Stories for September 2014

Released Tuesday, Sep. 2

Christians reported safe as Tripoli falls to Islamist militias

Three years after NATO intervention helped bring about the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya’s capital has fallen under the control of Islamist militias. “So far, as a Christian community, we...

Caritas appeal for Indian flood victims

Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies, has issued an appeal for $1 million to assist victims of flooding in the eastern Indian state of Odisha...

Papal praise for interreligious charity soccer match

Fifty soccer stars took part in an interreligious soccer game in Rome to raise funds for poor children in Buenos Aires. “Tonight's match will certainly be an occasion to collect funds and...

Vatican conference on sports and the culture of encounter

The Pontifical Council for Culture is hosting a three-day conference entitled “Sports at the Service of Humanity: From the ‘Results-Oriented Culture’ to a ‘Culture of Encounter.’” Speakers and...

Pope resumes daily Mass at Santa Marta

Following a two-month hiatus, Pope Francis has resumed his practice of preaching at weekday Masses for different invited groups at Domus Sanctae Marthae. On September 1, he preached on the word...

Iraq: fearing famine, patriarch calls for return of confiscated fields to Christians

In a letter to Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako expressed concern that the Christian-owned agricultural fields of the...

Ukrainian Orthodox leader blasts Moscow patriarch, defends Eastern Catholics

The head of one of the three rival Ukrainian Orthodox bodies has come to the defense of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which has been the object of strong criticism by leaders of the Russian...

ISIS will spread if not stopped now, warns Maronite prelate

A Maronite Catholic archbishop has warned that if the international community does not take prompt action to stop the growth of the Islamic State (ISIS), terrorism will quickly spread beyond the...

Israeli President Peres to meet with Pope on Thursday

Israeli President Shimon Peres will meet with Pope Francis on September 4, the Vatican has announced. The visit comes at a time of mounting tension in the Middle East. Israel's military...

Tortured to death, Iraqi Christian hailed as martyr

A Christian man has died under torture in northern Iraq after refusing to renounce his faith, the AsiaNews service reports. Salem Matti Kourki, a resident of the town of Bartala, in the Nineveh...

Benedict XVI meets with leaders of traditionalist movement for youth

Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI met on Monday with a founder of a Catholic traditionalist movement. Cosimo Marti, who helped establish Juventutum, an international group of young Catholics who promote...

Minneapolis priest calls for archbishop's resignation

An outspoken priest of the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese has called for the resignation of Archbishop John Nienstedt. Father Patrick Kennedy complained of "a pall over the archdiocese that is...

Vatican envoy: international action needed in Iraq

The Vatican’s representative at UN headquarters in Geneva has renewed an appeal for international action to stop the bloodshed in northern Iraq. Speaking to a meeting of the UN Human Rights...

Released Wednesday, Sep. 3

Sant’Egidio brokers peace deal in Mozambique

The Community of Sant’Egidio has helped broker a peace deal between the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) and the government of Mozambique, the Fides news agency reported. In 1992, the...

Bishop compares destruction in Gaza to World War II

A delegation from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has returned from a visit to Gaza’s small Christian community. The 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict began on July 8 and paused on August 26 after...

Priest beaten, jailed in India

A violent gang vandalized a Catholic school in the east-central Indian state of Chhattisgarh and beat its headmaster, Father Ligo Mathew. Other faculty members suffered injuries in the...

A decade after hostage crisis, Pope writes letter to Russian town’s residents

Ten years after Islamic militants took over a school in the Russian town of Beslan, Pope Francis has written a letter to the town’s residents. The hostage crisis ended when Russian troops stormed...

Papal message for interreligious soccer match

Pope Francis recorded a video message that was played during an interreligious soccer game in Rome. The September 1 game, in which 50 soccer stars took part, raised funds for poor children in...

Prelate rues rising Islamophobia in wake of Islamic State atrocities

Auxiliary Bishop Denis Madden of Baltimore, who chairs the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, has expressed concern about rising fear...

Organic food company suffers boycott because it opposes HHS mandate

Increasing numbers of food cooperatives around the country are refusing to carry products sold by Eden Foods, a leading organic food company. Eden’s CEO, Michael Potter, is a Catholic, and the...

Pope Francis emphasizes: the Church is a mother

Pope Francis devoted his September 3 general audience to the maternity of the Church. “She is a true mother who gives us life in Christ and, in the communion of the Holy Spirit, brings us into a...

Guatemalan military officer, convicted of bishop's killing, found running prison crime ring

A Guatemalan military officer who was convicted of the 1998 murder of a Catholic bishop has been running a criminal organization from his prison cell, UN prosecutors have charged. Byron Lima, who...

Minnesota judge allows 'public nuisance' lawsuit against Catholic dioceses

A Minnesota judge has allowed sex-abuse victims to move forward with a lawsuit claiming that the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona caused a “public nuisance” by providing...

Beheadings show brutality typical of Islamic State, says Iraqi archbishop

The beheadings of American journalists are typical examples of the brutality of the Islamic State, an Iraqi bishop told the Asia News service. “We are not faced with exceptional deeds,” said...

Gay group will march in NY St. Patrick's day parade; Cardinal Dolan gives OK

A homosexual activist group will march in New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade next year, with the tacit approval of Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Organizers of the parade announced on September 3 that...

CDF prefect to meet with SSPX leader

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), will meet with the leader of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) later this...

Pope raps corporate layoff decision in Italian steel-mill dispute

Pope Francis expressed sympathy for striking Italian workers at a German-owned steel mill, during his regular public audience on September 3. Workers at the mill in Terni, Italy, went on strike...

Lesbian teacher complains Catholic school fired her because of 'non-traditional' pregnancy

A schoolteacher in Michigan has complained that she was dismissed from her job in a Catholic high school after she announced a “non-traditional” pregnancy. Barbara Webb, who lives with a lesbian...

Anglican ordinariate moves parish into Washington, DC

The Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, established to serve the pastoral needs of former Anglicans in the US, is opening a parish community in Washington, DC. St. Luke’s, an Episcopalian...

Boston Globe launches 'Crux' site, dedicated to Catholicism

Crux, a new web site sponsored by the Boston Globe and dedicated to Catholic affairs, was launched on September 2. As the service made its debut, John Allen, the former National Catholic Reporter...

Released Thursday, Sep. 4

Catechesis published for World Meeting of Families

The World Meeting of Families 2015, which will take place in Philadelphia, has announced the publication of its preparatory catechesis, a book entitled Love Is Our Mission. Prepared by the...

Ecuador approves further recognition of same-sex civil unions

President Rafael Correa of Ecuador has announced that homosexual civil unions, which are allowed under the nation’s 2008 constitution, may now be listed on national identification cards. “Gays,...

Boko Haram commits massacre in Cameroon church

Thousands of people fled their homes as the Islamist militant group Boko Haram continued to gain ground in Nigeria and neighboring Cameroon. A spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner...

Christian refugees in Pakistan recount Taliban horrors

Amid struggles between the Pakistani army and the Taliban for the control of the Pakistani region of North Waziristan, Christian refugees who have fled to Bannu, a city in a neighboring province,...

Pope recalls outbreak of World War II, rues persecution of Iraqi Christians

At the conclusion of his September 3 general audience, Pope Francis recalled the 75th anniversary of the beginning of World War II. He prayed for “those who lost their lives for their love of...

Western nations should act against Russian aggression, says nuncio in Ukraine

Archbishop Thomas Gullickson, the apostolic nuncio in Ukraine, called upon the West to act against the persecution of Christians in Iraq and Russian aggression in Ukraine. The prelate told...

Patriarch blasts Iraqi government, international community for failure to help persecuted Christians

The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church has renewed his criticism of the Iraqi government and the international community for their failure to address the persecution of Iraq’s Christians. “The...

Italian bishops defend work of anti-Mafia priest

The Italian Episcopal Conference has issued a statement of support for Father Luigi Ciotti, a priest who has vowed to continue his anti-Mafia activities despite a threat from a powerful...

Dispute between dioceses stalls cause for beatification of Fulton Sheen

A dispute between the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois, has blocked progress toward the beatification of Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria made a...

Admission of sin is crucial step toward Christ, Pope tells congregation

In his homily at a September 4 morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis told his congregation that recognizing one’s own sinfulness is essential to spiritual progress. “If a...

