Action Alert!

Stories for March 2015

Released Monday, Mar. 2

Papal praise for cooperatives

Lamenting the centrality of the “god of money” and quoting Popes Leo XIII and Benedict XVI, Pope Francis lauded cooperative enterprises, called for investment in them, and offered suggestions for...

Pope reflects on Christ’s transfiguration

Pope Francis devoted his March 1 Angelus address to Christ’s transfiguration, the subject of the day’s Gospel reading at Mass. The goal of the Lenten journey of conversion, the Pope said, is...

Pope Francis: pray for persecuted Christians of Syria and Iraq

At the conclusion of his March 1 Angelus address, Pope Francis renewed his call for prayers for Christians and others persecuted in Syria and Iraq. “We want to assure those involved in these...

Papal preacher begins Lenten sermons

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher to the papal household since 1980, devoted his first weekly Lenten sermon to Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. Father...

USCCB urges President Obama, Congress to do more to assist persecuted Christians

The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, joined by the chairman of its Committee on International Justice and Peace, called upon President Obama and congressional leaders...

Cardinal Burke: be devoted to the liturgy, study the Catechism

In an interview with the Rorate Caeli blog, Cardinal Raymond Burke called for devotion to the sacred liturgy and the study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the midst of confusing...

Vatican press conference on new Church network for the Amazon

Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, held a press conference on March 2 to highlight the work of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM). Formed...

Pope's prayer intentions for March 2015

The Vatican has announced the prayer intentions of Pope Francis for March 2015. The Pope's universal intention is: “That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole...

Secretariat for Economy rebuts charges of excess spending, says costs are below budget

Responding to allegations of excessive spending, the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy has issued a statement saying that its operating expenses have been “below the budget set when the office...

Islamic State releases some captives in Syria

The Islamic State has released 19 of the more than 200 Syrian Christians who were captured during an offensive last week, after the payment of a large ransom. Estimates of the number of hostages...

Study finds maternal health statistics best where abortion is restricted

A study in the British Medical Journal has found that maternal health statistics are best in jurisdictions with stricter laws regulating abortion. Contradicting an argument that has been made...

Keep hope alive, Pope encourages bishops of north African nations

Pope Francis assured a group of bishops from northern Africa that they have the full support of the universal Church, during a meeting on March 2. The Pope met with members of the Regional...

Released Tuesday, Mar. 3

Update on dialogue between Vatican, evangelicals

L’Osservatore Romano has published an update on the ecumenical dialogue between the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the World Evangelical Alliance. The dialogue is focusing...

Venezuelan cardinal: ‘stop murderous violence’

Following the shooting of a 14-year-old boy by police, Cardinal Jorge Uroso of Caracas has called upon security forces to “stop murderous violence.” The prelate called upon the government of...

Ukrainian president thanks leading prelate for support of nation

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church met with President Petro Poroshenko on February 28, according to the Religious Information Service of Ukraine. Poroshenko thanked Major Archbishop...

Russian foreign minister condemns rising anti-Christianity in the West

Speaking in Geneva, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov lamented growing pressures on Christians in the West. “I can't leave out problems which Christians have been experiencing in many...

Vatican newspaper: negative review of new film on Pius XII and the Jews

Five weeks after it publicized a new film on Venerable Pius XII’s actions during the Holocaust, L’Osservatore Romano has published a brief negative review of the film’s artistic quality. Stating...

French hierarchy deplores persecution of Christians

Stating that “no persecution can be committed in the name of God,” the Bishops’ Conference of France has issued a statement decrying the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. “We wish to...

Nigerian bishops issue statement on family life

Decrying threats to family life and the terrorism of Boko Haram, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria has issued a statement entitled “Good Families Make Good Nations.” “In a contemporary...

Pope backs Secretariat for Economy in bid for Vatican reform

Pope Francis has approved the statutes of the Secretariat for the Economy, giving an important victory to Cardinal George Pell in his quest for transparency and accountability in Vatican financial...

US bishops' relief agency involved with condom distribution in Kenya, report charges

Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the official overseas charitable agency of the US bishops, has been promoting contraceptive use in a program in Kenya. The Population Research Institute, in...

Vatican security head: no immediate threat of attack by Islamic State

The Vatican’s top security officer has said that although the Islamic State has threatened to attack the Vatican, there are no reports of any planned attack. “The threat exists,” said Domenico...

US bishops' conference spokesmen urge Congress not to cut spending on welfare, relief programs

Two spokesmen for the US bishops' conference have joined in a message to Congress, urging lawmakers to preserve funding for federal programs serving the poor. Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami...

Wisconsin diocese raising funds to handle spike in number of seminarians

The Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, has launched a fundraising campaign to cope with a welcome problem: a huge increase in the number of young men preparing for the priesthood. The diocese has...

Coptic Patriarch meets with families of Libyan martyrs

Pope Tawadros II, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, met on March 3 with families of the 21 Christians who were beheaded by the Islamic State in Libya. The Coptic prelate has announced that...

Schedule released for papal trip to Naples, Pompeii

Pope Francis will make a one-day trip to Pompeii and Naples on Saturday, March 21, the Vatican has announced. The Pope will travel by helicopter from the Vatican to Pompeii early in the morning....

Released Wednesday, Mar. 4

Social media can be a ‘vanity fair,’ says Russian patriarch

In remarks made after a recent Lenten liturgy, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church criticized the vanity manifested in discussions on social media networks. “Every person has a chance to say...

The Eucharist ensures Christ is the center of unity, Pope emphasizes

In a March 4 address to bishops who are friends of Focolare, Pope Francis thanked the movement for anchoring its promotion of unity in the Eucharist. The Eucharist, said the Pope, ensures that...

Report: Islamic State releases more Syrian Christian hostages

Following the recent release of 19 Syrian Christian captives, the Islamic State has released four more hostages, including a six-year-old girl, according to the Assyrian International News...

Cardinal Parolin to visit Belarus

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, will visit Belarus from March 12 to 15, according to a report from the Belarusian Telegraph Agency. In sending Cardinal Parolin to visit...

Cardinal calls for negotiations in Burma

Myanmar’s first cardinal has called for dialogue between the nation’s army and rebel groups, including the Kachin Independence Army. Addressing 50,000 pilgrims at a Marian shrine, Cardinal...

Philippine bishops call for land reform

81 Philippine bishops have signed a statement calling for the passage of two bills that would extend 1988 agrarian-reform legislation. An estimated 50,000 farmers stand to become landowners if...

Pope Francis: do not discard the elderly

Pope Francis devoted his March 4 general audience to the elderly and obligations toward them. “Where the elderly are not honored, there is no future for the young,” he said. Citing Pope...

Cardinal Nichols weighs in on immigration

In an interview with BBC, Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster discussed immigration and the UK general election, which will take place on May 7. “I think every party has to be tested on its...

Syrian rebels reject truce offer; bishop blames Western suppliers

After Syrian rebels fighting to oust the Assad regime rejected a UN proposal for a humanitarian truce, Bishop Georges Abou Khazen of Aleppo told the Fides news service that the country’s bloody...

Annual Mass celebrates peace on Chile-Argentina border

More than 2,000 Catholics from Chile and Argentina gathered on the border between their countries on March 1, to attend a Mass in thanksgiving for the peace between their nations, the Fides news...

Parents of St. Therese of Lisieux will be canonized in October

Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, will be canonized in October. Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, announced...

Smart-phone app facilitates adultery, Peruvian cardinal fears

A Peruvian cardinal has charged that a popular smart-phone application is encouraging adultery. “Concerning mobile phones, how many people become unfaithful and how many families are broken by...

Cardinal Dolan: Islamic State is perversion of Islam, as IRA was perversion of Catholicism

The Islamic State represents “a particularly perverted form of Islam,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York has said. “These are not pure, these are not real Muslims,” the cardinal said in an...

Released Thursday, Mar. 5

Report: interview with released Syrian Christian hostage

A Syrian Christian kidnapped from his village by the Islamic State and released nearly a week later said that he was treated well but constantly pressured to convert to Islam. “We said we would...

Russian Orthodox official: number of abortions has plunged since fall of Communism

Alexey Komov, an official of the Family Commission of the Russian Orthodox Church, has told an Italian news agency that progress has been made in defending human life, marriage, and the family in...

German bishops condemn Russian actions in Ukraine

The German Bishops’ Conference recently issued a statement renewing its condemnation of the “the illegal annexation of the Crimea by Russia and the continued military engagement of the Russian...

