: missionaries abducted in April are released

Three Catholic missionaries who were kidnapped in Cameroon in April—two Italian priests and a Canadian nun—have been freed. Fathers Gianantonio Allegri and Don Giampaolo Marta, Fidei Donum...

Ukrainian Orthodox leader dismisses pro-Russian sentiment

The secretary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has said that most people in Ukraine want to join the European community, and dismissed reports that pro-Russian separatists have wide...

Jesuit priest abducted in Afghanistan

A Jesuit priest from India has been abducted by gunmen in Afghanistan, the AsiaNews service reports. Father Alexis Prem Kumar, the director of Jesuit Refugee Service operations in Afghanistan,...

Released Tuesday, Jun. 3

New report of persecution in Laos

Weeks after Christian students were reported barred from taking year-end tests in Savannakhet Province in south-central Laos, police in the same province have detained a man for refusing to renounce...

Syrian rebel group expels Christians, confiscates property

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has expelled Christians from part of Ar-Raqqah Governorate in northern Syria and confiscated their property, according to a report from ARA News, a...

Judges grill Milwaukee archdiocese’s attorneys on cemetery trust fund

The judges who serve on the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals grilled attorneys for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee on June 2 over whether $55 million is truly needed to maintain the archdiocese’s...

Philippine bishops: no stand on new military agreement with US

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has not taken an official stand on the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, a new military agreement signed by the Philippines and the...

7 churches closed in Indonesia

Under pressure from Islamists, authorities in West Java, Indonesia, have closed seven Protestant churches, according to a report from AsiaNews. “We no longer have a place of worship to come...

Spanish bishops pay tribute to king upon abdication

The executive committee of the Spanish Episcopal Conference has issued a statement paying tribute to King Juan Carlos I, who has announced his abdication. Juan Carlos, 76, has served as king of...

Church leader welcomes Ukraine’s new president

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the largest of the Eastern Catholic churches in full communion with the Holy See, welcomed Petro Poroshenko, who was elected Ukraine’s president on...

US bishops: reduce carbon pollution

In a May 29 letter, Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, called upon the...

Vatican: no formal confirmation of plan for 2025 ecumenical gathering in Nicea

The Vatican has declined to confirm that Pope Francis and Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople have agreed to hold an ecumenical meeting at Nicea in 2025. In an interview last week...

Papal nuncio in Ireland sees revival of faith among young Catholics

Archbishop Charles Brown, the apostolic nuncio in Ireland, reports that he has found a “renewed enthusiasm among young Catholics in Ireland now.” The American-born prelate, who was appointed to...

Oakland's Bishop Barber defends personal-conduct standards for Catholic-school teachers

Bishop Michael Barber of Oakland, California, who has been roundly criticized for including a code of personal conduct in contracts for Catholic-school teachers, defended his policy in an interview...

Liberation theology, class warfare are 'archaic,' says head of CELAM

The liberation-theology movement, which exerted enormous influence over the Church in Latin America during the 1970s and 1980s, is now “very archaic, if not already dead,” according to the president...

Released Wednesday, Jun. 4

Ukrainian prelate praises new president

The secretary-general of the synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has welcomed the election of Petro Poroshenko as the nation’s president. “The new president is a practicing Orthodox...

African cardinal laments evils caused by negligent fathers

Inaugurating an archdiocesan year of the family, Tanzanian Cardinal Polycarp Pengo said that “the evils that we are experiencing today are mainly caused by negligent fathers [and] husbands who ran...

Philadelphia archdiocese announces parish mergers; old parishes remain worship sites

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has announced a new round of parish closures and mergers that will reduce the number of parishes to 219-- down from 266 in 2010, according to the King of Prussia...

Leading Russian Orthodox official says Ukraine’s Eastern Catholics are playing ‘destructive role’

Speaking in Belarus, the chairman of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Department of External Church Relations told the European Orthodox-Catholic Forum that “the Greek Catholics have played a very...

Pope Francis reflects on the Holy Spirit’s gift of piety

Resuming his weekly catechesis on the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis devoted his June 4 general audience to the gift of piety. Pope Francis began the current series of Wednesday...

Colorado: Christian guilty of discrimination for refusing to bake cake for same-sex wedding

Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission has ruled that Jack Philips, a Christian who owns a cake shop in suburban Denver, is guilty of discrimination because he refused to bake a cake to celebrate a...

Australian business manager joins Vatican Secretariat for the Economy

Cardinal George Pell has chosen a longtime aide to coordinate planning at the Vatican’s new Secretariat for the Economy. Danny Casey, who was the business manager for the Archdiocese of Sydney,...

Pope seeks meeting with Patriarch of Moscow

Pope Francis has send a message to Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, saying that he is “willing to meet at any place,” the AsiaNews service reports. The Pope’s message to the Russian prelate was...

Irish mass grave yield remains of almost 800 institutionalized children

The discovery of a mass grave, containing the remains of nearly 800 young children, has revived accusations about abuse of children by Catholic institutions in Ireland. A researcher found the...

Former head of US bishops' committee on abuse testifies he never informed police about cases in his archdiocese

Retired Archbishop Harry Flynn, who once headed the US bishops’ committee implementing norms for handling sex-abuse cases, has testified that he never informed police about abuse complaints in the...

Cleveland diocese drops handling fees for annulment cases

The Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio, has announced that it will drop charges for the handling of annulment cases, beginning immediately. Bishop Richard Lennon said that the decision to stop charging...

Early retirements at Vatican bank suggest new push for reform

Two ranking officials at the Institute for Religious Works (IOR) have been eased into early retirement, signaling a likely acceleration of reforms in the Vatican bank. The ANSA news service...

Released Thursday, Jun. 5

Hundreds of Christians convert to Islam in Turkey

Nearly 800 persons, three-quarters of them Christian, have converted to Islam in Turkey over the past five months, according to a report from the Fides news agency. 616 of the 779 conversions...

Vatican’s Secretary of State lauds St. John Paul, asks Poles to be open to children

Speaking on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the renewal of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Poland, Cardinal Pietro Parolin paid tribute to St. John Paul II as “a patron of your...

Irish prelate ‘horrified’ by reports of mass grave, welcomes government inquiry

Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam said he was “horrified and saddened” to learn of the discovery of the remains of 796 children in a mass grave near the site of a former orphanage run by the Bon...

Each sacramental confession is a Pentecost, says Vatican cardinal

Each celebration of the Sacrament of Penance is a Pentecost both for the confessor and the penitent, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza said in a letter on the occasion of Pentecost Sunday. Every...

Vatican commission is serious about addressing clerical abuse, says Irish victim

The newly formed Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors is “a serious attempt to deal with the issue globally rather than the Church dealing with the issue country by country,” Marie...

Pope recalls suffering of Armenian Christians, prays for unity

Pope Francis met at the Vatican with Catholicos Aram I, a leading figure in the Armenian Apostolic Church, and recalled the suffering of Armenian Christians. Aram I’s See of Cilicia is located in...

Bishop urges government to protect unaccompanied children crossing the border

Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo of Seattle, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, has called upon Congress and the Obama administration to protect...

Pope names all-new board to Vatican financial oversight agency

Pope Francis has replaced the entire board of the Financial Information Authority (AIF), the agency established in 2010 to supervise all Vatican financial affairs. Dismissing the five Italian...

Israel plans new construction of West Bank settlements

Israel’s housing ministry has opened the way for new settlements in the Palestinian territories, the AsiaNews service reports. The announcement comes just before the prayer meeting in Rome that...

Kidnapped Jesuit located in Afghanistan?

Authorities in Afghanistan have reportedly said that they know the whereabouts of a Jesuit priest who was kidnapped earlier this week. Father Alexis Kumar, the local head of the Jesuit Refugee...

