Action Alert!

Stories for July 2015

Released Thursday, Jul. 2

Mexican homosexual activists say cardinal's statement incites violence, file criminal complaint

Homosexual activists in Mexico have filed criminal complaints against the retired Archbishop of Guadalajara, after he denounced the country’s Supreme Court decision requiring state recognition of...

Egypt's Christians back government, military, in battle with Islamic militants

The Coptic Orthodox Church has issued a strong statement of support for the Egyptian military, following a series of attacks by Islamic extremists on military bases in north Sinai. The Coptic...

Rome readies emergency-response plans for Jubilee Year

The City of Rome has designed emergency plans to respond to a terrorist attack, with the Vatican and the Roman Coliseum as two focal points that could be terror targets. The contingency plans...

Papal encyclical did not settle scientific questions, says former Vatican official

Pope Francis did not intend to settle any scientific questions in Laudato Si’, according to an Italian bishop who helped draft the encyclical. Bishop Mario Toso of Faenza-Modigliana said that the...

Vatican document: Rise in tourism creates opportunities for evangelization, conservation

With 1 billion people now engaged in tourism, there are a billion opportunities for the Church's evangelizing mission, writes the Pontifical Council for Migrants in a message for World Tourism...

Episcopal Church in US approves same-sex weddings

The Episcopal Church in the US has given its approval to same-sex marriages. The Episcopal General Convention, meeting in Salt Lake City, voted overwhelmingly to allow Episcopal priests to...

Irish archbishop settles defamation lawsuit against TV network; no financial damages paid

An Irish archbishop has settled his defamation lawsuit against the RTE television network, which had aired a statement reporting that he had sexual relations with a 14-year-old girl. Archbishop...

Cardinal Pell's critics want a 'show trial,' his successor says

The critics of Cardinal George Pell are aiming at the “humiliation” of the Australian prelate, according to his successor as Archbishop of Sydney. Archbishop Anthony Fisher told the Crux news...

Released Friday, Jul. 3

Irish bishops reject plan to ask 'conservative' students to leave national seminary

Under pressure from bishops, the Irish national seminary at Maynooth will welcome back several seminarians who had been asked to leave because they were viewed “too conservative,” the Irish Catholic...

Australian prime minister will resist bid to legalize same-sex marriage

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced his intent to uphold the stand of his Liberal Party that “marriage is between a man and a woman,” and indicated that he will not support a move...

Ontario court upholds decision denying accreditation to Christian law school

Ontario’s Supreme Court has upheld a decision to deny accreditation to a Christian law school that requires students to abstain from sexual activity outside traditional marriage. The court...

Vietnam, Vatican continue talks toward resumption of diplomatic relations

A top Vietnamese official reported progress toward the establishment of diplomatic ties with the Vatican, after a visit to Rome this week. Nguyen Thien Nhan, the chairman of the central committee...

Philadelphia, New York rush preparations for papal visit

City workers in Philadelphia are building an 8-foot security fence that will temporarily circle the Center City area during the visit by Pope Francis in September. The fence will reportedly be...

Archbishop of Canterbury expresses 'deep concern' over Episcopal approval for same-sex weddings

The Archbishop of Canterbury has voiced his misgivings about the decision by the Episcopal Church in the US to solemnize same-sex marriages. Dr. Justin Welby, the worldwide leader of the Anglican...

Norway lodges $5 million fraud claim against Oslo diocese for inflating membership figures

The government of Norway is demanding $5.1 million from the Oslo diocese, in compensation for what the government sees as fraud in the inflated reporting of Church membership figures. The...

Anti-government protests in Ecuador in advance of papal visit

Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa faced protesters demanding his removal from office on July 1, just days before a scheduled visit by Pope Francis. Thousands of demonstrators marched in the major...

Released Monday, Jul. 6

Pope urges charismatic Catholics to work for Christian unity, warns against authoritarianism

Pope Francis warned members of the Catholic charismatic renewal movement not to succumb to temptations to authoritarianism and called upon them to work for Christian unity and to introduce the poor...

Pope Emeritus Benedict speaks on sacred music

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI received an honorary doctorate on July 4 from the Pontifical John Paul II University of Krakow and the Krakow Academy of Music. The Pope Emeritus received the honor at...

New prelate of Order of Malta

Pope Francis has named Bishop Jean Laffitte, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family since 2009, as the prelate of the Sovereign Order of Malta. Bishop Laffitte, 63, succeeds...

Pope Francis begins 9-day journey to South America

Pope Francis has begun a nine-day apostolic journey to Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay, his ninth such journey outside Italy. Arriving in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, on July 5, the Pontiff said, “I...

Court rules in favor of USCCB, against ACLU in medical case

A federal district court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The ACLU filed the suit on behalf of Tamesha...

Oregon official confirms: bakery owners must pay $135K over same-sex wedding cake

Upholding an earlier decision, Oregon’s state labor commissioner has ruled that the owners of an Oregon bakery violated a non-discrimination law when one of its owners declined to bake a wedding...

Pope has impromptu meeting with crowd in Ecuador

Pope Francis made an unscheduled public appearance on Sunday evening, to greet a large crowd that had assembled to welcome him to Quito, Ecuador. After his trans-Atlantic flight, and a short...

Chairman of Fordham theology department enters into same-sex marriage

The chairman of the theology department at Jesuit-run Fordham University has entered into a same-sex marriage. J. Patrick Hornbeck II and his partner, Patrick Anthony Bergquist, were joined in a...

Rhode Island church vandalized

Vandals struck a Catholic church in Providence, Rhode Island, on July 4, smashing the pulpit and defacing statues. The attack came as a shock to Father Joseph Escobar, who said that the church is...

Pope prays at St. Mary Major before trip to South America

On the eve of his July 4 flight to Ecuador, to begin a week-long voyage to South America, Pope Francis visited the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major to pray, and left a bouquet before the image of...

Encyclical available in braille

A braille version of the encyclical Laudato Si', by Pope Francis, will soon be available in Italy. The braille version has been prepared by the San Giacamo Braille Center, in...

Islamic militant group tells Christians: leave Jerusalem or risk death

Islamic militants are distributing leaflets in Jerusalem, ordering Christians to leave the city or face death. The leaflets say that any Christians who remain in Jerusalem at the end of Ramadan...

Pray for a miracle at the October Synod, Pope asks massive congregation in Ecuador

During the first outdoor Mass of his week-long trip to South America, Pope Francis asked the faithful to pray for a miracle at the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops, so that the Church might...

Greek debt crisis shows weakness of European Union based only on finance, Vatican newspaper argues

L’Osservatore Romano has said that the Greek debt crisis should prompt reform of the European Union. "The Greek failure may be an opportunity to define a new concept of Europe," the Vatican...

Released Tuesday, Jul. 7

4th Fortnight for Freedom concludes

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has concluded its annual observance of the Fortnight for Freedom, which it instituted in 2012 to raise awareness of threats to religious liberty....

Over 30 churches attacked in Nigeria

The jihadist group Boko Haram unleashed a wave of violence in Nigeria in recent days, leaving over 60 dead, according to an Associated Press report. In Potiskum, a town in Yobe State in...

Nuns assaulted in Mexico

Three elderly nuns were assaulted at their parish convent in Matías Romero, a town of 40,000 in southern Mexico. The June 29 incident comes nine months after a similar attack on the parish...