French atheist angry he was subject to German tax that funds Church

A French atheist who was baptized a Catholic and recently moved to Berlin has expressed outrage that the German government classified him as a Catholic for tax purposes, leading to the imposition of...

Court backs Iowa diocese in discrimination lawsuit

A federal court has granted a legal victory to the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa, after the former CFO of the city’s Catholic school system contended he lost his job because of religious...

US Catholic weeklies unite in joint editorial call to end capital punishment

Four American Catholic publications, with widely diverging editorial perspectives, have joined in a call for abolition of the death penalty in the US. The editors of the National Catholic...

Pope repeats: do not abandon the elderly

“Abandonment is the most serious 'malady' to afflict the elderly, and also the greatest injustice they can suffer,” Pope Francis said in a March 5 message to the Pontifical Academy for...

Encyclical on ecology will appear this year, 'a critical year for humanity,' Vatican cardinal says

A forthcoming papal encyclical on the environment will be published during “a critical year for humanity,” the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace told an Irish...

Vatican spokesman denies threat to sue blogger

A Vatican spokesman has denied that he threatened to sue a Canadian blogger for defamatory statements. Father Thomas Rosica, a Canadian television personality who works with the Vatican press...

Pope enjoys broad popularity in US, poll shows

Pope Francis enjoys broad popularity in the US, a new public-opinion survey shows. The Pew Research Center, in February poll, found that 70% of the American public views the Pope favorably. Among...

Palestinian Authority seeks Vatican action to stop attacks on Christians, Jews in Jerusalem

The Palestinian Authority has urged the Vatican and the UN to take action to curb attacks on Christians and Muslims by militant Jews in Jerusalem. The Palestinian foreign ministry issued a...

Slovenian lawmakers approve same-sex marriage

Slovenia’s parliament has amended the country’s law on marriage, allowing for legal recognition of same-sex unions. The new law, approved by a vote of 51 to 28, redefines marriage to allow for...

Cardinal Edward Egan, retired Archbishop of New York, dead at 82

Cardinal Edward Egan, the retired Archbishop of New York, has died at the age of 82. His death was attributed to cardiac arrest. A native of Illinois, Edward Egan was ordained as a priest of the...

Chicago nuns, reportedly left without heat, have rich real-estate holdings

A small community of nuns, which raised over $200,000 in donations after reports that their convent was without heat, has been exposed as a schismatic group with millions of dollars in financial...

Council of Europe directs France to legislate against spanking

The Council of Europe has announced that France must enact new legislation against spanking. The Council said that French law, which affirms the right of parents to discipline their children is...

San Francisco city officials, most Catholic-school teachers, challenge archbishop's policy

San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone faces mounting opposition to his plan to ensure that Catholic-school teachers uphold the principles of the faith. Four-fifths of the teachers in...

Christians being crowded out of health-care fields, editor warns

Catholic doctors are being squeezed out of the fields of obstetrics and gynecology, the editor of a Christian law review has warned. John Duddington, the editor of Law and Justice, reports that...

Cardinal Marx questions 'the new evangelization'

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich—the president of the German bishops’ conference, and a member of the Council of Cardinals—has expressed misgivings about the term “the new evangelization.” In an...

Released Friday, Mar. 6

Leading Anglican prelate emphasizes evangelization

Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, the worldwide leader of the Anglican communion, emphasized the centrality of evangelization in a March 5 lecture citing a wide range of Christian figures...

Protestant evangelists beaten by police in India

Twenty Protestant evangelists were detained and beaten by police in Jaipur, a city of 3.1 million in northwestern India. Following an intervention by a human rights group, police told the...

Archbishop criticizes Xavier’s selection of honorary degree recipients

Archbishop Gregory Aymond has expressed disappointment at Xavier University of Louisiana’s selection of honorary degree recipients, among whom are outgoing US Attorney General Eric Holder and former...

Japan’s bishops recall 70th anniversary of end of WWII

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan has issued a statement on the 70th anniversary of the conclusion of World War II. Concerned about recent attempts “to rewrite the history of that time,...

Holy See, Italy in talks on tax evasion

Speaking on Italian efforts to combat tax evasion, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said that he hoped to “recover a little bit of money also from the Vatican”—prompting a statement from the director of...

Holy See diplomat renews call for end to capital punishment

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s leading diplomat at UN offices in Geneva, called for the international abolition of the death penalty during a meeting of the UN Human Rights...

Papal telegram following Cardinal Egan’s death

Pope Francis has sent a telegram of condolence to Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York following the death of Cardinal Edward Egan. “Commending the late cardinal’s noble soul to God, the Father of...

Italian bishop to write meditations for Pope’s Way of the Cross on Good Friday

Pope Francis has chosen a retired Italian bishop to write the meditations that will be read during the Way of the Cross on Good Friday at the Colosseum in Rome. Bishop Renato Corti, 79, served as...

Montana diocese reaches agreement with victims in bankruptcy case

A federal bankruptcy court has approved a compensation plan in which the Diocese of Helena, Montana, agrees to pay $21 million to 380 sex-abuse victims. The plan, which was approved...

Azerbaijan's president meets with Pontiff

Pope Francis met on March 6 with President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan. A brief Vatican statement released after the meeting indicated that the conversation had focused on bilateral relations...

Catholic school breaks athletic ties with Evangelical school that sought exemption from non-discrimination policy on gays

A Catholic college in Boston has announced that it is breaking off athletic competitions with a nearby Evangelical Christian school, because the president of the Protestant school has taken a stand...

Norwegian Church leaders defend Oslo bishop against fraud charges

Church leaders in Norway have come to the defense of Bishop Bernt Eidsvig of Oslo, who is under investigation on fraud charges. Bishop Eidsvig has been accused of improperly registering Norwegian...

Neocatechumenal Way receives strong papal endorsement

Pope Francis gave his full support to the Neocatechumenal Way in a March 6 meeting with 7,000 members of the movement. “I confirm your calling, I support your mission, and I bless your charism,”...

Vatican 'foreign secretary' says European unity should be based on human dignity

The European Union should be built on the basis of “the sacredness of the human person, around inalienable values,” the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States said in March 5 address to legal...

Wall Street Journal op-ed supports Archbishop Cordileone in San Francisco schools dispute

In an op-ed column published in the Wall Street Journal, Ryan Anderson and Leslie Ford of the Heritage Foundation defend San Francisco's Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone against his critics. The...

Ontario: physicians must provide abortion referrals

The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons has ruled that doctors must provide patients with abortion referrals, regardless of their moral principles. The College took action on a 21 to 3...

Maronite Church will promote organ donation in Lebanon

The Maronite Catholic Church has agreed to encourage organ donors. In an accord with Lebanon’s national committee for organ donations, the Maronite bishops’ conference will form a committee to...

New deputy director appointed at Vatican bank

The Vatican bank has announced the appointment of a new deputy director. Gianfranco Mammi has been named the deputy director of the Institute for Religious Works (IOR). Having worked with the...

Released Monday, Mar. 9

Papal preacher devotes 2nd Lenten sermon to the Trinity in East and West

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the Capuchin Franciscan friar who has served as preacher to the papal household since 1980, devoted his second weekly Lenten sermon to “East and West on the Mystery of...

Pope recalls Japan’s hidden Christians

In a letter dated February 25 and released March 7, Pope Francis recalled the 150th anniversary of the discovery of Catholics in Japan who passed on the faith from generation to generation between...

Encountering Christ is foundational, Pope tells Communion and Liberation members

An estimated 80,000 members of Communion and Liberation gathered in St. Peter’s Square on March 7 to hear an address by Pope Francis for the occasion of 60th anniversary of the movement’s founding...

Pope recalls 50th anniversary of 1st papal Mass in Italian

Pope Francis traveled to the Chiesa di Ognissanti on the evening of March 7, where Blessed Paul VI had first celebrated parts of the Mass in the Italian language exactly five decades earlier. In...

Let Christ cleanse our hearts, says Pope Francis

Pope Francis devoted his March 8 Angelus address to the day’s Gospel reading (Jn. 2:13-22), in which Christ cleansed the temple in Jerusalem and proclaimed his body to be the true temple. “His...

Pope pays tribute to women

Following his Angelus address on March 8, which is commemorated in some places as International Women’s Day, Pope Francis prayed for women and offered “a fraternal ‘thank you’ for all those women...

Italian bishop protests trend to censor Christianity

The secretary-general of the Italian bishops’ conference has decried “an insane desire to deny cultural relevance to religious facts, especially if they pertain to Christianity and Catholicism in...