Pakistan court ordered to halt appeal of Christian woman convicted of blasphemy

A Pakistani court that was scheduled to hear the appeal of Asia Bibi, the Christian woman who faces a death sentence on blasphemy charges, has been ordered not to proceed with the case, the Fides...

Pope raps Catholics who exploit Church

Pope Francis criticized Catholics who “rent the Church, but do not claim it as their home,” in a homily at Mass on June 5. Reflecting on Christ’s prayer for unity among his followers, the Pope...

Top officials of former Mexican government tied to cardinal’s killing, author claims

The murder of a Mexican cardinal in 1993 has been linked to important figures connected to both the drug trade and the administration of then-President Carlos Salinas. In a new book on the...

Critic of priestly celibacy says many clerics quitting ministry

Hundreds of Portuguese priests have abandoned their ministry in order to marry, according to an advocate for a married priesthood. Fernando Felix Pereira did not provide statistical evidence for...

Gypsies, vulnerable to exploitation, should be integrated into society, Pope says

Often living on the margins of society, gypsies “easily become victims of new forms of slavery,” Pope Francis said at a June 5 audience with participants in a conference organized by the Pontifical...

Homeless Romans seek asylum in basilica

About 100 homeless people have sought asylum in the basilica of St. Mary Major, asking Pope Francis for help. “We are here in the house of God to ask for help,” the homeless people declared,...

Released Friday, Jun. 6

Syrian rebel rockets damage prelate’s residence, Catholic school

The Armenian Catholic archbishop of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, has told the Fides news agency that rebel rocket fire has damaged his residence and a Catholic school. “It was a pretty powerful...

Canadian PM: no abortion funding in foreign aid for maternal care

Despite pressure from abortion advocates, the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is not including abortion in its international aid funding for maternal care, according to the Catholic...

Catholic church destroyed in Boko Haram rampage

Members of the Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram have killed hundreds of people in Nigerian villages since June 3, Agence France-Presse reported. In Madagali, a town in northeastern...

Pope Francis pays tribute to D-Day soldiers

In a message to the bishops of France for the 70th anniversary of D-Day, Pope Francis rendered “homage to the numerous soldiers who left their countries to land on the beaches of Normandy, in order...

Supreme Court will not halt same-sex marriages in Oregon

In a one-sentence ruling, the United States Supreme Court has refused to halt same-sex marriages in Oregon. In 2004, Oregon voters, by a 57%-43% margin, approved a state constitutional amendment...

Belgium’s bishops issue report on abuse

The bishops of Belgium have issued their 2012-13 report on the clerical sexual abuse of minors. In 2012, 286 abuse allegations were made; the following year, the number fell to 37. 71% of alleged...

USCCB president calls upon Congress to adopt immigration reform

The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has called upon Congress to “reform our nation’s broken immigration system.” “The time to act is now,” Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of...

Japanese Prime Minister Abe visits Pontiff

Pope Francis met on June 6 with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, for “cordial” discussions that touched on Church-state cooperation, education, international relations, and nuclear...

Brazilian bishops join protests of government spending on World Cup

The Catholic bishops of Brazil have protested the government’s spending on the World Cup soccer tournament, saying that the costs illustrate an “inversion of priorities” when public funds for...

Japanese bishops ask government to abandon nuclear power plants

The Catholic bishops of Japan are repeating a plea to their country’s government to abandon the use of nuclear power to produce energy. Bishop Isao Kikuchi of Niigata, the president of the...

Catholic employers' group wins court exemption from contraceptive mandate

A US federal court has ruled that the Catholic Benefits Association (CBA) and its members are exempt from the mandate to include contraceptive coverage in employees’ health-care plans. The...

Vatican outlines plan for Israeli-Palestinian prayer meeting

Pope Francis, Israel’s President Shimon Peres, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will each offer prayers for peace in their own religious traditions at a meeting on June 8, the Vatican has...

Iraqi Christian refugees crowding churches in Kurdistan, prelate reports

A flood of Iraqi Christian refugees is straining the resources of the Chaldean Catholic Church in the autonomous region of Kurdistan. More than 12,000 Christian families from Baghdad, Mosul, and...

Priests are not executives, Pope reminds congregation

In his homily at a morning Mass on June 6, Pope Francis said that every priest should ask himself regularly: “Am I a pastor, or an employee of this NGO called the Church?” A priest cannot work...

Japanese bishops report laity indifferent toward Church teaching on marriage

The Catholic bishops of Japan have acknowledged that the faithful are largely ignorant of Church teaching on marriage, and indifferent to Catholic stands. In a response to the questionnaire...

Worcester diocese asks court to dismiss discrimination complaint brought by gay couple

The Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts has asked a court to dismiss the lawsuit filed by a homosexual couple who claim that they suffered illegal discrimination when they were unable to buy an...

Catholic-Orthodox commission urges allowing married priests for Eastern Catholic churches in America

A joint Catholic-Orthodox theological commission has called for an end to the ban on ordination of married men to the priesthood in the Eastern Catholic churches in North America. While the...

Released Monday, Jun. 9

Pope Francis to mark 100th anniversary of beginning of World War I

Addressing 50,000 members of Italy’s national military police gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis announced that he would travel to Italy’s World War I War Memorial in Fogliano Redipuglia...

Papal envoy to commemorate post-Soviet freedom of Greek Catholics in Ukraine

Pope Francis has named Cardinal Jozef Tomko, the retired Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, as his special envoy to mark the 25th anniversary of the restoration of...

Vatican’s financial authority signs accords with counterparts in 6 nations

The Vatican’s Financial Information Authority (AIF) has signed a working agreement with its counterparts in the United Kingdom, France, Malta, Romania, Poland and Peru, establishing formal...

Pope reflects on criminals’ satisfaction, confession, and contrition

In a letter to participants in conferences sponsored by the International Association of Penal Law and the Latin American Association of Penal Law and Criminology, Pope Francis reflected on...

Mexican president visits Pontiff

Pope Francis met on June 7 with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who assumed office in 2012. The “cordial discussions,” according to the Holy See Press Office, focused on “numerous recent...

School, sports, and work are the 3 educational roads for youth, says Pope

Tens of thousands of young athletes gathered in the Via della Conciliazione on June 7 to play basketball, volleyball, and soccer before listening to an address by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s...

The Holy Spirit teaches, reminds, and leads us to speak, Pope says in Pentecost homily

Preaching in St. Peter’s Basilica at Mass on Pentecost Sunday, Pope Francis said that the Holy Spirit “teaches us and reminds us and makes us speak.” The Holy Spirit is the “interior Teacher” who...

Pope Francis: Pentecost shows us that the Church is full of surprises, called to evangelize

In his Pentecost Sunday Regina Caeli address, Pope Francis told the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was a surprising act that took place within the...

Israeli, Palestinian presidents join Pope in prayers for peace

Pope Francis hosted an unprecedented prayer meeting at the Vatican on June 8, as Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas joined him to pray for peace. "Peacemaking...

'Indisposed' Pope cancels Monday meeting to rest

Pope Francis cancelled a scheduled meeting on June 9 with a group of Italian jurists, to recover from what the Vatican termed a "mild indisposition" after an unusually busy weekend. The Pope was...

Chinese police arrest leader of 'underground' Catholic Church

A Chinese priest of the ‘underground’ Catholic Church is being held by government officials. Father John Peng Weizhao, the apostolic administrator of the Yujiang diocese, was taken into custody...

Cardinal Zen strongly backs democracy initiative for Hong Kong

Cardinal Joseph Zen has announced his plan to spend seven days walking through Hong Kong to rally support for a referendum calling for full democracy in the province. In the run-up before the...

