Stories for August 2015

Released Monday, Aug. 3

Cardinal Baum remembered for 'ministry of engagement and not of confrontation'

At the funeral Mass of Cardinal William Baum, the United States' longest-serving cardinal, Cardinal Donald Wuerl paid tribute to the late prelate's commitment of ecumenical and interreligious...

Vatican newspaper pays tribute to classicist Martin West

The English edition of L'Osservatore Romano has paid tribute to Martin Litchfield West, a classicist who taught at Oxford and the University of London and who died on July 13 at the age of...

New Vatican health director named

Pope Francis has named Alfredo Pontecorvi, an endocrinologist and university professor, as the new director of the Department of Health and Hygiene for the Vatican City State. According to the...

Pope Francis: 'go beyond the gift and discover the Giver'

Reflecting on the day's Gospel reading at Mass (John 6:24-35), Pope Francis spoke in his Sunday Angelus address of the need to seek God. "After the multiplication of the loaves, the people had...

Go to confession, Pope urges faithful

On August 2-- the day on which the faithful have the opportunity each year to gain the Portiuncula indulgence-- Pope Francis encouraged those attending his Sunday Angelus address to go to...

Come to the Holy Land, Custos urges

Reacting to a significant decline in the number of pilgrims, the Custos of the Holy Land has called upon Christians of other lands to visit the Holy Land's sacred sites. "For some time now,...

English bishops' commission issues report on abuse allegations

The National Catholic Safeguarding Commission, established in 2008 by the Bishops Conference of England and Wales and the Conference of Religious of England and Wales, has released its annual...

UN defeats bid to list abortion, gay rights among Sustainable Development Goals

After three years of negotiations, the UN approved a set of Sustainable Development Goals that do not include support for legal abortion or homosexual marriage. The goals were approved on August...

US bishops urge Senate to defund Planned Parenthood

Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, the chairman of the US bishops’ pro-life committee, has written to members of the US Senate, urging them to support a bill that would strip federal funding for...

Cardinal Müller speaks on Synod, Medjugorje, Lefebvrists, and more

The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has said that the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops must avoid “reducing the word of Jesus and the teaching of the...

New Armenian Catholic Patriarch was retired before election

The Catholic News Agency profiles the newly elected Armenian Catholic Patriarch Gregory Peter XX Ghabroyan. At the age of 80, the Armenian prelate had already resigned from his post as leader of...

Papal tribute to St. Teresa of Avila, 'master of prayer'

In a message to an international conference on St. Teresa of Avila, Pope Francis said that study of this “master of prayer” should help participants find the source of the truths that are a reliable...

Remains of Padre Pio will be venerated at Vatican basilica for Ash Wednesday in Jubilee Year

The remains of Padre Pio will be exposed for veneration in St. Peter’s basilica in February 2016, as Lent begins the Jubilee of Mercy. Pope Francis made a special request for the reliquary...

Bombs rock two churches in New Mexico, but cause no casualties

Explosions that rocked two churches in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on Sunday morning were very likely connected, police believe. One explosive device was set in a mailbox on the wall of Calvary...

German bishops back organ donation, say 'brain death' is adequate measure

The Catholic bishops of Germany have issued a statement encouraging the donation of human organs, provided that the donor is dead. The statement, apparently written to counter public pressure...

Extra papal audiences planned for Jubilee Year

Pope Francis plans to add an extra public audience to his schedule each month during the Jubilee Year. Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the prefect of the pontifical household, told Vatican Radio that...

Muslim lawyer for Asia Bibi says government ignored legal requirements in blasphemy case

The lawyer representing Asia Bibi before Pakistan’s highest court has charged that the country’s government is responsible for the plight of the Christian woman, who remains on death row, convicted...

Released Tuesday, Aug. 4

Chaldean patriarch gives aid to Muslim refugees

Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, gave food and medicine to 250 Muslim families during a visit to a refugee camp at the conclusion of Ramadan. It was the...

Prelate welcomes announcement of new carbon standards

The chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops welcomed President Barack Obama's announcement of new carbon dioxide...

Indian archbishop opposes plans for massive seaport

Citing concerns about the fate of 50,000 fishermen and their families, an Indian prelate has issued a pastoral letter opposing a plans to construct a massive seaport in the southwestern Indian state...

Report examines religious affiliations in major US cities

Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and San Diego are the major metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of people who identify themselves as Catholics, while Atlanta, Seattle, Dallas, and Detroit...

Bolivian bishop opposes UN committee's push for abortion

A UN committee examining Bolivia's implementation of an international women's treaty sharply criticized the South American nation for its laws protecting unborn human life-- prompting a rebuke from...

Vote to defund Planned Parenthood fails

The US Senate has failed to pass a bill that would end federal funding of Planned Parenthood. In a 53-46 vote, proponents of the effort fell seven votes short of the 60 needed to overcome a...

El Salvador's bishops call for prayer, fasting in every parish in wake of gang violence

Amid spiraling gang violence in El Salvador, the nation's bishops have issued a statement pleading with the Divine Savior "to protect and save our nation." The bishops have also called upon every...

IRS head weighs in on same-sex marriage, nonprofit status of religious colleges

John Koskinen, the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, told a Senate committee that he would not take the initiative to revoke the nonprofit status of religious colleges that oppose...

New Planned Parenthood video: official discusses delivery of 'intact fetal cadavers'

In the latest in a shocking series of undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, an official at a Planned Parenthood clinic discusses delivery of babies who are aborted intact,...

'You are more fortunate today than the prophet Isaiah,' Pope tells altar servers

Speaking on August 4 to thousands of altar servers gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis told them that “being close to Jesus and knowing him in the Eucharist through your service at the...

India's government shuts down internet porn sites

Government officials in India have reportedly directed internet service providers to block several hundred web sites that carry pornography. More than 800 sites were “found to be spreading...

Pope Francis, with demands for simplicity, changing styles at Vatican

Pope Francis, with his simple tastes and his demand for restrained spending, has brought a significant change in style at the Vatican, Breitbart reports. Prelates are far less likely to buy...

Court deadline brings a flood of new sex-abuse claims against Minnesota archdiocese

Reporters representing sex-abuse victims in Minnesota reported a flood of last-minute claims as a court deadline for filing such claims approached. With the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis in...

California court deals setback to Sisters, paves way for sale of property to Katy Perry

A Los Angeles county court has annulled the sale of a building owned by the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, saying that Archbishop Jose Gomez has control of the property and its...

Krakow archdiocese making arrangements for poor to attend World Youth Day

The Archdiocese of Krakow plans to make special arrangements to enable poor youngsters to attend World Youth Day in 2016. Bishop Damian Muskus, a Krakow auxiliary who is coordinating arrangements...

New Chinese bishop ordained with Vatican approval-- 1st in 3 years

For the first time in three years, a Catholic bishop has been ordained in China with the approval of both the Holy See and the Beijing government. Bishop Joseph Zhang Yinlin was ordained as an...

Chinese Communist Party says it will choose successor to Dalai Lama

The Chinese Communist Party has insisted that it will name the next Dalai Lama, the AsiaNews service reports. At a July 30 meeting, the Chinese Politburo announced that since China seized control...

Released Wednesday, Aug. 5

The joy of encountering Jesus makes us missionaries, Pope tells altar servers

Pope Francis celebrated Vespers in St. Peter’s Square on August 4 for thousands of European altar servers who were making a pilgrimage to Rome. The pilgrimage, organized by the German-based...

Church in Africa begins Year of Reconciliation

Responding to an invitation issued by Pope Benedict XVI in his apostolic exhortation on the Church in Africa, the African bishops began a Year of Reconciliation on July 29. In 2011, the Pontiff...