Catholic prelates react to Greek crisis

Bishop Franghískos Papamanólis, president of the Greek bishops’ conference, described Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as “incompetent” as the nation teetered on the brink of financial...

Prelate: St. John Paul was like Moses for the Ukrainians

In an interview with a Polish journalist, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church compared Pope St. John Paul II to a Moses whose words helped liberate the Church in Ukraine. “He spoke on...

Armed robbery against Brazilian cardinal

For the second time in ten months, Cardinal Orani João Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro was the victim of an armed robbery. On July 5, carjackers entered his vehicle as he was being driven in the city....

Congress urged to protect tax exemptions of groups opposed to same-sex marriage

Attorneys general from 15 states urged Congress to protect the tax-exempt status of religious organizations opposed to same-sex marriage. “As the chief legal officers of our States, we are...

Pakistan bans English translations of sacred Islamic terms

The government of Pakistan has made it illegal to translate certain Islamic terms into English. The new policy, issued during the month of Ramadan, prohibits rendering “God” or “mosque” or...

Franciscan priest abducted in Syria

An Iraqi Franciscan priest was seized by Islamic militants from his parish in the Syrian village of Yacoubieh on July 4, the Fides news service reports. Shortly after Father Dhiya Azziz was...

Over 1 million attend papal Mass in Quito

Celebrating Mass in Quito, Ecuador, on July 7, for a congregation of over one million people, Pope Francis called for unity among the people of South America. In his homily the Pope observed...

Released Wednesday, Jul. 8

Bishop urges Iowans to speak to presidential candidates about environment

Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines has called upon the Catholics of Iowa-- the site of the influential presidential caucuses-- to speak to presidential candidates about the environment. “I invite...

Pope address civil leaders, educators in Ecuador

Pope Francis called upon Ecuador’s civil leaders to work towards a society marked by “gratitude, solidarity, and subsidiarity.” The Pontiff made his remarks on the third day of his nine-day...

China continues demolition of church crosses

Communist officials in China demolished crosses at five Catholic churches in Zhejiang province on July 2. “The authorities told our priests either allow the cross to be removed or have the whole...

Encyclical manifests Pope’s strong relations with Ecumenical Patriarch, says theologian

L’Osservatore Romano has published an Eastern Orthodox theologian’s reflection on Pope Francis’s second encyclical, Laudato Si’. Father John Chryssavgis, who advises Ecumenical Patriarch...

Russian Orthodox official blasts Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, offered strong criticism of the US Supreme Court decision on same-sex...

US mayors to attend Vatican conference on climate change, human trafficking

The mayors of Boulder (Colorado), Minneapolis, Portland (Oregon), and Seattle will join counterparts from around the world at a Vatican workshop on human trafficking and climate change. The...

Cardinal Turkson: world must turn away from consumerism, colonialism

Addressing the World Meeting of Popular Movements in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace called upon the international community to turn away from a...

Milwaukee archdiocese asks Supreme Court to review decision on cemetery trust fund

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has appealed to the US Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that a cemetery trust fund should be counted among the assets of the archdiocese available to creditors in...

Laity must take lead in protecting religious freedom: Cardinal Pell

Cardinal George Pell said that lay Catholics must lead the fight to preserve religious freedom, in an address delivered to an audience in Ireland. The prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy...

Israeli Supreme Court approves disputed 'security wall' through Palestinian lands

Reversing the effect of a previous decision, Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled that the country’s defense ministry can proceed with construction of a controversial “security wall” through the...

Don't feel superior, Pope warns priests and religious in Ecuador

Priests and religious should be grateful for their vocations, and never forget where they came from, Pope Francis said in an address at the Marian shrine of El Quinche in Ecuador. “Do not feel...

Vatican Radio site posts controversial lesbian photo

The German-language site of Vatican Radio posted a photo of lesbians kissing, to accompany an article on changing attitudes toward same-sex unions. The photo was removed from the Vatican Radio...

Czech bishops offer to welcome Christian refugees

Catholic bishops in the Czech Republic are offering to provide homes for Christian refugees. The Czech bishops’ conference said that it would work with Catholic families to provide homes for...

Released Thursday, Jul. 9

Pope Francis: do not confuse the common good with economic prosperity

Pope Francis arrived in Bolivia on July 8, the fourth day of his nine-day apostolic journey to South America. “As a guest and a pilgrim, I have come to confirm the faith of those who believe in...

USCCB, CRS: support Second Chance Act to aid former prisoners

Archbishop Thomas Wenski, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Sister Donna Markham, president of Catholic Charities...

Pope’s address to Congress to be broadcast to crowds outside Capitol

Pope Francis’s September 24 address to Congress will be broadcast live to crowds gathered outside the Capitol. “The visit of Pope Francis to the US Capitol is a historic moment for the country....

Immigration giving new life to British Christianity, says cardinal

Christian immigrants to Great Britain are giving new life to Christianity on the island, Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster said. “I think what is happening is that the energy of Christians...

Report: Islam, Catholicism have relatively high numbers of young followers in China

A report published in a newspaper supported by China’s government suggests that Islam and Catholicism-- in contrast to Buddhism and Taoism-- have a relatively high number of youthful...

Opposition to controversial Chilean bishop continues

The recent appointment of Bishop Juan Barros, who has been accused of covering up sexual abuse, has continued to generate intense opposition among many local clergy and laity in the rural Diocese of...

Pope rebukes Bolivian President Morales for hammer-and-sickle crucifix

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales drew a rebuke from Pope Francis when he presented the Pontiff with a crucifix mounted on a hammer and sickle. “That’s not right,” the Pope said when he saw the...

Vatican officials prepared to forget teaching of St. John Paul II?

Writing for the Catholic Herald, Father Raymond de Souza argues that some leading Vatican officials seem intent on downplaying the legacy of St. John Paul II. Father de Souza mentions three...

Abuse victims ask bankruptcy court to approve showing of video at all Masses in Minnesota archdicoese

Lawyers representing sex-abuse victims have asked a US bankruptcy court to approve a request for all parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Paul- Minneapolis to show a video encouraging other victims to...

Islamic militants place bounty on Asia Bibi's head

The husband of a Pakistani woman who faces a death sentence for blasphemy says that Islamic militants have vowed to kill her even if her conviction is overturned. Asia Bibi has been imprisoned...

Italian prosecutor ready to close investigation into death of 'God's banker'

A prosecutor in Rome has announced plans to halt the investigation into the death of Roberto Calvi in 1982. Calvi, who had been the chairman of the Banco Ambrosiano, was found hanging from...

Italian bishops' spokesman: government should support traditional family

Italian government policies should provide support for “the family founded on a father and a mother, who seem to be absolutely missing at the moment,” says Bishop Nunzio Galantino, the...

Eucharist strengthens the weak, Pope tells congregation in Bolivia

The Eucharist “draws us out of our individualism in order to live together as disciples,” Pope Francis said in his homily at a Mass celebrated in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, to open the...

South Sudan: people's suffering 'indescribable' as civil war aggravates poverty

Four years after South Sudan gained its independence, the people of the young African nation remain in severe poverty, aggravated by continuing civil strife, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN)...

Pope's recognition of Armenian genocide changed world opinion, prelate says

Pope Francis “has changed the attitude of the entire world” by his public mention of the Armenian genocide, according to the Armenian Catholic Archbishop Raphael François Minassian. The slaughter...