Belgian deacon charged with multiple 'compassion' killings

A Belgian Catholic deacon has been arrested and charged with causing the deaths of 40 or more patients at a hospital where he worked as a nurse. Deacon Ipo Poppe reportedly kept records of...

Eritrea: Catholic bishops dare to criticize regime

The Catholic bishops of Eritrea have released a lengthy statement on their country’s difficulties, criticizing the repressive government. In a rare public expression of discontent with government...

Investigate all Irish homes for unwed mothers, archbishop suggests

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, Ireland, has called for an independent investigation of homes for unwed mothers, in the wake of sensational reports about the discovery of the unmarked graves...

After winning TV singing contest, Italian nun says religious life is her first love

After winning a televised nationwide singing competition, an Italian nun has announced that she will “return to my priorities, which are prayer, getting up early and teaching at my...

Rio archdiocese threatens legal action against offensive World Cup ad

The Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro is “deeply offended” by an Italian television network’s advertisement for World Cup coverage, which included an image of the famous “Christ the Redeemer” statue...

Illinois judge, former head of US bishops' review board, presides at same-sex weddings

An Illinois judge who once chaired the US bishops’ National Review Board has presided at same-sex marriage ceremonies, and plans to continue doing so. “I will not step back from this position,”...

Released Tuesday, Jun. 10

Egypt’s new president pays tribute to Coptic Christians

During his June 8 inaugural address, Egypt’s new president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, paid tribute to the role of Coptic Christians in national life. El-Sisi, once the nation’s defense minister, led...

Nigerian cardinal fears army sympathy for Boko Haram

Nigeria’s leading prelate has told the Fides news agency that sympathy for the Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram “threatens to undermine the unity of the Nigerian armed forces.” “It is...

Nuncio examines challenges American youth face

In a recent address to Catholic educators at Fordham University, Archbishop Carlo Mario Vigano, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, examined the challenges faced by youth in the United...

CDF prefect defends Catechism of the Catholic Church

In a recent address delivered at St. Patrick’s College Seminary in Maynooth, Ireland, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith spoke on the “ecclesiality” of the Catechism of...

Court rules on IRS release of names of donors to National Organization of Marriage

A federal district court has ruled that the National Organization for Marriage is entitled to damages for the Internal Revenue Service’s release of donor names. The organization supports the...

Prelate welcomes new Palestinian government

The prelate responsible for the pastoral care of Melkite Greek Catholics in Canada has sent a letter of congratulations to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for forming a new national unity...

Cardinal Agré dead at 88

Cardinal Bernard Agré, the Ivory Coast’s leading prelate from 1995 to 2006, has died in a Paris hospital at the age of 88. Born in 1926, Cardinal Agré was ordained to the priesthood in 1953 and...

Pope takes 2nd day of rest

For the 2nd consecutive day, Pope Francis cancelled meetings on Tuesday, June 10, to spend the day resting. The Vatican press office, which had announced on June 9 that the Pope was recovering...

Archbishop Carlson says he did not know sexual abuse was a crime

Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis, Missouri, has testified under oath that in the 1980s, while serving as an auxiliary bishop in Minnesota, he was unaware that molesting children was a...

Dates set for Pope's trip to Sri Lanka, Philippines next January

Pope Francis will travel to Sri Lanka and the Philippines next January. The government of Sri Lanka announced on June 10 that the papal visit would be on January 13 to 15; the government said...

Islamists seize Iraq's 2nd-largest city; Christians in flight

Islamic militants have seized the city of Mosul in northern Iraq, prompting scores of Christian families to take refuge in the plains of Nineveh. Bishop Amel Shamon Nona of Mosul, Iraq's...

Wisconsin bishop: same-sex marriage ruling threatens society

Lamenting a federal court ruling that forced legal recognition of same-sex weddings in Wisconsin, Bishop Robert Morlino warned that the redefinition of marriage threatened the stability of civil...

Christians expelled from site of the Last Supper

Orthodox Jewish activists drove Christian pilgrims out of the Cenacle, the “upper room” revered as the site of the Last Supper, on June 9. About 30 militants, including one member of the Israeli...

Ukrainian Catholic bishops see 'miraculous' solidarity against corruption, foreign domination

The Synod of the Ukrainian Catholic Church has issued a statement praising the people of Ukraine for standing together against “systematic corruption, governmental repression, and intolerable social...

Irish government plans probe of all 'mother and baby' homes

The Irish government has announced an investigation of all “mother and baby homes,” in response to an international uproar over the discovery that children were buried in an unmarked mass grave near...

Released Wednesday, Jun. 11

Nigerian cardinal weighs in on amnesty proposal for Boko Haram

Nigeria’s leading prelate has lent conditional support to President Goodluck Jonathan’s proposal to offer amnesty to Boko Haram members who lay down their arms. “The motivation has to be the...

US bishops begin spring meeting

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is holding its annual spring meeting in New Orleans from June 11 to 13. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the...

USCCB, CRS: lobby Congress on Israeli-Palestinian peace

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services are urging Catholics to contact members of Congress about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The text of a...

Vatican newspaper publishes details of conclave that elected St. Pius X

L’Osservatore Romano has printed a previously unpublished note in which Cardinal Jan Puzyna recorded the events of the five-day conclave of 1903. Cardinal Puzyna, the bishop of Kraków, had been...

Myanmar proposes restrictions on religious freedom

The government of Myanmar (Burma) is pondering the approval of legislation that would curtail religious freedom. The legislation, drafted by a group of Buddhist monks, would require non-Buddhist...

Pope meets with US Protestant delegation

Pope Francis received a delegation of 15 US Protestants and Mormons at the Vatican on June 5. Westmont College President Gayle Beebe wrote, “The Pope invited the Protestant leaders to discuss the...

Pope Francis reflects on fear of the Lord, appeals for end to child labor

Concluding his weekly catechesis on the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis devoted his June 11 general audience to the gift of the fear of the Lord. Fear of the Lord, the Pope began,...

Suspended German bishop takes apartment in another diocese

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, who was suspended from his post in the Diocese of Limburg, Germany, last October, has taken up residence in Regensburg. Bishop Tebartz-van Elst was removed...

Bishop Williamson denied permission to visit Australia

Bishop Richard Williamson, the controversial traditionalist prelate who was ousted last year from the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), has been denied permission to visit Australia. Bishop...

Polish premier says doctors must perform abortions, even against conscience

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has insisted that physicians should be required to perform abortions regardless of their beliefs. "Regardless of what his conscience is telling him, (a doctor)...

At audience, Pope appears recovered from 'indisposition'

After clearing his schedule for two days to rest and recover from a “mild indisposition,” Pope Francis showed no ill effects during his regular public audience on June 11. The Pope began his...

Iraqi Christians abandon Mosul, fearful of Islamic attack on Kirkuk

After a victory by Islamic insurgents in Mosul drove Iraqi Christians out of that city, the Islamic forces are now moving on Kirkuk. Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Amel Nona of Mosul, who has taken...

Orthodox bishop in Moldova fined for anti-homosexual statements

An Orthodox bishop in Moldova has been fined for saying that homosexuals should be barred from working in cafeterias and health-care facilities because “92% of them are AIDS-HIV patients.” Bishop...

Italian court's question: does sex-change operation annul marriage?

An Italian appeals court has been asked to rule on whether a legal marriage should be annulled if one partner undergoes a sex-change operation. A court in Bologna ruled that Alessandro...

Released Thursday, Jun. 12

Archbishop Chaput: ‘good reasons’ to believe Pope Francis will visit Philadelphia

At the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ annual spring meeting, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said that there are “good reasons” to believe that Pope Francis will visit...

