Action Alert!

Stories for October 2015

Released Friday, Oct. 2

USCCB welcomes congressional initiatives on environment

Two committee chairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have welcomed recent congressional initiatives related to environmental legislation. These initiatives, according...

Government corruption in South Africa is a ‘national emergency,’ says bishop

Thousands of South Africans took to the streets on September 30 to march against corruption, and bishop who leads the episcopal conference’s justice and peace commission renewed his criticism...

Catholic institutions shelter thousands amid renewed fighting in Central African Republic

Catholic parishes and other institutions are sheltering at least 5,000 persons displaced by renewed fighting in the Central African Republic, according to L’Osservatore Romano. The Pontiff...

French bishops criticize government abortion campaign

The Bishops’ Conference of France has issued a statement criticizing a government campaign promoting abortion. The campaign’s slogan is “my body, my choice, my...

Roman Lutheran leader: ‘Francis is our bishop’

Pope Francis will visit a Lutheran church in Rome on November 15. St. John Paul II visited the church in 1983, as did Pope Benedict in 2010. “For us Lutherans in Rome, he [Pope Francis]...

Vatican issues statement on meeting between Pope Francis, Kim Davis

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Holy See Press Office, has issued a statement on the meeting between Pope Francis and Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was jailed for refusing...

10 prelates to draft Synod of Bishops’ final document

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, has announced the names of the nine prelates who will work with him to draft the final report of the upcoming synod on the...

African prelates urge clear teaching on marriage in new book

In another new book released just before the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops, ten African prelates call for a clear and vigorous affirmation of Catholic doctrine on marriage and the...

Syrian archbishop rips US support for Islamic rebels

A Syrian bishop has reacted strongly to Senator John McCain’s claim that Russian planes are bombing US-backed rebel forces, saying that McCain’s statement is “a blatant...

Jordanian prince: Christian presence in Middle East must be protected

Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan said that the Christian presence in the Middle East must be protected, during a September 30 conference launching a new book on the history of Arab...

Respect your guardian angel, Pope advises faithful

Celebrating Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae on the feast of the Guardian Angels, October 2, Pope Francis said that every Christian should accept his guardian angel as a reality. “Show respect...

Released Monday, Oct. 5

CDF official dismissed after announcing homosexual relationship

An official of the Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith was dismissed from his staff and teaching positions after he announced he was involved in a homosexual relationship. Though described...

Pope warns against Satan’s snares, seductions

In an October 3 homily for the Corps of Gendarmerie of Vatican City, Pope Francis preached on the heavenly war between the good angels, led by St. Michael, and Satan. This war, he said, also takes...

Vatican foreign minister calls on UN to protect victims of ‘massive atrocities’

In an October 2 contribution to a United Nations discussion on peace, security, and human rights, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States called upon the United Nations to develop...

The hungry are persons, not statistics, Pope tells food-distribution charity

Pope Francis received members of the Fondazione Banco Alimentare in audience on October 3 and said that those who suffer from hunger are persons, not numbers. The organization, founded 25 years...

Each family is a light in the darkness of this world, Pope says at prayer vigil

Pope Francis took part in a prayer vigil in St. Peter’s Square on October 3, the eve of the beginning of the synod of bishops on the family. “Just a year ago, in this same Square, we...

As Synod opens, Pope calls on Church to defend ‘unity and indissolubility’ of marriage bond

The 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which is devoted to the vocation and the mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world, began on October...

Build a ‘family-society,’ not a ‘fortress-society,’ Pope says in Angelus address

In his October 4 Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis said that participants in the Synod of Bishops will “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus” in order to “find, on the basis of his...

Key Synod official sounds strong conservative theme at opening session

A key official of the Synod of Bishops set a strongly conservative tone, unambiguously supporting the traditional teachings of the Church on marriage and sexuality, in the opening session of the...

ACLU suit seeks to require Catholic hospitals to perform abortions in some cases

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has brought a lawsuit against a Catholic health-care system based in Michigan, seeking to force the Church-run hospitals to perform abortions. The ACLU...

Pope defends appointment of Chilean bishop accused of ignoring abuse

A Chilean television station has broadcast a video in which Pope Francis defends the appointment of Bishop Juan Barros to head the Diocese of Osorno—an appointment that drew sharp criticism...

Released Tuesday, Oct. 6

100 converts call on synod fathers to affirm Catholic teaching

Over 100 adult converts to the Catholic faith, most of them Americans, have signed an open letter calling upon the Synod of Bishops to affirm Catholic teaching on the indissolubility of...

Assisted suicide legalized in California

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill legalizing assisted suicide in California. “We are particularly disappointed that the very real concerns and risks posed to our brothers and sisters in...

Defeat for Texas Catholic institutions in HHS mandate case

In an 11-4 decision, the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals has declined to reconsider its ruling that the HHS mandate does not substantially burden the religious freedom of the Diocese of...

Trappist martyrs of the Spanish Civil War beatified

Eighteen Trappist monks who were murdered out of hatred for the faith in 1936 were beatified as martyrs in Santander, Spain, on October 3. Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation...

Papal prayer for Irish pro-life day

Pope Francis sent a message to the Irish people for the Day for Life, which took place on October 4. “Let us imitate God in protecting, guarding and defending all human life, in particular,...

Prelate calls for greater Vatican efforts on behalf of Ukraine

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church called for a less cautious Vatican diplomatic strategy in reacting to Russian aggression in Ukraine. “I would have expected a lot more...

Papal abuse commission member criticizes Pope over Chilean bishop

Marie Collins, an Irish laywoman and abuse victim who serves on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, criticized Pope Francis for defending the appointment of Bishop Juan...

Hong Kong cardinal: strengthen marriage instead of redefining it

Cardinal John Tong of Hong Kong has issued a pastoral letter on marriage. Citing Pope Francis’s remarks on integral ecology, the prelate criticized Justice Anthony Kennedy’s US...

Ministers must convey God's mercy, Pope says at morning Mass

Pope Francis warned pastors against hardness of heart, in his homily at morning Mass on October 6. Celebrating Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae before joining the Synod of Bishops, the Pope...

Canadian prelate urges Synod to allow for female deacons

A Canadian archbishop took the discussions of the Synod of Bishops in a new direction on October 6, suggesting that women should be ordained as deacons. Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of...

Papal trip to Mexico planned for 2016

Pope Francis is planning a trip to Mexico next year, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Pope reportedly considered adding Mexico to his itinerary for his latest trip to Cuba and the United...

Different perspectives emerge as Synod discussions continue

As the Synod of Bishops began its 2nd day of deliberation on October 6, Pope Francis made an unscheduled intervention to remind participants that the treatment of divorced and remarried Catholics is...

Chicago archdiocese removes priest from ministry, citing homosexual affair

The Archdiocese of Chicago has revealed that a priest has been suspended from active ministry because of an "inappropriate relationship with an adult man." Father Marco Mercado, who had...

British paper claims Italian monastery used to 'cure' homosexual priests

The English daily The Independent has published a sensationalized story claiming that a monastery in Italy is being used to “cure” priests of homosexuality. Father Gianluigi...

