Action Alert!

Stories for December 2014

Released Tuesday, Dec. 2

Archbishop Cupich speaks on Holy Communion for pro-abortion politicians

During an appearance on the television news show Face the Nation, Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago appeared to say that he would allow the reception of Holy Communion by pro-abortion politicians....

Boko Haram escalates terror campaign in Nigeria; Christian town attacked

Militants have attacked the northeastern Nigerian town of Shani, a largely Christian town in Borno State. The Islamist movement Boko Haram, whose campaign of terror has displaced one million...

Problems for Iraq’s Christian refugees are ‘totally overwhelming,’ says nun

The prioress of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena in Iraq has described the difficult circumstances of refugees who have fled the advance of the Islamic State. “After four months of...

Jerusalem vicar: coexistence of Hebrew, Arab Catholics is sign of hope for Holy Land

Amid rising tensions between Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem, the patriarchal vicar for Hebrew-speaking Catholics said that the coexistence of Hebrew and Arab Catholics speaking the truth is...

Ukrainian Catholic leader: ‘as long as we are on the side of good, we are invincible’

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the largest of the Eastern Catholic churches in full communion with the Holy See, recently marked the first anniversary of Euromaidan, the wave of...

Central African Republic’s ‘descent into hell’ continues, bishops say

The armed conflict in the Central African Republic that began two years ago ushered in a “descent into hell” that continues to this day, the nation’s bishops said in an Advent message. “The...

Church in the Philippines begins Year of the Poor

With the beginning of the new liturgical year, the Church in the Philippines commemorates a Year of the Poor-- the third of a novena of years in preparation for the 500th anniversary of Gospel’s...

European Court sets rules for determining if applicant for asylum is homosexual

The European Court of Justice has set standards by which member-states of the European Union may determine whether an applicant for asylum is a homosexual. The Court issued its ruling in a case...

Catholic group, Palestinian families oppose plan for Israel security wall

A Catholic human-rights organization in the Holy Land is forcefully opposing plans by the Israeli defense ministry to build a security wall through land in the Cremisan Valley that includes the...

World religious leaders join Pope in call for eradication of slavery

Pope Francis has led a group of the world’s religious leaders in signing a declaration calling for the complete elimination of slavery. In a December 2 ceremony at the Vatican, the Pontiff was...

Arson attack on Catholic church in New Delhi raises tensions among India's Catholics

An arson attack on a church in New Delhi has raised new fears that India’s Catholics are the targets of violence. “The arson attack should be strongly condemned,” said Cardinal Oswald Gracias of...

Chilean study shows maternal death declined sharply after abortion ban

Since banning abortion in 1989, Chile has seen a sharp decline in the rate of maternal deaths, a new study has shown. Proponents of legal abortion often argue that bans on the practice increase...

Cardinal Scola: Pope will reject Communion for divorced-remarried

Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan has told an Italian newspaper that he feels sure Pope Francis will not accept a proposal to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion. In an...

Cardinal Bertone, former Secretary of State, marks 80th birthday: ineligible for conclave

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the former Vatican Secretary of State, celebrated his 80th birthday on December 2 and is no longer eligible to participate in a papal conclave. Cardinal Bertone retains...

Irish police investigating vandals' attack on 'Carrauntoohil Cross'

Irish police are studying a video apparently made by vandals who cut down a 16-foot metal cross that stood on the highest point in Ireland. The video, which was sent to reporters, showed a man...

Dominican prosecutor pleased with Vatican's handling of case against former nuncio

The chief prosecutor of the Dominican Republic has expressed satisfaction with the Vatican’s conduct of a criminal case against Josef Wesolowski, the laicized archbishop and former papal nuncio to...

Two new congregations 'certain' in Vatican reform proposal, Cardinal Maradiaga says

The chairman of the Council of Cardinals has confirmed that a reform of the Roman Curia will call for two new congregations: one for the laity and one for charitable affairs. Cardinal Oscar...

Islamic State converts Mosul churches into prisons

The Islamic State has begun using some of the Christian churches in the city of Mosul as prisons, the Fides news service reports. Reports from the city in northern Iraq indicate that prisoners...

Finland's parliament approves same-sex marriage

Lawmakers in Finland have approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. By a vote of 105 to 92, the Finnish parliament moved to bring their country into line with the other nations of...

Franciscan leader fears growing religious tensions in Israeli-Palestinian conflict

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is taking on unsettling religious overtones, reports the head of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. In a conversation with Aid to the Church in Need, Father...

Released Wednesday, Dec. 3

Al-Shabaab kills 36 Christians in Kenya

The Islamist terrorist organization al-Shabaab, which is based in Somalia, has killed 36 Christian quarry workers in neighboring Kenya. On December 2, the militants “roused the sleeping workers...

Russian Orthodox spokesman comments on Pope’s wish for meeting with patriarch

Responding to Pope Francis’s stated desire to meet with Patriarch Kirill whenever the Russian prelate is ready, a spokesman for the Moscow patriarchate criticized the Ukrainian Greek Catholic...

Singapore prelate emphasizes evangelization, Marian devotion

The December 3 edition of L’Osservatore Romano drew attention to the work of Archbishop William Goh of Singapore, who has opened a theological institute and emphasized evangelization since his...

1st Catholic radio station in Pakistan

The Archdiocese of Karachi has launched the first Catholic radio station in Pakistan, where Christians face discrimination and persecution. “One can use mass media to evangelize,” said Father...

Church in Brazil begins Year of Peace

Citing widespread violence, including over 56,000 homicides in 2012, the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil has begun a year devoted to peace. The year, approved unanimously at the bishops’...

‘Massive’ pro-life march in Chile

Chilean pro-lifers joined in a march, described as “massive” by the episcopal conference, took place in the nation’s 3rd-largest city. Citing the lack of respect for human life worldwide, from...

Vatican spokesman denies account of pre-conclave lobbying

Austen Ivereigh, a British writer who once served as Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor’s spokesman, asserted in a new book that the English prelate, joined by Cardinals Karl Lehmann, Walter Kasper,...

Pope, at audience, recalls trip to Turkey

Pope Francis devoted his December 3 general audience to his recent apostolic journey to Turkey. “It is forgetfulness of God, and not His glorification, that generates violence,” he said. “I...

Vatican outlines progress of criminal case against former nuncio to Dominican Republic

A Vatican prosecutor is moving forward with the criminal case against Josef Wesolowski, the former apostolic nuncio to the Dominican Republic, who was laicized after a canonical trial earlier this...

Cardinal Parolin speaks on Vatican diplomacy, future of European Union

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, presided at a Mass on December 3 at the basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, marking the 100th anniversary of the restoration of...

Vatican envoy urges UN: put policy focus on family

Speaking to a UN session marking the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family, Archbishop Bernardito Auza said that government policies should be designed to promote strong family...

