Stories for May 2015

Released Monday, May. 4

Papal envoy to be present at commemoration of death of Jan Hus

Pope Francis has appointed Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, the retired archbishop of Prague, as his special envoy for the commemoration of the 600th anniversary of the death of Jan Hus. The Bohemian...

Pope calls for Christian solidarity in the face of unemployment, other social problems

Speaking to pilgrims from the Italian diocese of Isernia-Venafro, which he visited last July, Pope Francis called for Christian solidarity in the face of youth unemployment and other chronic...

Blessed Junípero Serra is ‘one of the founding fathers of the United States,' Pope says

Pope Francis urged American seminarians to imitate the missionary zeal, Marian devotion, and witness of holiness of Blessed Junipero Serra (1713-84), the Franciscan friar who evangelized...

Italian religious brother beatified

Brother Luigi Bordino (1922-77) was beatified on May 2 in Turin, Italy. Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, presided at the Mass of...

Grow in union with Christ through prayer and the sacraments, Pope says at audience

Devoting his May 3 Regina Caeli address to the Gospel reading at Mass (Jn. 15:1-8), Pope Francis reflected on Christ’s teaching on the vine and the branches. “Grafted by baptism in Christ, we...

Pope asks parishioners: are you a dead branch, or united to the vine?

Pope Francis visited the Church of Santa Maria Regina Pacis in the coastal Roman suburb of Ostia Lido where he heard four confessions, delivered three short talks to different groups, and celebrated...

Christ is the true King, Pope tells Swiss Guard

Pope Francis met with members of the Swiss Guard and their families on May 4 and recalled St. Ignatius of Loyola’s image of “two military camps, one with the banner of Christ and the other with the...

‘Much work’ remains in ecumenical dialogue, Pope tells Swedish Lutheran leader

Pope Francis received the Lutheran archbishop of Sweden in audience on May 4 and said that the Christian division contradicts the will of Christ, scandalizes the world, and harms the cause of the...

Father Nicholas Gruner, suspended priest who led Fatima Crusader, dead at 72

Father Nicholas Gruner, the controversial leader of the Fatima Center, died suddenly on April 29. A Canadian native, Nicholas Gruner was ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Avellino,...

Statue of John Paul II must be removed, French court rules

A French court has ordered the removal of a statue of St. John Paul II from a town square, saying that the display violated the separated of Church and state. The court in Rennes said that the...

Irish archbishop warns: approval of same-sex marriage will bring intolerance of Christians

Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh has warned that religious freedom will be in danger in Ireland if a referendum approving same-sex marriage succeeds. “If society adopts and imposes a new...

Pope asks bishops of Congo to emphasize training of priests, aid to needy dioceses

In a May 4 address to visiting priests from Congo, who were making their limina visits to Rome, Pope Francis put a high priority on the proper formation of priests, aid to dioceses that lack...

Pope joins in salute to Dante on 750th birthday

Pope Francis saluted Dante as “one of the most illustrious figures of all humanity,” as the Italian Senate honored the poet on the 750th anniversary of his birth. In his message, which was...

Vietnam: bishops fear new legislation would heighten restrictions on religion

Catholic bishops in Vietnam fear that new proposed legislation on “faith and religion” is designed to “profoundly interfere with religious affairs,” the AsiaNews service reports. The government...

Released Tuesday, May. 5

Gunmen open fire on guard at controversial Muhammad exhibit; Vatican newspaper weighs in

Two gunmen shot and wounded an unarmed security guard in Garland, Texas, as he stood near a controversial exhibit with artwork depicting Muhammad, the founder of Islam. The gunmen were...

Prayers for peace at Baltimore parishes

Twenty parishes held Eucharistic adoration and other special prayers for peace in the days following the Baltimore riots, according to the archdiocese. “People are coming to our parishes looking...

Russian Orthodox patriarch praises Pope, criticizes Ukrainian Catholics

Speaking at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church praised Pope Francis and Cardinal Pietro Parolin while...

Report: Iraqi PM invites Pope to visit Iraq

The prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches has concluded a three-day visit to Iraq. Cardinal Leonardo Sandri visited a refugee camp, preached at Iraq’s cathedral, and met with civil...

Honduran cardinal visits Texas detention center

Honduran Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga visited Central Americans housed at a Texas detention center for migrant families, the Fides news agency reported. The prelate, who serves as...

Vatican announces calendar for extraordinary jubilee of mercy

At a May 5 press conference in Rome, Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, provided additional details about the...

War in Syria threatens Lebanon's future, too, says Maronite Patriarch

A flood of Syrian refugees is causing strains between Christians and Muslims in Lebanon, reports Maronite Catholic Patriarch Bechara Rai. The Maronite prelate told Aid to the Church in Need that...

Raul Castro to meet with Pontiff

Cuban President Raul Castro will meet with Pope Francis on Sunday, May 10, the Vatican has disclosed. The meeting—which comes shortly after the announcement that the Holy Father will visit Cuba...

Belgian archbishop's resignation will test Pope's policy on sex-abuse response

The looming resignation of Belgium’s leading Catholic prelate will bring a new test for Pope Francis’ determination to hold prelates accountable for their handling of sex-abuse cases. Archbishop...

Released Wednesday, May. 6

Wisconsin city bans discrimination against atheists

Without dissent, the city council of Madison, Wisconsin, has banned discrimination on account of “nonreligion” in employment, housing, and public accommodations. “It boils down to the...

Polish, German bishops recall anniversary of Dachau liberation

The presidents of the German and Polish episcopates, joined by other bishops and priests, offered Mass at Dachau to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the concentration camp’s liberation on April...

Coptic patriarch: 3rd Sunday of April could be common day for Easter celebration

The head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria, said that a proposal to make the third Sunday of April the common date for the Christian celebration of Easter is being...

Chaldean patriarch: Kurdish constitution should mention Christians

As lawmakers discuss the wording of a constitution for the autonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church called for the inclusion of the word “Christians” in the...

Christian leaders deplore continued civil war in South Sudan

The South Sudan Council of Churches recently issued a statement deploring the continued civil war in the northeast African nation. “The rule of law is largely absent,” the Christian leaders...

Freed Boko Haram kidnapping victims are undernourished and in shock, says prelate

More than 300 persons, kidnapped by Boko Haram and freed by the Nigerian army, traveled to camps in Yola. The city’s bishop told the MISNA news agency that the victims are malnourished and in...

13 sainthood causes advance

In an audience with the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on May 5, Pope Francis cleared the way for the canonization of three blesseds. The Pope officially approved the...

Boston archdiocese asks court to end vigil at closed parish church

The Archdiocese of Boston has brought trespassing charges against members of a group that has kept vigil in a closed parish church building for more than 10 years. The “Friends of St. Frances...

Pope speaks on 'unimaginable dignity' of Christian marriage

Pope Francis spoke of the “unimaginable dignity” of marriage at his weekly public audience on May 6. The Pope reminded his audience of St. Paul’s teaching that marriage “is the image of the love...

Pope pens special prayer for Jubilee year

In a special prayer he composed for the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis asks Jesus to “let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.” The full text of the Pope’s...

German bishops change personnel policy, will allow for gay and divorced/remarried employees

The Catholic bishops of Germany have changed their personnel policies, to allow Church employees to keep their jobs even if they are divorced and remarried, or engaged in homosexual...

Chilean bishops see national crisis of authority

The Catholic bishops’ conference of Chile has issued a statement noting “the loss of confidence in social relations and in leadership at all levels” in the country, saying that Chile is a land with...