Pakistan: Muslim teachers attack, hospitalize Christian headmaster

The Catholic headmaster of a school in Pakistan has been beaten by Islamic teachers who say that he is unfit to exercise authority over them, the Fides news service reports. After Saddique Azam...

Released Wednesday, Oct. 7

English cardinal: synod searching for ‘fresh repertoire’ for pastoral accompaniment

Stating that “there is not going to be any doctrinal change” at the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Vincent Nicholas of Westminster said that “the challenge of the synod is to develop...

Prelate: pass DC school-choice bill

The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Catholic Education has called upon Congress to pass the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act of 2015,...

Cardinal laments California’s legalization of assisted suicide

The chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops lamented the legalization of assisted suicide of California. “Governor [Jerry]...

No right to insult religions, bishop says at EU

Speaking at a colloquium organized by the EU’s governing body on “combating anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim hatred in Europe,” a Dutch bishop spoke out against offending...

Russian Orthodox Church: Oregon shootings manifest anti-Christian hatred

The Moscow Patriarchate has issued a statement on the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon. “What makes the tragedy even graver is that the killer consciously chose to victimize...

Patriarch decries US policy toward Syria

The head of the Syriac Catholic Church decried the United States’ foreign policy toward Syria. “Regarding the American administration vis-à-vis the situation in Syria since the...

Synod fathers elect officials of discussion groups

Prelates taking part in the Synod of Bishops in Rome have elected officials of each of the 13 discussion groups, or circuli minores. The moderators of each group will guide the discussion, while...

Pope Francis reflects on the Church and the family

Pope Francis devoted his October 7 general audience to the Church and the family. “During the Synod of Bishops, I would like to reflect on some aspects of the profound relationship between...

Archbishop Chaput sees 'subtle hopelessness' in message of Synod working document

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said that working document for the Synod of Bishops "engenders a subtle hopelessness" in his address to the assembly. The instrumentum laboris,...

Judge approves release of undercover abortion videos to Congressional investigating committee

A federal judge in California has ruled that the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) can submit its undercover videos of Planned Parenthood and other abortion-industry groups to a Congressional...

Edmonton Catholic school prepared to accommodate transgender students despite archdiocesan guidelines?

A Catholic school board in Edmonton, Alberta, may change its policies to accommodate transgender students, ignoring policy directives from the Edmonton archdiocese, the LifeSite News service...

Indian state government blocks production of 'Agnes of God'

The government of India’s state of Maharashtra has suspended production of the play, Agnes of God, to avoid offending local Catholics, the Fides news service reports. The state’s...

Jerusalem patriarchate urges new Israeli-Palestinian talks as new violence flares

The Latin-rite Catholic Patriarchate of Jerusalem has released a statement calling for the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, to counter a new rash of violence. “Once again the...

Italian priest suspended after saying children responsible for pedophilia

An Italian priest has been removed from public ministry after he told a television audience that children are largely responsible for pedophilia and homosexuality is a disease. “I could...

Released Thursday, Oct. 8

Prelate welcomes sentencing reform bill

The chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has praised the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015, which was...

Exclusive pursuit of profit does not serve the common good, Holy See diplomat says at UN

The Holy See’s permanent observer at the United Nations said on October 6 that “profit is problematic when it becomes the sole end of economic activity and is divorced from the common...

Anglican bishop jailed for sexual abuse

A retired Anglican bishop has been sentenced to 32 months in jail on misconduct and sexual assault charges, according to BBC. Bishop Peter Ball, now 83, led the Diocese of Lewes from 1973 to 1992...

Survey: non-Catholics view Pope more favorably following US visit

65% of non-Catholics in the US have a favorable view of Pope Francis-- up from 64% in February and 58% in June, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. 14% of non-Catholics...

French court drops genocide case against Rwandan priest

Citing lack of evidence, a French court has decided not to pursue genocide charges against a Rwandan priest who now ministers in Gisors, France. Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka has been convicted in...

Polish prelate posts summaries of Synod talks, in apparent violation of procedures

The web site of the president of the Polish Episcopal Conference has published, in Polish and in French, summaries of short speeches delivered by 42 prelates at the Synod of Bishops on October...

Synod briefing: prelates agree Western perspective does not dominate discussion

At a briefing for reporters in Rome on October 8, three prelates agreed that the Synod of Bishops is not exclusively preoccupied with the concerns of the Western world. Archbishop Charles...

Synod hears experiences of two married couples

The Vatican has released summaries of two presentations to the Synod of Bishops by married couples, both employed by bishops' conferences.  On October 5, the first day of Synod...

Vatican archbishop recalls role of Bl. Paul VI in international affairs

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, recalled the role of Blessed Paul VI in international affairs and particular in relations between the Holy See and...

Would Synod document open path for Protestants to receive Communion regularly?

In the latest in a series of Letters from the Synod, "Xavier Rynne" calls attention to a passage of the instrumentum laboris, or working document, that open the way for allowing...

Former Italian missionary kidnapped in Philippines; ransom seen as likely motive

Government forces in the Philippines are searching for a former Catholic missionary who was kidnapped at gunpoint. Rolando Del Tochio, who had been working as a PIME missionary but remained in...

Syrian Catholic Patriarch rips Western indifference

Christians in the Middle East have been “forgotten, betrayed by Western countries,” the Syrian Catholic Patriarch of Antioch charged during a Vatican briefing on October 8. Patriarch...

Released Friday, Oct. 9

Syrian prelate welcomes Russian airstrikes

The Melkite Greek Catholic archbishop of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, welcomed Russian military intervention in Syria, according to an Agence France-Presse report. Archbishop...

Cardinal Marx, Protestant counterpart: welcome migrants, integrate them into European society

The presidents of COMECE (the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community) and its Orthodox and Protestant counterpart (the Conference of European Churches) have issued a...

Pope appeals for peace in Middle East

As the Synod of Bishops began its October 9 session, Pope Francis called for “intense prayer, full of faith, to the Lord” for peace in the Middle East. Stating his “profound...

Ghana’s bishops decry judicial corruption

Over two dozen judges in Ghana have been suspended for accepting bribes, prompting the bishops of Ghana to renew their condemnation of government corruption. “We believe that this alleged...

Bible translated into Mayan language

With the approval of the Mexican episcopal conference, the Bible has been translated into Tzotzil, an indigenous Mayan language spoken by 350,000 to 400,000 people, principally in the Mexican state...

Patriarchate pleads for calm in Jerusalem

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has appealed for calm in the Holy Land. “Heavily concerned with the more recent wave of violence which blows over Israel and Palestine, the Latin...

Chile: Pope criticized for defending bishop

Pope Francis’s defense of the appointment of Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, Chile, has angered the bishop’s opponents, who have been holding regular protests. Bishop Barros has been...

Working document is too negative, Synod fathers say

At the Synod of Bishops, a clear common theme emerged from the reports of small groups that have been discussing the Synod's working document: virtually every group said that the instrumentum...

Rome's mayor resigns, complicating plans for Jubilee

Rome’s Mayor Ignazio Marino resigned abruptly on October 9, after a series of reports alleging financial misconduct. Marino, who was elected in 2013, denied wrongdoing and said that he was...

Syrian prelate says US involvement harms, Russian strikes help against Islamic State

  A Syrian archbishop has said that American policies have contributed to the growth of the Islamic State, while recent Russian air attacks have forced the Islamic forces to...