Released Friday, Jul. 10

Pope challenges 'tyranny of mammon’ in dramatic talks in Bolivia

Pope Francis insisted that Christians must help those in need, denounced unfettered materialism as "the dung of the devil," apologized for the offenses committed by Christians against indigenous...

US bishops’ conference grants $4.2M to assist Church in Latin America, Haiti

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America has granted over $3.3 million to 228 projects to assist the work of the Church in Latin America and the...

Colombian bishops welcome ceasefire offer

The president of the Colombian Episcopal Conference welcomed a guerrilla movement’s offer for a month-long unilateral ceasefire but expressed concerned that such offers leave the door open for...

Items stolen from French cathedral

Three chalices and a 13th-century episcopal ring were stolen from the cathedral in Cahors, a city of 20,000 in southwestern France, according to a regional newspaper report. The theft took place...

Jihadist group targets Christians in Kenya attack

Al-Shabaab, a jihadist terrorist group based in Somalia, killed at least 14 workers in a July 7 attack on a quarry in Mandera, Kenya. An Al-Shabaab spokesman told the Reuters news agency that it...

Report: church destroyed in Mosul

The Islamic State has destroyed an ancient Chaldean Catholic church in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, according to The Telegraph. The British newspaper cited a report by Rudaw, a Kurdish...

Nigeria’s bishops denounce same-sex marriage, decry Western ‘LGBT propaganda’

The bishops of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, have strongly denounced same-sex marriage in the wake of recent developments in Ireland, the United States, and other Western...

Pope tells prisoners: I too need pardon

On a July 10 visit to a notorious prison in Bolivia, Pope Francis asked inmates to pray for him, saying that he, too, needed pardon. “The man standing before you is a man who has experienced...

German cardinal tempers expectations about Synod of Bishops

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich has cautioned German Catholics that they should not expect dramatic change in Church policy as a result of the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops. Cardinal...

South Sudan: archbishop challenges leaders to stop civil war

The leading Catholic prelate of South Sudan has appealed to the country’s people to bring an end to a bloody civil war. Speaking on July 9, the 4th anniversary of the African country’s...

Obama administration makes another proposal for mandated contraceptive coverage by religious employers

The Obama administration has released a new proposal to resolve a conflict with religious institutions that object in principle to the mandated coverage of contraceptives in the "Obamacare"...

Eritrea: government keeps tight restrictions on Church

The government of Eritrea, which has been cited by the UN for multiple human-rights abuses, exercises tight control over the Catholic Church, the charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN)...

Australian abuse investigation demands 1,960 from Catholic Church Insurance group

A royal commission investigating sexual abuse in Australia has demanded nearly 2,000 files from the Catholic Church Insurance group (CCI), and said that the files must be delivered within a...

Christians are targets of kidnapping in Baghdad

Four Christians have been kidnapped in Baghdad in the past two weeks, and two were killed despite the payment of ransom, the Fides news service reports. Two Christian families received only the...

Chinese bishop installed-- 10 years after episcopal ordination-- as government finally gives approval

A Chinese bishop was formally installed in his diocese on July 10, ten years after he was ordained with the approval of the Holy See, the AsiaNews service reports. Bishop Joseph Martin Wu...

Released Monday, Jul. 13

Pope concludes trip to South America, emphasizes Marian devotion in Paraguay

On July 10, Pope Francis arrived in Asunción, the capital of Paraguay, the nation that was the final stop of his nine-day apostolic journey to South America. During his three days in Paraguay,...

US bishops’ delegation visits Ukraine

A delegation from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, led by Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville and Archbishop Blaise Cupich of Chicago, has visited Ukraine. “The Church faces...

Holy See diplomat calls for renewed commitment to religious freedom

A Holy See diplomat has called for a renewed commitment to religious freedom on the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Accords, in which the Communist nations of Eastern Europe professed respect for...

Delay in Vatican trial of ex-nuncio

The Vatican’s trial of a laicized former nuncio on child pornography and sexual abuse charges has been delayed because of the defendant's illness. On July 11, the date on which the trial was...

Cardinal Biffi dead at 87

Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, who served as Archbishop of Bologna from 1984 to 2003, died on July 11 at the age of 87. Born in Milan in 1928, Cardinal Biffi was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of...

Pope condemns terrorist attack in Cairo

Pope Francis offered a “firm condemnation” of recent terrorist acts in Cairo, including a July 11 attack on the Italian consulate, the Vatican’s Secretary of State said in a telegram to Egyptian...

Cardinal Scola challenges Muslims on violence, persecution

Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan has issued a challenge to Muslims, asking how Allah could accept the murder of innocents as an act of worship. In a message to the Islamic community, timed for the...

Kidnappers release Syrian priest

The Franciscan priest who was abducted in Syria on July 4 has been released unharmed, the AsiaNews service reports. Father Dhiya Azziz had been seized by armed men from an Islamic militant group—...

Poland accepts Syrian Christian refugees

About 150 Syrian Christian refugees have arrived in Warsaw, and will now formally request asylum, as Poland begins accepting Christian refugees from the Middle East. The refugees arrived on July...

Minnesota: archdiocesan administrator understands demand for accounting of investigation into former archbishop

The interim leader of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis has said that he recognizes the need to “give an accounting of what’s been going on” in the troubled see. Archbishop Bernard Hebda,...

Pope acknowledges that he needs more study on economic issues

Pope Francis told reporters on July 13 that he realizes his statements on economic issues have drawn criticism, and he plans to study his critics’ comments before his September visit to the...

Australian archbishop: resist pressure to accept same-sex marriage

Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney, Australia has encouraged married couples to resist efforts to “bully us all” into acceptance of same-sex marriage. Speaking to a congregation in the Sydney...

Archbishop Chaput backs Catholic school's dismissal of teacher involved in same-sex marriage

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia has issued a statement of support for the decision of a private Catholic school to dismiss a teacher who is involved in a same-sex marriage. Margie...

Israeli police arrests suspects in arson attack on ancient church

Police in Israel have announced the arrest of several Jewish extremists who are suspected of desecrating an ancient Catholic church on the sea of Galilee, built on the site of one of Jesus' most...

Pope donates medical supplies to refugee housing center in Rome

Pope Francis has made a donation of medical supplies to a Roman institution that houses immigrants. The Baobab cultural center, which is overcrowded with recent immigrants, mostly from Ethiopia...

Italian taxpayers chose Catholic Church for mandatory contribution

The vast majority of Italian taxpayers designate a portion of their tax payments for the Catholic Church. Under Italian law, Italians can choose a religious or charitable institution to receive...

Released Tuesday, Jul. 14

Bangladesh’s bishops launch anti-abuse campaign

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh has launched a campaign to educate clergy and laity on the abuse of children, UCA News reported. “There have been allegations of child abuse by...

Kenyan bishops’ leader vows to resist same-sex marriage

As Kenya prepares for a visit by President Barack Obama, the nation’s bishops vowed to resist efforts to promote same-sex marriage. “We are not going to allow same-sex marriage,” Bishop Philip...

Crackdown on human rights advocates in China

The Chinese government has detained over 100 human rights advocates since July 10, according to multiple reports. “This is certainly a coordinated, organized crackdown, not ordinary law...