Reflecting on World War II, Pope says man should 'learn from the mistakes of the past'

At the conclusion of his regular weekly public audience on May 6, Pope Francis remarked that many cities in Europe would soon be marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. The Pope...

Catholic cardinal joins Archbishop of Canterbury for ecumenical service

The leading Catholic prelate in England has joined with the Archbishop of Canterbury in a historic ecumenical service. Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster joined Dr. Justin Welby in the...

Released Thursday, May. 7

Dublin archbishop discusses opposition to same-sex marriage

In an address to diocesan communications officers, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin explained why he will cast a vote of no in the May 22 referendum on same-sex marriage. “For me the...

KGB created liberation theology, defector alleges

A former Romanian three-star general has alleged in an interview that the Soviet secret police created liberation theology. Ion Mihai Pacepa left Romania in 1978, becoming the highest-ranking...

Swiss Catholics call for same-sex partnerships, change in teaching on Communion

Five months before the upcoming Synod of Bishops, the Swiss Bishops’ Conference has published a report summarizing the results of recent discussions by Swiss Catholics on marriage and family...

Pope meets with Harlem Globetrotters

Pope Francis met briefly with members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team in St. Peter’s Square on May 6. The team named the Pope an honorary Globetrotter and gave him a jersey. St....

Divided Christians should turn to Scripture, tradition, says Pope

Pope Francis received European bishops and non-Catholic Christian leaders in audience on May 7 and gave thanks for the ecumenical progress of recent decades. Acknowledging “diverse views on...

Witness to the Gospel of the family amid divorce and polygamy, Pope tells Mali’s bishops

Pope Francis received the bishops of Mali in audience on May 7 and praised them for their witness of charity and interreligious dialogue in the midst of a “difficult context”—likely a reference to...

Leading liberation theologian to speak at Vatican conference

One of the foremost representatives of liberation theology, Father Gustavo Gutierrez, will address a meeting of Caritas International at the Vatican next week. The Peruvian scholar, who has...

Kansas City priest, prosecutor clash on 'political motivation' for criminal case against Bishop Finn

After a Missouri priest charged that the criminal case against Bishop Robert Finn had been motivated by politics and publicity, the prosecutor who won the case has shot back, saying that the...

Sports competition is healthy, when kept in perspective, Pope says

In a May 7 meeting with members of an Italian sports association, Pope Francis said that athletic competition is healthy as long as it is kept in a balanced perspective. The Pope welcomed...

Australian archbishop enters not-guilty plea on charge of covering up abuse

Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide, Australia, has entered a plea of not-guilty to charges of covering up evidence of sexual abuse. The archbishop, who is formally charged with “concealing a...

Despite security fears after massacre, bishop reports healthy Catholic community in Garissa, Kenya

The Catholic Herald profiles Bishop Joseph Alessandro, a native of Malta, who now serves as auxiliary bishop in the Garissa, Kenya diocese. The Capuchin missionary reports that in Garissa—the...

Nigerian priest kidnapped

A Catholic priest was kidnapped on May 4 in Ikanepo, Nigeria, the Fides news service reports. Father Innocent Umor, a priest of the Idah diocese, was abducted by five armed men, who broke into...

Marks on Sudarium of Ovieto match those on Shroud of Turin, researcher says

At a conference dedicated to scientific study of the Shroud of Turin, a researcher said that the markings on the Shroud are fully compatible with those on the Sudarium of Oviedo: the cloth believed...

Released Friday, May. 8

President Obama pays tribute to religious liberty

President Barack Obama condemned religious persecution and lauded religious freedom in his proclamation for the National Day of Prayer, which took place on May 7. “When women and men of all...

Vatican newspaper publishes reflection by leading liberation theologian

L’Osservatore Romano has published an excerpt of On the Side of the Poor, a recent book coauthored by Father Gustavo Gutierrez, a leading liberation theologian, and Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller,...

Vatican official pays tribute to speech that helped give birth to European Union

Noting that Pope Francis has called upon European parliamentarians to return to the founding vision of the European Union, Father Bernard Ardura, the president of the Pontifical Committee for...

Fatima message ‘lifts veil’ on past century, was ‘turning point’ of John Paul’s pontificate, says cardinal

Stating that “there is no fourth secret nor are there other hidden secrets,” Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, delivered a lengthy address on the...

Ghana’s Christian leaders condemn Islamist attacks on Christians

Ghana’s bishops met with the Protestant leaders of the Christian Council of Ghana and issued a joint statement in which they decried the persecution of Christians. After discussing domestic...

European bishops recall end of World War II

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, the president of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community, has issued a statement commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World...

Nigerian priest released two days after kidnapping

A Nigerian priest who was kidnapped last week has been released, the Fides news service reports. Father Innocent Umor, who was abducted from his rectory in the Idah diocese, was set free after...

Anglican archbishop sees accord with Rome on 80% of doctrinal issues

The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) has produced general agreement on 80% of the doctrinal issues under discussion, an Anglican prelate told Vatican Radio. Archbishop...

Islamic State's goal is genocide of Christians, relief agency's director warns

The Islamic State is waging “an uncompromising war for a religious and territorial cleansing of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East,” the American director of Aid to the Church in...

Holy Spirit guides both calls for change and for unity in Church, Pope tells congregation

The Holy Spirit stirs up calls for change in the Church, but also ensures that disagreements can be resolved, Pope Francis said in his homily at morning Mass on May 8. Reflecting on the day’s...

New member of CDF does not flinch from controversial issues

Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney, Australia, who this week was appointed by Pope Francis to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, does not shy away from controversial theological...

Referendum on same-sex marriage could split Ireland 'irreparably,' journalists argue

An influential Irish journalist has accused Prime Minister Enda Kenny of conducting a “reckless and ill-though out” campaign for approval of a referendum that would allow for legal recognition of...

Sports are 'fundamental pillar' of youthful development, Pope says-- while denouncing cheaters

Sports, along with education and family life, form the “three fundamental pillars” of children’s development, Pope Francis said in a May 8 meeting with representatives of the Italian Tennis...

Full schedule released for Pope's July trip to Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay

The Vatican has released a full schedule for the July visit of Pope Francis to Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay. The Holy Father will travel to South America on July 5, and return to Rome on July...

Statutes released for Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors

The Vatican has released the statues of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which were approved by Pope Francis in April. In a chirograph that was released along with the...

Jihadists seek to break friendly ties between Syria's Christians and Muslims, Melkite Patriarch says

Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregory III Laham has said that Islamic militants are actively seeking to create tensions between Syria’s religious communities. “It is the goal of the jihadists to sow...

Israel moves forward with construction of homes for Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem

The Israeli government has given approval to begin the construction of 900 homes for Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem, launching a project that has caused tensions between Israelis and...

Released Monday, May. 11

Norway repeals its blasphemy law

Expressing solidarity with victims of the Charlie Hebdo shooting, Norwegian lawmakers have repealed the nation’s anti-blasphemy law, under which no one has been convicted since 1912, and no one...

Feed the sheep, foster apostolic zeal, Pope Francis tells Mozambique’s bishops

Pope Francis received Mozambique’s bishops in the Apostolic Palace on May 9 as part of their quinquennial ad limina visit to Rome. The Southeast African nation of 24 million is 28% Protestant,...

Raul Castro meets with Pope, says he may return to Church

Pope Francis received President Raúl Castro of Cuba in audience on May 10, four months before the Pontiff’s apostolic journey to the Caribbean nation and the United States. Castro, 83, met with...

‘We are united by the ecumenism of blood,’ Pope tells Coptic Orthodox leader

Two years after their meeting in Rome, Pope Francis has sent a message to Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church. The church, which has 9 million members, is among...