Vatican envoy relays Pope's message on development, ecology to UN

In an October 8 address to the UN General Assembly, the Vatican’s representative quoted Pope Francis in saying that development policies should allow people “to be dignified agents of...

At UN, Vatican envoy calls for action against drug trade, human trafficking

In an October 8 address to the UN on the issue of crime, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican’s representative, emphasized the need to fight illegal drug trade and human...

Colombia's high court upholds judgment holding diocese liable in sex-abuse case

The Supreme Court in Colombia has confirmed a ruling that the Diocese of Libano-Honda must pay $220,000 in damages to the families of two boys who were molested by a Catholic priest. The ruling...

California diocese transfers property to parishes; critics see a defense against lawsuits

The Diocese of Orange, California, has transferred property valued at roughly $100 million to parishes, prompting complaints that the legal moves are intended as protection against lawsuits. A...

Italian priest asked to leave town after remarks on pedophilia

An Italian priest who outraged the public by saying that children bear part of the responsibility for pedophilia has been asked to leave the town where he was serving. Father Gino Flaim was...

Released Monday, Oct. 12

Papal condolences following terrorist attack in Turkey

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has sent a telegram of condolence in Pope Francis’s name to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following two bombings in...

Be detached from riches in order to follow Christ, Pope says in Angelus address

Pope Francis warned of the dangers of attachment to money in his October 11 Sunday Angelus address. Commenting on the day’s Gospel reading at Mass (Mk. 10:17-30), the Pope reflected on the...

Assist refugees, leading Canadian bishop urges

The president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has called upon the leaders of five political parties to “expand, accelerate, and facilitate the private sponsorship of refugees...

Tunisia: priest praises Nobel Peace Prize selection

The national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies of Tunisia has welcomed the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet. “It is an...

Report: cardinals express serious concerns about Synod to Pope

Sandro Magister, the Vatican reporter for L'Espresso, has published a letter to Pope Francis, purportedly signed by 13 cardinals, expressing serious concerns about the current synod of...

Archbishop Chaput warns against greater role for episcopal conferences

In a brief address at the Synod of Bishops on October 10, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia warned that “devolving important disciplinary and doctrinal issues to national and regional...

Leading Polish prelate defends Church’s teaching on Communion and the remarried

Emphasizing that he was speaking not only on his own behalf, but on behalf of the entire Polish episcopate, Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki of Poznan addressed the Synod of Bishops on October 10 and...

Pontifical abuse commission holds meeting

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, led by Cardinal Seán O’Malley, concluded a three-day meeting in Rome on October 13. Following Mass with Pope Francis, the...

Summaries of Synod talks removed from Polish bishops' web site

The Polish bishops' conference has removed summaries of the talks delivered by participants in the Synod of Bishops, which had been posted at the bishops' web site. The brief summaries of...

Kidnapped monk is freed, 'in good health' in Syria

A Catholic monk who was kidnapped in Syria in May has been released and is in “good health,” the AsiaNews service reports. Father Jacques Mourad, the prior of the Mar Elias monastery,...

Vatican opens dormitory for homeless

The Vatican has opened a new dormitory for the homeless of Rome, located just over a block from St. Peter’s Square. The Dono di Misericordia (“Gift of Mercy) house will house 34 men. The guests,...

No gay lobby at Vatican, homosexual priest says

The Polish priest who was released from his post in the Roman Curia last week after "coming out" as an active homosexual has denied the existence of a "gay lobby" at the...

France will not name new ambassador to the Holy See after nomination stalemate

The French government has chosen not to name a new ambassador to the Holy See, after the Vatican declined to accept the nomination of Laurent Stefanini. The government of France put forward...

Mother Teresa's nuns drop adoption services in India because of legal guidelines

The Missionaries of Charity will no longer provide adoption services in India, because of a new law that would allow for adoption by single people and divorced couples. "We have voluntarily...

Prayer comes first for missionaries, Pope writes

In a message to the 4th National Meeting of Missionary Groups in Argentina, Pope Francis reminded missionaries that “we cannot show to others what we ourselves have not seen or...

Indian woman tells Synod her marriage to Hindu based on mutual respect

Speaking at the Synod of Bishops on October 12, an Indian Catholic woman testified that her 39-year marriage to a Hindu man has been buttressed by their respect for each other's...

Kenyan cardinal: no room for acceptance of homosexuality

Cardinal John Njue of Nairobi, Kenya, indicated that he, like many African bishops, will not approve the acceptance of homosexuality at the Synod of Bishops, in an interview with the Crux web...

Nebraska bishop is burglary victim

The residence of Bishop James Conley, of Lincoln, Nebraska, was burglarized on Saturday, October 10. Bishop Conley was not at home in the afternoon, when the break-in occurred. He reported that...

New Jersey priest under investigation for accepting gifts

Police in New Jersey are investigating a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, who reportedly accepted more than $250,000 in gifts from wealthy parishioners. Father Alex Orozco allegedly received...

Released Tuesday, Oct. 13

New report lists cardinals who expressed express serious concerns about Synod to Pope

Partly confirming an earlier report by journalist Sandro Magister, the Jesuit periodical America has reported that 13 cardinals wrote Pope Francis on October 5 to express serious concerns...

Austrian cardinal sees new synod procedures as ‘huge step forward’

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna described the Synod of Bishops’ new procedures, in which the working document is discussed in small groups, as a “huge step...

Archbishop rues rhetoric of immigration debate

Archbishop Robert Carlson has issued a pastoral statement on immigration and mercy. “As I listen to our national discourse on immigration, I am becoming increasingly concerned about the...

CDF prefect deplores leaking of letter

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told the Milan-based newspaper Corriere della Sera that he would neither confirm nor deny signing a...

Papal message to conference on climate change

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has sent a message in Pope Francis’s name to a Bolivian conference on climate change and the defense of life. The Pontiff,...

Ugandan bishops: as papal visit approaches, reduce gap between faith and life

The Uganda Episcopal Conference has issued a pastoral letter on Pope Francis’s upcoming visit to Uganda. “In a country like ours where unity and national consensus has eluded us for...

Papua New Guinea: bishop laments torture of accused sorcerers

A Pittsburgh-born bishop who ministers in Papua New Guinea deplored the practice of torturing persons accused of sorcery. “It is impossible to control people's beliefs, but one can...

Leaked letter from cardinals is a 'disruption' of Synod, papal spokesman says

Leaked reports about a letter sent by a group of cardinals to Pope Francis, expressing concerns about the manipulation of the Synod, have been a "disruption," according to Father Federico...

Cardinal Pell still concerned about committee drafting Synod's final statement

Cardinal George Pell has said that a letter written to Pope Francis by a group of cardinals was confidential and should have remained private. In an October 12 statement decrying the publication...

English archbishop sees chance for allowing Anglicans to receive the Eucharist

An English archbishop has suggested that the ban on intercommunion between Catholics and Anglicans might be “reconsidered” in light of ecumenical advances. Archbishop Bernard Longley of...

Cardinal Dolan acknowledges signing letter to Pope-- before Synod began

New York's Cardinal Timothy Dolan has acknowledged that he was one of a group of cardinals who sent a confidential letter to Pope Francis expressing concerns about the Synod process. In an...