Vatican cardinal argues against 'liturgical war' approach

Cardinal Robert Sarah argued strongly in favor of reverence in the liturgy, but also cautioned against an adversarial approach to “liturgical war,” in an exclusive interview with Aleteia. The...

Armed assault on Catholic church in Egypt

Armed men attacked a Coptic Catholic church in Egypt in the early hours of Monday morning, March 9, wounding a police guard and setting off an explosive device. Bishop Adel Zaki, the apostolic...

Stolen Michelangelo papers offered back to Vatican, for $100,000 ransom

The Vatican has confirmed that historic papers written by Michelangelo, which were stolen from St. Peter’s basilica years ago, have been offered back to the Holy See, in exchange for a sum of over...

Papal nuncio to testify about failed negotiations in 1978 kidnap-murder of former Italian premier?

Pope Francis has reportedly authorized a Vatican official to testify before an Italian parliamentary commission investigating the murder of former Prime Minister Aldo Moro. Moro was kidnapped in...

Fighting thwarts release of captives held by Islamic State in Syria

The Islamic State planned to release 52 Christian and Kurdish families who were being held hostage in Syria, the AsiaNews service reports. But the release was halted when the Islamic militants were...

Supreme Court vacates ruling against Notre Dame in contraceptive-mandate case

The US Supreme Court has set aside an appeals court’s ruling that denied the University of Notre Dame an injunction against the enforcement of the Obama administration’s contraceptive...

Pope will preside at Friday penance service

Pope Francis will preside at a penance service to be held in St. Peter's basilica on Friday, March 13, the Vatican has announced. The evening service will include opportunities for individual...

Theologians, too, should 'smell of the sheep,' Pope writes

Theologians, like bishops, should “smell of the people,” Pope Francis wrote in a letter to the Catholic University of Argentina, which is marking its 100th anniversary. “Teaching and studying...

On parish visit, Pope urges the faithful to acknowledge their sins, trust in Jesus

“We cannot deceive Jesus; He knows us in depth,” Pope Francis told the congregation at Mass during a March 8 visit to a parish on the outskirts of Rome. At the parish of Santa Maria Madre del...

French cardinal dismisses government's plan to counter Islamic radicals by teaching secularity

Cardinal André Vingt-Trois of Paris has scoffed at a proposal by Prime Minister Manuel Valls to defeat Islamic fundamentalism by encouraging the study of secularity in the schools of...

Did mystical experience change approach of Pope Francis?

Pope Francis had a mystical experience on the night after his election to the papacy, which has given him special confidence in his role, reports John Allen of Crux. Allen quotes a Latin American...

Belgian royals meet with Pontiff

Pope Francis met on March 9 with King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium. A brief Vatican statement released after the meeting said that the “cordial” conversation had centered on bilateral...

Cardinal Tauran installed as camerlengo

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran has formally taken the oath to serve as camerlengo, the Vatican official who administers the temporal affairs of the Holy See upon the death or resignation of a...

Released Tuesday, Mar. 10

Cardinal Burke on the synod and the family

Cardinal Raymond Burke delivered a talk in England on March 6 devoted to “remaining in the truth of Christ on holy matrimony.” “At the present moment in the Church, there is perhaps no more...

USCCB official calls for increased aid for Syrian refugees

The Migration and Refugee Services office of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a report on the Syrian refugee crisis. Nearly four million refugees have fled Syria, and...

European bishops’ officials discuss conscientious objection

Legal advisers to the bishops’ conferences of nearly 20 European nations gathered in Bratislava from March 4 to 6 to discuss the importance of institutional and individual conscientious objection to...

Report: new Islamic State attacks on Syrian Christian villages

The Assyrian International News Agency has reported that the Islamic State has launched new attacks against predominantly Christian villages in Al-Hasakah Governorate, which is located in...

Holy See diplomat discusses human rights and the environment

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s leading diplomat at UN offices in Geneva, contributed to a UN Human Rights Council discussion on March 3 devoted to the environment. “The human rights...

Papal message to British Catholic youth

Pope Francis sent a message to 8,000 British Catholic youth who had gathered in London on March 7 for a conference. Quoting words that he spoke in the Philippines in January, the Pope said, “Let...

Court rules archdiocese’s cemetery funds should be available to abuse victims

Overturning a decision by a bankruptcy judge, the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s $55-million cemetery trust fund should not be off limits to abuse...

Support Christians in Middle East through Good Friday collection, Vatican prelates urge

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the prefect of the Congergation for the Eastern Churches, has written to all the world’s bishops, encouraging support for the annual Good Friday collection, which is taken...

Italian archbishop denied meeting with slain premier before his death

An Italian archbishop has testified that, contrary to widespread reports, he did not meet with Aldo Moro before the former Italian premier was killed by Red Brigade militants in 1978. Archbishop...

Indiana judge affirms discrimination judgment against diocese in teacher's in vitro case

A federal judge in Indiana has ruled against the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, refusing to set aside a jury’s decision to award damages to a Catholic-school teacher who was dismissed after...

Irish bishops encourage faithful to 'reflect' on implications of vote for same-sex marriage

The Catholic bishops of Ireland have encouraged the faithful to “consider very carefully the profound implications” of a coming referendum vote that would open the way for legal recognition of...

Archbishop in Medellin backs campaign for surrender of firearms

Archbishop Ricardo Tobon Restrepo of Medellin, Colombia, has thrown his support behind a campaign to rid the city of firearms. The archbishop told the Fides news service that he supports the...

Released Wednesday, Mar. 11

USCCB: support Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act

The chairmen of three committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have offered their “strong support” for the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2015. Sponsored by...

Prelate confirmed in curial position

Pope Francis has confirmed Archbishop Piero Marini in his role as president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, a position he has held since 2007. The...

Court backs SNAP, overturns Missouri law against disrupting church services

Overturning a lower court decision and siding with the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, the US 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Missouri’s House of Worship Protection Act...

Date announced for Archbishop Romero’s beatification

Archbishop Oscar Romero will be beatified in San Salvador on May 23, according to Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Family. Archbishop Paglia, the...

Report: Islamic State destroys 10th-century church

The Islamic State has blown up a 10th-century Chaldean Catholic church in Mosul, Turkey’s state-run press agency reported. Islamic State militants also desecrated the parish’s graveyard,...

Indulgences are a ‘hymn to liberty’

An indulgence is a “hymn to liberty” and a “recognition of the dignity of man,” the Vatican newspaper stated in an article on a five-day course taking place in Rome under the auspices of the...

In new interview, Pope denounces drug trafficking, speaks on campaign finance, his own security

In a wide-ranging interview with an Argentine newspaper, Pope Francis discussed topics from drug trafficking and faith to social media and election financing. “What worries me even more is the...

The elderly have a special spiritual mission, Pope tells Wednesday audience

Old age “contains a grace and a mission, a true vocation,” Pope Francis told his weekly public audience on March 11. The Pope devoted his audience to grandparents, noting that he identified with...

L'Arche founder Jean Vanier wins 2015 Templeton Prize

Jean Vanier, the founder of the L’Arche community that serves the mentally disabled, has been named the 2015 winner of the Templeton Prize. The Templeton Foundation, which honors individuals who...

St. Teresa's 'pilgrim staff' presented to Pontiff as 500th anniversary approaches

On March 11, Pope Francis was presented with a relic of the “pilgrim staff” that St. Teresa of Avila, a walking stick that was used by the Spanish mystic and came to symbolize her spiritual...

Court orders St. Louis archdiocese to produce 20 years of documents on abuse

A Missouri court has ordered the St. Louis archdiocese to produce confidential documents regarding sex-abuse allegations, covering a period of the last 20 years. The documents are to be...

Fighting against Islamic State driving more families from homes, Chaldean Patriarch reports

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako has issued a statement voicing his “deep concern” about the plight of civilians caught up in fighting between the Islamic State and the Iraqi...

Russian Orthodox leader speaks out on Ukraine conflict, European secularism

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill said that the conflict in Ukraine “does not let me sleep,” and said that Europe is “choking” because of its secularization, in a lengthy interview with Tass. The...

Vatican Secretary of State outlines goals of Holy See's diplomacy

The goal of Vatican diplomacy is “to sustain an idea of peace as the fruit of just relations, of respect for international law, and of protection of fundamental human rights, beginning with those of...