Pope reflects on Christ’s new commandment, lauds mothers, pro-life marchers

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading at Mass (Jn. 15:9-17), Pope Francis devoted his May 10 Regina Caeli address to Christ’s “new commandment” to “love one another as I have loved you.” “He...

Pope places jubilee year under protection of Our Lady of Mercy

Pope Francis has placed the upcoming extraordinary jubilee year of mercy under the maternal protection of Our Lady of Mercy. In a May 10 letter to the bishop of Savona-Noli, Italy, Pope Francis...

Africa’s experience of family life must be heard at synod, Pope tells Togo’s bishops

Pope Francis received Togo’s bishops in audience on May 11 as part of their quinquennial ad limina visit to Rome. The West African nation of 6.8 million is 20% Muslim, 15% Protestant, and 14%...

40,000 join in Italy's March for Life

About 40,000 people participated in the 5th annual March for Life in Rome on Sunday, May 10. The March-- which coincided with the observance of Mother's Day-- brought together pro-lifers active...

English bishop welcomes priests' statement urging Synod to reaffirm Church teaching on marriage

An English bishop has applauded a public statement, signed by about 500 priests in England and Wales, urging the Synod of Bishops to release a clear affirmation of Church teaching on...

Irish bishops, in separate statements, plead for caution on same-sex marriage

With a nationwide referendum on same-sex marriage looming, several Irish Catholic bishops have issued statements opposing redefinition of marriage. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, however,...

Pope has stopped speaking of change in approach to marriage, Vatican-watcher notes

Since the October 2014 meeting of the Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis has cut back dramatically on his public statements of support for a change in the Church’s handling of troubled marriages, notes...

Make small changes for the good, Pope encourages schoolchildren

During a May 11 meeting with about 7,000 schoolchildren, Pope Francis challenged them to make a small change to improved themselves. “Whenever we do something together, something beautiful,...

Iceland's exhibit at Milan Expo: an unused church converted to a mosque

Iceland has created a controversy at the Milan Expo by converting a closed church building into a mosque. The Iceland delegation had rented the building, formerly the church of Santa Maria della...

Jesuit college students protest commencement address by Cardinal Dolan

More than 600 students at Le Moyne College, a Jesuit institution in upstate New York, have signed a statement protesting the appearance of Cardinal Timothy Dolan as commencement speaker. The...

Released Tuesday, May. 12

USCCB: reform ‘inhumane’ immigrant-detention system

The United States Conference of Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services and the Center for Migration Studies have published a 44-page plan to reform the nation’s...

Pope preaches on Christians who are being martyred ‘in the name of God’

Referring to the beheading of Coptic Christians by members of the Islamic State in Libya, Pope Francis devoted his May 11 weekday Mass homily to Christians who are being martyred “in the name of...

Dates, itinerary announced for papal trip to Cuba

The Cuban episcopal conference has announced the dates of Pope Francis’s upcoming apostolic journey to the island nation. The Pope will arrive in Havana, the nation’s capital and largest city, on...

Vatican Secretary of State lauds Cardinal Mindszenty

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, celebrated Mass on May 7 in honor of the Servant of God József Mindszenty (1892-1975). The year 2015 is the 100th anniversary of the...

Report: Pope Francis countered repeat of Vatileaks through USB flash drives

A leading Italian newspaper has reported that Pope Francis has countered the possibility of another Vatican leaks scandal by changing the method of transmission of confidential correspondence. In...

Japanese bishop rues population decline

The bishop of Niigata, Japan, lamented the nation’s population decline and said that the Church is doing too little to counter it. More than 80% of rural communities in his diocese, said Bishop...

Al Gore: ‘I could become a Catholic’ because of Pope’s environmental stance

Al Gore, who served as vice president of the United States from 1993 to 2001, said in a recent talk that he is inspired by Pope Francis’s leadership on environmental issues, according to a Daily...

Major new survey finds decline in US Catholic population, as adults leave Church

The number of Americans who are not affiliated with any religious group has jumped in recent years, while the number of Christians has declined, a major new survey shows. In a massive survey of...

Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga rips US critics of Pope's forthcoming encyclical

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga blasted American critics of the environmental views of Pope Francis during a May 12 press conference in Rome. Cardinal Rodriguez, the president of Caritas...

Vatican never condemned liberation theology, Gustavo Gutierrez insists

The Peruvian priest who is widely regarded as the founder of liberation theology said that he is pleased with a “change in atmosphere” at the Vatican since the election of Pope Francis, but stressed...

Parishes will join creditors in Minnesota archdiocesan bankruptcy proceedings

A federal court has given parishes of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis a formal role in the bankruptcy proceedings for the archdiocese. A committee representing the 187 parishes will...

5,000 Catholics killed in a single Nigerian diocese

More than 5,000 Catholics have been killed by Boko Haram terrorists in a single Nigerian diocese, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) reports. In the Maiduguri diocese, in northeastern Nigeria, at...

Benedict XVI breaks silence with introduction to new book by Cardinal Bertone

The work of a pastor “cannot be limited only to the Church,” Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI wrote in a letter to his former Secretary of State—one of the few things the former Pontiff has written for...

Pope condemns profits from war, inequality

Pope Francis led 7,000 schoolchildren in a chant, “Where there is not justice, there is no peace,” during a May 11 encounter. In an exchange with young people, in an audience arranged by the...

Curb costs of church construction, Indian cardinal orders pastors

The leader of India’s Syro-Malabar Catholic Church has asked pastors to refrain from excessive spending on new church buildings. Cardinal George Alencherry, the Major Archbishop of...

Released Wednesday, May. 13

Agenda announced for US bishops’ June meeting

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced the agenda for its spring meeting, which will take place in St. Louis from June 10 to 12. Different bishops will brief the meeting...

Action urged on legislation that would ban most late-term abortions

The National Committee for a Human Life Amendment (NCHLA), which works closely with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on legislative matters, is calling upon pro-life citizens to...

Pope cautions Caritas against centralization, urges efforts against hunger

Pope Francis opened the general assembly of Caritas Internationalis with a late afternoon Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica on May 12 and cautioned the Church’s confederation of relief and development...

Pope renews call for courtesy in family life, asks young people to pray Rosary daily

Continuing his catechesis on the family, Pope Francis devoted his May 13 general audience to “three words which I’ve already used many times: ‘May I?’, ‘Thank you,’ and ‘Pardon me.’” “These...

French president bestows nation’s highest award on Cuban cardinal

During a visit to Cuba, President François Hollande awarded the nation’s highest decoration to Cardinal Jaime Ortega, inducting the prelate into the Legion of Honour. In bestowing the award on...

Place the Mass at the center of your life, Cardinal Parolin tells new priests

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, ordained two members of the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the priesthood on May 9. The institute, founded in 1991 and...

Prelate: cautious optimism about peace prospects in Central African Republic

In an interview with the Missionary International Service News Agency, the Central African Republic’s leading prelate expressed cautious optimism about the end of civil conflict following a national...

Burundi's president must abandon bid for 3rd term: bishops demand

Church leaders in Burundi have reportedly said that they will ask Catholics to leave the country’s electoral commission if President Pierre Nkurunziza goes forward with his plan to seek a 3rd term...

Irish government abruptly cuts all funding for Catholic marriage-counseling agency

The Irish government has cut off all funding for a Catholic marriage-counseling agency. The announcement that the government has blocked €378,000 ($429,000) in subsidies for Accord, an agency...