Respect of 'human ecology' will foster respect for environment: Cardinal Parolin

In an address to an organization of Italian farmers, Cardinal Pietro Parolin said that “human human ecology is a prerequisite for a proper environmental ecology.” The Vatican Secretary of State...

Former Israeli leader proposes united religious effort against terrorism

Former Israeli President Shimon Peres proposed a worldwide organization uniting religious leaders against terrorist violence, during a September 4 meeting with Pope Francis. The Pope also met on...

Islamic leader blames Vatican for attacks on mosques

The head of Turkey’s religious-affairs department has charged that the Vatican bears responsibility for a rise in the number of attacks on mosques in Europe. Mehmet Gormez cited statistics...

Irish bishop questions Catholic charity's grant to LGBT resource center

An Irish bishop is questioning why a Catholic charitable group donated €45,000 to establish a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender resource center. Bishop Martin Drennan asked leaders of the...

Released Friday, Sep. 5

Patriarch calls for UN force to liberate territory captured by Islamic State

The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church has called upon the United Nations Security Council to liberate Iraqi territory captured by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Patriarch...

Federal court upholds Louisiana marriage amendment

A federal district court has upheld the constitutionality of the State of Louisiana’s definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman-- the first such federal court ruling since the Supreme...

Vatican official: Church has underemphasized being a mother, overemphasized being a teacher

The president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications has told a group of bishops from Bolivia and Peru that the Church’s bishops, in making use of social media, should embody the...

Pope meets with directors of new Vatican charity

On September 4, Pope Francis met with the directors of Scholas Occurentes, a charity founded by the Pontiff in 2013. The Pope praised the directors for their assistance in organizing a recent...

Mideast patriarchs to gather in Washington, meet with lawmakers

Six Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs from the Middle East will gather in Washington from September 9-11 to join lawmakers at a conference on the plight of persecuted Christians. Participants will...

Nigeria: Boko Haram attacks seminary, convent

The Islamist militant organization Boko Haram has attacked a seminary and convent in the Diocese of Maiduguri, according to the president of the Nigerian bishops’ conference. In an interview...

Ukrainian bishop calls for prayer, fasting: ‘the Titanic is sinking’

A Latin-rite bishop who ministers in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists are active, said that local Catholics are angry at the apparent indifference of Christians in other areas of the...

Holy See, Vietnam to continue negotiations toward diplomatic relations

Diplomats from the Holy See and Vietnam will meet in Hanoi on September 10-11 to continue negotiations towards diplomatic relations, according to a statement from the Holy See Press Office. It...

Dispute over beatification of Archbishop Sheen can be resolved, columnist argues

In a column for the National Catholic Register, Father Roger Landry says that the Diocese of Peoria chose to halt the proceedings toward beatification of Archbishop Fulton Sheen: a decision that he...

Cardinal Dolan: Islamic leaders must speak out against terrorism

Islamic leaders should be challenged to speak out in condemnation of terrorists, Cardinal Timothy Dolan on New York has said. In an interview with John Allen of the new Crux news site, Cardinal...

Notre Dame retreats, will provide contraceptive coverage in student health programs

The University of Notre Dame will provide for contraceptives and abortifacient drugs in its student health-care program, the National Catholic Register reports. Notre Dame had joined other...

Venezuelan bishops object as politician invokes Chavez in the Lord's Prayer

Church leaders in Venezuela have rebuked a politician who, as a Socialist Party convention, transformed the Lord’s Prayer into an invocation of the spirit of the country’s deceased strongman, Hugo...

Islamic State's 'war of religion' must be countered, says authoritative Jesuit journal

An editorial in the Italian Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica has characterized the aggression of the Islamic State as “a war of religion and of annihilation.” The editorial argues that a...

Accept changes, do not rely on Law, Pope says in homily

In his homily at a morning Mass on September 5, Pope Francis said that the faithful “must not be afraid of change, not even in the Church.” Jesus makes all things new, the Pope explained, and the...

Obama administration drops appeals on three challenges to contraceptive mandate

The Obama administration has dropped its appeal on three lawsuits challenging the contraceptive mandate in the federal health-care program. The three cases (Seneca v. Burwell, Armstrong v....

Pope meets leaders from Panama, Andorra

Pope Francis met on September 5 with President Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez of Panama and with Antoni Marti i Petit, the head of government of Andorra, in separate private audiences. The Pope’s...

Vatican's Council for Economy meets, setting new structures for Secretariat

The Vatican’s newly created Council of the Economy met in Rome on September 4, to discuss the proposed statutes for the Secretariat for the Economy. Led by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the president...

400,000 children in Gaza need psychological help after violence, Catholic agency says

Caritas Jerusalem, the Catholic relief agency, has estimated that 400,000 children in Gaza need psychological care because of the damaging effects of military campaigns in the region. Caritas...

Released Monday, Sep. 8

Pope recalls beginnings of Church in Canada, calls for renewed Eucharistic, Marian devotion

On September 14, the Church in Canada will commemorate the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the first parish in what is now Canadian territory. Pope Francis has named Cardinal Jaime...

Day of prayer declared for upcoming synod

The Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops has designated September 28 as a special day of prayer for the upcoming 3rd Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which is devoted to the...

Pope speaks to Cameroon’s bishops about evangelization

Evangelization was the principal topic of Pope Francis’s September 6 address to the bishops of Cameroon, who were in Rome for their quinquennial ad limina visit. The west-central African nation...

Address sin through gentle fraternal correction, not gossip, says Pope

Pope Francis spoke about fraternal correction as reflected on the Sunday Gospel (Mt. 18:15-20) during his September 7 Angelus address. “Jesus teaches us that if my brother sins against me, I have...

Papal appeal for peace in Ukraine, Lesotho

Following his September 7 Angelus address, Pope Francis appealed for peace in Ukraine and Lesotho. “In recent days, significant steps have been taken in the search for a ceasefire in the regions...

USCCB welcomes court decision on marriage

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage has welcomed a federal court decision upholding the constitutionality of...

Nigeria: churches in ruins, nearly 100,000 Catholics leave homes as Boko Haram advances

As the Islamist militant organization Boko Haram gains ground in northeastern Nigeria, over 90,000 Catholics have fled their homes, Bishop Oliver Doeme of Maidiguri told the Fides news...

Leading Irish prelate retires

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Seán Brady as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland for reasons of age. Cardinal Brady was installed as Archbishop of Armagh in...

‘War is never a necessity,’ says Pope

Recalling that Pope Benedict XV had referred to World War I as a “senseless slaughter,” Pope Francis lamented the “many senseless slaughters” that afflict the world today. In a message for an...

Vatican expert predicts lively Synod, sees Economic secretariat as crucial to Pope's reforms

Vatican journalist John Allen, writing for Crux, predicts that the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops will be much more newsworthy than previous sessions. Pope Francis, Allen explains,...

Italian nuns killed in Burundi

Three Italian missionary nuns were murdered in Burundi this past weekend. Sisters Luci Pulici and Olga Raschietti, and Bernadetta Boggian, Xaverian missionaries, were apparently killed at their...

Ukrainian Orthodox patriarch says Putin is agent of Satan

Escalating his criticism of Vladimir Putin, Patriarch Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church- Kiev patriarchate has said that the Russian president is “a new Cain” who “has fallen under the action...

Italian bishop: Muslim immigrants should denounce terror or leave

An Italian bishops has issued a call for Muslims living in Europe to denounce terrorism and persecution, or else leave Europe. Bishop Tommaso Ghirelli of Imola, writing in his diocesan newspaper,...

Vatican curbs shops' sales of papal blessings

The Vatican has announced that souvenir shops in Rome will no longer be allowed to sell plaques and parchments with papal blessings. Since the pontificate of Leo XIII, the Vatican has allowed the...

Milwaukee archdiocese, abuse victims, return to mediation in bid to end bankruptcy

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is renewing an attempt to reach a mediated settlement with sex-abuse victims, in a bid to resolve an expensive bankruptcy process. The archdiocese has proposed a...

Vatican, Viet officials resume talks to improve ties

Vatican representatives are meeting with Vietnamese government officials in Hanoi this week, in the 5th of a series of meetings aimed at improving ties and eventually restoring full diplomatic...

Albanian organizers rush to complete preparations for papal visit

Officials in Albania are making last-minute preparations for the visit by Pope Francis later this month, the ANSA news service reports. Organizers in Albania have not completed the restoration of...