Secretariat for the Economy discovers 'hundreds of millions' of off-budget transactions at Vatican

The Vatican’s new Secretariat for the Economy has discovered that “hundreds of millions of euros” were not included on financial reports, Cardinal George Pell reports in an article for the Catholic...

Archbishop Fisher: don't expect dramatic changes from Synod

Archbishop Anthony Fisher has added his name to the list of prelates reassuring Catholics that the Synod of Bishops will not make any dramatic change in Church teaching on marriage. The newly...

Dublin's archbishop opens church properties to shelter homeless

Reacting quickly to the death of a homeless man whose body was discovered in a doorway in Dublin, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has offered to make diocesan buildings available as temporary...

Abuse victims rap Milwaukee archdiocese for handling of compensation claims

Three priests of the Milwaukee archdiocese have joined groups representing sex-abuse victims in an open letter asking Pope Francis to investigate the archdiocesan handling of compensation claims by...

Poll finds broad support for separating religious and civil marriage ceremonies

Nearly half of all Americans believe that church weddings “should not be connected to the state’s definition and recognition of marriage,” according to a new poll by LifeWay Research. The...

Cardinal Zen, 'Occupy' leaders end civil-disobedience campaign in Hong Kong

Cardinal Joseph Zen and three other leaders of the “Occupy” movement surrendered to police in Hong Kong on December 3, the AsiaNews service report. They were not arrested, by released after signing...

New 'popemobile' planned for papal visit to Philippines

A new “popemobile” is being designed to transport Pope Francis when he visits the Philippines in January, organizers of the papal trip have announced. Pope Francis has insisted on traveling in...

Irish bishops' statement affirms Christian meaning of marriage

In a statement entitled The Meaning of Marriage, the Catholic bishops of Ireland have warned that “to redefine the nature of marriage would be to undermine it as the fundamental building block of...

Pope to replace head of Swiss Guards

The Vatican has announced that Colonel Daniel Anrig, the commandant of the Swiss Guards, will resign at the end of January 2015. Colonel Anrig, who took over the leadership of the Swiss Guard in...

Released Thursday, Dec. 4

Results of apostolic visitation of US nuns to be released this month

The final report of the apostolic visitation of institutes of women religious in the United States will be released on December 16. The visitation was instituted in 2008 by Cardinal Franc Rodé,...

Majority of Muslims welcome Pope’s gestures, says Muslim leader

Omar Abboud, the former secretary general of the Islamic Center of Argentina, said in a front-page L’Osservatore Romano article that the Pope’s decision to face Mecca while praying silently in an...

Islamic State consolidates power

Despite US air attacks, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has consolidated its control over a large area in recent months. The Sunni jihadist group now controls over one-third of Syria and...

Biden meets with Ukrainian Catholic leader

Vice President Joe Biden traveled recently to Ukraine to mark the first anniversary of Euromaidan, the wave of protests that led to the ouster of a pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych. While...

Patriarch calls for warmer US-Russian relations

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church met with the US ambassador to Russia on November 28 and called for warmer US-Russian relations. “We are experiencing not the best period in the relations...

Pope meets with Mozambique’s president

Pope Francis met with President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique in the Apostolic Palace on December 4. Guebuza, once a young general in the movement that ended Portuguese colonial rule in 1975, has...

Families are crucial to society, Holy See diplomat emphasizes at UN

The Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations emphasized the importance of the family to society in a December 3 statement. “The Holy See hopes that this meeting will help states...

Sri Lanka: Church leaders fear political exploitation of January papal visit

Some Christian leaders in Sri Lanka are asking Pope Francis to postpone his scheduled visit to their country in January, fearful that the Pope’s presence will be exploited to promote the re-election...

US birth rate hits new all-time low

The birth rate among women in the US, which dropped significantly during the worldwide recession, continues to fall, a new study shows. The fertility rate in the US has dropped to an all-time...

Manila announces 5-day holiday during January papal visit

The city of Manila has announced a 5-day holiday during the visit by Pope Francis to the Philippines in January, and the national government may follow suit, the Catholic News Agency...

China promises to stop harvesting organs from condemned prisoners

The Chinese government has announced that it will stop harvesting organs from the bodies of executed convicts, beginning next year. The Beijing regime, which executes more than 2,000 people each...

Pope speaks on 'hidden virtue,' repentance, and hope

Pope Francis spoke of the “hidden holiness” in the Church in his homily at daily Mass on December 4. “The proud, the vain, the ‘Christians in appearance’ will be demolished, humbled,” the Pope...

Pope lauds volunteers working with the poor

Pope Francis praised the work of the Federation of Christian Organisations for International Volunteer Service (FOCSIV) during a private audience with the group’s members on December 4. “Your...

Christmas tree arrives in St. Peter's Square; lighting set for December 19

A massive Christmas tree, a white fir over 80 feet tall that will be set up in St. Peter’s Square, has arrived at the Vatican. A ceremonial lighting of the tree will take place on Friday...

Citing required same-sex placements, Catholic bishops of Northern Ireland withdraw from adoption agency

The Catholic bishops of Northern Ireland have announced that they are severing their ties to the Family Care Society, because of the new legal requirement that the agency must place children with...

Syriac Catholic Patriarch raps Western indifference toward displaced Iraqi Christians

The leader of the Syriac Catholic Church has charged that Western governments are neglecting the Christian refugees of Iraq because they have no economic incentives to help them. Patriarch Joseph...

Released Friday, Dec. 5

Cardinal Pell: ‘the days of ripping off the Vatican are over’

The Catholic Herald has published the full text of an article by Cardinal George Pell on the reform of Vatican finances. The publication of the article by the prefect of the Secretariat for the...

DC repeals religious schools’ exemption from law on homosexuality

In a 13-0 vote, the Washington, DC City Council passed the Human Rights Amendment Act of 2014, which repeals an exemption for religious schools from legislation related to sexual...

Court rules against Indiana diocese in IVF-dismissal case

Following a ruling from a federal appellate court, a lawsuit brought by a former teacher against an Indiana diocese will go to trial. The Diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend did not renew Emily...

Catechism translated into Urdu

The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples has approved the translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church into Urdu. Urdu is the primary language of 70 million people in Pakistan...

Al-Azhar condemns Islamic State

Cairo-based Al-Azhar University, the world’s leading Muslim institution of learning, sponsored a conference in which 700 participants condemned the activities of the Islamic State of Iraq and the...

Papal preacher devotes Advent sermon to peace as God’s gift

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the Capuchin Franciscan friar who has served as preacher to the papal household since 1980, devoted his December 5 Advent sermon to the Pope and the members of the Roman...

Women offer ‘unparalleled contribution’ to society through family life, says Pope

In a message to a family festival in Riva del Garda, Italy, Pope Francis expressed concern about the nation’s demographic future and emphasized his appreciation for the role of women in the family...