Vatican recognizes Palestinian state

The Holy See has formally recognized a Palestinian state. The Vatican announced on May 13 that talks had been successfully concluded to complete a treaty between the Holy See and the “State of...

Tighter security at papal audience as officials test new plans

The police presence was noticeably heavier for the regular weekly papal audience on May 13, as Vatican and Italian police forces introduced new security arrangements. Police closed off vehicular...

'Catastrophe' at hand for Iraqi Christians, nun tells Congress

Christians in Iraq are “on the edge of a terrible catastrophe,” an Iraqi nun said in May 13 testimony before the foreign-affairs committee of the US House of Representatives. Sister Diana...

Cardinal Marx pays homage to president of European Parliament

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, speaking in his capacity as president of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) has issued a statement congratulating Martin Schulz,...

Italian officials begin planning for Jubilee Year traffic improvements

Italian government officials have begun planning for the Year of Mercy, which opens on December 8. In and around Rome, officials anticipate road repairs, the creation of new bicycle lanes on many...

Vatican offers Arabic-language guidebook for visitors

The Vatican’s publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, has announced the imminent publication of an Arabic-language tourist guide. The guidebook, which will be released next week, will...

Released Thursday, May. 14

USCCB committee: Obama administration should be more transparent on drones

The chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace said in a letter to National Security Advisor Susan Rise that “more transparency” is needed in the Obama administration’s...

At Georgetown poverty forum, President Obama lauds Pope Francis

Speaking at a Catholic-evangelical forum on poverty, President Barack Obama praised Pope Francis’s “transformative … sincerity” on poverty. “We have had disagreements around reproductive issues,...

Death penalty has ‘no place in a Christian country,’ says Papua New Guinea’s bishops

Capital punishment has “no place in a Christian country, where true justice and mercy should prevail,” the bishops of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands said in a recent statement. “Pope...

Report: 3 churches attacked in India

On the night of May 12, Hindu radicals reportedly attacked three Protestant churches in Indore, a central Indian city of two million. “The extremists threw stones, destroyed crosses, vandalized...

Papal visit to Bosnia has nothing to do with Medjugorje, says cardinal

At a press conference devoted to Pope Francis’s upcoming apostolic journey to Bosnia, Cardinal Vinko Puljic said that “Medjugorje has nothing to do with this visit.” Citing confidentiality, the...

Bishop: shock, fear in Nepal following 2nd earthquake

People in Nepal are “stunned” by the second major earthquake in less than two weeks, the nation’s apostolic vicar said in an interview with Catholic News Service. “They were slowly recovering...

House approves bill banning most late-term abortions

In a 242-184 vote, the US House of Representatives has passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Even if passed by the...

Cardinal Tagle chosen as president of Caritas International

Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila has been elected the new president of Caritas International, the worldwide consortium of Catholic relief agencies. Cardinal Tagle was elected at the 20th assembly of...

'Fundamental change' needed to save environment, ease inequality: Cardinal Turkson

Cardinal Peter Turkson called for a “fundamental change” in attitudes and public policies, to protect the environment and help the poor, in a May 14 address to the assembly of Caritas...

Environmental concern should put people first, says Cypriot archbishop

Archbishop Joseph Soueif of Cyprus, one of two finalists in the election of a new president for Caritas International, said that concern for the environment should begin with respect for human...

After Pope Francis, 'no turning back,' insists Argentine ally

Pope Francis is changing the Church and “there’s no turning back,” an Argentine archbishop has told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera. Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez, who is a close ally...

Canonizations will boost morale of Palestinian Christians, bishop says

The May 17 canonization of two Palestinian women “gives hope to Christians in the Holy Land,” Bishop William Shomali told Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). Blessed Marie Alphonsine Ghattas and...

Vatican press office denies rumor that Pope's encyclical on environment has been postponed

The Vatican has dismissed a rumor that publication of the encyclical by Pope Francis on the environment has been postponed. The encyclical remains scheduled for publication in June, reports...

50,000 registered to attend papal Mass in Sarajevo

Over 50,000 people have already registered to attend a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in Sarajevo on June 6. Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo disclosed the advance registration as he spoke...

Released Friday, May. 15

USCCB official urges support for parental choice in education

At a House of Representatives committee meeting, the executive director for Catholic Education of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed support for the continued funding of the...

God’s mercy, commandments cannot be opposed, says British cardinal

At a recent homily that touched upon themes of the upcoming Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster stressed that God’s mercy and God’s commandments cannot be opposed to one...

Papal message to Pax Christi on its 70th anniversary

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has sent a brief message in Pope Francis’s name to Pax Christi International on the seventieth anniversary of its founding. “He sends...

Dialogue with Islam more necessary than ever, says Vatican cardinal

The Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe has sponsored a three-day meeting at the Abbey of St. Maurice in Switzerland devoted to Muslims in Europe. Alluding to the persecution of...

Report decries abuse of Christian refugees in Libya

Amnesty International has published a report documenting the ill-treatment of Christian migrants in Libya. “Inside war-torn Libya, thousands of foreign nationals, including refugees and...

Scientists find use of the Pill may alter size of brain

New scientific research suggests that use of the oral contraceptive pill may alter the shape of women’s brains, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) reports. A study published in the journal Human...

Christian hope shines through violence, Pope tells bishops of Central African Republic

“You must not be discouraged by the storm you are passing through,” Pope Francis told the bishops of the war-torn Central African Republic in a May 15 audience. Assuring the bishops of his...

Pope writes on role of athletic coaches in youth formation

Pope Francis addressed the important role that athletic coaches can play in the development of young people, in a message to a seminar on coaching, conducted under the auspices of the Pontifical...

Luxembourg's premier joins partner in homosexual marriage

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel of Luxembourg has entered in a legal marriage with his homosexual partner, Gauthier Bestenay, in a ceremony at Luxembourg City town hall. Bettel, who became prime...

LCWR claims 'positive outcome' from Vatican investigation

In a confident statement welcoming the “positive outcome” of a Vatican investigation, the officers of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) said that they hope the example set by their...

Canonizations will boost Christians of the Holy Land, Jordanian priest says

The canonization of two Palestinian women religious on May 17 is a reminder that “only prayer can miraculously help save our faith in the midst of these times of trial,” a priest from Jordan said at...

Massachusetts court orders end to occupation of closed parish church building

A Massachusetts judge has ordered an end to the 11-year occupation of a church that was officially closed by the Archdiocese of Boston. The “Friends of St. Frances Cabrini,” who have maintained a...

Romania's president meets with Pontiff

Pope Francis met on May 14 with Romania’s President Klaus Werner Iohannis, as the Holy See and Romania marked the 25th anniversary of the restoration of their diplomatic ties. In “cordial”...

Released Monday, May. 18

‘Accelerate verifiable nuclear disarmament,’ USCCB committee chair urges

As the United Nations hosts a review conference on the 1970 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace told...

Citing US bishops’ report, Times calls for end of immigrant-detention system

Lamenting the “inhumanity and wasted expense of imprisoning people who could be working and providing for their families,” the editorial board of The New York Times called the United States’...

Collaborating with pontifical council, Bocelli to perform in basilicas

In a tribute to the beauty of the Christian family, tenor Andrea Bocelli, in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for the Family, will perform in various cathedrals and basilicas in 2015 and...

Pope Francis: ‘feminine genius,’ not ‘functionalism,’ key to women’s role in Church

Pope Francis met with male and female religious of the Diocese of Rome on May 16 and, in the course of his extemporaneous answers to four questions, reflected on the role of women, especially women...