UN report finds restrictions on religious freedom in Vietnam

A UN report has found “positive developments, but also a number of serious problems regarding religious freedom in Vietnam,” the Fides news service reports. The UN report pointed to restrictions...

English street preacher faces 'hate speech' charges for comments on homosexuality

An English “street preacher” went on trial for hate speech on March 11, after witnesses charged that he had made offensive remarks in preaching against homosexuality. Michael Overd, who faces...

Pope will visit prison, wash inmates' feet in Holy Thursday service

Pope Francis will visit a prison in Rome on Holy Thursday, and wash the feet of inmates in the traditional liturgy, the Vatican has announced. The Pope will travel to the suburbs of Rome, to...

Italian company's billboard of partially clothed 'nun' sparks protests

At Italian fashion company has sparked controversy with a billboard showing a model partially dressed as a nun, with her hands, holding a rosary, clasped across her bare chest. Rosso di Sera, the...

Released Thursday, Mar. 12

Pray for victims of religious persecution, US bishops urge

The Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has the authority to act on behalf of the bishops’ conference between meetings, has called for prayer and...

El Salvador’s leading prelate hopes for declaration of martyrdom for 500 war victims

Archbishop José Luis Escobar Alas of San Salvador expressed hope that the Vatican would eventually declare that more than 500 victims of the Salvadoran Civil War were martyrs, the Spanish news...

Cardinal Zen: Vatican officials are naïve about China but Pope Francis is not

In an interview with Corriere Della Sera,Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, the retired bishop of Hong Kong, warned that “China wants unconditional surrender” as it negotiates with the Vatican about the...

Israel ends ban on Christmas trees in hotels

Israel has ended a ban on Christmas trees in hotels, according to a report posted on the website of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. In addition, several regulations related to the Sabbath...

Report of planned attack on Bremen cathedral, synagogue

A potential Islamist attack on the cathedral and synagogue in Bremen, Germany, was averted following action by police on February 28, a Belgian newspaper reported. Numerous police guarded the...

Irish bishops conclude meeting

The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference has concluded its spring 2015 general meeting. In addition to issuing a statement on the upcoming same-sex marriage referendum (“Marriage is...

Having sold mansion he built, Atlanta's Archbishop Gregory completes move to more modest residence

Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, Georgia, has moved into new residence in suburban Smyrna, after selling a mansion that he had built at a cost of over $2 million. “It was a strategic mistake...

Pope will visit Central African Republic in November, bringing hope to war-torn nation

A visit to the Central African Republic by Pope Francis this coming November will be “a sign of the goodness of God and a consolation” to the people of the war-torn country, Archbishop Dieudonné...

Pope urges priests: be available for Confessions during Lent

“Without doubt, among the sacraments, it is that of Reconciliation that best shows the merciful face of God,” Pope Francis remarked in a March 12 address to participants in an annual Vatican course...

Korean martyrs provide model for today's Church, Pope tells visiting bishops

In a March 12 meeting with visiting bishops from Korea, Pope Francis reflected on his visit to the Asian country last year, placing special emphasis on the witness of the Korean martyrs. The Pope...

Ancient Chaldean church in Mosul reported damaged but not destroyed

An ancient Chaldean Catholic monastery in Mosul, Iraq, has been damaged but not destroyed by the Islamic State, the Fides news service reports. The façade of the monastery of St. George has been...

Virginia bishops back pastor who broke with K of C council over honor for pro-abortion governor

The Catholic bishops of Virginia have issued a statement of support for a pastor who cut off ties with a local council of the Knights of Columbus (KofC), after the group chose a politician who has...

Released Friday, Mar. 13

Attacks on religious sisters in Haiti

Women religious in Haiti have been the object of repeated gang attacks, the Fides news agency reported. “Since November 2014 to the present day about 20 houses belonging to the nuns have been...

Spanish priest a victim of apparent foul play; venerated Marian image missing

Father Adolfo Enríquez, 77, the pastor of the parish in Vilanova dos Infantes, Spain, has been found dead in a haystack with evidence of a blow to the dead. He had been stationed at the parish for...

Cardinal Müller: bishops must confront clerical abuse, avoid false mercy

In an address on the topic of serious canonical crimes, including the clerical sexual abuse of minors, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said...

Regnum Christi to mark 75th anniversary with ‘sober joy’

The head of Regnum Christi, the movement founded by Father Marcial Maciel, has asked its members to celebrate its upcoming 75th anniversary. Father Maciel (1941-2008), removed from public...

Vatican delegation traveling to Ivory Coast

Three officials of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, including the top two officials, are beginning a five-day visit to the Ivory Coast. The West African nation is approximately...

European bishops’ conferences to host conference on ‘decent work’

The Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) has announced it will host a day-long conference at the EU Parliament devoted to “decent work-- the path to dignity for...

New interview with Pope Francis on 2nd anniversary of election

In a wide-ranging interview with the Vatican correspondent of a major Mexican media company, Pope Francis discussed drug trafficking, the success of evangelical Protestantism in Latin America, the...

Pope announces Jubilee: a Year of Mercy

Pope Francis has declared a special Jubilee Year, a Year of Mercy. The Year of Mercy will begin on December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and continue through November 20, 2016: the...

Italian bishop angered by newspaper reports on mock 'confessions'

Italian bishops have expressed outrage at a newspaper reporter who posed as a penitent and wrote about what priests told her in the confessional. Laura Alari wrote four pieces of Il Resto Del...

St. Louis appearance by Medjugorje 'seer' cancelled at Vatican request

A scheduled appearance in St. Louis, Missouri, by one of the “seers” of Medjugorje has been cancelled, at the request of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Ivan Dragicevic,...

China cool to Vatican proposal for compromise on selection of bishops

The Chinese government has shown little interest in a proposed compromise with the Vatican on the ordination of Catholic bishops. In an interview broadcast in Hong Kong on March 12, Father...

Italian bishops' leader argues against Berlusconi political comeback

The president of the Italian bishops’ conference has expressed reservations about a plan by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to return to the political scene. Berlusconi voiced his...

Released Monday, Mar. 16

Over 60 nations sign statement in support of Middle East’s Christians

The United States has joined over 60 other nations in signing a joint statement of support for the Middle East’s beleaguered Christians. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s leading diplomat...

Follow Christ, be a leaven in the world, Pope tells lay association

Following Jesus Christ is at the heart of Christianity, Pope Francis reminded members of the Seguimi [Follow Me], an Italian lay association, in a March 14 audience. “Many times, even in the...

Pope Francis pays tribute to teachers

Pope Francis paid tribute to the work of teachers during a March 14 audience with members of an Italian Catholic teachers’ organization. “Teaching is a beautiful profession,” he said. “It’s a...

Papal preacher’s 3rd Lenten sermon

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the Capuchin Franciscan friar who has served as preacher to the papal household since 1980, devoted his three weekly Lenten sermon to “East and West on the Mystery of...

Pope reflects on God’s love

Reflecting on John 3:16, Pope Francis devoted his March 15 Angelus address to God’s boundless love. “We turn our heart’s gaze to Jesus crucified and we feel in us that God loves us, he truly...

2 church bombings in Pakistan; Pope, bishops lament persecution of Christians

Members of the Taliban launched suicide bombings against a Catholic church and a Protestant church in Pakistan, leaving at least 14 dead. Arriving at the bombed church in the afternoon,...

Gang rape of elderly nun in India

A 71-year-old nun was raped by robbers at a convent school 45 miles from Kolkata (Calcutta). Thousands of Catholics are expected to join at a Kolkata rally to pray for the victim, according to an...

Bishops should be fathers to all, not just to Catholics, Pope tells prelates from Bosnia-Herzegovina

Meeting on March 16 with visiting bishops from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Pope Francis reminded them that they are “heirs of many martyrs and confessors, who during the troubled centuries-long history of...

Africa's problems should be solved from within: Cardinal Filoni

Africa needs encouragement and faith, not emigration, the prefect of the Congregation for Evangelization said in his homily during a March 15 Mass concluding a conference in Rome on the future of...

New Jersey parochial school suspends teacher for Facebook post against homosexuality

A Catholic-school teacher in New Jersey has been suspended from her position after she came under fire for a Facebook post on homosexuality. Patricia Jannuzzi became the target of criticism after...

Report on Scottish cardinal's misconduct now on Pope's desk

A Vatican-ordered investigation into the misconduct of Scotland’s Cardinal Keith O’Brien has been completed, and is now in the hands of Pope Francis awaiting his action, the London Tablet...