Vatican clarifies: off-budget accounts were not corrupt

The “hundreds of millions of euros” in off-budget Vatican transactions discovered by the Secretariat for the Economy were not illicit expenses, the Vatican’s chief spokesman told reporters at a...

Listen and treasure God's Word, Pope advises theologians

Speaking on December 5 to the members of the International Theological Commission, Pope Francis said that a theologian is “above all, a believer who listens to the living Word of God and welcomes it...

After canonizations, dozens of pilgrims from India remain in Rome, probably seeking work

At least 60 pilgrims from India who traveled to Rome for the November 23 canonization of two Indian saints have not returned home and are believed to be seeking employment in Italy. Nearly 10,000...

Marriage is the only institution that protects children, Irish columnist argues

Writing in The Independent about the recent Vatican conference on the complementarity of men and women, Irish columnist David Quinn emphasizes that the institution of marriage is distinct because it...

Cardinal Pell moves into former office of Vatican bank president

Cardinal George Pell, the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, has moved into the office formerly occupied by the president of the Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works...

Papal encouragement for joint effort by bishops, police chiefs to combat human trafficking

Pope Francis has sent a message of support to an international group working to curb human trafficking. The Santa Marta group, which includes police chiefs and Catholic bishops, draws its name...

Cardinal Tauran notes significant step forward in talks with Muslim leaders

The president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue said that he saw new signs of progress in talks with Islamic leaders, after a meeting this week in Rome. Cardinal Jean Louis...

Released Tuesday, Dec. 9

Holy See diplomat laments Ukraine conflict, violations of religious freedom

In a statement addressed to the annual meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which took place from December 4-5, a leading Holy See diplomat deplored the...

Papal condolences following death of Belgian queen

Pope Francis sent a telegram of condolence to King Philippe of Belgium following the death of his aunt, Queen Fabiola, on December 6 at the age of 86. The Pontiff referred to the queen as a...

French cardinal brings papal message of support to Iraq’s Christians

As Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon visited Christians in Iraq on December 6, Pope Francis said in a video message that their experience was akin to martyrdom. Cardinal Barbarin traveled to...

8 sainthood causes advance

In an audience with the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on December 6, Pope Francis cleared the way for the canonization of three religious sisters by approving decrees on...

Receive God’s consolation in the Word and sacraments, says Pope

During his December 7 Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on Isaiah 40:1-11, the first reading of the day’s Mass. “We cannot be messengers of God’s consolation if we do not experience...

Pope Francis: be receptive to grace, as the Virgin Mary was

Pope Francis reflected on grace during his Angelus address on December 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “The message of today's feast of the Immaculate...

Lighting Christmas tree, Pope urges confession

Using a tablet, Pope Francis lit the Christmas tree in Gubbio, Italy, and before doing so, recommended confession before Christmas. “If you have something dark in your soul, ask the Lord for...

Pope: work for ban on nuclear weapons

In a message to the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, which is taking place in Vienna, Pope Francis called for the development of “concrete ways to ensure that nuclear...

Pope welcomes criticism as 'very healthy' in new interview

Pope Francis said that he welcomed “resistance” to his ideas, and said that the Synod of Bishops would not be “touching any item of Church doctrine on marriage,” in a new in-depth interview with an...

Vatican releases working document for next Synod meeting on marriage and family

The Vatican has released a working document that will frame the discussion for the October 2015 meeting of the Synod of Bishops, which will continue the discussion of marriage and family...

Council of Cardinals, Pope meet to refine plans for 2 new Vatican congregations

The Council of Cardinals is meeting this week with Pope Francis, to discuss a new round of reforms that will likely call for the creation of two new Vatican congregations, combining the functions of...

Two former top executives of Vatican bank face charges; Vatican freezes their accounts

A Vatican prosecutor has frozen the accounts of two former executives of the Vatican bank, who face criminal charges for embezzlement. Angelo Caloia, the former president of the Institute for...

Archbishop of Canterbury admits Anglican communion could split

The Archbishop of Canterbury has admitted the possibility that the worldwide Anglican communion could break apart because of disputes over the ordination of woman as bishops and the acceptances of...

Cardinal Oscar Mejia, former Vatican archivist, dead at 91

Cardinal Jorge Maria Mejia, the former director of the Vatican archives, died on December 9 at the age of 91. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and ordained to the priesthood there, Jorge Mejia...

Benedict XVI wanted to be 'Father Benedict' after resignation

The former Pope Benedict XVI would prefer to be known as “Father Benedict” rather than “Pope emeritus,” a German journalist reports. Jorg Bremer, writing for the FAZ, reports that in a private...

Church seeks for lost sheep, not 'perfect organizational chart,' Pope says

A Church leader should have a “shepherd’s heart” rather than functioning as a “good businessman,” Pope Francis said in a homily at daily Mass on December 9. Commenting in the Gospel about the...

Leading Orthodox theologian hopes for 'quick progress' toward full Christian unity

One of the leading theologians of the Orthodox world has said that he sees prosecpts for “quick progress” toward full Christian unity under Pope Francis. Metropolitan Ioannis of Pergamon, the...

Mexico City: 5,000 confessions in a day

Nearly 5,000 Catholics received the sacrament of Reconciliation in one day, in a special initiative by Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, the Catholic News Agency reports. To prepare for Advent,...

Minnesota lawyer continues independent investigation of charges against archbishop

The Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota has engaged a prominent defense attorney to continue an independent investigation into charges of sexual misconduct lodged against Archbishop John...

1st Catholic university established in Bangladesh

The 1st Catholic university in Bangladesh has opened its doors, the AsiaNews service reports. Notre Dame University, administered by the Missionaries of the Holy Cross, has begun training 283...

Released Wednesday, Dec. 10

USCCB: new federal LGBT regulations advance ‘false ideology,’ pose ‘serious threat’ to religious freedom

Implementing an executive order issued by President Barack Obama, the US Department of Labor has issued new regulations forbidding federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating “against...

CDF prefect: Pope Benedict XVI is the ‘Mozart of theology’

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, paid tribute to Pope Benedict XVI in awarding the Ratzinger Prize in theology to Anne-Marie Pelletier,...

2 million Iraqis have been displaced by Islamic State

Two million of Iraq’s 36 million people have fled their homes in the wake of the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, according to a report in The Guardian. Half of the refugees...

Holy Land bishops: save Cremisan Valley from Israeli security wall

The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land appealed to the international community to take action to prevent Israel from extending its Israeli West Bank barrier into the largely Christian...

Fired employee files federal discrimination complaint against Chicago parish

A Chicago parish’s former music director, who was fired after he announced his same-sex wedding plans on Facebook, has filed federal and local discrimination complaints with the Equal Employment...