EPA leader welcomes Pope’s new encyclical

In an article coauthored by the US ambassador to the Holy See, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency welcomed Pope Francis’s new encyclical, Laudato Si’. “Pope Francis is...

Christian Poles honored for saving Jews in WWII

Poland’s chief rabbi, joined by an Israeli diplomat and an official from a US foundation, gathered in Warsaw recently to honored 50 Polish Christians who hid Jews during the Holocaust. “A...

Church desecrated in India

A Catholic parish in Taherpur, an Indian city of 20,000 near the border with Bangladesh, was desecrated on the night of July 9, according to Indian media reports. “We are really terrified,” said...

Attack on church averted in Nigeria

Worshippers at a Protestant church in Jos, Nigeria, escaped death on July 12 when bombs were discovered before they exploded. “They were removed and detonated,” said Ezekiel Manzo, a spokesman...

Philippine cardinal decries wealthy nations’ power over international development agenda

In an article published on a United Nations blog, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila decried the control of international development agenda exercised by wealthier nations. These nations, he...

Planned Parenthood senior official caught discussing business in fetal organs

An undercover investigation by the Center for Medical Progress has captured video footage of a top Planned Parenthood official discussing the organization’s business in the sale of organs from...

Iraqi Church leaders plead for protection after kidnappings, killings in Baghdad

The Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate of Baghdad has issued a new appeal for protection of Iraqi Christians. The plea comes after four Christians were kidnapped in Baghdad in the past two weeks, and...

Islamic State converts another Mosul church into a mosque

Another Catholic church in Mosul has been converted to a mosque by leaders of the Islamic State, the Fides news service reports. St. Joseph's church, in the Maidan district of Mosul, has been...

UNESCO recognizes site of Jesus' Baptism, despite dispute over location

UNESCO has declared a site in Jordan, believed to be the place where Jesus was baptized, as a World Heritage site. The decision will displease the many people who argue that Christ’s baptism...

Vatican welcomes Iran nuclear agreement

The Vatican has issued a statement welcoming the conclusion of an international accord in which Iran has agreed to curb its efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. “The agreement on the Iranian...

Benedict XVI returns to Vatican residence after 2-week stay in Castel Gandolfo

Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI has returned to the Vatican, following a two-week stay at the summer papal residence in Castel Gandolfo. In a letter to the town’s mayor, Milvia Monaschesi, the retired...

Galllup diocese asks bankruptcy court for new mediator; victims want lawsuits to proceed

The Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico, has asked a federal bankruptcy court to appoint a new mediator, after a breakdown in negotiations with creditors. The diocese, which filed for bankruptcy...

Archbishop says Malawi cannot escape poverty without moral transformation of leadership

Malawi will remain mired in poverty until there is a “human and moral transformation,” the country’s leading Catholic prelate has said. "The economic transformation will never be achieved without...

Little Sisters of the Poor must comply with contraceptive mandate, US appeals court rules

A US federal appeals court has ruled that the Little Sisters of the Poor must comply with the contraceptive mandate in the “Obamacare” health plan. The Tenth Circuit Court ruled that the Little...

Released Wednesday, Jul. 15

US bishops’ conference welcomes Iran nuclear deal

Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, the chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, has welcomed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of...

Ukrainian Catholic leader calls for unity amid clash between government, paramilitary group

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church called for an end to bloodshed and for national unity following violence between the nation’s government and Pravy Sektor (Right Sector), a...

Parishes must evangelize, says English cardinal

In an address at a national evangelization conference, Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster challenged parishes to become evangelizing communities. “Our mission always starts in our prayer,...

Mayors of major cities, California governor to attend Vatican conference on climate change

Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, the chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, took part in a July 15 press conference on an upcoming Vatican...

Philippine bishops back greater autonomy for Muslim Moro people

As Philippine lawmakers discuss legislation that would create an autonomous region for the Muslim Moro people, the nations’ bishops stated that greater autonomy is in accord with justice. “We do...

Brazilian archbishop resigns following apostolic visitation

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a Brazilian archbishop following an apostolic visitation conducted by Cardinal Claudio Hummes. Archbishop Antônio Carlos Altieri, 63, was appointed...

Pope back on regular work schedule after South American trip

Pope Francis was back on his regular work schedule on Tuesday, July 14, less than 24 hours after his trans-Atlantic flight at the conclusion of a busy trip to South America. Msgr. Guillermo...

Italian politicians spar over hammer-and-sickle crucifix

The controversial hammer-and-sickle crucifix that was presented to Pope Francis by Bolivian President Evo Morales prompted a political debate in Italy, with one prominent leader saying that he was...

Convicted Philadelphia priest moved out of prison that Pope will visit

Msgr. William Lynn, the former Philadelphia archdiocesan official who is now serving a prison term for endangering children, has been moved out of the jail that Pope Francis will visit during his...

Hearing postponed on criminal charges against Minnesota archdiocese

A Minnesota court has postponed a hearing on the criminal charges against the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis. In June, Ramsey County prosecutor John Choi filed several misdemeanor charges...

Released Thursday, Jul. 16

Cardinal: Pope’s trip to Latin America is ‘authentic springtime’ for the Church

In an essay published on the front page of L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia said that Pope Francis’ trip to Latin America marks “a new season, an authentic springtime”...

‘Humanitarian catastrophe’ in Ukraine

Ukraine’s humanitarian crisis has received relatively little international attention, Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies, stated on July...

Continue to combat Ebola, Holy See diplomat urges

Amid a renewed outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in Liberia, the Holy See’s leading diplomat at the United Nations urged the international community to continue to combat the disease. In his...

Iran’s Christians welcome nuclear deal, says priest

The Chaldean Catholic priest who serves as national director of the Pontifical Missionary Society in Iran said that the nation’s Christians are rejoicing at the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action--...

Philippine bishops lament drug addiction, trafficking

The bishops of the Philippines have issued a pastoral letter on drug addiction and drug trafficking. Decrying drug trafficking from abroad as a form of “colonization,” the bishops said that...

Priest feared kidnapped in Syria

A Melkite Greek Catholic priest and his driver have not been seen since July 12 and are feared kidnapped, the Fides news agency reported. Father Antoine Boutros is pastor of a parish in Shahba,...

Fears for major Nigerian city as Boko Haram advances

A spokesman for the Diocese of Maiduguri, Nigeria, expressed fears for the future of the city of 1.2 million amid advances by the jihadist group Boko Haram. “The rate of the Boko Haram attacks in...

Priest murdered in Colombia

Father Luis Alfonso León Pereira, a Spanish priest who has ministered for nearly five decades in Colombia, was brutally murdered by a homeless man on July 15. The murder took place in the...

Christian college drops student health insurance, rather than comply with contraceptive mandate

A small Christian college in Illinois has elected not to offer health insurance to students, in order to avoid complying with the federal contraceptive mandate. Wheaton College has informed...

Greek archbishop raps government's handling of debt negotiations

The leading Catholic prelate in Greece has criticized the country’s handling of its debt crisis, saying that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras “won the election with promises he could not...

Vatican official defends collaboration with UN

The chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences has defended the Vatican’s collaboration with leftist political parties and with the United Nations. “The United Nations is not the devil....

Budget statements for 2014 give most accurate picture of Vatican financial affairs

The Vatican has released financial statements for the year 2014, providing what Cardinal George Pell, the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, described as the most accurate accounting ever...