New York archdiocese announces academic program to train lay people as parish managers

The Archdiocese of New York is seeking to train lay people in parish management, to allow parish priests more time to focus on pastoral work. In conjunction with Villanova University, the...

San Marino's heads of state meet with Pontiff

Pope Francis met on March 16 with the Captains Regent of San Marino, the joint heads of state of the little republic, which is surrounded by Italy. After the Pope met with Gianfranco Terenzi and...

Released Tuesday, Mar. 17

Navy chaplain under fire for counseling against premarital sex, homosexual activity

A Navy chaplain who is a Pentecostal minister faces the prospect of termination after some sailors complained that he counseled against homosexual and premarital sexual activity. Lt. Cmdr....

India: church’s cross smashed, replaced with idol

Vandals in the northern Indian state of Haryana broke into a church that was under construction, broke the cross, and replaced it with an idol of a Hindu god, according to media reports. The...

Australian archbishop charged for failing to report abuse

Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide, a former president of the nation’s episcopal conference, has been charged with one count of “concealing a serious indictable offence” in failing to report the...

Report: Bishop Williamson to consecrate new bishop

Bishop Richard Williamson, who was ordained a bishop by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebfvre in 1988 without permission of the Holy See, will consecrate one or two priests as bishops in Brazil,...

Chaldean patriarch calls for prosecution of preachers who incite violence

Speaking at the Iraqi parliament, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church has called for the prosecution of clergy who incite violence. Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako also called for a greater...

Bishop: US violating international law in its interdiction efforts

The bishop of El Paso has accused the United States of violating international law in its attempts to prevent unaccompanied Central American children from entering the nation. The Obama...

Ethiopian cardinal meets with Communists who imprisoned him

Cardinal Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, the head of the Ethiopian Catholic Church, met with some of the Communist leaders who had imprisoned him for seven months when he was a young priest,...

Pope sends special message of solidarity to Nigerian bishops

Pope Francis has written a letter to the Catholic bishops of Nigeria, encouraging them to act as peacemakers in a country torn by violence. In the letter, dated March 2 but made public by the...

Connecticut priest who sold meth seeks reduced sentence

A Connecticut priest who last year pleaded guilty to drug trafficking has asked for a lenient sentence, citing his charitable work. Msgr. Kevin Wallin, who is now suspended from pastoral work in...

Cardinal Tagle: no single answer on Communion for divorced/remarried

Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila has said that the Church “cannot give one formula” on whether Catholics who are divorced and remarried should receive Communion. “Every situation for those who are...

China will not budge on appointment of bishops without Vatican approval, AsiaNews director writes

China will not compromise with the Vatican regarding the appointment of new bishops, writes Father Bernardo Cervellera of the AsiaNews service. Last week, after the director of the Vatican press...

Bishop condemns killing of priest, persistent violence in Democratic Republic of Congo

Bishop Theophile Kaboy Ruboneka of Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has condemned the killing of a Catholic priest there as an “abominable, abhorrent, and infernal act.” In a letter to...

Released Wednesday, Mar. 18

USCCB president speaks about upcoming synod

The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said that when he attends the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the family, he will emphasize “the unity and integrity of how we worship,...

Pakistan’s Christians mourn bombing victims; official denounces lynching of Muslims

Pakistani Christians held a day of prayer and fasting on March 17 following attacks on a Catholic church and a Protestant church in Lahore that left 17 dead. “Today [we] kneel before the Almighty...

Colombia’s bishops begin novena for life

The Episcopal Conference of Colombia has begun a novena for life in reparation for acts related to abortion. A press release from the episcopal conference emphasized the centrality of prayer, the...

Presbyterians approve same-sex marriage

The Presbyterian Church (USA), the nation’s largest Presbyterian body, has voted to permit same-sex marriages in its churches. 87 of the denomination’s regional bodies voted to approve the...

Pope receives Taizé leader

Pope Francis received Brother Alois, the prior of the Taizé Community, in a private audience on March 16. According to a statement from the French ecumenical monastic community, the Pope was...

Leading Holy See diplomat praises America’s youthful pro-life movement

Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations, paid tribute to the US pro-life movement in a March 12 address. “Here in the United States and across the...

Irish bishop pleads for help finding bodies of victims of 'the Troubles'

An Irish bishop has renewed a plea for help in locating the remains of people killed during “the troubles” in Northern Ireland. Bishop Michael Smith of Meath made his appeal as officials searched...

Childless society is 'sad and gray,' Pope tells Wednesday audience

“Children are a gift to humanity,” Pope Francis told his public audience on March 18, and a society with a plunging birth rate is “a sad and gray society because it is without children.” In his...

Vatican plans €2 million program to fight Ebola; Pope makes €500,000 gift

Pope Francis has sent a donation of €500,000 (about $550,000) to support the fight against the Ebola epidemic in western Africa. The papal gift, which will be administered by the Pontifical...

Family disintegration keeps women in poverty, Vatican envoy tells UN

Speaking to a March 18 UN meeting on the status of women, the Vatican’s representative said that the disintegration of family life is a major factor in perpetuating poverty. Archbishop Bernardito...

Australian archbishop, charged with cover-up of abuse, steps down from bishops' board

Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide, who faces criminal charges for an alleged failure to report sexual abuse, has resigned from the Australian bishops’ committee responding to the sex-abuse...

Miracle approved; parents of St. Therese cleared for canonization in October

The Vatican has formally approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, clearing the way for their canonization in...

Melkite Patriarch opposes international intervention in Syria

Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregory III Laham has argued against international intervention to protect Christians from the Islamic State. “We are a sovereign country with a legitimate government...

Italian bishop predicts Pope will reign 'another five years'

An Italian bishop who predicted the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI has now said that Pope Francis will lead the Church “for another five years.” Bishop Luigi Bettazi, the retired Bishop of...

Canadian priest had long adversarial relationship with blogger he threatened to sue

The Canadian priest and media personality who threatened to sue a blogger had a long history of conflict with the blog writer, Catholic World Report reveals. Father Thomas Rosica, who sometimes...

Vatican condemns terror attack in Tunis

The Vatican’s Secretary of State has issued a statement condemning a terrorist attack that killed at least 19 people at a museum in Tunisia. Cardinal Pietro Parolin said that the assault was...

Italian cardinal 'amazed' by anger toward Dolce & Gabbana

The president of the Italian bishops’ conference said that he is “amazed” by the furor roused by a statement from the designers Dolce and Gabbana in defense of traditional marriage. Cardinal...

French assembly approves assisted suicide

French lawmakers have approved draft legislation that would allow “deep, continuous sedation until death” for patients facing terminal illness. By a vote of 436 to 34, the National Assembly...

Released Thursday, Mar. 19

San Francisco archdiocese removes controversial sprinkler system from cathedral

Amid polemical local news headlines such as “cathedral drenches homeless with water to keep them away” and a warning from city officials, the Archdiocese of San Francisco dismantled a sprinkler...

Pope meets with homeless pilgrims from France

Following his March 18 general audience, Pope Francis met with a group of 25 homeless pilgrims from Marseilles, accompanied by their archbishop and the priest who ministers to them. One of the...

Christian schools transform education for Nepal’s girls

Because of the influence of 100 Christian schools, including 20 Catholic schools, as many young women as young men are now graduating from high school in Nepal. “In traditional Hindu societies...

Vatican official assures Syria’s bishops of Pope’s closeness

The secretary of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches has concluded a six-day visit to Syria to express the Holy See’s closeness to the war-torn nation. Archbishop Cyril Vasil’ prayed at the...

Pope will address United Nations on September 25

Pope Francis will address the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, according to a statement by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “The Secretary-General welcomes the visit of Pope Francis...

Cardinal Parolin: the Church must be free to preach the Gospel

In an address marking the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Romania and the Holy See, the Vatican’s Secretary of State emphasized the importance of religious freedom, including the...

Cardinal Sarah speaks of ‘sound tradition,’ ‘legitimate progress’ in the liturgy

Reflecting on the collect of the Mass for the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Cardinal Robert Sarah, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said in a brief...

Illinois CCD teachers face felony child-porn charges

An Illinois man who faces child-pornography charges was teaching religious-education classes in a Catholic parish. John Gabriel and his partner, Margarita Hernandez, face felony charges. An...

Vatican downplays concerns about costs to government for Jubilee year

Vatican officials have reacted coolly to a contentious debate among Italian politicians about the potential costs the government might incur during the Jubilee Year proclaimed by Pope...