Thousands flee new bloodshed in Central African Republic; papal visit could be jeopardized

More than 40,000 people have been driven from their homes in the Central African Republic by a new found of violence that erupted in late September, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN)...

At UN, Vatican representative supports efforts to protect women from poverty, exploitation

Speaking to a UN session on the advancement of women, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican’s permanent observer, remarked that despite some recent progress, women still represent a...

Backers of Rome's mayor blame Vatican for his resignation

Supporters of Rome’s outgoing Mayor Iganzio Marino, who announced his resignation last week, are blaming the Vatican—along with the Democratic Party (PD) led by Prime Minister Matteo...

Released Wednesday, Oct. 14

Mexican, Italian cardinals deny signing letter to Pope on Synod

Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City has denied a report in the Jesuit periodical America that he signed a letter to Pope Francis expressing serious concerns about the Synod of...

Nuncio laments violence in Holy Land

The apostolic nuncio to Israel described the increasing violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as “very worrying and distressful” and said that “we cannot stay indifferent to...

India’s bishops back Missionaries of Charity on adoption services

The bishops of India support the Missionaries of Charity in their decision to cease providing adoption services in India, according to a spokesman. Father Joseph Chinnayan, deputy...

Archbishop reminds priests: no Communion for those in invalid marriages

In a recent memorandum to priests, Archbishop John Myers of Newark said that “Catholics must be in a marriage recognized as valid by the Church to receive Holy Communion or the other...

Number of marriages plummets in Spain

The number of Catholic marriages in Spain fell 52% between 2007 and 2013, according to a report in a leading Spanish newspaper. In the last decade, the number of Spaniards who have entered into...

‘Reproductive Fact Act’ becomes law in California

Gov. Jerry Brown of California has signed into law the “Reproductive Fact Act,” which compels pro-life crisis pregnancy centers to provide those seeking assistance with information about...

‘Small is beautiful,’ Pope says in message to economic forum

Citing Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum and three writers on economics-- Blessed Giuseppe Toniolo, Father Luigi Sturzo, and E. F. Schumacher-- Pope Francis emphasized that “small...

Pope reflects on ‘the promises we make to children’

Continuing his series of Wednesday general audiences on the family, Pope Francis considered “the promises we make to our children by bringing them into the world.” “The greatest...

Pope apologizes for scandals in Rome

Pope Francis apologized for recent scandals in Rome as he began his regular weekly public audience on October 14. As he opened the audience, the Pope, speaking off-the-cuff, said: "Before I...

Australian archbishop: Synod should avoid extremes, put Church teaching in new language

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane said that the challenge for the Synod of Bishops is to find new language with which to explain Church teaching. In an interview with the National Catholic...

English archbishop opposes plan to allow Communion for Anglican spouses of Catholics

Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, England, has argued strongly against a proposal to allow the Anglican spouses of Catholics to receive Communion. Archbishop Longley—who exercises...

Cardinal Dolan: Synod should support, encourage, the 'new minority' of faithful Catholics

New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan said that Catholic couples struggling to live out their faith should be viewed as a “new minority,” and given the full support of the Synod of...

Dangerous to see Russian involvement in Syria as 'holy war,' archbishop says

A Syrian archbishop who has been heavily critical of US military involvement in Syria has now decried the notion that Russia is engaged in a “holy war” against the Islamic State. Reflecting on...

Synod groups call for more Scripture references, clarity in language

In a 2nd report on small-group discussions at the Synod of Bishops, the most common themes raised were a call for a final document that is more clearly based on Scripture and “divine...

Released Thursday, Oct. 15

Leading Kazakh prelate speaks of ‘smoke of Satan’ at 2014, current synods

The leading prelate in Kazakhstan said in an October 10 speech to the Synod of Bishops that “during the Synod last year, ‘the smoke of Satan’ was trying to enter the aula of Paul...

Pro-abortion marchers attack Argentine cathedral

Shouting “the Church is a piece of trash, you’re a dictatorship,” a mob of pro-abortion activists attacked the cathedral in Mar del Plata, Argentina, on October 11, according to a...

Sydney archbishop speaks on religious liberty, democracy

Australia’s leading prelate, Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney, delivered an address on October 14 on democracy and religious liberty. In his address, he explored Pope Francis’s...

Pope discusses capitalism, environment in interview with French magazine

In an interview with the French newsmagazine Paris Match, Pope Francis spoke about capitalism, the environment, and the upcoming canonization of the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux,...

Parish priest discusses Christian life in Gaza

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has published an interview with Father Mario de Silva, the priest of Gaza’s only parish. “There are about 3,000 Christians in Gaza, who live among...

Egypt: church dedicated to slain Coptic Christians

A Coptic Orthodox bishop has dedicated a church to the 21 Christians who were beheaded in Libya in February by members of the Islamic State. Shortly after the murders, the head of the Coptic...

New report highlights persecution of Christians in 22 nations

Aid to the Church in Need has published a report on the persecution of Christians in 22 nations. The report found that the level of persecution is “extreme,”...

African cardinal: Synod’s perspective is ‘essentially Western’

In a brief interview with a journalist from a French Christian radio network, Cardinal Philippe Ouédraogo of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, said that the Synod of Bishops’ perspective...

Italian journalist notes he was not first to publicize cardinals' letter to Pope

Sando Magister, the Italian journalist who became a focus of attention at the Synod of Bishops after publishing a letter from 13 cardinals to Pope Francis, has pointed out that the existence of that...

Pope again denounces 'doctors of law,' focus on rules rather than God's mercy

In his homily at morning Mass on October 15, Pope Francis warned against “doctors of the law” who place limits on the scope of God’s mercy. The Pope reminded the congregation at...

Irish primate: local bishops should not set policy on Communion for divorced/remarried

The Primate of All Ireland has rejected the idea that individual bishops or episcopal conferences could set their own standards for allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive...

Court orders end to 11-year vigil at closed parish in Boston archdiocese

Dissident Catholics in Scituate, Massachusetts, have lost their latest court battle in an 11-year struggle with the Archdiocese of Boston over a closed parish. The "Friends of St. Francis X....

Released Friday, Oct. 16

Pope visits new Vatican dormitory for homeless

Pope Francis visited the new Vatican dormitory for the homeless on the evening of October 15, according to an announcement from the Holy See Press Office. The 30 guests, according to the...

Archbishop Chaput: the terms of our relationship with Jesus are ‘not ours to set’

As the Synod of Bishops gives rise to “a swarm of media attention and some very different interpretations,” Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia told readers of his weekly column...

Cardinal Napier: African bishops’ focus is preventing marriages from breaking up

Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of South Africa, who serves as one of the four presidents-delegate of the Synod of Bishops, twice commented on the Synod on his Twitter account on October 15. He wrote,...

Synod fathers discuss Holy Communion for the remarried

Participants in the Synod of Bishops have turned their attention to the question of Holy Communion for those persons who have divorced and remarried outside the Church, according to the official...

State Department highlights ‘non-state actors’ in annual religious freedom report

The US State Department has issued its annual religious-freedom report and highlighted the destructive influence of “non-state actors” such as the Islamic State and Boko...