Released Tuesday, Sep. 9

Pakistani Christians accused of desecrating Muslim graves

Thirty-one Christians in a village near Faisalabad, Pakistan, were accused of desecrating hundreds of Muslim graves, the Fides news agency reported. After a Muslim landowner gave Christian...

African cardinal: synod will not change Catholic teaching on marriage

A South African cardinal has told Vatican Radio that the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the family will not change Catholic teaching on marriage, which he noted is founded on the words of...

Situation in Crimea reminiscent of Communist era, says Orthodox prelate

The actions of the Russia security agency in Crimea, an area of Ukraine annexed by Russia in March, are reminiscent of the Communist era, according to a local prelate of the Ukrainian Orthodox...

Prince Charles, Chaldean patriarch correspond on persecution of Iraqi Christians

Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, has offered his “profound sympathy” to the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church for the “unbearable and barbaric persecution” suffered by Christians...

New report of forced conversions, looting in northern Iraq

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is supervising the looting of homes in historic Christian villages and is detaining Yazidi women under horrific conditions, according to an update on the...

Jerusalem patriarch laments suffering of Middle East’s Christians

Speaking at the Sicilian shrine of Our Lady of Tears, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem lamented the suffering of the Middle East’s Christians. “I cannot but recall the religious violence that...

253 to take part in Synod of Bishops on the family

The Holy See Press Office has announced the names of the 253 participants in the upcoming 3rd Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which is devoted to the pastoral challenges to...

Pope to travel to Turkey in November; Chaldean Patriarch hopes for visit to Iraq

Pope Francis will travel to Turkey in late November, according to a report in Crux, the news service recently launched by the Boston Globe. The Vatican has not announced plans for a papal visit...

French Muslim leaders denounce Islamic State, support Christian presence in Middle East

The most prominent Muslim leaders in France have joined in an unprecedented condemnation of the Islamic State’s persecution of Christians. In a “Paris Appeal,” issued on September 9 at the Grand...

More homosexual groups seek entry in New York's St. Patrick's Day parade

Homosexual activists in New York are pressing organizers of the St. Patrick's Day parade to include more gay-rights groups in the march. Following up on last week's announcement that...

Malta: bishop proposes every parish adopt a refugee family from Iraq, Syria

A Catholic bishop in Malta has suggested that each parish in his diocese should adopt a family of Christian refugees from persecution in the Middle East. "How can we stay passive when countless...

New Irish primate promises vigilance on abuse, peace in Northern Ireland

Archbishop Eamon Martin told Vatican Radio that he is "a little bit nervous and fearful for the future" as he takes up his new responsibilities as Archbishop of Armah and Primate of All...

Released Wednesday, Sep. 10

USCCB president commemorates Civil Rights Act

The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. “The Civil Rights Act was a monumental step...

Priest, parishioners detained in Crimea

Russian security forces in Crimea detained a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest and 15 of his parishioners, according to a report from the Religious Information Service of Ukraine. Father Bohdan...

Cardinal George: US is adopting ‘official religion’ on homosexuality that is reminiscent of sharia

In an archdiocesan newspaper column, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago said that American law has “taken upon itself the mantle of a religion and officially told its citizens what they must...

Papal condolences to family of journalist slain by Islamic State

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has sent condolences in Pope Francis’s name to the family of Steven Sotloff, the American-Israeli journalist beheaded by the Islamic State...

Mother Church teaches us the works of mercy, says Pope Francis

The Church is a “mother who teaches us the works of mercy,” Pope Francis said in his September 10 general audience. The Pope said that “the Church teaches her sons and daughters to be merciful...

Libya: Catholics are ‘trapped and helpless’ in Tripoli, says priest

Catholics in Tripoli, Libya’s capital, fear they will be kidnapped if they leave their homes, according to the vicar of the city’s Franciscan community. Three years after NATO intervention helped...

US Jesuit named Vatican’s top sex-abuse prosecutor

Pope Francis has appointed an American Jesuit as the Vatican’s top prosecutor in sex-abuse cases. Father Robert Geisinger, a canon lawyer who serves as the procurator general of the Society of...

Suspect arrests, confesses to murder of nuns in Burundi

Police in Burundi have made an arrest in connection with the murder of three Italian missionary nuns. Authorities say that the suspect-- who was found carrying the cell phone of one of the...

Cardinal Zen: Hong Kong democracy activists must be ready to pay a price

Cardinal Joseph Zen has warned that pro-democracy forces in Hong Kong may bring on a harsh reaction from the Chinese government. But the retired Bishop of Hong Kong nevertheless urges protesters to...

Papal message of solidarity with Arabic Christians

At the conclusion of his regular public audience on September 10, Pope Francis sent another message of encouragement and solidarity to Christians in the Middle East. "May the Lord reward your...

Italian naval program to save migrants wins papal praise

Pope Francis has praised the "admirable" work of an Italian naval force in saving migrants who have sought to cross the Mediterranean. The "Mare Nostrum" program was inaugurated by the Italian...

Italian bishops, Vatican Secretary of State meet for lunch with Italian premier

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, met with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on September 9, along with several other Italian bishops and leading members of the Italian...

Conditions in Gaza 'precarious' after bombing

Living conditions in Gaza are "still quite dire and quite unstable," the local director of Catholic Relief Services told Vatican Radio. Matthew McGarry said that while an Israeli military...

Cardinal George meets with music director fired for same-sex marriage plan

Cardinal Francis George met privately on September 9 with a man who had been dismissed from his post as a music director in a Catholic parish after he announced plans for a same-sex...

Pakistani court again postpones hearing appeal for Christian woman facing death sentence for blasphemy

A court in Lahore, Pakistan, adjourned a September 10 hearing on the appeal of Asia Bibi without hearing arguments, and set a new date of October 16 for a final hearing. Asia Bibi, who was...

Released Thursday, Sep. 11

Iraqi priest: Mosul’s liberation must precede Christians’ return to homes

A Syriac Catholic priest who works with an Iraqi archbishop said that Christians will not return to their homes on Iraq’s Nineveh plain until Mosul, the nation’s 2nd-largest city, is liberated from...

Boko Haram threatens all of West Africa, says priest

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, has told the Fides news agency that he believes reports that Muslim figures in the ruling political party have provided financial...

Liturgical changes in Sierra Leone in wake of Ebola

To help prevent the spread of Ebola virus disease, Catholics in Sierra Leone now wash their hands with treated water before entering Mass, according to the West African nation’s leading...

Indian government: Jesuit kidnapped in Afghanistan is safe

A leading Indian government official said that an Indian Jesuit abducted in Afghanistan in June is safe, the Indo-Asian News Service reported. “Alexis Prem Kumar is safe, and efforts are on to...

Vatican cardinal reflects on international trade, economic crisis

Speaking at the release of a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace emphasized that despite...

Ukrainian bishops plead for international intervention in response to Russian aggression

The bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, gathered in a synod in Lviv, have asked the international community to restore peace in Ukraine in response to military actions taken by “a...

Pope Francis to address European Parliament

Pope Francis has accepted an invitation to address the European Parliament, according to a September 11 announcement by the body’s president, Martin Schulz. The Holy See Press Office subsequently...

French court dismisses charges for topless demonstration in Notre Dame

A French court has dismissed a criminal complaint against members of the radical feminist group Femen, who had staged a topless protest in the sanctuary of Notre Dame cathedral. The court ruled...

Vatican prelate tells US bishops: situation of 'extreme urgency' for Christians in Middle East

In an address to the permanent council of the US bishops’ conference, the prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Eastern Churches underlined the “extreme urgency” of the situation facing...

Vietnam, Vatican report progress toward closer ties

A meeting between Vatican representatives and Vietnamese government officials ended on September 11 in Hanoi, with a joint statement affirming progress toward closer ties. The meeting—the 5th...

Tunisian president meets with Pontiff

Pope Francis met on September 11 with President Mohamed Moncef Marzouki of Tunisia, for a conversation that focused on peacekeeping, inter-religious dialogue, and freedom of conscience. A brief...

War in God's name is blasphemy, inter-religious conference affirms

An inter-religious meeting sponsored by the Sant’Egidio community has concluded with a statement that “there is no holy war; the elimination of the other in the name of God is always...

Xaverian missionaries doubt police explanation for nuns' murder in Burundi

A representative of the Xaverian missionary sisters in Burundi has voiced dissatisfaction with police officials’ investigation into the murder of three nuns. On September 10, police announced the...