Breakaway traditionalist prelate ordains new bishop, incurs new excommunication

Bishop Richard Williamson, the traditionalist prelate who was dismissed from the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) in 2012, has ordained a new bishop for his schismatic group, incurring the automatic...

Vatican official: no return to 1998 English translation of the liturgy

The secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship has ruled out the use of the English-language translation of the Roman Missal that was proposed by the International Commission on...

Pope donates over 1,000 pounds of food to serve needy Roman neighborhood

Pope Francis has donated 1,100 pounds of food to a charitable agency that serves a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Rome. After visiting a parish in the Tor Bella Monaca district, the Pope...

Italian Senate approves 'fast-divorce' proposal

A proposal to speed the process of legal divorce has won overwhelming approval in the Italian Senate. By a vote of 228 to 11, lawmakers passed the “fast-divorce” bill, which would reduce the...

Released Friday, Mar. 20

Latin American bishops rue effects of mining by multinational coroporations

Testifying before a hearing of a regional human rights body, representatives of the Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM) called upon the US and Canada to hold multinational mining companies...

USCCB, CRS call for ‘robust funding’ of federal housing programs

Officials of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Charities USA have called for the “robust funding” of several federal housing programs. “As Catholics, we believe that...

Chaldean bishop: war is the only way to stop the persecution of Iraq’s Christians

In an interview that will air on the CBS news show 60 Minutes, the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan region, said that war is the only way to protect Iraq’s...

Pope decries terrorist attack in Tunis

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has sent a telegram of condolence in the Holy Father’s name following a terrorist attack on a museum in Tunis. The Pontiff reiterated...

Pope Francis calls Pope Emeritus

Pope Francis called Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on March 19, the feast of St. Joseph. The Pontiff wished the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger a happy name day, and the Pope Emeritus in turn...

Disgraced Scottish cardinal renounces his rank

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who resigned his post as Archbishop of Edinburgh in 2013 after admitting to sexual misconduct, has renounced his rights and privileges as a member of the College of...

Capital punishment never justified, Pope argues

“Nowadays the death penalty is inadmissible, no matter how serious the crime committed,” Pope Francis said at a March 20 meeting with members of the International Committee against the Death...

Pope raises Byzantine-rite Hungarian Catholic Church to status of sui juris metropolitan see

Pope Francis has reorganized the hierarchy of the Byzantine-rite Hungarian Catholic Church, raising it to the level of a sui juris metropolitan Church. The Pope has raised the Eparchy of...

Egyptian Christians, Muslims closer together in wake of martyrdoms in Libya, bishop says

The 21 Coptic Christians who were slaughtered by the Islamic State in Libya are “true martyrs” and will be recognized as such, an Egyptian bishop has said. Bishop Kyrillos William Samaan of...

Senate Democrats block bill to aid victims of human trafficking, insist on abortion funding

Democratic members of the US Senate have blocked passage of a bill to aid victims of human trafficking, because the bill does not provide funding for abortions. The Democratic Party, determined...

Boston archdiocese goes to court to end occupation of closed parish church

The Archdiocese of Boston is seeking a court injunction to end the occupation of a parish church that was officially closed more than a decade ago. The “Friends of St. Frances Cabrini,” who have...

After public appearance in St. Louis cancelled at Vatican request, Medjugorje 'seer' holds private event

After a public appearance was cancelled at the request of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, one of the “seers” of Medjugorje held a meeting this week in a private home. Sponsors of the event said...

Dublin's Archbishop Martin calls for calm, respectful debate on same-sex marriage

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin called for a calm and respectful discussion before a referendum vote on same-sex marriage, and defended the Church’s traditional teaching on marriage and family...

Head of Roman charity urges help for the poor, cautions against profiteering during Jubilee Year

The head of the Roman office of Caritas, the Catholic charity, has suggested that utility companies should offer special support for the poor during the Jubilee Year proclaimed by Pope...

Assyrian prelate: Church is not allied with any faction in Syrian conflict

A leader of the Assyrian Church of the East has sent a message to the leaders of the Islamic State, telling them that Christians are not supporting any of the armed groups fighting in...

Papal tribute to Japan's 'hidden Christians'

Pope Francis paid homage to the “hidden Christians” of Japan, who kept the faith alive after priests were expelled from the country, during a March 20 meeting with the Japanese Catholic...

Released Monday, Mar. 23

In Naples, Pope denounces corruption, calls criminals to conversion

Pope Francis began a one-day pastoral visit to Naples on March 21 by praying at the Shrine of the Virgin of the Rosary of Pompei. He then traveled to Scampia, a suburb of Naples, where he...

Offer the Gospel, the crucifix, and witness to those who are seeking Jesus, says Pope

Reflecting on the Gospel reading at Mass (Jn. 12:20-33), Pope Francis said at his March 22 Angelus address that we should offer the Gospel, the crucifix, and witness to those who are seeking...

USCCB: religious freedom, conscience rights under fire in DC

Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, joined by five bishops who serve as chairmen of committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, have asked Congress to rescind two laws recently...

Partial victory for Quebec Catholic school in Canadian high court case

In a 4-3 decision, the Supreme Court of Canada overturned a decision by Quebec’s education minister and ruled that a Catholic school should be permitted to teach a Catholic version of the province’s...

Cardinal preaches at transfer of Richard III’s remains

The remains of King Richard III of England, discovered during an excavation at the University of Leicester in 2012, were transferred to Leicester Cathedral on March 23. “We pray for him today...

Report: 2 ‘underground’ priests arrested in China

Two priests faithful to the Holy See have been arrested in Mudanjiang, a city of 2.8 million in northeastern China, according to an AsiaNews report. Father Shaoyun Quan, 41, and Father Jianyou...

Angry protests mar installation of Chilean bishop accused of covering up abuse

Bishop Juan Barros Madrid was installed on March 21 to head the Diocese of Osorno, Chile, despite angry public protests over his alleged failure to report sexual abuse. Scores of noisy protesters...

No justice without mercy, Pope says in homily

“Where there is no mercy there is no justice,” Pope Francis said in his homily at Mass on March 23. Commenting on the day’s Gospel reading, which recounted the story of the woman caught in...

Ivory Coast: bishops warn against messages, allegedly from Virgin Mary, predicting catastrophe

The Catholic bishops of the Ivory Coast have warned the faithful not to place any confidence in email and text messages that claim to be instructions from the Virgin Mary. Reacting to a rash of...

Nigerian cardinal says country needs change, whoever wins legislative elections

Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria has said that he does not have a preference between the two major parties contending legislative elections scheduled for March 28, but “there has to be...

Cardinal Kasper asks prayers for Synod, says 'a battle is going on'

Cardinal Walter Kasper has asked the faithful to pray for the success of the October 2015 meeting of the Synod of Bishops, “because a battle is going on.” Cardinal Kasper-- who played a leading...

Colombian priest killed in robbery

A Catholic priest was killed in a robbery in Colombia on March 21, the Fides news service reports. Father Fernando Meza Luna was shot and gravely wounded during an attempted robbery in the city...

Egyptian court upholds first-ever conviction of Muslim militant for blasphemy against Christianity

An Egyptian appeals court has upheld the conviction of an Islamic leader for burning a Bible. Ahmed Mahmoud, popularly known as Abu Islam, was found guilty of violating an Egyptian law against...

Released Tuesday, Mar. 24

After church bombings, lynchings, Pakistani police arrest 200 Christians

Police in Pakistan have arrested 200 Christians in connection with the lynchings that took place after the bombing of two churches in Lahore. Following the arrests in the heavily Christian...

Encyclical on environment nearly finished, Vatican spokesman reveals

Pope Francis is expected to complete drafting an encyclical on the environment this week, the Vatican press office has said. Father Ciro Benedettini, the deputy director of the press office, said...

Italian bishops' leader: cultural collapse is reason why some join Islamic State

The president of the Italian bishops’ conference decried the collapse of society’s cultural norms in his address to the bishops’ meeting on March 23. Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa said that...

Indian Christian identity under attack, cardinal says

In India, Christians “feel that their Christian identity is being questioned,” the president of the country’s bishops’ conference has said. Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal of Trivandrum...

Former Vatican official raps Cardinal Marx, says German hierarchy unfit to guide universal Church

In a rare public display of open disagreement among ranking prelates, Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes has criticized another German Church leader, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, for his suggestion that the...

Head of 'Courage' ministry hopes to have an impact on October Synod discussions

The executive director of Courage, the international ministry dedicated to helping people with same-sex attractions to live chaste lives, has said that his group hopes to have an impact on the...