South Sudan’s Christian leaders call upon belligerents to sign peace agreement

The South Sudan Council of Churches has called upon belligerents in the South Sudanese Civil War to sign a peace agreement proposed by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a...

Convert to Christianity released from Iranian prison

Alireza Seyyedian, an Iranian Muslim who converted to Christianity, has been released from Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide. In 2012, Seyyedian, a...

Tyndale Bible auctioned in England

A rare Tyndale Bible purchased in a used bookstore in the 1960s has been auctioned by Sotheby’s for 60,000 pounds ($93,400), double its asking price. William Tyndale produced one of the first...

British bishop calls for compassion for asylum seekers

As increasing numbers of African and Asian refugees seek to enter the tunnel from Calais, France, to Great Britain, the English bishop responsible for migrants has called for compassion. “We must...

Pope Francis: welcome with compassion those who have remarried outside the Church

Following a month-long hiatus, Pope Francis resumed his Wednesday general audience on August 5 and called for a compassionate welcome to those who have remarried outside the Church. In doing so,...

Vatican envoy tells UN: climate change, poverty are inseparable challenges

As the UN Security Council discussed challenges facing small island nations, the Holy See’s envoy emphasized that “my delegation sees concern for climate change as inseparable from concern for human...

Vietnamese Christian human-rights activists released after 4-year prison terms

Two Vietnamese Christians have been released from prison after completing their full 4-year sentences for anti-government activities. Paulus Le Van Son, a Catholic blogger; and Nguyen Van Oai, a...

Mobilize to defend religious freedom, Pope tells Knights of Columbus

In a message to the Knights of Columbus, who are holding their 133rd annual convention, Pope Francis called for a “mobilization of consciences” to defend religious freedom in the US. “Today,...

Milwaukee archdiocese reaches agreement with abuse victims on $21-million settlement

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has reached an agreement to pay $21 million to settle the legal claims brought by hundreds of sex-abuse victims. Archbishop Jerome Listecki hailed the agreement as a...

Bishop in North Dakota breaks off Church ties with Boy Scouts over new gay policy

Bishop David Kagan of Bismarck, North Dakota has ordered all parishes and schools in the diocese to end their ties with the Boys Scouts of America, after the Boy Scouts changed their longstanding...

Claims against St. Paul archdiocese top 400 at bankruptcy-court deadline

A last-minute rush of sex-abuse claims against the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, prompted by a deadline set by a bankruptcy court, has brought the total number of claims up to 407—a figure...

Released Thursday, Aug. 6

New York, Chicago archbishops weigh in on Planned Parenthood videos

Discussing the series of undercover videos of conversations with Planned Parenthood officials, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York wrote that “for once we can actually take Planned Parenthood at...

Report: 4 priests arrested in China [CORRECTION]

Earlier today we posted a link to an AsiaNews story about the arrest of four priests from the "underground" Catholic Church in China. That story was from August 2011. AsiaNews service has...

Iraqi Christian refugees fear Turkish bombing

Turkish warplanes have crossed into Iraqi territory to bomb Kurdish separatists, causing deep concern among Iraqi Christian refugees. Last year, thousands of Iraq’s Christians fled to Iraqi...

Prelate decries West Bank arson attack

The retired Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem decried an arson attack on a Palestinian West Bank village and pleaded for peace. Israeli government officials condemned the attack, which left an...

Hear the concerns of the poor in mining disputes, Pontifical Council told

Following a papal call for a “radical paradigm change” in mining in order to protect the poor and their land, representatives of some of the Latin American communities affected by mining have...

Pope Francis laments persecution of Middle East’s Christians

One year after Iraqi Christian refugees fleeing the Islamic State began to arrive in Jordan, Pope Francis has written a letter decrying the persecution of Christians. In an August 6 letter to...

Serbian patriarch laments final battle of War of Croatian Independence

Twenty years after the Croatian army decisively won the War of Croatian Independence, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church lamented the final battle as a “tragedy of biblical...

Jewish extremist placed under 'preventative arrest' by Israeli police

Israeli police have taken the rare step of placing a young Jewish extremist under “preventative arrest” because of his suspected involvement in attacks on Christian churches. Mordechai Ben...

Colorado bishops call for penance, prayer, in response to Planned Parenthood organ-harvesting

The Catholic bishops of Colorado have asked the faithful to observe a day of penance and prayer as a response to the revelations of the harvesting of organs from aborted children. “We call on all...

Syrian, Iraqi prelates charge US discriminates against Christian refugees in visa process

Catholic prelates from Iraq and Syria charged that US immigration officials are discriminating against Christian refugees from the Middle East. Speaking in Philadelphia to the national convention...

Papal encyclical adapted for 14-part Italian radio broadcast

Vatican Radio has announced plans to broadcast Laudato Si’, the social encyclical of Pope Francis, in a 14-part series. The papal encyclical will be read in an adapted version, with accompanying...

Released Friday, Aug. 7

World Health Organization: train more health care workers in abortion

More health care workers around the world need to be trained to take part in abortions, the World Health Organization stated in a new report. “Among the many barriers that limit access to safe...

Europe should have compassion on Eritrean refugees, say priest, religious

An Eritrean priest and religious sister have called upon Europeans to have compassion upon the refugees that have made a dangerous journey across the desert and the Mediterranean Sea. “When...

Prelate highlights similarities between Blessed Paul VI, Pope Francis

Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, the secretary of Pope Francis’s Council of Cardinals, celebrated Mass at the tomb of Blessed Paul VI on August 6, the 37th anniversary of the Pontiff’s...

Rabbis raise funds to restore church attacked by extremists

An Israeli interfaith institute has raised funds to restore the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish following an arson attack by Jewish extremists. “Condemnation is not enough;...

Sudan: pastors who faced death penalty released

Two Presbyterian pastors who faced flogging for offending Islam and the death penalty for espionage have been convicted in a Sudanese court of other crimes and released for time served. The...

‘Christ’s love transcends the evil committed by the Islamic State,’ says Iraqi prelate

One year after 120,000 Christians of the Nineveh plain fled from the advance of the Islamic State, an Iraqi prelate spoke of the daily challenges faced by refugees in Erbil, a city of 1.5 million...

Report: Spanish bishop changes mind, permits transgendered person to be godparent

Reversing a decision made less than two weeks before, Bishop Rafael Zornoza Boy of Cádiz and Ceuta has determined that a 21-year-old woman who identifies herself as a man may serve as a godparent at...

Don't fear conflict, Pope tells young audience

“We are in the midst of a war,” Pope Francis told an audience of young people on August 7; “but there are signs of hope and joy.” The Pope told 1500 members of the Eucharistic Youth Movement, who...

American bishop speaks of 'sorrow and repentance' at Hiroshima A-bomb anniversary

Visiting Hiroshima on the 70th anniversary of the city’s devastation by an atomic bomb, Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, lamented that Americans are no longer pursuing the elimination...

Archbishop Cupich to be added to list of Synod participants, reports say

Chicago’s Archbishop Blase Cupich will be a participant in the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) reports. Citing an unnamed Vatican source, CNA said that...

Released Monday, Aug. 10

Pope appoints personal physician

A week after he appointed Alfredo Pontecorvi as the new Vatican health director, Pope Francis has named Fabrizio Soccorsi, 73, as his personal physician. The author of over 100 articles, Soccorsi...

Holy Land’s bishops file police complaint after rabbi calls for burning of churches

The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land has filed a complaint with police against Rabbi Ben-Zion Gopstein after he expressed support for the burning of churches during a panel...