UK: Church, police officials join in conference on human trafficking

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster joined leading British criminal justice officials for a conference on combating human trafficking. Between 10,000 and 13,000 persons in the United Kingdom...

In peace message, Pope calls for worldwide effort to end slavery

The Holy See Press Office has released the full text of Pope Francis’s message for the World Day of Peace, which takes place annually on January 1. In the message, entitled “No Longer Slaves, but...

Opening weekly series on family, Pope speaks of open debate at Synod

At his public audience on December 10, Pope Francis began a new series of weekly talks on the subject of the family, in preparation for the October 2015 meeting of the Synod of Bishops, which is...

US bishops' representative condemns use of torture in interrogations

Responding to revelations about interrogation techniques used by the US in the war on terror, the chairman of the US bishops’ committee on justice and peace said that the uses of torture “violated...

Jesuits to meet, select new leader in October 2016

The Society of Jesus will hold a general congregation to elect a new leader beginning on October 2, 2016. Father Adolfo Nicolas, the current superior general of the Jesuit order, had announced in...

Chicago's mayor, city council honor Cardinal George

Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel presented retired Cardinal Francis George with the Chicago Medal of Merit, the city’s highest honor, at a meeting of the city council on December 10. Cardinal George...

English bishops threatens libel action against lay critic

A bishop in England threatened to sue a layman who charged that the bishop did not read his own mail. The threat prompted an apology from the bishop’s critic. Philip Bannister had written an open...

Released Thursday, Dec. 11

Vatican newspaper lauds new Nobel laureates

In a brief front-page article, L’Osservatore Romano welcomed the selection of Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India as winners of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Describing the...

USCCB awards $2.9M to projects in Eastern Europe

The Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has awarded nearly $2.9 million to fund 79 pastoral projects in formerly...

Report: 4,000 Indian Christians to reconvert to Hinduism

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a large Hindu nationalist organization in India, has announced that 4,000 Christians and 1,000 Muslims will reconvert to Hinduism on Christmas Day, according to a...

Report: Islamic State beheads 4 children who refused to convert to Islam

An Anglican cleric popularly known as the “vicar of Baghdad” said that forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant beheaded four children who refused to convert to Islam. According to a...

Papal letter on World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia

Pope Francis has written a letter to Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, on the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. “The mission of...

Papal message on climate change

Pope Francis has written a message to Manuel Pulga Vidal, Peru’s environment minister, on the occasion of an international climate change conference in Lima. “The time to find global solutions is...

Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February

Pope Francis has called a consistory for February 2015, at which he will elevate new members to the College of Cardinals. The consistory will be held on February 14 and 15. The names of the new...

Vatican reform plans shift into high gear in February

February 2015 will be a busy month for the leadership of the Roman Curia, marked by a meeting of the Council of Cardinals, the first full meeting of a new pontifical commission on child abuse, a...

Dalai Lama hints Chinese influence thwarted meeting with Pontiff

The Dalai Lama has hinted that he did not meet with Pope Francis during a trip to Rome this week because Vatican officials feared that a meeting would upset Chinese government officials. The...

Broad worldwide public approval for Pope Francis

Pope Francis enjoys great popularity all around the world, but especially in Catholic countries, a new survey by the Pew Research Center shows. The Pew study finds a median of 60% favorable...

New disciplinary action looming for Father Pavone?

Father Frank Pavone, the founder of Priests for Life (PFL), once again faces possible disciplinary action because of his refusal to allow episcopal oversight of his organization’s finances. New...

Released Friday, Dec. 12

Pope Francis: evangelize Europe’s youth

Pope Francis called upon participants in the 4th European Congress on Youth Pastoral Ministry “not to ever tire of proclaiming the Gospel, with your life and word.” “Youth ministry is called to...

Cardinal Marx: Pope’s Strasbourg speech was a ‘jolt to the Church’

In a front-page L’Osservatore Romano article, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich described Pope Francis’s recent speech to the European Parliament as a “message of hope and encouragement for all...

Ukrainian, Australian leaders pray at cathedral

Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia and President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine visited Melbourne’s Ukrainian Catholic cathedral and prayed for the victims of a Malaysia Airlines flight that was...

Maronite priest: Western bombing of Islamic State could worsen situation

The general secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches warned against the bombing of the Islamic State by Western forces could worsen the situation. Father Michel Jalakh, a Maronite...

Australia: Church report suggests celibacy discipline may be factor in clerical abuse

The Truth, Justice and Healing Council, which is coordinating the response of the Church in Australia to a government investigation into the sexual abuse of minors, stated in a new report that...

‘Put an end to the fossil fuel era,’ say bishops at climate conference

A group of bishops attending an international climate-change conference in Peru called upon the international community “to keep the global temperature increase below 1.5 degree Celsius, relative to...

New secretary of Pontifical Biblical Commission

Pope Francis has named an Italian Jesuit as the new secretary of Pontifical Biblical Commission. Father Pietro Bovati, 64, is a professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute and was first...

Council of Cardinals concludes session; no decisions yet on reform of Roman Curia

The Council of Cardinals completed its 7th meeting on December 11 without reaching any final decision on the restructuring of the Roman Curia. Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the...

Papal encouragement for Syriac Church, serving endangered Christians in Iraq and Syria

At a December 12 meeting with the bishops of the Syriac Catholic Church, Pope Francis sent a message of support to the Christians “who are living through a time of great suffering and fear” in Syria...

Papal greetings for Rome summit of Nobel laureates

Pope Francis has sent a message of greetings to the Nobel Prize laureates who have gathered in Rome this week. The papal message—conveyed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State, lauds...

Kenyan Christian leaders appeal for Islamic community efforts to stop terror attacks

Christian leaders in Kenya have called upon their Muslim counterparts to take action to discourage terrorist attacks by Al Shabaab, the Fides news service reports. Pointing to more than 20...

Released Monday, Dec. 15

Guadalupe apparition was like a ‘new visitation,’ says Pope

On December 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pope Francis celebrated a Spanish-language Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica and compared the 16th-century Marian apparition to her visitation to St....

Papal preacher devotes 2nd Advent sermon to ‘peace as a duty’

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the Capuchin Franciscan friar who has served as preacher to the papal household since 1980, reflected on “peace as a duty” in his December 12 Advent sermon to the Pope...

1st meeting between Pope, Salvation Army leader

For the first time, a Pope has met with the leader of the Salvation Army, the Protestant group founded by William Booth in 1865. “Catholics and Salvationists, together with other Christians,...

Pope encourages works of mercy for the poor

Pope Francis met with members of two French charitable organizations on December 13 and encouraged them in their work of assisting the homeless. “Your founder, Gabriel Rosset, had heard the cry...

Learn from the example of St. Lucy, Pope tells the visually impaired

In a December 13 audience, Pope Francis called upon members of a non-denominational Italian blind persons’ association to learn from the example of St. Lucy, the patron saint of the visually...