Catholic League pulls out of St. Patrick's day parade in New York

Bill Donohue, the head of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, has announced that his group is pulling out of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York, charging that he has been...

Senator Cruz booed after lecturing Eastern Catholic prelates on support for Israel

Senator Ted Cruz walked off the stage at a Washington conference on the persecution of Christians on September 10, after he was roundly booed for a keynote address in which he focused on support for...

Chinese government disputes Dalai Lama on reincarnation

The Chinese government has reacted sharply to the Dalai Lama’s comment that he might be the last in the long line of Tibetan Buddhist leaders. Tibetan Buddhists believe that the Dalai Lama is...

Indian bishops make emergency plea for victims of flooding in Kashmir

The president of India’s episcopal conference has issued an appeal for help for victims of flooding in the Kashmir region. Cardinal Baselios Cleemis reported “deep anguish over the loss of lives...

Argentine soccer team will name stadium after Pope Francis

The San Lorenzo soccer club of Buenos Aires plans to name its new stadium after the club's most famous member: Pope Francis. San Lorenzo announced plans for naming the stadium on September 11....

Vatican tightens controls on Rome hospital administration

The Vatican's Secretariat of State has tightened its control of the Bambino Gesu pediatric hospital in Rome. For several years the Secretariat of State has sought to tighten financial and...

Crimea: Catholic priest faces explusion, residency permit not renewed

A Catholic parish in Crimea will lose its priest in October, because the Russian government has not renewed the residency permit of the Polish-born pastor. Father Piotr Rosochacki will be...

Released Friday, Sep. 12

Bishop to travel to White House, ask for visas for persecuted Iraqi Catholics

Bishop Sarhad Yawsip Jammo, the head of a Chaldean Catholic eparchy based in San Diego, will travel to the White House with a list of 25,000 Iraqi Catholics who seek entry into the United...

Christian families fear daughters’ forced conversion, flee Punjab

Fearful of the forced conversion of their daughters, parents in “many Christian families” are taking their children out of the southern portion of the Pakistani province of Punjab, according to the...

US House holds hearing on persecution of Christians in Syria, Iraq

Two subcommittees of the US House of Representatives held a joint hearing on the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria. “The suffering and abuse of Iraqi...

Russian Orthodox leader speaks of ‘organic unity’ of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus

Speaking at the blessing of a cathedral’s foundation stone, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church emphasized the “organic unity” of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. Referring to the medieval state...

Vatican: papal trip to Turkey confirmed (updated)

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Holy See Press Office, reported on September 11 that Pope Francis will visit Turkey in November. Earlier the papal spokesman had said that although...

Holy See diplomat decries slavery

A leading Vatican diplomat decried the actions of Islamist groups as he lamented contemporary slavery. Commenting on a new UN report on slavery, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, who represents the Holy...

Read Luke 6, Pope Francis emphasizes

On several occasions during his pontificate, Pope Francis has urged the faithful to read, and reread, the Beatitudes and Matthew 25. Preaching on love of enemies during his September 11 daily...

Curial decree on feast days of St. John XXIII, St. John Paul II

Pope Francis has decided that the feast days of Pope St. John XXIII (October 11) and Pope St. John Paul II (October 22) will be observed as optional memorials on the liturgical calendar, according...

Rev. Ian Paisley, who led anti-Catholic forces in Northern Ireland, dead at 88

Rev. Ian Paisley, the fiery anti-Catholic leader of Protestants in Northern Ireland, has died at the age of 88. The founder of the Democratic Unionist Party, Rev. Paisley was a polarizing figure...

Slavery not confined to poor nations, Vatican envoy tells UN

Slavery today is not a problem confined to the world’s impoverished countries, the Vatican’s representative reminded a session of the UN’s human-rights council. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the...

Scripture research requires deep faith, Pope tells scholars

Speaking to Italian scholars who were celebrating the 43rd National Biblical Week, Pope Francis remarked that a proper approach to Scripture scholarship requires a deep sense of faith. The Pope...

Pope advises African bishops to focus on youth

“I urge you to be apostles for the youth in your dioceses,” Pope Francis said in a September 12 address to visiting bishops from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Pope emphasized...

Released Monday, Sep. 15

Papal tribute to St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows

Pope Francis has paid tribute of St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows (1838-1862), an Italian Passionist who was canonized in 1920. In a letter on the upcoming consecration of a new church at the...

Pope Francis says ‘one can speak of’ a 3rd world war already occurring

Pope Francis traveled to Italy’s World War I War Memorial in Fogliano Redipuglia on September 13 to commemorate the centenary of the war’s beginning and to pray for the victims of all wars. The...

Pope compares married life to Israel in the desert

Pope Francis offered Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on September 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and presided over the marriages of 20 couples from his diocese. It is unusual for...

Pope Francis: the Church exalts the cross of Christ

Pope Francis devoted his September 14 Angelus address to the cross of Christ. “Why? Why was the Cross necessary? Because of the gravity of the evil which kept us slaves,” he said. “The Cross of...

‘War is madness,’ Pope emphasizes

At the conclusion of his September 14 Angelus address, Pope Francis prayed for the success of an international peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic. He recalled that on the...

Council of Cardinals begins 3-day session, adds 9th member

The Council of Cardinals, which assists Pope Francis in the governance of the universal Church and in the reform of the Roman Curia, has begun three days of meetings in Rome. It is the 6th...

1st episcopal ordinations in Hong Kong since British rule

For the first time since the United Kingdom returned Hong Kong to Chinese rule in 1997, episcopal ordinations have taken place in Diocese of Hong Kong. In July, Pope Francis appointed the...

Cardinals discussing mergers of pontifical councils, creation of new congregations?

As the Council of Cardinals holds its 6th meeting (see today’s separate CWN headline story), Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa writes that the discussions will focus on proposals to reorganize the...

Middle East is greatest crisis since World War II, cardinal says

Addressing a meeting of Catholic charitable agencies involved with the Middle East, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga said that the conflicts in that region have produced “the greatest crisis the...

Victims of Communism will be focus of Pope's visit to Albania

During his September 21 visit to Albania, Pope Francis will pay tribute to the victims of Communism, the Vatican has announced. Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office,...

85,000 join in petition to stop Black Mass in Oklahoma

More than 85,000 people have signed an online petition urging Oklahoma City officials to halt the performance of a Black Mass. The organizers of the Satanic event, which is scheduled to take...

Italian seminarian claims first 'selfie' with Benedict XVI

The first known “selfie” photo of Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI has been posted online by an Italian seminarian. Giuseppe Ricciardi, a seminarian from the Diocese of Aversa, posted a picture of...

Milwaukee archdiocesan synod calls for focus on lay ministry, faith formation, social justice

Lay people will be trained for new roles as “ecclesial ministers,” while pastors will focus more attention on social-justice issues, under a plan for the Milwaukee archdiocese, approved by...

Non-Catholic donors financed pressure campaign on San Francisco archbishop

A petition campaign urging San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone to cancel a speaking engagement at a pro-family rally was funded largely by non-Catholic gay activists, reports Valerie...

Released Tuesday, Sep. 16

Many of Congo’s Catholics fall prey to superstition, says leading bishop

The president of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo said that many of the nation’s Catholics still adhere to pagan superstitions. The large Central African nation of 77 million is 53%...

Bishop: over 2,500 Catholics slain by Boko Haram

The bishop of Maidiguri, a city in northeastern Nigeria, said that the militant Islamist organization Boko Haram has murdered over 2,500 Catholics in his diocese. Bishop Oliver Doeme is among the...

Honduran cardinal: strong family ties are ‘best defense against poverty’

Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies, and the Pontifical Council for the Family are holding a seminar on September 18 devoted to the family and the...

Turkish textbooks: Christians were tools of foreign powers in World War I

School textbooks in current use in Turkey portray the region’s Christians of a century ago as anti-Ottoman tools of Great Britain and Russia, according to a study conducted by an Armenian...

Vatican cardinal sees ‘widespread hunger’ for Catholic social teaching

In a talk entitled “Catholic Social Teaching: A Beacon and Leaven for Europe,” the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace said he has witnessed a “widespread hunger” for the...

USCCB welcomes bipartisan childcare bill

Two committee chairmen of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops welcomed a bipartisan agreement on the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act, which provides vouchers to low-income...