1 priest murdered, another wounded in Phoenix

One priest has been shot and killed and another critically wounded during a burglary at Mater Misericordiae mission in Phoenix, the Arizona Republic reported. Father Kenneth Walker was shot and...

Pope sends video message to World Cup opening

In a video message for the opening of the FIFA World Cup competition in Brazil, Pope Francis highlighted three ways in which athletics can contribute to a culture of peace. Pope Francis noted...

Increasing numbers of Americans believe in atheistic evolution

The percentage of Americans who believe in atheistic evolution has doubled from 9% to 19% since 1982, according to a recently published Gallup survey. According to the survey, 42% of Americans...

Cardinal O’Connor’s grandfather was a rabbi

Following up on a recent news story that Cardinal John O’Connor’s mother was born Jewish, researchers have discovered that his grandfather was a rabbi, according to The New York Times. The...

6 blesseds to be canonized in November

During a June 12 consistory, Pope Francis announced that six blesseds will be canonized on November 23, the feast of Christ the King. Two of the saints were members of the Syro-Malabar Catholic...

More colleges declare they will not recognize some Christian groups

Citing concerns about discrimination, more colleges are declaring that they will no longer recognize Christian groups, especially evangelical groups, as official student organizations. The trend...

Sudanese woman still faces execution, pressure for conversion mounting

Miriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian woman who faces a death sentence for apostasy from Islam, remains in prison, and pressure is mounting for her execution, the Archdiocese of Khartoum has...

Kidnapped Jesuit alive in Syria, report claims

A Jesuit priest who disappeared in Syria last July is alive, and has met with Italian negotiators seeking his release, according to a Lebanese newspaper with ties to the Hezbollah movement. The...

US bishops renew committee on religious liberty, re-issue 'Faithful Citizenship' statement

The US bishops have extended the term of a special committee on religious liberty, and re-issued a statement on political responsibilities with only minor changes, at their spring meeting in New...

Corporations must honor human rights, Vatican envoy tells UN

The Vatican’s representative at UN headquarters in Geneva has welcomed a new document calling upon multi-national corporations to recognize and respect human rights. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi...

'Anarchy' in Mosul, Christians face new violence

“An explosion of religious violence” threatens Christians in Mosul as Islamic militants extend their control, the Sant’Egidio community has warned. The Sant’Egidio community, which has been...

Released Friday, Jun. 13

Central African Republic: leading prelate aids Muslim refugees

Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga, the Central African Republic’s leading prelate, traveled into the dangerous interior to the nation to bring aid to 600 Muslim refugees, according to a report in La...

Haitian cardinal emphasizes importance of evangelization

In a recent interview, Haiti’s first cardinal spoke of evangelization as his leading concern. “There is the concern to build a Church that must continue evangelizing, assuming her...

Iraqi archbishop, priests flee to villages amid jihadist advance

Archbishop Emil Shimoun Nona, the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul, has fled Iraq’s 2nd-largest city after its seizure by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, a jihadist group active in...

Cardinal Nichols deplores rape in war

Speaking at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster decried rape in war. “Every human activity is subject to moral principles and judgment if...

NY bishops push for education tax credit

Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the other bishops of New York are urging Catholics to contact Gov. Andrew Cuomo and ask him to support education tax-credit legislation. “Although Governor Cuomo...

8 sainthood causes advance

In a June 12 audience with the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis cleared the way for the beatification of a priest and a religious sister by approving the...

European court upholds Spanish bishop’s dismissal of ex-priest

In a 9-8 decision, the European Court of Human Rights has upheld a Spanish bishop’s decision to dismiss an ex-priest from his position as a teacher of Catholic religion at a public school. “In...

Figures show dramatic jump in Spanish Mass attendance, religious vocations

The Catholic faith is enjoying a remarkably vigorous revival in Spain, according to a study by the Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas (CIS). Filip Mazurczak reports for First Things that the...

Australian Catholic hospital to host state facility; abortions to be done off-site

A Catholic hospital in Perth has been chosen by the government of West Australia to host a major health-care center, with some procedures—such as abortions and sterilizations—preformed at a separate...

Dominican president meets with Pope

Pope Francis met on June 13 with President Danilo Medina Sanchez of the Dominican Republic, for discussions that centered on the naturalization of immigrants. The Pope’s talks with the Dominican...

Cardinal Zen raps Beijing's claim to 'comprehensive sovereignty' over Hong Kong

Cardinal Joseph Zen has repeated his support for a democracy initiative in Hong Kong, saying that the people of Hong Kong will “hit back if they are repressed and forced to be slaved.” Cardinal...

Gates Foundation to stop funding abortion? Claim is disputed

Melinda Gates has announced that the Gates Foundation will no longer support abortion. But the president of Human Life International says that the announcement was an “outright...

Pope speaks of his role in history, his personal security in new wide-ranging interview

Pope Francis condemned “the idolatry of money,” defended the record of Pope Pius XII, expressed misgivings about European separatist movements, and dismissed concerns about his own personal safety,...

Released Monday, Jun. 16

‘Nurture the joy of evangelization,’ Pope says in World Mission Sunday message

In his message for World Mission Sunday, which will take place on October 19, Pope Francis reflected on the missionary work of the 72 disciples (Lk. 10) as a “biblical icon” of the joy of...

Lighter summer schedule for Pope

The Holy See Press Office has announced that the Pope will have a lighter schedule during the months of July and August. During the five Wednesdays in July, Pope Francis will not hold his weekly...

Pope Francis: follow Christ by performing works of mercy

Chiding those who cite statistics about poverty but do nothing to help the poor, Pope Francis challenged members of Italy’s oldest association of volunteers to follow Jesus by performing works of...

Describing Europe as ‘tired,’ Pope laments low birth rate

During a June 15 encounter with members of the Community of Sant’Egidio and the poor assisted by them, Pope Francis emphasized the importance of prayer in the life of the Christian community and of...

Christian love reflects the Holy Trinity, says Pope

In his Angelus address on Trinity Sunday, Pope Francis said that the life of the Holy Trinity is “a life of profound communion and perfect love, the origin and end of the whole universe and of every...

Pope prays for Iraq, announces trip to Albania

At the conclusion of his Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis prayed for the peace of Iraq and announced that he would make an apostolic journey to Albania. “I invite all of you to unite...

Do not separate corporal, spiritual works of mercy, says Pope

The board of directors of the Populorum Progressio Foundation, the papal charity that funds education and development efforts for the poor in Latin America, gathered in Rome from June 11 to 13 and...

We must not abandon goal of full communion, Pope tells Archbishop of Canterbury

For the second time in his pontificate, Pope Francis has met with Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, the primate of the Church of England and spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion. “The...

Nancy Pelosi scolds Archbishop Cordileone for participation in pro-marriage event

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi has written to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, urging him not to attend the Jun 19 March for Marriage in Washington, saying that participants will be...

Phoenix police arrest suspect in priest's killing

Police in Phoenix, Arizona, have made an arrest in connection with the murder of one Catholic priest and severe beating of another. Gary Michael Moran, a man with a history of violent crime, was...

Would canonization end disputes over record of Pope Pius XII?

John Allen of the Boston Globe observes that arguments over the legacy of Pope Pius XII have troubled relations between Catholics and Jews for years, and makes the case for “a highly...

Group of priests claims 'loss of confidence' in Florida bishop

The National Catholic Reporter calls attention to a small group of priests in Venice, Florida, who have lodged a formal complaint against Bishop Frank Dewane. In a letter to the apostolic nuncio,...

Islamic terrorists target Christians in attack on Kenyan town

Islamic terrorists slaughtered at least 48 people in the Kenyan town of Mpeketoni on Sunday evening, June 15, dragging men from their homes and killing those who identified themselves as...