Italian prime minister meets with Pope

Pope Francis met with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on December 13. The Pontiff and the 39-year-old leader, who has been in office since February, discussed “the current context of...

Pope preaches homily on joy, speaks about babies crying in church

Pope Francis visited the suburban Roman parish of San Giuseppe all’Aurelio on December 14 and celebrated an evening Mass after meeting with parish groups. “The Church is with you, she welcomes...

Closeness to God brings joy, Pope says in Angelus address

Pope Francis devoted his Gaudete Sunday Angelus address to the theme of joy. “The heart of man desires joy,” he said. “All of us aspire to joy. Every family, every people aspires to happiness....

US Sec, Kerry, Cardinal Parolin speak about Middle East, Guantanamo inmates

John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, met on December 15 with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, his Vatican counterpart, for a discussion that centered on the Middle East. During the conversation, the...

Vatican representative says she faced resistance in probe of US women's religious orders

Mother Mary Clare Millea, who was appointed by the Vatican to conduct an apostolic visitation of women’s religious orders in the US, has acknowledged that she faced lively resistance to her...

Chaldean Patriarch asks pre-Christmas fast for Iraqi Christian refugees

The Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church has asked his people to undertake a pre-Christmas fast for the needs of Christian refugees in Iraq. Patriarch Raphael Louis Sako suggested fasting...

Al Azhar rejects jihadist claim that other Muslims are 'infidels'

Terrorists should be condemned, but not labelled as “infidels,” Egypt’s Al Azhar University has proclaimed. Al Azhar, the most influential institution in the world of Sunni Islam, hosted a...

Avoid 'sins of the media,' Pope urges Italian TV personnel

Catholics in the media should have the “courage to speak directly, telling the turth and working to “preserve it from all that distors and twists it for other purposes.” That was the message of Pope...

British agency says Catholic school could foster extremism; Church official protest

Church officials in Britain are protesting a decision by the government’s assessment agency to downgrade a Catholic school for failing to promote “British values.” Ofsted—the Office for Standards...

Inaccurate prenatal tests prompt more abortions, study shows

Prenatal screening for fetal abnormalities is prompting many women to abortion their children, even though the test results are unreliable, the Boston Globe reports. The New England Center for...

Released Tuesday, Dec. 16

Pope laments rigidity, praises Pius XII for mitigating Eucharistic fast

In his December 15 homily at Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis decried the rigidity and lack of principle of the chief priests in the day’s Gospel reading (Mt. 21:23-27) and praised Venerable Pius...

Heightened security at Nigerian churches

Churches in Nigeria have heightened their security in response to the continued terrorist activity of the Islamist militant organization Boko Haram. In Kano, a city of 2.1 million in northern...

Catholic group laments ‘weak’ results of Lima climate conference

Stating that the world is now poised for “4-degree warming,” an alliance of 17 Catholic development agencies strongly criticized the “weak” results of a major climate conference in Lima. A...

Pope receives leader of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Pope Francis received Dragan Covic, the Croat member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the Apostolic Palace on December 15. Covic also met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s...

Ukrainian Catholic leader: the Pope is on Ukraine’s side

At a recent prayer vigil, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), an Eastern-rite church in full communion with the Holy See, said that “the Pope is on the side of Ukraine and its...

Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment

Expressing “profound gratitude” for the “dedicated and selfless service of women religious,” the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life has issued its...

Indian archbishop worried by rumors about Christmas school days, mass conversions

Archbishop Anil J. T. Couto of Delhi has voiced concern over reports that schools will be open on Christmas Day. The archbishop decried reports that Hindu militants plan a ceremony for the...

Critic protests renovations at Chartres cathedral

Writing in the New York Review of Books, Martin Filler laments a renovation project already underway in the cathedral of Chartres, in which the interior walls are being painted in “bright whites and...

Would-be assassin wants to visit tomb of St. John Paul II

Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who shot and wounded St. John Paul II in 1981, now says that he wants to visit the grave of the late Pontiff. Agca, who spent 19 years in Italian prisons...

Olympic competition on Vatican grounds?

Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins has suggested some Olympic events could be held at the Vatican if Rome wins a bid to host the Olympic Games in 2024. The Portuguese cardinal, who is now retired,...

Catholic relief agency in Jordan strains to help Iraqi Christian refugees

The Catholic relief agency Caritas Jordan has warned that it will soon run out of supplies to serve 7,000 Christian refugees from Iraq, the Fides news agency reports. Wael Suleiman, the director...

German bishops ready to change policy, allow divorced/remarried and homosexual employees

The Catholic bishops of Germany will soon approve a change in policy allowing people in irregular marital arrangements to work for Church agencies, reports Edward Pentin in the National Catholic...

Released Wednesday, Dec. 17

USCCB: bishop rues opening of immigrant detention center

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration decried the opening of a family detention center-- the largest of its kind-- for those who have entered the...

Pakistan: 59 in custody for horrific murder of Christian couple

Six weeks after a Pakistani Christian husband and wife were detained by a mob for two days, had their legs broken, and were burned to death in a brick kiln, 59 people are in custody and 79 are at...

‘Christmas in an Iraqi refugee camp’

The Daily Mail has published a photographic overview of life in an Iraqi refugee camp. The camp’s Christian inhabitants fled the advance of the Islamic State, and the overview includes several...

Cardinal Schönborn laments Russian aggression in Ukraine

Returning from a visit to Ukraine, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna decried the Soviet-induced Ukrainian famine of the 1930s and lamented current Russian actions. “Stalin created this...

Russian patriarch: Islamic State ‘demonizes’ Islam

During a recent meeting in Moscow with Turkey’s leading Muslim cleric, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church made comments about the Islamic State and the persecution of Christians. “I cannot...

Spanish diocese criticized for not publicizing cathedral’s Islamic past

Stating that tourism is being harmed, the government of the southern Spanish region of Andalusia has criticized the Diocese of Córdoba for not doing more to highlight the Islamic past of its...

Pope Francis names members of Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors

Nearly nine months after he instituted the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and named eight members, Pope Francis has named nine new members to the commission, thus completing its...

Pope speaks on family, prays for victims of terrorism

Pope Francis devoted his December 17 general audience to the family. According to the Vatican Radio synopsis of the audience, the Pontiff called the family a “great gift of the Lord to the world,...

Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties

Pope Francis played a key role in mediating talks between the US and Cuba, resulting in an exchange of prisoners and opening the way for the first direct talks between the neighboring countries in...

Pope celebrates 78th birthday

Pope Francis celebrated his 78th birthday on December 17 with a cake, a cup of the traditional Argentine maté tea, and impromptu tango dancing by couples in St. Peter’s Square. During his regular...