Released Friday, Jul. 17

USCCB renews call to end the death penalty

Two prelates who chair committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have issued a message calling for a renewed push to end the death penalty. The message comes a decade after...

Prelate lauds revisions to federal education legislation

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Education has praised both houses of Congress for passing revisions to federal education law. The House bill (the...

Canadian bishops publish resource on Catholic-Muslim relations

A commission of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has published “Catholics and Muslims in Canada: Believers and Citizens in Society.” Its release is intended to coincide with the...

Russian Orthodox Church rejects draft document of Pan-Orthodox Council

The governing body of the Russian Orthodox Church has rejected a draft document that is scheduled to be discussed at the 2016 Pan-Orthodox Council. The document, entitled “The Orthodox Church’s...

8 beatification causes advance

In a July 16 audience with the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis approved decrees on the heroic virtues of eight servants of God, who may now be honored with the...

Iranian Protestant pastor to be released from prison

Farshid Fathi, an Iranian convert to Christianity who organized a house church, will be released from prison in December, two years before his scheduled release. Arrested in 2010, Fathi was...

Cardinal Marx: Christians are committed to European integration, unity

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich-Freising, the president of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE), has issued a statement on the Greek financial crisis. “I...

President Obama issues statement for end of Ramadan

President Barack Obama has issued a statement commemorating Eid al-Fitr, the conclusion of the month of Ramadan. “For millions of Muslims, the morning of Eid is marked with the call to prayer...

Pope Francis touched the world’s soul, says Paraguay’s president

President Horacio Cartes of Paraguay said in an interview that Pope Francis’s recent visit to his nation “touched not only our nation’s soul but also the world’s.” Cartes thanked the Pope for his...

Market forces need to be joined to solidarity to alleviate poverty, says Holy See diplomat

At an international conference devoted to development financing, the Holy See’s leading diplomat at the United Nations said that “the solutions to global poverty and hunger cannot be left to market...

Children's hospital given approval to use Vatican helipad

The Bambino Gesu hospital has been given permission to use Vatican helipad, under the terms of an agreement announced July 17. Bambino Gesu, which is located near the Vatican, is the largest...

Mass exodus continues from German Catholic Church

More than 200,000 Germans formally left the Catholic Church in 2014, accelerating the downward trend in the Catholic proportion of the country’s population. Germans who are officially enrolled in...

Spanish priest killed; brother-in-law arrested

A Spanish priest was killed at his home shortly after finishing Mass on July 16, the Fides news service reports. Father Carlos Martinez Perez died of stabbing wounds, after he was attacked at the...

Pope calls for radical change in mining, cites destruction of local communities

Pope Francis called for “a radical paradigm change” in the attitudes and operations of the mining industry, in a message to a Vatican conference on the effects of mining. The conference,...

Released Monday, Jul. 20

Pope Francis: Christ sees, has compassion, and teaches

In his July 19 Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel reading at Mass (Mk. 6:30-64) and devoted particular attention to three verbs in the reading: see, have compassion,...

Vatican spokesman contrasts styles of Pope Francis, Pope Emeritus Benedict

In remarks published in the forthcoming edition of National Geographic, the director of the Holy See Press Office contrasted the styles of Pope Francis and his predecessor. The magazine...

Archbishop Nienstedt denies misconduct allegations

Archbishop John Nienstedt, who resigned as archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis in June, has denied allegations of personal misconduct. "It pains me deeply that my good name and reputation have...

Syria: prelate confirms priest's abduction

The Melkite Greek Catholic archbishop of Bosra and Hauran, Syria, has confirmed that Father Antoine Boutros, pastor of a parish in Shahba, has been kidnapped along with his driver. "I can confirm...

Ukraine: bishop fears ‘total invasion’ by Russia

A bishop who ministers near Ukraine's border with Russia said in a recent lecture that "it will be a miracle if Russia doesn't decide on a total invasion." "If it happens, and Russia attacks...

Cardinal Pell airs concern about Pope's view on climate change

Cardinal George Pell has voiced reservations about Pope Francis’ views on climate change, as expressed in the encyclical Laudato Si’. While praising the overall message of the encyclical, the...

Italian pastor says anti-immigrant demonstrators not welcome in church

An Italian pastor has posted a sign on the door of his parish church, “Racists are not allowed in this church.” Father Gianfranco Formenton—a priest with a history of public controversy-- posted...

Italy's clerical pension fund running chronic deficit

The state-run pension fund for Italian clerics is underfunded, the Italian government has revealed. A government report said that the fund is “constantly in deficit,” with an aggregate deficit of...

3 Christians in Libya kidnapped by jihadists

Three Christians in Libya have been kidnapped by a militant group with ties to the Islamic State. Libya’s government confirmed on July 19 that the Christians—one each from Ghana, Nigeria, and...

Christian publisher wins permanent injunction against contraceptive mandate

An Illinois publishing house that specializes in Bible sales has won a permanent injunction against enforcement of the contraceptive mandate in the federal health-care program. A federal district...

Released Tuesday, Jul. 21

Cardinal: be welcoming to those married outside the Church without admitting them to Communion

Reflecting on the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the family, Cardinal Ennio Antonelli said in an interview that the Church can be welcoming to those who have remarried outside the Church without...

Syriac Orthodox leader praises Christian youth for defending homes

The head of the Syriac Orthodox Church recently praised Christian youth who have taken up arms to defend their homes against the forces of the Islamic State. Speaking in Al-Qamishli, a city of...

Oratorians mark 500th anniversary of founder's birth

Members of the Confederation of the Oratory gathered in Florence to mark the 500th anniversary of the birth of their founder, St. Philip Neri. Following Mass, Eucharistic adoration, and a prayer...

Holy See diplomat: the elderly have dignity beyond economic productivity

As a United Nations working group discussed the human rights of the elderly, a Holy See diplomat said that the topic "is especially pertinent in a time when the elderly are abandoned, not only in...

Ukrainian Catholic leader blasts same-sex marriage proposal

As Ukrainian lawmakers discuss amendments to the nation's constitution, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church decried a proposal to permit same-sex marriage. Such a proposal threatens...

Archbishop Gänswein on Synod: 'Why do some pastors want to propose what’s not possible?'

Archbishop Georg Gänswein has questioned why some bishops-- particularly in his native Germany-- are proposing the admission of divorced and remarried Catholics to Communion, when that step is "not...

Philippine bishops: 'climate change action is an issue of social justice'

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has issued a statement on climate change in view of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will take place in December. "The...

Chicago seminary rector appointed bishop

Pope Francis has appointed Father Robert Barron, rector/president of Mundelein Seminary and the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Chicago, as an auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles. Father...

Cardinal Tagle writes letter on Laudato Si'

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila recently wrote a letter to Caritas Internationalis on Laudato Si', Pope Francis's second encyclical. Cardinal Tagle, who serves as the president of the...

Report: 16-year-old jailed in Egypt for evangelizing

A 16-year-old Coptic Christian was detained in Alexandria, Egypt, on July 13 after he distributed bags of dates to Muslims who were about to conclude their Ramadan fast, according to an Egyptian...

New undercover video shows Planned Parenthood official bargaining over price of fetal organs

A new undercover video has been released, showing a senior official of Planned Parenthood bargaining about the price of organs harvested from aborted babies. The Center for Medical Progress--...