Report: Vatican delegation meets with Chinese officials in Beijing

A Vatican delegation arrived in Beijing on October 11 for talks with Chinese government officials, UCA News reported. The reported meeting comes amid increasing efforts by Communist authorities...

Palestinian protestors set fire to Joseph’s tomb

Using Molotov cocktails, Palestinian rioters set fire to the site venerated as the tomb of Joseph, the Old Testament figure whose life features prominently in the Book of Genesis. The tomb is...

'Fast-track' annulment procedure only for exceptional cases, Vatican cardinal clarifies

The “fast-track” annulments made possible by Pope Francis in his apostolic letter Mitis Iudex will be possible only in exceptional cases, according to the president of the Pontifical...

Chilean activist was not blocked from papal sex-abuse panel, another panel member says

Marie Collins, a member of the papal commission on sexual abuse, has said that she is satisfied that another potential member was not kept off the panel because of complaints by Chilean...

Fight against world hunger requires more than 'good intentions,' Pope says

In the fight against poverty and hunger “we cannot be satisfied with a generic appeal for cooperation or to the common good,” Pope Francis wrote in a message to Jose Graziano, the...

Orthodox, Protestant delegates address Synod

The Vatican has released summaries of the messages from “fraternal delegates” of Orthodox and Protestant denominations to the Synod of Bishops. Among them: Romanian Orthodox Patriarch Iosif...

Archbishop Cupich: respect consciences of all Catholics who approach the Eucharist

Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago has said that pastors should respect the consciences of all Catholics who approach the sacraments. Speaking to reporters at the Synod of Bishops, the archbishop...

Cardinal Arinze: not even Church authority can break the marriage bond

Cardinal Francis Arinze, the retired prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, took a firm stand against changing Church teaching regarding marriage and the reception of the Eucharist, in an...

Islamic State releases 50 Christian hostages in Syria

The Islamic State has released at least 50 Christians who were seized in August in Qaryatayn, Syria, and have been held captive since that time, the Fides news service reports. The captives were...

Archbishop Chaput: repeated claims that no one wants to change doctrine are cause for concern

In a column that appears in the October 16 issue of the Wall Street Journal, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia remarks that at the Synod of Bishops, the frequent insistence that no one wants...

Released Monday, Oct. 19

Program announced for papal trip to Africa

The Holy See Press Office has announced the program of Pope Francis’s upcoming apostolic journey to Kenya, Uganda, and the Central African Republic. The Pontiff will arrive in Kenya on...

‘Migrants are not people to be feared,’ Vatican official emphasizes

In a statement made at the 8th Global Forum on Migration and Development, the Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People warned against the...

Cardinal Schönborn: Synod of Bishops recalls Council of Jerusalem

On October 17, participants in the synod on marriage and the family recalled the 50th anniversary of the institution of the Synod by Blessed Paul VI. The commemoration included introductory...

Pope Francis emphasizes ‘commitment to build a synodal-mission Church’

In a major address commemorating the 50th anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis said that synodality is a “constitutive dimension of the Church” and...

Pope canonizes 4 saints, including St. Thérèse’s parents

At an outdoor Mass in St. Peter’s Square on October 18, Pope Francis canonized St. Vincenzo Grossi (1845-1917), St. María de la Purísima Salvat Romero (1926-98), and the parents...

Renewed papal appeal for peace in Holy Land

At the conclusion of the October 18 Mass of canonization, Pope Francis led the recitation of the Angelus and renewed his call for peace in the Holy Land. “I am following with great concern...

Cardinal Tagle: see the human element behind the politics of migration

“Where is humanity?” Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila asked, after visiting a transit camp for refugees. Cardinal Tagle, the newly elected president of Caritas International, spoke with...

Israeli security wall disfigures Jerusalem, Patriarch says

Latin-rite Catholic Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem has said that the Israeli security wall “disfigures the face of the Holy City.” The Patriarch said that the wall contradicts the...

Stolen pectoral cross recovered for Nebraska bishop

Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska, has recovered a pectoral cross-- a gift from Pope Benedict XVI-- that had been stolen during a break-in at his residence last week. Bishop Conley had...

Italian parishioners asked to donate lottery cards

A Catholic parish in northern Italy, facing budget troubles and special expenses, has asked parishioners to donate lottery tickets. The parish of San Martino, in Cigola, announced a collection of...

Italian government plans to establish civil unions over bishops' opposition

Two leading Catholic prelates in Italy voiced their opposition to legislation that would recognize civil unions for unmarried couples. Cardinal Agostin Vallini, the vicar of the Rome diocese,...

Released Tuesday, Oct. 20

USCCB grants over $10M to US mission dioceses

A subcommittee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has granted over $10.0 million to 85 US “home mission” dioceses, most of them in rural areas. The funds are provided...

Report: Church sues Georgian government over tax treatment

The Catholic Church in the Caucasus nation of Georgia has joined seven Protestant communities in filing suit against the government over its favorable tax treatment of the Georgian Orthodox Church,...

Key Indian cardinal speaks about Catholics with same-sex attractions

One of the 10 prelates who will draft the Synod of Bishops’ final report has granted an interview to New Ways Ministry, an organization criticized by the United States Conference of Catholic...

Cardinal Pell: ‘the Pope lines up with me’

In a new interview, Cardinal George Pell emphasized that Catholic doctrine “will not be touched” at the Synod of Bishops. “The Pope has asked for free discussion,”...

Holy See diplomat: protect the land rights of indigenous peoples

The permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations called upon the international community to “respect the indigenous peoples’ rights to their homelands and their natural...

Churches burned down, demolished in Indonesia

Thousands of Christians fled their homes in Aceh, Indonesia, after a mob burned down a church, according to a Reuters report. Following the attack on the church, police in the territory, which...

Orthodox churches approve two documents, disagree on one at preconciliar meeting

Representatives of the Eastern Orthodox churches have completed their fifth preparatory meeting for the upcoming pan-Orthodox council. According to the Moscow Patriarchate, the churches’...

Cardinal Napier: now optimistic about Synod, confident that ideological manipulation has stopped

Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier said that African bishops are “optimistic” about the outcome of the Synod of Bishops, and added that he is no longer concerned about manipulation of the...

New Canadian prime minister to meet with archbishop, discuss stand on abortion and Communion

Newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that he is hopes to speak soon with Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa, to clarify the implications of his public stance in favor of...

Vatican releases summaries of auditors' addresses at Synod

Auditors at the Synod of Bishops have spoken on topics ranging from the role of women to medical ethics and the persecution of Christians. The auditors—whose talks were delivered on October 15...

Cardinal DiNardo: reassured about Synod procedures, opposes Kasper proposal

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston-- who was one of the 13 cardinals who wrote to Pope Francis to voice concerns about bias in the procedures of the Synod of Bishops-- told the Crux news site that...

German newspaper reports on rare visit with Pope-emeritus Benedict

In a rare media appearance, Pope-emeritus Benedict told the editor of the German newspaper Bild Zeitung that “I feel I am in even closer communion with God.” In an October visit with the...

Released Wednesday, Oct. 21

US bishops to discuss ‘Faithful Citizenship,’ pornography statement at November meeting

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced the agenda for its next meeting, which will take place from November 16 to 19 in Baltimore. Among other items, the bishops will...