461 priests in England and Wales sign statement urge clear Synod support for traditional teaching

More than 450 Catholic priests in England and Wales have signed a statement proclaiming their “unwavering fidelity to the traditional doctrines regarding marriage and the true meaning of human...

New Jersey law will end cemetery-headstone sales by Newark archdiocese

New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie has signed into law a bill that will prevent the Newark archdiocese from selling headstones for the archdiocesan cemeteries. In 2013, when the Newark...

Cardinal Nichols presides at Requiem Mass before re-interment of England's King Richard III

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster presided at a Requiem Mass for England’s King Richard III on March 23, as Anglican authorities prepared to re-inter the king’s remains. King Richard III...

Benedict XVI no longer writing on theology, Archbishop Gänswein reports

Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI no longer has the physical strength to tackle new writing projects, his longtime personal secretary has disclosed. Archbishop Georg Gänswein told the Italian magazine...

Vatican vigil marks 20th anniversary of Evangelium Vitae

The Pontifical Council for the Family has organized an international vigil, hosted by the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major, to mark the 20th anniversary of Evangelium Vitae, the landmark encyclical...

Vatican plans 2nd raffle of gifts donated to Pontiff

For the 2nd time this year, the Vatican will raffle off items that were presented as gifts to Pope Francis. In January, a raffle of various items—ranging from wristwatches to a Fiat...

Japanese archbishop says decline in Catholic population reflects crisis for faith

Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami of Nagasaki has reported that the faithful recognize a “deep sense of crisis” in Japanese Catholicism. Following an archdiocesan synod in 2014, the archbishop...

Christian doctors file legal challenge to new Ontario policy requiring abortion referrals

The Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada has filed a legal challenge against a new policy in Ontario that requires doctors to provide referrals for abortion, contraception, and...

Released Wednesday, Mar. 25

Controversy over priestly blessings at public schools in Bologna

A group of parents and teachers from three public schools in Bologna, Italy, have filed suit against pre-Easter priestly blessings that take place on school grounds. Attendance at the blessings...

Partial legal victory for student rejected by college, in part because of comment on faith

A federal district court has permitted a lawsuit against officials of the Community College of Baltimore County to proceed. During an interview for entrance into a radiation therapy program,...

Over 1,000 missionaries killed since 1980

Since 1980, at least 1,062 Catholic missionaries have been killed, according to Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. 115 were killed in the 1980s and 604...

Prelate: Christians are not the only group targeted in Pakistan

The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan said in an interview that Christians are not the sole victims of persecution in the predominantly Sunni Muslim nation. “The...

Synod leader: the Pope’s ‘great revolution’ is one of ‘language and attitudes’

In an address to the bishops of Slovakia, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops said that “the great revolution” of Pope Francis is “the revolution of language and attitudes, in integral...

Homeless to tour Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums

The Office of Papal Charities has arranged a visit of 150 homeless persons to the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums, according to a Vatican Radio report. Following the March 26 tour and a time...

Papal telegram of condolence following plane crash

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has sent a telegram of condolence in the name of the Pope following a plane crash in the French Alps that left 150 dead. “His Holiness...

Pope pleads for prayers for success of Synod

At his weekly public audience on March 25, Pope Francis asked the faithful to pray for the Synod of Bishops, which will meet in October to renew a discussion of marriage and the family. Noting...

Plans unveiled for April-June exhibition of Shroud of Turin

At a March 25 press conference in Rome, Church officials outlined plans for the exhibition of the Shroud of Turin, which will be held from April 19 to June 24. The public exhibition, marking the...

Shots fired at police guarding church in Lahore, Pakistan

Masked gunmen opened fire on police officers outside the church of St. Peter on Lahore, Pakistan, on March 24, fueling fears about further attacks on Christian churches. The unidentified gunmen,...

Cardinal Nichols instructs priests to avoid public debate on Synod issues

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster has advised English priests not to engage in a public debate on controversial issues that will be discussed at the October meeting of the Synod of...

Italian tourism official says Rome 'totally capable' of handling pilgrim traffic during Jubilee Year

A leading Italian tourism official has scoffed at suggestions that the Jubilee Year declared by Pope Francis will strain the resources of Rome. Rome is “totally capable” of absorbing an increase...

Firebomb tossed at pro-lifers outside Texas abortion clinic: no injuries, no major-media coverage

A Texas woman faces felony charges after she toss a crude Molotov cocktail at a group of pro-life activists holding a prayer vigil outside an abortion clinic. Melanie Maria Toney was arrested...

Released Thursday, Mar. 26

Controversy follows passage of Indiana religious-freedom bill

By large majorities of 63-31 in the House and 40-10 in the Senate, the Indiana General Assembly has passed the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The measure “prohibits a governmental...

Prelate: Nigeria needs a president who seeks the common good

As Nigeria’s March 28 presidential election approaches, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria said that Africa’s largest nation needs “a dynamic, dependable, reliable leader...

The future Pope Francis on fervor and evangelization

L’Osservatore Romano has published a brief 2006 text by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio on contemplation and action. The text, a foreword to a book by Father Víctor Manuel Fernández, now an...

Interreligious dialogue at European Parliament

An annual session of interreligious dialogue took place at the European Parliament in Brussels on March 24. The chief representative of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European...

French prelate reflects on January shooting, warns against isolationism

Addressing the Bishops’ Conference of France, Archbishop Georges Pontier of Marseille, the conference’s president, reflected on the Charlie Hebdo shooting. It is important, said the prelate, for...

Pope approves synod participants from nearly 40 nations

Pope Francis has ratified the names of participants chosen by nearly 40 episcopal conferences to take part in the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the family. Among the more prominent members of the...

Members of papal abuse commission worried by Chilean bishop's appointment

Members of a papal commission on sexual abuse have expressed serious misgivings about the appointment of a Chilean bishop who has been accused of failing to report an abusive priest, the Associated...

Pro-life march draws half-million participants in Peru

An estimated 500,000 people took part in a pro-life march in Lima, Peru, on March 21. The demonstration was held in advance of the annual Day of the Unborn, which is celebrated on March 25. The...

Carmelites observe worldwide day of prayer for peace

Pope Francis joined members of the Carmelite order who were observing a worldwide day of prayer for peace on March 26, concelebrating Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae with Father Saverio Cannestra,...

Despite devastation of war and threats of Islamic State, Syrian Christians returning to city of Homs

Christians are gradually returning to the Syrian city of Homs, after a mass exodus that followed the outbreak of civil war in 2011, Aid to the Church in Need reports. But as Christians rebuild their...

As 150 homeless people tour Sistine Chapel, Pope greets each individual

Pope Francis made a surprise appearance to greet the 150 homeless people who were given a special tour of the Sistine Chapel on March 26. The Pope greeted each of the guests individually, and...

Survey shows US Catholics feeling stronger ties to faith

Catholic Americans have became more likely to report a “strong” relationship with the faith, and less likely to report a “not very strong” tie, in the past few years, according to one...

Exploitation of child-soldiers peaked in 2014, Vatican envoy tells UN

“The year 2014 marked the worst year in the modern era of children being used as soldiers in armed conflicts,” a Vatican representative pointed out in a March 25 address to the UN Security...

Debate among German cardinals heats up; Cardinal Müller raps statement by Cardinal Marx

Taking aim at public statements by the president of the German bishops’ conference, Cardinal Gerhard Müller has said that it is an “anti-Catholic idea” to suggest that local bishops’ conferences...

Released Friday, Mar. 27

American prelates criticize death penalty

Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City criticized Utah’s reinstatement of death penalty by the firing squad. “No human law can trump God's law,” he said. “Taking a human life is wrong, a slap in...

Indiana governor signs religious-freedom legislation

Despite threats of loss of convention business, Gov. Mike Pence signed the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. “Today I signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because I...

Ukrainian bishops speak of ministry amid suffering

Two Ukrainian bishops spoke with Aid to the Church in Need about the suffering they have encountered in their ministry in the past year. “Wounded soldiers from the east are being cared for at a...

Head of Assyrian Church of the East dies

Mar Dinkha IV, who became head of the Assyrian Church of the East in 1976, died in the United States on March 26 at the age of 79, according to the Assyrian International News Agency. The church...

Holy See diplomat reflects on religion and free expression

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s leading diplomat at UN offices in Geneva, deplored the actions of the Islamic State and spoke about the relation between religious freedom and freedom of...