European court says Italy must recognize same-sex unions

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Italy violates the fundamental rights of homosexuals by failing to provide legal recognition of same-sex unions. “The Court considered that the...

Pakistani Christians face blasphemy charges for material on web site

Two Christians have been arrested for alleged violations of Pakistan’s blasphemy law, and could face the death penalty if convicted. Qaiar and Amoon Ayub, who are brothers, are charged with...

Newark archdiocese challenges New Jersey law banning headstone sales at archdiocesan cemeteries

The Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, has filed a legal challenge to new state legislation that bars the archdiocese from selling headstones at archdiocesan cemeteries. The New Jersey law was...

Released Wednesday, Jul. 22

Pope rallies mayors against climate change, human trafficking at Vatican conference

Laudato Si’ is not an encyclical on climate change, but a social encyclical, Pope Francis said in a July 21 address to 70 mayors, representing cities around the world, who were gathered for a...

Top Pakistani court stays execution of Asia Bibi, grants new hearing in blasphemy case

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has stayed the execution of Asia Bibi, and ordered a new hearing on her case. Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five children, has been imprisoned for six years—including...

Gallup finds slump in US public approval of Pope Francis

Public approval ratings for Pope Francis have dipped in the US in the past year, according to new Gallup survey. Gallup finds that 59% of Americans view the Pope favorably—down considerably from...

Iraq withdrawing troops from Nineveh plains; Christians uneasy

The Iraqi government has ordered 4,000 soldiers and police officers to withdraw from the region of the Nineveh plains, prompting complaints from Christians in the region who have been hoping for an...

Vatican to UN: include common good, human dignity in discussions of development

The Vatican’s delegation to the UN has argued that a document on sustainable development should emphasize that economic, social, and environmental concerns are intertwined. “For example,...

Islamic militants training children as terrorists in Democratic Republic of Congo

As many as 1,500 children—some as young as 9 years old—are being trained for jihad in camps run by Islamic militants in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to research by international...

Record number of transplants in China raises new concern about organ harvesting

Chinese medical officials expect to perform 12,000 organ transplants this year, setting a new record and raising concerns about the possible harvesting of organs from executed convicts, the AsiaNews...

Released Thursday, Jul. 23

White House honors religious climate activists

The White House has honored 12 religious believers for "their grassroots efforts to green their communities and educate others on the moral and social justice implications of climate change,"...

Federal court: parents may file suit against HHS mandate

Overturning a lower court decision, a federal appeals court has ruled that parents have legal standing to file suit against provisions of health care law that require them to purchase insurance for...

Church of England ordains 1st diocesan woman bishop

Rachel Treweek has become the first female diocesan bishop in the Church of England's history. Earlier in the year, Libby Lane became the first woman ordained as a suffragan bishop-- a position...

'Is This the End of Christianity in the Middle East?'

The New York Times has published a lengthy story on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. "The front line against ISIS in Northern Iraq is marked by an earthen berm that runs for...

German diocese seeks compensation from former bishop

A German diocese is seeking 3.9 million euros ($4.28 million) in compensation from its former bishop for additional costs related to renovations to the bishop's residence. Bishop Franz-Peter...

Syrian prelate appeals for aid

The Melkite Greek Catholic archbishop of Aleppo, Syria's most populous city, has appealed for aid to encourage Christians to remain in the nation. "At the time of this writing, Aleppo is...

Ex-nuncio, awaiting trial, returns to Vatican

Józef Wesolowski, the laicized ex-nuncio who faces a Vatican trial on charges of acquiring child pornography and sexually abusing teenage boys, has been released from the hospital and has returned...

Oldest biblical scroll since Dead Sea Scrolls deciphered

A burnt piece of a 1,500-year-old Hebrew scroll discovered in 1970 contains the first eight verses of the Book of Leviticus, LiveScience.com reported. "The Ein Gedi parchment scroll is the oldest...

Islamic State growing every day, Iraqi prelate warns

The forces of the Islamic State are growing stronger every day, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako tells Vatican Radio. The Iraqi prelate said that the Islamic State is no longer simply a...

Little Sisters of the Poor will appeal to Supreme Court on contraceptive mandate

The Little Sisters of the Poor will ask the US Supreme Court to overturn an appeals-court ruling that they must comply with the federal mandate requiring coverage of contraception in employee...

Massachusetts court hears arguments on decade-long occupation of closed church

A Massachusetts appeals court heard oral arguments on July 22 in the case involving the decade-long occupation of a parish church that has been closed by the Archdiocese of Boston. The Friends of...

Women protesting war, advocating ordination draw praise from visiting bishop

A group of women who have quietly held signs in a Washington, DC, church, pleading for peace and for the ordination of women, drew praise from a visiting bishop. Bishop John Ricard, the retired...

Profile of man behind the undercover Planned Parenthood videos

The National Catholic Register profiles David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress, whose undercover videos have exposed the sale of fetal tissues and generated a surge of indignation against...

Vatican envoy to UN: do not allow destruction of Syria

Addressing on July 23 during an open debate on the Middle East at the UN Security Council, the Vatican’s representative called particular attention to the crisis in Syria. “We should not continue...

Released Friday, Jul. 24

Cardinal counsels patience with new Nigerian leader

Cardinal Anthony Okogie, the retired archbishop of Lagos, has advised Nigerians to be patient with President Muhammadu Buhari as he addresses corruption and seeks to counter the threat from Boko...

Vatican newspaper: 'Red-hot Earth'

The front page of the July 24 edition of L'Osservatore Romano featured an article on "still more alarming data on the overheating of the Earth." The article, entitled "Red-hot Earth," cited a new...

Counteract tribalism, Kenyan bishop urges universities

Following student protests at the University of Eldoret and Moi University, a Kenyan bishop called upon university administrators to counteract tribalism, a Nairobi newspaper reported. "These two...

Ghana's bishops lament teen abortions

Concerned by an increasing number of teen abortions, the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference is hosting a conference in August entitled "Promoting Life and Family Values in the Continuing Culture of...

USCCB awards $5.2M to projects in Eastern Europe

The Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has awarded over $5.2 million to fund 177 projects in 23 nations. “Recovery...

Nepal: draft of new constitution bans religious conversion

The largely Hindu nation of Nepal has published a draft of a new constitution that would ban religious conversion. According to the draft, "no one shall attempt to change or convert someone from...

Pope approves additional Synod participants

Pope Francis has ratified the names of participants chosen by 13 episcopal conferences to take part in the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the family. The Pontiff had previously ratified the names...

Italian bishops promote pilgrimages to Holy Land to aid Christian community

Citing the link between pilgrimages to the Holy Land and the economic prospects of the region's Christians, various Italian bishops are urging the faithful to overcome their fear of violence and...

Catholic university to open in Iraq

Speaking in Australia, an Iraqi prelate discussed his plans to open a Catholic university in October. The university will be located in Erbil, a city of 1.5 million that is capital of the...

Coptic activist: forbid youth conversions to Islam without parental consent

As Egypt considers changes to its system of family law, Mikel Munir, a Coptic Christian who founded a political party, has appealed for a clause that would forbid youth conversions to Islam without...

Cardinal William Baum, longest-serving American cardinal, dead at 88

Cardinal William Baum, the senior American member of the College of Cardinals, died in Washington, DC, on July 23 at the age of 88, after a lengthy illness. Cardinal Baum served as Bishop of...