Melkite patriarch criticizes Western policies, vows to remain in Syria

In recent interviews with Aid to the Church in Need, the head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church criticized Western policies toward Syria and vowed to remain with his flock in the war-torn...

International community a ‘silent accomplice’ in the persecution of Christians, says bishop

Archbishop Maroun Lahham, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem’s vicar for Jordan, has told an Italian television station that “the international community is absolutely inert, absent, or rather a...

India may grant citizenship to some fleeing religious persecution

The Indian government will amend 1955 legislation and grant citizenship to undocumented refugees who are fleeing religious persecution in the neighboring Muslim states of Pakistan and Bangladesh,...

Vatican releases hymn for jubilee year of mercy

The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization has released the official hymn of the upcoming Jubilee of Mercy, which begins on December 8. The title of the hymn is the same as the...

Pope Francis: open your hearts to faith

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading (John 6:41-51), Pope Francis spoke in his August 9 Angelus address about Christ’s words, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him.” “It...

Pope strongly condemns atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima, Nagasaki

Following his August 9 Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis strongly condemned the decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. “Seventy years ago, on the 6th and the 9th of...

Do not settle for mediocrity, Pope tells European youth

Pope Francis encourages youth “not to settle for a mediocre life without aspirations,” the Vatican’s Secretary of State said in a message on the occasion of the European Youth Gathering, which took...

Pope institutes World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

Pope Francis has instituted the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, which will be commemorated annually on September 1, as has become customary in the Orthodox churches. In a letter...

Appeals court rules against New York Catholic groups in challenge to contraceptive mandate

Another federal appeals court—this time in New York—has rejected an appeal from Catholic non-profit groups for exemption from the contraceptive mandate in the “Obamacare” health-care...

Bishops, Pope plead for end to hundreds of gang killings in El Salvador

Catholic leaders in El Salvador have issued an urgent appeal for an end to gang violence: a message echoed by Pope Francis during his midday audience on August 9. A shocking rise in violence has...

Wisconsin bishop warns against involvement with SSPX

Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin, has advised the faithful to avoid involvement with the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). In a column in his diocesan newspaper explaining the irregular...

Released Tuesday, Aug. 11

Syria: Christians kidnapped, in flight as Islamic State advances

Forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant seized al-Qaryatayn, a central Syrian town of 15,000, and kidnapped over 230 of the town’s residents. Among those abducted were numerous...

Bishop ‘deeply concerned’ as Calais crisis deepens

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees lamented the worsening conditions in migrant camps in and around Calais, France, where an estimated 3,000 African and Asian refugees have gathered...

Maronite bishops to lawmakers: elect president or Lebanon may collapse

The Council of Maronite Bishops warned that Lebanon may soon collapse unless the nation’s parliament elects a new president. Since 1943, Lebanon has typically had a Maronite Christian president...

Philippine religious sister wins German human rights award

The city of Weimar, Germany, has announced that it is awarding its 2015 human rights prize to a Philippine Benedictine sister known for her efforts on behalf of Mindanao’s indigenous persons,...

Theme announced for 2016 World Day of Peace

“Overcome indifference and win peace” is the theme of the 49th World Day of Peace, which will be celebrated on January 1. “Indifference in regard to the scourges of our time is one of the...

Fear in Burundi as violence escalates

Amid spiraling violence, Burundi’s citizens are fleeing their homes, and up to 200,000 refugees may leave the nation by the end of the year, Father Lambert Niciteretse, the secretary-general of the...

Senegal’s president criticizes religious extremism

Senegalese President Macky Sall, a Muslim, spoke out against religious extremism at a recent conference on Islam and peace in which both Muslim and Catholic leaders took part. In recent years,...

Bishop slain during Assyrian genocide declared a martyr

Pope Francis has approved a decree on the martyrdom of Bishop Flavianus Michael Malke (1858-1915), thus paving the way for his beatification. Bishop Malke, the Syriac Catholic bishop of Gazireh...

Cardinal Schönborn foresees no change in Church teaching on marriage, divorce

Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has predicted that the Synod of Bishops will not push for a major change in Church teaching on marriage. “I am confident there will be no change in...

US embassy to the Holy See moving to new location

The US Embassy to the Holy See is completing a move to a new location in the compound that already houses the US embassy to Italy and the American missions to UN agencies headquartered in...

Brazilian bishop issues liturgical norms, opposes informal greetings at Kiss of Peace, excessive use of extraordinary ministers

A Brazilian bishop has told the faithful not to exchange informal personal greetings during the Kiss of Peace at Mass. Bishop Milton Kenan Junior of Barretos issued norms designed to ensure...

Italian parish offering 'baby bonus' for parents with three or more children

An Italian parish is offering a special bonus of €2,000 ($2,210) to families at the birth of a 3rd child and subsequent children. Father Stefano Bimbi began offering the bonus to parishioners in...

Another Chinese bishop to be ordained with approval from both Rome and Beijing?

For the 2nd time this month, a Chinese Catholic bishop will be ordained with the approval of both the government and the Holy See, according to a Reuters news report. Reuters reports that Father...

Abortion, other moral ills are not equivalent: Archbishop Chaput

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia has described abortion as “a uniquely wicked act” which cannot be described as morally equivalent to other sinful deeds. In a column for his archdiocesan...

African leaders must address problems that prompt emigration, says Cardinal Turkson

Africa’s leaders must address the problems that cause so many of their people to emigrate to Europe, argued Cardinal Peter Turkson during a visit to his native Ghana. Cardinal Turkson, the...

Italian bishops, politicians spar on immigration

A war of wards between Italian prelates and politicians escalated when Bishop Nunzio Galantino, the secretary-general of the Italian Episcopal Conference, accused Italian politicians of pandering to...

Released Wednesday, Aug. 12

Pope honored for opposition to death penalty

Nessuno Tocchi Caino (Hands Off Cain), an Italian organization that opposes capital punishment, has honored Pope Francis with its 2015 “abolitionist of the year” award. “Hands Off Cain recognizes...

China: women perish in flood while defending cross

As Zhejiang’s provincial government continued its campaign to destroy church crosses, two elderly women who were staying in their church in an attempt to defend its cross perished as Typhoon...

Hebrew Catholics face challenges in passing on the faith, says vicar

Father David Neuhaus, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem’s vicar for Israel’s Hebrew-speaking Catholics, issued a pastoral letter on the 60th anniversary of his vicariate. The letter was dated...

Islamic State releases 22 Christian hostages

Twenty-two elderly Christians abducted by the Islamic State have been released after nearly six months in captivity. Islamic State militants took 253 Christians hostage as they swept through...

On Ferguson anniversary, St. Louis archbishop laments racism

At a Mass for peace and justice at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, Archbishop Robert Carlson recalled the shooting of Michael Brown one year earlier and the subsequent unrest in...

Pope’s nephew says mother opposed priestly vocation

In an interview with a Spanish newspaper, Pope Francis’s nephew, José Ignacio Bergoglio, said that the Pontiff “did not want to be Pope.” “As every Jesuit, he was and is a detached person and...

Do not be ‘slaves to work,’ Pope advises families

Continuing his Wednesday reflections on the family, Pope Francis began a series of audiences on August 12 devoted to “three facets of family life: celebration, work, and prayer.” “Let us turn...

Iraqi archbishop: ‘our vibrant Church life is dissolving before our eyes’

The Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Erbil, Iraq, has told the Fides news agency that “our vibrant Church life is dissolving in front of our eyes” because of mass emigration. “We who are part of...