Denver prelate: ‘Did Thomas More and John Fisher die for nothing?’

Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver has offered strong criticism of the “Kasper proposal” as well as “the German bishops’ ‘Plan B’ to do things ‘their...

Patriarchate condemns attack on Joseph’s tomb

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has joined Israeli and Palestinian political leaders in condemning an attack on Joseph’s tomb by Palestinian protestors. The tomb of Joseph, whose life...

Vatican foreign minister: democracy without human rights may foster extremism

As Europe faces “the greatest humanitarian and refugee crisis” since World War II, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States called for “respect for human rights and...

Vatican denies report that Pope has brain tumor

The Holy See Press Office has strongly denied an Italian newspaper report that Pope Francis has a small brain tumor that can be treated without surgery. Citing “reliable sources,”...

Holy See diplomat weighs in on ‘universal jurisdiction’ in response to gravest crimes

Amid a UN discussion of the extent to which international bodies such as the International Criminal Court possess “universal jurisdiction,” particularly in response to war crimes and...

Historian: Pius XII complicit in plots to assassinate Hitler

In a new book, historian and intelligence specialist Mark Riebling makes the case that Pope Pius XII aided plots to assassinate Adolf Hitler during World War II. In Church of Spies: The...

Pope reflects on marital fidelity

Continuing his series of Wednesday general audiences on the family, Pope Francis reflected on marital fidelity in his October 21 catechesis. “Fidelity to promises is a masterpiece of...

In fiery speech, Russian Orthodox representative urges Synod to battle secular ideology

A leading Russian Orthodox prelate gave an uncompromising defense of traditional Christian moral teaching, and condemned Western secularism, in an address to the Synod of Bishops. “The Church is...

Synod poised to reject Kasper proposal?

The “Kasper proposal”—a bid to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion under some circumstances—received little support as the Synod of Bishops heard reports from its small...

Homosexual priest, dismissed from Vatican post, now suspended from ministry

Msgr. Krysztof Charamsa, who was dismissed from his post at the Vatican after he announced that he is an active homosexual with a lover, has been suspended from priestly ministry. The Polish...

Venezuela cardinal says mercy calls for repentance

Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino  of Caracas, in an address to the Synod of Bishops, said that while the Church should always show God's mercy to sinners, that mercycalls for...

Priest kidnapped in Syria in 2013 is reported still alive

Father Paolo dall'Oglio, an Italian Jesuit priest who disappeared in Syria more than two years ago, was recently seen alive, according to the Syrian Observatory on Human Rights. Father...

Released Thursday, Oct. 22

Treat child migrants with dignity, Texas bishop urges Senate committee

Stating that “the Holy Family is the archetype of the refugee families we see today,” a Texas bishop testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs...

Russian Orthodox prelate meets with Pope

Pope Francis has met with a leading Russian Orthodox prelate who, in a fiery address, urged the Synod of Bishops to battle secular ideology. The meeting between the Pope and Metropolitan...

Archbishop calls for British military intervention against Islamic State

The Melkite Greek Catholic archbishop of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, has told a British tabloid that “if nothing is done, it is not impossible that all the Christians in Syria may be...

Holy See diplomat: outer-space technology should become a shared resource

As a UN committee discussed cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, a Holy See diplomat praised satellite technology but expressed concern that technological benefits may “become yet...

Archbishop Chaput: Kasper proposal is ‘emotive’

Archbishop Charles Chaput said in an interview with John Allen that he has been frustrated by the lack of “theological content” in Cardinal Walter Kasper’s proposal to admit to...

Report: Iranian president to meet with Pope

Citing a “diplomatic source,” the Reuters news agency reported that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will meet with Pope Francis in November. Rouhani will also meet with Italy’s...

Vatican again denies report that Pope has brain tumor

The Holy See Press Office has again denied an Italian newspaper report that Pope Francis has been treated by a Japanese doctor for a small brain tumor. “I fully confirm my previous...

Nuclear deterrence incompatible with UN goals, Vatican envoy argues

In an October 22 address to a UN committee on disarmament, the Vatican’s representative said that “nuclear deterrence and the threat of mutually assured destruction are irreconcilable...

Cardinal Gracias explains procedure for final Synod votes

At an October 22 briefing at the Vatican, Cardinal Oswald Gracias said that the committee drafting a final statement for the Synod of Bishops had received several hundred suggested...

Mother Teresa to be canonized next year?

Mother Teresa of Calcutta could be canonized in 2016, according to reports by an Indian newspaper. The Vatican's investigation into the cause of Mother Teresa has reportedly been completed,...

Pope sees conference on Fr. Matteo Ricci as opportunity for dialogue with China

In a message to a conference on Father Matteo Ricci, Pope Francis has said that he hopes the example set by the Jesuit missionary will “reaffirm the importance of dialogue between cultures and...

Religious Americans less likely to see conflict between faith and science

Americans who regularly attend religious worship services are less likely than their secular counterparts to see a conflict between science and faith, according to a new survey by the Pew...

Pope announces new Vatican congregation for laity, family, and life

Pope Francis has announced plans to establish a new Vatican congregation: the Congregation for Laity, Family, and Life. The new congregation will combine the work of three existing Vatican...

Texas health officials serve subpoenas on Planned Parenthood

State officials in Texas have served subpoenas on three Planned Parenthood offices, seeking information on activities at 10 clinics in the state. Government officials declined to discuss the...

'Conscience cannot contradict truth'- Bishop Conley

In an essay appearing on the First Things site, Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska, does not directly mention recent public comments by Archbishop Blase Cupich, but his argument offers a sharp...

Released Friday, Oct. 23

Jerusalem patriarchate to hold special prayers for peace in all parishes

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has announced that all of its parishes—whether in Israeli, Jordanian, or Palestinian territory—will hold a special hour-long prayer for peace on...

Germany: gang accused of stealing from churches to fund Islamic State

Eight men are on trial in Cologne on charges of stealing chalices, crosses, and other items from churches and schools in order to assist the Islamic State and other Islamist rebel groups in...

Man in same-sex marriage files discrimination claim against Virginia diocese

Stating that he was fired by the Diocese of Richmond because of his same-sex civil marriage, a Virginia man has filed a discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity...

Italian newspaper editor denies he is conspiring against Pope

The editor of Quotidiano Nazionale, the Italian newspaper that alleged that Pope Francis has a small brain tumor, has denied assertions that he is part of a conspiracy against the Pope. Stating...

Biden receives Greek Orthodox human rights award

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has conferred its annual human rights award upon Vice President Joe Biden. “The vice president is someone who fights for freedom in the real...

Indian bishops’ conference official decries attack on Dalits

An official of the Indian Catholic Bishops’ Conference lamented violence against the nation’s Dalits following the deaths of two infants in a fire in Haryana state. Dalits were...

School principal, forced to resign over inaccurate reports of abuse, files suit against Boston archdiocese

The former principal of a Catholic parochial school in Revere, Massachusetts, has filed suit against the Boston archdiocese for forcing her resignation in a case that appears to involve an...

Planned Parenthood undercover videos leak despite court order

Undercover videos of Planned Parenthood, which were released to a Congressional committee under court-ordered confidentiality, have been posted on the internet. The unedited videos, produced by...