Former corporate donors distancing themselves from Planned Parenthood

Several major American corporations have asked Planned Parenthood to remove their names from the list of the group’s donors, in a clear indication that the public standing of Planned Parenthood has...

New York parishioners protest removal of beloved artwork from historic church

Concerned parishioners gathered outside the residence of New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan on July 23, demonstrating against plans to remove a beloved icon from the Church of Our...

Leading critic of hierarchy invited to brief Vatican panel on sexual abuse

A Dominican priest who has been among the harshest critics of the Church hierarchy has consulted with members of the Vatican’s new panel on sexual abuse, the National Catholic Reporter...

Polish bishops denounce new law allowing state funding for IVF

The Catholic bishops of Poland have issued a statement decrying a new law that provides government funding for in vitro fertilization (IVF). The bishops said they were “deeply disappointed and...

Released Monday, Jul. 27

Papal telegram following death of Cardinal Baum

Pope Francis has sent a telegram of condolence to Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington following the death of Cardinal William Baum, who served as Archbishop of Washington before leading the...

New Armenian Catholic patriarch elected

The Synod of Bishops of the Armenian Catholic Church has elected Bishop Gregory Ghabroyan, 80, as the 20th Armenian Catholic Patriarch of Cilicia. The prelate, now known as Gregory Petros XX...

Pope Francis: Jesus offers 'the fullness of life for the hungry man'

Addressing the crowds that gathered in St. Peter's Square on July 26, Pope Francis reflected on the multiplication of the loaves and fishes (Jn. 6:1-15) during his Sunday Angelus address. "The...

Pope appeals for release of clergy kidnapped in Syria

Following his Angelus address on July 26, Pope Francis appealed for the release of Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, an Italian Jesuit who was kidnapped by the Islamic State in July 2013. "I make a...

Prelate reiterates Pope's concern for Iraq's Christians

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, reiterated Pope Francis's 'very deep' concern for the Church in...

Pakistani priest: 130 Christians are now facing blasphemy charges

The priest who directs the Dominican order's Peace Center in Lahore said that 130 Christians are now facing blasphemy charges in Pakistan. "According to my estimate, there are 130 Christians...

Italian prelate laments court decision on property taxes for Catholic schools

The Supreme Court of Cassation-- Italy's highest appellate court-- has ruled that the city of Livorno has the right to levy property taxes on Catholic schools. Bishop Nunzio Galantino, the...

Vatican astronomer discusses discovery of Kepler-452b

Father José Gabriel Funes, the director of the Vatican Observatory, said he was "very skeptical" that the discovery of Kepler-452b will lead to an encounter with extraterrestrial life in the near...

Chaldean Patriarch repeats plea for papal visit to Iraq

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako told a Vatican Radio audience that he continues to hope for a visit by Pope Francis to Iraq. "We need his presence among us, so that he can give...

Gay activists meet with Irish archbishop, plead for change in Church teaching

Irish homosexual-rights activists said that they told Archbishop Eamon Martin that “existing Catholic teaching needs to change” during a meeting last week. Three leading activists spoke with the...

Australian Labor Party moves to dismiss members who oppose same-sex marriage

Australia’s Labor Party has pledged to support same-sex marriage, and to require all party members eventually to join in that effort . After tense negotiations, a Labor Party meeting voted to...

India: nun barred from exam on no-headscarf rule

A Catholic nun in India was barred from taking a medical school entrance test when she refused to remove her veil and cross. Sister Remya George was asked to remove portions of her habit as...

Pope kept up tough work schedule through July, aide discloses

Pope Francis has held to a demanding work schedule in July, although he has made few public appearances during the month, a close aide told Vatican Radio. “I always find him with his hands busy,...

Pope is first to register for World Youth Day 2016; 45,000 soon follow

Pope Francis entered the first official registration to participate in World Youth Day 2016, using a hand-held computer to enter his registration during his regular Angelus audience on Sunday,...

Released Tuesday, Jul. 28

Boko Haram burns down Catholic church in Cameroon

Members of Boko Haram attacked two villages in northern Cameroon and burned down a Catholic church, according to a report published by Agence France-Presse. Three villagers were also beheaded in...

Italian nuns come to aid of trafficking victims

PBS NewsHour has highlighted the work of Italian women religious in assisting victims of human trafficking, many of them from Nigeria. "The traffickers are cunning," said Consolata Missionary...

'Dying for Christianity'

The Guardian has published an overview of the persecution of Christians worldwide, accompanied by a list of the 25 "worst places to be a Christian." "Christians are facing growing persecution...

Churches set on fire in Indonesia

Arsonists set fire to two Protestant churches in Indonesia on July 20. The attacks took place in Bantul and Purworejo, two cities that are 35 miles apart on the island of Java. Neither church was...

Nun murdered in Brazil

A 65-year-old Franciscan sister was attacked at her convent in Brazil and died from multiple stab wounds, according to the Fides news agency. Sister Irma Odete Francisca, a member of the...

Court overturns conscience protection for pharmacists

Overturning a lower court decision, a three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the State of Washington may compel pharmacies to dispense the morning-after pill, which may...

Report: only 59% of Chileans identify themselves as Catholic

The percentage of Chileans who identify themselves as Catholic fell from 70% in 2006 to 59% in 2014, according a Chilean radio news report, which cited census data and national surveys. According...

Presidential candidates discuss how they would address hunger, poverty

The Circle of Protection, an ecumenical coalition that supports federal anti-poverty programs, has asked presidential candidates, "What would you do as president to offer help and opportunity to...

Spanish bishop: transgendered person may not serve as godparent

A Spanish bishop has determined that a 21-year-old woman who identifies herself as a man may not serve as a godparent at the baptism of her nephew. Bishop Rafael Zornoza Boy of Cádiz and Ceuta...

Third undercover video exposes Planned Parenthood, tissue-procurement company

The Center for Medical Progress has released the third in a series of undercover videos exposing the sale of fetal tissue by Planned Parenthood abortion clinics. The latest video, released on...

Vatican exhibition features relationship between St. John Paul II and Jewish people

An exhibition highlighting the relationship between St. John Paul II and the Jewish people opens this week at the Vatican. The exhibition, inaugurated at Xavier University in Ohio, has been on...

Vatican health director will step down

Dr. Patrizio Polisca, the director of Vatican Health Services, will step down from that post at the end of July, the Vatican has announced. Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican...

Released Wednesday, Jul. 29

Prelate welcomes judge's decision on detention of migrant children

A federal judge has ruled that the US government's detention of Central American children in privately-operated facilities violated commitments the US made in a 1997 legal agreement on the detention...

Chastity speaker, nurse among winners of pro-life award

A chastity speaker and a nurse were among the three winners of the 2015 People of Life Award, an honor bestowed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life...

Archbishop, EPA administrator write joint op-ed on climate change

Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago has joined Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy in writing an op-ed article entitled "We have a moral obligation on climate change." "The...

Pakistani Christian acquitted of blasphemy charge

Arif Yousaf, a Pakistani Christian accused of blasphemy in 2013, has been acquitted, according to a UCA News report. Yousaf, who owned a fireworks store, was accused of selling fireworks that...

Bishop protests destruction of crosses in China

An elderly bishop and 26 of his priests gathered outside a government building in the Chinese city of Wenzhou to protest against the demolition of crosses at churches in Zhejiang province, according...