New video alleges fetal tissues harvested without consent at Planned Parenthood

In a new video exposing the sale of tissue from aborted babies, the Center for Medical Progress interviews a former employee who says that tissues were sometimes collected without the consent of the...

Australian prime minister leaves open possibility of future referendum on same-sex marriage

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said that his coalition government may agree to a national referendum on the question of same-sex marriage, but has ruled out that possibility before a new...

Vatican Secretary of State lauds Indonesia's tradition of religious coexistence

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, praised Indonesia’s history of inter-religious harmony during a visit to Jakarta. During a meeting with the Indonesian foreign minister,...

Rome plans urban 'facelift' in preparation for Jubilee

The City of Rome is planning a series of urban improvement projects in preparation for the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Mayor Ignazio Marino said that Rome would have a “facelift” in the months leading...

Italy's Northern League raps bishops' involvement in immigration debate

Leaders of Italy’s Northern League have stepped up their criticism of Bishop Nunzio Galantino, the secretary-general of the Italian bishops’ conference, for his public statements decrying the...

US envoy claims 'very warm' relations between Pope and President Obama

The US ambassador to the Holy See said that Pope Francis has “a very positive view of President Obama,” and voiced his doubts that the Pontiff would speak with the American leader about topics such...

Colombian bishops: no change in Church teaching on divorced/remarried Catholics

Two Colombian prelates have stressed that Catholics who are divorced and remarried cannot receive Communion, warning against false interpretations of public remarks by Pope Francis. At his public...

Released Thursday, Aug. 13

Vatican newspaper: crisis of the family manifest in alcohol, drug abuse among youth

L’Osservatore Romano has published a front-page reflection on the crisis of the “real family,” a crisis manifest in alcohol and drug abuse among youth who look upon life as a “continuous...

Leading Russian Orthodox official: the ‘kingdom of freedom’ enslaves people

Speaking at a rally in Moscow, a leading Russian Orthodox official denounced economic oligarchies and the “kingdom of freedom.” “We need a virtuous, self-disciplined Russia, strong in its faith,...

Vatican issues stamps commemorating saintly Armenians

The Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Vatican City State has announced that it is issuing stamps in honor of St. Gregory of Narek and Blessed Ignatius Maloyan. Pope Francis proclaimed St....

Ukraine: Catholic, Orthodox leaders speak out against gay pride parade

Christian leaders in Odessa, Ukraine’s fourth-largest city, have called upon the city’s mayor to prevent a gay pride parade from taking place on August 15. Ukrainian Orthodox and Protestant...

South Sudan’s Christian leaders renew plea for peace

Launching a new peace initiative, the Southern Sudan Council of Churches again called upon belligerents in the nation’s 20-month civil war to lay down their arms. “War has made people indifferent...

Cardinal highlights ecumenical dimension of new day of prayer for creation

In an interview with Vatican Radio, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace emphasized the ecumenical nature of Pope Francis’s decision to institute a World Day of Prayer for...

Sri Lankan bishops issue election statement

Calling for a “country that respects justice and law,” the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka has issued a statement on the upcoming election for prime minister and members of...

Indian government may ban Muslim practice of instant divorce

The Indian government’s Ministry of Women and Child Development, according to a Guardian report, is considering a ban on the Muslim practice that allows a man to divorce his wife instantly by saying...

'Bling bishop' will not be required to repay diocese: German newspaper report

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, who resigned under heavy criticism for his use of diocesan funds, will not be required to pay any compensation to his former Limburg diocese, according to a...

Be 'missionary disciples,' Cardinal Parolin urges future priests in East Timor

Priests should be “missionary disciples,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin told seminarians in East Timor. The Vatican Secretary of State, who is visiting East Timor to join in celebrations of the 5th...

Dutch court approves woman's choice for euthanasia, in spite of dementia diagnosis

A Dutch court approved the euthanasia of a dementia patient whose doctor said that she was not mentally competent to choose her own death, Mercatornet reports. Cobi Luck, who was 80 years old,...

Italian bishops, Northern League continue sparring on immigration

Continuing a war of words with Italian Church leaders on the topic of immigration, Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s Northern League asked rhetorically: “How many refugees are there in the...

Cardinal Tong makes 'urgent appeal' for end to destruction of crosses in Chinese province

Cardinal John Tong of Hong Kong has issued an “urgent appeal” to Chinese government leaders to curb a campaign of demolition of crosses. Early last year Xia Baolong, the secretary of the...

Swiss bishop apologizes for calling homosexual acts 'abomination'

Under heavy public pressure, a Swiss Catholic bishop has issued a public apology for a statement in which he referred to homosexual activity as an abomination and cited Old Testament passages saying...

Pope baptizes baby of old friends from Argentina

An Argentine couple flew to Rome to accept an invitation from Pope Francis to baptize their child. Lucas and Ana Schaerer-- who had become acquainted with the future Pontiff while working for an...

Kentucky forbids prison chaplains from identifying homosexuality as sinful

Prison officials in the state of Kentucky have told chaplains that they are not allowed to speak of homosexual activity as sinful. The Department of Juvenile Justice revoked the credentials of a...

Soviet influence still haunts Ukraine, cardinal says

The Church in Ukraine is still battling with the legacy of the Soviet era, Cardinal Lubomyr Husar told Aid to the Church in Need. Older period have difficulty breaking the habits of thought...

Released Friday, Aug. 14

Church in France to pray for persecuted Eastern Christians

Church bells throughout various French dioceses will ring out at noon on August 15, the Feast of the Assumption, to invite the faithful to gather and pray for persecuted Eastern Christians. “When...

India imposes, backtracks on ban on pornographic sites

India’s government imposed a ban on Internet access to 857 pornographic websites, only to backtrack and limit its order to sites that carry child pornography. Church spokesmen offered varied...

Much interest in Pope’s encyclical at UN, says diplomat

Interest in Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’s encyclical on the care of creation, is high at the United Nations, said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Holy See’s permanent observer at UN offices in New...

Increasing fear among Syria’s Christians, says priest

Christians in central Syria are increasingly fearful after forces of the Islamic State abducted 230 Christian and Muslim residents of al-Qaryatayn, a local priest told Aid to the Church in...

Zambia’s bishops call for freedom of the press

The bishops of Zambia have joined a coalition of 23 organizations that are calling for greater freedom of the press and of expression in the African nation. “The Catholic Church wants to see a...

Jerusalem bishop urges pilgrimages to Holy Land

Stating that 30% of Christians in Jerusalem and Bethlehem rely on pilgrimages for their livelihood, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem’s vicar for Israel called for more pilgrims to visit the Holy...

Italian archdiocese agrees to house refugees at seminary

Acceding to a request from local civil authorities, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco has agreed to house 50 refugees at Genoa’s archdiocesan seminary. The decision was made “in the spirit of the Gospel,...

Pope calls Argentine radio station

Pope Francis has called a solar-powered parish radio station in rural northern Argentina—a station located in a town so remote that it lacks electricity and running water, according to Vatican...

California judge: 'unlikely' to block release of videos showing fetal-tissue sales

A California court has denied a bid by Stem Express, a company engaged in the sale of human tissue for research, for access to undercover video recordings by the Center for Medical Progress...

Orthodox leaders at odds on topics for proposed Pan-Orthodox Council

The Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople has convened an assembly of all the bishops of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to be held August 29- September 2. The main purpose of the meeting will be...

East Timor signs diplomatic accord with Holy See

The Vatican has signed a diplomatic agreement with East Timor, establishing the juridical status of the Church in that country. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who is in East Timor for celebrations of...