Church of England appoints first female bishop

Rev. Libby Lane has been chosen to become the first female bishop of the Church of England. Rev. Lane, who is currently a vicar in the Chester diocese, will become the Bishop of Stockport. Her...

Top UK court denies 'conscience clause' protection to pro-life midwives

The highest court in the United Kingdom has ruled against two midwives who refused to cooperate in abortions. Overruling the decision of an appeals court in Edinburgh, the Supreme Court ruled...

Released Thursday, Dec. 18

Diplomacy consists of ‘small steps,’ says Pope

Pope Francis received 13 new ambassadors to the Holy See and said in brief remarks that diplomacy consists of “small steps” that “sow brotherhood among peoples.” Referring to developments in...

USCCB: prelate welcomes policy change toward Cuba

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a statement welcoming the change in US policy toward Cuba as well as the release of an American imprisoned in Cuba for five years. “Our...

Italian bishops issue guidelines to prevent theft of religious art

Following the nighttime theft of a Guercino painting from a church in Modena, the Italian bishops’ conference, joined by Italy’s culture ministry and national military police, has issued guidelines...

Do not give up on ecumenical dialogue, Pope tells German Lutherans

Pope Francis received a delegation from the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany and the ecumenical commission of the nation’s Catholic episcopal conference on December 18 and called on...

Jerusalem patriarch issues Christmas message

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem issued his annual Christmas message on December 18 and reflected on the ways in which 2014 was both “the best of times” and “the worst of times.” Among the...

Leading Pakistani bishop: the Taliban ‘will stop at nothing now’

The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan condemned the Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar and said that the attack showed the Islamic fundamentalist movement “will stop at...

USCCB president meets with President Obama, VP Biden

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, met with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House on December...

Pope distributes sleeping bags to Rome's homeless

Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, supervised the distribution of hundreds of sleeping bags to the homeless of Rome, as a gift from Pope Francis, on December 18. Swiss Guards drove a...

Ancient Iraqi monastery now serving as ISIS prison

The Islamic State has transformed the historic monastery of St. George into a prison, the Fides news service reports. About 150 prisoners of the Islamic State have been moved into the monastery....

Unfertilized ovum is not human embryo, European court rules in stem-cell case

The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that a corporation can patent human stem cells, provided that they are not derived from an embryo that can develop into a human being. The...

Released Friday, Dec. 19

Cuban, Miami prelates react to policy change toward Cuba

The bishops of Cuba have issued a statement welcoming the announcement of the US policy change toward Cuba. “We thank the Lord, now on the eve of Christmas, that new horizons of hope are...

Chaldean patriarch urges pre-Christmas fast, subdued Christmas celebration

Citing the “heavy cross” borne by Iraq’s Christian refugees, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church has called upon his flock to fast from December 22 to 24, according to a report from the...

Jesus is your ‘best friend,’ Pope tells children

Pope Francis met with a delegation of children from Italian Catholic Action on December 18 and told them that Jesus is their “best friend.” The Pontiff offered the young people five pieces of...

Malpractice suit brought by Spokane diocese against law firm will go to trial

A federal bankruptcy judge has cleared for a trial in a legal-malpractice case brought by Diocese of Spokane against a law firm that handled diocesan bankruptcy proceedings. The diocese has...

Mideast Christians are genocide victims, says leading Russian Orthodox official

A leading Russian Orthodox official told reporters that Christians in the Middle East are undergoing what is “effectively genocide” and that “only Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church are speaking...

Egypt: Islamic leader decries threats against Christians

Egyptian Muslim leaders have reacted strongly against online threats to the Coptic Christian community as Christmas approached, the Fides news service reports. Islamic militants have posted...

‘Sports are at home in the Church,’ says Pope

Pope Francis spoke to members of Italy’s National Olympic Committee on December 19 and said that sports “are at home in the Church.” “Sport has always favored a universalism characterized by...

Pope thanks Italian cities for Christmas tree, crèche

Pope Francis received delegations from the Italian cities of Verona and Catanzaro in the Apostolic Palace on December 19 and thanked them for the gift of the Christmas tree and crèche in St. Peter’s...

Worldwide Franciscan order in 'grave' financial distress

The worldwide leader of the Franciscans has revealed that the religious order is in “grave” financial difficulties, and that Italian civil officials have been asked to investigate irregularities in...

Syrian archbishop speaks of hope, joy amid suffering, in Christmas message

Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo, Syria, has issued a Christmas message encouraging his people to celebrate the feast joyfully despite their troubles. “The greatest tribulations, war...

Calligraphers protest Vatican decision to print all papal blessing in-house

Calligraphers and shopkeepers catering to pilgrims and tourists in Rome are protesting the Vatican's announcement that beginning January 1, all papal blessings will be printed and distributed...

Vatican Christmas tree features new LED lights

The Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square was illuminated on Friday, December 19, in a brief ceremony led by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, the president of the Vatican city-state governorate. The...

Released Monday, Dec. 22

Papal preacher devotes final Advent sermon to peace as fruit of the Spirit

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the Capuchin Franciscan friar who has served as preacher to the papal household since 1980, reflected on “peace, fruit of the Spirit” in his December 19 Advent sermon to...

Vatican newspaper rues European court decision on stem cells

The Vatican newspaper has published a front-page article lamenting the European Court of Justice’s recent decision on stem cells. The court, which ruled in 2011 that companies could not patent...

New camerlengo named for Holy Roman Church

Pope Francis has named Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran the new camerlengo (chamberlain) of the Holy Roman Church. Cardinal Tauran, 71, retains his post as president of the Pontifical Council for...

Future Pope Francis wrote book on Cuba

Pope Francis, who helped broker a diplomatic opening between the United States and Cuba, wrote a book on Cuba in 1998, the year he became archbishop of Buenos Aires. In his 144-page Dialogos...

‘Distance from God’ is the ‘most dangerous poverty,’ says Pope

Pope Francis received 8,000 members of the Pope John XXIII Community on December 20 and said the “distance from God” is the “most dangerous poverty, the cause of all the others.” This form of...

As emigration continues, Baghdad’s Christian population falls

Fearing the Islamic State and hoping for better economic prospects, numerous Christians are leaving Baghdad and emigrating to Western and other Middle Eastern nations. In the past year,...

Pope Francis: imitate Mary, do not let God pass by

In his December 21 Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected upon the Annunciation, the subject of the Gospel reading of the day’s Mass (Lk. 1:26-38). “We take in two essential aspects of her...

Pope identifies 15 spiritual ‘sicknesses’ of the Curia

In his annual year-end address to the Roman Curia, Pope Francis reflected on the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ and said that the Curia is a microcosm of that Body. Without daily prayer,...

Congregation for Divine Worship writes document on homilies

On December 20, L’Osservatore Romano published a decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments announcing the publication of a homiletic directory. The decree was...