Iraqi archbishop argues against foreign intervention

An Iraqi prelate has cautioned against international intervention against the Islamic force that have seized control over much of the country. Archbishop Jean Sleiman of Baghdad told Aid to the...

Released Tuesday, Jun. 17

Syrian rebels targeting Aleppo’s churches, says prelate

The Armenian Catholic archbishop of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, has told the Fides news agency that rebel forces have surrounded the city and are targeting churches. Archbishop Boutros Marayati...

Archbishop protests government’s seizure of Catholic property

Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore, Pakistan’s 2nd-largest city, led over 1,500 Catholics in a protest of the provincial government’s seizure of the site of a Catholic school. The June 15...

Pope praises ‘impact investing’

The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Catholic Relief Services, and the University of Notre Dame’s business school are cosponsoring a three-day conference in Rome devoted to impact...

Pope Francis: the Church must be a warm, tender mother in a ‘society of orphans’

In lengthy remarks to the ecclesial convention of the Diocese of Rome, Pope Francis called upon parishes to reveal the face of the Church as a warm, tender mother. Pope Francis began his June 16...

2014 Ratzinger Prize winners announced

At a June 17 Vatican press conference, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the retired vicar general of the Diocese of Rome, announced the winners of the 2014 Ratzinger Prize in theology. The winners are...

US bishops’ conference grants over $4.6M to assist Church in Latin America, Haiti

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America has granted over $1.7 million to 112 projects in Latin America and the Caribbean and an additional $2.93...

Egyptian court sentences Christian teacher for ‘insulting Islam’

An Egyptian court has sentenced a Coptic Christian teacher to prison for “insulting Islam.” Al-Ahram, Egypt’s leading newspaper, reported that Demiana Emad, 23, was arrested in 2013 after the...

Michigan villages produce a mini-boom in priestly, religious vocations

The New York Times looks at two tiny neighboring towns in Michigan, with a combined population of just over 2,000, which together have produced 44 vocations to the Catholic priesthood, and 80 women...

Children of surrogate parents urge ban on the practice

A group representing children who were conceived and/or borne by surrogate parents is pushing for restraints on the practice. Jessica Kern, who represents the group, explains why she cannot feel...

Unrest in Ukraine brings new ecumenical opportunities, Catholic cardinal reports

Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, the retired Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, reports that ecumenical relations with the Ukrainian Orthodox have improved during the recent months of...

Gay couple's discrimination suit against Massachusetts diocese will go to trial

A Massachusetts judge has ruled that a discrimination lawsuit brought by a homosexual couple against the Diocese of Worcester should go to trial. The two men charge that the Worcester diocese...

Archbishop Cordileone responds to critics on March for Marriage

Refusing to back down in the face of criticism, March for Marriage, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco has rejected calls for him to withdraw from the March of Marriage in...

New Islamic terror attack on Kenyan village

Islamic terrorists have attacked another village in Kenya, killing at least 9 people and apparently kidnapping women and children. After a June 15 assault on the town of Mpeketoni that left 48...

Cultivate prudence, Pope encourages Italian magistrates

Pope Francis called upon Italian magistrates to set “an example of moral integrity for all of society” in a private audience on June 17. The Pope emphasized the importance of an independent...

Cardinal McCarrick, at 82, still active in international diplomacy

The Washington Post profiles Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the retired Archbishop of Washington, who at 82 continues to take on special diplomatic assignments. Cardinal McCarrick, who admits that...

Released Wednesday, Jun. 18

Clear choice for Indonesian Christians in presidential election

Indonesia’s Christians have a clear choice in the July 9 presidential election, according to an official of the Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia. The Southeast Asian nation, the world’s 4th-most...

‘Are English schools being taken over by Islamic extremists?’

Five out of 21 schools recently inspected by the government in Birmingham, Great Britain’s 2nd-largest city, are now in danger of closure because of “a particular and narrow faith-based [Muslim]...

New book: higher neighborhood crime follows closing of urban Catholic schools

In Lost Classroom, Lost Community, a new book that has attracted broad praise, Margaret Brinig and Nicole Stelle Garnett examined crime reports and found that “the loss of Catholic schools triggers...

Vatican cardinal: acknowledging weaknesses can contribute to Christian unity

In a letter published in the latest English edition of L’Osservatore Romano, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity said that acknowledging one’s weaknesses can...

Following same-sex ceremony, Michigan man barred from parish ministries

Following a backyard same-sex “commitment ceremony,” a Michigan man is no longer permitted serve as a lector, choir member, or parish council member at his parish, according to local media...

Pope Francis begins catechesis on Church, issues appeal for refugees

Emphasizing that the Church is “our mother” and “our family” and not a “financial institution” or “private association,” Pope Francis has begun a new series of Wednesday general audiences devoted to...

USCCB appoints new coordinator for domestic economic issues

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced the appointment of a new director of its Office of Domestic Social Development, which coordinates the conference’s advocacy on domestic...

Christians in Baghdad fearful as ISIS troops advance

Christians in Baghdad are “terrorized and deeply distressed” amid rumors that Islamic militants have reached the outskirts of the Iraqi capital city. Bishop Saad Syroub, an auxiliary of the...

All children at Galway orphanage were baptized, records show

The Irish Archdiocese of Tuam has revealed that all of the children born out of wedlock at a "mother and child" home in Galway were baptized, contrary to reports that had circulated alleging that...

Full schedule set for Pope's August visit to Korea

The Vatican has released the full schedule for the August visit by Pope Francis to Korea. The Pope will leave Rome on Wednesday afternoon, August 13, on an overnight flight that will arrive in...

Kenya terror attacks may not be work of al Shabaab, bishop says

A Kenyan bishop has voiced doubts that two recent terrorist attacks have been the work of the Somalian jihadist group al Shabaab. Bishop Emanuel Barbara of Malindi told the Fides news service...

New climate-control systems to preserve Sistine Chapel

The Vatican has plans to install a new climate-control system in the Sistine Chapel, to preserve the renowned Michelangelo works. The new system—replacing an older system that was installed in...

EWTN will appeal decision rejecting challenge to HHS mandate

The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) has announced that it will appeal a judge’s decision rejecting the network’s challenge against the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate. “We...

Miracle approved, Archbishop Fulton Sheen moves closer to beatification

A Vatican-appointed panel of theologians has approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, moving the renowned American preacher closer to beatification. The...

Released Thursday, Jun. 19

Situation worsening around Mosul, says prelate

As Chaldean Catholics observed a day of prayer and fasting for peace on June 18, the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul reported worsening conditions. Mosul, Iraq’s 2nd-largest city, fell to...

Malaysia: sharia conviction of Catholic overturned

A sharia appellate court in Malaysia has overturned the March conviction of Halimah, an Indonesian Catholic migrant worker, and ordered a retrial. The woman, an illiterate massage therapist who...

Tijuana archbishop suspends 7 priests

Archbishop Rafael Romo Muñoz of Tijuana has suspended seven priests who have been accused of sexually abusing minors, according to San Diego’s leading newspaper. All of the alleged victims were...

Kenyan cardinal warns against tribalism

During a recent talk, Kenya’s leading prelate warned against the dangers to unity posed by tribalism. “It should not be an issue of where we come from but should be of who we are,” said Cardinal...

Ukrainian prelates denounce misinformation campaign

In an apparent response to strong criticisms of Ukraine’s Eastern Catholics by a leading Russian Orthodox official, the permanent Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has...

91 churches damaged or destroyed in Syria, says patriarch

In his address to the annual meeting of the Holy Synod of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Patriarch Gregory III Laham said that “91 churches have been destroyed or damaged” in Syria, “including...

USCCB committee chair, Iranian scholars issue statement on weapons of mass destruction

Bishop Richard Pates, the chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has joined two leading Shiite Muslim scholars in Iran in...