Iraqi prelate welcomes Western involvement, urges UN sanction

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako has welcomed the agreement among Western nations to intervene against the Islamic State, but has cautioned that “bombs are not a solution.” The...

Papal envoy: refugees in Iraq must be protected

Cardinal Fernando Filoni, who recently visited Iraq as a special papal envoy, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that Christians and Yezidis need help to stop the aggression of the Islamic State. But...

Vatican undaunted by report Islamic State targets Pope Francis

The Vatican is downplaying a report that the Islamic State has targeted Pope Francis, and the Pope has refused to take extra security precautions during his visit to Albania on September...

Guide on family life prepares for 2015 World Meeting for Families in Philadelphia

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Pontifical Council for the Family have published a catechetical guide to family life, as a preparation for next year’s World Meeting for Families. At a...

Final openings filled on Vatican bank's board

With the appointment of two veteran finance executives, the new Board of Superintendence of the Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), is now complete. The IOR announced on...

Rhode Island bishop: 'status quo is unacceptable' on divorce and remarriage

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, has said that some change is needed in the Church’s approach to Communion for divorced and remarried couples, because “the status quo is...

Obamacare funds subsidizing abortions, despite legislative guarantees

American taxpayers are subsidizing abortions through the new federal health policy, despite federal law that prohibits federal funding for abortion, a new study has found. The Government...

Irish bishop bows to pressure, shelves plans for permanent diaconate

An Irish bishop has decided not to institute the permanent diaconate in his diocese, because of protests from supporters of women’s ordination. Bishop Kieran O’Reilly of Killaloe had begun...

Cocaine found in car registered to Vatican

Vatican officials have reacted with embarrassment after a car carrying Vatican diplomatic plates was stopped by French police, who discovered several pounds of cocaine in the vehicle. The car...

Released Wednesday, Sep. 17

Prelate hopeful about Central African peace prospects

The Central African Republic’s leading prelate, Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga, expressed hope that the introduction of a UN peacekeeping force would help restore order in the strife-torn...

Sri Lankan cardinal hopes papal visit will foster national reconciliation

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo, Sri Lanka’s leading prelate, has expressed both that Pope Francis’s January visit to the South Asian nation will foster reconciliation between both sides in the...

Sistine Chapel Choir to perform in East Asia

The Sistine Chapel Choir will perform at concerts in Macau, Hong Kong, and Taiwan between September 19 and September 23, according to an announcement from the Holy See Press Office. Taiwan is an...

Pope Francis reflects on Church’s missionary nature

Pope Francis devoted his September 17 audience to the Church’s catholicity and missionary nature. “Perhaps among the many young people present today in [St. Peter’s] Square there is someone who...

Pope seeks prayers for trip to Albania

At the conclusion of his September 17 general audience, Pope Francis asked for prayers, through the intercession of Our Lady of Good Counsel, for his forthcoming apostolic journey to...

4 sainthood causes advance

In a September 17 audience with the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis cleared the way for the canonization of an Indian priest and an Italian religious sister and...

Demotion coming for Cardinal Burke?

Cardinal Raymond Burke will soon be removed from his post as the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura and appointed patron of the Knights of Malta, according to Vatican jounalist Sandro Magister of...

Vatican mourns death of Chinese bishop who joined in illicit ordinations

Vatican Radio and Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, have announced the death of Archbishop John Wu Shizhen of Nanchang at the age of 93. Fides...

Cardinals weigh creation of two new Vatican congregations

The Council of Cardinals has concluded a 3-day session, during which the nine papal advisers discussed a plan to merge several pontifical councils. The Council also began drafting a new apostolic...

Scots nervous as independence vote approaches, bishop reports

The people of Scotland are “highly nervous” about the independence referendum that will be decided by vote on September 18, a Scottish bishop told Vatican Radio. Bishop John Keenan of Paisley...

Rio cardinal is armed-robbery victim

Cardinal Orani Joao Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro was robbed by gunmen in broad daylight on September 16. A spokesman for the Rio archdiocese reported that the cardinal was traveling to a local...

Kurdish forces free some Christian villages

Kurdish forces have driven the Islamic State out of seven Christian villages in northern Iraq, the AsiaNews service reports. The Kurdish Peshmerga fighters said that American air support was...

Argentine judge who ordered probe of bishop's death meets with Pontiff

Pope Francis met on September 15 with an Argentine judge who was instrumental in securing the conviction of former military officers for the death of a Catholic bishop during the country’s “Dirty...

Wisconsin diocese will not adopt Common Core in schools

Catholic schools in the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin, will maintain their own educational standards, rather than adopting the Common Core standards, the diocese has confirmed. After...

Knoxville diocese investigating reported miracle in cause of Father Isaac Hecker

The Diocese of Knoxville, Tennessee is reviewing reports of a miracle which, if verified, could advance the cause for beatification of Father Isaac Hecker. Bishop Richard Stika has appointed a...

Scottish bishops oppose 'opt-out' system for presumed consent to organ donation

The Catholic bishops of Scotland have objected to proposed legislation that would establish a presumption of consent for organ donation. Although claiming that the Catholic Church is “an...

Italian archdiocese protests city's registration of same-sex unions

The Archdiocese of Bologna, Italy, has protested the city’s decision to offer legal recognition for same-sex unions. A spokesman for the archdiocese said that the city’s policy, which took effect...

Bishops in Congo oppose constitutional change allowing president to serve 3rd term

The bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo have come out against changes in the country’s constitution, the Fides news agency reports. In a pastoral letter, the country’s bishops reiterate...

Pakistani Catholic group protests resumption of capital punishment

The Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic bishops of Pakistan is arguing strenuously against the resumption of capital punishment, saying that the move would “bring Pakistan back in time,”...

Released Thursday, Sep. 18

Jordan’s king pledges to protect Arab Christians

In the face of the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, King Abdullah II of Jordan, a ruler known for his commitment to interreligious dialogue, has pledged to protect Arab...

Church leaders in Middle East call for UN intervention to defeat Islamic State

Eight Middle Eastern church leaders, including the patriarchs of the Chaldean Catholic and Syriac Catholic churches, gathered at United Nations offices in Geneva and urged international intervention...

Focus on aiding victims of violence, not arming rebels, says Caritas leader

In an apparent criticism of calls to arm Syrian rebel forces, the secretary-general of Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s federation of relief and development agencies, called upon political...

USCCB: statement for Respect Life Month

Cardinal Seán O’Malley, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has issued a statement for Respect Life Month, which takes place in...

Russian government announces joint art exhibition with Vatican

President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy on international cultural cooperation has announced that Russia and the Vatican will hold a joint exhibition on biblical art in 2016. Mikhail Shvydkoy...

Ukraine’s bishops: voters should support defense of nation against foreign invasion

The synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church told voters that upcoming parliamentary elections “are the most complex and important ones in the history of independent Ukraine.” “For almost a...

Report: Pope invites China’s president to Vatican

Pope Francis has invited President Xi Jinping of China to the Vatican to discuss world peace, according to an America magazine report. According to the report, Ricardo Romano, the leader of an...

Successor named for Cardinal Pell in Australia

Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Anthony Fisher of Parramatta as the new Archbishop of Sydney. Australia’s leading see has been vacant since February, when Cardinal George Pell was appointed...

Jewish leaders visit Pope in advance of Rosh Hashana

Pope Francis met on September 17 with a group of Jewish leaders, in an early observance of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish celebration of the new year. "We want to share with the Pope our message of...

Cardinal Dolan defends decision to remain as Grand Marshall of St. Patrick's day parade

New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan has defended his decision to accept the presence of a homosexual group in the St. Patrick’s day parade, in a column for his archdiocesan newspaper. Emphasizing...

Don't be isolated from the faithful, Pope advises new bishops

Addressing a group of newly ordained bishops on September 18, Pope Francis said that “nothing is more important than introducing people to God!” “Love the people that God gave you,” the Pope...

Pope asks bishops of Ivory Coast to build a sense of fraternity

In a September 18 address to visiting bishops from Ivory Coast, Pope Francis emphasized the importance of close fraternal relations among bishops and encouraged careful inculturation of the...

VP Biden sides with nuns in conflict with Vatican

US Vice President Joseph Biden inserted himself into a debate over the Vatican-mandated reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, as he appeared at an event sponsored by the activist...