Archbishop saves Muslim child from knife-wielding attacker in Central African Republic

A Catholic archbishop in the Central African Republic personally intervened to stop a man from killing a Muslim child, Voice of America reports. Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga, who was visiting...

See Christmas as a time to examine consciences, Pope suggests to Vatican employees

Meeting on December 22 with Vatican employees, Pope Francis urged them to make a “fruitful examination of conscience in preparation for Holy Christmas and the New Year.” The Pope began the...

Polish prosecutor halts case against former papal nuncio

A Polish prosecutor has decided not to pursue a criminal case against Jozef Wesolowski, the laicized archbishop and former papal nuncio who now faces trial before a Vatican tribunal on sex-abuse...

Cardinal Marx: German bishops favor allowing Communion for divorced/remarried

The president of the German bishops' conference has said that the bishops favor allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to share in the Eucharist. Cardinal Reinhard Marx said that most bishops...

Jerusalem Patriarch: children in Gaza would be happy to sleep in a cave

On a pastoral visit to Gaza, the Latin-rite Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem observed on December 21 that many children in Gaza would think it a luxury to sleep in a cave like the one in which Jesus...

Missing Jesuit priest being held as prisoner by Islamic State?

The Itailan foreign ministry has said that it cannot confirm a report that Father Paolo Dall’Oglio is now a prisoner of the Islamic State—the latest in a long series of rumors about the status of...

A new federal test for discerning religious identity at Catholic universities

The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS), a Virginia-based group that works to protect Catholic identity in Catholic colleges and universities, has warmly welcomed a decision by the National Labor...

Released Tuesday, Dec. 23

Pope Francis sends ‘paternal embrace’ to Middle East’s Christians

Stating that “your witness means much to me,” Pope Francis has written a letter to the Christians of the Middle East, “to encourage you and to let you know how precious your presence and your...

Boko Haram massacres ‘infidel’ civilians

Members of the militant Islamist movement Boko Haram have released a video showing civilians being massacred in Bama, a city of 270,000 in Borno State, Nigeria. “We have made sure the floor of...

Italian cardinal: removal of Nativity scenes is ‘cultural myopia’

The president of the Italian Episcopal Conference told reporters that the removal of Nativity scenes from schools and public places in Italy is an act of “cultural myopia.” The removal of...

Iraqi Patriach encourages Pope to visit

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako has urged Pope Francis to visit Iraq, saying that the Pontiff would be safe in the troubled country. "I can give an assurance that nothing would...

Prelates lament murder of New York police officers

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn lamented the murder of two New York Police Department officers in Brooklyn. “We mourn the brutal and irrational...

Russian fighters in Ukraine see struggle as Orthodox ‘holy war’

Some Russian fighters who are waging war against Ukrainian government forces in eastern Ukraine see their struggle as part of a “holy war” on behalf of Russian Orthodoxy. Referring to the city of...

Row erupts in India’s parliament over Hindu conversions

Hindu groups allied with the India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party have conducted several recent ceremonies in which groups of Christians and Muslims have converted to Hinduism. The Associated...

Only 46% of US children now living with their married parents

A minority of children in the US today are living with their married parents, a new study by the Pew Research Center has found. In 1960, 73% of American children under the age of 18 were living...

Vatican veteran on Pope's address: 'nothing like this has ever happened before'

The former president of the Vatican city-state governorate said that the December 22 address by Pope Francis to the Roman Curia was an unprecedented attempt to spur reform at the Vatican. “To be...

Priests facing dangers in Mexico

For Catholic priests, Mexico is the most dangerous country in Latin America, the Fides news service reports. A study by the Catholic Multimedia Center recorded 47 attacks on Catholic priests in...

Newark archdiocese in battle with gravestone makers, funeral directors

In New Jersey, small businesses that produce headstones and operate funeral homes are locked in a political battle with the Archdiocese of Newark. A bill pending in the state legislature would...

Contraception is betrayal, says Turkey's president

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced the use of contraception as a betrayal of the country's future. Speaking at a wedding ceremony, Erdogan said that parents who use birth...

Released Wednesday, Dec. 24

Syria: Christian militia opposes government, Islamic State

USA Today has published a profile of Sutoro, a Christian militia of 1,000 in northeastern Syria that opposes both the Assad regime and the Islamic State. “People don't consider Christians as part...

Tunnel may be built under Manger Square

To help ease automobile traffic problems in Bethlehem, a tunnel may be constructed under Manger Square. The Scotsman reported that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural...

Report: priests tortured in eastern Ukraine

Rebels in Donetsk, a city of 975,000 that has been a center of separatist activity in eastern Ukraine, have occupied 11 out of the 67 parishes of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, according to...

Holy See calls for action on climate change

At a recent United Nations conference devoted to climate change, the Holy See’s representative said that “the critical problem of global warming is inextricably bound to the search for authentic...

Vatican cardinal travels to Ebola region

Expressing the Church’s solidarity with victims Ebola virus disease, Cardinal Peter Turkson, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, traveled to Liberia and Sierra Leone from...

Pope Francis's homily at Christmas Mass: full text, link to video

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined" (Is 9:1). "An angel of the Lord appeared to (the shepherds) and...

Released Thursday, Dec. 25

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

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Christmas! Jesus, the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, is born for us, born in Bethlehem of a Virgin, fulfilling the ancient prophecies. The Virgin’s...

Released Friday, Dec. 26

Indiana diocese ordered to pay $1.95M in IVF-dismissal case

Following over 51 hours of jury deliberation, a federal district court has ordered the Diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend to pay a former Catholic school teacher $1.95 million in damages. The...

China: crosses torn down from 400 churches

In recent months, Communist officials have removed crosses from over 400 churches in the east-central Chinese province of Zhejiang, the Associated Press reported. “They keep a very close watch on...

Myanmar: Church emerging from decades of repression

Civilian rule in Myanmar (Burma) has allowed the Church to emerge from the shadows, according to an Agence France-Presse report. The year 2014 saw the first beatification of a Burmese martyr and...

Pope calls refugees in Iraq, sends special Christmas greetings to Korea

On Christmas Eve, Pope Francis sent a video message to Catholics in Korea. The Pontiff, who visited South Korea in August, said, “I pray the Lord that the light, shining on the world from the...

St. Stephen removes ‘false saccharine sweetness’ from Christmas, says Pope

In his St. Stephen’s Day Angelus address, Pope Francis said that the saint, by his martyrdom, “shows us how to live the fullness of the mystery of Christmas,” and that the Gospel of the day (Mt....

Topless feminist protester seizes Jesus figure from display in St. Peter's Square

A topless protester from the activist group Femen rushed into the Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square on Christmas Day and seized the figure of the baby Jesus before being detained by...

Key cardinals defend Pope's tough talk to Roman Curia

Some of the top allies of Pope Francis have defended the Pontiff’s harsh criticism of the Roman Curia, saying that the Pope has the full support of the College of Cardinals. Cardinal Sean...