Synod receives draft of final statement; will vote on Saturday

The Synod of Bishops spent Friday, October 23, discussing a proposed final statement, which will come up for a vote, paragraph by paragraph, on Saturday. The statement was presented to the...

Vatican envoy tells UN: violence, persecution imperil entire cultures in Middle East

The Vatican’s permanent observer at the UN has warned that entire cultures are in jeopardy in the Middle East. Speaking to a Security Council session on the Middle East, Archbishop...

Released Monday, Oct. 26

Papal condolences following French bus crash

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has sent a telegram of condolence in the Pope’s name following a French bus crash that killed at least 43...

Synod of Bishops appeals for peace in Middle East, Africa, and Ukraine

Mourning the “victims of unspeakable atrocities,” the Synod of Bishops issued an appeal for peace in the Middle East, Africa, and Ukraine. “The use of weapons of mass...

Pope evaluates Synod in closing address, denounces those who hurl ‘dead stones’ at others

In his closing address to the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis asked, “What will it mean for the Church to conclude this Synod devoted to the...

Do not be deaf to cries of the needy, Pope says at Mass that concludes Synod

The 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops officially concluded on October 25 with a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. Pope Francis devoted his homily to the Gospel of the day,...

Pope reflects on God’s people as ‘family of families,’ says Church does not abandon migrants

God’s “dream, always and forever, is to form a people, to bring them together, leading them toward the land of freedom and peace,” Pope Francis said in his October 25 Sunday...

Elderly cardinal falls, fractures leg in St. Peter's basilica-- for 2nd time

Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, the 93-year-old vice-dean of the Collge of Cardinals, suffered a broken leg on Sunday when he fell as he was greeting Pope Francis after Mass in St. Peter’s...

Slovakian Cardinal Jan Korec, hero of underground Church in Communist era, dead at 91

Cardinal Jan Chryzostom Korec, SJ, the retired Bishop of Nitra, Slovakia, died on October 24 at the age of 91. A man whose life has been closely tied to the troubled history of central Europe in...

Synod statement prompts diverse, contradictory reactions

The final statement approved by the Synod of Bishops has drawn widely disparate responses from commentators, with journalists taking contradictory views on what the document actually says. Two...

Iraqi Christians have full support of Vatican, Pope assures Chaldean Synod

Pope Francis has assured Iraqi Catholics of the “complete support and solidarity” of the Vatican as they face the violence of the Islamic State and the steady drain of emigration. Speaking to the...

Pope admonishes Gypsies to repair public image

Pope Francis supported the political rights of Gypsies, but also urged Gypsies to respect the law, in an October 26 address. Speaking to an audience of 7,000 Gypsies in the Vatican’s Paul VI...

Speaking to conference for military chaplains, Pope calls for abolition of warfare

Speaking on October 26 to participants in a Vatican training program for military chaplains, Pope Francis said called for the “abolition of war.” The Pope observed that military chaplains face...

Prelates press for action at Paris conference on climate change

A group of Catholic prelates from around the world has joined in a plea for action on climate change at the international conference that will be held in Paris beginning November 30. At a Vatican...

Released Tuesday, Oct. 27

Leading Polish bishop recalls historic 1965 letter

The president of the Polish Episcopal Conference recalled the 50th anniversary of the historic message of the Polish Bishops to the German Bishops, in which the former forgave and asked forgiveness...

Australian prelate raps ‘apocalyptic vision’ surrounding synod

As he looked back on his weeks of participation at the Synod of Bishops, Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane criticized the “apocalyptic vision of some of those most ardently opposed to any...

Canadian bishops’ conference releases pastoral letter on refugees

The Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has released a pastoral letter on welcoming refugees. “The immense and unprecedented refugee...

Beatification cause opens for slain Argentine bishop

With the permission of the Holy See, the Diocese of La Rioja, Argentina, has begun the diocesan phase of the beatification cause of Bishop Enrique Angelelli (1923-76), a prelate slain during the...

Papal message to Ecumenical Patriarch

Pope Francis has sent a message to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who holds a primacy of honor among Orthodox Christians, as he received an honorary doctorate from Sophia University Institute in...

Prominent prelates differ sharply on Synod’s final report

In separate interviews following the conclusion of the Synod of Bishops, Archbishop Bruno Forte and Cardinal George Pell offered contradictory interpretations of the synod’s final report,...

Mercy ‘denounces sin openly,’ says Vatican cardinal

Discussing the upcoming Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza emphasized that mercy does not consist in tolerance of sin. Cardinal Piacenza, the Major Penitentiary of the...

Pope makes two key appointments to Italian hierarchy

Pope Francis has made two important appointments to the Italian hierarchy. Bishop Matteo Maria Zuppi, who has been an auxiliary of the Rome diocese since 2012, will become the Archbishop of...

Embattled Chilean bishop defends himself, insisting he was unaware of abuse

Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, Chile, has issued a statement repeating his insistence that he was not aware of sexual abuse by a priest who had been his friend. In a statement read at Mass in all...

Planned Parenthood abortionist speaks of harvesting fetal heads in latest undercover video

In a new undercover video from the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), a Planned Parenthood abortionist speaks about her efforts to harvest intact heads from unborn babies. In the 11th video of the...

Pope reminds Roman Curia: rules on staff hiring, salaries remain in effect

Pope Francis has reminded officials of the Roman Curia that rules on the hiring and compensation of staff remain in effect, even as changes are taking place in the responsibilities of several...

Syrian church hit by mortar shell; several injuries

A Catholic church in Aleppo, Syria, was struck by a mortar shell during Sunday Mass on October 27, causing several minor injuries to members of the congregation. The shell damaged the roof of St....

Released Wednesday, Oct. 28

Italian court rules against same-sex marriage

The Italian Council of State, which has jurisdiction over the administrative acts of government officials, has ruled against mayors who defied national law by registering same-sex marriages in city...

Papal condolences following earthquake in Afghanistan, Pakistan

Cardinal Pietro Parolin has sent a telegram of condolence in Pope Francis’s name following the Hindu Kush earthquake, which left hundreds dead in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Pope...

Turkey: Christian leaders publish ‘Basic Principles of Christianity’ for Muslim readers

Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, and Protestant leaders in Turkey gathered at the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in Istanbul to announce the publication of Basic...

50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate

October 28 marks the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions. The Pontifical Council for...

The time for dialogue within Anglicanism ‘is over,’ says leading African prelate

The primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya, who chairs a global network of conservative Anglican leaders, said that he would accept the Archbishop of Canterbury’s invitation to meet with all...

Pope Francis lauds Cardinal Martini

Pope Francis has written the preface to the first volume of the collected works of Cardinal Carlo Martini (1927-2012), the Jesuit who served as archbishop of Milan from 1980 to 2012. Describing...

Action urged on Abortion Non-Discrimination Act

The National Committee for a Human Life Amendment (NCHLA), which works closely with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has called upon pro-life citizens to “urge your elected...

Papal document will summarize Synod conclusions

Pope Francis will write an apostolic exhortation based on the final statement approved by the Synod of Bishops, the Vatican's Secretary of State has confirmed. Cardinal Pietro Parolin told...