Pope Francis to meet with President Obama in White House

Pope Francis will meet with President Barack Obama in the White House on September 23, according to a statement from the Holy See Press Office. “The President and the First Lady will welcome His...

New allegation against former Cardinal O’Brien

An anonymous priest who alleged that former Cardinal Keith O’Brien made a sexual advance toward him told The Tablet that he believed that “at least 40 cases” of sexual misconduct took place during...

Over 500,000 sign petition to free Asia Bibi

More than 500,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the release of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman who has been sentenced to death on a questionable blasphemy charge....

Cardinal Koch joins critics of German bishops' push for change in Church teaching

A third German-speaking cardinal has joined in questioning the notion that the Church must change its teaching on marriage, with Cardinal Kurt Koch saying that Church leaders should not be too quick...

Vatican Secretary of State will take part in April's Summit of the Americas

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, will attend the Summit of the Americas in April. The meeting in Panama, the 7th in a series of summits, will be the first at which the...

Papal preacher: Western Christians should learn from Eastern spirituality

In his 4th Lenten Sermon of the year, on Friday, March 27, Father Raniero Cantalamessa concluded a series of talks that compared Eastern and Western Christian approaches to...

India: police arrest one suspect in gang-rape of nun

Police in India have made an arrest in connection with the gang-rape of an elderly Catholic nun earlier this month. Police reported that a suspect had been detained in Mumbai, and was being...

Pope sends messages of solidarity to suffering Christians in Iraq, Nigeria

Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the prefect of the Congregation for Evangelization, is traveling to Iraq to spend Holy Week and Easter with embattled Christians there, the Vatican has announced. The...

Iraqi prelate pleads for help at first-ever UN session on persecution of Christians

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako called upon the UN to address the “catastrophic situation” facing Christians in Iraq, in a March 27 presentation to the Security Council. The...

Released Monday, Mar. 30

Holy See diplomat laments plight of Syrian refugee children

Syrian refugee children risk becoming a “lost generation,” the Holy See’s leading diplomat at UN offices in Geneva said during a recent meeting of the UN Human Rights Council. Nearly half of the...

Papal letter for 500th anniversary of St. Teresa of Ávila’s birth

Pope Francis has written a letter to Father Xavier Cannistrà, superior general of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, on the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Teresa of Ávila. “St. Teresa is...

Pope pays tribute to late head of Assyrian Church of the East

Pope Francis has sent a telegram of condolence to Mar Aprem Mooken, the temporary head of the Assyrian Church of the East, following the death of Mar Dinkha IV, who had led the church since...

Papal condolences for victims of flooding in Chile, Peru

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has sent a telegram of condolence in the Holy Father’s name following severe flooding in the Atacama Desert. “The Holy Father is...

Pope Francis: God’s way is the way of humility

Pope Francis emphasized humility during his homily at Palm Sunday Mass, celebrated in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. “This week, Holy Week, which leads us to Easter, we will take this path of Jesus’...

Bishops visit Texas detention center for migrant families

Three Catholic bishops, joined by two Lutheran counterparts, visited a new detention center in Dilley, Texas, designed to house migrant women and children who have entered the United States...

St. Peter’s Basilica goes dark for ‘earth hour’

St. Peter’s Basilica went dark for one hour on March 28 in commemoration of “earth hour,” a World Wildlife Fund initiative intended to raise awareness about climate change. The Great Synagogue of...

Italian bishops' conference opposes civil-union bill

The Italian Catholic bishops’ conference has issued a statement opposing a measure that would provide legal recognition for civil unions. The legislation, which won approval from a Senate...

India: Protestant pastor arrested in Kashmir, charged with fueling sectarian hostility

Indian police have arrested a Christian leader in Kashmir, charging him with “fomenting sectarian clashes.” Rev. Paul Augustine, a representative of the Global Council of Indian Christians, was...

Slovenia: parliament denies plea for referendum on same-sex unions

Lawmakers in Slovenia have rejected a citizens' petition for a nationwide referendum to test a new law granting legal recognition for same-sex unions. After the Slovenian parliament approved an...

Nigerian presidential elections proceed despite Boko Haram attacks

Assaults by Boko Haram terrorists failed to stop voting in Nigeria’s March 28 presidential elections, the Fides news service reports. At least three polling stations were attacked, and 14 voters...

Burundi: bishops argue against unconstitutional 3rd presidential term

Burundi’s Catholic bishops have stated their opposition to a plan by President Pierre Nukurunziza to run for a third 5-year term. The bishops said that the African nation could “fall back into...

India: former nun settles claim against religious community

In India, a former nun, who claims that she was hounded out of her religious community after reporting sexual abuse, has won a financial settlement from the religious congregation. The Sisters of...

Scottish archbishop urges faithful to maintain hope despite dramatic parish closings

Archbishop Leo Cushley of Edinburgh has said that a radical downsizing of the Scottish archdiocese should “enable us to intensify our spiritual and evangelical activity.” The number of parishes...

Bosnian cardinal: Europe fears Muslims, forgets its own Christian heritage

“Europe is afraid of Muslims,” Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo charged in an interview with the Italian daily Il Giornale. Europe, Cardinal Puljic said, has been sensitive to the rights of...

English bishop issues warning on A Call to Action

Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster, England, has warned against a liberal group, A Call to Action, saying that “this particular pressure group has no approval or recognition from the Catholic...

Released Tuesday, Mar. 31

Thousands to enter Church in US at Easter

Nearly one-third of American dioceses have reported the numbers of catechumens and candidates who are expected to enter the Church at Easter. The highest figures were supplied by the Archdiocese...

Nigeria: laity exhorted to greater involvement in politics

Lamenting “a certain spirit of blameworthy, culpable lethargy,” a Nigerian prelate called upon Catholic laity to take a greater role in the nation’s political life. “The Church sees politics as a...

Prelate: religious communities are not a ‘Church within the Church’

The vice president of the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE) said in an address to the Union of the European Conferences of Major Superiors that “it is not permissible to think of...

Leading Ukrainian prelate encourages young soldiers

In a pastoral letter to the youth of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk praised the generosity of young people and called upon them to turn to the Gospel, read...

Italian cardinal to lead Congregation for Catholic Education

Pope Francis has named Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi as the prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, one of the Roman Curia’s nine congregations. Cardinal Versaldi, who has been serving...

Pontifical council issues message to Jains

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has issued a message to Jains on the occasion of the birthday of Vardhamana Mahavira, an important figure in the history of the Indian...

Hundreds march against San Francisco archbishop’s policy on teachers

Hundreds of protestors, led by a teacher at the cathedral school, marched against Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s policy of requiring Catholic high school teachers not to publicly oppose Catholic...

Philippines: head of bishops' conference reacts to poll showing public support for legal divorce

Responding to a poll that showed 60% of the people in the Philippines favoring legal divorce, the president of the country’s episcopal conference has restated the Church’s opposition. Archbishop...

Papal bull to be issued on eve of Divine Mercy Sunday, proclaiming Holy Year

Pope Francis will issue a “Bull of Indiction” on April 11 as a formal proclamation of the Jubilee of Mercy, the Vatican has announced. During a penitential service in St. Peter’s basilica on...

Traditionalist bishops plan more illicit episcopal ordinations

Bishop Jean-Michel Faure, the traditionalist prelate who was ordained earlier this month in defiance of the Vatican, has disclosed that more illicit episcopal ordinations are planned. Bishop...

Security concerns cited for Pope's visit to Sarajevo

The interior minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina has revealed that his country’s government is coping with security threats involving the visit to Sarajevo by Pope Francis in June. “I don’t want to...

Bosnian Muslim craftsman delighted to carve chair for papal ceremony

A small workshop run by a Bosnian Muslim craftsman and his son has won the task of carving a chair to be used by Pope Francis when he celebrates Mass in Sarajevo in June. Salem Hajdarovac is...

Indonesian government shuts down jihadist web sites

Indonesia’s government has shut down 22 radical Islamic web sites, explaining that the sites spread “false teachings.” The government’s anti-terrorism agency called for action against the web...

Vatican near accord with Italy on sharing financial data to trace tax evaders?

The Vatican is nearing an agreement with Italy on sharing financial information to cut down on money-laundering and tax evasion, Reuters reports. The Vatican has been negotiating an agreement...

Vatican defends appointment of Chilean bishop

The Vatican has released a statement defending the appointment of Bishop Juan Barros in Osorno, Chile, who has been accused of covering up sexual abuse. Father Ciro Benedettini, the deputy...

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