Released Monday, Dec. 29

Papal condolences following death of Archbishop Pittau

Archbishop Giuseppe Pittau, a Jesuit who served as secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education from 1998 to 2003, died on December 26 at the age of 86. From 1981 to 1983, at the request...

Pope Francis calls for policies that assist large families

Expressing gratitude “for the example of love for life that you guard from conception to natural death,” Pope Francis offered praise for large families during a December 28 meeting with the Italian...

Jesus unites families and brings together different generations, says Pope

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel (Lk. 2:22-40) for the Feast of the Holy Family, Pope Francis said in his December 28 Angelus address that Jesus brings together different generations and unites...

Over 5.9 million saw Pope Francis at the Vatican in 2014

An estimated 5,916,800 people attended gatherings led by Pope Francis at the Vatican in 2014, according to the Prefecture of the Papal Household. Some 1,199,000 people attended his general...

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem’s Christmas homily

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem spoke about salvation, the family, and peace during his Christmas homily at the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem. “It is true that one can talk about...

Would-be assassin places flowers on tomb of St. John Paul II

Mehmet Ali Agca, who shot and wounded St. John Paul II in a May 1981 assassination attempt, returned to the Vatican on December 27 to place flowers on the tomb of the deceased Pontiff. In an...

Islamic State continues mass executions, destruction of churches

Officials of the Islamic State have blown up a Catholic church outside Mosul. The Church of the Virgin Mary, which had been cleared and locked last week, was destroyed by bombs. Other Christian...

Vatican releases, expels topless demonstrator

The feminist demonstrator who appeared topless and snatched the figure of the baby Jesus from the Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square on Christmas Day has been released by the Vatican, but told not...

Copts, Egyptian government plan extra security for January 7 Christmas services

Leaders of Egypt’s Coptic Church have met with government officials to plan extra security measures for the Coptic celebration of the Nativity, which will take place on January 7, the Fides news...

Belgian bishop seeks Church recognition of same-sex unions

A Belgian bishop has called for Church recognition of same-sex unions. Bishop Johan Bonny of Antwerp told the daily De Morgen that he favored “formal recognition” of homosexual and bisexual...

Released Tuesday, Dec. 30

Ancient Lebanese Christian town fears conquest by Islamist militants

The residents of Ras Baalbek, an ancient Lebanese Christian town, fear conquest by Islamist militant rebels in Syria, according to a syndicated Los Angeles Times report. “Our great fear is that...

Iraq: leading prelate’s Christmas homily

The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, called upon the world to remember the plight of Iraq’s persecuted Christians. “Thanks to...

Europe, US: destruction of Christian symbols, disruption of Mass

Recent days have witnessed the destruction of Christian symbols in Europe and the United States and the disruption of a Mass. On Christmas Day, a vandal entered a parish in Douai, France, and...

Pope Francis: the lives of those with serious illness are worth living

The Holy See Press Office has released Pope Francis’s message for the 23rd World Day of the Sick, which will take place on February 11. Entitled “Sapientia Cordis” (wisdom of the heart), the...

Priest murdered in Mexico

The body of Father Gregorio Lopez Gorostieta, a priest recently kidnapped from a seminary in Guerrero, was found on Christmas Day. Fox News Latino reported that the priest died of...

Released Wednesday, Dec. 31

Ancient Turkish monastery houses Christian refugees

National Geographic has published a profile of the churches and monastery in Midyat, Turkey, a city that was once a center of Syriac Orthodoxy but whose Christian population has now...

Pope Francis to visit Naples, pray at famed Marian shrine

Pope Francis will make an apostolic journey to Naples in March, according to a Vatican Radio report. The Pontiff’s journey will begin on March 21 with a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of...

Papal telegram for murdered Mexican priest

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has sent a papal telegram of condolence to Bishop Maximino Martínez Miranda of Ciudad Altamirano, Mexico, following the murder of a...

Papal message to Taizé youth meeting

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has sent a message on behalf of Pope Francis to the tens of thousands of young people who are gathering in Prague for a meeting sponsored...

Ukrainian Catholic leader: Christmas epistle

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the largest of the Eastern Catholic churches in full communion with the Holy See, has published the Christmas epistle of its head, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav...

Background: papal message for January 1, the World Day of Peace

On January 1, the Church commemorates the 48th World Day of Peace. Pope Francis’s message for the day is entitled “No Longer Slaves, but Brothers and Sisters.” In his message for the 1st World...

Catholic population up 15 million worldwide

The world’s Catholic population increased by 15 million in the past year, with some growth on every continent, according to new statistics from the Fides news service. The latest figures, which...

Papal visit to Ireland 'possible' for 2016

A visit to Ireland by Pope Francis is possible for 2016, but not for next year, says Archbishop Charles Brown, the papal nuncio in Dublin. The Pope has received formal invitations from Ireland’s...

26 pastoral workers killed in 2014

Vatican Radio reports that 26 Catholic priests, religious, seminarians, and lay catechists have been killed in 2014. Most of the victims (14) died in the Americas, marking the 6th consecutive...

Jordan's small Christian population struggling to help incoming refugees

In Jordan, a Christian population already drained by emigration is struggling to support a swarm of incoming refugees, both Christian and Muslim, from Syria and Iraq. Father Rifat Bader, a...

Latin Mass Society urges English bishops to 'end marginalization'

In England, the Latin Mass Society has written to bishops, asking for their help in “ending the marginalization” of the traditional liturgy. Joseph Shaw, the chairman of the Latin Mass Society,...

Focus on Catholic identity at America's Jesuit colleges, universities

Writing for The Atlantic, Autumn Jones looks at the approach taken by Jesuit-run colleges and universities in the US, especially in their approach to maintaining a distinctive Catholic identity....

Insurer denies responsibility for sex-abuse claims against Minnesota archdiocese

The CNA insurance company has told a Minnesota court that it should not be responsible for payment of sex-abuse claims against the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis. CNA argues that the...

Pope's prayer intentions for January 2015

The Vatican has announced the prayer intentions of Pope Francis for January 2015. The Pope's general intention is: “That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may...

Cardinal George ends experimental treatment; drug fails to stop cancer

Cardinal Francis George, who recently retired as Archbishop of Chicago, has stopped using an experimental cancer drug after doctors found that the treatment had been ineffective. Cardinal George...

Police report attack by woman wielding crucifix taken from vandalized creche display

Police in Haverhill, Massachusetts arrested a homeless woman on December 30, charging that she attacked a police officer with a crucifix that had been taken from a vandalized Nativity scene outside...

Abortions account for 95% of Planned Parenthood services

Abortions account for 94% of the services provided for pregnant women by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Susan B. Anthony List has remarked. Citing statistics gleaned from...

Want more news? Visit the Archives.