Palestinian president meets with Pope

Pope Francis received Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in audience on May 16, one day before the canonization of two Palestinian nuns. During the meeting, “great satisfaction was expressed” on...

Pope Francis canonizes 4 saints

Pope Francis canonized four women religious during Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica on May 17. The four are St. Émilie de Villeneuve (1811-54), the French foundress of the Sisters of Our Lady of the...

Italian priest beatified

Father Luigi Caburlotto (1817-97), an Italian priest who founded the Daughters of St. Joseph, was beatified in Venice on May 16. Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation for the...

Papal appeal for peace in Burundi

During his May 17 Regina Caeli address, Pope Francis paid homage to the four saints he had just canonized, greeted Czechs who were recalling the 20th anniversary of St. John Paul II to the shrine of...

San Francisco: loyal Catholics rally behind Archbishop Cordileone

Hundreds of Catholics of the San Francisco archdiocese joined in a family picnic organized as a show of support for Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. The informal event was designed to counteract...

German lay organization, backed by bishops, calls for changes in Church policy on marriage

An influential national body of German lay Catholics has called for dramatic changes in Church policies regarding marriage, prompting a confrontation with one German bishop, the National Catholic...

Colombian bishop 'clarifies' controversial remarks on homosexuality

A Colombian bishop who last week called for acceptance of same-sex unions has said that he supports the Church teaching on sexuality. “Even if homosexuality as an inclination doesn’t constitute a...

Journalist who accused Pope Francis of collaborating with Argentine junta was himself employed by dictators, investigators charge

An Argentine journalist who accused Pope Francis of having collaborated with the country’s military rulers was himself on the payroll of the Argentine junta in the late 1970s, according to a new...

Former Dominican leader, advocate for including gays, named consultor to Pontifical Council

Father Timothy Radcliffe, the former worldwide leader of the Dominican order, has been named by Pope Francis as a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Although it is a minor...

Head of conservative Anglican sect receives Pope's message of support

Pope Francis has sent a message of support to the new leader of an Anglican group that has split with the Church of England over the ordination of homosexual bishops. The Pope conveyed his...

Respect role of laity, Pope urges Italian bishops in advice-packed address

Bishops should respect the proper role of the laity, trusting lay Catholics to take the lead in political and social affairs, Pope Francis said in a May 18 address to the Italian bishops’...

Pope meets with leaders of Roman Curia

Pope Francis met on May 18, with the top officials of the Roman Curia. The Vatican did not disclose the purpose of the Monday-morning meeting, which had not been announced in advance. Pope...

Irish bishops issue multiple statements on same-sex marriage referendum

For the second consecutive week, many Irish Catholic bishops issued pastoral statements about the nationwide referendum on same-sex marriage that will take place this week. In their individual...

New head of Catholic Relief Services defends program against critics

A month after the public revelation that a vice-president of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is a partner in a same-sex marriage, the new director of CRS has said that the US bishops’ overseas...

Ukrainian Orthodox leader pleads for end to Ukraine-Russia clashes

The head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church allied with the Moscow patriarchate has issued a plea for an end to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev bitterly...

Released Tuesday, May. 19

European bishops’ conferences pledge to deepen dialogue with Islam

Bishops and episcopal conference officials responsible for relations with Muslims in Europe have affirmed their commitment to dialogue. “Islam is a religion rich and diverse in its tradition with...

Aleppo’s Christians are losing hope, says bishop

The Chaldean Catholic bishop of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, said that the Christians remaining there are losing hope. “Now our situation is very bad, very difficult,” Bishop Antoine Audo, SJ,...

Patriarch welcomes agreement between Holy See, Palestinian leaders

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem welcomed the new diplomatic agreement between the Holy See and Palestinian leaders. Stating that it will “facilitate the life and work of the Church in...

Vatican newspaper publishes book excerpt by Father Sobrino, subject of CDF statement

L’Osservatore Romano has published an excerpt of a new book by Father Jon Sobrino, a theologian whose doctrinal errors were discussed in a 2007 notification by the Congregation for the Doctrine of...

Archbishop Romero named co-patron of Caritas

Archbishop Óscar Romero, who will be beatified on May 23, has been named co-patron of Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies. The prelate, who...

Vanier receives Templeton Prize

Jean Vanier, the Canadian Catholic layman who founded the L’Arche network of communities for the mentally disabled, received the Templeton Prize in London on May 18. The award, which honors...

French Guiana’s bishop pleads for donations as funds run out

Bishop Emmanuel Lafont of Cayenne, French Guiana’s sole diocese, announced in May 17 letter that the diocese no longer has funds to pay property taxes or compensate priests. Alain Tien-Long,...

Coptic Catholic Church opposes death penalty for Morsi

An Egyptian court has sentenced Mohamed Morsi, who served as the nation’s president from 2012 to 2013, to death. The sentence will be confirmed or commuted on June 2, according to the Fides news...

Mother Teresa to be canonized in September 2016?

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta will be canonized in September 2016, according to multiple news reports. The Vatican has not confirmed plans for the canonization. But the respected Vatican news...

Monday meeting of Curia leaders was devoted to Jubilee Year plans

When Pope Francis met on May 18 with top officials of the Roman Curia, the meeting was devoted to plans for the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Vatican Insider reports. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the...

Be prepared for the 'final farewell,' Pope advises congregation

In his homily at morning Mass on May 18, Pope Francis spoke about different ways of saying goodbye. The Pope spoke about the sadness of people who are leaving their loved ones, or their homeland....

China allows 1st ordinations of Russian Orthodox priests in 60 years

The Chinese government has allowed the ordination of Russian Orthodox priests, for the first time in 60 years, the AsiaNews service reports. Metropolitan Hilarion, who heads the external-affairs...

Vatican issues statistical profile of Catholic Church in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Looking forward to the June 6 visit by Pope Francis to Sarajevo, the Vatican has issued a statistical profile of the Catholic Church in Bosnia-Herzegovina. There are just under 440,000 Catholics...

American donor leads fundraising in Irish campaign for same-sex marriage

An Irish-American financier, Chuck Feeney, has been the leading financial supporter of a campaign for legal acceptance of same-sex marriage in Ireland. As Irish voters prepare to take part in a...

Released Wednesday, May. 20

3 members named to National Review Board

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has named three new members of the National Review Board, a lay body that assists the US bishops’ conference in preventing the sexual abuse of...

Holy See diplomat speaks out against anti-Christian discrimination in Europe

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) hosted a conference in Vienna on May 18 devoted to combating anti-Christian discrimination. Msgr. Janusz Urbanczyk, who represents...

Vatican cardinal calls for ‘proportional military action’ in Iraq

Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, said in an interview that “we need political action and proportional military action” in Iraq, according...

Caritas: assisting small farmers, local markets will help end hunger

A food-security study commissioned by Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies, has found that “the best way to end the scandal of hunger is to support...

Honor for late French cardinal who saved Jews during Holocaust

The plaza outside Toulouse Cathedral in France was dedicated to the memory of Cardinal Jules-Gérard Saliège on May 12. Pinchas Goldschmidt, chief rabbi of Moscow and president of the Conference...

Pope Francis: pray that China’s Catholics will be united to the Pope

At the conclusion of his May 20 general audience, Pope Francis asked Catholics around the world to pray for the Church in China on May 24. On that day, “Catholics in China will be praying with...

Japan earthquake response fostered appreciation for Church, says priest

The executive director of Caritas Japan said that the Church’s prompt and sustained response to the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami has fostered a positive impression of Catholicism in a nation...