Pope misses traditional Eucharistic procession for Corpus Christi

Pope Francis chose not to walk in the traditional Corpus Christi procession across the city of Rome on June 19, rousing new speculation about the Pontiff’s health. The Pope celebrated Mass at the...

Truth about marriage will prevail, Archbishop Cordileone assures DC rally

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco rallied support for the institution of marriage, promising that “the truth will not go away, and we will not go away,” in an address to the March for...

Irish abortion rate dropping

Despite broader legal access to abortion in Ireland, the rate of abortion among Irish women dropped by 7% last year, and has plummeted by 66% since reaching an all-time high in 2001. Writing in...

Released Friday, Jun. 20

In Corpus Christi homily, Pope asks: do we long for ‘garlic and onions’ of slavery?

In his homily for the Mass of Corpus Christi, celebrated at the Lateran Basilica on the evening of June 19, Pope Francis reflected on the experience of the Israelites following their liberation from...

Christian converts brutally murdered in India

A Tibetan husband and wife who had converted to Christianity were brutally murdered in the northeastern Indian state of West Bengal, according to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. The...

Presbyterian Church approves same-sex marriage

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), one of the United States’ leading Protestant denominations, has voted to allow its pastors to perform “any such marriage they believe the Holy...

Catholic Campaign for Human Development approves $14M in grants

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the US bishops’ domestic anti-poverty program, has approved $14 million in grants “to empower poor and low-income communities to overcome poverty and...

Archbishop Kurtz calls upon Catholic journalists to promote Christ, Catholic teaching

Speaking at the annual meeting of the Catholic Press Association, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops told Catholic journalists that the laity “trust you to promote...

Poland: 3 priests, 2 nuns named ‘righteous among nations’

Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, has honored three Polish priests and two Polish nuns for their efforts to save Jews during World War II, enrolling them in the list of “Righteous among the...

‘Discovering the face’ of St. Anthony

Forensic scientists have been able to construct an image of the face of St. Anthony of Padua (1195-1231). “From only the skull, his face and its features were reconstructed with a high degree of...

Controversy in Napa after Catholic entrepreneur named parade grand marshal

Homosexual activists in Napa, a city of 75,000 in north-central California, are pressuring the local Rotary Club to rescind the appointment of a Catholic entrepreneur as grand marshal in the 4th of...

Pope Francis: no compromise on drug addiction

Pope Francis delivered a strong message to participants at the International Drug Enforcement Conference in Rome. “The scourge of drug use continues to spread inexorably, fed by a deplorable...

Persecution is common, religious freedom endangered today, Pope says

“Nowadays, persecution of Christians is stronger than it was in the first centuries of the Church, and there are more Christian martyrs than in that time,” Pope Francis said in June 20 audience with...

Italian court strikes down ban on donated gametes for artificial reproduction

An Italian court has struck down a ban on the use of donated eggs or sperm in assisted reproduction. The court ruled that a couple’s right to bear children should be preserved even if the couple...

New dispute at Charlotte Catholic: ousted principal's use of funds

Officials at Charlotte Catholic High School in North Carolina remain at odds over the use of funds by an ousted school principal. The Charlotte Catholic High School Foundation has told donors...

New fighting in South Sudan threatens widespread starvation

The newly independent republic of South Sudan is caught up in its own civil war, which threatens to cause widespread starvation, warns the apostolic nuncio serving there. Archbishop Charles...

Boycott of presidential vote threatens Lebanon's future, Maronite bishops say

The Maronite Catholic bishops of Lebanon have said that lawmakers who choose to boycott a presidential ballot are placing their country at “great risk.” In light of “regional developments that...

Russian Patriarch not welcome in Ukraine, says government minister

Ukraine’s culture minister has announced that a visit to his country by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill would be “undesirable, provocative, and designed for political ends.” Volodymyr...

Aid group sends emergency support for Iraqi Christian refugees from Mosul

The international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has supplied €100,000 Euros (about $130,000) in emergency relief aid for Iraqi Christian refugees who have fled from Mosul after...

Released Monday, Jun. 23

Pope pays tribute to fidelity of Ukraine’s Greek Catholics

Pope Francis has paid tribute to the fidelity of Ukraine’s Eastern Catholics in a letter commemorating the 25th anniversary of the restoration of religious liberty for the Greek Catholic Eparchy of...

Doctoral student of Pope Emeritus to lead Pontifical Theological Academy

Pope Francis has named Father Réal Tremblay, a Canadian Redemptorist priest who completed his doctoral dissertation under the future Pope Benedict XVI, as the new president of the Pontifical Academy...

Pope Francis: the Eucharist allows us to make our lives a gift

The reception of Holy Communion transforms us and allows us to make our lives a gift, Pope Francis said in his June 22 Angelus address. The Pope noted that the Feast of Corpus Christi was being...

Torture is a mortal sin, Pope Francis emphasizes

Following his June 22 Angelus address, Pope Francis told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square that the United Nations commemorates June 26 as the International Day in Support of Victims of...

We all have to return to confession, Pope tells prisoners

On June 21, Pope Francis made an apostolic journey to Cosenza, a province in the southern Italian region of Calabria, and told prisoners that the Lord forgives us in confession and then wishes to...

In address to priests, Pope emphasizes joy of the priesthood

Pope Francis told a group of diocesan priests that there is “nothing more beautiful for a man” than being called to be a priest. The Pope made his remarks in the cathedral of Cassano all’Ionio, a...

Mafia excommunicated, Pope says

Mafia members are excommunicated, Pope Francis said in a dramatic homily delivered during a one-day trip to Calabria, a stronghold of the notorious ‘Ndrangheta crime syndicate. Celebrating Mass...

Sudanese Christian woman freed; apostasy conviction voided

A Sudanese appeals court has overturned the conviction of Miriam Ibrahim, the Christian woman who had been sentenced to death for apostasy. Miriam Ibrahim, who was raised as a Christian and...

American-born nun killed in South Africa; 2 arrested

Police in South Africa have arrested two men suspected of killing an 82-year-old American-born Marianhill missionary, the Fides news agency reports. Sister Mary Paule Tacke, a native of Idaho,...

Cardinal Bertone's move into spacious new Vatican apartment delayed by remodeling woes

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone has been unable to move into a new apartment at the Vatican, because the firm remodeling the space has declared bankruptcy. The former Vatican Secretary of State had...

Immigrants changing the face of the Church in northern Africa

The Conference of Bishops of the Region of Northern Africa (CERNA), meeting in Rome last week, centered on the phenomenon of migration, which is transforming the Church in their region, the Fides...

Avoiding political involvement, Pope declines meeting with migrant occupying basilica

Pope Francis declined to meet with undocumented migrants who have sought asylum in the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major, because he did not want to be seen as interfering in Italian politics, the...

Malaysian high court: Catholic newspaper cannot use 'Allah' for God

Malaysia’s top court has confirmed a government ban on the use of the term “Allah” by a Catholic newspaper. The long-awaited ruling, reversing an appeals court decision in favor of the Church,...

Chilean bishop cleared by Vatican of sex-abuse charge

The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has cleared a Chilean bishop of sex-abuse charges. After a lengthy investigation, the CDF concluded that allegations against Bishop...

Released Tuesday, Jun. 24

USCCB committee chair weighs in on Iraq

Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, the chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, has urged the Obama administration to provide...

Texas bishop to testify before Congress on immigration

Bishop Mark Seitz will testify before the House Judiciary Committee on June 25 about the immigration of unaccompanied minors, the El Paso Times reported. “I will clarify the US bishops’ support...