Salvation requires recognizing one's sinfulness, Pope tells congregation

Salvation is available “only to those who open their hearts and acknowledge that they are sinners,” Pope Francis told a congregation at Mass on September 18. The Pope pointed out that Jesus was...

England's Richard III: a Catholic king, buried in a Protestant cathedral?

Writing in the Catholic Herald, columnist William Oddie protests the plans to rebury the remains of England's King Richard III in a Protestant cathedral. Richard III, Oddie observes, "was the...

Cardinals criticize Kasper proposal, escalating debate on remarriage/Communion

Several influential cardinals have criticized a proposal by Cardinal Walter Kasper to allow Communion for Catholics who are divorced and remarried, in a rare display of open disagreement among...

Released Friday, Sep. 19

Central African priest receives human rights award for sheltering Muslim civilians

Human Rights Watch has bestowed an award upon Father Bernard Kinvi, a priest in the Central African Republic who sheltered hundred of Muslims whose lives were threatened by anti-Balaka...

Vatican diplomat: the elderly should not be victims of a culture of efficiency

A leading Holy See diplomat has expressed concern about the ways in which the elderly are discarded by a culture that values economic efficiency above all else. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, who...

Iraq: bishop, residents return to town as Kurdish forces advance

Bishop Mikha Pola Maqdassi, the Chaldean Catholic bishop of Alqosh, has joined 75% of residents in returning to their northern Iraqi city, according to a report from the Assyrian International News...

Before trip to Albania, Pope prays at St. Mary Major

In preparation for his September 21 apostolic journey to Albania, Pope Francis made a visit to the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, to pray before the image of the Virgin, Salus Populi...

Nigerian bishop: Boko Haram now controls 25 towns

Comparing the brutality of Boko Haram to that of the Islamic State, a Nigerian bishop said that Boko Haram has taken control of 25 towns in northeastern Nigeria. “We are faced with a huge...

Papal message links pursuit of holiness, Catholic social teaching, evangelization

Pope Francis has linked personal conversion, Catholic social teaching, and evangelization in a brief message to participants in a Madrid conference. “The Holy Father encourages you to deepen your...

Miracle of St. Januarius repeated: blood liquefies

The blood of St. Januarius liquefied on September 19, his feast day, in the repetition of a familiar miracle in Naples. St. Januarius, who was martyred during the persecutions of Diocletian, is...

Scottish bishops react to referendum

Following the decision of the voters of Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom, the Scottish bishops issued a statement saying that their conference "recognizes and respects the result of the...

Pope donates skull cap for charity auction

An Italian television show has persuaded Pope Francis to donate a zucchetto for a charity auction, and the bidding has already soared to $130,000. The host of the show Le Iene appeared at the...

Indonesia: Muslim protests force cancellation of LGBT seminar at Catholic university

A Catholic university in Indonesia has cancelled a seminar on homosexuality because of intense opposition from Muslim activists, the AsiaNews service reports. The psychology department of the...

Bodily resurrection is a final transformation, Pope says

Preaching on the Christian belief in the resurrection of the body, Pope Francis told a congregation at daily Mass on September 19 that for many people, resurrection is more difficult to accept than...

Human trafficking brings shame on southeast Asia, says Myanmar archbishop

Archbishop Charles Bo of Yangon, Myanmar has issued a letter denouncing human trafficking and challenging the country’s government to stop the outrage, the AsiaNews service reports. The...

Armenian president visits Pontiff

Pope Francis met on September 19 with President Sezh Sargsyan of Armenia, for talks that centered on the role of Christianity in shaping that country’s history and culture. The talks also touched...

Released Monday, Sep. 22

Bishop Cupich named Archbishop of Chicago

Pope Francis has named Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane as the new Archbishop of Chicago. Ordained to the priesthood in 1985 and appointed bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, in 1998, Bishop Cupich...

Albania seen by Pope as example of coexistence; a No to religious violence

Pope Francis paid tribute to Albania’s martyrs and upheld the nation as a model of peaceful religious coexistence during the first talk of his 11-hour apostolic journey there on September...

Pope lauds Albania’s Christians for fidelity amid persecution

At a rainy outdoor Mass celebrated in Tirana, Albania’s capital, Pope Francis emphasized that Albania was a “land of martyrs” under Communist rule and called upon Catholics to be missionary...

Build your lives on the rock of Christ, Pope tells youth

At the conclusion of outdoor Mass in the Albanian capital of Tirana, Pope Francis delivered a brief Angelus address in which he called upon the nation’s youth to build their lives on the rock of...

Pope Francis: avoid relativism in interreligious dialogue, work for the common good

In an address to Muslim and other non-Catholic religious leaders in Tirana, Pope Francis lamented atheism, called upon religious leaders to shun violence and work together for the common good, and...

Work together in evangelizing, Pope tells priests, lay movements

At Vespers celebrated in Tirana’s cathedral with priests, religious, seminarians, and members of lay movements, Pope Francis preached a homily in which he emphasized the importance of collaboration...

Self-sacrifice, not money, brings joy, says Pope

In an address to workers at an Albanian center for the care of children, Pope Francis said that joy comes through self-sacrifice. “We see how faith brings light and hope in situations of grave...

New papal commission appointed to streamline annulment process

Pope Francis has appointed a special commission to study a possible simplification of the process of obtaining marriage annulments. The Vatican announced on September 22 that the Pope had asked...

Papal committee begins work on reform of Vatican communications strategy

A papal committee charged with proposing an overhaul of the Vatican's media operations convened for the first time on September 22. The committee, chaired by Lord Chris Patten, will devote its...

Papal security tightened, but Vatican denies specific threats

Security measures have been reinforced around the Vatican in the wake of reports the Islamic terrorists have targeted Pope Francis. But the Pope has not curtailed his public activities. Extra...

Russian Orthodox spokesman renews complaints about Ukrainian Catholic Church

The chief ecumenical representative of the Russian Orthodox Church has repeated the complaint that the Eastern-rite Ukrainian Catholic Church constitutes "a bleeding wound on the body of...

Two more leading cardinals weigh in against Kasper proposal

Two of the world's most influential Catholic cardinals have added their names to the list of prelates arguing publicly against the proposal by Cardinal Walter Kasper for a change in Church...

Oklahoma Catholics respond to Black Mass with Eucharistic processions

Hundreds of Catholics participated in a Eucharistic procession through the streets of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on September 21, and hundreds more joined in a similar devotion in Tulsa, in response...

Cardinal O'Malley: even a just war does not negate the commandment of love

Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley has said that while there may be moral grounds for military action against the Islamic State, there is never a justification for hate. “Sometimes we have to engage...

Bishops called to serve people, promote evangelization, Pope says

In a message to bishops taking part in a conference organized by the Congregation for Evangelization, Pope Francis said that the missionary work "involves every baptized person and every...

Connecticut archdiocese asks high court to overturn law extending deadline for sex-abuse suits

Attorneys for the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut, asked the state’s Supreme Court to set aside a $1 million sex-abuse judgment, in a hearing September 22. The archdiocese has urged the...

Joint Orthodox-Catholic theological commission finishing meeting dedicated to synodality and primacy

A joint Orthodox-Catholic theological commission is concluding its 13th plenary session this week, discussing the topic of “Synodality and Primacy.” The joint commission, which convenes every two...

Sri Lanka: police remove saint's statue, disperse Catholic protesters

In Sri Lanka, an estimated 3,000 Catholics, who had gathered on September 21 to protest the removal of a statue of St. Philip Neri, were dispersed by police using water cannons and tear gas. The...

Lativan leader visits Pope, talks on European Council, crisis in Ukraine

Pope Francis met on September 20 with Latvia’s President Andris Berzins, for discussions that centered on Church-state relations and on the contributions of the Catholic Church to education and...

After trip to Albania, Pope gives thanks at Roman basilica

Following what has become his regular custom, Pope Francis visited the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major on Monday, September 22, to give thanks to the Virgin Mary for her protection during his...

Released Tuesday, Sep. 23

Theme announced for papal visit to Philippines

“Mercy and compassion” is the theme of Pope Francis’s apostolic journey to the Philippines, which is scheduled to take place from January 15 to 19. “With the presence of the Pope, the God of...

September 28: day of prayer for upcoming synod

The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is encouraging parishes, religious communities, families, and individuals to take part in the September 28 day of prayer for the...

Islamic State destroys Armenian genocide memorial church

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has destroyed the Armenian Genocide memorial church in Deir ez-Zor, Syria’s 6th-largest city, according to Armenian media reports. Armenian Foreign...