French government hikes security for churches, responding to threats of Islamic terror

The French government has increased police presence around Catholic churches in answer to threats of an Islamic terrorist attack on the feast of the Assumption, August 15. In a joint message,...

Details emerge on Pope's role in restoring US-Cuba ties

Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino of Havana made an unannounced visit to the White House, and hand-delivered a letter from Pope Francis to President Barack Obama, to open the negotiations that led to...

Pope offers support for talks on peace accord in Colombia

Pope Francis has offered his encouragement to magistrates working toward a peace settlement between the government of Colombia and FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) rebels. In an...

Former Archbishop of Canterbury breaks with colleagues, supports legal euthanasia

Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has broken with the public position of the Church of England to say that physician-assisted suicide could be “a profoundly Christian and moral...

LCWR leader sees narrowing 'cultural chasm' between her group and Vatican

The president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) has said that recent talks with the Vatican have helped to bridge a “cultural chasm” between the group and the Church...

French church bells will toll for persecuted Christians in Middle East

Catholic churches in six French dioceses will ring their bells at noon on August 15, the feast of the Assumption, in a gesture of solidarity with persecuted Christians in the Middle East. At...

Released Monday, Aug. 17

Mary is the ‘great believer,’ Pope says in Assumption address

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the “great believer,” Pope Francis said during his Angelus address on August 15, the Feast of the Assumption. “At the conclusion of her earthly life, the Mother of...

Papal prayers for victims of explosion in China

Following his August 15 Angelus address, Pope Francis offered prayers for the victims of explosions in Tianjin, China. “My thoughts go out, in this moment, to the people of the city of Tianjin,...

Pope Francis: the Eucharist transforms our life

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading (Jn. 6:51-58), Pope Francis devoted his August 16 Sunday Angelus address to the Holy Eucharist. “The Eucharist is not a private prayer or a beautiful...

Court rules against Colorado bakery in same-sex wedding case

Upholding a decision by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a state appellate court has ruled that the owner of a suburban Denver bakery committed discrimination when he declined to bake a wedding...

Enthronement of new Armenian Catholic patriarch

Krikor Bedros XX Gabroyan was enthroned as the 20th Armenian Catholic Patriarch of Cilicia on August 9 in Bzommar, Lebanon. He succeeds Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, who died on June 25. Krikor...

Colombian bishops call for referendum on mining

The bishops of two Colombian departments (provinces) have issued a statement on mining. “In certain cases when the result of mining activity is devastating, despite the fact that it meets the...

Prelate calls for greater press freedom in Venezuela

A Venezuelan prelate known for his candid criticisms of the regimes of Hugo Chávez and his successor, Nicolás Maduro, has called for greater freedom of the press in the South American...

Witness amid ‘aggressive secularism,’ Cardinal Parolin tells Singapore’s Catholics

Following a trip to East Timor, where he signed a diplomatic accord, the Vatican’s Secretary of State traveled to Singapore. “Today’s Gospel invites the Christian community to look with some...

Ethiopian cardinal: let episcopal conferences adapt Church teachings to particular societies

An Ethiopian prelate has suggested that the Synod of Bishops should encourage episcopal conferences to adapt Church moral teachings to the circumstances of their own societies. “The Catholic...

Peruvian cardinal charged with plagiarism for quoting Popes

A Peruvian newspaper has accused Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne of plagiarism because he quoted papal statements without attribution. El Comercio found that the cardinal had reproduced...

Jerusalem bishop encourages pilgrims to visit Holy Land

The patriarchal vicar of Jerusalem has issued a new appeal for Christian pilgrims to visit the Holy Land. Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo says that the fears that deter many Christians from...

Irish premier lauds his country's heritage of 'spiritualism'

In a message welcoming participants in an international pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Knock, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said that he hoped the visitors would appreciate the Irish...

Nigeria: priest murdered

A Claretian missionary priest serving in Nigeria was murdered on August 15, the Fides news service reports. Father Dennis Osuagwu was killed in an ambush on the road, his religious superiors...

Hungarian Cardinal Paskai dead at 88

Cardinal Laszlo Paskai, the retired Archbishop of Budapest, died on August 17 at the age of 88 after a long illness. Ordained in 1951 as a Franciscan priest, the future cardinal was named Bishop...

Released Tuesday, Aug. 18

Cardinal recalls 500th anniversary of East Timor’s evangelization

A day after the signing of a diplomatic accord between the Holy See and Timor-Leste (East Timor), the Vatican’s Secretary of State was the principal celebrant at a Mass commemorating the 500th...

Philippine bishops issue statement on medical marijuana

Neither endorsing nor criticizing proposed legislation on the medical use of marijuana, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has issued a statement entitled “Pastoral Guidance on the...

Cardinal Zen denounces demolition of crosses

Cardinal Joseph Zen, the retired bishop of Hong Kong, has joined his successor, Cardinal John Tong Hon, in denouncing the campaign to demolish crosses in the Chinese province of Zhejiang. “The...

Kidnapped Syrian priest is released

Father Tony Boutros, a Melkite Greek Catholic priest who was kidnapped in Syria in July, was freed on August 15, Archbishop Mario Zenari told Vatican Radio. Archbishop Zenari, the apostolic...

Ukrainian Church emphasizes vibrant parishes

Stating that some parishes are newborn or mature while others are frozen, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church emphasized the importance of a parish-life initiative. As the Eastern...

Care for the sick during jubilee, says Pope

In a message to an Argentine association that assists the needy in receiving the sacraments, Pope Francis called for an expanded apostolate to the sick and the dying during the upcoming Jubilee of...

Papal telegram following death of Cardinal Paskai

Pope Francis has sent a telegram of condolence to the archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest following the death of Cardinal László Paskai, Hungary’s primate from 1987 until his retirement in...

Cardinal laments ‘heartless’ world economy

Preaching in his hometown of Alfambra, Spain, on the Feast of the Assumption, Cardinal Santos Abril y Castelló, archpriest of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, denounced “those who have...

Univ. of Mass. Medical School purchased fetal tissues from StemExpress

The University of Massachusetts Medical School has paid $29,000 for tissues harvested from aborted babies. The pro-life activist group Operation Rescue obtained documents from the sales to the...

Flood of Syrian refugees could endanger Christian position in Lebanon, archbishop fears

A Maronite Catholic prelate has voiced concerns that a flood of refugees from Syria will change a delicate cultural balance in Lebanon, making Christians an endangered minority. "We have 2...

Scottish bishops accept independent report on clergy abuse, apologize to victims

The Catholic bishops of Scotland have issued an apology to the victims of sexual abuse, upon the release of a report from an independent commission on the topic. The commission—chaired by Dr....

Australian archbishop foresees push to silence opponents of same-sex marriage

Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney has warned that the drive for legal recognition of sex-sex marriage will come soon in Australia. The archbishop said that proponents of a radical change in the...

Vatican now recruiting priests to be Missionaries of Mercy, commissioned for Jubilee work

The Vatican has begun accepting applications from priests who wish to join the corps of “Missionaries of Mercy” that Pope Francis will create for the Jubilee Year. In April, when he unveiled his...

Released Wednesday, Aug. 19

Study links religion, ‘sustained happiness’

A study of 9,000 Europeans over 50 has found a link between religious participation and “sustained happiness.” Researchers at the London School of Economics and Erasmus University Medical Center...

Syrian prelate welcomes French Catholics’ prayers for persecuted Christians

The Melkite Greek Catholic archbishop of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, has expressed gratitude to the French dioceses that took part in an August 15 initiative in which church bells were rung at...

‘Is Eritrea the North Korea of Africa?’