Ukrainian president calls for single national Orthodox church

President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine met with representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and called for the creation of a single local Eastern Orthodox church. Ukraine's...

Papal letter for English pro-life initiative

Pope Francis sent a telegram expressing a support for the Day for Life, a pro-life initiative of the bishops of England and Wales. This year's theme focused on end-of-life decisions. In his...

Expert on Islam praises UAE's new anti-discrimination law

Father Samir Khalil Samir, a Jesuit expert on Islam who was appointed acting rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute in April, praised the United Arab Emirates for enacting legislation that bans...

Federal prison system to recognize humanism

Following a lawsuit filed by the American Humanist Association, the Federal Bureau of Prisons has agreed to recognize humanism as a belief system comparable to a religion. "Under the terms of the...

Patriarch pleads for peace in Middle East

Speaking recently in Boston, the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Antioch lamented the suffering of the Middle East's Christians and pleaded for peace. "We have priests, monks, nuns, people and...

Major US foundations committing millions for campaign to eliminate religious exemptions

Several major American grantmaking foundations have committed millions of dollars to a campaign to eliminate religious exemptions to gay-rights laws, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) reports. CNA...

Released Thursday, Jul. 30

Cardinal responds to Planned Parenthood videos

Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, the chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that recently released videos of Planned Parenthood...

USCCB committee, Catholic Charities call for just minimum wage to promote family life

The chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, joined by the president of Catholic Charities USA, called upon members of...

Avoid controversial issues in drafting development goals, Holy See tells UN

As representatives of different governments negotiate the final draft of the United Nations' post-2015 development agenda, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See issued a statement...

Patriarch: pray for Iraq's Christians on August 7

Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako has asked "all Christians all over the world to join us in praying for peace and stability in Iraq in the first anniversary of the conquest by ISIS of the Christian...

Protests over detention of Iraqi Christian refugees in San Diego

Members of the Chaldean Catholic community in San Diego have been protesting the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's detention of 27 Iraqi Christians at a privately-run detention facility since...

Thailand cracks down on surrogacy

A new Thai law banning commercial surrogacy and the sale of human sperm cells and eggs goes into effect on July 30. The law follows a number of controversial surrogacy cases involving foreigners,...

Italy: number of consecrated widows on the rise

The number of consecrated widows in Italy has risen to 200, and an additional 100 are in formation, according to a report in Avvenire, the newspaper owned by the Italian Episcopal Conference. In...

29 dead in attacks on Christian villages in Nigeria

Members of the jihadist group Boko Haram attacked two Christian villages in northeastern Nigeria, killing at least 29. The attacks on Dille and Mwuthamam took place on July 28, the Press Trust of...

Vatican newspaper recalls 1964 novel that featured Argentine pope

L'Osservatore Romano has published a lengthy article by Juan Manuel de Prada, a Spanish writer and literary critic, on Juan XXIII (XXIV), a 1964 novel by the late Argentine Jesuit Father Leonardo...

Damaging new video exposes Planned Parenthood trade in fetal organs; California court restricts further releases

Another damaging video exposing Planned Parenthood’s involved in the sale of fetal tissues was released on July 30, just hours after a judge in California issued a restraining order barring the...

Lesbian principal will retain post at German Catholic elementary school

The head of a German elementary school run by the Catholic Church will retain her position, despite having registered a civil union with her lesbian partner. The Bavarian school, administered by...

Term-limit proposal for officials of Roman Curia?

A proposal for “term limits” for officials of the Roman Curia will be among the proposals discussed at a September meeting of the Council of Cardinals, according to a report from the Catholic News...

Ukraine: Orthodox priest, nun are murder victims

A Ukrainian Orthodox nun was murdered on July 29, and a priest who had been shot earlier in the week succumbed to his wounds. Sister Alevtina was found dead in her room at a convent in Kiev on...

Kenyan bishops support vaccination boycott, citing risks

The Catholic bishops of Kenya have encouraged the public to boycott a vaccination campaign, citing indications that the vaccine is unsafe, the Fides news service reports. The Kenyan bishops spoke...

Cincinnati's Archbishp Schnurr urges citizen action to defund Planned Parenthood

Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati, Ohio, has encouraged his people to press for an end to government funding of Planned Parenthood. “They display a callous disrespect for human life,” the...

Congress votes to limit access House chamber during to Pope's speech

The US House of Representatives has voted to restrict public access to the legislative chamber when Pope Francis addresses a joint session of Congress on September 24. The office of Speaker John...

Vatican official cuts ties with anti-trafficking organization

The Vatican has broken off ties with the Global Freedom Network, an organization whose founder has drawn criticism from union leaders in Australia. “The Holy See actually withdrew some time ago,”...

Two Jewish extremists indicted for vandalizing ancient church on Sea of Galilee

An Israeli court has indicted two Jewish extremists for the arson attack on an ancient Christian church, the AsiaNews service reports. The Church of the Multiplication of Church of the Loaves and...

Released Friday, Jul. 31

Cardinal decries Trump's comments on immigration

Writing in the New York Daily News, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said that presidential candidate Donald Trump's comments on Mexicans entering the United States recalled 19th-century anti-Catholic...

Spanish, French bishops issue letter on pilgrimage to Compostela

French and Spanish bishops whose dioceses are part of the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) have issued a pastoral letter on the famed pilgrimage route, which leads to the cathedral in...

Kerala court: Christians who reconvert to Hinduism may benefit from affirmative action

The high court of the southwest Indian state of Kerala has ruled that Christian dalits who reconvert to Hinduism may benefit from affirmative action programs. Dalits were formerly referred to as...

Patriarch, Putin recall 1000th anniversary of St. Vladimir's death

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, joined by representatives of other Orthodox churches, recalled the 1000th anniversary of the death of St. Vladimir, prince of Kievan Rus' and a key figure in the...

Caritas: 100 million Christians face discrimination, persecution

Caritas Italiana, the Italian bishops' relief and development agency, has published a report on the persecution of Christians. The report, released July 30, estimates that there are "100 million...

German Protestants deplore destruction of images

In a recent dialogue with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, representatives of the Evangelical Church in Germany-- a federation of Lutheran and other Protestant communities-- deplored...

Plenary indulgence for pilgrims on the Ignatian Way

Pope Francis has granted a plenary indulgence to pilgrims who travel on the Camino Ignaciano, or Ignatian Way, between July 31, 2015, and July 31, 2016. July 31 is the feast of St. Ignatius of...

Planned Parenthood videotapes may show evidence of tissue-harvesting from babies born alive

The head of the investigative team whose videotapes have exposed the sale of fetal tissues now says that Planned Parenthood may have been involved in harvesting organs from babies who were born...

Pope's prayer intentions for August 2015

The Vatican has released the prayer intentions of Pope Francis for August 2015. The Pope's general intention is: “That volunteers may give themselves generously to the service of the...

Rome's mayor, Italian intelligence chiefs differ on terror threat level for Jubilee Year

Rome’s Mayor Ignazio Marino has said that Islamic groups have made specific threats against the city, but Italian intelligence agencies dispute that claim. Mayor Marino told the daily Corriere...

English bishop encourages faithful to oppose assisted-suicide bill

An English bishop has urged the faithful to take an active role in opposing a bill that would allow for assisted suicide. Speaking to pilgrims who had traveled to France to pray at the shrine of...

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