Pope Francis warns parents against ceding children’s education to ‘experts’

Continuing his catechesis on the family, Pope Francis devoted his May 20 general audience to parents’ natural vocation to educate their children. Intellectual critics, said the Pope, “have...

English bishop: failures of end-of-life care show need to recover Christian dignity of death

An English bishop has said that he is appalled by a report that shows a breakdown in end-of-life care in the nation’s health system. Bishop John Sherrington, an auxiliary of the Westminster...

Climate change threatens every society: Cardinal Parolin

No one is immune from the implications of climate change, the Vatican's Secretary of State has warned. “When the future of the planet is at stake, there are no political frontiers, barriers or...

Italy must strive for excellence, not 'muddling through,' cardinal says

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the president of the Italian bishops’ conference, said that Italian society should aim for a recovery of excellence, rather than simply “muddling through.” “Recovery...

Anti-Christian bias growing in Europe, Vatican delegate tells OSCE

“Christians are the religious group most persecuted and discriminated against on the global level,” Msgr. Janusz Urbanczyk, the Vatican’s representative to the Organization for Security and...

Catholic campus chaplain removed; homosexual advocacy an issue?

The Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey has denied media reports that a Catholic chaplain at Seton Hall University was removed because of his advocacy for homosexual causes. Father Warren Hall told...

Saudi bombing damages occupied Catholic church in Yemen

A Catholic church in Yemen was seriously damaged during a Saudi bombing raid last week, the Fides news service reports. The church of the Immaculate Conception in Aden had been occupied by Houthi...

Released Thursday, May. 21

Belfast court fines bakery for refusing ‘support gay marriage’ cake

A court in Belfast has ruled that a bakery’s Christian owners illegally discriminated against a customer on the basis of sexual orientation when they declined a request to decorate a cake with the...

Defeat for Notre Dame in HHS mandate case

A federal appeals court has refused to issue a temporary order barring enforcement of the HHS mandate against the University of Notre Dame. “Although Notre Dame is the final arbiter of its...

China’s president: religions must be free from foreign influence

Xi Jinping--the head of China’s Communist Party since 2012, and China’s president since 2013-- said on May 20 that religions in China must be independent of foreign influence. “We must manage...

Orthodox-Lutheran commemoration of Reformation planned for 2017

At a recent meeting in Greece, the official ecumenical dialogue between the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Eastern Orthodox churches announced that a joint commemoration of the Protestant...

Do not permit refugees to drown at sea, Germany’s Christian leaders urge

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, has issued a joint statement with Orthodox and Lutheran leaders calling upon Germany to be more open to refugees. “In...

Colombia’s bishops denounce euthanasia decision, ask for conscience protection

The president of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia has renewed the bishops’ condemnation of a recent court decision on physician-assisted suicide. The nation’s high court ordered the...

Pope, former Mexican president discuss ecology

Felipe Calderón, who served as Mexico’s president from 2006 to 2012, met with Pope Francis on May 20 and discussed the upcoming encyclical on ecology, according to Mexican media reports and the...

Cardinal Pell denies claim he attempted to bribe abuse victim

In testimony given to Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, a man who was abused by his uncle, Father Gerald Ridsdale, testified that Cardinal George Pell...

San Francisco archdiocese, teachers' union working to settle dispute on personnel policy

The San Francisco archdiocese is working with teachers to revise a handbook that would set standards for faculty members in Catholic schools. A revised handbook, which had required teachers not...

Pope highlights value of police work

Pope Francis said that police work is essential to a civilized society, in a May 21 audience with relatives of police officers who have been killed or severely injured in the line of...

Released Friday, May. 22

Defeat for Priests for Life in HHS mandate case

A federal appellate court has refused to rehear Priests for Life’s request for relief from the HHS mandate. In November, three judges from the 11-judge US Court of Appeals for the District of...

Pakistan: 106 people indicted in lynching of Christian couple

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court has indicted 106 persons for the brutal November lynching of a Christian couple in Chak, a town located in Punjab province. Shahzad Masih and Sharma Bibi were...

Scholar, in House testimony, describes ‘culture of impunity’ against Egypt’s Christians

Testifying before the US House of Representative’s Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom documented recent...

‘Urgent’ need to promote universal basic health-care coverage, says Vatican prelate

In an address to the World Health Assembly in Geneva, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Health Care Workers said that “urgent action” is needed to address serious...

Chechen leader lends support to polygamy

Stating that “we have followed the norms of Islamic law and national traditions,” Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of Russia’s semi-autonomous and largely Muslim Chechen Republic, attended the May 16...

Dublin archbishop weighs in on marriage referendum

In an interview with Vatican Radio on the eve of Ireland’s referendum on same-sex marriage, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin said that “marriage has its place in the construction of society, and...

Researcher questions Pew report on declining US Catholic population

A senior research associate for the Center of Applied Research in the Apostolate disputed the Pew Research Center’s recent report on a decline in the US Catholic population. Citing other...

Nepal's officials tell Mother Teresa's nuns: all aid must go through government

The Missionaries of Charity encountered government resistance when they brought aid to earthquake victims in Nepal. Police who were escorting a group of Missionaries of Charity diverted them to a...

Another Catholic priest seized by jihadists in Syria

A Catholic monk has been kidnapped from a monastery in Qaryatayn, Syria. Father Jacques Mourad, the prior of the Mar Elias monastery, was seized by armed men representing an Islamic rebel group....

300,000 expected for Archbishop Romero's beatification

About 300,000 people are expected to attend the beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero on May 23. Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, will preside...

Protesters will continue occupation of closed Massachusetts parish church, appeal court order to vacate

Protesters in Scituate, Massachusetts have announced that they will continue their 11-year occupation of their former parish church, which was closed by the Archdiocese of Boston in 2004. The...

Pope scuttles plan to set up investment fund for Vatican bank

Pope Francis has vetoed a plan to set up an investment fund for the Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), reports Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa. The investment fund, which would...

Released Monday, May. 25

Pope affirms link between Church’s pro-life and social teaching

Quoting Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Pope Francis said on May 22 that the Church “forcefully maintains [the] link between life ethics and social ethics.” Pope Francis...

Pope Francis reflects on dignity of work, laments culture of waste

Decrying the culture of waste, Pope Francis received members of the Italian Christian Workers Associations in audience on May 23 and said that work is dignified when it is free, creative,...

Over 250,000 attend Romero beatification; Pope, Obama issue statements

Archbishop Óscar Romero, who served as archbishop of El Salvador’s capital city of San Salvador from 1977 until his 1980 assassination, was beatified as a martyr on May 23. Cardinal Angelo Amato,...

‘We are living an ecumenism of blood,’ Pope says in video to Phoenix unity celebration

Pope Francis sent a video message to the Celebration of Christian Unity, an event that took place on May 23 at the Phoenix Convention Center. The celebration was sponsored by the John 17...

Proclaim the Gospel, Pope exhorts the consecrated in World Mission Day statement

The Holy See Press Office has released Pope Francis’s message for World Mission Sunday, which will take place on October 18. The Pope devoted his message, written during the year of consecrated...

The Holy Spirit ‘guides, renews, and gives fruit,’ Pope preaches at Pentecost Mass

Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Pentecost Sunday and emphasized during his homily that the Holy Spirit “guides us into all the truth, he renews the face of the earth, and he...

Italian missionary sister beatified in Kenya

Sister Irene Stefani (1891-1930), an Italian Consolata Missionary sister, was beatified in Kenya on May 23. Cardinal Polycarp Pengo of Tanzania presided at the Mass of beatification, which took...