Two Catholics who serve on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom lamented government repression and the persecution of religious believers in the African nation of Eritrea. “Civic...

The poor are ‘victims of climate change,’ says Myanmar’s cardinal

Preaching at a Mass that preceded a climate-change seminar sponsored by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon called for action to counter climate...

Indonesia’s bishops decry corruption

In a statement published on the 70th anniversary of the nation’s independence, Indonesia’s bishops lamented corruption. “Democracy is lacking and impartiality is little practiced, in the domain...

Cardinal Turkson: ecological crisis is the ‘gravest and most intractable of all’

In a message of solidarity to the International Islamic Climate Change Symposium, which took place on August 17 and 18 in Istanbul, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace said...

Cardinal praises Taizé Community on 75th anniversary

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the president of the German Bishops’ Conference, has issued a statement praising the ecumenical monastic Taizé Community as it commemorates its 75th...

Fortifications of Philistine city unearthed

Israeli archeologists have unearthed what they believe to be the entrance gate of Gath, the Philistine city associated with Goliath in the Old Testament. “We knew that Philistine Gath in the...

Colombian rebels ask to meet with Pope in Havana

Representatives of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - People's Army (FARC), a leftist rebel group now engaged in peace talks with the Colombian government, have requested a meeting with...

Seoul cardinal: pray for reconciliation of South, North Korea

In a recent message for the 70th anniversary of the division of North and South Korea, Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul called for prayers for reconciliation. “As Christians, one of the...

Pope Francis reflects on family and work

Continuing his weekly catechesis on the family, Pope Francis devoted his August 19 general audience to work. “Through work, the family is cared for and children are provided with a dignified...

Released Thursday, Aug. 20

Pope pays tribute to Brother Roger of Taizé

Pope Francis has written a message to the ecumenical monastic community of Taizé in which he paid tribute to its founder, Brother Roger (1915-2005), ten years after his murder. Quoting a 2012...

Cardinal Parolin to Rimini Meeting: only God can fill the human heart

At the request of Pope Francis, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has written a message to the bishop of Rimini, Italy, on the occasion of the 36th Rimini Meeting organized...

Pope laments Bangkok bombings

The Vatican’s Secretary of State has sent a message on the Pope’s behalf to King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand following two bomb explosions in Bangkok. “His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply...

Church desecrations continue in French diocese

Over the weekend of August 15-16, two churches were desecrated and a third vandalized in the Diocese of Belley-Ars, according to local media reports. Twenty-two churches in the eastern French...

Cardinal warns Kenyan-Americans: do not cave in to ‘destructive influences’

At a Mass celebrated in Delaware, Cardinal John Njue urged Kenyan-Americans not to succumb to anti-Christian influences. “Many of you were born and raised under strict religious beliefs and...

Italian bishop urges CEO: respect Sunday rest

An Italian bishop has written an open letter to the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles calling for the closing of its plant in Melfi from 10:00 PM on Saturdays to 10:00 PM on Sundays. Rejoicing...

Central African prelate receives peace award

The Interfaith Peace Platform, led by the top Catholic, Protestant, and Muslim clerics in the Central African Republic, has received the 2015 Sergio Vieira de Mello Prize in recognition of their...

Ghana bishops’ pro-life conference denounces abortion, upholds sacramental marriage

A pro-life conference organized by the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference has strongly denounced abortion, population control, and threats to sacramental marriage. In a joint statement at the...

Egypt: Church spokesman praises, US criticizes new anti-terrorism legislation

The spokesman for the Catholic Church in Egypt welcomed new anti-terrorism legislation signed into law by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. A US State Department spokesman expressed concern that...

Bishops lament violence in Lesotho

The Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference has sent a message of solidarity to the people of Lesotho amid rising political violence. “We call for open dialogue as a way of solving the...

Vatican official raps fossil fuels

The chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences traveled to a remote Amazonian chapel in Brazil, where he presented the Pope’s new encyclical on...

Theme announced for 2016 World Day of Migrants and Refugees

The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People has announced that the theme of the 102nd World Day of Migrants and Refugees will be “migrants and refugees challenge...

Released Friday, Aug. 21

Italian cardinal: Laudato Si’ comparable in importance to Rerum Novarum

In a front-page article in L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia-Città della Pieve said that Pope Francis’s new encyclical on care for our common home is comparable to Pope...

Prelate: Muslim refugees place future of Lebanon’s Christians in jeopardy

The flight of Syrian refugees into neighboring Lebanon could upset the delicate balance between Christianity and Islam in Lebanon, a Lebanese bishop told Aid to the Church in Need. “We have two...

5 Christians charged with blasphemy in Pakistan

A Protestant pastor and four members of his church face blasphemy charges in Pakistan’s Punjab province after they referred to the pastor’s father as a rasul (messenger, apostle), a term typically...

Jerusalem: patriarchate decries construction of security wall through Christian lands

Following an Israeli high court decision, Israel has resumed construction of the Israel West Bank barrier in the Cremisan Valley, affecting Salesian institutions and 58 Palestinian Christian...

After 4 decades, church reopens in Turkish-occupied Cyprus

Civil authorities have permitted the reopening of a Cypriot Orthodox church in Palekythro, Cyprus, 41 years after its closure following the Turkish invasion of northern Cyprus. Bishop Porfyrios...

Full communion between Canada’s largest Protestant denomination, United Church of Christ

Canada’s largest Protestant denomination, the United Church of Canada, has entered into full communion with the United Church of Christ (UCC), a Cleveland-based denomination whose members include...

Vatican newspaper highlights Orthodox prelate’s reflections on marriage

L’Osservatore Romano has published excerpts of a 2005 lecture on marriage by Belgium’s leading Orthodox prelate. In the portion of the lecture published by the Vatican newspaper, Metropolitan...

Maltese bishop: remove ‘barriers’ to those who have remarried outside the Church

Four years after the legalization of divorce in Malta, the head of one of the nation’s two dioceses has issued a pastoral letter on mercy for those who have divorced and entered into a civil...

Irish prelate calls for daily prayer for the Synod

Preaching at the national Marian shrine in Knock, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, the Primate of All Ireland, called for daily prayer for families until the beginning of the upcoming Synod of...

Ecological encyclical helps promote Christian unity, says Vatican cardinal

The president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity said in an interview that Pope Francis’s encyclical on ecology not only promotes unity with Orthodox Christians but also has the...

Released Monday, Aug. 24

Papal appeal for peace in Ukraine

As tensions between Russian-backed rebels and the Ukrainian government increased in eastern Ukraine, Pope Francis issued an appeal for peace. “With deep concern, I am following the conflict in...

Pope Francis asks: ‘Who is Jesus for you?’

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading at Mass (Jn. 6:60-69), Pope Francis devoted his August 23 Sunday Angelus address to the response to Jesus’ teaching on the Eucharist. “Even the disciples...

Papal message for Waldensian synod

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has sent a message in Pope Francis’s name to an Italian bishop so that he may transmit it to the annual synod of the Union of Methodist and...

Islamic State destroys ancient monastery, desecrates saint’s tomb

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has destroyed the fifth-century Monastery of St. Elian near Al-Qaryatayn, Syria, and desecrated the relics of the saint. Father Jacques Mouraud, the...

Egyptian leader denounces Islamic extremism

Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab denounced violent extremism during a recent conference attended by the nation’s religious leaders. “The whole world faces an unprecedented state of chaos...

Cardinal Tagle: work with other religions to spread encyclical’s message

In an address to Indonesia’s bishops, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, the president of Caritas Internationalis, encouraged Catholics to work with members of other religions in spreading the...