‘Nuns willing to care for priest who killed nun’

The Little Sisters of the Poor are willing to care for Father Gerald Robinson, an Ohio priest convicted of murder in 2006, during the last few months of his life. Father Robinson, who was...

Scotland’s bishops to reopen seminary

The bishops of Scotland have announced that the Royal Scots College in Spain will again be used as a seminary. Founded in 1629, the college prepared men for the priesthood until 2009. “The...

Kenya’s Christian leaders warn against ethnic violence

Catholic, Anglican, and other Christian leaders in Kenya have warned against the threat of ethnic violence and called upon the government to take stronger actions against terrorists, according to a...

3rd Fortnight for Freedom begins

The US bishops’ 3rd annual Fortnight for Freedom officially began with a June 21 Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore. The bishops...

Pakistan’s high court: government must do more to protect Christians

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has directed the nation’s government to do more to protect the rights of Christians, Hindus, and other religious minorities in the Muslim nation. “The court directed...

40 Christian leaders arrested, released in Nepal

More than 40 Protestant leaders in Nepal were recently arrested on charges of forcibly converting Hindus. “A Hindu mob gathered outside the prison, threatening an uprising if the Christians were...

Sudanese Christian woman re-arrested after court-ordered release

A Sudanese Christian woman who was freed yesterday when a court overturned her conviction for apostasy has been arrested once again. Miriam Ibrahim, who had faced a death sentence for refusing to...

New Vatican delegate expected to continue reform of Legionaries

The Vatican will appoint a new delegate next week to oversee continued reform of the Legion of Christ, the Associated Press reports. Father Eduardo Robles Gil, who was elected in January as the...

Bishop Paprocki rules tabernacles must be in central location in Springfield diocese churches

In a pastoral letter on the Eucharistic liturgy, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois has directed all pastors to ensure that the tabernacle is placed in the center of the church...

American cardinal could announce election of next Pope

A little-noticed change in the College of Cardinals could mean that an American prelate would announce the election of the next Roman Pontiff, notes the Catholic Sentinel of the Portland, Oregon...

Bishop from Central African Republic describes how Islamic leader saved his life

An African bishop has explained to the British Catholic Herald how a militant Muslim saved him from being beheaded. Bishop Nestor Désiré Nongo-Aziagbia of Bossangoa in the Central African...

Italian bishop apologizes for priest's statement that cohabitation is worse than murder

An Italian priest has been pressured by his bishop to apologize for saying that couples living together outside of marriage are guilty of a sin worse than murder. Father Tarcisio Vicario, a...

Archbishop accused of abuse is reportedly at liberty in Rome

A bishop from the Dominican Republic has reported that he was shocked to see a former papal nuncio, who is under investigation on sex-abuse charges, walking freely around the center of...

Imitate John the Baptist, Pope tells congregation

Christians should follow the example of St. John the Baptist, and “diminish ourselves so that the Lord can grow in our hearts and in the souls of others,” Pope Francis said in a homily on June...

Released Wednesday, Jun. 25

US should do more to assist migrants and refugees, says USCCB committee chair

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration has called upon the United States to do more to assist refugees from Syria and child migrants from Central...

National security advisor: ‘America’s support for LGBT rights’ is a ‘global enterprise’

National Security Advisor Susan Rice said on June 24 that “America’s support for LGBT rights is not just a national cause but it’s also a global enterprise.” “President Obama has specifically...

Amid Iraqi crisis, Chaldean Catholic Church begins synod

Chaldean Catholic bishops from around the world are meeting in Erbil, a town of 30,000 in northern Iraq, for a five-day synod. The synod, which began on June 24, was originally scheduled to meet...

Egypt: Christian imprisoned for insulting Islam

An Egyptian Christian has been sentenced to six years in prison for a Facebook post that was deemed insulting to Islam. The June 24 conviction of Kerolos Ghattas, 30, in Luxor took place one day...

Co-founder of Franciscan Friars of Renewal discusses community’s history, challenges

Father Glenn Sudano, one of the eight Capuchin Franciscans who left his order in 1987 to found the Franciscan Friars of Renewal in the South Bronx, looked back on the new community’s history and...

Pope emphasizes: ‘you cannot love God outside of the Church’

Pope Francis continued his series of Wednesday general audiences on the Church and emphasized that belonging to the Church is essential to being a Christian. “We are Christians because we belong...

Vatican comments on recent reports on Franciscans of the Immaculate, Legion of Christ

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Holy See Press Office, has issued a statement in response to questions related to recent media reports on the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate and...

Tanzania: nun killed in street robbery

A Tanzanian nun was shot and killed during a robbery in Dar es Salaam on June 23, the Fides news service reports. Sister Clecensia Kapuli had visited a bank in the capital city to withdraw cash...

Pope spearheads effort to help albino Africans

Pope Francis has lent his personal support to an initiative to help African albinos, recording several passages of a novel about their plight. The Pope became the first person to record a portion...

Vatican blocked bishops' actions against abusive priests before 2000, Australian bishop says

An Australian bishop has testified that until 2000, the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy discouraged bishops from taking action against priests accused of sexual abuse. Archbishop Philip Wilson...

Seattle archdiocese to pay $12.1 million to settle abuse suits

The Archdiocese of Seattle, Washington, has reached an agreement to pay $12.1 million to settle sex-abuse suits brought by 30 men. The plaintiffs report that they suffered abuse in schools that...

Vatican, Argentina ink accord to cooperate against money-laundering

The Vatican's Financial Information Authority (AIF) has reached an agreement with Argentina to cooperate in efforts against money-laundering. Rene Bruelhart, the president of the AIF, said that...

Rejecting the Mafia means changing a way of life, says Italian bishop

Following up on the Pope’s condemnation of organized crime, the secretary-general of the Italian bishops’ conference has said that rejection of the Mafia entails a change in the way of life for many...

Italian priest charged with seeking favors from immigrants

An Italian priest who works with immigrants has been arrested on charges of sexual abuse. Father Sergio Librizii was arrested at his residence in Trapani, on the Sicilian coast. Prosecutors...

English judge admits courts need to offer conscience protection for Christians

A leading English judge has admitted second thoughts about a case in which the Christian owners of an inn were sued for refusing to to rent a room to a homosexual couple. Baroness Hale, the...

Released Thursday, Jun. 26

US bishops: ‘great concern’ about upcoming executive order on ‘sexual orientation,’ ‘gender identity’

Four bishops who chair committees or subcommittees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have expressed “great concern” about President Barack Obama’s upcoming executive order on...

Vatican issues working document for Synod of Bishops on the family

The Synod of Bishops has released the instrumentum laboris, or working document, for its upcoming 3rd extraordinary general assembly, which will take place from October 5 to 19. The instrumentum...

Supreme Court overturns Massachusetts 'buffer zone' law

In a stunning unanimous decision, the US Supreme Court has struck down a Massachusetts law that barred pro-life activists from coming with 35 feet of the door of an abortion clinic. The "bubble...

Crucifix display now mandatory in one Italian city

The mayor of Padua, Italy has announced that the crucifix must be displayed in all public buildings. Massimo Bitonci, who had joined in protests when courts ruled against the display of the...

Pope to meet with abuse victims from Ireland, other nations

Pope Francis will meet with Irish victims of sexual abuse at the Vatican this weekend, the Irish Catholic newspaper has reported. The encounter will be the first formal meeting by Pope Francis...

Don't say 'Good morning' to begin Mass, Filipino cardinal urges priests

Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila has told his priests that they should not say "Good morning" to their congregation as they begin Mass. Cardinal Tagle said that the everyday greeting is a...

Orthodox delegation in Rome for feast of Sts. Peter and Paul

Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople has sent a delegate of Orthodox prelates to Rome to join with Pope Francis in celebrating the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul on June 29. For...