The Church is a universal mother, Pope emphasizes in Regina Caeli address

Pope Francis reflected on the Church’s catholicity, or universal nature, during his Pentecost Sunday Regina Caeli address. “The gift of the Spirit restores the harmony of languages that had been...

Papal appeal for Asian migrants and refugees

Pope Francis appealed to the international community to assist thousands of refugees who are fleeing Bangladesh and Myanmar for other nations because of poverty and religious persecution. “I...

Vatican bank reports a leap in profits

The Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), realized a profit of €69.3 million ($76 million) for 2014, a huge jump from the €2.9 million profit in 2013. The profit reflects two...

Vatican envoy: 'no further room for denial' on climate change

The Vatican’s representative at UN offices in Geneva has proclaimed that there is “no further room for denial” that “human-induced climate change is a scientific reality.” Speaking to a World...

In new interview, Pope discloses daily routine: early rise, midday nap, no TV

In a new interview with an Argentinean newspaper, Pope Francis says that he wants to be remembered “as a person who has done his best to do good. I have no other claim.” The Pope spoke at some...

Cardinal Turkson: address the causes of migration from Africa

“The human person-- human capital-- is one of the greatest assets we have for development in Africa,” Cardinal Peter Turkson said in a Vatican Radio interview on May 25, as many African nations...

Irish justice minister admits surrogacy issue is unsettled

Ireland’s justice minister has revealed that the government chose not to address questions about surrogate parenthood until after the nationwide referendum that allowed for legal recognition of...

Pakistan: mob burns Christian homes after man charged with blaspheming Qu'ran

Angry Muslims looted and burned the homes of Christians in Dhup Sarri Lahore, Pakistan, after a troubled young man was accused of blaspheming the Qu’ran. The violence began, the AsiaNews...

Released Tuesday, May. 26

Nicaraguan leader seeks meeting with Pope

The apostolic nuncio to Nicaragua has confirmed that President Daniel Ortega has requested a meeting with Pope Francis, according to a Nicaraguan newspaper report. Ortega, a leader of the Marxist...

Massive cross being constructed in Pakistan

Parvez Henry Gill, a Pakistani Christian businessman, is paying for the construction of a 140-foot-high cross in Karachi, the nation's largest city, to encourage Christians to remain there despite...

India: Protestant minister jailed for ‘forced conversions’

A Pentecostal minister who baptized 16 persons in the east Indian state of Odisha has been jailed on “forced conversion” charges. “The ceremony took place only after obtaining 16 notarized...

As Muslims flee Myanmar, cardinal exhorts Buddhists to have compassion

As members of Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya Muslim community flee the Southeast Asian nation by boat, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo exhorted the nation’s Buddhist majority to have compassion. The...

Pope recalls 500th anniversary of St. Philip Neri’s birth

Pope Francis has sent a message to the Congregation of the Oratory to mark the 500th anniversary of the birth of its founder, St. Philip Neri (1515-95). Through the saint’s apostolate in Rome,...

Report: Islamic State destroys churches in northern Syria

Withdrawing from a region in northeastern Syria, forces of the Islamic State destroyed most of the churches in the villages they had occupied, according to a report from a Syrian news...

Canada’s bishops call for conscience protection as assisted-suicide decision is implemented

Three months after Canada’s high court overturned legislation against assisted suicide, the president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the nation’s attorney general to be...

Report: China’s Communist Party denounces religious belief in its ranks

China’s ruling Communist Party warned its members that atheism is a non-negotiable aspect of party membership, according to a Radio Free Asia report. The party has 86.7 million members, roughly...

Synod council discusses working document for October 2015 meeting

At a two-day meeting this week, the “ordinary council” of the Synod of Bishops discussed and revised a draft of the instrumentum laboris, the working document for the Synod’s October 2015...

France, Vatican still discussing ambassador's nomination

French and Vatican officials are still discussing the nomination of Laurent Stefanini as French ambassador to the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, has disclosed....

Liberal European bishops, in closed-door session, plan Synod strategy

Bishops from Germany, France, and Switzerland met on May 25 in at the Gregorian University in Rome, to discuss their plans for the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops. The closed-door...

Pope exhorts Franciscans to work with simplicity, brotherly spirit

In a message to members of the Franciscan order who were meeting in a general chapter, Pope Francis emphasized two defining characteristics of the order: minority and fraternity. “Minority,” the...

Dutch Catholic charity actively promotes contraception in Africa, report finds

A Dutch Catholic charity has been actively involved in promoting contraception and distributing condoms, the Lepanto Institute has discovered. Cordaid (Catholic Organization for Relief and...

Colombian cardinal: civil war must end; peace talks essential

Cardinal Rubén Salazar Gómez of Bogota has called for the quick conclusion of negotiations to end Colombia’s long civil war. “Enough! No more deaths! Conflict must end,” the cardinal said, as...

Syrian Catholic Patriarch asks prayers, fasting for safety of kidnapped priest and deacon

Syrian Catholic Patriarch Igance Youssif III has called upon the faithful to fast and pray for the safe release of two clerics who were kidnapped last week by rebel forces. In a message read at...

Released Wednesday, May. 27

Cardinal Wuerl, in pastoral letter, calls for reassertion of Catholic identity

Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington has issued a pastoral letter, dated Pentecost Sunday, on “why it is so crucial that we reassert and strengthen our Catholic identity, and that our freedom to do...

Report: Christian villages liberated in northeastern Syria

Syrian government forces, aided by Assyrian and Kurdish militias, have regained control of 35 predominantly Christian villages in northeastern Syria, according to a report from the Assyrian...

Italian cardinal speaks of importance of ‘spirituality of unity’ amid differences in Church

In a front-page article that appeared in the May 27 edition of the Vatican newspaper, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia-Città della Pieve emphasized the importance of a “spirituality of unity”...

Boko Haram raids Christian village

The Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram attacked a predominantly Christian village in northeastern Nigeria on May 22 and brutally murdered ten people. The victims were members of the...

Belgium’s bishops call for nuclear disarmament

As an international conference on nuclear nonproliferation concluded, Belgium’s bishops issued a statement calling for universal nuclear disarmament. At the earlier time, the bishops stated, the...

Cardinal Parolin: address shortcomings of ‘prevalent economic model’ with Catholic teaching

Speaking at a conference sponsored by the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice foundation, the Vatican’s Secretary of State emphasized the importance of the “dignity of the human person and the promotion...

Engagement is preparation for lifelong marriage, Pope says at general audience

Continuing his catechesis on the family, Pope Francis devoted his May 27 general audience to engagement as a preparation for marriage. “Engagement is a time when couples come to know one another...

Dutch government proposes ban on full-face veils

The Dutch government has proposed a ban on full-face veils, ski masks, and helmets in schools, hospitals, government buildings, and public transportation. The ban, which must be approved by the...

Former Vatican diplomat, facing abuse charge before Vatican court, unlikely to be extradited

Prosecutors in Poland and the Dominican Republic have recognized that it is unlikely they will be able to bring charges against Jozef Wesolowski, the laicized archbishop and former Vatican diplomat,...

Gallup finds American opinion moving strongly toward acceptance of extra-marital sex

A new Gallup poll finds that since 2001, American opinion has shifted markedly toward acceptance of extra-marital sexual behavior. The poll found that between 2001 and 2015 there have been sharp...

Vatican communications offices must be streamlined, says head of papal commission

Lord Patten, who chaired a special papal commission to assess the Vatican’s media operations, has called for a consolidation of Vatican’s publishing, broadcasting, and public-relations offices....

CRS directory removes listing of executive involved in same-sex marriage

Just days after the director of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) said that the agency was “working through” questions about an executive who is a partner in a same-sex marriage, that executive’s...