Statue of Our Lady of Fatima to be brought to Syria

To manifest his support for the Middle East’s persecuted Christians, the bishop of Leiria-Fátima, Portugal, has announced that the statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be making a pilgrimage to...

South African bishops urge mining companies to remember workers

As workers at the mining companies that operate in South Africa face the prospect of layoffs, the Justice and Peace Commission of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference called for a...

Retired Australian bishop raps Church response to abuse problem

A retired Australian bishop has criticized Pope Francis for failing to act decisively against sexual abuse, and charged that an effort against abuse by Cardinal George Pell was divisive. Bishop...

Archbishop Cupich calls for new approaches to family breakdown

Archbishop Blaise Cupich of Chicago called for special efforts to reach out to broken families, as he received the pallium, symbolizing his metropolitan authority and his union with the Holy See, in...

Over 60,000 participated in demonstrations to defund Planned Parenthood

More than 60,000 people participated in demonstrated held on August 22 in dozens of cities across the US, demanding an end to taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. The demonstrations took...

Plaza in central Rome to be named in honor of Martin Luther

City officials in Rome have approved plans to name a square for Martin Luther. On September 16, the city will formally name a square on the Viale Fortunato Mizzi, a few blocks from the Coliseum,...

San Francisco archdiocese, teachers' union reach accord, preserving insistence on Catholic identity

The Archdiocese of San Francisco, California, has reached an accord with a union representing Catholic-school teachers—an agreement that became controversial because of a clause stipulating that...

Released Tuesday, Aug. 25

In Labor Day statement, USCCB renews call for living wage

Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, the chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, emphasized in the importance of a living...

Catholic hospital to permit sterilization following lawsuit threat

A Catholic hospital in California has agreed to permit a doctor to sterilize a woman after the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to file a lawsuit, the San Francisco Chronicle...

Reprieve for Little Sisters in HHS mandate case

A federal appellate court has temporarily prevented enforcement of the HHS mandate against the Little Sisters of the Poor, Southern Nazarene University, and Oklahoma-based Reaching Souls...

Priest: Christians share longing for Arab unity

A Melkite Greek Catholic priest who is stationed in the West Bank city of Ramallah said that Palestinian Christian youth share an increasing societal desire for Arab unity. “The Arab world is...

Controversy over lavish Mafia funeral at Roman parish

A lavish funeral at a Roman parish for alleged Mafia boss Vittorio Casamonica has sparked controversy in Italy. Roman Auxiliary Bishop Giuseppe Marciante told Avvenire that “no one warned us, not...

Canadian bishops’ conference issues election statement

The Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a brief statement as the October 19 federal election approaches. Five topics that serve as...

Bishop, once a refugee, urges Australians to open hearts to migrants

A Vietnamese-born bishop who fled his native land for Australia following the Communist takeover of South Vietnam called upon Australians to show kindness to migrants and refugees. “Simple things...

Pope joins faithful in pews for Mass at saint’s tomb

An official of the Secretariat of State was surprised to see Pope Francis in the pews as he celebrated a 7:00 AM Mass on August 21 at St. Pius X’s tomb in St. Peter’s Basilica. Pope Francis, who...

New video reveals 'a lot' of intact baby cadavers supplied by Planned Parenthood

In a devastating new undercover video, released today by the Center for Medical Progress, the chief executive of an tissue-procurement company reports that Planned Parenthood supplies “a lot” of...

US envoy predicts Pope will speak on immigration, environment during US visit

Kenneth Hackett, the US ambassador to the Holy See, says that he expects Pope Francis to speak on immigration, the environment, and family issues during his September visit to the US. Hackett...

Cardinal Pell: intent on changing perception of Vatican financial incompetence

Cardinal George Pell, the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, has acknowledged that the Vatican had a reputation for financial mismanagement and naivete, which his office is now working to...

Former head of CDF arrested in Hawaii for driving under influence

Cardinal William Levada, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has admitted to an "error in judgment" after he was arrested for driving under the influence of...

Italian government will push for civil-union legislation; bishops' leader opposed

Italy's government will forge ahead with plans to enact civil-union legislation to protect homosexual couples, a cabinet minister told a Catholic lay group. Transportation minister Graziano...

African prelate urges youth: stay in Africa, avoid lures of decadent West

The Catholic bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have urged their country’s young people to remain in Africa, rather than being seduced by the “false trappings of wealth” in the...

Asia Bibi's father allowed to visit her in prison

Asia Bibi's father has been granted permission to visit her in prison, the Fides news service reports. Soran Masih will be the first person allowed to visit the condemned Pakistani woman, other...

Released Wednesday, Aug. 26

Catholic hospital issues statement on woman’s sterilization

A California Catholic hospital that decided to permit a mother to be sterilized after the ACLU threatened a lawsuit has issued a statement on the case. In initially declining to permit the...

Bishop, Israeli president discuss Christian schools’ financial crisis

Auxiliary Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo of Jerusalem met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on August 24 to discuss the financial crisis faced by Christian schools. In May, the Latin...

German bishops to visit Roman synagogue

Two German bishops, accompanied by two German rabbis, will visit the Great Synagogue of Rome on September 9, according to an announcement from the German Bishops’ Conference. In doing so, the...

Indian archbishop: 2008 persecution strengthened faith

Seven years after a pogrom in the east Indian state of Odisha (Orissa) drove over 50,000 Christians from their homes, the local bishop said that “I am always moved by my people's joy.” “I am...

Ukrainian Catholic leader: be willing to give up your lives to preserve independence

As the Russian military intervenes in eastern Ukraine, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church called upon Ukrainians to be “Christian patriots” who are willing to die to preserve their...

Pope Francis reflects on family prayer

Continuing his series of Wednesday general audiences on the family, Pope Francis spoke on August 26 of the importance of family prayer. It was the 100th general audience of his...

Pope to commemorate World Day of Prayer for Creation

At his August 26 general audience, Pope Francis announced that he will commemorate the 1st World Day of Prayer for Creation at a Liturgy of the Word in St. Peter’s Basilica on September 1. “In a...

Vatican declines to support Palestinian effort to fly flag at UN

The Vatican has declined to join in a UN resolution, advanced by the Palestinian Authority, that would call for the display of the Palestinian and Vatican flags at UN headquarters. The...

Damascus: two churches hit by mortar fire

Two Catholic churches in Damascus were damaged in an August 23 mortar bombardment that killed nine people and wounded fifty, the Fides news service reports. Maronite Catholic Archbishop Samir...

Papal greetings on 60th anniversary of Hebrew-speaking vicariate in Israel

Pope Francis has sent a message of “cordial good wishes” to the Hebrew-speaking Catholics of Israel, on the 60th anniversary of the vicariate established to serve their pastoral needs. The Pope’s...

Iowa bishop bans Mass at chapel where female 'priest' led services

Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, has revoked permission for the celebration of Mass at a Catholic Worker house, after a woman claiming to be a Catholic priest led services there. Janice...

Rome set to approve construction projects to prepare for Jubilee Year

The city council of Rome is expected to give final approval on August 26 to plans for a series of urban projects designed to prepare for the Jubilee Year that begins December 8. “We have a series...

Renovations near completion at New York cathedral

A four-year renovation project at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York is near completion, as a visit by Pope Francis looms in September. Scaffolding has been removed, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan...

Released Thursday, Aug. 27

Iraqi government addresses plight of Baghdad’s Christians

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has established a security committee to address rising violence, including abductions and the expropriation of property, against Christians in Baghdad and other...