Bishops denounce new optional Israeli designation of Christians as ‘Arameans’

A commission of the Assembly of the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land has denounced an Israeli government decision permitting Palestinian Christians to designate themselves as Arameans rather...

Guinea-Bissau bishops address Ebola threat

The bishops of the West African nation of Guinea-Bissau have issued a pastoral letter on the threat of Ebola virus disease. Disinfectants will be provided at church entrances, and the faithful...

South Sudan permits Catholic radio station to reopen

South Sudan’s government has permitted a Catholic radio network to reopen as long as it does not report on political issues, according to a report from the Catholic Information Service for Africa...

Leading prelate: Ukraine needs equipment, not foreign troops, to defend itself against Russia

In an interview with a Polish news agency, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church called upon the West to provide military equipment to Ukraine so that it can defend itself against Russian...

Papal message on migrants, refugees: ‘Church without frontiers, mother to all’

The Holy See Press Office has released Pope Francis’s Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which will take place on January 18. In the message, entitled “Church without frontiers,...

Pope names new slate of members to International Theological Commission

Pope Francis has named a slate of 30 theologians to five-year terms on the International Theological Commission, the advisory body that assists the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in...

Vatican resumes talks with traditionalist SSPX

Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior general of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), met on September 23 with officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), led by...

Cardinals join in plea for mandatory rules to stop man-made climate change

Two Catholic cardinals have joined with other religious leaders in a public statement affirming that human-based climate change is leading to disaster, and calling for international regulations to...

Pope prays for Ebola victims, health-care workers fighting epidemic

Pope Francis offered his prayers for the victims of the Ebola epidemic and for the health-care workers fighting the disease as he met on September 23 with visiting bishops from Ghana. “I pray for...

Cardinal Burke: media 'trying to hijack' Synod discussions

Cardinal Raymond Burke charged that the mass media have been "trying to hijack" the Synod meeting in October, in which the assembled bishops will discuss the family. The American cardinal-- who...

Vatican police arrest former papal nuncio, will prosecute on sex-abuse charges

Vatican police have arrested Josef Wesolowski, the former apostolic nuncio to the Dominican Republic, who will now face criminal charges for sexual abuse. Then-Archbishop Wesolowski was recalled...

Orthodox-Catholic theological commission fails to reach accord on synod, primacy

The 13th working session of the joint Orthodox-Catholic Theological Commission concluded its work in Amman, Jordan on September 23, without approving a document on "Synodality and Primacy." The...

Nuclear disarmament should be final goal, Vatican delegate tells international atomic agency

Speaking to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at a meeting in Vienna, the Vatican’s representative said that while efforts to control the proliferation of nuclear weapons are vitally...

Louisiana diocesan spokesman: despite settlements, never convinced of abuse claims

The spokesman for a Louisiana Catholic diocese has reported that Church officials have never been convinced that a sex-abuse charge was true, although the diocese has paid to settle abuse...

Conflict in Syria and Iraq will not alter plan for visit to Turkey, Pope says

Pope Francis has told journalists that he does not intend to change his plans for a visit to Turkey in late November, despite the continued violence in neighboring Syria and Iraq. "Geography...

Remarriage is not focus of Synod, Italian cardinal insists

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco has said that media reports are "grossly misleading" when they suggest that the questions of divorce and remarriage will dominate the discussions of the October meeting of...

Publisher defends new books against Cardinal Kasper's protests

The publisher of two new books arguing against the "Kasper proposal" has forcefully defended those works, responding to complaints from Cardinal Walter Kasper. Father Joseph Fessio, the head of...

Released Wednesday, Sep. 24

South Sudan bishop appeals for calm in border dispute

Amid a border dispute between South Sudan and Uganda that has involved multiple thefts and abductions, a South Sudanese bishop appealed for calm and urged Christians not to repay evil for...

Honduran cardinal rues economic inequality, links free market to ‘social exclusion’

Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga lamented the widening economic inequality he has observed during the years since the financial crisis of 2008. “For six years now, the economic crisis...

Patriarch reprimands priests who have left Iraq without permission

The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church has reprimanded priests and religious who have left Iraq in recent months without the permission of their bishop or religious superior. Priests and...

US bishops lament plight of Palestinian Christians

Following an eight-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land, 18 bishops from the United States renewed their call for peace and for a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. “The local...

Victory for Catholic business owner against HHS mandate

Citing the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, the US Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit has overturned a lower court decision involving a Catholic business owner who objected to the HHS...

Pope Francis discusses Albania trip, pays tribute to martyrs

During his September 24 general audience, Pope Francis discussed his recent apostolic journey to Albania, the Southeastern European nation whose Communist regime brutally persecuted Christians and...

Pope renews appeal for Ebola victims

For the second time in two days, Pope Francis has appealed for assistance for those affected by Ebola virus disease. “My thoughts now go to those countries in Africa that are suffering because of...

Holy See: moral imperative to act in face of climate change

Addressing the UN Climate Summit on behalf of the Holy See, the Vatican’s Secretary of State did not offer specific policy proposals but emphasized that the international community has a moral...

Former nuncio's arrest shows Pope's determination to fight abuse, says papal spokesman

The arrest of laicized Archbishop Josef Wesolowski by Vatican police reflects the determination of Pope Francis to be aggressive in handling sex-abuse charges, the Vatican’s spokesman has...

English prince attends Mass in official role

Prince William, who stands 2nd in line for the British throne, attended a Catholic Mass, acting in his official capacity, for the first time this past weekend. Prince William attended a Mass in...

Armenian bishop announces papal visit; Vatican denies plans

A ranking prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church has announced that Pope Francis will visit Armenia next year. But a papal spokesman has said that the Vatican has made no plans for such a...

Spanish premier withdraws abortion-reform legislation, citing lack of support

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has withdrawn a proposal that would have placed restrictions on abortion, explaining that the government had found a "lack of sufficient consensus" to enact the...

Minnesota: archbishop asks for resignation of music director after same-sex marriage

An openly homosexual music director has been dismissed from his post at a Catholic parish in Minnesota, at the request of Archbishop John Nienstedt, in the latest of a series of incidents involving...

No settlement in Milwaukee bankruptcy case; legal fees continue to soar

Mediation talks between the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and creditors have ended without a settlement, making it seem inevitable that the costly bankruptcy case of the archdiocese will continue....

Russian actions destabilize Ukraine, harm Catholic Church, reports papal nuncio

Archbishop Thomas Edward Gullickson, the apostolic nuncio in Ukraine, offered a candid appraisal of the difficulties facing the Church in that country in a September 23 address to officials of the...

Released Thursday, Sep. 25

Syria: prelate questions US airstrikes

The Armenian Catholic archbishop of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, questioned whether US airstrikes against Islamic State bases will be of benefit to the nation’s Christians. “This type of...

Nigeria’s bishops urge government to act against Boko Haram

The bishops of Nigeria have decried the “mass slaughter of fellow Nigerians” and “the burning and sacking of whole villages and churches and rectories” committed by the Islamist militant...

Mexican priest murdered

The body of a parish priest in San Miguel Totolapan, a town in southwestern Mexico, was found in a river hundreds of miles away, according to a Mexican media report. El Sur reported that the body...

India: 7 Christians arrested on ‘forced conversion’ charges

Seven Christian missionaries were recently arrested in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh on “forced conversion” charges, the Indian Express reported. The five men and two women stand...

Cardinal Parolin calls on international community to address terrorism

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, called upon the international community to address terrorism and its root causes. “Nations must come together in order to fulfill our...

Pope Francis: message to UN

Archbishop Bernardito Auza has delivered his first address as Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and read out a message from Pope Francis as the international body began its...

Diocese announces plans for redesign of Crystal Cathedral

The Diocese of Orange in California has announced its plans to transform Crystal Cathedral, which it acquired in 2012, into Christ Cathedral. According to the Orange County Register, the first...

Pope Francis replaces Paraguayan bishop

The Holy See Press Office has announced that Pope Francis has replaced Bishop Rogelio Livieres Plano of the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay. The press office announced that the seat is now...

Pope said teaching on divorce and Communion cannot change, Spanish bishop reports

A Spanish bishop has reported that Pope Francis said it is impossible to change Church teaching to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion. Bishop Demetrio Fernandez of...