Cardinal Pell says he will testify for Australian sex-abuse commission

Cardinal George Pell has said that he will provide testimony for an Australian commission investigating the Church’s handling of sex-abuse complaints. Cardinal Pell, who is now the prefect of the...

Pakistan weighs changes to blasphemy laws; archbishop sees progress in government response

The government of Pakistan is considering changes in the country’s blasphemy laws, to guard against abuses and mob violence, the Fides news service reports. The proposed changes would allow...

Chinese 'underground' priest arrested: a bid to stop Marian pilgrimages?

A priest of China’s “underground” Catholic Church was arrested on May 7 and remains missing, the AsiaNews service reports. Father Liu Honggeng was taken from his post at a Marian shrine in...

South Sudan: Christian leaders see 'no moral justification' for continued violence

Christian leaders in South Sudan have joined in a plea for an end to vicious civil strife in the newly independent country, saying that there is “no moral justification for the killing to...

Research report sees traffic problems as city of Rome's greatest concern for Jubilee Year

Traffic snarls are the Achilles’ heel of the city of Rome, and the greatest problem for the city in preparing for the Jubilee Year, a research group reports. A study from CENSIS, an...

Released Thursday, May. 28

Israeli government’s policies threaten Christian schools, Latin Patriarchate charges

Two auxiliary bishops of Jerusalem, joined by other Christian leaders and parents, took part in a May 27 protest outside Israel’s education ministry to protest policies that they say threaten the...

Priests return to beleaguered Nigerian diocese

Approximately half of the 25 priests who left the Diocese of Maiduguri because of attacks from Boko Haram have been able to return, according to a report from the Missionary Service News...

Cardinal Parolin: Irish same-sex marriage vote a ‘defeat for mankind’

The Vatican’s Secretary of State described the recent Irish referendum approving same-sex marriage as “not only a defeat for Christian principles, but a defeat for mankind.” “I was very saddened...

Cardinal Sarah, commenting on Synod, says the Church must swim against the current

Cardinal Robert Sarah, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said that “today the Church must fight against the current, with courage and hope, and...

Present the beauty of Christian marriage, Pope tells Dominican bishops

Pope Francis received the bishops of the Dominican Republic in audience on May 28 and called upon them to “reinforce the faith and identity of all the members of the Church.” The Caribbean nation...

Report: head of pontifical council under investigation for embezzlement

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, is under investigation by Italian police for alleged “embezzlement and price fixing during the sale of an historic...

German bishops' spokesman denies closed-door meeting planned for change in Church teaching on marriage

A special meeting of European bishops was not intended to organize a campaign for change in Church teaching on marriage, a spokesman for the German bishops’ conference insists. However,...

New White House policy looms: faith-based groups receiving federal funds must accept homosexual applicants

The Obama administration is planning to institute a new policy requiring charitable groups that receive federal funding to provide equal opportunities for homosexuals, the Friday Fax...

Noted theologian says Church could allow Communion for divorced/remarried without changing doctrine

In an interview published in the authoritative Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica, an influential Dominican theologian has argued that the Church could admit divorced and remarried Catholics to...

Burundi's bishops say fair vote impossible, withdraw from election commissions

Catholic priests should not serve on election commissions in Burundi, because of irregularities in the voting process, the country’s bishops have announced. “We cannot make ourselves guarantors...

Peace will be Pope's message to Sarajevo

Pope Francis will bring a message of peace to Sarajevo when he visits the city on June 6. “Peace be with you” is the theme for the one-day papal visit to a city still troubled by memories of the...

Croatian president meets with Pontiff

Pope Francis met on May 28 with Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, for a discussion that centered on relations between the Holy See and the Croatian republic. The Vatican reported that...

Protect journalists in wartime, Vatican envoy urges UN

The Vatican’s representative at UN headquarters in New York supported measures to protect journalists during military conflicts, in a May 27 address to the Security Council. Archbishop Bernardito...

Released Friday, May. 29

Patriarch grateful for fidelity of Iran’s Catholics

The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, has returned to Iraq from a 12-day visit to Iran. The meetings with Chaldean Catholics in...

Cardinal Burke: same-sex marriage goes beyond paganism

During an address to Oxford University’s Newman Society on Pope Benedict’s intellectual legacy, Cardinal Raymond Burke commented on Ireland’s recent same-sex marriage referendum. “This is a...

Myanmar enacts ‘birth spacing’ law

In a move widely seen as targeting the nation’s Rohingya Muslim minority, President Thein Sein of Myanmar has signed the Population Control Health Care Act, which gives regional governments the...

Malaysia poised to enact partial ban on Bibles with ‘Allah’

Malaysia’s federal government has drafted guidelines that would ban the importation of Malay-language Bibles in which God is translated as “Allah” into the more populous part of the nation. Since...

Leading Italian cardinal laments gender ideology

The president of the Italian Episcopal Conference described the fight against gender ideology as a “true war in defense of man,” according to a report in La Repubblica. Instead of accepting one’s...

Vatican financial authority reports decline in investigations during 2014

The Vatican’s Financial Information Authority (AIF), established by Pope Benedict to combat money laundering and other illegal financial activities, has reported a decrease in the number of...

Nigerian bishops argue against abortion for women raped by Boko Haram

The Catholic bishops of Nigeria has issued a promise to help women who have been raped in Boko Haram terrorist raids, and pleaded against abortion for the women who became pregnant. "It is not...

Jesuit university removes statue of Jesuit missionary, after complaints of cultural insensitivity

Administrators at Jesuit-run St. Louis University have removed a statue of a Jesuit missionary from a prominent place on campus, in response to complaints that the statue was not “culturally...

New Jersey newspaper: archbishop should be replaced after removing gay priest from campus ministry

A New Jersey newspaper editorial has called for the removal of Newark’s Archbishop John Myers, after the prelate removed a campus minister who had been advocating for a homosexual cause. The...

Pope reforms management of Vatican pension fund

Pope Francis has issued new statutes for the Vatican’s pension fund, providing for a new president of the fund, chosen by the Pontiff and supervised by a board that will include lay experts. In...

Pope's prayer intentions for June 2015

The Vatican has released the prayer intentions of Pope Francis for June 2015. The Pope’s universal intention is: “That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to...

Year of Mercy is essence of the new evangelization, Pope says

The purpose of the Jubilee Year of Mercy is to underline “that the gift of mercy is the announcement that the Church is called to transmit in her work of evangelization,” Pope Francis said in a May...

Slovenia's president meets with Pontiff

Pope Francis met on May 29 with Slovenia’s President Miro Cerar, for a discussion that centered on Church-state relations. A brief Vatican statement released after the meeting said that the...

Nigerian bishop cautiously optimistic about incoming president

A Nigerian bishop whose diocese has suffered the brunt of terrorist attacks by Boko Haram has expressed confidence in incoming President Muhammadu Buhari and gratitude for a smooth transition in...

Cardinal Pell reportedly anxious for opportunity to testify before Australian sex-abuse inquiry

Cardinal George Pell is not only willing but anxious to testify before an Australian royal commission investigating sex-abuse complaints, a source close to the Australian cardinal...

Protesters will seek court reprieve; occupation of closed Boston parish will continue

Former parishioners of a church in Scituate, Massachusetts, have won a last-minute reprieve from a court order requiring them to leave the building on May 29. The former parishioners of St....

Polish cardinal hopes Pope Francis will visit Auschwitz next year

Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow has said that he hopes Pope Francis will visit the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz in 2016, when the Pontiff is expected to visit Poland for World Youth...

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