Myanmar passes anti-conversion law

The parliament of Myanmar (Burma) has passed a law that makes religious conversion more difficult. “Under the religious conversion bill, individuals choosing to adopt another faith confront...

India’s Hindu population falls below 80%

India’s Hindu population has fallen below 80% of the nation’s population, according to 2011 census data released on August 25. In 2011, 79.8% of the nation’s people were Hindus, down from 80.5%...

French bishops condemn arson attack on mosque

The Bishops’ Conference of France has denounced a recent arson attack on a mosque in the southwestern French city of Auch. The episcopal conference said in an August 25 statement that it “wishes...

Mexican bishops, government pledge to assist migrants

Representatives of the Mexican government and the Mexican Episcopal Conference met on August 24 to discuss the plight of migrants. According to a statement from the bishops’ conference, the...

Pope meets with Iraqi priest who ministers to refugees

At his August 26 general audience, Pope Francis spoke with Father Samir Yousif, a Chaldean Catholic priest who ministers to 5,000 refugees in five villages in the region of Amadiya in Iraqi...

3.1 million have attended Pope’s general audiences

An estimated 3.1 million persons have attended Pope Francis’s Wednesday general audiences, according to statistics released by the Prefecture of the Papal Household following the Pontiff’s 100th...

Mortar attacks on 2 Damascus churches

Two churches in Damascus, including the church of Maronite Catholic Archbishop Samir Nassar, suffered mortar attacks on August 23. The Fides news agency reported that 50 people were injured and...

Archbishop Chaput chastises critics of organizing team for World Meeting of Families

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia has denounced two activist Catholic groups that called attention to connections between officials of the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) and politicians...

Illinois diocese to ask Catholic-school parents to make commitment to support Church, follow moral teachings

The Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, is weighing a policy that would require parents of parochial-school students to agree that they will attend Mass every Sunday and contribute to the support of...

Former Ratzinger students plan annual meeting

The Ratzinger Schülerkreis, the annual seminar for former students of Pope-emeritus Benedict, will meet August 28 to 30 to discuss modern man’s search for God. The schülerkreis was formed in...

Released Friday, Aug. 28

Stop giving political homilies, African prelate tells priests

As belligerents in the nation’s 20-month civil war signed a peace agreement, South Sudan’s leading prelate exhorted priests not to give political homilies. Stating that priests “are almost...

Court upholds Italy’s law against embryo research

The European Court of Human Rights has upheld an Italian law against the donation of human embryos for scientific experimentation and research. Adelina Parrillo, 61, wished to donate five embryos...

Lebanese Muslims issue declaration on religious freedom

A Muslim organization associated with Lebanon’s highest Sunni authority has issued the Beirut Declaration on Religious Freedom. “To deny Christian communities the right to exercise their...

Pontifical council publishes holy hour for September 1 prayer for creation

The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has published a suggested Eucharistic holy hour for the September 1 observance of the World Day of Prayer for Creation. The text includes prayers,...

Ex-nuncio, facing Vatican trial for sexual abuse, dead at 67

Jozef Wesolowski, the former papal nuncio and archbishop who was laicized for sexually abusing minors, died on August 28. Wesolowski had been living under house arrest at the Vatican, and was...

Malawi prelate laments climate change

Stating that “we are victims of climate change,” an archbishop lamented the “disasters we have just experienced here in Malawi: the devastating floods, the prolonged dry spell, the erratic rainfall...

Monaco apologizes for deportation of Jews

Prince Albert II of Monaco has apologized for his nation’s deportation of Jewish refugees during World War II. Monaco’s leading prelate, Archbishop Bernard Barsi, was present at the...

Pope will visit 3 African capitals in November

Pope Francis will visit Kenya, Uganda, and the Central African Republic in November, visiting the capital of each country during his visit to Africa. Archbishop Charles Daniel Balvo, the...

Biden says Pope Francis has revived Catholic social teaching

US Vice President has said that Pope Francis "has become a moral rudder for the world." Biden, who is Catholic, said that the Pope was sounding a moral call on "some of the most important issues...

Vatican denies letter was intended to endorse Italian author's book on same-sex unions

The Vatican press office has issued a statement to counter an Italian writer’s claim that Pope Francis praised her book defending same-sex unions. Francesca Pardi, whose book Piccolo Uovo was...

Released Monday, Aug. 31

Ex-nuncio, facing Vatican trial for abuse, died of ‘cardiac event’

A team of three medical experts, led by forensic pathologist Dr. Giovanni Arcudi, conducted an autopsy on the body of Józef Wesolowski and determined he died of a “cardiac event,” according to the...

Pope Francis: ‘if the heart doesn’t change, we are not true Christians’

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading at Mass, Pope Francis said in his August 30 Sunday Angelus address that Jesus “emphasizes the primacy of the interior of the ‘heart.’” “Exterior things are...

Bishop slain during Assyrian genocide beatified

A century to the day after he was beaten and beheaded after refusing to convert to Islam, Bishop Flavianus Michael Malke (Melki) was beatified as a martyr on August 29 at the Patriarchal Convent of...

Pope laments death of migrants in Austria

Three days after 71 migrants were found dead in a truck in Austria, Pope Francis lamented their deaths following his August 30 Angelus address. “In recent days, many migrants have lost their...

Declare the killing of Middle East’s Christians a genocide, Iraqi prelate urges

Speaking with three diocesan newspapers in the United States, the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Erbil, Iraq, called for the declaration of the killing of Syrian and Iraqi Christians as a...

Anglicans to join Catholics, Orthodox in prayer for creation

The Church of England’s lead bishop for the environment has called upon Anglicans to join Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in praying for the care of creation on September 1. “It...

Suspects arrested in Pakistan church attacks

Pakistani police have arrested five persons suspected of planning the March 15 attacks on two churches in Lahore, the Fides news agency reported. A regional government official said that the...

March for Life wins exemption from Obamacare contraceptive mandate

The March for Life has won a permanent injunction barring enforcement of the “Obamacare” contraceptive mandate. A federal court rules on August 31 that the March for Life, the group that...

Pope Francis in video link with US groups

Pope Francis spoke with American audiences in three different locations on August 31, in a video-link event hosted by the ABC television network. The Pontiff spoke with students at Cristo Rey...

Undercover video producers debunk Planned Parenthood's defense

The Center for Medical Progress, which has released a series of damaging undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the sale of fetal tissues, has now sent a letter to Congress,...

Eleven cardinals contribute to new book urging Synod to uphold Church teaching on marriage

Eleven cardinals, from all around the world, have contributed to a new book arguing against any substantive change in the Church’s teaching on marriage. In Eleven Cardinals Speak on Marriage and...

Benedict XVI testifies for beatification of Pope John Paul I

Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI has given testimony for the cause of beatification of Pope John Paul I, the Italian journal Famiglia Cristiana reports. Elected in 1978 to succeed Pope Paul VI, Pope...

Most Catholics in Massachusetts legislature support Planned Parenthood, study shows

A study by a lay activist group has shown that most of the Catholics serving in the state legislature support Planned Parenthood. The Catholic Action League found that 52 Catholics in the lower...

Palestinian archbishop arrested in protest against Israeli 'security wall'

Archbishop Michel Sabbah, the retired Latin-rite Patriarch of Jerusalem, was among the Palestinian Christian demonstrators arrested by Israeli police on August 30 in a protest against the “security...

American analysts sees acceptance of immigrants as 'suicide of Christian Europe'

An American political analyst has charged that Pope Francis is contributing to “the suicide of Christian Europe” by encouraging immigration from Africa. Speaking to an Italian audience, Edward...

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