Third World feminists charge that population-control measures threaten women's rights

Feminists and population-control advocates, ordinarily allies in promoting legal abortion, are at odds over UN proposals to combat climate change, C-Fam reports. As the UN Environmental Assembly...

Pope urges Eastern churches to be peacemakers

Speaking on June 26 to the Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches (ROACO), Pope Francis thanked the groups for their efforts to “make peace grow through charity.” The Pope said that...

Church rejoices in scientific progress, Pope tells young astronomers

Research in the sciences can be “a fitting and effective means of promoting peace and justice,” Pope Francis told an audience of young astronomers on June 26. Speaking to participants in a course...

Released Friday, Jun. 27

Texas bishop speaks to House committee about unaccompanied migrant children

Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso testified before the House Judiciary Committee on June 25 on the plight of unaccompanied minors who seek to enter the United States. “Too often, and especially...

Cardinal welcomes Supreme Court’s ‘buffer zone’ decision

Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a...

Sudanese Christian woman again freed

A Sudanese Christian woman who was convicted of apostasy, freed, and then rearrested, has been freed again, according to an Associated Press report. Meriam Ibrahim, 27, is the daughter of a...

Indiana’s bishops lament court decision on marriage

The bishops of Indiana have decried a federal court decision that struck down the state’s marriage law. “The Church upholds the dignity and sanctity of marriage as a natural union established by...

Cameroon: arrest made in abduction of 3 missionaries

Police in Cameroon have made an arrest in the kidnapping of two Italian priests and a Canadian nun. The three missionaries, abducted on April 5, were released on June 1. The Fides news agency...

New Zealand judge: Catholic school may not suspend boy for long hair

A New Zealand judge has ruled that a Catholic school is not permitted to suspend a 16-year-old boy for long hair. The judge ruled that the school, St. John’s College in Hastings, had...

Tens of thousands of Syrian Catholics flee Islamist advance

More than 90% of the people of Qaraqosh, a largely Catholic city of over 40,000 in Syria, have fled as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant moved to capture the area. The jihadist group now...

Former papal nuncio found guilty of abuse, laicized

Jozef Wesolowski, the Polish prelate who was accused of sexual abuse while serving as apostolic nuncio in the Dominican Republic, has been laicized, after the Congregation for the Doctrine of the...

Pope again misses public event due to illness

Pope Francis abruptly cancelled a scheduled appearance at the Gemelli hospital on Thursday evening, June 26, with the Vatican explaining that the Pontiff had suffered “an unexpected...

Accept God's love like a child, Pope urges faithful

Preaching at a Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae on the feast of the Sacred Heart, June 27, Pope Francis said that “love always generates life and makes us grow.” The Pope told the congregation...

Synod secretary: don't expect change in Church teachings

At a Vatican press conference introducing the instrumentum laboris that will be the basis for discussion when the Synod of Bishops meets in October, the special secretary for the Synod meeting...

British court upholds law against assisted suicide

The Supreme Court of Britain has dismissed challenges to a 1961 law that prohibits assisted suicide. In a series of June 26 actions, the top court rejected three separate challenges to the...

Cause opened for beatification of American nun who challenged Billy the Kid

An American woman religious who stopped an execution and faced down the legendary outlaw Billy the Kid while serving in the New Mexico in the late 19th century could be on the path to...

Russia placing new restrictions on churches in Crimea

Having seized control of the Crimea, Russian officials have placed new restrictions on churches there, the Forum 18 news service reports. Religious communities in Crimea are being ordered to...

Holy See reaches new accord with Serbia on higher education

The Vatican has announced a new accord with the Republic of Serbia, governing cooperation between the government and the Catholic Church in higher education. The agreement commits Church and...

Top French court allows firing of employee who wore Islamic veil

France's highest court has confirmed that a day-care center outside Paris had the right to dismiss an employee who refused to remove an Islamic veil. ''A private entity, in this case an...

Released Monday, Jun. 30

Medical professionals called to have hearts like Christ’s, says Pope

The Holy See Press Office has published the homily that Pope Francis had intended to preach on June 27 at the Gemelli hospital in Rome. Instead, Cardinal Angelo Scola read the homily during the...

‘Look at one another with the eyes of faith,’ Pope tells Orthodox delegation

On June 28, Pope Francis received a delegation sent to Rome by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. The delegation was led by Metropolitan...

Pope receives president of Madagascar

Pope Francis received Hery Rajaonarimampianina, the president of Madagascar since January, in audience on June 28. President Rajaonarimampianina also met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the...

Turn to Mary in discerning your vocation, Pope tells Roman youth

Pope Francis spoke about vocational discernment in a meeting with youth of the Diocese of Rome. The meeting took place on the evening of June 28 at the Lourdes Grotto in the Vatican...

Seek the Lord, not security and power, Pope says to new metropolitan archbishops

During Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Pope Francis conferred the pallium on 24 metropolitan archbishops who had been appointed in the past year. Recalling...

Pope Francis: Saints Peter and Paul show transforming power of Christ’s grace

The lives of Saints Peter and Paul show that the grace of Christ can transform us, even “if we should happen to fall into the gravest sins, and into the darkest night,” Pope Francis said in his June...

Papal appeal for Iraq

At the conclusion of his June 29 Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis issued an appeal for prayers to Mary for Iraq amid the “very painful” news coming from there. “I join the bishops of the...

Supreme Court upholds Hobby Lobby challenge to contraceptive mandate

Finding that the “HHS’s contraceptive mandate substantially burdens the exercise of religion,” the US Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government cannot require private corporations to...

Pope's prayer intentions for July 2014

The Vatican has announced the prayer intentions of Pope Francis for July 2014. The Pope's universal intention is: "that sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth." His...

EWTN wins injunction against enforcement of contraceptive mandate

The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) has won a last-minute reprieve from enforcement of a federal mandate calling for required coverage of contraceptives in employees' health-care...

Bahrain: construction beginning for Catholic cathedral

Construction is due to begin on a Catholic cathedral in Bahrain, one of the few Islamic countries that allows freedom of worship for Christians. When Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa met...

Council of Cardinals to weigh consolidation of pontifical councils

The Council of Cardinals will begin four days of meetings on July 1, with the focus expected to be on reorganization of the Roman Curia. After the last meeting of the Council of Cardinals, in...

Korean officials 'very nervous' about security for papal visit

Government officials in South Korea are "very nervous" about security arrangements for an August visit by Pope Francis, the AsiaNews service reports. The Pope will be in South Korea for Asia...

Nigerian prelate asks for prayers after new Islamic attacks

The president of the Nigerian Catholic bishops' conference has asked for prayers for his country, after a new rash of attacks by Islamic terrorists. Dozens of people were killed in three separate...

Vatican reaches banking accord with US

The Vatican’s Financial Information Authority (AIF) has signed an agreement with the US Comptroller of the Currency, providing for cooperation in banking regulations aimed at money-laundering and...

Australian bishop 'emphatically denies' child-abuse charge, will appear in court

Bishop Max Davis, who heads the ordinariate serving Australia’s armed forces, has been charged with sexual abuse. Bishop Davis will appear in court on July 25 in response to the charge, which...

Spanish king, enthroned without religious ceremony, meets with Pontiff

King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on June 30. The visit to Rome was the first foreign trip by King Felipe since he assumed the Spanish throne in June....

ISIL power threatens Christians in Syria, Iraq

The growing power of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which now controls much of Iraq and Syria, has roused new fears for Christians in the region. Two Chaldean Catholic nuns...

Historian confident in eventual beatification for Pope Pius XII

Father Peter Gumpel, a Jesuit historian who has been active for years in the cause for beatification of Pope Pius XII, has told the Zenit news agency that he is confident the World War II-era...

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