Vatican visitation probes lay movement in Peru

The Vatican has conducted an apostolic visitation of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (Sodality of Christian Life), a lay movement with a growing influence in Latin America, because of charges that...

On 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, Pope lauds progress in interfaith dialogue

Pope Francis devoted his October 28 public audience to a discussion of Nostra Aetate, the Vatican II document on inter-religious dialogue, which was released 50 years ago. Among the people...

Peruvian priest sentenced to 35 years for abuse

A Catholic priest in Peru has been sentenced to a 35-year prison term for molesting a boy at a school where he served as chaplain. Father Waldir Perez Salias confessed to sexual abuse of a boy at...

Synod reportedly elected conservative prelates to permanent council

Among 12 prelates elected to the council of the Synod of Bishops, several were prominent critics of the organization of this year’s Synod meeting, according to veteran Vatican journalist...

St. Paul archdiocese seeks extension in bankruptcy filing

The Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota, has asked a federal bankruptcy court to extend the deadline for filing a reorganization plan. Citing the number of "difficult issues to be...

Central African Republic: archbishop says reports of kidnapping are false

Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui, in the Central African Republic, has said that reports he was kidnapped are inaccurate. The archbishop told the Fides news service that when he...

Ex-Vatican official says Catholic doctrine is 'violence' against homosexuals

The Polish priest who was dismissed from his Vatican post after announcing his homosexual relationship has written to Pope Francis, complaining that the Church causes “immeasurable...

Released Thursday, Oct. 29

Pope establishes foundation to promote Catholic education

At the request of the Curia’s Congregation for Catholic Education, Pope Francis has instituted the Foundation Gravissimum Educationis, named after the Second Vatican Council’s...

Cardinal Parolin reflects on peace, human rights

At a conference commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, Cardinal Pietro Parolin emphasized the...

Jewish leaders welcome Pope’s words on anti-Semitism, Israel

In an October 28 audience with over 100 Jewish leaders, Pope Francis said that “to attack Jews is anti-Semitism, but an outright attack on the State of Israel is also anti-Semitism,”...

Kidnapped Syrian priest speaks about captivity under the Islamic State

Father Jacob Murad, a priest in Al-Qaryatayn, Syria, who was abducted by Islamic State forces in May, has spoken about his three months of captivity. The priest said that he was never...

Continuing arrests of members of Beijing church

Four members of Beijing’s largest Protestant church were arrested on October 25 and sentenced to ten days in prison, according to an AsiaNews report. “The Beijing Shouwang Church is...

Buddhist, Christian leaders fear impending crackdown in Vietnam

As Vietnamese lawmakers discuss revisions to the nation’s laws on religion, Christian and Buddhist leaders expressed fears about a looming crackdown. “To the outside world,...

First hearing for Minnesota archdiocese facing criminal charges for failing to curb abuse

Lawyers for the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis appeared in court on October 29 to answer criminal charges for “failing to protect children,” but did not enter a formal plea, with...

Pope faces backlash from Gypsy activists after talk that 'reinforced stereotypes'

Pope Francis is facing criticism for an address to an audience of Gypsies in which, according to critics, he perpetuated stereotypes about the Gypsy, or Roma, peoples. At a Vatican audience on...

China eases 'one-child' population policy

The Chinese government has decided to ease its brutal one-child policy, allowing parents to have two children. The one-child policy was adopted in 1979 to curtail China’s population growth. The...

New York diocese agrees to inform prosecutors of all abuse accusations

The Diocese of Syracuse, New York, has reached an agreement with local prosecutors to report all allegations of sexual abuse by clergy. Under the agreement, which was announced at a joint press...

Vatican confirms new talks with Beijing

The Vatican Secretary of State has confirmed reports of new talks between the Holy See and the government of China. Cardinal Pietro Parolin told reporters that a delegation from the Vatican...

Radio Maria network receives papal encouragement

Pope Francis met on October 29 with representatives of the “Radio Maria” network of 75 stations that serve a radio audience of more than 30 million people worldwide. The Pope told the...

Lithuanian president meets with Pontiff

Pope Francis met on October 29 with Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite, for a conversation that centered on Church-state relations. A brief Vatican statement released after the meeting...

Released Friday, Oct. 30

Cardinal Tauran rues intolerance, says religion’s true mission is peace

In a message to participants in an interfaith meeting at Castel Gandolfo, the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue lamented intolerance and violence committed in the name...

Schedule announced for papal journey to Prato, Florence

The Holy See Press Office has announced the schedule of Pope Francis’s upcoming apostolic journey to Prato and Florence, which will take place on November 10. In Prato, a Tuscan city of...

Special jubilee indulgence for Legionaries of Christ, Regnum Christi

Pope Francis has granted a special plenary indulgence to members of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi during their 75th jubilee year. Members may gain a plenary indulgence, if, in...

Federal court grants victory to evangelists escorted from Arab festival

In an 8-7 decision, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that local police violated the First Amendment rights of Christian evangelists at an Arab festival in Dearborn, Michigan. In...

Welcome migrants and refugees, French episcopal conference urges

Amid news that France will host over 30,000 additional refugees, the National Solidarity Council of the Bishops’ Conference of France has called upon French dioceses to offer coordinated...

Russian Orthodox patriarch criticizes US secularization, same-sex marriage

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow met with the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association on October 28 and expressed appreciation for American evangelical Protestants’ defense of...

Iranian president will meet with Pope

The Iranian embassy to the Holy See has confirmed that President Hassan Rouhani will meet with Pope Francis on November 14 or 15, according to the ANSA news agency. Rouhani, like Pope Francis,...

Archbishop Romero was—and still is—defamed, Pope says in reflections on martyr's death

Pope Francis praised the witness of Blessed Oscar Romero, and denounced those who “defamed” the slain prelate, in an October 30 address to a group of pilgrims from El Salvador. After...

Pope lauds international coalition against human trafficking

In a message to the Santa Marta group, an international alliance set up to combat human trafficking, Pope Francis has traced the progress of the initiative and promised his continuing support for...

Pope's prayer intentions for November 2015

The Vatican has released the prayer intentions of Pope Francis for November 2016. The Pope’s universal intention is: “That we may be open to personal encounter and dialogue with all, even those...

St. Louis archdiocese issues grave warning about 'live exorcism' scheduled for TV broadcast

The Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri, has issued a stern warning against a purported “exorcism” that is scheduled for live television broadcast on October 30. The “Destination...

India's government moves to curb surrogacy; Church welcomes restrictions

India’s government plans new restrictions on surrogate parenthood, to curtail the rapid growth of the lucrative industry on the subcontinent. Under the government’s proposal, which...

Vatican envoy highlights religious freedom in address to UN session on human rights

Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican's permanent observer at UN headquarters in New York, emphasized religious freedom in an October 30 address to a General Assembly session on human...

Pope Francis on mercy: new book to appear in January

A new book by Pope Francis—a lengthy interview with Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli—will be published early in January 2016. In the book, entitled The Name of God Is Mercy, the...

Human-rights abuses likely to continue under new Chinese population policy, expert says

Steven Mosher of the Population Research Institute, who helped to expose the brutality of China's "one-child" population policy, predicts that human-rights abuses will continue even as...

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