Pakistan: Christian minister, facing blasphemy charge, killed in prison cell

In Pakistan, a Christian minister who was charged with blasphemy against Islam has been murdered in prison, the AsiaNews service reports. Rev. Zafar Bhatti was shot and killed in his prison cell....

Vatican cardinal optimistic that Orthodox-Catholic commission will reach accord

Although the latest meeting of a joint Orthodox-Catholic theological commission ended without a consensus on a proposed statement, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity...

Catholic scholars rap Common Core as 'disservice to Catholic education'

A group of 130 Catholic scholars have joined in a statement that adoption of the Common Core standards is “a grave disservice to Catholic education.” Lamenting that more than 100 dioceses in the...

Enemies of faith want Church to fold on divorce, Cardinal Pell writes

In his foreword to a new book about Catholic teaching on marriage, Cardinal George Pell writes that "one cannot maintain the indissolubility of marriage by allowing the 'remarried' to receive Holy...

Released Friday, Sep. 26

Prelate sees rising secularism in Ghana

The president of Ghana’s episcopal conference said that the West African nation’s economic prosperity has fostered rising secularism. “The secular mentality is certainly a challenge for the...

USCCB, CRS welcome US response to Ebola

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, joined by the president of Catholic Relief Service, welcomed the Obama...

Coptic Christians targeted for kidnapping in Egypt

Coptic Orthodox and Catholic prelates decried the targeted kidnapping of Christians in Egypt following the murder of a dentist who had been abducted. Bishop Kyrillos Kamal William Samaan, the...

President Obama issues statement for Rosh Hashanah

President Barack Obama has issued a statement for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. “My good friend Elie Wiesel once said that God gave human beings a secret, and that secret was not how to...

Jordan’s king denounces violence against Christians

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, King Abdullah II of Jordan, a ruler known for his commitment to interreligious dialogue, denounced violence against the Middle East’s...

Paraguayan bishop removed because of ‘difficult’ relations with other bishops

Bishop Rogelio Livieres Plano of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, was removed from office because of his “difficult” relations with other bishops and priests, and not because he appointed a priest accused...

England cardinal discusses mercy, indissolubility of marriage

In recent comments, Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster described the upcoming Synod of Bishops as a “remarkable moment” in the Church’s life, one that will seek “to find ways to recreate a...

Vatican releases full rebuttal to criticism from UN commission on rights of child

In a lengthy response to a UN committee’s critical report, the Vatican has said that the reported betrayed a “profundity of confusion regarding the nature of the Holy See.” The Vatican on...

Released Monday, Sep. 29

Pope calls Focolare members to creative evangelization

Pope Francis called upon participants in the general assembly of the Focolare Movement to be creative as they undertook the task of evangelization. In a September 26 audience that took place in...

Pope reflects on the Eucharist and hope

The Eucharist is a source of hope for the world’s transformation, Pope Francis told members of the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses in a...

Opus Dei’s Blessed Álvaro a model of holiness, says Pope

Pope Francis has written a letter on the holiness of Blessed Álvaro del Portillo (1914-94), the second leader of Opus Dei. In the letter, dated June 26 and released September 27, the day of...

200th anniversary of restoration of Jesuits

Presiding over Vespers and the Te Deum at the Church of the Gesù, Pope Francis commemorated the bicentennial of the restoration of the Society of Jesus, which he entered in 1958. Under pressure...

Grandparents, elderly have important role, Pope emphasizes

Grandparents have an important role to play in the family and in society through their intercessory prayer and their sharing of their memories, Pope Francis said at “The Blessing of a Long Life,” a...

Theme announced for next World Day of Social Communications

“Communicating the Family: A Privileged Place of Encounter with the Gift of Love” will be the theme of the next World Day of Social Communications, which will take place on May 17. The papal...

Iraqi Patriarch raps American policies

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako has lashed out at American conduct of the war against the Islamic State in Iraq. “Bombing these jihadists will not make them disappear, that’s for sure,”...

English bishop resigns, admits misconduct

An English bishop has unexpectedly announced his resignation, admitting that he had been “unfaithful to my promises as a Catholic priest.” Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton did not...

Focus on unemployment, Italian bishops’ official urges government

The secretary-general of the Italian bishops’ conference has called upon the country’s political leaders to devote their attention to unemployment. Bishop Nunzio Galantino criticized...

Paraguayan bishop’s ‘very violent’ reaction helps explain removal, says papal spokesman

Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano, who was removed from his post in Paraguay, has issued a bitter complaint, charging that other bishops conspired against him and saying that Pope Francis “must...

Hong Kong Cardinal calls for police restraint in response to demonstrators

Cardinal John Tong Hon of Hong Kong has called for a restrained police response to demonstrations by democracy activist in the city’s financial district. Decrying the “regrettable” violence of...

New book reports on Pope’s youthful encounters with Peronists, leftists in Argentina

Pope Francis describes a youthful encounter with Evita Peron, and says that he has always been “restless” about political matters, in a new biography published in his native Argentina. The Pope...

Released Tuesday, Sep. 30

Venezuela: abducted priest found dead

Father Reinaldo Alfonso Herrera Lures, a Venezuelan priest who was kidnapped on September 25, was found dead two days later, according to Diario La Verdad, a newspaper based in Maracaibo, the...

Violence in Egyptian village following disappearance of Christian woman

Iman Sarofim, a 39-year-old Coptic Christian mother of five, has returned to her village after she escaped from the man who had abducted her. Mohamed Ibrahim Moustafa, the nation’s interior...

South Sudan’s bishops plead for end to civil war

South Sudan’s bishops have issued a statement pleading for an end to the nation’s civil war, which began in December, has left thousands dead, and has displaced an estimated one million...

Pope renews appeal for peace in Venezuela

Five months after Pope Francis urged the Venezuelan government and opposition leaders to become “true builders of peace,” the Pontiff has renewed his appeal for peace in the South American...

Vatican conducts visitation of Bishop Finn’s diocese

Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa has conducted an apostolic visitation of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, according to the National Catholic Reporter. The diocese’s...

Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State

In a September 29 address at the United Nations General Assembly, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, said that the UN Security Council has the duty to intervene to stop...

Papal tribute to United Bible Societies

Pope Francis has paid tribute to the United Bible Societies upon the completion of an ecumenical Italian translation of Sacred Scripture. “It is my wish that all Christians be able to get to know...

Cardinal Burke rebuts 'outrageous' claim that Cardinal Kasper speaks for Pope

Cardinal Raymond Burke strongly defended his criticism of the “Kasper proposal,” and said it was “outrageous” for Cardinal Walter Kasper to suggest that such criticism was actually aimed at Pope...

Congressman Ryan says his ideas are based on Catholic faith, not Ayn Rand

Congressman Paul Ryan explained how his Catholic faith has influenced his thinking on economic issues, and denied that he is a disciple of Ayn Rand, in an interview with the National Catholic...

Archbishop-elect Cupich seen as Pope's personal 'progressive' choice

Veteran Vatican journalist Sandro Magister of L'Espresso reports that Pope Francis did not consult with the Congregation for Bishops, nor solicit opinions from the American hierarchy, before...

Anglican leaders to cancel Lambeth Conference?

The Lambeth Conference-- the gathering that brings together all the bishops of the Anglican communion-- will not be held in 2018, according to the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the...

Cardinal Kasper defends proposal, sees 'fundamentalism' in critics

Cardinal Walter Kasper continued to defend his proposal to allow Communion for some divorced and remarried Catholics, and to assail critics of that proposal, in a new interview. The German...

Academic, religious leaders encourage Pope to defend traditional marriage

A group of academic and religious leaders have joined in a direct appeal to Pope Francis to defend the Church’s traditional teaching on marriage. “May we humbly suggest that in the context of...

Iraqi prelate asks Muslim leaders to condemn terrorism

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako has challenged Iraqi Muslim leaders to "openly express your rejection and your condemnation of violent religious extremism." The Iraq prelate, in a message...

Catholic school removes portrait of pro-abortion gubernatorial candidate in Rhode Island

A Catholic school in Rhode Island has removed a portrait of a graduate who is now a candidate for governor, running on a "reproductive freedom" platform. Gina Raimondo was once the valedictorian...

Priests need military escorts in Cameroon diocese after Boko Haram raids

A Catholic bishop in Cameroon has revealed that he can only provide pastoral care for the faithful if he has military protection, because of raids by the Boko Haram terrorist group, Aid to the...

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